Hello everyone, it’s time again for another edition of Vine Arts Wine Club. The weather has finally warmed up and we’re all doing our best to enjoy the sun while still social distancing. This months wines will offer some tasty summer sips for sitting out in the backyard or out on the balcony. We hope you enjoy them! Your wine bags will be available for pickup at both locations on Monday, June 1st. For everyone who has signed up for delivery, your wines will be sent out on Thursday, June 4th. If you need to arrange an alternate time or address for delivery, please feel free to contact us. Cheers!

2016 L’ECOLE Nº 41 SEMILLON

COLUMBIA VALLEY, USA $33.00

Where

Officially recognized with an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1984, the Columbia Valley is located in eastern Washington State. A small section of the appellation extends into neighbouring Oregon. By no means small, the area has around 20,000 hectares planted to vine. Unlike western Washington state, the Columbia Valley enjoys a long and dry growing season with little moisture. This is due to the Cascade mountain range, which shields the vineyards from rainfall. Areas east of the Cascade mountain range enjoy double the amount of sunshine days than in soggy Seattle! The greatest threat to the vines are deep winter freezes that can plunge down to −18 °C. Grape growers try to mitigate this risk by installing large turbines that circulate air flow through the vines. Irrigation is near necessity in most vineyards. Within the Columbia Valley there are 9 smaller areas that have been given their own AVA’s.

What

Originally the Columbia Valley was best known for aromatic wines made from grapes like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. During the 1980’s this started to change when producers started to work with Bordeaux grape varieties. Today over 60% of the vineyard area is dedicated to red grape varieties. Wine critics such as Robert Parker have lavished praise on the region’s bold and robust wines. A bottle of “cult” red wine from Columbia Valley can now be as expensive as top level Bordeaux or Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. With everyone paying attention to the reds, the white wines of the Columbia Valley offer excellent value.

This wine is made from 86% Semillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc harvested from the Stillwater Creek, Rosebud, Klipsun, Desert Wind, and Estate Seven Hills vineyards. Golden-skinned and richly flavoured, Sémillon is a natural match for Sauvignon Blanc, which lends bracing acidity. Picked during the cool hours of the morning, the grapes were immediately delivered to the winery for pressing. The fermentation and ageing took place in french oak barrels over the course of 5 months.

Who

Trailblazing Washington state winery L’Ecole Nº 41 was founded in historic Frenchtown by Jean and Baker Ferguson in 1983. Located just west of Walla Walla, the town got its name from French-Canadian settlers who came to the area in the early 1800’s. The Fergusons decided to name their winery L’Ecole Nº 41 to honour these early pioneers. The winery is actually located in the town’s old school building that was built in 1915. Today it is run by their daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Martin Clubb. Altogether they farm 34 hectares of vineyards planted in the Walla Walla Valley wine region. Sourcing additional grapes from contract growers, L’Ecole Nº 41 is best known for their wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sémillon. The third oldest winery in Walla Walla, L’Ecole Nº 41 has been recognized as a Top 100 Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine 15 times!

Taste

Fans of lush Chenin Blanc or golden Chardonnay will have lots to like in this wine. Brassy gold in colour, it shows aromas of roasted pears, lemon honeycomb, orange blossom, and marzipan. Medium bodied on the palate with a waxy texture, the palate has nervy acidity and savoury citrus flavours. The finish is crisp and lingering. Where young Sémillon pairs well with shellfish and other seafood, this wine calls for something heavier. A decadent match would be Chicken with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce.

2017 SELBACH-OSTER ZELTINGER HIMMELREICH RIESLING KABINETT HALBTROCKEN

MOSEL, GERMANY $36.50

Where

The Mosel is Germany’s most renowned wine region, home to some of Europe’s most stunning vineyards. The appellation is located near Germany’s eastern border with Luxembourg and France. It follows the route of the Mosel river, which eventually joins with the mighty Rhine. As one would expect this far north, the Mosel has a cool climate for much of the year. Even during the summer months the average peak temperature is only 18ºC. This is why site selection is key in the Mosel. Vines are planted near the river on steep slopes with primarily slate soils. The river reflects light towards the vines during the day and moderates temperatures at night. Farming these vines is an extremely difficult task. Manual labour is a necessity.

What

Ask sommeliers to name a white wine that deserves more attention, and many of them will emphatically respond “German Riesling!” It’s no secret that Riesling is one of the most versatile and distinct wines in the world. Ranging from bracingly dry to luxuriously sweet, German Riesling comes in a variety of guises. The greatest challenge to unravelling German Riesling’s charms is in understanding Germany’s labyrinthian system for wine labelling. Take this wine for instance. To start, “Selbach Oster” is the name of the producer. “Zeltinger Himmelreich” is the name of the vineyard where the grapes were harvested. “Riesling” obviously refers to the grape. “Kabinett” refers to how ripe the grapes were when they were harvested. Lastly, “Halbtrocken” literally means half-dry. This type of label enables the consumer to know all the pertinent details about what’s in the bottle.

Who

Dating back to 1600, Selbach Oster is one of the oldest wineries in the Mosel. The estate was created with the joining together of the Selbach’s, who were originally from Ürzig, and the Oster’s of Zeltingen. Today the estate is managed by husband and wife team Johannes and Barbara Selbach. Altogether they farm 22 hectares of vines in the Zeltinger Himmelreich, Schlossberg, and Sonnenuhr; Wehlener Sonnenuhr; and Graacher Himmelreich and Domprobst. These are some of the finest grand cru sites in the Mosel. In the cellar their approach is simple and non-interventionist. In the words of Johannes – “Great Mosel Kabinett should be like drinking cool spring water; thirst quenching and delicious.”

Taste

This is a fine example of how Mosel Kabinett Riesling should be. It does have some residual sugar on the palate but it doesn’t come across as overly sweet. As Johannes says – “I personally prefer, like my late father and grandfather, less sweetness in ‘sweet’ wines, and love a firm texture that I would describe as ‘crunch’; like when you bite into a ripe fruit with firm skin and flesh. Hence we are making more fruity wines than obviously ‘sweet’ wines.” Golden yellow in colour, this Riesling shows aromas of candied lemons, pineapples, and limes. Light bodied with sharp acidity, the palate is refreshing and citrusy. The finish is honeyed with a touch of lingering sweetness. It’s an excellent match for spicy dishes such as crunchy ginger beef.

2016 CLOS DES FOUS ‘CAUQUENINA’

ITATA VALLEY, CHILE $34.00

Where

Located 400km south of the capital city of Santiago, the Itata Valley is one of Chile’s most unique wine regions. Not well known outside of the country, the first vineyards were planted here in the 1550’s. First taking root near the port of Concepción, the grape vine eventually spread to more inland areas. Today most vineyards are concentrated around the towns of Chillán, Quillón and Coelemu. Unlike most Chilean wine regions, which are protected by the Chilean Coastal Range, the Itata Valley is heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean. The climate is notably cooler than in the Maipo Valley.

What

The Clos des Fous ‘Cauquenina’ is a blend of 33% Carignan, 22% Pais, 12% Blauer Portugieser, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, 6% Malbec and 5% Cinsault. Pais, also known as Mission or Listán Prieto, was the earliest European grape variety to be brought to the New World. First planted by Spanish conquistadors, it was spread by Catholic missionaries who fanned out across South America and North America. The “common black grape” of everyday people, it was used to create fairly simple and rustic wines. Today Pais is being “rediscovered” by Chilean winemakers. The grapes for this wine were harvested from a 1.8 hectare vineyard that was planted in 1985. Located at 150 meters above sea level, the soil is primarily granitic. Following fermentation the wine was aged in concrete and stainless steel tanks for 12 months.

Who

Clos des Fous was created in 2008 by the dynamic team of Pedro Parra, Francois Massoc, Paco Leyton and Albert Cussen. Based in the region of Bio Bio, the enterprise was created to discover Chile’s hidden great terroirs. Born in Concepcion in 1969, Parra has mostly operated outside of the mainstream Chilean wine industry. His capacity to “taste rocks”, plus his incredible knowledge of geology, makes Parra a relative truffle hound when it comes to discovering new vineyards. Massoc spent years working in Burgundy with luminarie winemakers Mounir Saouma of Lucien Le Moine and Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair. Their combined expertise makes Clos des Fous one of the most exciting wine projects in the world.

Taste

Ruby red in colour, the Clos des Fous ‘Cauquenina’ shows floral aromas of cherry halls, tomato leaf and chamomile. Medium bodied with taut tannins, the palate has juicy flavours of black cherries, licorice, concord grape jelly, and anise. The finish is lively and bracing. This wine would go great with the Chilean take on the steak sandwich, Churrasco. Thin slices of sirloin are served between bread with tomatoes, avocado, and mayonnaise. A super simple sandwich to slap together, it’s an everyday favourite of many Chilieans.

2018 CAPARZO SANGIOVESE TOSCANA

TUSCANY, ITALY $22.50

Where

Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany played a major role in shaping the globally recognized image of Italian culture. It is a predominantly hilly region with vineyard elevations rising up to 550 meters above sea level. About a quarter of the landscape is mountainous and only 8 percent is classified as flat. Home to many of Italy’s most notable wine appellations, it has 11 DOCG’s, 41 DOC’s, and 6 IGP’s. To the west it is bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea, which brings moderating influence to areas closer to the coast. Inland areas experience greater diurnal temperature swings, which is key to the regions success in growing grapes.

What

Sangiovese is the undisputed king of Tuscan wine. At one point in time this variety accounted for one tenth of all of all the plantings in Italy. The name of the grape can be translated to the “blood of Jove”, a reference to the Roman god Jupiter. Dark berried, it is favoured for its high acidity, firm tannins, and savoury flavours. Prone to mutation, it has many locally specific names (Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, etc.)

The Caparzo Sangiovese is made from 85% Sangiovese grapes harvested from 3 separate Tuscan estates: Caparzo, Borgo Scopeto and Doga delle Clavule. The remaining blend is made up of 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Alicante. The grapes were vinified by estate by the same winemaker and then blended.

Who

Located south of Montalcino amongst the rolling hills of southern Tuscany, the Caparzo estate dates back to the 1960’s. At this time there were only 13 established wineries in Montalcino. A former derelict farm, the property was rehabilitated by a group of friends who set about planting new grape vines. The name Caparzo derives from the ancient “Ca’ Pazzo”, meaning “a place touched by the sun”. In 1998 the winery was purchased by Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini, who manages the winery today with her son Igino and daughter Alessandra. Altogether the property stretches across 200 hectares, of which 90 hectares are planted to vine. The current winemaker is Massimo Bracalente.

Taste

Garnet red in colour, the Caparzo Sangiovese expresses youthful aromas of red cherries, red plums, and dried oregano. Medium bodied with crisp acidity and soft tannins, the palate has fruity flavours of tart cherries, blackberries, and wild strawberries. Altogether a spry example of Tuscan Sangiovese. This wine is an excellent match for one of Tuscany’s most iconic dishes, Fagioli all’Uccelletto (stewed beans with sausages).

2018 DE FORVILLE LANGHE NEBBIOLO

PIEDMONT, ITALY $28.50

Where

The region of Piedmont is located at the top of the “shin” of the Italian “boot”. A major player in the wine industry, it is home to ⅓ of all Italians. Its two largest cities, Milan and Turin, are the engines that drive the country’s economy. Thanks to its close proximity to France and periods of independence, the Piedmontese culture is more northern European in character. Largely hilly and mountainous, it is surrounded on 3 sides by the Alps. To the south are the Apennines. This mountain influence is key to Piedmont’s grape growing prowess. The combination of mountain air and Mediterranean moderation creates the ideal variation in temperatures. Located east of Alba, the subregion of Langhe is home to most of Piedmont’s most famous wine appellations. The name itself refers to the area’s many hills.

What

Only rivalled by Sangiovese, Nebbiolo is often considered Italy’s greatest red grape variety. Blessed with firm tannins, high acidity, and ageability, Nebbiolo is the grape behind the world famous wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. In the vineyard it is extremely picky about soil and climate. Late to ripen, it can be difficult to work with in poor conditions. The Langhe Nebbiolo designation was created for wines made from grapes harvested from younger vines, or from areas outside the borders of Barolo and Barbaresco.

The De Forville Langhe Nebbiolo is made from grapes harvested from vines planted in various “cru” in Barbaresco, plus some grapes from neighbouring Neive. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in large oak barrels for 1 year.

Who

Originally from Belgium, the DeForville family emigrated to the village of Barbaresco in 1848. Making wine for 5 generations, during the early 1900s the family would sell their wines in bulk to local restaurants or retailers. It wasn’t until 1940 that they would bottle their own wines for sale. Passed down through the family, the winery is currently managed by brothers, Valter and Paolo Anfosso. The estate consists of 11 hectares of vineyards in the villages of Barbaresco and Castagnole Lanze.

Taste

Ruby red in the glass, this wine expresses floral aromas of cherry nibs, suede, and rose petals. Medium bodied with lean tannins and firm acidity, the palate has flavours bing cherries, black tea, and blood oranges. The finish is tart and persisting. Not as full bodied or chewy as Barolo or Barbaresco, this is an accessible style of Nebbiolo. It is a great match for Piedmontese cuisine which is richer in style and often includes plenty of butter, mushrooms, and truffles. A strong pairing would be savoury mushroom and pancetta risotto.

LUSTAU OLOROSO DON NUÑO SHERRY

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN $23.00

Where

Most commonly known as Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera is located on the southwestern tip of Andalucia. Getting its name from the Arabic word Al-Andalus, Andalucia stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediteranean Sea. Many of the things that make Spain, well Spanish, originate in Andalucia. The local culture was uniquely shaped during the time of “Muslim Spain”, which stretched from the 711 to 1492. For most of the year it is one of the hottest areas of Spain. Jerez was one of Spain’s first recognized wine regions, earning Denominación de Origen status in 1933. The borders of the appellation are formed by the 3 towns of the “Sherry Triangle” – Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

What

For some time Sherry has suffered from poor publicity. Maybe it was a syrupy sweet taste of Harveys Bristol Cream, or maybe a sip from a bottle of Tio Pepe that was left sitting in the fridge for years that made us question Sherry’s quality. We’re here to say Sherry deserves another try. Ranging from bone dry Fino to lusciously sweet Pedro Ximenez, they are some of the most unique wines coming from Spain.

The Lustau Don Nuño is an example of an Oloroso Sherry. Unlike a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry, it was aged in barrels without the influence of flor (a layer of yeast that protects the wine from oxidation in the barrel). The first step of creating an Oloroso starts with a base wine made from Palomino grapes. Fermented to around 11% alcohol, it is then fortified to 17-20% alcohol with neutral spirit or mature wine. The wine then starts its journey through a “solera” of barrels. This system consists of layer upon layer of barrels full of wine, with the newest barrels placed at the top. When the wines from the lowest barrels are extracted, they are topped up with the wines from the barrels above. Then those barrels are topped up with wines from the barrels above, and so on and so on. This unique and timely process allows the wine to develop its characteristic oxidized character.

Who

Founded in 1896 by José Ruiz-Berdejo, Lustau is the only producer to make wines from all three points of the “Sherry Triangle”. Based in Jerez, Lustau occupies seven bodegas in the city center. Built during the 19th century, these buildings have a huge combined footprint – over 20,000m²! One of the most impressive, Los Arcos, has 14 meter high ceilings to accommodate the towering stacks of barrels. Today the winery produces 40 different Sherries, four brandies, and three vermouths. The winemaker is Sergio Martínez.

Taste

A classic example of Oloroso Sherry, the Lustau Don Nuño has aromas of figs, dried apricots, toffee, and nutmeg. Light bodied with nervy acidity, the palate is an interesting combination of dried fruits and savoury spice. On the finish it is off-dry with strong notes of umami. Best served after 15 minutes in the fridge, the traditional match for this wine is Rabo de Toro (stewed bull’s tail). Given that you can’t just purchase a bull’s tail at your local Safeway, a more accessible food pairing would be slow cooked ground beef casserole.

Sherry is an amazing component for mixology! The juxtaposition of umami richness and tangy acidity, offers a tantalizing contribution to a cocktail. For inspiration, check out this link for the Lo Sagrado cocktail from Clavel Mezcaleria in Baltimore.