featured producer: Alice bouvot, domaine de L'octavin
there are simply not enough words to describe to you what alice's wines exemplify, but if i had to choose one, it would be, committed.
2019 'les Roi des Cépages,' Riesling
2018 'Elle Aime,' Pinot Noir/Chardonnay
2018 'zerlina,' Pinot noir/trousseau
2019 'Dorabella,' poulsard
NV Étienne Doué 'cuveé selection,' Chardonnay/pinot noir, brut, Aube
A fine example of a "grower" Champagne, as well as a sensory experience for your palate. Lush and fruit driven, with a keen chalky mineral edge.
NV Fluteau, pinot noir, Extra brut, Aube
When you think of the Aube, you should think of Pinot Noir. Thierry Fluteau's vineyards are in the southernmost part of the region. From vintages 2007, 2008, 2009 and vinified in stainless steel. A Champagne that begs for oyster and appetizers.
NV Pertois-moriset 'les quatre terroirs' brut, grand cru, les mesnil-sur-oger
WOW! What a sophisticated and utterly indulgent Blanc des Blancs that rivals its massively more expensive neighbors. Low dosage and a high percentage of the yearly wine weave together like soft Turkish sheets. Grand Cru Blanc des Blancs does not have to cost over $500!
NV solemme 'terre de Solemme,' Montagne de rEIms
Meunier dominant cépage from Premier Crus vineyards farmed organically and biodynamically. White flower/white cherry, rich, precise.
NV Pierre Paillard 'Les parcelles,' Bouzy, Montagne de rEIms
Bouzy is home to Grand Crus for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This highly sought after combo provides a broud shouldered Champagne with a striking tone of finesse.
NV Christophe Mignon 'ADN De Meunier,' rEIms
Christophe is another maestro of the Meunier grape. This is his zero dosage bottling, so expect long, lengthy expression of the mountainous terrrior.
NV roger coulon 'l'Hommée,' vrigny, montagne de rEIms
Our "go to" selection if you're looking for that classic "toasty, yeasty, rich" style. The Chardonnay spends seven months in barrel and the complete wine spends five years in bottle before disgorgement.
NV ANDRÉ HEUCQ 'ASSEMBLAGE,' EXTRA BRUT, VALLÉE DE LA MARNE
Looking for a Champagne full-bodied, complex Champagne with a generously long finish? Look no further than Heucq's elaboration that spends 5 years on lees.
NV Guy Larmandier 'Vertus,' VALLÉE DE LA MARNE (Rosé)
Comprised of 85% Chardonnay from the Côtes du Blancs, with Pinot Noir from Larmandier's vineyards in Vertus. No added dosage keeps it bone dry.
Sparkling – Other Countries
NV Red Tail Ridge ‘Perpetual Change,’ Brut Nature, Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York
“Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel...” Nancy Irelan’s masterpiece blend of mostly Chardonnay (57%) and Riesling (32.5%) low dosage and one of the most unique bouquets and flavor profiles I’ve ever had in a sparkling wine. Oh! And, a Velociraptor!
2021 CARBONISTE 'OCTOPUS,' ALBARIÑO, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
After many years making wine at Schramsberg, Dan Person decided it was time for a new interpretation of California sparkling. The Albariño comes from Gomes Vineyards, almost half way between San Francisco and Sacramento. Lean and lovely. The ultimate match for oysters!
NV Divella Gussago ‘Blanc de Blancs,’ Chardonnay, Franciacorta, Italy
This wine blew my mind. I pushed the Franciacorta rock in this business far too long to zero effect. My first thoughts upon tasting this? Alessandra Divella is producing Blanc de Blancs on par with the two Jacques (Selosse and Lassaigne, in Champagne) at a fraction of the price!
NV Cruse Wine Co. ‘Tradition,’ Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, California
Since “Ultramarine” has ascended to astronomical heights in popularity, price, and scarcity, Michael began producing his own version.
2000 Recaredo ‘Turo d’en Mota’ Cava Brut Nature, Penedes, Spain
After nearly a decade on lees, this single vineyard Xarello is the finest Cava currently available & could easily rival great Champagnes.
2010 Bisson ‘Abissi’ Spumante, Portofino, Liguria, Italy
One of the world’s sparkling wine treasures, this is matured on its lees 200 feet under the sea, emerging from the water with barnacles and seaweed intact on the bottle; a gentle wine of total saline-edged finesse.
Sparkling – Pétillant Naturel • Méthod Ancestrale
NV Christoph Hoch 'Kalkspitz,' Österreich, Austria
Christoph wanted to highlight the "active" chalk that resembles the Cote des Blancs, in Champagne. Expect a zippy, mint, mineral piledriver.
2019 OCTáGONO, red blend, san felipe, guanajuato, Mexico (sparkling red)
I met Marcelo Castro Vera, by chance, while endlessly searching for any sort of "natural wine" while in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, last year. I was blown away by his commitment to produce wines in the ancient Georgian method. Truly pleasurable, grippy and juicy. Party on!
2020 alfredo maestro 'perdigon,' pinot noir/garnacha, castilla y leon, spain (Rosé)
Young vine Pinot Noir is blended with old, bush vine Garnacha that is already used for Alfredo's "Amanda" rosato. Don't be fooled by the jolly rancher aroma, this drinks nice and dry.
2020 JULIEN PINEAU 'CHECAGOU BULLES,' CABERNET SAUVIGNON, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE (Rosé)
Our guy, Julien Pineau, grew up a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls during their multiple championship runs in the 90's. He has long since wanted to craft an homage wine for this great city and those great Bulls teams. Don't save these bottles as collector pieces, drink them, please!
French Whites – Loire Valley
2019 Ludovic Chanson 'Garvroche,' Sauvignon Blanc, Montlouis-sur-Loire
Ludovic's vineyard sits on the highly desirable limestone, flint, and silex soils sought after in the Loire. His Sauvignon Blanc is rich and weighty, without the high-toned pyrazine smell associated with this varietal.
2020 DOMAINE DU NOZAY, SAUVIGNON BLANC, SANCERRE
Sancerre of great distinction due to its northerly location within the appellation. Here the soils start to resemble that of Chablis, chalky, mineral laden. No doubting this is still the Sauvignon style your desire.
2020 Olivier Lemasson ‘bois sans soif,’ Menu Pineau/Chenin Blanc, Touraine
It’s with great sadness that we lost Olivier this year. He embodied everything that his wines express.
2020 Agnès et René mosse 'magic of Ju-Ju,' Chenin Blanc, Anjou
One of our favorite families in the wine world. Chenin with body, nuance and so much fun to drink!
2019 Château de l'EperonNière, Chenin Blanc, Savennières
A classic example of Chenin and one that I have enjoyed throughout my career. The name may be difficult to say, so just ask for the Chenin Charles sold to Dave Chapelle many many moons ago!
2017 Hodgson (Mai et Kenji) ‘Les Aussigouins,’ Chenin Blanc, Anjou
The wine I’ve been waiting to for to arrive in Chicago! Ex-pat, Canadian’s, Mai and Kenji are crafting “oh-so beautifully flawed” Chenin? Maybe to an MS. For me, it does not get any better than this. Special pricing for you to experience for yourself. Or, I’ll buy it all!
TRY AN AMERICAN VERSION!
2020 Bow & Arrow 'fool's gold,' Chardonnay/Sauvignon blanc, Willamette Valley, OR
You know when you're drinking a Bow & Arrow wine that it is going to have a Loire-esque vibe to them. "Fool's Gold" is winemaker Scott Frank's nod to a Cheverny blanc (50% Chardonnay, 50% Sauvignon Blanc). I must say, he nailed it! A crowd pleaser? No. A WOW-pleaser!
French Whites – Burgundy
2017 Bersan, Chablis
Located around the town of St. Bris, this father and son team only produce their Chardonnay in stainless to enhance it's stony minerality.
2017 Gille, Côte de Nuits-Villages
Stunningly fresh and weaves a soft patchwork on the palate. You CAN have the best of Burgundy at this price point.
2015 Dom. de la Vougeraie, Savigny-lès-Beaune
Sometimes families can work together. The Boisset’s own several parcels in Burgundy. This Savigny-lès-Beaune over delivers in style.
A Selection of Wines from Alice et Olivier de Moor:
2019 Chardonnay 'l'humeur du temps,' Chablis 85
“Le Vendangeur Masqué” BY OLIVIER DE MOOR:
2016 Viognier/Chardonnay/Clairette/Roussanne ‘En si Belle Compagnie Meridionale,’ Southern Rhône 65
French Whites – Jura
2013 pinte, savagnin, Arbois
Rare to find a Jura domaine where Savagnin is over 50% of the production. A lengthy Savagnin that incorporates the assets of long barrel aging into shining undertones of Meyer lemon and honeysuckle. Smashing!
2018 Labet ‘Bardette,’ Chardonnay, Côtes du Jura
Bardette comes off of some of Jura's prized limestone, and clay. Labet's barrels are fabulously large and old, trust me I've seen them with my own eyes! Bardette is a contemplative wine. Give yourself time with this one.
2016 Philippe Bornard ‘Les Gaudrettes,’ Chardonnay, Côtes du Jura
Various varieties of marl that make up the vineyard creates a distinct minerality commonly found in wines from this area. Gaudrettes is Bornard’s Chardonnay masterpiece. Deftly intertwining citrus and stonefruit, marzipan, spice, and hazelnut. Exclusive!
2016 Ganevat ‘Kopines,’ Chardonnay/Aligoté, Jura, France
Jean-Francois’ ode to his time working in Burgundy (where part of the Chardonnay comes from) with Aligoté, and Chardonnay, from Jura,
aged one year in oak casks. The result is a broad spectrum of brown butter notes (Ouillé), lemon curd, macadamian with a mile long finish!
2016 Ganevat ‘La Flandre,’ Chardonnay, Arbois, Jura, France
A perfect introduction into the wines of Ganevat. Nicely spiced with ginger and cinnamon notes, with the hallmark “nuttiness” that separates Jura wines from the rest of the world. I drank my way through France usually with a bottle of Ganevat. The food pairing potential is endless.
TRY AN AMERICAN VERSION!
2019 IRUAI 'ARCANA,' SAVAGNIN, TRINITY LAKES AVA, CALIFORNIA
Chad and Michelle Westbrook Hinds left there urban winery, in Berkeley, to move way north to the Shasta-Cascade Mountains, of Northern California. This largely untested grape growing region was perfect for them to test the farming techniques of Masanobu Fukuoka with their own "chaos organics" methods. The result is the closest in style to a Jura wine I've had outside of the French hamlet. Very, very cool stuff!
French Whites – Other Regions
2020 Domaine des Masques 'Exception,' Chardonnay, Bouches Du Rhône, Provence
Aix-en-Provence is world renowned for it's production for stunning rosé. Can we now add Chardonnay to its CV? Only when Yves Cuilleron is making the wine.
2019 Dard & ribo, marsanne/rousanne, crozes-hermitage, Northern Rhône
A rare treat to be offered the white wine from luminariers, Rene-Jean and Francois. You'll probably have this introduced to you if you're search includes "something from Burgundy."
2018 vernay 'coteau de Vernon,' Viognier, condrieu, Northern Rhône
The gold standard, the late Georges Vernay was the epicenter of Condrieu. His daughter has ran with the mantle and hasn't missed a beat. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to experience the first vintage after his passing at a fraction of its typical cost. A Webster's exclusive.
ITALIAN & Spanish Whites
2020 Montenidoli, Vernaccia, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Elisabetta Fagiuoli’s white wines are just as stellar as her reds! Incredible floral notes and unmatched silky texture. Pinot Grigio is canceled.
2020 Sergio Drago, catarratto, Alcamo, Sicily, Italy
Sergio has gained immense noteriety in a very short time due to his unconventional takes on native Sicilian grapes. This wine has a seductive aromatic charm matched with the brightness suitable for a sunny, patio day.
2018 Do Ferreiro, Albariño, Rias Baixas, spain
We’ve always loved these wines, but our visit to the winery in 2017, solidified how great this winemaking family is! Now, if we could just get some percebes...
2004 Lopez de Heredia ‘Viña Tondonia,’ Viura/Malvasia, Rioja, spain
The wines of Lopez de Heredia are so universally known, there’s probably higher education courses dedicated to them. Expect oxidized, nutty, brown butter notes here. 2004 IS the current release. These wines age glacially which is why they become so highly sought after.
German & American Riesling
2020 Clemens busch 'Low Sulfur,' riesling trocken, Mosel, germany
Clemens is the fifth generation winemaker at this estate. This particular offering, which always seems to show the intense character of the Marienburg vineyards, is bottled with dramatically lower amounts of sulfur. Intense, flinty, and austere. 2020 is a "don't miss vintage!"
2020 Peter lauer 'senior,' saar, mosel, germany
Though considered one of Peter's "village" wine, the grapes come from the single vineyard, Ayler Kupp. Average vine age is 70 years old. Expect relentless acidity, searing minerality and dry, dry, dry, on the palate.
2019 j.b. becker, wallufer walkenberg, riesling, spätlese trocken, rheingau, germany
"Becker's wines will not taste like the other wines coming out of Rheingau and Hans-Josef Becker just doesn't give a rip."-VB An incredible display of stone, herb, with uncommon savory, earthy tones. Angular and austere, pondering and contemplative
2013 Daniel TWARDOWSKI 'DhRoner Hofberg,' Mosel, germany
Daniel enlisted his friend, the great Julien Haart, to make this vintage, which will be the only one ever made (for the foreseeable future) due to an attack of phylloxera in the vineyard. A stunning expression that will provide you a truly unique take on the famed Riesling grape. #unicornwine
2019 Brooks, Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon
An outstanding example of domestic Riesling from our friends at Brooks. Don't underestimate how much complexity is going on at this price range.
Skin Contact Whites (‘Orange’)
2019 OCTÁGONO, SEMILLON/CHARDONNAY, SAN FELIPE, GUANAJUATO, MEXICO
Wine selections in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico are bad. And, natural wines, nearly nonexistent. Trust me! So, it was with great delight that I had lunch with Webster's owners at an incredible restaurant and was introduced to the wines of Octágono. I fell head overheels in love! Then, I found out the owner, Marcelo Vera, lives in San Miguel! The wines are newly imported to Chicago. Every single wine made at Octagono is fermented in clay pots, much like the Georgian kvevri. The definition of zero intervention and absolutely zero sulfites added.
2O2O DAVIDE XODO, GARGANEGA/PINOT BIANCO, VENETO, ITALY
Davide Xodo (Zodo) is crafting some really terrific low-intervention wines in the very traditional setting of Veneto. The grapes spend seven days on the skins, blended, and then placed in large concrete tanks for eight months. I was blown away by how much good stuff is packed in here!
2017 filipo Manetti 'Menis,' albana, Emilia-romagna, italy
Albana spends nine months in amphora that are not underground, but are packed in dirt for temperature control. Reminiscentof the great Oslavian"orange" wines like Vodopivec, Gravner.
A collection, and introduction, from venerable “orange” wine producer: Azienda Agricola Škerk
Škerk is located near the Italian-Slovenian border, in Italy’s, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This region is famous for their utilization of the ancient winemaking technique to ferment white wine grapes on their skins, culminating in its final color and texture. Father and son, Boris and Sandi Škerk, insist on low- yield, high-density vineyard management. This, in turn, allows the Škerks to reduce treatment to the bare minimum and produce pureness of fruit. These are wines I would travel to New York City to seek out due to the lack of presence here in Chicago. Now, I get to present them to you! – CS
2018 “Ograde” Equal parts Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio
At first glance, you may think since “Ograde” is a blend, it will be an “entry level” wine. On the contrary, I see Ograde as the experiment of co-fermenting grapes on their skins for 10 days and the final result is shear brilliance. This is no easy task. Countless aromatic features await you, with the ability to pair with every single dish on our menu.
2020 ANTXIOLA, HONDARRABI BELTZA, GETARIAKO TXAKOLINA, BASQUE, SPAIN
No matter the season, a bottle of Txakoli (Chaw-ko-lee), a porron, and a few friends is always the beginning for a good time!
2020 limited ADdition, grenache, eola-amity hills, willamette valley, oregon
I had a paradigm shift after listening to Bree and Chad Stock, winemakers, discussing the futureof rosé. Is it just to drink, with little expectation save for summer refresher? Or, can they possess flavor aspects we love in our favorite cocktails? Hmm. Enjoy a Negroni's floral/bitter/fruit balance? Look no further!
2020 FRANK CORNELISSEN 'SUSUCARU,' MT. ETNA, SICILY
One of the best vintages I've tasted of this perennial favorite. It's heady field blend that channels volcanic intensity into wild fruit.
French Reds – Loire Valley
2020 christian venier 'le clos des carteries,' gamay/pinot noir, cheverny
Christian has taken the baton as caretaker for vineyards his family has farmed for centuries. His style mimics another WWB fave producer, Thierry Puzelat. His vines sit on Scilica and clay, with gravel and stoney overcoat which comes through radiantly in his wine.
2017 Brendan Tracey, Pineau d’Aunis, Côteaux du Vendômois
120 year old vines, carbonic maceration of whole, undamaged grapes in fiberglass for 30 days, followed by 11 months in 15 year old oak barrels. I’ll never forget the first time I had this wine, how it made me feel, and how I never wanted that day to end.
2019 Château Yvonne ‘La Folie,’ Cabernet Franc, Saumur Champigny
We don’t just put any old Cab Franc on our list. Yvonne is a relatively unknown, but this will change. Expect the raw expression of the grape.
2008 Olga Raffault ‘La Picasses,’ Cabernet Franc, Chinon
A rare opportunity to experience the phenomenal longevity of Raffault's Cab Franc! These library releases are highly sought after and never dissappoint!
2016 Catherine et pierre breton 'clos sénéchal,’ Cabernet Franc, bourgueil
Across the Loire River from Chinon sits Bourgueil. If you seek an expression of Cab Franc that shows depth and precision, look no further.
Try a North american Version!
2020 Limited ADDdition, cabernet franc, eola sPRINGS vineyard, Willamette Valley, OR
Old vine Cabernet Franc that represents itself closely to its Chinon and Bourgueil brethren. A tremendous blend of New World ripeness with Old World savory notes. The vines thrive in the rocky, thin volcanic soils of the Eola-Amity Hills. Not to be missed!
French Reds – Beaujolais
(Gamay)(Crus listed from North to South)
2018 maison de belles lies, Beaujolais-Villages
Pierre Fenals left his career in fashion to pursue a second act as a winemaker. He was enthralled by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner's theories on biodynamic farming thus wanting to incorporate the same practices. Gamay that could easily be confused as Pinot Noir from neighboring Burgundy.
2020 Anne-Sophie Dubois 'l'Alchemiste,' Fleurie
Hailing from Champagne, and trained in Burgundy, Anne-Sophie chose Beaujolais, namely Fleurie, as the region to ply her trade simply do to economics. And, we are all glad she did! Her wines are as soulful as the legendary "Gang of Four" wines. A true rising star!
2019 Pierre Cotton 'Poncie,' Fleurie
"Poncie" is vinified the exact same way that Pierre's other parcels are vinified, so it may come as a surprise to experience a softer, articulate Gamay from the powerhouse Brouilly's.
2018 Damien Coquelet (Co-Ka-lay), CHIROUBLES
When someone mentions the Crus, Chiroubles, Damien's wines are my north star. If this Crus was a child on The Brady Bunch, it would have a huge "Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA" vibe. See how it overcomes the "cute" finesse of Fleurie and everyone's "most popular, most beloved" Morgon.
2018 Antoine Sunier, Morgon
I always know when I'm drinking an Antoine Sunier wine because it's exhibits so many more savory notes than his contemporaries, in Morgon.
2017 Alex Foillard, Brouilly
Jean’s son, Alex, is sprinting with the family torch in non-intervention farming, minimal intervention, and bonkers good Bojo.
2019 Pierre Cotton, Côte de Brouilly
I gush with glee regarding Pierre’s wines and thrilled to finally see them come to Chicago! I begged. A LOT. See why.
2020 Vivanterre, Gamay, Moulin Au Vent & Brouilly
The blend of Gamay from pink granite Moulin Au Vent with the power of Brouilly combines for a "hearty" Beaujolais style. Check. This. OUT!
2019 DOM. SAINT-CYR 'TERRIOR DE BELLEVUE,' PIERRE DORÉES
There's a lot of rumors regarding new Crus in Beaujolais and this area south of Brouilly certainly could be. Raphael's grandfather planted this parcel in 1950. Single parcel, old vine Gamay at this price is becoming as uncommon as low gas prices.
French Reds – Burgundy - Jura - savoie
2015 Domaine guillot-broux 'la myotte,' Pinot Noir, Mâcon
From the oldest vines on the estate comes this intensely driven, lithe expression of Pinot; stunning purity.
2019 Domaine de la Cras, Pinot Noir, Coteaux de Dijon
Marc Soyard won the “golden ticket” when the city of Dijon purchased this property and took proposals from would be vignerons, to tend to the vineyards. Marc adopted the same minimal intervention techniques he learned at Domaine Bizot and the results have been stellar.
2019 Saint-germain 'les taillis,' mondeuse, Savoie
Mondeuse is such a beguiling and versatile grape! A wine that was born to be enjoyed with meats and cheese, from the near Albertville (think 1992 Winter Olympics). Oozing alpine characteristics of herbal garigue and plush plummy fruit and subtle peppery notes.
2016 Ganevat ‘Y’a bon the Canon,’ Gamay+, Savoie
Due to devastating loss of grapes in multiple vintages, Jean-Francois reached out to his sister, Anne, as well as friends throughout France, to innovate and create a blend that could only be achieved by such a legend! 50% Gamay, 50% “Vin de France” = 100% sublmity.
2018 Les Matheny, Poulsard, Arbois, Jura
Elise and Emeric Foléat are committed to representing the area from which they were born and bred. Emeric’s eight year tutelage under the great Jacques Puffeney taught him how to harness the salty, yeasty, and piquant terroir that hallmarks the Jura.
2019 Labet 'Reine,' Gamay, Côtes du Jura
If it's not the first time, it's been a loooooong time since Webster's has had Julian Labet's Gamay to offer. Take advantage, quantities are limited
2020 Labet 'Varrons,' Pinot Noir, Côtes du Jura
Maybe, ok not at all, as well known as it's distant neighbor, Burgundy's Pinot Noir, but nonetheless just as nuanced, deep, and smoothy-smooth.
French Reds – Bordeaux
2008 Maison Blanche, Merlot/Cabernet Franc, MOntagne Saint-Emilion
The flagship bottling is comprised from vines converted to organic farming in 2008 and certified biodynamic in 2013. Once it opens up in the decanter, look for meaty/savory notes. The 08's are aging beautifully, if you grew great fruit!
2017 CLOS DU JAUGUEYRON, HAUT-MÉDOC
The soils around Arsac, is comprised of clay, which leads to more fruit driven wines. Little oak is used, and not needed. Give this plenty of time in the glass and have us decant it for you. Outstanding!
French Reds – Northern Rhône
2020 Baptiste Nayrand ‘L’Astrale,’ Gamay, Coteaux du Lyonnais
Just outside of the vibrant city of Lyon sits a small hamlet, Millery. Baptiste only produces L’Astrale in the best vintages, so take advantage!
2019 Baptiste Nayrand ‘Sauvage,’ Gamay + Field blend, Coteaux du Lyonnais
Named “Sauvage” do to the vineyard being left untended, shoots untrellised, these old Gamay vines are combined with a 30% blend of Chasselas and Aligoté. Intense juicy profile with a savory profile common of the great Syrah’s produced a few miles away.
2020 Maison Stephan, syrah, chasse-sur-rhône
Proving "natural wine" isn't a "fad" or just "having a moment" Jean-Michel is well into 30+ vintages utilizing the minimal intervention farming practices garnered from Jules Chauvet and Beaujolais "Gang of Four." Released a mere six months after harvest, expect a lighter Syrah profile.
2020 Vincent paris, Syrah, Crozes-Hermitage
I've really become captivated with the recent proliferation of producers crafting Syrah that aren't always clunky, wound up tight, and unapproachable for 6-7 years. I love Syrah for it's delicate aromatics, as well as it's more pronounced. Don't confuse "light" for balance.
2019 Dard et Ribo, Syrah, Crozes-Hermitage
Easily one of my favorite producers in the region. Iconoclasts from the outset, René-Jean and François sought to buck the trend of heavily extracted, fat Syrah overburdened by oak. Their wines still exhibit all the savage nature of Syrah with a deft, wild elegance.
2010 Dard et Ribo, Syrah, Hermitage
Do not miss out on experiencing René-Jean and François’ expression from this epic place, and an epic vintage.
French Reds – Southern Rhône
2018 Domaine Vieux Lazaret, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Accessible and immediately pleasurable; this is the wine version of wrapping yourself in a warm blanket; elegant, spiced red fruit.
2019 gramenon 'la segesse,' grenache, Vinsobres, Côte du Rhône
Michele Aubery-Laurent, a former nurse that preferred more natural remedies, started Gramenon with her husband, in 1990. Nine years later, she was tragically widowed and left to oversee the vineyards herself. She capitalized on her sense of sustainability and organics in effort to become one of the most sought after wineries in a very "points demanding" region. Without question one of the iconic wineries in Rhône!
French Reds – Languedoc-roussillon & Corsica
2019 Domaine le briseau 'enjoy,' cinsault, Languedoc
Nathalie Gaubicher Heredia is to be admired for her perseverance through loss and continues to produce remarkably enjoyable wines that are meant to be "enjoyed" with good friends and good conversation. This wine veers on the natty side of raw, minimal intervention goodness.
2020 Les serrals 'sur le zinc!' syrah/carignan, faugères
Early harvest Syrah, bearing more resemblance to Beaujolais than Faurgères, is blended with free-run Carignan creating a kaleidoscope of fruits, hint of olive, in an easy, everyday wine from Chloé Barthet and Frédéric Almazor.
2016 Jean-baptiste senat 'mais où est donc ornicar,' grenache/syrah, Minervois
France's wine version of "coordinating conjunctions" would have to be Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault etc. Senat's style is fresh, aromatic, wildly savage, and never heavy.
2018 Matassa ‘Olla Rouge,’ Grenache, Languedoc-Roussillon
New Zealander, Tom Lubbe’s wines have ascended to near cult status. Beaujolais-esque Grenache, from an area known for dark wines.
2020 bruno duchene ‘la luna,’ Grenache/carignan, Languedoc-Roussillon
Bruno farms incredibly rugged vineyards of Côte Vermeille, in Banyuls. Not to be mistaken for a brooding/dark wine typical of the region. The wine is comprised of Grenache Noir, also Gris and Blanc, with the Carignan. As much as I love visiting France, I'm happy finally have this wine on our list!
2020 bruno duchene ‘odin,’ Tempranillo/carignan/syrah, Languedoc-Roussillon
A simply marvelous blend that truly encapsulates the region, and a look at what will likely become a common blend as global warming transforms the wine world in the years to come. More depth than the La Luna, yet just as playful.
2019 beurer, Portugieser, Württemberg, Germany
Joachim Beurer crafts his wines with the same personality that made him a champion BMX racer, the ability to float on air. Portugieser has the depth of Pinot Noir, the style of Nebbiolo, and the playfulness of Gamay.
2019 Brand ‘Pur,’ Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany
This is a seriously great bottle of Pinot Noir! You may question its origin, and that’s fine. If you don’t believe, my good friend Crystal Wells will drink it all herself!
2016 Anatolikos, Mavroudi/Limnio, Xanthi, Greece
A rare combination of grapes fermented and aged for 9 months in amphora. Seductively dark, chewy, with tobacco, cocoa nibs and raw power. VROOM VROOM!
Italian Reds – North to South
A Rare opportunity to experience the great 2016 Vintage, in Piemonte, from the incredible collaboration Cristiano Garella, Giacomo and Carlo Garella!
2016 Colombera & Garella, Nebbiolo, Bramaterra, Alto Piemonte
The volcanic soils of Bramaterra lend itself to expressive and lively tones in Nebbiolo. A touch of native Vespolina and Croatina and spice.
2016 Colombera & Garella, Nebbiolo, Lessona, Alto Piemonte
To the west of Bramaterra, sits Lessona. Also known for their Nebbiolo showing distinct orange rind and violet tones with incredible depth.
2019 roagna, dolcetto, Alba, Piemonte
Dolcetto isn't known as an ambitious grape, but when grown as purely as Roagna's, with just a hint of neutral oak, you get a delicious value.
2018 luigi ferrando ‘la terrazza,’ nebbiolo/Barbera, Piemonte
Ferrando's "Canavese Rosso" is always a delightful blend primarily composed from Nebbiolo, with 30% Barbera. A great date night wine.
2018 Fabio Gea ‘Green Palma,’ Barbera, Alba, Piemonte
An unspoken axiom of all lovers of natural wine is looking for Gea’s wines on a list. Brilliant. Stunning. Fun. Captivating. Enchanting. There’s not enough adjectives for the juice Fabio puts into each bottle.
2017 Castel Noarna ‘Cimber,’ Lagrein, Rovereto, Dolomiti
Marco Zani’s Lagrein immediately struck me as a hit. If you enjoy Pinot Noir’s, or Grenache, definitely check out this stunner!
2019 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti
Elisabetta Foradori is a hero to many of us in the wine profession. Her staunch belief in farming her vineyards holistically was once considered heresy by her peers, now can’t be emulated fast enough. There is but one Teroldego that stands above all others, Foradori.
2017 Monte dall’Ora 'sausto,' Corvina/Rondinella/Molinara, Valpolicella
This 'ripasso' style Valpoicella could be called a baby Amarone. I guess it’s fitting that my favorite “Valpolicella” is the elusive Monte dall’Ora.
2018 Montenidoli, Colorino, Tuscany
Known only to “color” Chianti, it was by a dare that Elisabetta started producing this as a single varietal. And, it’s extraordinary!
2019 Ficomontanino ‘Bulgarelli,’ Sangiovese, Tuscany
This is Sangiovese! Not overblown by oak, the true characteristics of the grape are exemplified in this newcomer to the US market.
2018 SANGUINETO, VINO NOBILE DI MONTALCINO, Tuscany
A classic Vino Nobile farmed and produced by Dora Forsoni, a true steward of healthy land makes healthy grapes and superior wines. Aged for two years in oak, this is your quintessential Tuscan dark, yet delicate, smooth with soft tannin style you probably had on vacation.
2019 Frank Cornelissen ‘Sususcaru,’ Nerello Mascalese Blend, Etna, Sicily
Formerly known as “Contadino” the name had to be changed due to copyright infringement. Silly, but whatevs. Frank has always produced intriguing thought-provoking wines. However, recently the wines have dramatically improved, shedding their volatile, slightly erratic character. The wines are still unique but now the elegant, vibrant character shows through more clearly.
2020 COS, frappat0, Terre sicilianne, Sicily
Partners Guisto Occhipinti (Arianna, below, is his niece), Giambattista Cilia, and Cirino Strano believe their vineyard is like "savings in the bank and must be protected." The constant warm and dry weather lends itself to farming organically and biodynamically because a ton of adverse weather mitigations are not necessary. COS's Frappato has always been my benchmark for understanding this native Sicilian grape.
2019 occhipinti, frappat0, vittoria, Sicily
Arianna Occhipinti's career has a trajectory that only a rocket ship could relate to. Frappato is Sicily's native red grape and exudes a lot of the same characteristics as Gamay. As dynamic, and energetic, as the winemaker herself.
2019 Alfredo maestro 'el rey glam,' Garnacha, Castilla y leon, Spain
This experimental bottling utilizes a bit of carbonic maceration, which can produce a "fizzy, yet fresh," mouthfeel. The grapes come from two different vineyards and produce on of my favorite wines to drink with friends and tell wild stories of the old days.
2020 Bodegas Bhilar ‘Phincas’, Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain
David Sampedro Gil, dogged believer in biodynamics and the harmonious link between Earth, the human being, the cosmos and the vineyards. This wine exhibits the powerful side of Rioja, without needing to add nefarious additives to achieve such results.
Casa Aurora is named lovingly, after the legacy set forth by winemaker, Germán Blanco’s great-grandmother, Aurora Garcia. Besides planting vineyards, making wine at the home of the village priest, Aurora became the first female in the region to work at the local coal mine. Germán is committed to rehabilitating the vineyards his great-grandmother planted and bottling each as an individual expression of their location. We are pleased to offer the following selections:
2018 ‘Clos Pepin’
Field Blend of 80+ year old vines
Single vineyard blend of red and white grapes that include Mencia, Garnacha, Trousseau, Godello, Palomino
Try a North american Version!
2020 Limited ADdition, mencia, eola springs vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Hot, controversial take, the Willamette Valley has more in common with Galicia, Spain than it does Burgundy. An incredible revelation conceived by winemaker/owner, Bree Stock, MW. Having been to both, WOW, mind blown! And, so is the typicity of their Mencia! Rivals my faves.
North American Reds - Pinot NoiR
2018 Brooks 'janus,' Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
The exquisite Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, is winemaker Chris Williams blend of Brooks best vineyard sites across the Willamette Valley. The first label founder Jimi Brooks produced in 1998. This wine is not only made from grapes, also heart and love!
2018 andrew rich 'marine sedimentary soil,' Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
2018 andrew rich 'volcanic soil,' Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
I find Andrew's wines to be some of the most thoughtful, flavorful, and elegant, as any I've ever had. This is the fourth vintage that anfrew has expressed the individual soils found in the Willamette Valley and expressing them through his Pinot Noir. The difference in these wines is unique, fascinating, and a study in Oregon terrior. Buy both and see how!
American Reds – cabernet sauvignon/merlot et al.
2017 Inconnu, Merlot, Napa Valley, California
Laura Brennen Bissell is utilizing beautifully farmed Carneros grapes, elaborating them with grace, and crafting rock star status Merlot!
2017 Inconnu, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Laura's Cabernet Sauvignon, for me, is a direct reflection of the winemaker herself. Unwavering, unflinching, direct, and full of power. One of the few labels in and around Napa that challenges convention.
American Reds – Fun Grapes
2019 Vinous Obscura ‘Blaü-Ökör,’ Hungarian red grapes, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Winemaker Jeff Vejr, I met through a mutual friend, John House, and was blown away by his project. He found a vineyard, a first for Oregon, planted to native red and white Hungarian grapes. Don’t panic, they make great wines. This is a light wine with lots of blue fruit profile.
2018 Absentee Winery ‘Flaws,’ Abouriou, Mendocino, California
“Flaws” refers to Avi Deixler’s practice of hand sanding used barrels to rid the walls of flaws, and other chemicals that would change the profile of his wine. Abourior is an early ripening grape most commonly found in the south-west of France. Think Gamay and Loire Valley Malbec (Côt) crossed their streams and defeated a gigantic marshmallow.
American Reds – Rhône Grapes
Helen Keplinger’s meteoric rise up through the winemaking ranks has seen her at the helm of some prestigious wineries, in Napa Valley. However, her own wine label reflects her love of Grenache, from her days making wine in Priorat, Spain. It’s a rare treat to be able to offer her wines at this price! When I first started working with them, I was allocated 3 bottles each! And, they were expensive. Take full advantage.
2016 Keplinger ‘Lithic,’ Grenache/Mourvèdre/Syrah, Amador County, California
2016 Keplinger ‘Sumō,’ Petite Sirah/Syrah/Viognier, Amador County, California
2018 Ridge 'gonsalves,' Mataro, Contra costa, California
I have been honored to be a part of Ridge's "legacy" buyers program for many years. This has afforded me the opportunity to purchase some of the more unique wines this illustrious winery produces outside of Zinfandels and Monte Bello. Mataro is a synonym the Australians use for Mourvedre, the inky dark skins give the appearance of something dense, yet balanced in acidity and tannins. Jump on this gem!
Southern Hemisphere Reds
2020 Canopus de Sed,’ Malbec, El Cepillo, Valle de Uco, Argentina
Introducing a Malbec that encapsulates the minimal intervention style with the dark fruit notes you’re looking for in Malbec. Wine for everyone!
2020 aslina, cabernet sauvignon, western cape, south africa
Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa's first female head winemaker, has amassed an impressive résumé in her 20 plus years in winemaking. Her training in France, as well as consulting, is apparent. The wine is nothing if not meticulously well crafted. Flavor profiles you would expect from the Medoc that typically costs 3X this much. If this were stock, get in early, because the hype is real!
2015 Koomilya, Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
From a vineyard that you can’t visit, nor even find on a Google maps, Stephen Pannell will only make wines under the Koomilya label, in perfect vintages. This blend is 80% Cab, and 20% Shiraz. It’s the first vintage ever produced. If conditions never equal 2015, it may be the only! Now, that is a pursuit for perfection. And, well worth it!
Emerging, Historic, Not to be Overlooked Reds
2017 Monastery Tvrdoš, Vranac (Vrah-nahts), Trebnje, Bosnia-HerzegoviNA
Looking for a dark, rich, smooth red, your search is over. Aged for over two years in 100+ year old Monastic barrels.
2016 Tchotiashvili, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia
Saperavi literally translates to paint, dye, or to give color. This brilliant wine is fermented in traditional qvevri which produces a unique flavor and texture that has no equal.
2007 Shavnabada, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia
A medieval Georgian Orthodox Monastery that was restored in 1992, and producing wines since 1998. The Saperavi macerates on the skins for two weeks before it goes into qvevri. The 2007 spent EIGHT years in qvevri, never fined or filtered, and expresses power and finesse that is mesmerizing.
Large Format Bottles
2019 Finca Parera ‘FAKing Bubbles,’ Sumoll/Xarel-lo/Garnacha, Penedès, Spain
145 (magnum – 1.5L)
“A kickin’ cool co-ferment, ancestral method wine, from an area in the upper region of Penedès, a little farther inland and higher altitude. Ruben Parera, and father Jordi, farm the land along with cherries, olives, vegetables, and an apiary. Running around this bio-diverse farm is their legendary doggie, Dora. The wine is an ethereal bubbly in which the three grape varietals are co-fermented, and bottled just before full fermentation, as the moon phase dictates (ancestrale). Expect a fresh, tantalizing, and thirst quenching quaffer perfect for every possible occasion! This is the “JUICE” that also happens to come in a big FAKing bottle! In fact, I helped make this juice, so ask me all about it, please!”
– Catie O
2017 Matassa 'cuvée alexandria,' Muscat d'alexandria, roussillon, France
145 (magnum – 1.5L)
Tom Lubbe's venerable skin-contact Muscat, from Red Schist soils. Age does this wine wonders! Get the friends together and crush it!
2015 Dard et Ribo, Syrah, Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France
180 (magnum – 1.5L)
Iconoclasts from the outset, René-Jean and François sought to buck the trend of heavily extracted, fat Syrah overburdened by oak. Their wines still exhibit all the savage nature of Syrah with a deft, wild elegance.
2005 Brovia ‘Villero’, Barolo
350 (magnum - 1.5L)
This single-vineyard Barolo is just starting to turn a corner; all spicy chai tea, balsamic, licorice, and more.
1990 Leth, Roter Veltliner, Wagram
Proof positive that Roter is built to age, this delight is smoky and briny and umami-ey, w/bonito & mango.
2012 Bernhard Ott ‘Qvevre,’ Grüner Veltliner, Wagram, Austria
This gorgeous rarity spent 8 months in underground amphora on its skins, but isn’t amber-hued; instead, it has a shocking liveliness and clarity, and is one of the most unusual and essential Grüners you’ll encounter.
2003 Gravner, Ribolla Gialla, Friuli, Italy
Hazy in color, finely tropical and lipid in flavor, this amphora-aged wine quickly develops great complexity.
2000 Radikon ‘Fuori dal Tempo,’ Chardonnay/Sauvignon, Oslavje, Venezia-Giulia, Italy
After 35 days with skins, 3 years in barrel & 9 years in bottle, this wine has layered, melismatic textures that strike the palate as polyphonic music does the ear; an unforgettable succession of independent melodies.
2009 Bernard Burgaud, Syrah, Côte-Rôtie
This allocated, small-production, traditional wine will knock your socks off; gamey, dark, unforgettable. Give this one time to open up.
2008 Rene Rostaing, Syrah, Côte-Rôtie
You simply cannot talk about the Côte-Rôtie without mentioning Rene Rostaing. Dogmatic in making wines that only speak to the Côte-Rôtie, not Hermitage, and certainly not New World. His techniques, some modern, some ancient, only assist to accentuate his prized fruit.