Home Posts tagged 'Burgundy'

Posts Tagged ‘Burgundy’


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatches from France

Here at Bi-Rite we love to celebrate the awesome wine made right here in California. Passionate winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Ross Cobb at Hirsch Vineyard, and Angela Osbourne of Tribute to Grace are forging their own paths and making food-friendly, vibrant and delicious wines that have a sense of place. I also love to taste things from where they started; every wine buyer has his or her own wine Mecca. For me it’s France. I admit it, je suis un francophile. I love French food, I love French culture. I love the people and their language. And I love their wine. I lived in Paris in dingy apartment for a year teaching English to little French kids, and even though I was pinching my pennies I still managed most days to eat the most delicious baguettes I have ever had to this day and indulge in a bottle of Cahors every once in a while, the first appellation that I ever fell in love with. So it is with great excitement that I am departing to go on a two-week long tour de vin around the country to visit with some of my favorite producers from an importer that we work with, Return to Terroir.

We will be traveling by car in a giant circle around almost the entire country. Landing in Paris we will depart immediately for Champagne, then onto Burgundy and the Northern Rhône and into Provence. We will spend a day or two in Montpellier for the giant organic wine expo Millésime Bio and then head North (to Cahors!), Bordeaux, and Sancerre. We will stay in Saumur for a day or two to check out the Dive Bouteille, the incredible natural wine fair hosted yearly by Catherine and Pierre Breton. From there, back to Paris and a long flight home.

Why am I going? To taste new wine, meet new people, learn a thing or two about what makes winemakers tick, to be sure. I will also be in search of new and exciting wines to bring back home for you, our guests and wine friends; but what I really want to explore is a topic that I mentioned above. That sense of place, terroir as they call it in France. What is it? The best wines from California have an unmistakable feeling of being from here, right now, in the moment. I’ve visited some of these places. Time to check out those other terroirs. I will be making posts here on our Bi-Rite blog to keep all your internauts at home informed about what I will be doing, where I’m going, and hopefully talk about some new wines that are going to make their way over the pond and onto our shelves. Keep checking and see you all when I get back!

A bientôt!

John


Matt R.

Defining Wine Words: Minerality

MineralsMinerality. The M-word. It’s a term still widely debated in the wine world, and one that’s hard to define. It’s used widely in wine descriptions, but what does it actually mean? Is it a flavor? Is it a smell? Are we actually tasting the mineral compounds from the soil where the grapes grew?

For many, it’s used to describe both aromatics and flavors in wine, but what creates those aromas and flavors is still unknown. The debate continues as to whether or not mineral compounds in soils actually make their way into grapes at all, let alone in large enough quantities to be perceived. But most do seem in agreement that there’s something about Chablis or Mosel Reisling that sets those wines apart in terms of their ‘minerality.’

We like to think of minerality as aromas or flavors that are distinct from fruit or earthy qualities. Whether that be the salinity of a Muscadet, the chalkiness of a white Burgundy, or the iron tinge of a Hungarian red, these are qualities both unique to these wines and somewhat hard to quantify as individual components. We love minerally wines! And maybe it’s because these mineral qualities only really shine through when unmasked by things like new oak or too much fruit. Or maybe it’s because they provide an added layer of complexity. Either way, we know that mineral-driven wines are a perfect accompaniment to food!

2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet ‘3’  –  $24.99
Trois
We’re not shy about loving the wines of Marc Ollivier from Muscadet! His classic Muscadets are a throwback to what this corner of Northwest France became known for in the firstplace – terroir driven, accessible, and ageable white wines that are a heavenly match with the seafood (oysters!) of the region. His ‘3’ or ‘Trois’ bottling is his latest release, the ‘3’ referring to the number of years this wine aged on the lees (or yeast leftover from fermentation). Muscadet in general is known for lees-aging, which imparts a richer texture to the finished wine, but the AOC minimum for aging on the lees is only through the 3rd week in March after harvest. Marc far exceeds this with the ‘3’ and the result is a richly textured, brightly acidic, and mouthwatering minerally wine!

(Currently available at both Markets.)

2011 Domaine Pavelot Aligoté  –  $19.99
agliote
Aligoté, or ‘The Other White Burgundy’ as it’s sometimes referred to, often gets a bad rap. Many winemakers in Burgundy see this grape as less prestigious than other varieties, and its plantings in Burgundy are far outweighed by Chardonnay. It’s often made into simple, acidic wines that are diluted and balanced with the addition of cassis to create the classic Kir apértif. Surrounded by an abundance of ‘simple’ wines, Domaine Pavelot stands above the rest in terms of the quality of its Aligoté. Their extreme care for their 50-year old Aligoté vines contributes to a clean and balanced white that needs no cassis! Tart lemon zest, apricot, and pear notes lead to a salty minerality on the finish – perfect for sipping on its own or with a scallop crudo!

(Available at both Markets next week!)

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In.

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, August 23, 6-8PM, Ticketed and Drop-In


Matt R.

Bow and Arrow Wines: A Taste of the Loire in Oregon

BowArrowWinemakersHusband and wife team Scott and Dana Frank have been on all sides of the wine industry. From working in restaurants, to retail, to wholesale, they’ve gained plenty of knowledge and experience over the years. They recently embarked on a new project producing wines under their own label Bow and Arrow and are taking Oregon wines to new heights!

You often hear about Oregon Pinot Noirs being compared to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. And for good reasons, they share a similar cool climate in which Pinot Grapes thrive and produce wines of higher acidity and lower alcohol. The Willamette Valley, formed long ago by repeated glacial flooding, is abundant with fertile and rocky vineyard sites. It is also situated along the 45th parallel, which coincidentally runs through Burgundy and the Loire Valley. And despite Oregon’s constant comparisons to Burgundy, it’s the Loire Valley, that inspires Scott and Dana’s wines.

They only started bottling in 2010 but have quickly earned a reputation for bringing a bit of the Loire to the Pacific Northwest. They source fruit from vineyards planted by some of Oregon’s earliest ‘wine pioneers’ that were planted with grapes like old vine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne – all typical Loire Valley grapes. These carefully sourced grapes are treated with the greatest care and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Their resulting wines are a breath of fresh (French) air from Oregon, lighter in style, lower in alcohol, and extremely food-friendly.

2011 Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir*  –  $34.99
BowArrow1The Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir is sourced from 35-year old vines planted high in the Chehalem Mountains – all own-rooted clones of Pommard vines. It has tart red cherry and pine forest herbal aromas followed by racy acidity with a light and bright finish. Pair this with a grilled salmon salad for a light yet fulfilling summer dinner!

 

2011 Bow and Arrow Gamay Noir*  –  $22.99
BowArrow2
Bow and Arrow’s Gamay Noir is a dead ringer for a light style Gamay from Touraine. In fact, iconic Loire producer Clos Roche Blanche’s winemaker Didier Barrouillet served as a casual ‘over-the-phone consultant’ for Frank and Dana’s Gamay Noir. Soft red fruit flavors and an earthy and granite-based minerality are all well-integrated into a medium bodied and tart finish.

2011 Bow and Arrow Rhinestones  –  $28.99
BowArrow3If we absolutely had to choose a favorite of the three Bow and Arrow wines we carry, it would probably be the Rhinestones. A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, this red is inspired by Cheverny, a typical Loire valley red of the same blend. Ripe, juicy black cherry aromas lead to a mid-weight palate full of flavors of tart blackberries, earthy moss, and snappy acidity. It’s great on it’s own but is a perfect food-friendly red for any occasion.

*Available at 18th St. location only.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed