La Renommée" 2016
AVDP de la Drôme, France
90% Syrah, 10% Viognier
Holy moly, the holidays are upon us already? While I can hardly believe the season has come again- alas, here we are. Luckily, the shop is filled to the brim with special goodies for your holiday spread, just in the nick of time! A new favorite is a beautiful, dense Syrah from a tiny appellation in the Northern Rhône Valley. At the confluence of the Rhône and Drôme rivers lies Brézème. Known as a viticultural area since at least the 15th century, it had ostensibly been wiped off the map after 95% of the vineyards were decimated by phylloxera in the 1870’s- leaving the land abandoned for another hundred years.
In 1981, Jean-Marie and Sylvette Lombard started the humble revival of the old vineyards with a mere 1 hectare. Upon their retirement in 2012, a young couple purchased the estate and have continued to nurture and expand the renaissance of the area. Working with 16 hectares today, the Montagnon’s have focused on organic and biodynamic practices and are certified in both.
Deep purple, opaque and with a generous palate, this natural Syrah is, as the winery states, “a fantastic compromise between density and drinkability”. Black fruits and violets, with medium acidity (thanks to the viognier), followed by spicy garrigue and dusty tannins. Whole-cluster fermentation, wild yeast and ageing in concrete add to the alluring texture. Though it does have some heft, this wine is perfectly suited for salty aged-cheese and cured meats, root vegetables, mushrooms, fresh herbs, and roasted fowl. At under $20, bring a bottle (or three) to this year’s table.
The idea of the aperitivo is to stimulate your appetite and alert your stomach to incoming food, so rev up your taste buds and digestive system with a pre-feast drink featuring one of my absolute favorite new products of the year. Sisters Cristina, Antonella, and Elisabetta of the groundbreaking Nonino family have revived and revised their grandmother’s original aperitivo recipe and created a truly stunning elixir. The botanicals (many of which are grown on the Nonino estate) are dried at a cool temperature to preserve their characteristics before they are infused in distillate, part of which is Nonino "UE" – whole grape spirit. Fresh and vibrant flavors and aromas of gentian, citrus fruits, flowers and spice all intermingle with the perfect balance of bitter and a touch of sweetness. My expectations were high considering the distillery’s track record and this complex and beguiling liqueur exceeded those lofty predictions.
Enjoy on the rocks or with a splash of soda and a twist. In cocktails, L’Aperitivo will take your spritz or Negroni to heights hitherto unimaginable!
Le Pere Jules Brut
Cidre de Normandie
Reflected in the pretty and traditional looking farmhouse label, this ciderie has a seriously long history. “Father” Jules himself pressed and sold his first bottle of fermented apple juice in 1919. Today, Great Grandson Guillaume runs the Normandie estate that consists of 100 acres of apple trees, 25 acres of pear trees, and produces about 100,000 bottles of cider per year. He's making this Brut out of 6 different apple varieties; it's well-balanced and evokes this multi-sensory feeling of fall.
Golden brown with an orange-tint, this hazy cider literally looks like autumn's changing leaves in a glass. The nose is nutty, and the aromas of sweet apples and earth remind me of October and family hay rides around the Erie Orchard in Michigan where I grew up. There's light funk (on the cider, not my childhood memories), but it's not overpowering.
The palette has this nice honey-coated appley-ness- for lack of a better word- that not only screams fall but IT. IS. THANKSGIVING. The bottle's even wrapped in the same blue and white as my Grandma Great's china. There is a sour finish there but just a perfectly healthy amount for balance.
Drink as a fun sparkling wine substitute that will carry you throughout your whole meal. An obvious pairing with the cranberries and celery (and maybe even apples) in your stuffing recipe, Le Pere Jule's fine bubbles are also crisp enough to cut through creamy mashed potatoes. This cider has ample tannins that stand up to turkey and gravy, and if you're an overachiever who bakes a ham too, it’s perfect! Only 5% A.B.V so no need to worry about slurring in front of children or distant relatives. Cheers!!
Quinta Seara d'Ordens
Fine Tawny Port
I mean c’mon, who doesn’t love Port Wine? How can you not love something that is so elegant yet so voluptuous at the same time? And Thanksgiving is a perfect time to indulge in port because it surprisingly pairs perfectly with some of the traditional dishes that incorporate cranberries, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Not to mention all the desserts as well.
Quinta Seara d’Ordens can date its origins back to the end of the 18th Century as an estate farm providing grapes for producers. We jump to 1988 when they began their own label and started producing ports like the one i have chosen to highlight..This tawny shows a nice caramel colored rim with some tea like qualities through the palate finishing with a touch of fruit.
Port wine finds its origins in the late 17th century with the dominance of the English Empire and their need for finer wines. England took to helping develop the area for ease of accessibility to the wine. Port was originally fortified to help the wine withstand the long journey to England and other lands across the globe. The fortification also stops the fermentation process allowing the wine to keep some residual sugars giving it it’s sweet nature. Styles of Port Wine range from: Ruby, Tawny, LBV, Colheita, White, Crusted, including various sub-styles within each styles. We can all appreciate history and its effect on products and goods, why not show your appreciation by introducing, or re-introducing your self to Port Wine. During your next stop at Divino make sure to ask us about Port and how it can complete your Thanksgiving.
Lise and Bertrand Jousset
"Exile" Gamay Rosé Pétillant
Pretty in pink, there’s nothing not to love about this natural pét-nat* rosé. The Exilé is made with 100% Gamay from 40 year-old vines on clay and limestone soils in Montlouis-sur-Loire, just south of Vouvray. Lovely winemakers Lise and Bertrand Jousset began their Exilé project with fruit purchased from nearby friends who share their commitment to organic farming. Their approach is simple "we want to make wines that express their character and their origins, in other words 'living wines.’” The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented using indigenous yeast, and the wine is unfined, unfiltered, and zero sulfur is used. The result is a fresh and fun, stunning sparkler with bright aromas of juicy watermelon, salty peach, almond skins, and lilac. At 12.8% it’s almost completely dry with a lacy mineral structure framing rich flavors of strawberry watermelon margarita and tart pomegranate with a whisper of bitter rosehip. The finish is long and fabulously mineral, ending with a kiss of soft pink rose petals. Enjoy as an aperitif, with a cheese or dessert course - and don’t forget a bottle for your holiday smorgasbord because remember: “bubbles go with everything”. -RQ™
Samur Cabernet Franc
-Loire Valley, France
This is one here is a fantastic concrete-aged Cabernet Franc from the Loire. Antoine Sanzay has been making wine at his family’s estate for more than 20 years, and his vineyards are all certified organic by Ecocert. It certainly helps this wine express the limestone-rich terroir of the region, with earthy, savory notes of tobacco, sage and pepper backing the black cherry and berry fruits. This is a more elegant expression of the grape, making it comparable to a Burgundy Pinot Noir (without all the pricetagginess). Pair this with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus bites at your party, or a pork chop dinner.