Thirteenth (13th) Edition Wine Club
We seem to be in an endless run of cloudy, cold days that in my life as an Angeleno I have never experienced. The wines selected for this month's Club are wines that will bring you back to what is now just a distant memory of summer, which will have to carry us through until...who knows when. They're wines with energy, zest, and brightness. Everything should be chilled, because by now it's supposed to be hot at least sometimes. Maybe if we drink this wines, we'll finally get to summer after what has been the longest winter of my life.
Cyrille Vuillod comes from the Hautes-Alpes, and worked in the mountains as a ski instructor before shifting to a career in winemaking, a decision he made solely based on his enjoyment of wine. Cyrille started winemaking in 2011 where he worked and learned the trade under Jean-Claude Lapalu for three years. Having picked grapes in the Beaujolais area, he set up shop at the edge of Brouilly, and in 2012 he produced his first vintage in his own cellar, under the La Dernière Goutte label. Gamay is the only grape Vuillod grows, but he buys some Riesling and Chardonnay from friends. He has a total of 5 hectares.
Damien Bureau began to make wine in 2006 after Babass (formerly Les Griottes, now Les Vignes des Babass) let him a parcel to work on, he made his first barrel of wine. Before that he had been working for different domaines including in ones in Burgundy. He then rented his first parcel, a half hectare of Chenin, in 2008. In 2010 he bought a 70-row parcel of old vine Pineau d'Aunis and Chenin, previously owned by les Griottes. In 2013 when he stopped working for other domaines, he had a total of 3 hectares, mostly planted with Chenin and a little Grolleau. Since he did all the labor alone and manually, this was the maximum land he could work. From there, he found his way into working alongside and sharing a cellar with Kenji Hodgson, who he says worked in a complimentary, but divergent style from his own.
When I describe wines as being "rock 'n roll," this is what I'm talking about. After a difficult and stalled fermentation, Damien decided to bottle this wine. It finished fermentation in bottle giving it the slight spritz. However, fermentation never quite finished so there is some residual sugar in there, as well as radical acid. I wouldn't go so far as to call this wine sparkling, but also I'm sure each bottle is different.
PLEASE NOTE THIS WINE IS NOT VEGAN. IF YOU ARE VEGAN AND WOULD LIKE ME TO SWITCH IT OUT, I'LL BE GLAD TO.
Herrera Alvarado was founded in 2003 and is made up of husband & wife, Carolina Alvarado and Arturo Herrera. They are considered the founders of natural wine in this area of Chile, though they learned their technique from local farmers, known as Huasos, who were making wine without additives for their own home consumption. Inspired by the simplicity of natural winemaking, Carolina and Arturo built their cellar themselves in the adobe style out of clay from their own vineyards. There is no electricity; everything is done by hand.
They practice the traditional Chilean technique of fermenting the grapes in taut cow hides hung from the ceiling, and then press the juice through a natural filter. This wine is a bright and earthy Carménère from their lower elevation vineyards. High acid, some tannin, dark plummy fruit, light bitterness. It has a 12 day maceration in cow hides then goes into barrels for elevage.
Conca de Barbera, Catalunya, Spain
Conca de Barberá is a small DO in Catalunya, sandwiched between Penedés, Costers del Segre and Tarragona. It has cold winters and hot summers which are tempered by cool winds from the sea. The Chenin grapes for this cuveé are sourced from 10 hectares of vineyard co-plated with olive groves, and almond trees. The grapes come from the “Els Bassots” vineyard, made up of clay and calcareous soil and located at an altitude of 450 meters above the sea lev
Grapes are handpicked and macerated on the skins for around ten days before fermentation in stainless steel using natural yeasts. Wine ages for at least one year in neutral French oak barrels.
Intense aromas of ripe fruits and compote, with subtle notes of oak on the nose and a citrus touch. Full bodied, round with good weight of fruit and a smooth creamy palate. Good balanced acidity. Delicius now, but will continue to improve for a few years.