January 2021 Wine Club
Happy New Year!
We hope you had a restful and joy-filled holiday season despite the obvious circumstances. We may be in the heart of winter, but the days are getting longer and before you know it flowers will be blooming. So for the time being it feels appropriate to slow down and savor the quiet, calm, and cold environment around us. The selections for this month's club are ideal for long, leisurely meals and books by the fire. Santé!
For our Good & Gorgeous Members
Ambyth Estate 'Sauvignon Blanc' 2019
With Winter escapes to Hawaii or Mexico off the table due to COVID, we could all use a little liquid escapism. While I'm not one to be dogmatic about SO2 usage, I am impressed when a winery consistently puts out wines with no added SO2 that are both clean and stable. Ambyth Estate is one of those wineries. The fruit is lightly crushed by foot, then moved into terracotta amphorae & a neutral oak puncheon to continue macerating for 7 months. Pulled out, pressed, then left to settle for 2 months before bottling.
Ronchi di Cialla 'RiNera' 2018
Schioppettino, aka Ribolla Nera (hence the cuvée name), was one of many grape varieties that nearly went extinct after phylloxera ravaged the globe in the 18th century. Records show a history of the grape in the Friuli region (Italy-Slovenia border) dating back to the 12th century, yet if it weren't for Paolo Rapuzzi of Ronchi di Cialla, we may have never gotten to know the grape. He searched the region for cuttings of the variety when founding his winery of local, indigenous grapes in 1970. Grazie, Paolo!
For our Great & Gorgeous Members
Domaine Rohrer 'Hors Piste' 2018
Ah Pinot Gris...one of the most misunderstood grapes out there. "Gris" meaning gray; this refers to the grape's skin color which varies from gray/light pink to blue/black. There are countless clones and mutations of the variety, but far too often the grapes are pressed immediately to create a clear (& bland), white wine. Trapped in those skins are loads of phenolics (aromatic compounds) and tannins which lend texture to the wine. This Alsatian cuvée, which undergoes a 15 day maceration, shows the full breadth of the variety; fruit, spice, texture, and minerality.
Sam Vinciullo 'Vintage Mix' 2019
"Vintage Mix, per usual is a bit of all the wines at the end that I mix together to show what the vineyard has to offer as a whole." -Sam V
I've always been drawn towards field blends for their ability to showcase a vineyard's soil and seasonal differences. They are a snapshot of the vintage, a capturing of a place's essence, and are exemplary of a winemaker's personal taste. This is a blend of Shiraz (Syrah), Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay planted to sandy soils with gravel and ironstone rocks. Think of the wine as a collage made up of several pictures; each telling their own story, but when you step back and observe it as a whole, it becomes something different. You could try and pick out the varieties when tasting the wine, but the real beauty here is getting to step back and see the whole forest, not just a single tree.