Benoit Gautier "Argilex" Dry Vouvray ($15.99)
From the producer:
Temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats.
Use of indigenous yeast.
Ageing in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats.
APPEARANCE : Straw yellow colour.
NOSE : Fresh, fruity, hawthorn blossom aromas, quince aromas.
PALATE : Mineral
AGING : Ageing from 2017 to 2023
FOOD MATCHES : For the aperitif, Crab, Scallop carpaccio, Fish with cream"
People often assume that Vouvray will be semi-sweet or sweet, but this is not always the case. This is Vouvray Sec, which means that it is dry. The residual sugar is at about .4%, which isn't the driest of white wines, but isn't close to off-dry (1% RS). What you do get is a lot of juicy fruit in this wine: pear, apple, and quince. The minerality and acidity keep the wine bright on the palate. This pairs well with seafood, especially oysters and sushi. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif.
Botromagno Rosé di Lulu ($15.99)
From the producer:
"I chose to dedicate this wine to my daughter Lucia Pia, whom her young cousins affectionately call Lulù. A very old vineyard, located at 700 metres’ elevation at the highest point in the Gravina area. A very distinctive terroir, consisting of sandy soils of extremely low fertility; the vines must suffer to survive here, and they yield clusters that are few but extraordinarily rich. Rosé di Lulu, a deep pink in appearance, is firmly structured and with an unmistakable personality, one of the iconic wines of Puglia, the region that was first to achieve international success for this difficult to make wine style.
Appearance: A luminous, light pink.
Bouquet: Complex and full fruited, with nuances of liqueur cherries and mulberries.
Palate: Rich, alluring, multi-layered.
Salami, medium-aged cheeses, lamb stews."
This rosé (rosato) is round and smooth, and its beautiful packaging mirrors the wine's elegance. It's made from 100% Nero di Troia (Uva di Troia), and the bolder flavor profile gives it strength to stand up to slightly heavier dishes than the ubiquitous light French rosés.
Broadley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 ($24.99)
Willamette Valley, Oregon
From the producer:
"The 1st phase of the estate vineyard was planted in 1981. Our family has been hand crafting wines since 1986. Craig & Claudia were the founders of the winery, and their son, Morgan and his wife Jessica are the 2nd generation continuing with their passion in the wine business.
Our estate vineyard is farmed using sustainable farming practices including using sheep to mow our vineyard's ground cover & weeds when appropriate. We also use organic material to promote healthy growth in our vines. Sustainability is a part of our daily life and we believe it is essential for our future.
Our goal is to consistently produce dynamic and outstanding wines that are true expressions of the place where they are grown. We want to make wines that make you stop and think.
We believe that good wine is first made in the vineyard. At Broadley, Pinot Noir grapes are harvested from several designated blocks on the estate vineyard including, Claudia's Choice, Marcile Lorraine & the Jessica block. More Pinot Noir (and occasionally Chardonnay grapes) are sourced from hand selected vineyards that also use meticulous farming methods in order to harvest the healthiest fruit the vintage can bring.
Wooden fermenters impart unique qualities to our wine. When wine is fermented in wood, it gives a richer and deeper complexity to the finished wine. We also use whole clusters in fermentation when the vintage ripens the fruit's stems and the flavor and intensity of the fruit is there. This adds structure and character to the wine."
New to the store! This is Broadley's entry-level Pinot, but it really shines at this price point. It is both elegant and structured, a little spicy on the nose with just a hint of cedar on the palate to underscore the ripe red fruit. Organic farming practices and the use of indigenous yeast.
Casinova di Neri Irrosso ($21.99)
From the producer:
"We believe that wines are the fruit of the vineyard and of man's labour.
The care and passion in working the land has to take into account the characteristics of the land, the microclimate and the variety so as to produce a unique distinct wine able to express its territory. For over forty years our evolution has been marked by careful targeted choices that have distinguished our estate and the wines we produce creating their own style.
A constant search for particular soils that exalt the quality and uniqueness of our wines and farming practices that respect the land and the vines are followed by attentive care in the making of the wine. Our wines are the fruit of exceptional combinations of soils and microclimates together with passionate and meticulous work enabling us to obtain constant results and to enhance the distinct features of the grapes throughout the different vintages.
This wine is born from the grapes of the 'Cetine' vineyards to the south of Montalcino where our Brunello Tenuta Nuova and our Rosso di Montalcino come from. It is obtained from Sangiovese Grosso and Colorino grapes (the plants are reproductions of old varieties that we found in our oldest vineyards). We tried to produce a wine typical of our land and closely linked to it but with the style and characteristics of Casanova di Neri wines. It can be drunk at once or kept for some years giving even greater satisfaction.
Vinification: selection table for bunches, de-stemming, selection table for individual grapes. Vats filled by gravity. Fermentation without use of yeast additives and maceration in open conical vats at controlled temperatures for ¾ weeks Aged in oak barrels for around 15 months and 6 months in bottle.
Tasting notes: Intense ruby red, hints of wild cherry, violets and red fruits ample and easy to drink with excellent persistence. Serve at a temperature of 16° - 17° opening the bottle a few hours previously or decant delicately.
Accompaniments: Tuscan cold cuts, pasta with tomato sauce, roast white meats."
Brunello di Montalcino is considered one of the top Italian wines, but even a "bargain" bottle will cost you upwards of $30. This is in part because the production area allowed is small, and because Brunellos must comply with a longer aging requirement. The other two Montalicino wines produced from Sangiovese demand less aging (Rosso di Montalcino) or can be both younger and blended with other grapes (Sant'Antimo). Irrosso is a fine example of the latter, though it has quite a bit of barrel age on it. This one is a very good alternative to higher priced wine from the area, and it still gives you an idea of the style and terroir of Montalcino.
Ransom Dry Gin ($28.99)
From the producer:
"Fashioned after Holland’s renowned malt wine genevers, Ransom Dry Gin combines the maltiness and hop aromas of the style with a decidedly more intense botanical infusion. The selection of botanicals for this gin was done with tradition in mind, but we also sought to capture the essence of our terroir with the inclusion of the iconic Oregon Marionberry and local hops. The result is a highly aromatic gin with the most compelling attributes of both genever and dry gin styles. We believe speaks meaningfully to its Dutch heritage as well as its Oregon provenance. Excellent for sipping neat, or mixed in a Collins, Improved Holland Gin, Bramble, or Kopstoot.
Ransom Dry Gin begins with a base wort of malted barley and rye, which we mash and ferment at our distillery, and an infusion of botanicals in corn based spirits. We source the finest sustainably farmed botanicals in their natural form for the infusion. The gin is distilled using a direct fired alambic pot still in order to preserve the maximum amount of aromatics, flavor and
body. Only the "heart of the hearts" (the very best portion of distillate) is retained for this bottling.
Botanicals: Juniper berries*, lemon peel*, coriander seed*, angelica root*, caraway seed*, star anise*, marionberries, orris root, hops, cardamom pods*, and orange peel*.
* = Certified Organic botanical.
Ransom Dry Gin opens with ethereal aromatics of hops and white flowers, set off by bass notes from fresh marionberry and juniper berries. The palate is rich and silky, with malt flavors punctuated by citrus and exotic spice piquancy from cardamom and coriander. The gin finishes with suppleness and power, with the viscosity and richness of malt carrying clean, focused botanicals."
This Gin is unique in style and definitely reflects its place of origin in the flavor profile. The mash bill lends nice viscosity, while the botanicals keep it bright and refreshing.
Fabriquero Sotol ($61.99)
From the producer:
"WHAT IS SOTOL?
It is a plant from the lily family called Dasylirion, known as the desert spoon or Sotol that grows in the desert in the north of Mexico. The Sotol has a Denomination of Origin that comprises the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango and must use be distilled from 100% of Sotol.
With the experience of a liftetime, Don Hector Jimenez produces this sotol in the vinata or distillery that is mere meters away from the house that he was raised in. After a brief pause in the distillery from the original producer Domingo Sariñana, Don Hector and his son Gamaliel, have brought back to life this legendary distillery preserving the tradition that this legendary distillery has had for over 100 years.
This distillery, or vinata that is common term, located in the north of Durango has a history of over 100 years producing this wonderful spirit where this site is known to produce the best sotol. This sotol is made in the traditional manner harvesting only mature plants, cooking the sotols in lava rock lined underground oven, crushing by hand, fermenting with natural airborne yeasts, and double distilling in a small copper alembic still.
This meaty sotol is cooked underground using mesquite and acacia, that gives this herbaceous sotol some pronounced smokey notes that balances perfectly the fruity tones, has a very long finish."
This is not Tequila. This is not Mezcal. This is not made from Agave. Sotol is its own unique spirit that is earthy, grassy, funky, and a little smoky, and you almost never see it in restaurants or shops. The flavor is completely unusual as is its production: The sotol plant must mature to about 15 years before harvesting, and each plant makes about one bottle of spirit. The price reflects this process. I think Sotol is delicious, but it is a bit polarizing, so try some and see what you think!