First Day of Summer Wine Tasting!

1. Asnella Single Vineyard Vinho Verde

Cooper’s Price $15.99

Kevin’s Notes:  Rarely, do you find a Single Vineyard Vinho Verde.  The literal translation for Vinho Verde is “Green Wine”.  Oddly however, Vinho Verde is not a grape or wine, it’s a region!  It is a well-known DOC in the Minho region of north-western Portugal, but what does DOC mean for Portuguese winemaking ad why is it important?

Education: There are 3 levels of wine quality in Portugal; DOC (or DOP): DOC stands for Denominação de Origen Controlada and means the wine comes from a strictly defined geographical area with recommended and permitted grapes and maximum vine yields (tons per acre) to control quality.

Why do most Vinho Verde have very little bubbles?  Many of the Vinho Verde wines have a light fizz that can be extremely refreshing. Originally, this occurred when carbon dioxide, which is a natural byproduct of fermentation, was trapped inside the freshly fermented wine during bottling. Today, winemakers may add it through a boost of carbon dioxide, because they know that drinkers abroad have come to associate Vinho Verde with light bubbles.

Taste:  First of all, this wine has a very light fizz and it occurs naturally.  The grapes are 60% Arnito and 40% Loureio.  The fruit in this Vinho Verde is much bolder and has a very long finish.  It’s outstanding!!  They only made 340 cases!!!!

2. Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau, Macon Villages Clos St. Pancras 2017

Cooper’s Price $21.99

Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau is a small estate run by two talented winemakers, Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon (winemaker at H. du Comte Lafon.) Frantz graduated with a degree in Oenology from Bordeaux University in 2004 and cut his teeth working for Olivier Merlin in the Mâconnais. Caroline holds two degrees in agricultural engineering and oenology.

Critics and people of Burgundy call this dynamic duo as one of the most talented teams in all of Burgundy, farming the old-fashioned way and making micro-quantities of single vineyard White Burgundy from some of the finest Chardonnay terrior in the world.

Education:  What is “terrior”?  Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir’ than others. Example: Palisade Peaches and Olathe Corn.

More  Education:  Mâcon-Villages is an appellation for dry white wines made from the Chardonnay grape. These are produced in selected communes of the Mâconnais wine area of southern Burgundy. This wine is rarely found in the U.S.

3. Terres Dorées, Beaujolais Rosé d’Folie 2018

Cooper’s Price $18.99

100% Gamay from vineyards across Jean-Paul Brun’s Beuajolais organically-grown holdings. Fermented and aged in concrete.

Taste: Jean-Paul Brun releases small quantities of this Beaujolais rosé each year.  Due to its organic growing conditions, the fruit is vibrant and explosive with fresh strawberries and minerality throughout the finish.

Education:  Beaujolais is an important wine region of eastern France, famous for its vibrant, fruity red wines made from Gamay. It is located immediately south of Burgundy.  The widespread plantings of Gamay here make Beaujolais one of the few regions of the world to be so focused on a single grape variety.

More Education:  You may have heard me say this in the past, “All wine gets its color from the skin of the grapes.  This includes white wine as well.”  If you pull a bunch of Cabernet grapes from a vine, and squish them in in your hand, the juice will come out clear like 7up.  Roses are made from red and purple grapes, but they are rose in color because they see little skin contact and they are fermented dry. 

4. Smockshop Band Spring Ephemeral Grenache – Columbia Gorge, Oregon 

Cooper’s Price $37.98

This is from a 10 acre site that we farm where the Gorge transitions to desert. The Grenache is planted on the banks of the Columbia in deep sand with basalt cobbles. It was fermented whole cluster in open top wooden vats and tread by foot once a day. After fermentation it was pressed directly to barrel via gravity with a basket press. The wine was bottled after 8 months of aging on the lees. 

The wine is sun warmed, very pale in color and emphatically aromatic. The kind of Grenache that reminds one of Pinot Noir, but with an entirely different set of aromas. It smells like being in a field of flowering herbs. At first the aroma of desert sage is overwhelming. It surrounds one. And then the other herbs emerge, lavender, chocolate mint, yerba buena and yarrow. As the wine sits in the glass those primal aromas transform into some sort of romantic flower. The kind you get in a bouquet, but from the desert. There are fruits of course: josta berries, strawberries and currants, all perfectly ripe, and picked in full-sun at the end of the day. The wine offers all the textural sensations that can only be conveyed by Grenache. It is totally round, sensual and enveloping, but also pale and weightless. Its is fresh, but just enough to give the barest sense of shape. There is no strident acidity to spoil the sense of warmth and gentleness. It is a red of pure summer and perfect for the foods consumed in the peak of the garden season.  

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