Domaine A. & P. De Villaine, Forlorn Hope, Gillmore, Sea Smoke, Latta
We’re featuring quite a diverse list of wines in our blog this week as some of the stars from recent Spring tastings are making their ways on to the shelves.
Domaine A. & P. De Villaine, Bouzeron Aligoté, 2015
Understanding the wines of Burgundy requires time, patience, and perseverance. An endless array of factors impact the flavor of a wine in a mind-boggling and puzzling way as vintage variation, aspect, clonal selection, and soil composition come together to form the contents of a bottle. This plays out time and time again with both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but what about that other, less celebrated white grape, Aligoté?
It seems like each year, Aligoté along with the other largely unsung Burgundian grape varietal Gamay are grabbing more of the spotlight as the general wine drinking public is becoming more knowledgable and willing to experiment with lesser known grapes while getting priced out of the more well known Premier and Grand Cru Burgundies. This certainly isn’t a particularly bad thing when you consider that we can arrive tasting bottles like this Aligoté from A. & P. Villaine.
This bottling from Pamela and Aubert de Villaine, the co-director of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, was made from a mutation of the Aligoté grape called Aligoté Doré. This version of the grape has deeper citric and mineral aromatics than it’s cousin, Aligoté vert, and the fruit is a deeper golden hue when ripe. This wine dances on the palate with nervy acidity and it is a fantastic option for the lighter fare of summer.
Sea Smoke, Chardonnay, 2014 $99.99
Located in the Santa Rita Hills, the Sea Smoke estate is part of southernmost Region 1 mesoclimate in the Northern Hemisphere. In wine-speak, this simply means that the Santa Rita Hills are cool enough to successfully grow incredible and rich Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In order to grow these finicky grapes in this region, many geographic features have come together to make this possible.
The Santa Rita Hills appellation (east by northeast of Santa Barbara) is based in an east-west running canyon which funnels the cool marine fog layer inland from the Pacific Ocean. Every day the appellation is treated to cooling fog, high winds, and warm sunny weather which all act in tandem to create a long growing season and fruit with deep ripe, and luscious fruit. This wine, while boasting an ABV of 15% is pure luxury, rich and powerful with plenty of judiciously used new oak.
Forlorn Hope, Dragone Ramato Pinot Gris, 2016, $29.99
I love this wine. It pushes the concept of what a Pinot Gris can be while still remaining delicious and thought provoking. The fruit for this wine was grown in the Rorick Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills on limestone and schist soils. It was made in the Ramato style which indicates that the wine saw skin-contact during the winemaking which gives it a copper or orange color. In this particular case, the skins were left in contact with the wine throughout fermentation and it shows off a deeper hue than other Pinot Gris made in this style. It’s aromatics range from the herbal and mineral side of the spectrum to floral and a wide range of pomme fruit. With a slight chill, this wine is incredibly food friendly.
Gillmore Vinyo, Old Vine Carignan, 2012 $43.99
So many countries get unfairly pigeonholed as producers of only one type or style of wine. It seems like Australia is still struggling with it’s Shiraz complex while it’s Cabernet Francs and Semillons go relatively unsung outside its own borders. It’s also nearly impossible to think of Argentina as producing anything but Malbec, even though its Bonardas, Torrontes, and racy white varieties like Riesling and Gewürztraminer can achieve incredible levels of quality. Chile is no different. The nation’s wine production is nearly synonymous with the grape Carmenere, and while we at the shop love drinking classic wines, we also constantly seek out the producers who are willing swim against the tide to create visionary and delicious wines.
Gillmore embodies the type of producer we love to support. This highly acclaimed Chilean producer from the the southern reaches of the country and co-founder of the group MOVI – a collective of independent producers – looks beyond the marketing and mass-produced wine of Chile to bring to the public terroir focused wines of unbelievable quality. This old vine Carignan from the 2012 vintage is exactly that, a wine with incredible balance, depth, and elegance while brimming with fresh red fruit and earthy mint qualities. We tried this at a tasting earlier in the season and it was an absolute show stopper. We’re glad to have it available to you today.
Latta, Upland Vineyard Grenache, Washington, 2014 $51.99
The Upland Vineyard is steep vineyard sight within the Snipes Mountain AVA, a sub appellation of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. It seems like this wine receives 90+ points every year and in 2012, this wine made it on to the Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 Wines in the World list and while I am not a huge fan of points, I can’t argue with all the acclaim. When I tasted this wine earlier in the month I exclaimed something along the lines of “This wine smells (some word that I can’t seem to remember at the moment) AWESOME!” It expresses minerally, dusty, herbal aromas with accents of juicy, candied red fruit. A truly beautiful wine.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you around the shop soon,