Hello everyone, July wine club is now available for pickup from both Vine Arts locations! Those of you who are signed up for delivery, you will receive your wines on Thursday, July 2nd. This months wine club includes a broad selection of styles, from Sicilian Catarratto to French Malbec. We hope you enjoy them! Cheers!

2018 CUSUMANO CATARRATTO – IGT

SICILIANE, SICILY $20.50

Where

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is the southernmost part of Italy. It is actually separated from the rest of the Italian peninsula by the narrow Strait of Messina. Culturally speaking, it is very distinct from the rest of the country. The history of Sicily has seen numerous civilizations leaving their mark on the islands peoples and customs. It wasn’t until the landing of Garibaldi’s troops and the unification of the peninsula’s regions, that Sicily was considered part of Italy at all. Roughly triangular in shape, the Trinacria (the Triangle) as it is known is blessed with plenty of sunshine and little rainfall. The benevolent climate of Sicily makes it perfect for agriculture. In addition to wine and grapes, it is a major exporter of olives, cereals, and fruits.

What

This white wine from Cusumano is made of 100% Catarratto. An indegenous grape to Italy that is mostly grown in Sicily, Catarratto has three different phenotypes, which is characterized by the colour of “bloom” that appears on the grapes. Because of this variation in appearance, there was long confusion about whether there were two different types of Catarratto – Catarratto Bianco Comune and Catarratto Bianco Lucido. They are actually genetically identical. Today around 60% of the vineyards in Sicily are planted to this variety. Most of the grapes harvested are used for Marsala wines or for blending. It’s key qualities are a rich texture and citrus fruit flavours. For this wine the grapes were vinified and matured on the lees for 4 months in steel tanks.

Who

Cusumano was created in 2001 by brothers Alberto and Diego Cusumano. When their father Francesco purchased the property 40 years ago, his business revolved around the sale of concentrated grape must for vinification in northern Italy. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s when the brothers joined the family firm that there was a push towards wine production. Upon taking full control of the company, they completely changed the business model. They wanted to make the most of their 400 hectares of vineyards spread across 5 territories in Sicily. Partnering with consultant winemaker Mario Ronco, Alberto and Diego have emphasized the uniqueness of their vineyards by using only estate harvested grapes.

Taste

Pale gold in the glass, the Cusumano Catarratto expresses vibrant aromas of lemons, white pears, pineapple, and sea salt. Medium bodied with mild acidity, the palate shows refreshing citrus and tropical flavours with a little spice. A refreshing white wine that is not too bracing our austere. Served well chilled on the patio, it is a great match for fresh Insalata di Mare (Sicilian seafood salad).

2018 CHÂTEAU DE JAU LE JAJA DE JAU SAUVIGNON BLANC

CÔTES DE GASCOGNE, FRANCE $19.50

Where

Château de Jau is located in one of France’s most beautiful wine regions, Roussillon. Situated close to the Spanish border, Roussillon is often connected to the neighbouring region of Languedoc. This is a disservice though as the two regions are distinct in landscape and culture. In Languedoc most vineyards are planted on the broad Mediterranean plains, where in Roussillon they are planted in the valleys that lead to the Pyrenees Mountains. The culture of Languedoc is more “French”, where Roussillon is more “Catalan”. In fact the Roussillon is also known as Northern Catalonia or French Catalonia. During the grape growing season the climate is hot and dry. During the winter months, temperatures can sometimes reach zero degrees celsius.

What

For decades the Roussillon has been touted as the next big thing in French wine. All of the pieces are there – unique grapes, distinct terroir, and a growing list of prominent winemakers. For whatever reason the region has never achieved the same notoriety as the nearby Rhône valley. The wines are consequently underpriced given the high quality.

When you think of French Sauvignon Blanc, you tend to think of Sancerre or Bordeaux Blanc. This wine is made from grapes harvested from vineyards in Côtes de Gascogne, inland from Roussillon. The Le JaJa de Jau Sauvignon Blanc was vinified and matured on the lees for 3 to 4 months in stainless steel tanks to preserve the wines vibrance.

Who

Originally planted to vine in the 12th century by Cisternian monks (we’re talking about the same Christian order that planted much of Burgundy), the current winery was constructed in 1789. The estate has been owned by the Dauré family since 1974. The vineyards are planted across 100 hectares with a complex mixture of soil types. Looking to produce an array of approachable everyday wines, The JAJA de Jau range was launched in 1991 by Estelle Dauré. The word “jaja” is derived from the local slang for an everyday thirst quenching glass of wine.

Taste

The ideal wine for hot summer days, this Sauvignon Blanc expresses vibrant aromas of citrus fruits, fresh cut grass, and wet stones. Light bodied with crisp acidity, the palate has flavours of lemon, grapefruit, and passion fruit. The finish is dry and refreshing. Not as stony as Sancerre, and without the spiciness that can define white Bordeaux, the Château de JAU Le JaJa de Jau Sauvignon Blanc is a great match for freshly shucked oysters or Salade Collioure.

2018 BERTRAND ET VINCENT MARCHESSEAU POIDS PLUME

BOURGUEIL, FRANCE $26.00

Where

The appellation of Bourgueil is located within the Touraine district of the central Loire Valley. An important wine region in western France, the Loire Valley follows the course of the Loire river. Starting on the Atlantic coast, this river cuts across a large portion of France. During the 15th and 16th century this was where the “great and good” of French society came to play. Known as the “Garden of France”, a visual reminder of this noble past are the impressive renaissance châteaux that dot the countryside of the Loire Valley. To the west, the climate is strongly influenced by the Atlantic ocean, while the east is experience’s a more continental climate.

What

The Bourgueil appellation is used exclusively for red wines made from at least 90% Cabernet Franc. Up to 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon is permitted in the blend. Cabernet Franc is commonly known for its notable green pepper character. Preferring cooler inland regions like Anjou and Touraine, it ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. Unlike in Bordeaux, where Cabernet France produces deeper wines fuller in body, the wines of Bourgueil are typically medium bodied with a strong sense of terroir.

This wine is made from 100% Cabernet Franc harvested from 30 year old vines planted on sandy-gravelly soils near the banks of the Loire river. Traditionally vinfied, the wine was matured in steel tanks for 7 months. In English, Poids Plume means “Featherweight”

Who

Before Bertrand and Vincent took control of the winery, the Marchesseau family sold their grapes in bulk to large wine firms. This ended in 2001 when the brothers decided to vinify the grapes harvested from their vineyards in Bourgueil, Chinon, and St Nicolas de Bourgueil. Altogether, they own 22 hectares of vineyards. Bertrand focuses on work in the vineyard and in the wine cellar, while Vincent focuses on wine sales. The vineyards are planted primarily to Cabernet Franc and are farmed according to organic principles.

Taste

Loire Valley Cabernet Franc wines have a certain modesty about them. These aren’t extracted wines with loads of power, but rather wines of subtlety with a deep connection to place. Pale garnet in the glass, the Poids Plume expresses leafy aromas of wild strawberries, raspberries, capsicum, and forest floor. Medium bodied with fine tannins, the palate has crunchy acidity and fresh red fruit flavours. The finish is focussed and herbal. Best enjoyed with a slight chill, this wine is a great match for simple charcuterie and rustic bread.

2011 LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA CUBILLO CRIANZA

RIOJA, SPAIN $38.00

Where

This historic winery is located on the outskirts of the town of Haro, within the Spanish region of Rioja. Home to many of Rioja’s most renowned wine producers, Haro sits on an elevated plateau overlooking the juncture of the Ebro and Tirón rivers. Flowing southeast, the Ebro is the region’s main waterway, cutting 100 kilometres across Rioja’s three subregions of Rioja Alta, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Oriental. The vineyards of López de Heredia are all located in the westernmost subregion of Rioja Alta. Translated as “High Rioja”, the vineyards are higher in elevation. The climate is moderated by the Cantabrian mountains, which shield Rioja from the cold and wet influences of the Atlantic Ocean.

What

The Viña Cubillo crianza is a Tempranillo dominant blend (65%) that is complemented by percentages of Garnacho (25%), Mazuelo and Graciano. The grapes are harvested from the Viña Cubillas vineyard, which is located 4 kilometers away from the winery. Averaging 40 years in age, the vines are separated into 2 parcels – “La Encina” and “La Monja”. Following vinification, the wine was aged for 3 years in barrels. Twice a year the wine is “racked” into different barrels and fined with fresh egg whites. This approach to fining is common in parts of France, and was originally introduced to Spanish winemakers by Bordelais winemakers at the turn of the 20th century.

Who

For over 130 years López de Heredia has stood as one of Spain’s greatest wine estates. Occupying the same historic cellars on the outskirts of Haro, it is a beacon for traditionally made wines. Unlike most wineries in the region, López de Heredia owns all of its own vineyards and is still operated by the same family that founded it. The winery is today managed by Maria José, Mercedes and Julio César. In the cellar they use the same techniques that were established during the late 1800’s – the use of only natural yeasts, no filtration, and extended ageing in wine barrels built onsite. Some wines are aged up to eight years in barrel prior to extended ageing in bottles prior to release! López de Heredia occupies a unique niche in a wine world constantly reinventing itself.

Taste

The youngest wine in López de Heredia’s stable, the Viña Cubillo crianza still offers plenty of the winery’s classic style. Garnet red in the glass, the nose expresses aromas of dried cherries, red plums, tobacco, dill, and clove. Medium bodied with silky tannins, the palate is a touch leathery with ample red fruit flavours. An exceptionally well balanced and complex crianza. You can’t ask for a better wine to serve with traditional Spanish tapas like spicy Albondigas (meatballs).

2016 TERRACAË MALBEC

CAHORS, FRANCE $31.00

Where

The “London of its day”, Cahors is today little known outside of France. Located 100 kilometers east of Bordeaux, it sits halfway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean in southeastern France. Founded by the Romans, it was once a center for commerce during the Medieval period. Due to its inland location, plus continental and Mediterranean influences, Cahors is sunnier and warmer than Bordeaux. The region’s key artery is the Lot river, which historically served as a highway to the Atlantic for Cahors’ wines.

What

Although you may think of Argentina when you think of Malbec, it is Cahors that can claim this grape as its own. Here it is known as Côt. So deeply hued that the ancient Romans referred to them as “black wines”, the Malbec’s of Cahors are quite different from their Argentinian cousins. They are more rustic and meaty in style. A wine labelled as Cahors must contain a minimum of 70% Malbec, and can be blended with Merlot and Tannat.

This wine is made from 100% Malbec sourced from a single vineyard planted on Cahors’s third highest terrace. The vines were farmed according to organic principles. The vinification included less maceration time on the grape skins, something that is unusual in Cahors. Maturation occurred in neutral oak barrels.

Who

Terracaë is a joint project between Frédéric Brouca & Pascal Verhaeghe. Frédéric owns Domaine Frédéric Brouca in Faugères and Pascal owns the famous Cahors estate, Château du Cèdre. When Frédéric and Pascal created Terracaë they decided to produce wines free of the long colour extractions and heavy oak ageing that is common in Cahors. Their mindset was to focus on single variety wines made from single vineyard sites, to best express Cahors unique terroir.

Taste

Deep purple red in colour, this Malbec shows generous aromas of dried blackberries, black plums, wild herbs, and clay. Medium bodied with precise tannins, the palate is loaded with blackberry fruits and refreshing acidity. The finish is dry and touch spicy. Less brooding than typical Cahors, it has a broader range when it comes to food pairing. It will pair well with meaty dishes like Porc aux Pruneau (pork with prunes) or burgers.

2018 LA POSTA COCINA BLEND

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA $20.50

Where

Situated on a high plateau in the shadow of the Andes mountains, Mendoza is Argentina’s most important wine region. Although considered a “New World” wine region, the vine was first planted here as early as the mid-16th century. The region sits on the western edge of Argentina and covers an area as large as New York state. Key to its success is Mendoza’s high altitude. The vineyards are planted between 800 and 1200 meters above sea level. Warm and sunny days are followed by cool nights, which slow the ripening process of the grapes. Rivers fed by melting snow from high up in the mountains bring much needed moisture to the dry landscape.

What

Mendoza is by far Argentina’s most prolific wine region, accounting for 70% of the country’s wine output. Malbec accounts for half of this. It was first planted by French agronomist Miguel Aimé Pouget during the 19th century. Unlike in France where there has been a decline in planting of Malbec, Argentina has gone “all in” with this grape variety. The country’s best examples come from high elevation vineyards in the subregions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.

The Cocina Blend is made from a cuvée of 60% Malbec, 25% Bonarda, and 15% Syrah. The Malbec and the Syrah grapes were hand harvested from vines planted in the Uco Valley. The Bonarda grapes came from vineyards planted in eastern Mendoza. The average age of the vines is 34 years old. Once vinified, the wine was aged for 8 months in used French oak barrels.

Who

La Posta is a collaborative wine venture between Laura Catena and winemaker Luis Reginato. Born in Mendoza, Laura belongs to a pioneering winemaking family. She has played a leading role in establishing her father Nicolas’s winery, Catena Zapata, as one of the leading producers of Argentine wine. An incredibly driven person, Laura runs 3 separate wine ventures, all while living in San Francisco, where she is employed as an ER doctor. For La Posta, Laura and Luis wanted to produce wines made from grapes sourced from single vineyard sites. The name of the winery means “the tavern”, a reference to the place where grape growers and vignerons meet.

Taste

Purplish red in colour, this red blend expresses sweet aromas of plump red cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and vanilla. Medium bodied with fine tannins, the palate is round with juicy red fruit flavours. On the finish it is soft with a touch of baking spice. A great wine to enjoy without food, it is a great match for barbecued red meats.