Hello everyone, welcome to the June edition of Vine Arts Wine Club. Summer weather is here and we have the ideal lineup of wines for enjoying out on the balcony/in the backyard. Your wine bags will be available for pickup from either location Tuesday, June 1st. Cheers!

2019 Cantina Stefanoni “Foltone”

Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone

Lazio, Italy $25.62

Where

The uniquely named wine appellation of Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone is located in the central Italian region of Lazio. Also known as just Est! Est!! Est!!!, the story behind the name goes back to the 12th century. The tale goes that a wine loving German bishop was travelling to visit the Vatican. In order to assure that the stopovers on his journey would be pleasant, an assistant was sent ahead to scout out the village inns to find the best wines. When the assistant thought the wines were good enough, he would write ‘Est’ (Latin for ‘There is’) on the door or on the wall of the inn. The assistant was so impressed by the wines of Montefiascone that he wrote Est! Est!! Est!!! on the door. The bishop agreed. From that day the wines of Montefiascone went by the name of Est! Est!! Est!!!.

What

These days most bottles of Est! Est!! Est!!! are consumed by thirsty Romans. The wines are based on a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca harvested from vineyards located near Lake Bolsena north of Rome. Two types of Trebbiano are permitted: Trebbiano Giallo, known locally as Rossetto, and Trebbiano Toscano (aka Procanico). The weathered volcanic basalt soils of Montefiascone give the wines crisp underlying minerality.

The Cantina Stefanoni “Foltone” is made from a blend of 50% Rossetto, 30% Procanico, and 20% Malvasia Bianca. The flagship wine of the estate, it was vinified in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts and without malolactic fermentation.

Who

Created in 1950, Cantina Stefanoni is one of the key producers pushing forward the quality of Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone. Founded by Mr. Stefanoni Genuino, today the estate is still owned by the same family. Management of the winery is overseen by the forward thinking Stefano Stefanoni, who in collaboration with the University of Perugia, has dedicated himself to cultivating the indegenous Rossetto variety.

Taste

The charms of Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone derives from the wine’s easy going character. Light straw in hue, it has subtle aromas and crisp flavours. On the nose there are scents of white peach, lemon, and green apple. The palate is light bodied with pronounced acidity and salty minerality. Dry on the finish with a touch of basil, it is somewhat similar to nice Petit Chablis. We suggest serving it well chilled with fresh seafood or garden salads. For a touch of Rome, pair it with a plate of vignarola. Prepared with fresh artichokes, broad beans and peas cooked in white wine and lemon juice, this dish is just the thing for warm summer days.

2019 Château de Suronde Blanc de Suronde Anjou

Loire Valley, France $23.92

Where

The Château de Suronde estate is found in the heart of the Quarts de Chaume appellation in the western Loire Valley. Designated as a Grand Cru, it lies within the district of Anjou. The designation covers a small area of only 40 hectares of vineyards. Straddling both sides of the Loire River, Anjou is situated between the Pays Nantais and Touraine. This positioning results in a climate with both maritime and continental influences. The overall climate is moderate, although the river creates many different microclimates within the region.

What

Chenin Blanc is by far the most important grape variety in Anjou. Known locally as Pineau de la Loire, it is utilized for both dry and sweet wine styles. The Quarts de Chaume appellation is reserved for deliciously honeyed sweet wines that rank alongside the greats of Sauternes. Whether dry or sweet (or even sparkling), Chenin Blanc is notable for its versatility and high acidity.

The Blanc de Suronde is made from 100% Chenin Blanc that is harvested from organic and biodynamic farmed vineyards. The vines range in age from 30 to 40 years. Following vinification, the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for 4 to 6 months.

Who

The historic Château de Suronde has been owned by Kathleen Van den Beghe and Sigurd Mareels since 2016. The Belgian couple also own Château de Minière in Bourgueil. Château de Minière makes red and rosé still AOP Bourgueil wines, as well as red and rosé sparkling wines, all from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. The Suronde estate spans 7 hectares of vineyards, of which 5.5 hectares are located within the Quarts de Chaume appellation. Specifically, in the ‘Les Quarts’ zone. In addition to vineyards, the property also has 10 hectares of garden, farmland and forests. Farming the vines according to organic principles for 20 years, the vines were converted to biodynamic farming in 2017. The winery’s colourful labels are selected from artworks created by Belgian artists who stay in residence at the châtea each year.

Taste

This is a bracingly dry style of Anjou Chenin Blanc. Lemon gold in hue, it’s pleasantly aromatic with scents of quince, golden delicious apple, honeydew melon, ginger, and jasmine. On the palate it’s generously textured with waxy tree fruit flavours that linger on the palate. High voltage acidity complements a salty citrus finish. For food pairings, think spring vegetables. Dry Chenin Blanc is one of the few wines to go well with asparagus. The Loire Valley is called “The Garden of France” for a good reason. It will also do a fantastic job pairing up with scallops prepared with plenty of cream.

2018 Clos Bellane la Petite Bellane

Côtes du Rhône Villages

Rhône Valley, France $24.45

Where

Clos Bellane is a small domaine located in the Southern Rhône village of Valréas. The small center is situated at the northeastern edge of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation, a designation that includes 22 villages and their surrounding vineyards. The area of Valréas includes 479 hectares of vineyards, most of which are planted to red grape varieties. The vines are planted on a flat plateau to the west of the village, where the soil is rocky-sand and clay. Compared with more southerly parts of the appellation, Valréas has a cooler Mediterranean climate similar to areas of the Northern Rhône. The mistral, a wind which whips much of the vineyards of the Rhône, is particularly fierce around Valréas.

What

A distinct quality of Valréas wines is the high percentage of Syrah in the ubiquitous Southern Rhône Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blend. In the case of Clos Bellane’s La Petite Bellane rouge, the cuvée is composed entirely of Syrah. The grapes were harvested from organically farmed vines planted at 410 meters on a steep hill facing east. This is one of the highest sites in the southern Rhône. Once in the winery, the grapes were partially destemmed and fermented using indegenous yeasts. Ageing was in concrete tanks.

Who

Clos Bellane was purchased by famed winemaker Stephane Vedeau in 2010, who came to Valréas to make a fresher style of Côtes du Rhône Villages. A third generation vigneron, Stephane was born to a winemaking family in the Northern Rhône and his distinct winemaking style has been described as “if Chambolle Musigny were made in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.” In addition to Clos Bellane, he also owns La Ferme du Mont, which produces wines from grapes harvested from 67 hectares of vineyards spread across 5 appellations. When Vedeau acquired Clos Bellane, he converted the vines to organic farming. In the cellar he takes a minimalist approach by keeping extractions to a minimum, and by ageing the wines in a combination of stainless steel tank, concrete, and large older barrels.

Taste

The Petite Bellane Côtes du Rhône Villages pairs finesse with classic southern French sun-kissed blackfruit flavours. Purplish red in the glass, it has aromatics of fresh picked blueberries, black plums, cracked black pepper, olives and herb de provence. The palate is medium bodied with fine grained tannins. Front and center are notes of blackberry and black cherry. The finish is spicy and herbaceous. This wine is so well balanced that you don’t even notice that it has 14% alcohol. It’s a great match for a charcuterie board of Rosette Lyonnaise and Cantal cheese.

2017 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva

Tuscany, Italy $31.40

Where

Rocca delle Macìe is located in the Chianti Classico subregion of Castellina in Chianti. This area is one of the original nine subregions of the historical Chianti wine region, which had its borders first drawn in 1716 by Grand Duke Cosimo III de Medici. For over 200 years this area had exclusive rights to the Chianti name, but in 1932 the appellation was enlarged greatly to include new vineyard areas. Much of the added territory has little to do with the original Chianti zone. Of the original subregions, Castellina in Chianti has played a leading role in Chianti’s success. Located between Florence and Siena, the town of Castellina in Chianti has long been a center for commerce. Within Chianti Classico there are a wide range of micro-climates and soil types. Overall the climate consists of long, warm summers followed by cold winters.

What

Right now Chianti Classico is the best it’s ever been. If you think of Chianti as a simple table wine that comes in a straw covered bottle, then you have to revisit this icon of Italian wine. Winemakers in the region are peeling back the layers on their unique terroir and discovering new depths of that most Italian of grape varieties: Sangiovese. Any wine labelled as Chianti Classico must contain at least 80% of this grape. Prized for its high acidity and firm tannins, Sangiovese is synonymous with Tuscan wine. Winemakers can choose to bottle it independently or blend it with indegenous grape varieties like Canaiolo or Colorino, or with international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva is made from a cuvée of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Colorino harvested from vineyards in the area of Castellina in Chianti. As is the requirement for Riserva level wines, it was aged 2 years in French oak barrels.

Who

Rocca delle Macìe was established in 1973 by Italo Zingarelli, a film producer. He purchased the 93 hectare “Le Macìe” estate in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone. Today the Zingarelli family own 500 hectares of land spread across 6 estates, 4 of which are in the area of Castellina in Chianti. The two other estates are located in Maremma. Management of the business is overseen by Sergio Zingarelli.

Taste

Chianti Classico is quintessentially Italian in its character, and perfectly mirrors Tuscany’s distinct cuisine. Ruby red in colour with a tinge of garnet, the nose has mediterranean aromas of morello cherries, dried herbs, balsamic, and ground espresso. The palate is medium bodied with coarse tannins and prominent acidity. The finish is tart with a hint of black olive bitterness. You cannot ask for a better wine to pair with a plate of pappardelle smothered in rich ragù di cinghiale or vegetarian friendly pasta e fagioli (Tuscan pasta and beans).

2019 Domaine de Belle Mare Duo Rouge

Pays d’Oc, France $20.79

Where

The Pays d’Oc IGP covers a large expanse of land, overlapping the entirety of the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France. This is one of the most productive wine regions in all of Europe. The climate is reliably mediterranean in character with hot and dry summers, followed by mild winters. Rainfall is mostly concentrated in the Autumn and the Spring. Cool northern winds moderate temperatures and reduce the likelihood of disease in the vineyard. Due to its immense size, within the Pays d’Oc there are many distinct microclimates and terroirs.

What

Less strict than AOC requirements, the IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) designation gives winemakers greater latitude in how they make wine. In fact many of the top producers in Languedoc-Roussillon prefer to label their top wines as IGP. The designation allows for more freedom in choosing which grapes they grow and how the wines are vinified. Of all the vineyards planted in Languedoc-Roussillon, half of (115,000 hectares) are designated for IGP wines. In total, there are 63 approved grape varieties that can be used in the Pay d’Oc.

The Domaine de Belle Mare Duo Rouge is made from a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermented separately by grape variety, it was aged in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

Who

Spanning 55 hectares of vineyards planted to 15 different grape varieties, Domaine Belle Mare is located west of Montpellier near the clear waters of Lake Thau. The winery is best known for the production of easy-drinking Picpoul de Pinet. The vineyards experience a unique microclimate where maritime breezes cool the vines during the day and keep them warm at night. The domine is overseen by grape grower Fabienne Capello, who is also a competitive rower.

Taste

Medium garnet in hue, the Duo Rouge has lush aromas of black currants, blueberries, black plums, cigar, and dark chocolate. On the palate it is medium bodied with plush round tannins. It is both rich and flavourful without being too overpowering. Approachable enough to be enjoyed on its own, it’s a solid match for most grilled red meats. An inspired regional food pairing is braised lamb clapassade. This hearty traditional dish can be prepared numerous ways, but usually includes slowly simmered lamb, honey, olives, and star anise.

2017 Complices De Loire ‘La Petite Timonerie’ Chinon

Loire Valley, France $26.79

Where

Chinon is an important town and wine appellation located in the central Loire Valley. Situated alongside the Loire River, Chinon was the setting for many significant events in medieval and renaissance French history. The château that lords above the town played host to many notable figures, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Charles VII of France, and Joan of Arc. Chinon was also the birthplace of the renaissance writer François Rabelais, author of Gargantua and Pantagruel. The wine appellation of Chinon includes the 2,300 hectares of vines that surround the town. Located within the larger region of Touraine, it is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the northern Massif Central hills of central France. As such, the climate has both maritime and continental influences. The growing season can be especially warm for northern France.

What

Although Chinon does produce a small amount of white and rosé wines, the overwhelming emphasis is on red wines made from Cabernet Franc. Along with Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny, they are the most prominent red wines to come from the Loire Valley. The style of Cabernet Franc from Chinon is distinctive from those being made in other parts of France, such as Bordeaux. Ranging from light bodied to medium bodied, they tend to have high tone notes of red fruits and green pepper. Cabernet Franc’s herbaceous character comes from a particular compound called methoxypyrazine ( “pyrazines” for short), which is also found in other grape varieties like Carménère. In the case of Chinon, it tends to compliment the wine’s raspy fruit aromas and flavours.

The La Petite Timonerie is made from 100% Cabernet Franc harvested from a 2.5 hectare parcel planted to 40 year old vines. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, it was aged in a combination of oak barrels and steel vats.

Who

Complices de Loire was created by François-Xavier Barc, who previously ran a prominent domaine in Chinon. In 2010 he decided to partner up with a friend in nearby St Nicholas de Bourgueil and create this new venture. The intention was to create a wide range of wines from across the Loire Valley. Working with a network of growers and by signing long-term contracts to acquire the grapes from prized vineyards, François has managed to get a foothold in the regions of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur-Champigny, Saumur, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire and Pouilly Fumé. Both in the vineyard and in the winery he applies traditional methods.

Taste

In the glass, this Chinon rouge is medium garnet in colour with a youthful vibrancy. On the nose, aromas of fresh picked strawberries, bramble and wild raspberries are complemented by aromas of capsicum, undergrowth, pencil shavings and wet earth. Like a berry patch after summer rain. The palate is medium bodied with lean tannins and tart acidity. The finish is dry and lingering. A refreshing red wine with balanced complexity, this Cabernet Franc is a wonderful pairing for rillettes de porc (pork rillettes), lapin aux pruneau (braised rabbit with prunes), and Sainte-Maure de Touraine cheese.