September Wine Club

No Brainer


By volume, the vast majority of grapes grown in Rias-Baixas(REE-ahs BI-shas.) are made into wine at any one of a number of cooperatives for the simple reason that much of the land in Rias Baixas is broken up into tens of thousands of small holdings. Almost everyone you meet has a family home in the semi-suburban countryside where they grow a wide variety of crops. Large contiguous estates are fairly rare by comparison so by necessity most growers are members of a local cooperative or they sell their fruit to the few “larger” estates in the area. Most of the Albariño consumed in the world comes from and handful of Cooperatives rather than a multitude of smaller estates.
In the cellar the wines are fermented and aged in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness and bracing acidity that is typical of Albariño grown in the Val do Salnes. Each vintage several experimental fermentations are conducted to understand the minor variations of site, the role of natural yeasts, the length of elevage and the applicability of different fermentation vessels. All of these experiments are used to improve the quality of the wines with each successive vintage.
A bright greenish yellow color with golden highlights. A uniquely fruity aroma where the variety is clearly appreciated, highlighting hints of ripe apples, apricots, and peach aromas. In the mouth, it is rich, mellow and well-balanced. The aftertaste is fully rounded and off dry on the palate with juicy fruit flavors, clean acidity and a long, mineral-dominated finish.

San Silvestro-Langhe Rosso 

San Silvestro Cantine is located in the Piemonte region in the community of Novello. It mainly produces Piedmontese red wines.The Sartirano family began their oenological activity in 1871, and today, they combine tradition with modern techniques to produce superbly crafted vintage wines. The winery is run by cousins Paolo and Guido Sartirano and the wines of San Silvestro are sold throughout Italy and abroad. Since 1988, the Tenuta Arnulfo Costa di Bussia estate in Monforte d’Alba has also belonged to the Sartirano family, and in 2002 they also took over the Tenuta Ghercina estate, which includes vineyards in the villages of Barolo and Novello, where the headquarters of the company are now located.
In piedmontese dialect, “Ensema” means “together”. This wine is a proprietary blend of local grapes but has a deep and intense red color that announces the presence of ripe fruit scents that well combine with elegant spices. Much lighter than a pure nebbiolo, this wine would complement a wide variety of foods from pepperoni pizza,  grilled red meats to even a tuna noodle casserole(aka Midwestern bagna cauda).

Alcaria- Old Vines 

 The 2018 Alcaria is a blend of 60% Monastrell, 25% Syrah, and the balance Garnacha, brought up in a mix of French and American oak barrels. An incredible value that more than over-delivers, this deeply colored red boasts terrific notes of ripe black fruits, chocolate, smoked herbs, and graphite. With full-boded richness and a sexy, opulent style on the palate, it opens up nicely in the glass and should keep for 2-4 years.
There are only a handful of wineries remaining in Yecla Spain since the phyloxera plague, and they are led by the forward-thinking Bodegas Castano, which has helped to reinvigorate the winemaking in the region.
Created by Ramon Castano Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castano is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured these old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns 350 hectares of some of the prime vineyard land in Yecla. Today, Daniel Castano, one of Ramon's sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.
The extremely talented Mariano Lopez has taken over the winemaker reins at the Bodega, and has turned the focus toward more balanced bottlings of older vine Monastrell. Both traditional and carbonic maceration techniques are used and all wines pass through malolactic fermentation. Daniel believes that the fruit and tannin structure of the Monastrell varietal stands up well to the use of oak, and as such, many of the wines pass (in varying degrees) through a barrel regime.

Bottle Popper

St. Antonin- Côte du Rhône

Clos Saint Antonin is a 15-hectare estate located outside the town of Jonquières within the Côtes-du-Rhône Village of Plan de Dieu. Clos Saint Antonin was purchased by the Sabon family in 2014. Small, compact, and contiguous estates rarely come on the market in the Rhône, let alone ones planted on the classic red clays, galets, and sand typical of Plan de Dieu. While it is quite common to see the famed estates of Châteauneuf-du-Pape looking over the Rhône river towards Lirac to expand their holdings, more and more are looking north to Plan de Dieu since this terroir is quite similar to what they find in their backyard.  While the whole family is involved with its farming and winemaking, Isabelle Sabon is heading up this new project – one supplemented by some of her family’s vineyards in Le Crau for the Clos Saint Antonin Châteauneuf-du-Pape. If you would compare this terroir to its neighbors, it could best be summarized as having the potential richness of Rasteau, married to the lift and precision of Cairanne
The Côtes-du-Rhône from Clos Saint Antonin comes from the younger vines on the property – between 30-50 years old! This cuvée is always dominated by Grenache (~80%) with Syrah and Mourvèdre making up the remainder of the blend. Originally this cuvée was aged in concrete and foudre but starting in 2018 Isabelle has decided that to achieve as naked an expression of Grenache as possible it is fermented and aged without SO2 it in neutral 600L French oak demi-muids.

Franco Conterno- Freisa 

Freisa is a native variety grown in Castiglione Falletto and a variety of which more and more producers, like Franco Conterno, continue to experiment. The Freisa Cascina Sciulun is aged in steel tanks, where the wine remains for three months before bottling. Aromas are light and fruity – sour cherry and wild forest berries – but with herbaceous notes of sage, green olives and tar. Exciting freshness to the palate with grippy tannins. A Freisa of this quality is a rare treat.
Franco Conterno comprises 28 hectares of vineyards, located in the territories of Monforte d’Alba, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Novello and Madonna di Como.Their growing techniques are specially chosen to bring together respect for the environment and agricultural work. All this is possible thanks to the extraordinary nature of the soil, made up of sand, silt and clay. The elevation above sea level ranges from 250 to 400 metres.  The soil, the extraordinary microclimate, and the excellent south/south-west exposure allow for the creation of wines with unique and valuable characteristics.

Savvy Sipper

Julien Cruchandeau Ladoix-Les Ranches

DJ turned wine maker Julien only farms a miniscule 3 hectares and you can feel the love and attention that he gives to his vines in every sniff and every sip.  These wines are true artisanal labors of love 
In 2000 Julien returned to Burgundy after working in restaurants around Europe and decided to take a two-year course in oenology and viticulture in Beaune (CFPPA), while gaining work experience at the Domaine Seguin de Gevrey-Chambertin. In 2001, he was offered a position as estate manager and master blender at the Domaine France Lechenault in Bouzeron, the main village in the Côte Châlonnaise. 
The vines for this  are grown in a manner that is respectful of the land and terroirs, with treatments applied using the philosophy of Lutte Raisonnée (literally “reasoned struggle”, meaning chemicals are only used when absolutely necessary), and moderate yields, to obtain healthy, quality grapes.
Harvesting is done by hand. The wines are vinified and matured in oak barrels and vats. They are made as naturally as possible, following traditional methods while applying a few modern winemaking techniques, including temperature control.Maturation is undergone for 8 to 18 months, depending on the vintage, in vats or barrels with some lees ageing for whites.
A beautiful Pinot Noir, This wine has dark fruit flavors  with great tannins and is just soft and complex. The way a true Burgundy should taste.

Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret- Monthelie 

Named for the 300-year-old Southern Burgundy village in which it is located, Monthelie Douhairet was run by the Douhairet family for many years. In 1989, Madame Douhairet asked renowned winemaker André Porcheret to take charge and added his name to the domaine.
One of the great figures in Burgundy during the past half-century, André was the cellar manager at the Hospices de Beaune from 1976–1988, before he was hired by Lalou Bize Leroy to make wines at the newly created Domaine Leroy from 1988–1993. He returned to the Hospices de Beaune from 1994–1999, and since 1989, he has also been overseeing Monthelie Douhairet Porcheret’s 15 acres, mainly in the Côte de Beaune appellations of Pommard, Volnay, Meursault and Monthelie.
Today, together with his granddaughter, Cataldina Lippo, he produces wines that are classic, elegant and true to their terroirs, with impressive textures, tension and bright flavors.