Lexicon Sauvignon Blanc
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Lexicon’s 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is reassuringly fresh and tropical, with herbal notes layered over passion fruit, pink grapefruit and apple flavors. It’s light to medium-bodied, with a crisp, mouthwatering finish.” Lexicon varietal wines are carefully selected by Fran Kysela MS to show the essence of each variety, along with its terroir of origin – both essential elements of a good wine.
Sauvignon Blanc, historically known for the great white wines of Bordeaux and Sancerre, is gaining popularity in New Zealand. Lexicon Sauvignon Blanc was produced from grapes grown in the renowned Marlborough region, on the northern end of the island. Marlborough is recognized for growing outstanding Sauvignon Blanc with mouthwatering fresh acidity, balanced by intense tropical fruit notes.
Tropical, zesty & citrusy. Hints of guava, passion fruit & gooseberries.
Olianas Vermentino di Sardegna
While Vermentino has made a name for itself in other parts of Italy (where it’s also called Pigato and Favorita), in France (where it is called Rolle), and in California; it’s in Sardinia where the grape really shines!
Sardinia’s wines have little in common with those produced in the rest of Italy. The island’s remote Mediterranean location, as well as the historic influence from other cultures, gives the wines a unique character that might be considered to have more in common with Spanish than Italian wines.
About 20% of the grapes are harvested slightly earlier and fermented on the skins, partly in stainless steel and partly in amphora, without inoculating according to biodynamic procedures. The must is then used as a “pied de cuve” to activate spontaneous fermentation. The remaining amount of grapes, after destemming and soft pressing are fermented in stainless steel. 70% of the wine ages in stainless steel “sur lie”, 30% in large used oak tonneaux, for five to six months. After blending, the wine is naturally clarified with bentonite and lightly filtered with cartridges before bottling. Native yeast, low sulfur addition.
This Vermentino di Sardegna shows a brilliant straw yellow color; the nose is intense, clean and pleasing aromas of apple, plum and pear followed by aromas of hawthorne, citrus fruits and almond. The wine has a pleasant, medium-bodied mouthfeel, a crisp attack, good body, and intense flavors. The finish is persistent with apple, plum and almond flavors. Perfect as an aperitif, it pairs well with fish dishes and medium aged cheese.
The winery is located in Gergei, Sardinia, in central, southern Sardinia, a particularly unspoiled part of the island. Olianas is planted with Cannonau (Grenache), Carignano (Carignane), Bovale, Vermentino and Nasco, all indigenous grape varietals to the region. Olianas has 40 acres of organically farmed vineyards planted.
Moulin de Gassac Rosé Guilhem (Biodynamic and Organic)
Year in, year out, this is our best selling rosé – and it’s easy to see why: bright fruit and balanced flavors, low alcohol and organic and biodynamic viticulture!
Always one of the first rosés to hit the market, this traditional southern Rhone blend comes from 25-50 year old vines grown along the Gassac River. It boasts a pleasant, intense nose with hints of strawberries. Full and round on the palate with red fruit flavors.
A blend of Carignan and Syrah from Jurassic limestone slopes in France’s deep south. The crop (which is ultra-organic) is de-stemmed to avoid harsh compounds leaching into the wine. The young wine was rested for 6 months in stainless steel prior to bottling, to allow its flavors to come together.
The producer, Mas de Daumas Gassac, has been variously described as ‘Lafite in the Languedoc’, ‘the only Grand Cru of the Midi’ and ‘exceptional’.
Several years back, the folks at Mas de Daumas Gassac began working with a neighboring cooperative in Sête to produce fun, full flavored wines from the surrounding countryside and rocky hillsides. The goal is to produce wines grown under the strict vineyard and winemaking regimens employed at this unique domaine. Organic farming is de rigueur and the vinification is closely overseen by the Guibert family. The results are splendidly aromatic wines that bring out the terroir of the this Mediterranean region. The wines are named after St. Guilhem, the patron saint of the area where the village of St. Guilhem le Désert, one of the most stunningly beautiful villages in Europe, draws people from all over the world.
Due Terre Nerello Mascalese (Organic)
Winery notes: “Due Terre Wines is a collaborative effort between friends and we are happy to present our first line of wines made from the indigenous grapes of Italy – delicious, economical, well packaged, and certified organic. All the wines are produced as 100% pure varietals with minimal intervention and wine making in order to allow the characteristics of the grape to shine through. There could not have been a better place than Sicily to produce these first wines for our project – the island has the largest number of organic vineyards in Italy and produces more grapes of quality than have a home in IGT and DOC bottlings and is often sold off as bulk wine to the north. We cannot bear to think of these delicious native grapes disappearing into another anonymous bottle and are very happy to give them a home at Due Terre Wines.”
Nerello Mascalese is an indigenous grape from the island of Sicily that has gained recent fame for the wines it produces on Mount Etna. The grape is naturally high in tannins and light in color, though when grown on lower sandy soils like those we find on the opposite side of the island from Etna in the Southwest, it can be more approachable when young.
Grapes were harvested in mid-September, a short 4 day maceration at low temperature to keep the tannins light, fermentation at 65° F/18° C for 12 days with native yeasts, and then simply aged for 15 months in concrete tanks.
An excellent alternative where you might use any medium bodied, earthy Italian red. Grilled meats, sausages, tomato based sauces, etc.
Olianas Cannonau di Sardegna
Cannonau is most closely associated with the island of Sardegna where it is widely planted. Cannonau is used to make dry reds, rose’, passito sweet wines, or fortified “liquoroso” wines.
Many of the wines spend some time in oak or chestnut botti (=large barrels) depending on its classification. Common descriptions include red fruits like raspberry, floral, and spices when more mature.
It has long been thought that the variety arrived on Sardinia with the Aragonese when they conquered the island in the early 14th Century (from what is now Aragon). However, in the past few years, Italian researchers have uncovered evidence suggesting that Cannonau (and therefore Grenache) may well have originated in Sardinia.
Native yeast, low sulfur additions, tank fermented and finished in oak and amphora, Organically farmed. An intense ruby red, fresh, boldly structured flavors. An explosion of small berries with hints of dark chocolate and tobacco is followed by silky tannins and excellent flavor concentration. Well balanced by the pleasant acidity. A young, fresh and lively wine, ideal with appetizers and main courses.
Azienda Agricola Olianas is all about native grape varietals. The winery is located in Gergei, Sardinia, in central, southern Sardinia, a particularly unspoiled part of the island. Olianas is planted with Cannonau (Grenache), Carignano (Carignane), Bovale, Vermentino and Nasco, all indigenous grape varietals to the region. Olianas has 40 acres of organically farmed vineyards planted.
Mont Gravet Carignan, Vieilles Vignes
The Herault region of Languedoc is the warmest part of the Languedoc and perfect for the Carignan grape which is particularly well suited to hot and dry climatic conditions. The vines, all over 50 years old, are planted in calcareous soil on hillside vineyards near the town of Cruzy. Yields are kept to a minimum.
Following the harvest, the grapes are all destemmed and the grapes allowed to macerate for a few hours followed by a slow ten-day fermentation during which the wine is pumped over several times a day to extract as much fruit quality as possible. Fifty percent of the wine is aged in French oak for four to five months and the remainder left on its lees in stainless steel vats. Bottling takes places in late March.
Mont Gravet Red is a beautiful cherry red in color and has a suggestion of black cherries and raspberries on the nose. It is rich in fruit flavors but fresh and easy-drinking. Also, very good when serve slightly chilled.
Cochon Pinot Blanc: Subtle aromas of crushed white flowers, stone fruit, golden apple Asian pear followed by hints of lemon zest and a stony minerality. This elegant wine is medium-bodied and crisp with a slightly rounded mouthfeel. Displaying a deft balance of texture as well as a lifted acidity, bright fruit combined with steely, chalky coolness. Shows tremendous zest, purity and focused energy with a refreshing balance.
This vineyard is part of the original Graton Road Ranch in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley purchased by Warren Dutton in 1964. Originally planted to Riesling and French Colombard this spot is particularly suited for cool climate white varieties. The cool coastal air comes in to the valley and lingers with the morning fog creating a long growing season for complex flavor development and fresh natural acidity in the fruit. An Alsatian Clone of Pinot Blanc was selected to replace the French Colombard and planted in 2003. The Shop Block is a small parcel next to the Dutton’s shop for vineyard equipment and vehicles long prized for its complex Chardonnay. Planted in the Valleys classic and prized deep, but well drained Goldridge sandy loam soils the Pinot Blanc vines grow healthy and harmonious, dry farmed and seemingly a perfect match for this famous site.
The 2019 vintage began with a late spring and transitioned in to a warm summer producing ideal conditions at harvest for fully ripe, complex Pinot Blanc grapes. The pristine fruit from this block was hand picked and brought in to the winery in the early morning hours in mid- September. The grapes were gently whole cluster pressed to a stainless steel tank for primary fermentation. A slow, cold fermentation utilizing a special Alsatian yeast isolate took place over a thirty+ day period after which the wine was transferred to another stainless steel tank for 4 months of additional aging to preserve the wines purity and freshness. We allow the wine to undergo partial malolactic fermentation in tank to create a more rounded mouthfeel and balance the wines natural acidity without taking away from its crispness and minerality.
Dom. Rouge-Queues Haute Côtes de Beaune When we brought in a few cases of this organic Burg stunner early last year, we were blown away by the quality, focus and yumminess from this relatively new producer. We tried to reorder from our supplier, and poof, would’ntchaknow it was all gone! Apparently other fine wine shops in the area also liked the wines. So, to prevent another such disaster, we preordered a small boatload of wines from this producer, and are presenting it for the first time in our Classic Club.
The wines are aged for 11-12 months in used barrel and may be bottled without SO2 if the conditions allow. To us, these wines embody everything that we hope to represent: excellent farming, little to no intervention in the cellar, with the resulting wines tasting pure and alive, but also possessing a sense of place and character of the vintage.
At the southernmost end of the Côte d’Or is the relatively new (1989) appellation of Maranges, composed of the villages Cheilly, Dezize, and Sampigny. Formerly considered a source of structured blending wine for punching up Côtes-du-Beaune Villages wines, Maranges now produces some affordable Burgundy of great character.
Located in the town of Sampigny-lès-Maranges, Isabelle and Jean-Yves Vantey’s Domaine des Rouges Queues produces lovely wines which start with old vines and great farming. The Vanteys have worked the vines without chemicals since 1998 and made the transition to biodynamics from 2008.
The vines date from 1960 and 1973 in the premier cru La Fussière and average 60 years old in the village Maranges. Their cellar work is non-interventionist; the fermentation is spontaneous in stainless and open-top wooden fermenters. The aging is in neutral oak and sulfur is used sparingly. The wines display succulent fruit, great freshness, and have detailed minerality. These are sturdy, honest, satisfying wines which should age nicely.
This bottling is a blend of two vineyards, one two acres at the top of a steep slope above the town of Change, the other barely an acre in size in Sampigny les Maranges, Change was planted in 1963, while Sampigny was planted in 2000. Vinification: Partly destemmed, partly whole bunches macerated on the skins for 12 days on oak tanks. After gentle pressing, the wine is put in old barriques to continue fermentation and then aged for 12 months before bottling.
Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico “Despite being located in one of the very best areas in Chianti Classico and boasting a superb track record, Rocca di Montegrossi remains one of the most under-the-radar estates in Chianti Classico, and Italy, for that matter. Proprietor Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi crafts deep, powerful wines that capture the essence of Monti, a sub-zone of Gaiole that has long been prized for the personality & pedigree of its reds. The estate’s Chianti Classico is often one of the best wines in its class, while the flagship San Marcellino & Geremia are reliably outstanding.”—Antonio Galloni, Vinous
The history of the Ricasoli-Firidolfi family in Tuscany is a rich tapestry of kings and statesmen, its fabric woven together with the vine. For more than 37 generations, this ancient family has cultivated grapes and crafted wines in Monti in Chianti, the “very best area” of Chianti Classico, according to Antonio Galloni.
The family’s roots in Tuscany began with a man named Geremia back in 1141, when the name “Chianti” had yet to be spoken and Tuscany was the scene of many a battle between warring families. The “rocca” of Montegrossi was a strategic post, high up on a plateau, providing shelter for traveling dignitaries.
For centuries the family guarded the “rocca” and cultivated vines on its sunny slopes. Yet it was in the nineteenth century when Baron Bettino Ricasoli—the “Iron Baron” and future prime minister of a united Italy—created the original “formula” for Chianti Classico’s blend of grapes.
The “Iron Baron” was winemaker Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi’s great-great-great grandfather. Today on the very same land where his forefathers grew grapes, Marco crafts peerless Chianti Classico wines according to the traditions and wisdom of countless generations.
Chianti Classico is the estate’s flagship wine is a blend of about 90% Sangiovese, with 10% Canaiolo and Colorino. The wine ages mainly in large cask and barrels made with Allier oak for 12-24 months. After being bottled unfiltered, it ages another six months at the estate prior to release.
Estate vineyards are located in Monti in Chianti, a “micro-area” of Gaiole. This area, between 1,050 and 1,500 feet in altitude, offers the ideal range for ripening Sangiovese perfectly. Soils combine alberese (limestone) and galestro (schist) with clay. Wines are thus more elegant, intensely perfumed and darker in color than from other Chianti Classico areas. Hand-harvested. Fermented on indigenous yeasts in lined cement tanks. Aged for 11 months in traditional wooden vats, between 54HL and 56HL (called “tine,” made with French Allier oak) and lined cement tanks.
Pax Vicar Red Blend (Natural) A combination of Alder Springs Grenache and Bedrock Vineyard Mourvedre, this classic wine screams southern Rhone. There is an intriguing wildness centered around an earthy complexity found in only the best Mourvedre wines in the world, which adds a tannic structure to this delicious blend.
91 points, Vinous Pax’s 2016 The Vicar shows what a gorgeous vintage this is. Fresh, vibrant and wonderfully nuanced, the 2016 is a striking, translucent wine that conveys energy, vivacity and purity. The Vicar, the entry-level wine in the Pax range, overdelivers in 2016. The blend is 50% Grenache from Alder Springs and 50% old-vine Mourvèdre from Bedrock, done with 100% whole clusters, a combination that works brilliantly. Don’t miss it.