Hello everyone, we are happy to announce our May edition of Vine Arts Wine Club. Your wine bags will be available for pickup from both locations on Friday, May 1st. It’s been almost two solid months of social distancing and staying at home, so we’re sure many of you are ready for a wine restock. This months selections are just the thing to shake the Covid blues. Enjoy!

2018 WEINGUT KORRELL JOHANNESHOF FIRST BOTTLE

NAHE, GERMANY $26.50

Where

Located southeast of the Mosel and west of the Rheingau and the Rheihessen, the Nahe is one of Germany’s smaller premier wine regions. It gets its name from the Nahe river which joins with the Rhein. The appellation has around 4,000 hectares of vineyards planted on diverse soil types. Within the Nahe there are 7 designated districts known as Grosslagen. Only officially recognized in 1971, the Nahe has been neglected for much of its recent history. Vineyard plantings have actually decreased. Many steep vineyards have been left to fallow because of the hard manual farming required.

What

Unlike the Mosel, it is hard to define a single Nahe wine style. Like its neighbours, the most prestigious grape variety is Riesling, although it only accounts for a quarter of overall plantings. Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner were important grapes in the past but are less common today. Red varieties such as Dornfelder, Spätburgunder and Portugieser are on the rise.

The Johanneshof First Bottle is a unique blend of Riesling, Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Muskateller (Muscatel), and Rivaner. The grapes were harvested from sustainably farmed estate vineyards. The wine was left on the lees and bottled early to retain freshness.

Who

Weingut Korrell was founded on the outskirts of Bad Kreuznach in 1832. The winery has been managed by Martin Korrell since 2002. Originally from Spain, the Korrel family have been making wine in the Nahe for 250 years. Originally devoted to mixed-agriculture, the property turned exclusively to wine production when Wilfried Korrell assumed control in 1967. The vineyard area spreads over 23 hectares. Of this, 11 hectares are planted to Riesling.

Taste

Pale straw in colour, this white cuvée shows aromas of pears, melons, and mint. Light bodied with lean acidity, the palate shows lively flavours of limes, cantaloupes, and salty green apples. The finish is crisp and dry. Youthful and fruit forward, it is the ideal wine for enjoying on the porch or balcony. A delightful aperitif, it matches well with prosciutto wrapped melon.

2018 CLARENDELLE INSPIRED BY HAUT-BRION ROSÉ

BORDEAUX, FRANCE $31.50

Where

Located on the southwestern coast of France, the wine region of Bordeaux centers around the port of the same name. By no means small, Bordeaux stretches 130 kilometres inland and has 120,000 hectares of land planted to vine. The region is separated into three main areas by the Gironde and the Dordogne rivers. The “left bank” is located on the left bank of the Gironde and is the closest to the Atlantic. The “right bank” is located on the right bank of the Dordogne and is the furthest inland. The Entre-Deux-Mers (meaning “between two seas”) is located between the two rivers at the center of Bordeaux.

For their red wine portfolio, the Clarendelle wine brand sources grapes from the Bordeaux appellations of Saint-Émilion, Haut-Médoc and Pessac-Léognan. The white wines are made from grapes sourced from vineyards in Pessac-Léognan and Graves.

What

Rosé accounts for only 7% of all the wine bottled in Bordeaux. Still, for a region of this size that adds up to a considerable 12 million bottles. With demand growing, this number will certainly grow. Bordeaux admirers may be surprised to know that the region was once known for lighter coloured wines. Ranging from light red to deep pink, they were called clairet.

This rosé is made from a blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were harvested from plots dedicated for the production of rosé. Inspired by the clairet wines of the past, it was fermented fully to dryness.

Who

Clarendelle was founded in 2005 by the same team that manages famed Château Haut-Brion. It was created by Prince Robert of Luxembourg. It was his great-grandfather, the American banker Clarence Dillon, who purchased Château Haut-Brion in 1935. It is one of only five first growths or Premier Grand Cru Classé wineries in Bordeaux. The Clarendelle brand encompasses a range of styles and regions from across Bordeaux. The wines are made by the winemakers from Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion, and Château Quintus.

Taste

Light pink in hue, the Clarendelle Inspired by Haut-Brion Rosé has aromas of citrus peel, honeydew, and watermelon. Medium bodied on the palate with crisp minerality, it has flavours of fresh strawberries, red currants, and grapefruit. The finish is dry and refreshing. This rosé has a touch more heft than a comparable Côtes de Provence, and is the ideal wine for hot summer days. A delectable match for salads and seafood, it goes particularly well with the regional classic, Salade Landaise.

2016 SAVE OUR SOULS PINOT NOIR

YARRA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA $34.50

Where

The Yarra Valley is located in the eastern portion of the Port Phillip viticultural zone in southeastern Australia. It is one of the oldest and most important wine regions in the country. Vines were first planted here in 1838. Today there are around 2,150 hectares planted to vine. The landscape is made up of rolling hills that create a variety of cool micro-climates. The Yarra Valley is significantly cooler than other Australian wine regions.

What

The two signature grape varieties in the Yarra Valley are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This area has been called the “Burgundy” of Australia. The wines are a clear departure from the robust styles that Australia is best known for. The wines are typically lower in body with notable acidity.

This wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir. The grapes were mostly destemmed and fermented in open-top vats. After 2 weeks the wine was pressed off the skins and allowed to finish fermentation in the tank. Following natural malolactic fermentation, the wine is given a small dose of sulphur and bottled with light filtration. Altogether the process takes 8 months from harvest.

Who

Save our Souls is a joint venture between Jason Searle and winemaker William Downie. The two first formed a friendship while working at the Bass Philip winery in Gippsland. Downie is the reigning enfant terrible of the Australian wine industry. His stint at Bass Philip ended on less than amicable terms. After spending some time working in Burgundy, Downie founded his own winery in 2003. Between then and now he has garnered plenty of attention for his demanding attention to detail and his hands off approach in the winery. In creating Save our Souls, Searle and Downie have been able to offer a range of wines made from grapes sourced from vineyards in Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.

Taste

Light crimson red in the glass, the Save Our Souls Pinot Noir has vibrant aromas of red berries, clove, cola, and mushroom. Light bodied with silky tannins, the palate has flavours of fresh bing cherries, strawberries, and a touch of baking spice. The overall style is savoury yet subtle. It is a great match for grilled vegetables and smoked salmon.

2019 DOMAINE SARNIN-BERRUX LE BOJO SUTRA

BEAUJOLAIS, FRANCE $28.50

Where

The Domaine Sarnin-Berrux Le Bojo Sutra is made from grapes harvested from vineyards planted in Regnié in northern Beaujolais. Located 45 minutes north of the culinary capital of Lyon, it is the westernmost of the Beaujolais Crus. Located just south of Burgundy’s Macon region, the 10 recognized crus represent the best areas for grape growing in Beaujolais. Regnié is the youngest of them, achieving crus designation in 1988. It is bordered to the north by Morgon and to the south by Brouilly. This is where you find the region’s highest elevation vineyards. Regnié enjoys a mostly continental climate with some Mediterannean influences. A warm wind that develops west of Beaujolais brings moderating temperatures and keeps the vineyards dry.

What

Beaujolais is the most famous French wine region to produce vin de l’année. Also known as vin de primeur, this type of wine was in the past consumed locally to celebrate a successful harvest. Fermented quickly and released after only 6-8 weeks, the wines are usually light and fruity. In the 1950’s, vin de l’année from Beaujolais was given a new title: Beaujolais Nouveau. Officially released on the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau must be made from 100% Gamay grapes from the Beaujolais AOC. Today the style accounts for 25% of all the wine bottled in Beaujolais.

AOC rules don’t allow Beaujolais Nouveau to be made from Beaujolais Crus grapes. As such this wine cannot technically be labeled as a Beajolais Nouveau. The grapes were hand harvested from 50 year old biodynamic tended vines which are planted to predominantly granitic soil. Following quick carbonic maceration (a technique where whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment), the wine was bottled without fining, filtering, or added sulphur.

Who

Based in the Burgundian village of Saint-Romain, Jean-Pascal Sarnin and Jean-Marie Berrux founded their négociant firm in 1997 with the goal to make wines from only organic and biodynamic grown grapes. Jean-Pascal was previously employed as a chief financial officer in Paris, while Jean-Marie had worked in communication and advertising. Today they produce around 15 000 bottles of wine made from grapes purchased from small growers. In the cellar they use no added enzymes, cultured yeasts, and only small amounts of sulphur.

Taste

Purple-red in the glass, on the nose this wine shows aromas of freshly picked red fruits, violets, and loamy soil. Light bodied with soft tannins and crunchy acidity, the palate has flavours of wild raspberries and bitter black currants. The finish is raspy and tart. A favourite among the bistros of Lyon, the modest wines of Beaujolais are always an excellent match for charcuterie such as patés, terrines, and rillettes. Beaujolais Nouveau is one of a handful of red wines that pairs well with salads. This wine is a great match for Salade Lyonnaise.

2015 CHÂTEAU MAISON BLANCHE LES PILIERS DE MAISON BLANCHE

MONTAGNE-SAINT-ÉMILION, FRANCE $29.50

Where

Located on the “right bank” of Bordeaux, Montagne-Saint-Émilion is the largest satellite wine region of Saint-Émilion. The appellation centers around the town of Montagne, some 5 kilometers north of the Unesco recognized city of Saint-Émilion. The area has mostly hilly terrain and clay/limestone dominant soils. Separated only by the Barbanne river, it is in many ways similar to its more illustrious neighbour.

What

The Montagne-Saint-Émilion designation applies for red wines only. Merlot is the dominant grape variety, although Malbec, Cabernet Franc (known locally as Bouchet) and Cabernet Sauvignon are permitted.

The Les Piliers de Maison Blanche is the “second” wine of Château Maison Blanche. It is made from a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, harvested from organic and biodynamic farmed vines. The vines average in age from 45 to 75 years. The natural fermentation was done in concrete vats, and was followed by 15 months ageing in second use French oak barrels.

Who

Nicolas Despagne is the owner and winemaker of Château Maison Blanche. The estate itself dates back to 1875, when the first vines were planted by the Constant-Pineau family. Since then the vineyard area has expanded to 32 hectares. Under Nicolas’ leadership the estate has received both organic and biodynamic certification. The vines are mostly planned on the gentle slopes of the plateau of Montagne. The farming and harvesting of the grapes is done by hand. In the cellar Nicolas prefers to use traditional techniques and avoids heavy use of sulphur.

Taste

Deep ruby red in colour, the Les Piliers de Maison Blanche has aromas of blueberries, earth, and barrel spice. Full bodied with supple tannins, the palate has generous flavours of blackcurrants, plums and dark chocolate. Lush and moutfilling, it has a lingering finish. A well-made example of “right bank” Bordeaux that will go nicely with savoury grilled meats. Try with barbecued pork ribs.

2017 LADYBIRD CABERNET SAUVIGNON

PASO ROBLES, USA $23.50

Where

Spread across 270,000 hectares, Paso Robles is one of California’s largest wine regions. Located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the AVA is bordered to the north by Monterey County. To the west lies the Santa Lucia mountain range and the Pacific ocean. The region has a warm and continental climate. Sitting between the vineyards and the coastline, the coastal mountains moderate the cooling impact of the Pacific. There is some oceanic influence in the form of the Templeton Gap. A series of river valleys that cut through the coastal hills, the Templeton Gap allows coastal air to cool the vineyards during the afternoon and evening hours.

What

Paso Robles is California wine country’s Wild West. The town of El Paso de Robles was in fact founded by the uncle of the famed outlaw Jesse James. The fastest growing AVA in America, Paso’s wine community is largely made up of small family run wineries. The wines are best known for being plush and generously flavoured. The first grapes planted in the region were brought by Catholic missionaries during the 18th century. During the mid-1980’s the region experienced a boom as the demand for well priced California Cabernet Sauvignon grew. Compared with the Napa Valley, land in Paso Robles is comparatively cheap. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, the region has become well known for wines made from Rhône grape varieties. The Ladybird is a good example of a fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon made in an approachable style. It was bottled with a touch (0.4 g/l) of residual sugar.

Who

Ladybird wines was created by winemaker Sharon Weeks, in partnership with Bill Grant and brothers Matt & Michael Dusi. An industry veteran, Weeks has been a custom crush winemaker for decades. Born and raised in Fresno, Grant was previously the co-owner of Four Vines winery, which was sold to Purple Wine Company in 2010. In addition to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Ladybird also produces a Central Coast Chardonnay, Central Coast Rosé, and a Paso Robles Red Blend.

Taste

Bright ruby red in the glass, the Ladybird Cabernet Sauvignon has sweet aromas of red currants, boysenberries, and vanilla. Medium bodied with smooth tannins, the palate has flavours of black cherry jam, red plums, and milk chocolate. The finish is fruity and soft. Altogether a harmonious and approachable Cabernet Sauvignon. A great burger wine.