Twelfth (12th) Edition Wine Club
The weather has FINALLY warmed up here in Los Angeles, and to celebrate the occassion, we're doing all chilled reds this month. My goal in having everyone taste a range of a single style is to get people thinking slightly more critically about what it is exactly that they like. "Light red" is a broad category, and my hope is that we can dive a little deeper!
In fact, light reds are the most commonly requested style of wine at the shop. Any time someone comes into the shop and asks for a light red, my first question is, "do you want it to be so light it's almost rose...basically just taste like juice?" If they say yes, I know they're looking for what we call "glou glou". "Glou glou" is a French term that is inspired by the sound it makes when you're chugging from the bottle. We'd say "glug". The associated style is just that: chuggable. But not all light reds are for chugging. Some have depth and complexity, while still being elevated and light. On the surface, all these wines could be described as 'glou glou', but all display complexity of various kinds. In the two bottle, you're even tasting wines made up of predominantly the same grape, Cinsault. For the 4 bottle members, 3 out of 4 will be made with grapes from the Languedoc-Roussillon, but I had to throw in a curve ball at the end, well-suited for the wine geeks. Pay attention to the differences in these similar wines! In that space is where the learning happens.
Chill all these bottles down, and enjoy!*
*Some of these winemakers might be recognizable from previous editions of Wine Club. I didn't realize I'd done this, but I always encourage people to try multiple cuvees from the same producer, so this is an opportunity to do so! And I'll try not to do it again in the future :)
Paulhan, Languedoc, France
Julien comes from a long line of vignerons but when he took over the vineyards in 2007 he began to work them without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers. Having previously sold his Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and Grenache to the local cooperative he decided to start making and bottling wine himself. "The name of this cuvée—“Friends come first”—came about because, when I was starting off, I always said that I wanted to make wine to share great moments with friends. This is a little homage to that good old group of party animals!!" - The winemaker
Plum juice, macerated cherries and charcoal spa water. Tons of freshness from the cold, windy nights of 2021, while still maintaining its wild southern Cinsault character.
Arbois, Jura, France
Karnage is the collaboration between longtime friends Charles Dagand and Stéphane Planche, who started their first vintage in 2020. Charles Dagand is the former partner of Alice Bouvot from Domaine l'Octavin where together they created the legendary domaine over 10 years. Since then, Charles has made his own wines under the name of Carlito, but after a couple of unfortunate vintages where he lost all his harvest to frost and disease, he decided to team up with Jura's infamous sommelier icon Stéphane Planche in this new project. Stéphane is the owner of the wine shop Les Jardins de Saint Vincent based in Arbois.
The grapes come from Charles' own vineyards, from friends in the Jura and the rest of France. They do the harvest themselves and vinify in Charles' cellar in Abergement-le-Grand just outside Arbois.
I have tasted these wines since their initial release in 2020, and this vintage is exceptional (I encourage you to try the other 2 cuvees in the shop). It represents a vast improvement and honing of their technique.
Kinto is a new cuvee for the duo. The Cinsualt is pressed directly making a white/rose-ish wine, and then intact bunches of the Grenache Blanc and Noir are dropped in, a technique called Trempette, and macerated for 10 days. The resulting wine is a delightfully fresh, some balanced acid, some tannin, and lots of tart red fruits. Very little of this wine was made, and the majority of what made it to California went to our wine club!
80% Carignan / 20% Grenache Blanc
"Hello, I am Alban Michel born in Baccarat, in Meurthe et Moselle and not Albin Michel, publisher of books. No, I'm a bitch !! Producer of pif in Corbières (table wine with 4 chairs) and alembicologist of Grognac in normal so-called organic agriculture certified Ecocert (and no I am not a rebel)….
After having traveled a lot and done a lot of odd jobs in various parts of France, I created Les Sabots d'Hélène in 2005. It is an area of 8 hectares of vines, in Feuilla (11). My experience in the Côte du Rhône (Hermitage, Cornas, Condrieu – the class not dead!!!) and Roussillon – also not dead – allowed me to acquire (mytho) a good command of organic farming. Of course all our wines are blah, blah, blah… and the rest is literature. The best thing is to go to the cellar for a drink and you can “disgust” it…@ttention contains Gluten… NOT DEAD" - Alban Michel (the winemaker)
The above passage was translated, but I think it gives you a good idea of who Alban is.
Grapes are harvested early, this allows them to maintain their acidity and freshness. They then have a quick maceration, meaning brief time with the skins before being pressed. This is what we called a 'Primieur' style wine, meaning it is released first and is supposed to represent a simple and accessible wine for the season. Traditionally, this is the wine that is drank during harvest the following year. They're intended to be simple and pleasing. It's the perfect wine for sharing with friends on a hot day, though you'll still get a hint of tannin on this one.
Mont-Le-Vignoble, Lorraine, France
"Stéphane’s domaine is located in the North East of France, in Lorraine. He’s based in the village of Mont-le-Vignoble, in the Côtes de Toul -- a tiny wine area spread over only 8 villages and 100 hectares. The Lorraine vignoble was slowly reborn following the 1980s after having disappeared in the phylloxera crisis. In this region located between Champagne and Alsace, the vines are planted on the Cuesta (long, north-south escarpments), and the Moselle river (which runs to Germany) flows at their feet." - Chris Camo (the importer)
This Pinot Noir is grown on clay soils and macerated in whole bunches for 8 days. It then spends 10 months aging on the lees. Generally, I don't have many wines in the shop that I believe benefit from decanting, but due to some reduction in this wine, I think that either opening the bottle and letting it hang out for an hour or so before drinking, or decanting and giving it a swirl will really help it shine. If you choose to do this, taste it before and after and see the difference!