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55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
Broadside is a project of very talented winemaker Chris Brock. The Cabernet is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, 10% of which are new. The resultant wine is remarkably fresh and full bodied with an interesting spicy character and plenty of bright, tangy dark fruit.
Sourced from dry-farmed Valdiguie vines that are over 90 years-old in the organic certified Rosewood Vineyard in the Redwood Valley of Mendocino. A fine crunchy mousse with great acidity and the character of a handful of wild berries or the underbrush they were gathered from, this is a wonderful, deeply-hued rosé from one of our favorite winemakers. At only 11% this is a fantastic bubbly for the summer, and as Pét-Nats go has enough pop and fizz to be used in a celebratory fashion. Andrew Farquhar
This wine is from the Green Valley of Solano County, located just over the Vaca mountains from Napa. This wine comes from two vineyards, the Frei Vineyard and the Wirth Ranch Vineyard, both of which are dry-farmed and have average vine ages over 65 years. This style of wine was formerly known as Napa Gamay, and for good reason; the taste is reminiscent of Beaujolais with medium tannin and great energy, though more purple in color and with darker fruit. Vineyards are dry-farmed and have an average vine age of sixty years. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine a light and lifted character. Pair with pork chops, veal, branzino, or carnitas tacos. Andrew Farquhar
From the folks who run Hobo Wine Co., here we have the delicious new vintage of one of our favorite inexpensive Cabernets from California! Tart blackberry and ripe cassis mix with herbal hints and wildflower on the nose while broadly gracing the firm, rich, powerfully tannic palate. Sourced from many lesser known but sustainably or organically farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma county. Aged for nine months in neutral oak barrels. Andrew Farquhar
Notes from Claire Hill: "Eric has a few rows of Brézème Syrah (3 rows of Roussanne and I think like 13 rows of Syrah?). It's not the Ardèche clone you find directly across the river in Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban, but the wing structure of the the cluster makes it look like it's a Côte-Rôtie clone. I assume you know the story, limestone and all that jazz, but Brézème is considered this lost appellation of France. It was very well known in the 1400s-1800s, but then it fell off the map between Spanish flu/WWI/WW2, and by the 1960s there was only about 1 hectare [approx. 2.5 acres] left. The guy who owned that hectare is now in his 90s and named M. Pouchoulin. He's out of the grape game, and putters in his little vegetable garden. He sold part of the old vines to Eric and the rest to Domaine Lombard. I picked on the same day as Eric did, and did more pigeage/pumpovers on mine with an eye towards making a very age-worthy wine. It's very primary right now, but I think it will be phenomenal in 3-4 years."
Notes from Claire: "...from Del Barba vineyard in Oakley, California, on the Sacramento River Delta. The area was planted to mostly Zinfandel, Carignane, and Mourvedre in the 1880s-1890s by Italian and Portuguese immigrants to the area. A lot of the old vines have been ripped out for urban sprawl, and a lot of families have sold their vineyards for millions of dollars to developers. The Del Barba family has lived there for 5 generations now, and continue to farm the property. The Zinfandel from Martha Stoumen's Post Flirtation Red comes from this vineyard, and Bedrock gets the 130 year old Mourvedre (I get the 60 year old Mourvedre). It's all own rooted and head trained in pure sand...about 15% whole cluster with some pigeage, fermented in picking pins for 7 days. The fermentation was insanely healthy, and it kicked off on its own within 18 hours. I added a little sulfur to one of the 3 bins that had a funky smelling cap, but most sulfur additions were post malo/before bottling (total is <30ppm). Aged in 10 year old Littorai barrels for 14 months before bottling."
Cooper Mountain Vineyards started in 1978 when Dr. Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the unique soils of Cooper Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Today, the estate has more than 100 acres dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. This Pinot Noir is refreshing and ripe, with brambly raspberry and cherry fruit, baking spice, and earthy flavors.
This rose is from Gamay planted in 2006 in the Yakima Valley in Washington. Planted on basalt bedrock overlaid with the extraordinary Missoula Flood runoff, this rose has a bright red fruit character on the nose that is married to a lush, round, elegant kind of creaminess on the palate. Fantastic and juicy, with a nice seam of mineral density, this rose is less of a fresh aperitif to start the party and more like the main event. This is a perfect rose for grilling, barbecue, salmon, or just plain rooftop quaffing, and has all of the hallmarks of Division's style: clean lines, precision, and purity. 12.8% alcohol by volume. 823 cases produced. Andrew Faruqhar
50% Cabernet Sauvignong and 50% Merlot, this Bordeaux Blend tastes like anything but. From old vines planted on a thin loam over broken shale, this wine is brimming in electric acidity, with the stone fruit character on the nose becoming a pleasant surprise of tangerine and blood orange on the palate. It is rare to have a red wine with citric fruit character, but this is one. This wine is almost Italianate in style, and would pair excellently with red pasta sauces, but also has the oomph to stand up to lamb or a more delicate cut of beef. The Elizabeth Vineyard, sustainably farmed, is located on the east side of Seneca Lake. Andrew Farquhar
This refreshing and bright Pinot Noir from star California winemaker Kenny Likitprakong is sourced predominantly from the Arroyo Seco AVA, in other words, Steinbeck country. Native yeast fermentation and spontaneous malo are followed by nine months on the lees with occasional batonnage in used French oak barrels. Bright red fruit and elegant texture make for a fine, refreshing wine that lingers pleasantly on the palate. Andrew Farquhar
Natural fermentation from a new Gamay experiment winemaker Kenny Likitprakong is overseeing in the Arroyo Seco AVA, this is a beautiful, elegant, decidedly fresh red-fruited rosé. A very short maceration makes this light in tannin and color. Bottled in green glass, which is made from much higher levels of recycled product and has a considerably smaller carbon footprint. Andrew Farquhar
Harrington is a fantastic urban winery based in the Mission in San Francisco, founded on the principles of low intervention winemaking, old vineyards, and obscure varietal wines. Corvina, the main grape used in the production of Valpolicella and Amarone, is rarely vinified by itself, and also extraordinarily rare in the New World. This one is native yeast fermented, fermented in stainless steel, aged in neutral French oak and 75 gallon stainless steel for 6 months before bottling with minimal sulfur. Very light in tannin but full of loads of energy, this is a great slightly-chillable red with a gorgeous watermelon aroma that is followed by a surprisingly dry, elegant, red-fruited palate. Fantastic as an aperitif with brie or cured meats, or on its own! Andrew Farquhar
I didn’t want to be the one to write anything about this wine but Eben talked me into it. I don’t wax as poetic about wine as most people, but Eben said “You don’t have to. What did it remind you of? A favorite song?” And that’s when it hit me. After drinking this wine I woke up singing “Didn’t I” by Kelly Clarkson with the line “Didn’t I give you everything” repeating in my head. And it hit me: yes this wine did give me everything, everything I’d expect from a natural Syrah from California. I love how alive this wine is and how it screams of fresh blackberries, green olives with herbs and some roasted meat. The weight is medium, and the acidity is a bit bright. It’s by no means a French wine but it doesn’t have to be and it’s not trying to be. This wine is young and would need time or open for a few hours, but in time it will…give you everything. John L.
This Pet Nat rosé is 100% Dolcetto sourced from the Jubilee Vineyard, planted in 2011 in Eola-Amity Hills. The first noticeable aspect of this sparkler is its beautiful, delicate, roseate hue. Bottled at a sultry 3 atmospheres, This amazing, bright, juicy pet nat, bottled at a soft and sultry 3 atmospheres of pressure (champagne is traditionally bottled at 6) is going to be in a constant in my rooftop, park, and beach rotation this summer. Bright red notes of tart apple skin and raspberry burst on the fore-palate, weaving amongst the sprightly mousse in delicate interplay. Spontaneous ferment occurs in half neutral wood and half stainless steel tank. This fun, fresh wine should be drunk cool, and preferably this summer. Andrew Farquhar
Sean sources this fantastic, bright, easy-drinking Pinot Noir from vineyards throughout the Central Coast. Destemmed, with three days of cold soak in stainless steel before fermentation begins. Bright red fruit and soft tannins mix with fine acidity and a little vanilla from some oak to make a bright and juicy, lifted vinous experience! Drink with a slight chill. Andrew Farquhar
From one of the most historic vineyards situated in the highest reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains, featuring panoramic views of Silicon Valley, Mount Eden's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most tightly-structured and elegant wines coming from California. The mature vines, planted in 1979 and 1984 from budwood sourced in the 1890s from Château Margaux, this wine has extraordinary depth, moving through scintillating layers of blackberry, bramble, graphite, and cedar, all dusted with the Central Coast's ever-present aroma of bay laurel. Large, robust, and tannic, but with strong, broad-shouldered fruit singing through, this is a fantastic wine to have now with steak after a couple hours' decant or as a gift for a serious collector who can put it away for 10-30 years. Andrew Farquhar
Richard Luftig, one of New York's best sommeliers, has made a Cabernet known for phenomenal quality and price: Pied a Terre Cabernet! Always one of our best-selling American reds, 2015 is a deep, ripe, and focused vintage for Pied a Terre. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that has classic California character but more structure and reserve than a lot of riper wine. The tannic structure is tightly woven, with fine acid backbone and lush cassis, blackberry, and slightly redder berry fruit. This is a California Cabernet meant to be consumed with food, and will pear excellently with New York strip steak, pork loin, or coq au vin. Andrew Farquhar
A mellow peach color in the glass, this rose is a little softer than Rootdown's other offerings, but it exhibits much of the herbal, mineral, and tea-like aspects associated with this grape. Trousseau planted in 2004 is gently foot-trod upon arrival in the winery, followed by spontaneous fermentation and cold-stabilization. Herbal, with fine green-apple fruit and a smudge of earthiness, this light and elegant rose is a great food wine. I had with hummus, tabouleh, foule, and baba ghanouj, with which it went famously. These magnums are incredible party bottles in addition to being exclusive on the east coast to Chambers Street Wines! Andrew Farquhar
This is a perfect California wine for our store, as it is an homage to Julien Guillot's Burgundian field blend, Cuvee 910, which we have proudly carried for years. This wine is a co-ferment made from 2 tons of Pinot Noir and 1 ton of Chardonnay, both sourced from the extraordinary Coastview Vineyard perched high in the Gabilan Mountains, which separate the Monterey AVA from the Central Valley. Field blends like this were very common in the Middle Ages, when all available grapes were brought to the winery and crushed and fermented together, but the practice has become rare today. This wine makes that rarity seem strange. This is Pinot in the form of a lightning bolt, with the beautiful red fruit and elegance of Pinot Noir but an intensity and zippiness usually associated with white wine. These two varieties are co-fermented together on the skins for 55 days. This wine has loads of character, but still remains chimeric, with many different aspects that change and interact in the glass. As with all the Subject to Change wines, this is bottled unfined and unfiltered, and no sulfur is added anywhere in the winemaking process. This is a truly special wine from an incredible place made with tact and intelligence. 12.5% alcohol, and only 210 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
Napa winemaker George Vare fell in love with Ribolla Gialla on a trip through Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the early 90's. He took cuttings from Josko Gravner's vineyard and planted the first Ribolla Gialla in North America in 1999, in Napa's Oak Knoll District. This wine was whole-cluster pressed, spontaneously fermented, and aged for 8 months in neutral oak. Only 8 barrels were made of what I believe to be Arnot-Roberts's smallest production wine. Elegant and ethereal, with fine slightly-floral, slightly-oily minerality and a delicate underbrush character, this wine is fantastic after a brief decant, but will improve for up to ten years in the bottle. Serve with a simple Italian pasta with slivered almonds, apricots, and garlic tossed in olive oil with Parmesan. Andrew Farquhar
The Quaker Run Vineyard, planted in 1999, is located on the eastern flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains, nearly touching Shenandoah National Park. This Chardonnay's spontaneous fermentation lasted for nearly 11 months and then rested on the lees for an additional seven months. Big, round, and extraordinarily texturally dense, this wine has fine leesy, yeasty, bready character that is elegantly interpolated through the fine white peach and meyer lemon fruit core. This is a big classic Chardonnay, though it has fine acid structure that adds to a long, slightly funky, lingering finish. Andrew Farquhar
Eminence Road is one of the most consistent producers of high quality wines in the Finger Lakes. This Riesling is from vines planted in loam over shale and limestone, sourced from the eastern bank of Seneca Lake. This is big and structured with a crystalline brilliance on the palate that is breathtaking. A wine of precision, this will age gracefully for 5-10 years, and is designed to complement the offerings of the country table. Andrew uses very little sulfur in the converted hillside cow barn. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Andrew Farquhar
Disclaimer: this is not made from apples (but it is fantastic). Raphael Lyon, the man behind Enlightenment Wines, had been crafting some serious mead in Clintondale, NY for some time before he moved his operation to a small space in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Made from wildflower honey and fermented to dryness, it sounds like something you may have had before, but Lyon’s process is anything but the norm. The wildflower honey is allowed to spontaneously ferment in used red wine barrels sourced from local wineries, with no SO2 added at any time, and is aged in barrel for one year before bottling. Though Raphael doesn’t advertise it, Nought is a single barrel release and will have subtle differences depending on what kind of honey is used (and where the honey is from) as well as other variances in the winemaking process. All of his meads are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Nought is heady on the nose with blossom, toasted coconut, honey-roasted walnut, red berry fruits, and bergamot. It is quite round on the palate with ample acidity and a vinous quality not found in many other meads. It finishes bone-dry with apricot, pineapple stalk, and a hint of orange peel. This is a seriously exciting foray into mead. Thanks, Raphael! Tim Gagnon
This dry Muscat is from the Suisun Valley, and it's the first year Folk Machine has bottled a Muscat. 100% Muscat Canelli (Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains), this was fermented in stainless steel. This dry wine has gorgeous floral, peachy, white grape juice aromas, but on the palate is a well-built, finely structured dry wine. There is a breadth of palate that makes it excellent for sipping cold in the sunshine.
This is a Chardonnay containing great, lustrous depths. The color of yellow topaz, this wine displays incredible concentration of fruit and earth, with dense lemon and pear character surrounded by white flower, honeysuckle, and a dusty, riverbed quality that is truly remarkable. A touch of nuttiness can be found in the back palate, and the wine displays an extraordinarily long finish with a kaleidoscopic array of aftereffects. The dialogue between clear acid structure and dense weight feels iconic. Right now, this wine responds well to air, with an aroma that continues to bloom over the course of several hours, yet I feel that this wine is truly meant for the cellar, where it will continue to grow and change for the next twenty to thirty years. Andrew Farquhar
Ovum is an exciting, predominantly Riesling-based project from winemakers John and Ksenija House from Southern Oregon, based out of the Rogue Valley. The Rogue Valley is in fact made up of the valleys of three separate rivers which are, from West to East: the Illinois River, the Applegate River, and Bear Creek. The Bear Creek Valley is the warmest and driest place in the state of Oregon, whereas the Illinois River Valley, from which this Riesling is sourced, is the coolest and wettest region in the state. Grown in serpentine soils, very rare for viticulture due to its hardness and poor nutrient retention, this is a powerful Riesling with loads of electric acidity and an incredible funky floral character: lime flower, sap, and dense crystalline citric fruit meld together in an amazing, expressive wine. Andrew Farquhar
This is a 100% Chardonnay sourced from two different parcels of younger vines, one planted in sandy, stony soils, the other in red clay rich with iron. Spontaneous fermentation and aging in a combination of neutral barriques and demi-muid. This is an expressive cold-weather Chardonnay, which walks the line between tartness and richness. Subtle notes of creamy sweet spices with a dash of mint play with a touch of lemon and unripe pear on the nose, while the palate is broad and textured, though with a fine vein of acidity. On the palate, the minerality comes to the fore, making this a fantastic food wine. 390 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
This Riesling is from vines planted right next to Lake Ontario in sandy soils. Spontaneous fermentation occurs in a combination of stainless steel tank and foudre before being racked into concrete tanks for elévage. This is a very funky, terroir expressive Riesling, with lots of dense, funky notes of pollen, silt, and an earthy, orchid floral character. On the palate a nice note of lemon curd comes through, with fantastic, razor-sharp acidity. Would benefit from a little decanting. This wine has excellent structure, which will pair well with food. Not only does this ache for freshwater fish, it is a natural pairing for more strongly flavored cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or brussels sprouts. Andrew Farquhar
Francois Morissette is one of the most creative and uncompromising producers making wine in Canada. His Irrévérence Blanc is a new cuvée exploring skin contact aromatic white grapes. 64% Riesling, 22% Chardonnay, and 14% Gewurztraminer, each of these grapes was fermented separately and using very different methods. The Riesling was fermented in stainless steel, the Chardonnay was fermented in concrete and spent 6 months in foudre, and the Gewurztraminer was fermented on the skins in qvevri for six months. After blending, another three months were spent in foudre before the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Gewurztraminer marks its territory with light, delicate tannins and a distinct but not overbearing floral aroma, and the Riesling gives fantastic citric energy and tension. The Chardonnay insinuates itself more subtly, lending a certain breadth of texture, a structural elegance, and ephemeral wisps of orchard fruits to the long finish. This is a perfect aperitif wine that is taking the wine bars of Toronto by storm. Andrew Farquhar
Sourced from estate fruit and organically farmed vineyards in the Green Valley sub-AVA of Russian River. Elegantly textured, with stylish apple and pear fruit mixing with a hint of salinity and crushed oyster shells, this is a perfect companion for heavier seafood dishes, particularly anything involving lobster. Whole cluster pressed and aged for 11 months in 25% new French barrique. What impresses me most about this Chardonnay is its reserve. Medium-bodied, the oak shows itself more in its textural integration than on the palate. 450 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
Precedent is the label of Nathan Kandler, longtime winegrower at Thomas Fogarty in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a renowned destination for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Precedent illustrates Kandler's versatility and curiosity and has introduced us to some truly unique California vineyard sites. Wirz Vineyard is home to 60+ year-old dry farmed, head-trained Riesling on decomposed granite over limestone in the Gabilan mountains. We usually have an off-dry Riesling on the table, but I'm happy to go in a drier direction in this case...concentrated, gleaming apricot, citrus rind, and tropical fruit is laced with gritty, long minerality and backed by supple texture and acidic tension. Terrific with herbed root vegetables and citrus glazed poultry or fish and anything peppery or spicy. Ariana Rolich
This bright, fresh, sunny sauvignon blanc is a classic Mendocino style, sourced from the Gibson and McFadden vineyards. Bright citrus fruit and pleasant herbal characteristics meld with spring grassland on the palate, reminiscent of a Sancerre but a touch softer and with more rounded fruit. A nice subtle floral character is interlaced throughout nose, palate, and finish. Andrew Farquhar
This fantastic Chardonnay is from the Freedom Hill vineyard located in the foothills of the coastal range 10 miles southwest of Salem. The soil here is well-drained silty clay loam. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented, this wine was aged sur lie for 11 months in neutral oak before bottling. Broad and magisterial, but with great energy, this is a beautiful Chardonnay, with peach aromas and a touch of more tropical character. The sur lie aging gives it a marvelous roundness on the palate that sublimates the brighter fruit character into something lush and restrained. The retention of such energy in this wine makes it a great Chardonnay for summer, and would pair well with cold summer soups, fish, or bruschetta. While it's drinking marvelously now, this wine will improve for up to half a decade if cellared. Andrew Farquhar
Sourced from the oldest Riesling vines along the banks of Seneca Lake, planted in 1972 on the warmer eastern bank of the lake. Seneca is the deepest of the Finger Lakes, which allows it to moderate the temperature along its banks more than the other lakes. Cayuga, to its west, while having a larger surface area, is much shallower, and you can tell along its muggy banks during the summer. This is a beautiful textured Riesling with fine balance, great acidity, ripe citrus and apple fruit, and just a tiny hint of residual sugar. This is a steal for the price, and one of the best deals I've ever seen coming from New York State. While this will pair well with food, I think this is an ideal summer aperitif. Organic practice in the vineyard, awaiting certification, and low sulfur in the winery. Andrew Farquhar
Stolpman's Roussanne vineyards have an amazing advantage that makes us believe Roussanne from Santa Barbara will become a well-known style in the future. As many know, Santa Barbara is one of the coolest regions in California, though it is also the southernmost. After the break in the Coastal Range that lets in all the cold air from the Pacific, the Transverse Ranges funnel the fog in towards Ballard Canyon and it dissipates earlier in the day and the maritime influence is mitigated, yet still the air is cold. Being at 34 degrees latitude south allows the skin of the grapes to tan in the long hours of the sun, giving them the rust color, or 'Rousse', for which they have been named. In July, the vineyard team pulls leaves away from the bunches, and they rotate the grapes 180 degrees to give an even tan. This extra sun does not lower acidity too much, due to the cold nights and limestone soils. These aspects come together to produce a wine of massive structure, with a broad, intense palate and high acidity, that nonetheless gives us beautiful citric character and lush white fruits. This is a white wine for pairing with heavier dishes like lobster, pork loin, or even a beef braise. Andrew Farquhar
This is an elegant, structured, surprisingly lean blend of 45% Marsanne and 55% Roussanne from the CCOF certified organic Bonfiglio vineyard, a small seven acre site in Mendocino farmed by one of California's peerless advocates for Rhone varieties, Glenn McGourtey. Picked together and cofermented in half neutral oak and half stainless steel, 10 % of the Roussanne undergoes carbonic maceration. This is not as rich as your typical Rhone blend, instead having tons of incredible, zippy acidity and fine lemony citrus character with an underlying herbal, waxen character. This is a great, refreshing, summertime wine that works great as an aperitif or would be singing with rosemary lemon chicken or simple summer pastas. Andrew Farquhar
This Chardonnay is sourced from the Coastview Vineyard, which must be one of the most extraordinary vineyards to see anywhere, at the top of a peak in the Gabilan Mountains, situated 2,400 feet above sea level, on a dirt track it took seven years to cut. From this height, the ocean is visible over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. Thin topsoil here overlays decomposed limestone and granite. Father-son vineyard managers John and Parker use a huge herd of sheep instead of machine mowers in this rugged terrain, and winemaker Alex Pomerantz uses this fruit to make an incredible Chardonnay that isn't quite like anything I've tasted. Whole cluster pressed before being put into neutral barrel to ferment and age for five months before being racked and put in tank for another five months. Lean and aromatically expressive, this is a very pure and pretty wine, not without richness, but more angular in structure, which should allow it to benefit from some time in the cellar. 12.5% alcohol by volume, and bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with no sulfur added. 294 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
Portola Springs Vineyard is a consistent standout in the excellent range of Thomas Fogarty Chardonnays. 2012 has riper, sunnier fruit tone than the austere 2011, without sacrificing any of Portola Springs' cool mineral core and impressive, driving acidity, owing to the low-yielding, late-ripening, nearly 40-year-old vines planted on basalt and shale. Complex and rich enough to handle poultry and pork dishes, with refreshing energy to compliment seafood and veggies. Ariana Rolich
The original vineyard planted by Mr. Wiemer himself, this wine is from a parcel farmed biodynamically. Cold spontaneous fermentation takes place over the course of months. 65% of the grapes picked two weeks late allow for this wine's beautiful mellow sweetness. 20% fermented in 1000L Hungarian barrels. This is an extraordinarily pretty wine, with delicate, expressive acidic structure laid over with a number of layers of beautiful fruit. Notes of peach, Meyer lemon, and white flowers all mesh together in harmonious accord. Pair with Peking duck, fresh fruit, or blue cheese. Andrew Farquhar