American Sampler

american sampler

Back by popular demand, we’ve assembled a follow-up to last year’s holiday season New American Sampler. Our American section continues to evolve along with exciting new developments in the field (pun intended). This year’s sampler brings together a festive sparkler from Maine, a light red made in Utah, and four cutting edge new releases from California.

Buy all six at a 15% discount for $135, while supplies last. 

2014 Oyster River Winegrowers “Morphos” – Warren, Maine
This horse-powered farm and winery works with French-American hybrids from their own vineyards, and purchases some fruit from other growers in the Northeast. This pétillant natural (ancestral method sparkling wine) is made from cayuga and seyval blanc grown in New York. With satisfying yeasty, toasty notes, Morphos would make a perfect opening number with New England-made cheeses.

2014 La Clarine Farm Sierra Foothills White “FNA” – Somerset, California
A welcome visit this week from Hank Beckmeyer and his wife Caroline prompted their repeat inclusion in this year’s sampler. Minimalist in just about every sense (including quantities produced), LCF has become one of the cornerstones of our American shelf, continuously bolstered by the arrival of new and inventive cuvées. This is our first look at “FNA”, an inconceivable blend of fiano and arneis, of which only two cases came into the state.

2014 Donkey & Goat Filigreen Farm Pinot Gris – Berkeley, California
Husband and wife Jared and Tracy Brandt source their fruit  from sustainable farms in the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa. By Californian standards, they were early proponents of the hands-off, natural methods of winemaking, with the goal always to be to make honest, terroir driven wines that are expressive and individual: what Tracy calls “wines for the table not for the cocktail glass”. (Read their full manifesto here). This fleshy, full-bodied Pinot Gris is made with fruit sourced from Filigreen Farm in Anderson Valley. Five days of maceration on the skins yields a lush, textured white built for richer meals.

2014 Arnot-Roberts Rosé – Healdsburg, California
Since opening their doors in 2001, these two friends have made a name for themselves with both their classic cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir bottlings, and their growing collection of wines produced from early or more recent experimental plantings of obscure grape varieties like trousseau, ribolla gialla, sylvaner and colombard. This rosé is made of 100% touriga nacional, which, like the more trendy trousseau, is one of the grapes traditionally used to make port. We are unrelenting in our opinion that rose is more than just a summertime flavor, as you will find if you choose to serve this with any of the impending holiday meals.

2014 Ruth Lewandowski Wines “Feints” – Salt Lake City, Utah
Evan Lewandowski is the artistic free spirit behind this Utah-based winery! Evan came to Utah for college, left to travel the world and make wine, and ultimately returned to set up his winery here in 2012. The fruit for this unusual blend comes from a single hillside plot at Lowell Stone’s Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, California. Lowell’s farm is a micro-encyclopedia of Italian varieties, hence this unlikely blend of barbera, dolcetto, and arneis. Evan calls this wine “Feints” because it is deceptive by design – too light to be a red, too dark to be a rose, but 100% delicious all the same!

2013 Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Healdsburg, California
Anthill Farms is the project of three friends, Anthony, David, and Webster, who met over a dozen years ago while working at the renowned Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg. California may be learning its lesson that pinot noir is more about restraint than power, and that lesson is being further refined by folks like Anthill Farms, in the notion that phenolic ripeness is still of paramount importance.



Here are a couple of fun-facts about our beloved crus Beaujolais:

  • There are ten villages or crus recognized in Beaujolais to produce distinctive red wines, all made entirely from the gamay grape variety.
  • Gamay was exiled from the Côte D’Or of Burgundy by the Duke of Burgundy at the end of the 14th century for being “a very bad and disloyal plant”.
  • Gamay is better suited to the hard, granitic soils of Beaujolais than the softer limestone soils of the Côte D’Or.

Bo-jo-nanza! $100
over 20% off!
A bottle of each of the wines described below. Travel village by village at your own pace through the entire region of Beaujolais; or get your crew together and open them all at once to share the ultimate cru Beaujolais experience!

2010 Domaine Saint Cyr Chénas $15
Raphael Saint-Cyr continues along his father Thierry’s path to produce natural-minded Beaujolais from vineyards scattered all over the region. The whole estate went organic in 2009 and has been certified since 2012. This is the only one of these six featured wines with some bottle age, and as such, it is a bit softer and more open than the others.

2013 Domaine Yohan Lardy Moulin-A-Vent “Les Michelons” $24
We featured Yohan’s father’s wine in the inaugural edition of BOJONANZA, and were pleased to meet Yohan when he was in Boston a short while ago. He brought with him the above-pictured box of rocks illuminating the diversity of soil compositions found in Beaujolais.

2013 Domaine Emile Cheysson Chiroubles “Clos les Farges” $20
Notable statesman and sociologist Emile Cheysson chose Chiroubles for the site of his country home, near which already stood a wine cellar constructed by a monastery hundreds of years earlier. Now owned by Jean-Pierre Large, this is a truly exemplary Chiroubles — relatively light, with a bit of the Fleurie floral airiness.

2013 Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie “L’Alchimiste” $23
Dubois represents the new generation of the region’s winemakers who are pushing Beaujolais farther toward Burgundy in quality and recognition. “L’Alchimiste” is all about purity and finesse, with subtle floral aromatics typically found in Fleurie.

2013 Domaine Lagneau Côte de Brouilly “Vieilles Vignes” $20
Gérard, Jeannine, and their son Didier work the family’s 17-hectare estate scattered around throughout Morgon, Regnié, and the steep slopes of Brouilly. This cuvée comes from a plot of 75-year-old vines growing on blue schist at 200m altitude and resulted in a mere 3,000 bottles this vintage.

2013 Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon “La Voûte Saint-Vincent” $20
As the name would suggest, the brother and sister team of Louis-Benoit and Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes comes from a long line (8 generations) of vignerons in Morgon. They are in Javernières, the best positioned plot of the famed Côte du Py, and the average age of their vines is 70 years. They work more or less organically but choose not to go for certification because of the administrative hassle. Morgon is the region most likely to produce wines of Burgundian power and cellar-worthiness, and this wine is a fine example.



Winery of the Month: Mount Eden

We continue to extol the virtues of #NewCali (i.e. La Clarine Farm, Broc Cellars, Hobo Wines, etc.), but it’s important to step back and acknowledge their predecessors and the origins of Californian wine.

Mount Eden boasts a history no other California winery can claim. It’s roots, literally, descend from French viticultural royalty. Paul Masson, the unsuspecting catalyst of Mount Eden, smuggled budwood of pinot noir and chardonnay from Louis Latour in a suitcase in 1880. The cabernet dates back to the 1890s, when the famed viticulturist Emmett Rixford of Woodside, California, obtained cuttings from Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux. Yet it wasn’t until 1945 that Martin Ray realized if one were to emulate the grandeur of France’s most regal appellations they would only have to look up — he planted his first vineyard above the fog line in the Santa Cruz Mountains, at an elevation of 2,000 feet.

These are the elders who don’t dig all that hepcat jive talk, but might teach you whippersnappers a thing or two about real wine!

10% off Mount Eden Vineyards all month long!