Wine Club October 2019

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Hello everyone, we are excited to announce the October edition of Vine Arts Wine Club. Six new wines from six new producers! Your wine-bags will be available for pickup from both locations on October 1st. Cheers!

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2016 Nikolaihof Im Weingebirge Federspiel Grüner Veltliner - Wachau, Austria $37.50

Where

Positioned northeast of the city of Vienna, the region of Wachau is a small but important area for Austrian wine production. It runs for 33 kilometres along the River Danube, which is the longest river in the European Union. Many of the regions 1,344 hectares of vineyards are planted on steep hillside terraces overlooking the river, which moderates temperatures. The continental climate is marked by a long and dry growing season, punctuated by a cold and short winter.

What

Winemaking in Wachau centers around two key grape varieties, Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Wachau Grüner Veltliner is particularly iconic. It is typically bone-dry with steely acidity and minerality. In 1983 winemakers introduced a new system with three tiers to classify the regions wines. The first and lightest style, Steinfeder, includes wines with no more than 11.5% alcohol. The second style, Federspiel, includes wines with 11.5% to 12.5% alcohol. The third and ripest style, Smaragd, includes wines with a minimum of 12.5% alcohol. All three styles reject sweetness and oak flavours.

The Nikolaihof Im Weingebirge Federspiel Grüner Veltliner is made from grapes harvested from the Im Weingebirge vineyard. First mentioned in 511 AD, it is one of the oldest named vineyards in the world. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks and matured for three months in large oak vats.

Who

Nikolaihof is one of the oldest wine estates in Austria. The first wines were made here as early as 470 AD, 6 years before the last Roman Emperor in the west was overthrown. Not many other wineries can say that their cellar was originally a Roman crypt. The estate was purchased by the Saah family in 1894. Sadly the estate was confiscated by the Wehrmacht in 1938, and then occupied by the Russians until 1956. The family was able to regain ownership of the winery in 1960. Today the estate consists of 20 hectares of biodynamically farmed vineyards. The family were actually practicing biodynamic viticulture long before fellow Austriran Rudolf Steiner even coined the term. Their vines see absolutely no chemicals or synthetic interventions. Widely hailed as one of the greatest white wine producers in the world, Nikolaihof is helmed by Nikolaus Saahs, who took over from his parents in 2005.

Taste

Pale yellow green in colour, this Grüner shows primary aromas of lemon peel, grapefruit, and white pepper. On the palate it jumps into action with cracking acidity and stoney salinity. Flavours of lime, nectarine, oyster shells and dill lead into a dry and mouth-watering finish. At this stage in its development it’s very focused and refined. While certainly delicious today, it will benefit from a few years in the cellar. Capable of going toe to toe with spicy dishes, it is a great match for Pork Tonkatsu.

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2016 Alvear Marques de la Sierra Blanco - Montilla-Moriles, Spain $23.50

Where

If Madrid is Spain’s methodical brain, Andalucia is its beating heart. Think bullfighting, flamenco dancing, and tapas. Known as Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) until the late 1400’s, it has a distinctive North African quality. At its narrowest, the Strait of Gibraltar only separates Europe from Africa by 14.3 kilometres. Bookended by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, its northern boundary is defined by the Sierra Morena mountain range. While the summers are hot, hot, hot; some parts of Andalucia receive fair amounts of winter snowfall. Within eyesight of the magical city of Granada, the Sierra Nevada mountain range hosts Europe’s most southerly ski resorts.

What

Certainly the most celebrated Andalucian wine would be Sherry. Made in the coastal towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, It is one of the worlds greatest fortified wines. Dry Sherry is principally made from Palomino Fino, while sweeter styles are made from Pedro Ximenez (pronounced “pedro hem-meen-nez”) and Moscatel de Alejandria.

The Alvear Marques de la Sierra Blanco is a rare example of an unfortified and dry Pedro Ximenez. It was fermented at low temperatures with a small amount of skin contact. The grapes were harvested from the “Casilla del Hospital” vineyard in the region of Montilla-Moriles.

Who

Bodegas Alvear has been producing wines in Montilla-Moriles for eight generations. Founded in 1729 by Diego de Alvear y Escalera, the estate today has 300 hectares of vineyards. Over 70% of the vineyards in this area are planted to Pedro Ximenez. The oldest winery in Montilla, they are best known for bottling deliciously sweet wines. They also produce dry fortified wines that are aged in barrel under flor (a thin layer of yeast that blocks oxidation). To be clear, Alvear does not produce Sherry. Montilla is nearly three hours inland from Jerez, and does not fall within the recognized boundaries of the Jerez DO (Denominación de Origen).

Taste

Pale lemon yellow in the glass, this wine displays herbal aromas of fresh squeezed lemons, fennel, and anise. The round and medium bodied palate has well balanced acidity and a touch of bitterness on the finish. Fresh and citrusy, it is a great little sashimi and sushi wine. It is best served well chilled.

 

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2017 Odfjell Vineyards Armador Merlot - Maipo Valley, Chile $22.50

Where

Known as the 'Bordeaux of South America', the Maipo Valley is Chile’s most esteemed wine region. It lies just south of the capital city of Santiago at the northern end of the Central Valley. The vine was first planted here as early as the mid 1500’s. Cradled between the Coastal Range and the Andes Mountains, the region is separated into three subregions. Sitting close to the Andes with colluvial soils (broken mountain stones), Alto Maipo climbs as high as 760 meters above sea level. Just to the west, the warmer Central Maipo lies on lower and more fertile ground. The youngest subregion, Pacific Maipo, is greatly affected by coastal influences. Overall the Maipo Valley is warm and dry with little rainfall.

What

The Maipo has been home to Chile’s most famous wineries since the 1800’s. At this time wealthy Chileans with ‘new money’ invested heavily in the regions wine industry. They aspired to emulate the great wines of France, most notably those of Bordeaux. Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenere account for over half of the regions vineyard plantings.

The Armador (meaning “Shipowner” in Norwegian) Merlot is made from grapes harvested in mid-March from biodynamically farmed vineyards located in Padre Hurtado (Alto Maipo). Once in the cellar and destemmed, the grapes were spontaneously fermented using indegenous yeasts for 7 days in 40,000-liter stainless steel tanks. Total maceration time was around 16 days. Following malolactic fermentation (conversion of malic acid to lactic acid), the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks.

Who

Odfjell Vineyards was created by Norweigian shipping magnate Dan Odfjell. A lifelong mariner, Odfjell first visited Chile during the early 1980’s. Struck by the breathtaking scenery of the Maipo Valley, he decided to purchase a plot of land. He planted his first vines in 1991, and released his debut vintage in 2000. Today the winery has 85 hectares of vineyards. French born Arnaud Hereau looks after winemaking, while Chilean Arturo Labbé oversees the vineyards. Their vineyard holdings include some of the regions oldest vines (up to 100 years old). In the vineyard they practice biodynamic viticulture (certified by Demeter), and employ a team of low impact Norwegian fjord horses to prevent soil compaction.

Taste

Deep garnet in color, on the nose this wine shows ripened aromas of black cherries, cassis and bay leaf. Voluptuous and mouth filling on the palate, it is brimming with blue-fruit and fine tannins. Flavours of blackberry and plum lead into a lingering dark-chocolate finish. Don’t listen to Paul Giamatti and the so-called “Sideways Effect” (seriously, an actual thing). We should all be drinking more Merlot, starting with this tasty bottle from Chile. For service, we suggest giving this wine a short decant. It will pair well with most pork dishes and red meats (saucy meatloaf, yum!)

 

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2015 Cantina Orsogna Lunaria Costa di Moro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Abruzzo, Italy $27.00

Where

Located to the east of Rome on the Adriatic coast, Abruzzo is one of the wildest regions in Italy. Sparsely populated, around one third of Abruzzo is designated as national park space. Over 65% of the terrain is mountainous. The highest peaks of the Apennines can reach up to 2,750 metres feet above sea level. Isolated by its severe topography, wine-making in the region evolved in relative seclusion. Vineyards planted on river valley hillsides benefit from the moderating effects of the Adriatic. These river valleys begin in the mountains and flow east to where they empty into the sea.

What

The main DOC for red wine production in Abruzzo is Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. This designation is not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is a designation for wines made around the Tuscan village of Montepulciano. In the case of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo we are talking about Montepulciano “the grape”, and not Montepulciano “the place”. Confusing, you bet. Under Italian wine law, wines labelled as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo must contain at least 85% Montepulciano with up to 15% of Sangiovese to round things out. It must also be aged for at least 5 months prior to release.

The Lunaria Costa di Moro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is made from 100% Montepulciano grapes harvested from biodynamically farmed vines. Once in the winery the grapes are destemmed and crushed prior to fermenting with indegenous yeasts for 10 to 15 days. The wine is then aged in a combination of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for at least 4 months.

Who

Cantina Orsogna is a progressive co-operative that was founded in 1964 by 7 grape growers. Today it has expanded to include 450 grape growers and 150 olive growers, with around 325 hectares of vineyards. The winery broke new ground for Abruzzo when it became organic in 2002. In 2005 it became Italy’s largest producer of biodynamically certified wines. The winery itself is located 9 miles from the Adriatic on the slopes of the mountainous Majella National Park.

Taste

In the glass you’ll find a wine that is inky ruby-red in colour. The pronounced nose shows aromas of black cherries and plums with refreshing notes of dried sage and oregano. Flavours of black berry, boysenberry, and prune are complemented by a hint of baking spice. The medium bodied palate has chewy tannins, high acidity, and a long finish. Altogether a wine with plenty of structure and juicy intensity. Montepulciano is often lauded for its pairing prowess. Thanks to naturally high acidity and robust tannins, it is a natural partner for bold and savoury dishes. It is a great match for Filipino Beef Adobo.

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2017 Cave de la Côte Pinot Noir - La Côte/Vaud, Switzerland $27.25

Where

Famed for banks, expensive watches, and chocolate, Switzerland is not commonly known for its winemaking. This small and mountainous country is bordered by France to the west, Italy to the south, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east, and Germany to the north. Geographically it is comprised of three areas: the Swiss Alps in the south (covering 60% of the country), the Central Plateau, and the Jura mountains (an extension of French Jura) in the west. The climate is generally temperate, with certain areas experiencing a warm wind known as the föhn (similar to a chinook wind). The bulk of Switzerland's vineyards are concentrated in the southwest of the country on the shores of Lake Geneva and along the Rhone and Valais rivers.

This wine comes from vineyards in the subregion of La Côte. Situated within the Vaud region and covering 2,000 hectares, La Côte is one of the most prolific Swiss wine regions. The vineyards run south-west to north-east, about 250 meters above the shores of Lake Geneva. The lake plays an important role in moderating temperatures and reflecting light onto the vines.

What

The reason you rarely see wine from Switzerland is that most of it is consumed domestically. Only 2% of Swiss wine is exported. Winemaking in Switzerland has been heavily influenced by France. The dominant grape varieties (Chasselas, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Merlot) are all French in origin. Pinot Noir is the most popular variety, accounting for 30% of all plantings. This total has increased from past decades, when white wines (mostly made from Chasselas) accounted for up to 70% of wine production.

This 100% Pinot Noir is made from grapes harvested from multiple parcels in the La Côte appellation d’origine contrôlée. It was partially fermented in barrel for texture and fullness.

Who

In 1929 Cave de la Côte was formed by a group of growers from the Morges region in Vaud. Eventually this co-operative grew to include growers from other subregions, bringing together 1,800 plots of vineyards that are spread over 450 hectares. The plots are planted to over 30 different grape varieties. In partnership with the Changins Institute of Agronomic Research (Institut de recherches en agronomie de Changins) and the School of Wine (Ecole du Vin), they have played a leading role in developing the regions potential. The co-operatives two winemaking facilities are located in Nyon and Tolochenaz, and are overseen by oenologist Rodrigo Banto.

Taste

This is a round and easy drinking example of Pinot Noir. Light ruby in color, it shows classic aromas of cranberry, sweet cherry, and a whiff of earthiness. Light bodied with soft tannins, the palate is lead by primary flavours of fresh picked red fruits, followed by secondary flavours of tobacco and spice. Fruit driven and uncomplicated, this wine is the perfect match for the Swiss classic, Raclette. Originating from the region of Valais, this indulgent dish is the ultimate meal for when the temperature drops.

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2017 Château de Mattes-Sabran Le Clos Redon - Corbieres, France $25.25

Where

Corbières is a large wine appellation in France’s sunny Languedoc-Roussillon region. With over 10,000 hectares of planted vineyards, it is one of the most productive appellations in the country. Situated between Narbonne, Perpignan and Carcassonne, the landscape is wild and unruly. The further inland you get from the Medieterranean Sea, the more arid and sparse things get. With a region of this size you find numerous microclimates and diverse soil types. To better compartmentalise these particularities, Corbières is subdivided into 11 sub-appellations.

What

Corbières is largely given to the production of red wines (97% of total wine output). They are known to be robust and fruit driven, the perfect match for Corbières’ rustic and hearty cuisine. The key grape varieties are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Lledoner Pelut (a mutation of Grenache) and Carignan.

The Clos Redon is made from 100% Syrah from vineyards planted on terraced hills near the village of Portel des Corbières. The vines range in age from 20 to 50 years. The grapes were hand harvested and fermented with indegenous yeasts in cement tanks. Following maturation in French oak barrels, the wine was bottled without filtering or fining.

Who

Château Mattes-Sabran has a history stretching all the way back to 1102 AD. It was once part of the medieval Cistercian Abbey of Lagrasse. During the French Revolution it was owned by Josephine Anne de Sabran, the widow of the Marquis de Monteil (a famous sailor who fought for the last King of France). The last time the Château itself was sold was in 1733. Previously a much larger estate, a large chunk of the property was carved off in 1914. Even still, today Château Mattes-Sabran extends over 615 hectares. Just over 36 hectares, separated into 30 plots, are planted with grape vines. The vineyards are split into two different areas. The smaller area, with predominantly alluvial soils, is positioned close to the Berre River. The larger area, positioned on hillsides, features rocky soils similar to what you find in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The winemaker of Château Mattes-Sabran is Jean-Luc Brouillat.

Taste

The Clos Redon is an archetypical Corbières red wine. Deep blood red in colour, on the nose it shows bold aromas of blackberry, bacon fat, olive, thyme, and tobacco. The gutsy palate is dominated by chewy tannins and stewed blackfruit flavours. It is a savoury wine that draws on the wild and unruly character of the Languedoc-Roussillon. When serving this wine allow for 2 to 3 hours decanting time. It is the perfect match for a hearty rustic pork cassoulet.