Wine Club August 2019

august wine club.jpg

Hello everyone, your August edition of wine club is now available for pickup. This month we are pleased to be joined by the always engaging and super knowledgeable Brad Royale. In addition to being a well respected sommelier and wine director, Brad is also the creator of Kitten Swish, a boutique wine negociant. This month’s wine bag includes his newest release, a delicious Tempranillo from Rioja. it is joined by a crisp and refreshing white blend from the Alentejo, a dry and elegant rosé from Oregon, a Sangiovese dominant blend from Tuscany, an underdog from southwestern France, and a luscious Grenache led blend from Montsant. Altogether a lineup of real crowd-pleasers. As always if you would like any additional details about any of the wines, please let us know and we’ll get back to you asap. Cheers!

versatil.jpg

2017 Casa de Santa Vitória Versátil Branco - Alentejo, Portugal $18.50

Where

The sleepy town of Santa Vitória lies within the municipality of Beja in southern Alentejo. Beja is one of three districts that is included for the production of Vinho Regional Alentejano PGI (the less stringent appellation system for wines from the region). Located at the southernmost part Alentejo, this is one of the hottest places not only in Portugal but in the entire Iberian Peninsula. Between June and August the thermostat can reach up to 45 degrees celsius. Annual yearly rainfall is around 558 mm (around half the precipitation of the Douro in northern Portugal).
  

What

Primarily known for red wines, the Alentejo does produce smaller amounts of white wine. The most popular white grape variety is Antão Vaz, which is thick skinned and tough enough to cope with hot conditions. Similar to Chardonnay, it is very versatile to work with. It is commonly blended with Arinto, a variety that has naturally high acidity.

The Casa de Santa Vitória Versátil Branco is a blend of Arinto, Antão Vaz and Viosinho from vines planted to clay-schist soils. In the cellar the grapes were left in contact with their skins for 8 hours prior to fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Maturation took place partially in oak barrels.

Who

Established in 2002, Casa de Santa Vitória has 127 hectares of vineyards and 150 hectares of olive groves in Alentejo. Owned by the Vila Galé Hotel group, the winery was built just down the road from the Vila Galé Clube Campo Hotel. Built in 2004, the large 5,000 m2 multi story winery houses the most up-to-date winemaking tools. The chai (barrel room) contains 600 French and American oak barrels. The vineyard holdings, first planted in 2000, are separated into 3 separate plots: Encosta, Albernôa, and Juliana.

Taste

Youthful and friendly, the Versátil Branco is a great alternative to unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. Pale straw in colour, on the nose it has a bouquet of lemon zest, grapefruit, and chamomile aromas. The light-medium bodied palate is punctuated by high acidity, citrus flavours, and subtle hazelnut bitterness on the finish. Best served well chilled around 8°C to 10°C, it pairs well with classic Portuguese salted cod or even a cheeky Filet-O-Fish.

stoller.jpg

2018 Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé - Willamette Valley, USA $28.50

Where

Visiting the foodie hotspot of Portland? You owe it to yourself to make the short drive south to the vineyards of the Willamette Valley. Spanning 190km, this stretch of land is responsible for producing some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the world. The valley itself sits between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Mountain Range, insulated from extreme Pacific and continental influences. Receiving a good amount of rain during winter months, the summers are typically dry and warm. Most vineyards are located on hillsides where the soils are less arable and less susceptible to frost. Spearheaded by growers looking to highlight the regions diversity, the region has created 7 sub-AVA’a: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, Van Duzer Corridor, and Yamhill-Carlton District.

What

Famously persnickety about place, Pinot Noir seems to have found its American home in Oregon. Three in four bottles of Willamette Valley wine are made from Pinot Noir. How did this come about? In the 1960’s a group California winemakers educated at the University of California's Davis campus went in search of an area better suited to growing Pinot Noir. That search brought them to the Willamette Valley. This was the catalyst for fine winemaking in the region.

The Stoller Family Estate Rosé is made from 100% estate grown Pinot Noir. The vines are specifically farmed for the production of rosé. In the cellar the grapes are whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness.

Who

Bill Stoller took what was once a turkey farm and created a premier wine estate, all within only two decades. Born on a farm in Dayton, Oregon, Stoller first made his name in the human resources industry. A successful businessman, he and his late-wife Cathy were able to make the jump into the wine industry, becoming co-owners of Chehalem Wines in 1993. At the same time he started to plant vines on land that he purchased from a cousin. It would eventually grow to be the largest contiguous vineyard in Dundee Hills. The first vintages released by the estate were made by his partner at Chehalem Wines, Harry Peterson-Nedry. In 2003 Melissa Burr, who grew up in nearby Salem, became head winemaker. The winery itself is certified LEED gold, meaning it is sustainably built and environmentally friendly.

Taste

Light salmon pink in colour, this rosé is bone-dry with tangy notes of bing cherries, grapefruit, orange peel and peach. The nose is a touch floral with aromas of rose petals and just-picked strawberries. The medium bodied palate is very tart with a healthy streak of acidity. Give this wine 20 minutes out of the fridge to show it’s best. It is a delightful wine to serve with a simple turkey or chicken club sandwich.

 

rigoleto.jpg

2016 ColleMassari Rigoleto Montecucco Rosso - Tuscany, Italy $24.50

Where

Home to Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany is one of the best known parts of Italy. Given its fame, it is refreshing to know that there are areas of Tuscany still left to discover. One such area is Montecucco. Huddled between Montalcino and the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is one of Italy’s newest wine regions. Altogether it has around 500 hectares of land planted to vine for the production of DOC and DOCG wines. Straddling the provinces of Maremma and Siena, the landscape is distinguished by rolling hills covered by chestnut trees, bisected by meandering gravel roads, and capped by timeworn villages. Mount Amiata, an extinct lava dome, speaks to the regions volcanic past. Within its borders, there are seven communes which are approved to bottle Montecucco Rosso: Arcidosso, Campagnatico, Castel del Piano, Cinigiano, Civitella Paganico, Roccalbegna, Seggiano.

What

The ColleMassari Rigoleto is made from a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sangiovese is Italy’s most planted, and arguably its most important grape variety. Ciliegiolo is a fairly obscure red variety that is grown in central and northwestern Italy. The grapes name is thought to come from either its cherry-like notes, or from the traditional farming technique of training a vine around a cherry tree for support. The wine was fermented and aged for 15 months primarily in stainless steel tanks. A small portion of the blend was aged in French oak barrels. It was bottled without any fining.

Who

ColleMassari is the most important winery in Montecucco. Located in Cinigiano in the foothills of Monte Amiata, the estate has the oldest vines in the region (up to 60 years old). With 285 hectares planted to vine, the estate controls over half of the regions vineyards. The Castello ColleMassari, a medieval castle founded by Cistercian monks in the 8th century, sits atop the very hill that gives the region its name. Purchased by sister and brother team Maria Iris Bertarelli and Claudio Tipa in 1998, the winery produced its first vintage in 2000. In addition to ColleMassari, the siblings also own three sister wineries: Grattamacco in Bolgheri, Tenuta San Giorgio in Montalcino, and Poggio di Sotto in Montalcino.

Taste

Dark carmine red in colour, on the nose the Rigoleto reveals aromas of dried cherries, clove-spice, and a whiff of smoke. The medium-full bodied palate has firm tannins and lean acidity. Flavours of sour cherries and dried prunes are well complemented by an herbal and chewy finish. It could be compared to a more robust Rosso di Montalcino. A classic food pairing for this wine would be a hearty and meaty stew made with wild boar (cinghiale) or ox-tail. When enjoyed without food, this wine benefits from at least 15 minutes of decanting.

 

pyrene.jpg

2016 Lionel Osmin & Cie Pyrène Pays de Cocagne - Comté Tolosan, France $17.70

Where

The IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) of Comté Tolosan covers a large swathe of southwestern France. Located within the Aquitaine Basin, it lies north of the Pyrenees and south of the Massif Central. This regional designation was created for areas outside of the existing appellations of the Sud-Ouest, such as Jurancon and Cahors. Halfway between the Atlantic and the Medietrannean, Comté Tolosan experiences a mostly maritime climate. The majority of vineyard plantings are concentrated on rocky terraces close to the Gironne river. Although moderated by the Atlantic, summers here can be very hot and dry.

What

Historically this part of southwestern France was held back by the leading wine merchants in Bordeaux. Wines shipped up the Gironne river for export were subject to heavy taxes and restrictions, assuring their relative obscurity. Today, Comté Tolosan is an incredible source for well-priced wines made from recognizable grape varieties. Alongside plantings of local varieties such Petit Manseng, Colombard, Tannat and Cot (Malbec); you also find Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Pyrène Pays de Cocagne is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Tannat, and 10% Syrah. Tannat, thought to have originated in Basque country, is known for its firm tannin structure and deep color. Harvested in mid-September, the varieties were warm macerated prior to fermentation to draw out colour from the skins. Fermented separately by variety, 10% of the wine was aged in oak barrels for aromatic complexity. One month prior to bottling the separate varieties were blended together.

Who

Lionel Osmin is one of the most successful negociants in southwestern France. By partnering with a cohort of grape growers, he has access to 120 hectares of vines spread across the region. Most of these holdings are concentrated closer to the Atlantic side of Comté TolosanIn. In 2015 Osmin was awarded the title of “Négociant de l'Année” by La Revue du Vin de France. At the winery he is joined by winemaker Damiens Sartori, who spent time working with Michel Chapoutier in the Rhône and Patrick Ducournau in Madiran. It was Ducournau who first introduced Sartori to the technique of micro-oxygenation to soften the strength of Tannat.

Taste

In the glass the appearance of this wine is lead by Tannat’s blackish-red colour. On the nose it has lively aromas of plums, black licorice, cardamom, and bay leaf. The palate is medium bodied with smooth tannins, soft acidity, and jammy flavours of blackberry, chocolate, and pepper. Mouth Filling and fruity, the Pyrène Pays de Cocagne is very easy drinking. Although you can happily enjoy this wine on its own, you can also serve it with barbecued smokies and homemade burgers.

mas marer.jpg

2016 Venus la Universal Mas Marer - Montsant, Spain $23.50

Where

Montsant is a Catalonian wine region with a relatively short history. Officially given a DO (Denominación de Origen) in the early 2000’s, Montsant forms a near complete ring around the smaller region of Priorat. The area has around 1,900 hectares of land planted to vine, mostly on steep slopes among almond and olive groves, forests and rocky terraces. This beautifully hilly country has largely resisted the march of gentrification, still retaining its rustic roots.

What

Like in neighbouring Priorat, Montsant is best known for the production of red wines. The most predominant grape varieties are Grenache and Carignan, which take well to the regions dry Meditteranean climate. Newer arrivals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, are frequent blending partners.

The Mas Marer is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot harvested from sustainably farmed young vines planted to granite soils. When the vines eventually mature, the grapes will then go into the wineries upper tier wines. Once in the cellar and fermented, the Mas Marer was aged for 14 months in 3-4 year old French oak barrels and concrete tanks.

Who

Venus la Universal is managed by wife and husband team, Sara Pérez and René Barbier. The children of famous Priorat winemakers (Josep Lluis Pérez of Mas Martinet and René Snr. Barbier of Clos Mogador), they produce wines from 4 hectares of vineyards in Falset. Sara and René collaborate with 4 grape-growing families who own the lion's share of the vineyards. The vines are farmed according to strict sustainable standards. In the cellar their driving mantra is “to interpret femininity through a bottle of wine”. Given Montsant’s propensity to birth wines that are full bodied and concentrated, it is quite something to see how Sara and René are able capture the regions freshness.

Taste

Deep vermillion in colour, this wine has fruity aromas of black-raspberry, anise, and cinnamon. On the palate it is full-bodied and a touch spicy. Flavours of sweet and sour cherry, black-currant, and balsamic are complemented by soft tannins and a touch of earthiness. At 14.5% alcohol, this wine has some heat on the finish. Serve this wine with grilled and braised meats, but avoid anything too spicy. The ideal service temperature would be 16 to 18 degrees celsius.

kitten swish.jpg

2014 Kitten Swish I’m Going to Take You Places Tempranillo - Rioja, Spain $32.00

Written by Brad Royale

Where

This tasty nugget comes from the badass town of Ollauri in Rioja Alta, north-central Spain. The Sierra de Cantebria loom over the northern horizon like a formation of sentinels sent to protect the resource lush Ebro river. The land here is calcareous clay with gentle aspects and a continental climate. Fall is the best season and it’s not uncommon for there to be snow in winter, summer is pretty.

What

Delicious Tempranillo! A grape defined by punchy acidity, grainy tannins and gently smoked cherries. Perfectly served with a perfectly chilled bottle.

Who

KITTEN SWISH PEOPLE!! KITTEN SWISH!! Your local micro-négociant, working hard to bring you the best small lots from some of the best winemakers on the planet. We contact people who make amazing wine. We ask them to be friends. We then raid their cellar and pick out sick juice. We then bottle it at the estate with our zippy logo and then bring it to your mouths. We do it all for your mouth.

For this bottling we partnered with Diego Santana (perhaps the greatest name ever…”Hello, my name is Diego Santana, you killed my father, prepare to die!”…right?) of Valenciso fame. They make one of the finest Reserva bottlings of Rioja in modern times…in fact that is all they made…until we showed up!

Taste

A swath of pomegranate mingles with strings of red licorice in the back seat. Faint wisps of hibiscus stroll through an open window as you drive along the summer-warm back roads of hay-laden prairie. The sunset steeps the horizon in a bask of orange-crimson scented cranberry tea. You love road trips and, “I’m going to take you places.”