False Bay ‘Slow’ Chenin Blanc- WO Coastal Region- South Africa
Though reds from South Africa have peppered the wine club these last two months, the country’s most planted variety is none other than a white grape: Chenin Blanc! Not only is Chenin, or Steen, the country’s most important variety, there is no country in the world that produces more. Much like other famous Chenin-producing regions like the Loire Valley, there are many different styles of Chenin made across South Africa. False Bay’s ‘Slow’ represents one of the more popular styles; being an offensively drinkable summer wine that showcases the maritime influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The ‘Slow’ name refers to winemaker Nadia Barnard’s philosophy of using indigenous yeasts found in the vineyard as opposed to inoculation via a ‘package’ yeast. This extends the fermentation process considerably, but it’s generally associated with high-quality viticulture. The nose offers interesting aromas of fresh herbs, salinity, yeast, and citrus zest. The palate is considerably fleshier, with ripe orchard and citrus fruits accented with melon and tea tree. Try a bottle of this with your next sushi take out from Komodo Loco.
LunaGaia ‘Mandricardo’ Catarratto- Terre Siciliene IGP- Sicily
The world of biodynamic wine is esoteric and confusing to wine professionals, much less to consumers. While many wineries and regions use biodynamic vineyard practices, rarely do you see wine officially certified, via the Demeter Association, as biodynamic. To obtain this, a rigorous list of guidelines must be followed at every step of the winemaking process. This can take a significant amount of time and money, which often dissuades producers from seeking certification. However, as the public conscious begins to understand the environmental impacts of wine making, there seem to be more and more producers seeking out biodynamic certification. LunaGaia is a collaboration between Lunaria and BioGaia expressly for that purpose. Their Catarratto, an indigenous Sicilian variety, showcases some of the fun, wild characteristics of biodynamic wine. The nose offers a complex nose of golden raisin, sour plum, jasmine, and hints of saison-like notes. The palate is fairly rich with lower acid and a fleshy apple and spice profile. This wine is a fun, interesting introduction into the world of biodynamic wine, and would go beautifully with an open-faced po boy from Hoochies.
FUSO Filippo Cassano ‘Calx’ Primitivo- Puglia IGT-Italy
Once thought to be a genetic predecessor of Zinfandel, there is a growing consensus that Primitivo and Zinfandel are one and the same. Despite this, you can usually tell them apart based on the terroir they’re produced in and the practices used. The FUSO line focuses on lighter, warm weather-friendly expressions of various varieties from various regions and terroir. The result is a deliciously juicy red that can be enjoyed multiple bottles over. The nose offers a medley of sweet cherry, blueberry, and bramble accented with floral notes. The palate is slightly less than medium-bodied, with mouthwatering acidity accenting juicy and tart blue/blackberry. This belongs alongside a slab of brisket from any of the many delicious BBQ joints in Denton.
Closilo Kiere Cabernet Sauvignon- Robertson WO- South Africa
We have had such a successful run of South African reds on the club, I figured we would continue until our luck runs dry. This month we are focusing on the Closilo ‘Kiere’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Robertson is located in the Breede River Valley and represents some of the warmer terroir in the valley. Multiple red varieties are gaining traction here due to the combination of hot summers and slight maritime influence from the Indian Ocean. The ‘Kiere’ showcases the influence of both well, with a nose full of black currant, underbrush, and aromatic spice. The palate is concentrated, though medium-bodied with tart blue and black fruits accented with hints of vanilla and green peppercorn. Try this with a lamb gyro from Gyro 360!
For the first time in centuries (okay like two years), we have a white Burgundy on the club! Saint-Veran is one of the largest sub regions in the Maconnais, and it is among the many sub regions there known for excellent, affordable Chardonnay. Though perhaps not as famous as its neighbor Pouilly-Fuisse, St.-Veran still makes excellent Chardonnay characterized by subtle fruit, balanced acidity, and prevalent mineral accents. Being the first wine Deux Roches ever made, their ‘Tradition’ bottling adheres to the style to a ‘T’. The nose offers delicate aromas of flowers, a fresh mineral character, and a hint of cream (likely from some malolactic fermentation). The palate is notedly richer than the nose, with balanced acidity and a hint of creaminess accenting flavors of apple and quince accented by subtle floral notes. This wine screams for goat cheese and dried meats. Take a bottle of this with your next charcuterie board from 10:1 or the Howelling Pickle!
Barbera is the viticultural backbone of Piedmont, with a multitude of regions dedicated to making different expressions of this variety. Despite this, Ascheri does not source their ‘Fontanelle’ label from Asti, Alba or any of the more niche Barbara-focused regions, but rather Langhe. You have probably seen this name place designation in your local wine store, but rarely on a bottle of Barbera. In fact, the larger Langhe region encompasses Piedmont’s most famous appellations of Barolo and Barbaresco, which have NOTHING to do with Barbera. So what happens when a storied 19th-century producer makes a Barbera in unfamiliar lands: something delicious! This wine offers aromas synonymous with the variety, but turned up to ‘11’, with blueberry and plum jam accented with deep, earthy herb notes. The palate is weighty for Barbera, but still offers nice acidity with soft tannins enveloping rich red and blue fruits. Even when in a richer state, this variety is known for it compatibility with tomato-based dishes; try it with some take out from Graffiti on the square!
With the NBA playoffs in full swing, we have witnessed a number of ‘super teams’ over the years comprised of transcendental talent making an unlikely alliance to create something awesome. What about winemaking super teams though? Maison les Alexandrins is a collaborative effort between some of the most accomplished winemakers and viticulturists in Northern Rhone with the goal of making a wide range of terroir-driven wines. Among their featured appellations is Crozes-Hermitage, a fairly large regions along the Rhone river that focuses on fleshy, peppery renditions of Syrah (sometimes blended with Marsanne or Roussanne). This rendition offers an incredibly indicative nose of ruddy red fruits, black pepper, and hints of smoked meat. The palate offers a medium + body with low acid and velvety, oak-driven tannins complimenting a plump profile of red and black fruits accented with spice and peppercorn. You can sit on this bottle for another year or two OR opt for a peppercorn-encrusted filet.
B.Wise Vineyards ‘Wisdom’- Moon Mountain District of Sonoma Valley AVA- California
Moon Mountain? Sounds like a set piece from an action movie. In actuality, it’s a relatively small appellation tucked in Sonoma Valley that has not quite blown up yet. Among the few producers making use of this region is B.Wise, an estate started by Brion and Ronda Wise with the intent of pioneering winemaking in the region. Among an impressively lengthy catalog is their ‘Wisdom’ Red Blend, which seems to be an answer to the ever growing popularity of ‘kitchen sink’ style blends across virtually every winegrowing region in California. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Tannat is made with immediate enjoyment in mind. On the nose is a rich plethora of red and blue fruits accented with rich vanilla and oak. The palate is equally as rich and viscous, with sweet oak tannins interwoven among blueberry, cassis, and hints of chocolate and spice. This wine would go beautifully with a sticky, rich plate of ribs.