Category: Our Wines

Orange is the new… White? Rosé?

The Grape: Pinot Grigio is native to France (as Pinot Gris) but has a second home in northeast Italy and Slovenia, which share a border.  From that area, the grapes have great minerality and acidity, and produce clean, crisp, zippy wines.

The Wine: Mansus Makovec Sivi Pinot r Dobravlje Vipava Valley Slovenia. The estate is found in the Vipava Valley, roughly 20 kilometers from the Italian border.  The wine is made with 100% organically-grown Pinot Grigio, and is “natural”.  It is crisp and acidic, with some nuttiness, some apple, and soft, ripe cherry.  It has some tannin and heft for the red-wine drinker, plus great, chilled minerality for the white-wine drinkers.

Fun Fact: Orange Wine?  It is chemical compounds found in the skin of grapes that help determine their color. Generally speaking, “red” grapes have reddish skins and “white” grapes have whitish/greenish skins. Those colors are not found in the juice of most grapes, so making a wine of color depends on allowing the skins to remain in contact with the grape juice for some period of time; the darker the desired color, the longer the skin contact. “Orange” wines are those made with “white” grapes, but with prolonged skin contact, which causes the color to darken more than normal (for a white wine). The resulting depth of color depends on the length of skin-contact, but also on the color compounds found in the grapes. Those found in Pinot Grigio, which is a so-called “color mutation” of the red pinot-noir grape, result in darker, amber-colored wine with prolonged skin contact.

Pairing: Try it with our gorgonzola dolce.

 

Wine with your Samba: Dadivas Chardonnay

The Grape: Chardonnay. This is definitely one of the best-known white grapes around and is grown, basically, everywhere. It is a fairly “neutral” grape whose flavor in wine is heavily driven by terroir: the soil, the surrounding flora, the water, etc. Despite that neutrality, the flavors typically include white-fleshed fruits like pears. It is frequently made into still and sparkling wines, and champagne made solely from chardonnay is called Blanc de Blancs.

The Wine: Dadivas Chardonnay, Lidio Carraro, Brazil. This wine is made in Rio Grande do Sul, where the estate maintains a “Purist” philosophy of grape-growing and wine-making; in essence, they adhere to minimal intervention. For this wine, 100% Chardonnay grapes are fermented and aged 8 months in stainless tanks. The wine is redolent of daisies and pears, with more pear and Granny Smith apples on the palate. It has a great, creamy texture and a long-lasting finish.

Fun Fact: The Rio Grande do Sul is at Brazil’s southern tip, and borders both Uruguay and Argentina. While Italian immigrants are at the forefront of the country’s wine industry, the native inhabitants were the Guarani. Guarani hold an animistic view of the world, in which plants and animals have the faculties of humans. One Guarani belief is that good spirits live in flowers, which get transported by hummingbirds… maybe into the grapes!
Pairing: Try it with our red beet pickled eggs.

IMG_3685

Rosé from the Lone Star State

The Grape(s): Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault… There are many grapes in this blend, but what links them? Winemaker Bo Salling specifically wanted to make a Provence-style red, and he sourced grape varietals from Texas’ High Plains that are quite at home in that land between the Rhone Valley and the Mediterranean.

The Wine: Yellow City Cellars Dead Flowers Rosé High Plains AVA Texas is the only wine the producer makes. It is a bold (think Bandol) cherry and strawberry stunner, with great mineral, and tinged with a Texas garrigue of wild herbs.

Fun Fact: Bo Salling worked with winemaker Kim McPherson to make this wine. Kim is the son of pioneering Texas winemaker, Clinton “Doc” McPherson; the latter was among the first to plant grapes around Lubbock in the 1960’s, and opened the Llano Estacado Winery in 1976 (with Bob Reed). There are now over 70 vineyards planted to commercial production in the High Plains.

Pairing: Try it with our truffle tremor cheese, or our smoked salmon BLT.

IMG_3688

A truly global Italian wine

The grape: Pinot Grigio is a popular, widely-planted grape. It likely originated in France – as a mutant of Pinot Noir. It is generally called Pinot Grigio in Italy and California, Pinot Gris in France and Oregon.

The wine: Scarbolo Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave DOC is made from 100% hand-harvested Pinot Grigio. It is aged on the lees for 6 months, which gives it a creamy texture and added depth. The wine has the crisp minerality and fullness of fruit for which the area is known, along with almonds and fuller, honeyed notes.  This delightful wine is from the famed Scarbolo estate, found in Friuli Venezia Giulia, near the border with Slovenia.

Fun fact: Scarbolo is located in the town of Lauzacco, in Pavia di Udine. Lauzacco lies roughly equi-distant from Forum Iulii (Cividale del Friuli) and Aquileia; the two towns succeeded each other as primary Roman centers in the 1st half of the 1st millennium AD. The strategic region has episodically been part of the Roman, Lombard, Byzantine, Venetian, Lombard-Venetian, and Italian Kingdoms, Empires, and Republics.

Pairing: Perfect with the prosciutto bruschetta, or chilled Thai noodle salad!

IMG_3686

Chilean wine from vines older than the USA

The Grape: Pais is a vigorous, red grape that was once Chile’s most commonly-grown varietal. While it was long associated with plonk, it is now being produced into quality wine; like the one found here.

The Wine: Pais Pipeño Cacique Maravilla, Chile is made with 100% organically-grown hand-picked Pais, from vines planted in 1766 – or 10 years before the birth of America!  Fermentation is done in open tanks with natural yeasts. The wine is unfiltered. The wine is light-bodied, juicy, tannic, and decidedly rustic. Find all the wild herbs and fruits!

Fun Fact: The history of Pais in Chile is significant, and dates to the Spanish conquistadors and missions of the 15th century. The vines brought to the New World by those colonizers gave rise to North America’s Mission grape, Argentina’s Criolla, and Chile’s Pais.

Pairing: Very food-friendly, try it with gouda, deviled eggs, or our steak salad!