Wine Club October 2020

Hello everyone! The October edition of Vine Arts Wine Club is here. With the arrival of Autumn days we’re moving into a season of new vintages and new wineries. There’s lots of exciting wines that will be arriving over the next couple of months, many of which will be featured in future editions of Wine Club. This month we’re featuring an underrated variety from Burgundy, a unique blend (Jacquère and Gamay anyone?),  an exciting new winery from South Africa, a juicy Spanish Garnacha, a solid value Cali Cabernet, and a bold red from one of Spain’s top winemakers. As usual, if you have any questions or would like any additional details about the wines, please give us a holler. Cheers!

2019 L. TRAMINER & FILS LAURENT DUFOULEUR BOURGONE ALIGOTE

BURGUNDY, FRANCE $25.17

Where

This historic Burgundian winery is located in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Mercurey. In addition to their own vineyards, they purchase grapes from small growers across the region. Burgundy itself is one of the most respected wine regions in the world. Situated in eastern France, its vineyards have been prized for centuries. At one time in history, most of this area was controlled by powerful religious orders who demarcated Burgundy’s numerous sub-regions. Generally experiencing a continental climate, each area has been recognized to have unique microclimates. The landscape is characterized by rolling limestone hills and picturesque medieval towns. The most prized area, the famed Côte-d’Or, is home to Burgundys Grand Cru vineyards.

What

Aligoté is Burgundy’s second white grape variety. Relegated to playing second fiddle to Chardonnay most of the time, it is finding greater importance with winemakers. A natural crossing between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc, prior to phylloxera it was planted across Burgundy. Today the largest concentration of Aligoté exists in the Côte Chalonnaise. The variety is relatively unfussy when it comes to growing conditions and soil types.Most Aligoté wines are labelled under the Bourgogne Aligoté designation, which was created in 1937.

The Laurent Dufouleur Bourgogne Aligoté was made from grapes harvested from vines planted mainly on limestone and marl soils. The bunches were quickly pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks, prior to partial ageing in barriques.

Who

Dufouleur is one of the oldest names in Burgundy. Due to the intricacies of French inheritance laws, the name is attached to numerous wine domaines which were started by different branches of the family. The wines of Laurent Dufouleur are under the Maison L. Tramier & Fils label. This wine merchant and grower has been producing wine since 1842. The wines are still produced at the domaines original winery in Mercurey. Constructed in 1930, the winery’s vaulted cellars are built into a rock face, which ensures cool temperatures and optimal ageing conditions.

Taste

Lean and fresh, the Laurent Dufouleur Bourgogne Aligoté is an intriguing alternative to unoaked Chardonnay. Light lemon-green in the glass, on the nose it shows brisk aromas of green apples, pears, citrus zest, and acacia. The palate is light bodied with high acidity and a dry finish. Youthful and elegant, you can serve it on its own as an aperitif or with light seafood dishes, country terrines, and soft cheeses.

2019 DOMAINE ROLAND GRANGIER SAVARIN BLANC

RHONE VALLEY, FRANCE $25.85

Where

This relatively young winery is located in the Northern Rhône village of Chavanay, within the Condrieu wine appellation. Vineyards here lie on steep slopes that overlook the winding Rhône river below. The area actually gets its name from the French phrase for “corner of the stream”. Due to the difficult terrain, mechanical viticulture is not very common in Condrieu. It also means that there is very little room for new vineyards to be planted. Like other areas in the Northern Rhône, Chavanay has a semi-continental climate that is heavily influenced by the intense Mistral. Reaching speeds of 90 km/h, this wind can inflict serious damage in the vineyard.

What

The Domaine Roland Grangier Savarin Blanc is made from a unique blend of Gamay and Jacquère. Although most commonly associated with the Beaujolais wine region, there are small amounts of Gamay planted to the granitic soils of the Northern Rhône. Lesser known, Jacquère is primarily cultivated in the eastern wine region of Savoie. Commonly planted in sub-alpine areas, Jacquère is known for its high acidity and herbaceous aromas.

The grapes for the Savarin were hand harvested from 30 year old vines, and manually sorted in the vineyard. Gently pressed, the wine was fermented and aged for 2 months in stainless steel tanks. A Moelleux (sweet) style of wine, it has 50 g/l of residual sugar.

Who

Situated in the heart of the Pilat National Park, Domaine Roland Grangier has 11 hectares of vineyards planted in the appellations of Condrieu, St Joseph, Côte-Rôtie, and Vin de Pays. The winery was created in 2002 by Roland Grangier, a third generation grape grower. His father, Charles Grangier, had previously planted the land to grape vines and fruit trees. After taking over the property, Roland and his wife Céline expanded his holdings and built a new winery in 2012. The majority of their vines are planted on terraces built into steep hillsides. While not certified organic, they do their best to respect the natural balance of their holdings.

Taste

Pale gold in the glass, this decadent white wine expresses floral aromas of candied lemons, nectarines, and honeysuckle. Medium bodied with citrusy flavours, crisp acidity on the palate balances the wines residual sugar. Less sweet than most dessert wines, it can be served either at the start or the end of the meal. The classic pairing for this wine would be foie gras, but it’s also an interesting match for sweet and salty Asian dishes.

2018 NATTE VALLEIJ COASTAL CINSAULT

WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA $31.42

Where

Located at the southewestern edge of African continent, the Western Cape wine appellation is home to the majority of South Africa’s wine production. Stretching north some 300 kilometers from Cape Town to the Olifants River, and 360 kilometers east to Mossel Bay, most of the region’s vineyards are within 160 kilometres of the coastline. Much of the landscape is strewn with majestic mountains that were formed by a geological folding of the landscape. Known as the Cape Fold belt, the area has a dizzying variety of soil types and microclimates. The Western Cape owes much of its success to a strong south-easterly dry wind known as the Cape Doctor, which keeps vineyards dry and free of pests.

What

Thought to have originated in the Hérault region of southern France, Cinsault was introduced to South Africa during the early 20th century. Most of the country’s vineyards had been devastated by phylloxera during the late 19th century, so a high-yielding variety like Cinsault was chosen by growers who were looking to get back on their feet. For many years the grape was known as Hermitage, owing to its southern French origins. It was in South Africa where Cinsault was crossed with Pinot Noir, creating the smoky variety known as Pinotage. Previously used to blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault is becoming very popular with younger winemakers interested in lighter wine styles.

The Natte Valleij Coastal Cinsault is made from grapes harvested from four sites in Swartland, Darling, and Stellenbosch. The old bush vines are sustainably farmed. Fermented with 30% whole bunches, the wine was aged for 11 months in a combination of concrete egg, foudre, and 300L old French barrels.

Who

Owned by the Milner family since 1969, Natte Valleij was established in 1715 at the foot of the Simonsberg mountains. By no means a young property, it has been given renewed energy by winemaker Alexander Milner, whose father had originally purchased the property to breed racehorses. At that time the original vineyards were pulled out to make way for grass paddocks. When Alexander took over the estate in 2005, he decided that rather than replanting the vines, he would seek out lost parcels of underappreciated vines. The culmination of his explorations is the Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective.

Taste

The Natte Valleij Coastal Cinsault combines youthful fruit flavours with intense, wild aromatics. Fire brick red in colour, on the nose it expresses piquant aromas of wild raspberry, roasted strawberry, peppercorn, and barnyard. The palate is medium bodied with fine tannins and a seasoned finish. Thanks to Alex’s light touch in the cellar, this wine does an excellent job of showcasing Cinsaults primary qualities. Best served with a slight chill, it is well paired with braised meats and stews. Try it with sweet and savoury Morccan Lamb Tagine with plenty of raisins.

2018 BODEGAS CANOPY GANADERO GARNACHA

MENTRIDA, SPAIN $21.39

Where

The wine region of Méntrida is located in the northeastern corner of Toledo in central Spain. Awarded an official designation in 1976, the area has been home to viticulture since the 12th century. Like other parts of the Meseta Central, Méntrida has an arid landscape scorched by the Iberian sun. During summer months, temperatures can exceed 45°C! Precipitation is nearly non-existent. The best vineyards are situated at higher elevations, where temperatures mercifully get cooler at night.

What

Méntrida’s small wine industry is primarily geared to the farming of Garnacha vines. Cultivated close to the ground, old Garnacha bush vines are well adapted to the region’s extreme climate. The variety is hardy and vigorous, and especially resistant to drought. Used to create robust and juicy red wines, it is also the grape of choice for Méntrida’s rosato wines.

The Bodegas Canopy Ganadero is made from 100% Garnacha harvested from 45 year old bush vines planted to sandy soil. Once in the cellar, the grapes were given a short pre-fermentation maceration to draw out colour and flavours. Following fermentation and malocation conversion (converting malic acids to lactic acids), the wine was aged for 3 months in French oak barrels.

Who

Bodegas Canopy is a modern winery located 70 kilometres from Madrid in the town of Camarena. It was created in 2003 by winemakers Alfonso Chacón and Belarmino Fernández. In 2018 they were joined by winemaker Lorena Díaz, who initially came on as an intern. Chacón and Fernández got the idea of starting a winery after discovering old Garnacha vineyards in El Real de San Vicente. Today they work with 19 hectares of vineyards, of which 12.5 hectares they own. Aside from their entry-level wines, their wines are fermented with whole bunches and crushed by foot. In the cellar they intervene as little as possible and only use small additions of sulphur.

Taste

The Ganadero Garnacha is a strong example of how the wines of central Spain offer incredible bang for your buck. Medium ruby in the glass, on the nose it expresses juicy aromas of blueberries, blackberries, and blackcurrant leaf. The juicy and round palate has plenty of fruit intensity and sturdy tannins that carry into a lingering chocolatey finish. Altogether a wine that can be enjoyed any day of the week. Try it with a saucy pulled pork sandwich.

2018 GRANO A GRANO CABERNET SAUVIGNON

PASO ROBLES, CALIFORNIA $25.99

Where

Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is California’s ‘Wild West’ of wine. The fastest growing AVA in California (270,00o hectares), the appellation covers the northern half of San Luis Obispo County. First planted to vine during the late 18th century, Paso Robles was settled by a mixed bag of pioneers. The town of Paso Robles itself was founded by the uncle of the outlaw Jesse James. Although the western edge of the AVA is not far from the Pacific Ocean, much of the region experiences a warm mediterranean style climate. The Santa Lucia coastal mountains, which run parallel to the Pacific, block much of the cool coastal influences. The ‘Templeton Gap’, a series of low lying breaks in the mountains, allows refreshing coastal breezes to roll into the vineyards in the late afternoon and early evening. This tug of war between warm and cool is what makes Paso Robles such a great place to grow grapes.

What

There’s a large diversity of grape varieties planted in Paso Robles. It was Spanish missionaries who first introduced vitis vinifera to the area. Their favorite grape, Mission, was likely the first variety to thrive in central California. Today you’re more likely to find Zinfandel, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvèdre. The most popular variety among grape growers is Cabernet Sauvignon. Adaptable and vigorous, it thrives in Paso Robles sunny climate. It’s not a struggle to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon with these conditions, but what’s more, Paso Robles chilly nights lend balanced and fresh acidity. Add to this the rising prices for Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley grapes, then Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon starts sounding better and better. This wine is made from 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot. The wine was fermented and aged with the influence of French oak.

Who

Grano a Grano is a new project from winemaker Bill Grant and wine importer Dave Luetkehoelter. Bill, formerly a partner in Four Vines, operates a customer crush facility in Paso Robles, where he works with a network of grape growers. In his words – “We make Grano a Grano for those times you don’t want to have to think about it. You just need to reach for what’s good and count on it. You spend too much time thinking as it is. But each moment—working the job, keeping the house, shuttling the kids—all add up to your life. Grano a Grano represents the sum of those moments and reminds you to enjoy them. And even though we make the wine with a whole bunch (or a whole lot of bunches) of grapes at a time, without every berry, you wouldn’t have this moment to savour.”

Taste

Ruby red in the glass, this friendly Cabernet Sauvignon shows ripe aromas of cassis, black cherries, plums, cedar, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Medium bodied with fine tannins, the palate is round with a soft finish. While there are certainly more complex examples of Cabernet out there, the Grano a Grano is eager to please. Enjoy this wine with or without food. It pairs best with barbecued red meats that aren’t too lean.

2018 TELMO RODRIGUEZ DEHESA GAGO

TORO, SPAIN $24.39

Where

Located on the western fringe of Castilla y Leon, near Portugal, is the Spanish wine appellation of Toro. Arid and hot, Toro is one of Spain’s key wine regions. Two decades ago there were only 10 wineries. Today, the total has grown to over 50 wineries. Rural and sparsely populated, the flat and expansive landscape is dotted by tiny old towns largely untouched by the passing of time. 62,000 hectares of vineyards are planted across a broad floodplain which is hemmed in by the Río Guareña and Río Duero, which bring much needed moisture to a region often devoid of rainfall. In order to manage Toro’s hot climate, grape growers plant their vineyards at higher elevations where the temperature dips during the night. This combined with plenty of reliable sunshine and you have all the necessary ingredients for a high quality wine region.

What

Tinta de Toro has been grown in the region of Toro since the times of the ancient Romans. The local form of Tempranillo, the variety is ideally suited to Toro’s dry and hot climate. Vigorous and resistant to disease, many Tinta de Toro vines withstood the onslaught of phylloxera at the turn of the 20th century. Today some old bush vines of Tinta de Toro are more than 150 years old. Wines made from the variety are known to be robust, full bodied, and high in alcohol. Tough enough to withstand long journeys, the wines of Toro were chosen by Christopher Colombus for his voyage to the New World.

Made from 100% Tinta de Toro, the Dehesa Gago is an archetypal example of red wine from Toro. Produced from grapes harvested from vineyards in Argujillo, Villabuena, and Morales, the wine was fermented with indegenous yeasts, and aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks.

Who

Telmo Rodriguez ranks among the top of Spain’s pantheon of elite winemakers. Originally from Rioja, he has spent many years exploring Spain’s numerous wine appellations. Charismatic and articulate, he is a leading spokesperson for the country’s many indigenous grape varieties. First arriving on the scene in the early 1990’s, Telmo partnered with his friend Pablo Eguzkiza to create Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez. The project has identified and restored sites in nine different wine regions across the country. In the late 90’s Telmo and Pablo were part of a movement to rediscover the vineyards of Toro. Located near the western border with Portugal, this appellation is largely rural and arid. Gago Viticultores de Toro was created to produce wines from Toro’s local expression of Tempranillo, Tinta de Toro.

Taste

In contrast with examples of Tinta de Toro that have been matured in oak barrels, the Dehesa Gago showcases the varieties primary fruit characteristics. Inky and dark in the glass, on the nose it expresses succulent aromas of blackberries, black cassis, dried figs, and smoky black tea. Full bodied and deeply flavoured, on the palate it has fine tannins and a long finish. Juicy and exuberant, it offers generous amounts of fruity intensity without being too heavy. We suggest serving this wine alongside grilled red meats or firm cheeses. For the adventurous, try this wine with decadent Morcilla (blood sausage).