February 22 Case Club

off the grid

Ovum off the grid Riesling
ovum love your lovin ways gewurztraminer
Ercole Bianco 
Lorelle Pinot Grigio
Moulin de Gassac Pinot Noir
Olianas Cannonau
Gouleyant cahors (Malbec)
Lascaux Rouge Garrigue
Vallon des demoiselles sancerre
la ca’ nova barbaresco montefico
Raul Perez mencia Ultreia st Jacques
Picayune red blend padlock




off the grid

Ovum Riesling  Off the Grid (Organic and Natural)

Established in 2011 by Ksenija and John House, Ovum was founded in hopes of producing Oregon white wines that are honest reflections of time and place. Their low intervention production method is a commitment to letting the vintage and vineyard shine, not the vintner.  Fruit comes first – our top priority is finding farmers that share our beliefs, and then getting out of the way so their hard work can be tasted.

Native ferments, no subtractions or additions, except for SO2 – extended lees contact 8-9 months, for textural complexity. All of this is done in neutral barrels of acacia and oak, as well as cement egg and Austrian cask.  Ovum is solely committed to the production of white wines, mainly Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.

At Ovum, each wine is produced the same way – if the wine smells and tastes different, it has everything to do with terroir, and little to do with the winemaker.  Their hope is that through attention to detail and honest technique, they can produce old-fashioned wines in the modern world.  

In the deep forest, somewhere on the Oregon/California border, exists a vineyard far from any civilization. The only thing close is an old sip and stop grocery that closed long before our time. It’s under the radar, almost as if the lines on the map stopped, and this place was beyond. That’s what the wine conjures, an unusual place from a different time.

The isolated Off the Grid Vineyard lies close to the Oregon-California border in the remote southern reaches of Oregon, just twenty-five miles inland from the Pacific. The vineyard sits at an elevation of 1500 feet and is planted on a dried riverbed so that the vines struggle in the rock-strewn soils and very cool micro-climate.

Founded by husband-and-wife duo John House and Ksenija Kostic in 2011, Ovum is a celebration of the diverse expressions of Oregon Riesling. After years of learning the intricacies of the Willamette Valley while working together at Chehalem, John and Ksenija set off to further investigate the myriad terroirs of Oregon through the lens of Riesling, and now source fruit from through the state. They have found sites with blustery Pacific winds, extreme diurnal shifts, and rocky, well-draining soils.

To emphasize the idiosyncrasies of these vineyards, all of Ovum’s wines see the same practices in the cellar: natural fermentations, no additions or subtractions except for SO2, extended lees contact of 8-9 months – all in neutral barrels of acacia and oak, as well as Nomblot concrete eggs. The resulting wines are textured and concentrated, driven by minerality, and framed by unwavering acidity. Ovum’s work is among the most compelling white winemaking we have encountered in our search throughout the Pacific Northwest.

95 points, Wine and Spirits:  From a single Rogue Valley vineyard laced with devigorated serpentine, Off the Grid in 2019 is a mashup of mineral, citrus and driving acids. It leads with a pretty scent of peach and lemon, starting lean, becoming richer and more refined with air. Its texture is grounded in a mineral frame while the wine’s acidity pulls at it, for a marvelously tense sensation. Over days the wine becomes more full-throated in its flavors, mingling lees and tangy peach notes, compact and brisk.



Ovum Gewurztraminer – Love Your Lovin’ Ways – Organic 

Established in 2011 by Ksenija and John House, Ovum was founded in hopes of producing Oregon white wines that are honest reflections of time and place. Their low intervention production method is a commitment to letting the vintage and vineyard shine, not the vintner.  Fruit comes first – our top priority is finding farmers that share our beliefs, and then getting out of the way so their hard work can be tasted.

Native ferments, no subtractions or additions, except for SO2 – extended lees contact 8-9 months, for textural complexity. All of this is done in neutral barrels of acacia and oak, as well as cement egg and Austrian cask.  Ovum is solely committed to the production of white wines, mainly Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.

At Ovum, each wine is produced the same way – if the wine smells and tastes different, it has everything to do with terroir, and little to do with the winemaker.  Their hope is that through attention to detail and honest technique, they can produce old-fashioned wines in the modern world.  

Love your Lovin’ Ways Gewurz is not what you’ve come to expect from Gewurztraminer.   This Gewurz is not about sweet canned fruit or rose extract – Love your Lovin Ways is about restraint, elegance and purity of place.

The 2019 offering is particularly unusual for it’s dominant blood orange aromatics, and length of minerality on the palate. Yes, somehow this Gewurz shows gobs of minerality. Unfined, Unfiltered (for the first time), native yeast, nothing added except a touch of sulfur…this is a magical mystery wine for the ages.  Vines planted in 1976.

The nose surfs the edge of tropical hedonism and is quickly pulled back into the citrus realm of flamed orange peel and ripe lemon.  The cool summer left the acid intact, which is noticeable on the surprisingly zippy mid-palate. The combination of serpentine/galet soils lends this Gewurztraminer a depth of minerality. 

93 points, Wine and Spirits:  Pineapple, Cara Cara orange, litchi, pepper, and apple all combine in this gewurz (a wine that changes its name slightly with each vintage). Lean, fresh, rosy, and suave, despite this wine’s full flavors, it’s dry and racy, unusually acid-driven—a lemony gewurz in riesling’s clothing, with a vibrancy that lasts.


Ercole Bianco

Ercole Bianco  (Organic)

Weston Hoard spent four years living in Piedmont and working for renowned winemaker Paolo Scavino. When he returned to the United States in 2011, he determined to channel his experience in Italy into a new importing project which he named “The Piedmont Guy.” The company “does Piedmont,” and only Piedmont.

Ercole is a project aimed at honoring the work of the unsung heroes of Italy — the grape growers themselves. Ercole, whose English translation is Hercules, is only made possible by a generations-old cooperative of local growers in the Monferrato area. Every fall, these men and women cultivate bright and balanced fruit, allowing us to make real wines that are transmitters of time and place. The place, Monferrato, ranks among the most historic grape-growing areas of Piedmont.  The fruit from this overlooked area gives us Ercole, a family of wines offering remarkable value. Enjoy these one-liter, screw-top bottlings unconditionally. Salute!

The cooperative behind Ercole works predominantly with old vines ranging from 30 to 50 years old. All participating growers adhere to the European Union rule for sustainable farming known as lotta integrata, or lutte raisonnée, though many are now certified organic. None of these growers use systemic treatments or chemicals, employing only minimal copper and sulfur. Both vinification and bottling are certified vegan.

The place, Monferrato, ranks among the most historic grape-growing areas of Piedmont and is the confirmed birthplace of the Barbera grape. For these reasons, we work primarily with Monferrato’s indigenous grape varieties. The fruit from this increasingly popular area gives us Ercole, a family of wines offering remarkable value.

At their best, wines made from the native grape variety Cortese boast a serious yet pleasing weight, pronounced minerality, and beautiful acidity. In fact, the Cortese-based wines of nearby Gavi are among the most treasured whites of Northern Italy. We have discovered that adding a touch of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc further sharpens and thereby elevates this wine.


 lorelle pg

Lorelle Pinot Grigio (Sustainable)

Lorelle is produced from a small, family-owned and operated winery. Better known as the people behind Six Peaks Winery, founders, John and Lynn Albin (UC Davis), along with their son, Andrew Albin (OSU), work together to produce Lorelle, which are both true to variety and excellent companions with food.

After a long stint as winemaker at King Estate, John planted his own vines at Laurel Vineyard in 1981. Nearly a decade later they expanded from viticulture to winemaking. Throughout John’s long winemaking history in the Pacific Northwest, he has had many opportunities to work with and befriend many talented farmers. These relationships are part of what makes Lorelle so special. They not only meticulously tend to their own vineyards for this project, but they also source some of the best fruit from the best growers year after year to make wines that are consistently delicious.

Flavors of pear, stone fruit and green apple. This wine is conventionally dry, but has enough ripeness to balance the wine’s natural acidity making it well-rounded and easy to enjoy.  The fruit for this wine comes from den Hoed Vineyard, within the Columbia Valley AVA, where it is a little cooler than other locations in the area. This cooler climate vineyard gives the wine unique freshness and bright acidity. This fruit is machine harvested so it is imperative that it goes immediately to the winery, this is why they ferment the grapes near the vineyard site in Richland, WA.


moulin gassac pino

Moulin de Gassac Pinot Noir (Organic and Biodynamic – with natural techniques/minimal intervention and little SO2)

As a wine-growing district, Languedoc-Roussillon has had to struggle somewhat. However, the area’s reputation as a mass producer of simple bulk wines is beginning to wash off and the district seems to be producing one brilliant wine after the next.

Wine enthusiasts have a real interest to explore among the thousands of vineyards in this area, the largest wine-growing district in France.  The history of Mas de Daumas Gassac is quite extraordinary: In Millau, a little way up in the Cevennes, there is a more than 300-year-old family company producing gloves and other leather goods.

In 1970, the boss, Aimé Guibert and his wife Veronique, acquired what was then a very run-down vineyard – a mas – between the town of Gignac and Aniane, just west of Montpelier. They had a dream of growing good quality wine and knew that the soil at the foot of the Gassac hills would be suitable for this purpose.

What started off as a dream in 1970, the “country wine” of Mas de Daumas Gassac has now grown into one of the finest wines in the world.  The Herault’s most famous estate, Mas de Daumas-Gassac is often referred to as ‘the Lafite or First Growth of the Languedoc’ – their wines have achieved ‘cult’ status.  

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 this Mediterranean region.  

Having spent several years looking for the right provenance for Pinot Noir grapes to add the varietal to their highly successful line of Moulin de Gassac wines, the Guibert family finally opted for the terroir of Cournonterral in the Herault valley, just a few kilometers from the Mediterranean sea.  Here they are able to produce a fine, elegant medium-bodied Pinot Noir with perfect balance (only 12.5% alc) at the perfect price. The classic Pinot nose of bright candied cherries and hints of roasted fruit and mocha lead into a fresh mouthwatering wine with soft tannins and a persistent finish. This wine will keep you coming back for more.

olianas cannonau

olianas cannonau di Sardegna – organic and biodynamic

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. 

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.

Made with Cannonau (aka Grenache or Garnacha) which is Sardinia’s main red variety. Low yielding vines are hand harvested and then 70% of the wine is made in stainless steel vats, the other 30% is fermented in amphorae – the final wine is blended and aged for 3 months in oak. This is a wine with personality and energy – lots of blueberry, umeboshi plum, sweet spice, toast, tobacco and violet. The wine weighs in somewhere between medium and full body with a freshness that makes you want to go back for more.

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.



Georges Vigouroux Cahors, Gouleyant (Malbec) – Sustainable with Organic practices – vegan

Gouleyant is French argot for what we’d call gulpable or easy-to-drink, and this 85% Malbec,  15% Merlot blend from Cahors is certainly that.  

Grown on the highest clay and gravel terraces in the Cahors appellation of Southwest France, where Malbec has been cultivated for over 2000 years, this wine is dark cherry red in color. The nose is typical of the Malbec variety with notes of ripe red and black fruits (cherry, blackberry, raspberry). The mouth is also very fruity and finishes on soft and elegant tannins.

Surprising, plump and totally pleasing, this Malbec over-delivers. Pretty violet notes on the nose mingle freely with black currant; the palate, initially soft leads into roughened tannins that creep up on the finish. Pair with spicy steak or duck.  Begins with an inviting blackberry and other ripe, dark fruit aromas along with a little licorice. It’s a bit funky when first popped open but it comes around nicely.


Lascaux Back Label

Lascaux Garrigue Rouge (Organic and Biodynamic)

The vineyards of Château de Lascaux have been in the family for thirteen generations. The name of the domain, “Lascaux” comes from a limestone specific to the domain’s vineyard sites.

Jean-Benoît Cavalier took direction of the property in 1984, just after finishing a degree in Agricultural Engineering. In 1990, he consolidated the vineyards, restructured the ancient cellars, and created the official domain, Château de Lascaux. Today, over twenty-five years later, the domain has expanded from 60 to 210 acres of vineyards, surrounded by 750 acres of forest, filled with green oaks, pines, and garrigue**.

The quiet isolation of this part of the region, coupled with its proximity to both the sea and the mountains, makes this microclimate so unique. It is nestled along the foothills of the Cevennes, a mountain range that sits in the heart of the Midi. These foothills protect the vines from the cool Mistral and Tramontagne winds and bring more rain to an otherwise dry climate.  That this temperate zone brings a long, slow ripening of the grapes only adds to the wines’ complexity. The stony soil lends finesse and freshness to his wines, giving the reds greater aging potential than Syrah-based wines grown in other Languedoc soils.

The proliferation of garrique certainly is reflected in the aromatics, where notes of laurel, thyme, rosemary, réglisse, and mint are present in the wines. Jean-Benoît is passionate about supporting the richness and diversity of this ecosystem, so the domain’s conversion to organic viticulture was a logical choice.   There is a freshness and purity, finesse and complexity in the Lascaux wines that is rare in this wild landscape. The consistency of the winemaking, the quality of their wines, and great values they present make this domain a treasure. 

This blend of Syrah, Grenache, and a skosh of Mourvèdre is filled with interesting garrigue flavors including ripe red fruits, dried herbs, and licorice. It is a medium-bodied red with notes of black olive, spice, and black pepper on the finish. Pair with pork, grilled red meat, or strong cheeses.


vallon demoiselle



Patrick Girault Le Vallon des Demoiselles Sancerre – sustainable 

Domaine Girault is situated in Bué, a small village in the heart of Sancerre. The Domaine has been in the Girault family for eight generations and is currently run by Patrick Girault. This great lineage is set to continue with the ninth generation, as Patrick’s son Adrien is studying viticulture and spends his free time helping his father out in the vineyards and the winery.
The domaine’s 12 hectares are planted on the famous slopes of Grand Chemarin, Petit Chemarin, and Chêne Marchand, stretching from Bué to the neighboring villages of Thauvenay and Vinon. Seventy five percent of the vineyards are planted with Sauvignon Blanc and the remaining 25% with Pinot Noir.   
The average vine age of this bottling is between 35 and 40 years, grown on a mixture of clay, limestone, and silex.  The grapes are gently pressed, transferred to stainless steel fermenters, and fermented with indigenous yeast for approximately 40 days.  The wines are matured on fine lees during winter and then racked and bottled in April.  
This Sancerre has a gold color, a very expressive citrus nose with lots of minerality, and tons of finesse and freshness.  On the palate, restrained fruit, citrus, and a nice round mouthfeel.  A great aperitif, and perfect with soup, poultry, fish, goat cheeses, and other lighter foods



La Ca’ Nova Barbaresco Montefico 2017 – Organic

There is the sense that time has stood still at the 18 century La Ca` Nova cascina of the Rocca family which is located atop the famous Montestefano vineyard just as you enter into the village of Barbaresco. This “new cascina” is about 150 years old new.  Since that time, the Rocca family has been the custodian of this estate and pretty much have kept things unchanged. It is still run in a family manner by Marco Rocca, his brother, father, and uncle. It’s a farming family that’s remained pretty much as it always was.

In an era in which producers enlarge their estates and tractor drive throughout the appellation, the Rocca are definitively old school and as close to home as they have always been. They tractor out directly into the vineyard and that’s it.

The Rocca’s have the fortune of owning over 30 acres of Nebbiolo for Barbaresco on two of the appellation’s finest cru vineyards: Montefico, and especially the hill top crest of the vineyard called Bric Mentin, and Montestefano. The remainder of their vineyards are immediately adjacent in Ovello. The two cru are each bottled separately and a combination of Ovello, Montefico and Montstefano make up the regular Barbaresco.

Aging and making of the wines is traditional and pure.  It’s all about pure vineyard expression with no interference. The taster will always recognize the tell tale signs of the chalky, minty, floral Montefico and the darker, exotic, incense-like Montestefano. To those accustomed to wines made in a more manipulated style, the intense, almost pungent aromas might startle at first. But let them settle and these wines will reveal extraordinary and individual vineyard characteristics.

They produce some of the best and most authentic Barbaresco available, as well as producing Dolcetto and Barbera, among other local varieties. The vines are cultivated with the utmost respect for tradition, with careful selection of the grapes that go into the wine, and no chemical treatment on the vineyard. Although their cellar has been modernized to take advantage of the latest winemaking technology, it is still housed deep underground so as to take advantage of the naturally cool and stable environment.

The grapes are carefully harvested by hand in October and then immediately destemmed and lightly pressed. Fermentation follows without temperature control both in stainless steel tanks and in open wooden vats. This process normally takes up to 30 days. The maturation then takes place over a two-year period in large oak barrels, as is the tradition. A six-month bottle storage then completes the maturing process.

Marco is an old-school winemaker who is influenced by the tradition and culture of the region. Thus he produces his wines almost without modern technology. The fermentation takes place without temperature controlled tanks and only with natural yeast. As in the past, Marco uses open wooden vats. The circulation of the mash during the mash fermentation is then carried out with a large wooden spoon. A very exhausting and time-consuming process, but which extracts more color and polyphenols.

Perhaps only the storied Produttori del Barbaresco, which also bottles a wine from the “Montefico” vineyard, can rival the quality/price ratio of La Ca’Növa’s profound 2017 from this celebrated cru site.

Keep in mind that the Rocca family of La Ca’Növa is as deeply rooted in Barbaresco as any, with fifth-generation Marco Rocca blessed with one of the most perfectly positioned slivers of Nebbiolo vines in the entire appellation: His “Bric Mentina” parcel, a south-facing subsection of the Montefico cru. 

Montefico is a relatively small, but all the more important vineyard, located on the eastern side of the Barbaresco production area and extending over 20 acres to the south. This Barbaresco from Cru Montefico, Bric Mentina, is characterized by exceptional elegance and balance.

96 points, Wine Enthusiast -Loaded with personality, this full-bodied red has earthy aromas of camphor, fragrant blue flowers, tilled soil, and spiced plum. Round and concentrated, the savory palate offers juicy black cherry, licorice and tobacco accompanied by smooth, close-knit tannins. Dink 2022–2029.   

94 points, Vinous:  The 2017 Barbaresco Montefico balances the structural framework typical of this site with the radiance of the year so well. Powerful and intensely mineral, the Montefico is a bit wild in its first approach, yet it has so much character. Bright red berry fruit, chalk, mint, sage and white pepper give the Montefico a brilliant upper register to play off its natural cut. I would plan on cellaring the 2017 for at least a few years.

bierzo tinto ultreia st jacques bodegas y vinedos raul perez 3

Raúl Pérez Ultreia St Jacques -Organic

Raúl Pérez Pereira is universally considered to be one of the world’s most visionary winemakers. Since he produced his first vintage for his family’s winery in 1994 at age 22, he has been at the forefront of the conversation about what has been called “The New Spain”.

In 2005, he left his family business to strike out on his own, creating Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, which quickly became the point of reference for the Bierzo appellation. In the intervening years, he has expanded his sphere of activity to include the appellations of Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, and Tierra de León, but his heart and his home remain in Valtuille de Abajo, the village in Bierzo where his family has been tending vines for well over 300 years.  

In addition to numerous other accolades, Raúl was named “Winemaker of the Year” by German publication Der Feinschmecker in 2014 and “Best Winemaker in the World” for 2015 by the French publication Bettane+Desseauve.

In the February 2018 Decanter, Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros wrote, “Raúl Pérez is the archetype of the intuitive winemaking genius.” A picture of Raúl in that same article is captioned, “Is this the best winemaker in the world?” Raúl would certainly not self-apply any of these superlatives. In fact, his genius is far exceeded by his humility and generosity of spirit. That humility comes through in his wines. These are not “winemaker” wines so much as they are unadulterated expressions of the villages and vineyards from which they hail.

Ultreia St. Jacques is a single-vineyard wine made by Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez.

The vineyard is located just west of the town of Valtuille de Abajo in the Bierzo DO region. Rather than the robust, earthy side of Mencía, this limited-production cuvée is more about the youthful, fresh, and vivid flavors of the grape.  

The word ‘Ultreia’ pays tribute to the many pilgrims that have passed by this site since the 3rd Century, en route to Santiago de Compostela and the crypt of James the Apostle. ‘Ultreia’ comes from the Medieval Latin used by travelers to encourage each other, as they pressed onward toward their destination. The word means “Onward!” and ‘St. Jacques’ is French for St. James.

For centuries, there’s been a heavy French influence in this part of Spain because the pilgrimage originates in four French cities: Paris, Vézelay, Le Puy, and Arles. Many French families from all trades, including vignerons from Burgundy, the Rhone, and Bordeaux, have passed these glorious vineyards to pay homage to James the Apostle.   Raúl Pérez is one of Spain’s finest winemakers and some wine trade veterans believe Raul is among a handful of the best winemakers in the world (me among them). Raúl believes great wines are made in the vineyard and he has an uncanny knack for knowing what his vineyards need to achieve their greatest potential.

As his great talent has become known, many winemakers now seek to collaborate with Raúl.  Made from an eight acre single vineyard that was planted in 1889, this wine is a brilliant effort that shows the youthful, fresh and mineral sides of the Mencía grape. Of all the wines made by Raul, this is one of his best values. 100% Mencía. Organically grown vines planted in 1889. Tended in sandy soil with small river stones at 1,762 ft. elevation

Pérez’s legend has been growing in the US for several years now; he originally gained international recognition working with his mentor, Alvaro Palacios, on assorted projects throughout northwest Spain (and beyond), but his home base is Bierzo, which is situated right where the Galicia region gives way to Castilla y Léon. From 1993-2004 he was the winemaker at Castro Ventosa, his family’s historic Bierzo winery, after which he founded his eponymous operation in the same village—Valtuille de Abajo. His family owns about 50 acres of vineyards in and around Valtuille, which are broken up into incredibly tiny parcels farmed by many individual growers.

Pérez’s “Ultreia” series follows a Burgundy model: There are a few “village-level” wines at the entry level—of which this “St. Jacques” is one—and then several more limited-production, single-vineyard bottlings.  As with the Galician wine zones, Bierzo experiences a cool, wet Atlantic Ocean influence, but as you move eastward, to lower altitudes closer to the Sil River, the influence of the warmer, drier plains to the east can be felt. At higher elevations the Bierzo soils are a mix of slate and granite, transitioning to more “alluvial” material—sand, silt, and clay—in the lower-lying areas.  Valtuille is indeed part of the latter “Bierzo Bajo,” although, at elevation, there’s nothing especially bajo about it.

Ultreia St. Jacques is sourced from extremely old vines (some going back to 1900), scattered across a variety of small parcels around Valtuille. In addition to Mencía, which comprises the majority of the blend, there are small amounts of Alicante Bouschet and Bastardo (a.k.a. Trousseau) incorporated into St. Jacques; the wine is about 80% “whole-cluster” fermented (meaning intact grape bunches are crushed and fermented, stems and all) in large oak vats. It is then aged in a mixture of used oak barrels and concrete tanks, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.  

Ultreia-St. Jacques is tremendously elegant wine for the money! In the glass, it’s a deep ruby moving to purple/magenta at the rim, with a beguiling nose of pomegranate, plum, red and black raspberry, wet roses and violets, graphite, a hint of eucalyptus, and crushed stones. It is medium-bodied and silky on the palate, the tannins barely perceptible and the acid bright but not sharp. The energetic palate impression is where the Burgundy comparison comes into play—it is easy to drink, but persistent on the finish. And it’s an absolute pleasure to drink now: Decant it about 30 minutes before serving at 60-65 in Burgundy glasses, if you have them. It will easily do double duty on the dinner table with fish and meat, though I’m inclined toward the latter. Don’t hesitate to chill the Bierzo more if you like it cooler.

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Picayune Red Wine Blend Padlock – Sustainable

Claire Ducrocq Weinkauf, a French native grew up in Auvergne, France; the land of volcanoes and fabulous cheeses. Her family would typically start a meal with a glass of Sancerre and go on with some Morgon produced by family friends. She graduated from Toulouse Business School and started accumulating international experiences.

Inspired by the power of a Mouton Rothschild 1955, she earned a wine degree in Chile and then embarked for France to work harvest in St Emilion and the Côte du Rhône. While working in South America, she met Paul Hobbs, who hired her to work at Viña Cobos (His award-winning venture in Argentina). Then he brought her to California in 2006. After four years working with Paul Hobbs and numerous opportunities to taste amazing wines and meet wine industry leaders, Claire started a consulting company in 2010. Claire de Lune Consulting focuses on helping fantastic producers including Matthiasson Wines, Anomaly Vineyards, Morlet Family Estate, Cowhorn Winery and more to grow their businesses. Claire lives in Calistoga with husband Aron Weinkauf-Winemaker at Spottswoode Winery and their son Hugo.

An elegant, round, and rich mid-palate with attractive texture and excellent acidity, Padlock, our Bordeaux blend, is sexy but well balanced with good depth and length.  Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon – 34% Merlot – 13% Malbec

Fermentation:  10 -14 day fermentation in open-top and median sized fermenters, all-cap irrigated with peak temps of between 80 -85 F. All wine was aged in 60 gallon French barrels for 15 months. Wines were racked every four months and assembled two months before bottling.

Intense fuchsia color, exuberant nose of ripe blackberries and cassis with hints of mocha aromas. In the palate, Padlock opens up on more dark fruits with seductive truffle and dark chocolate notes. The texture is rich and intricate, the tannins are firms. Padlock 2018 is darker and juicier than its predecessor.

**Garrigue refers to the low-growing vegetation on the limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast, not the limestone itself. There are a bunch of bushy, fragrant plants that grow wild there, such as juniper, thyme, rosemary, and lavender, and garrigue refers to the sum of them

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