May 2024 Wine Club Info

Domaine Salel & Renaud | “Testaire” Raisanne | Ardèche, France | 2021
Hailing from the Rhone Valley's ancient and forgotten-about region of Ardèche, this bottling embodies its rugged scrubby terroir, bursting with ripe, sun-kissed yellow fruit and what the French call "garrigue" - sage, rosemary, and lavender brush. To me, this Raisanne (different from Rousanne) feels like a poor man's viognier, a native white grape from the same slice of France.
Unsurprisingly, there's RAMPANT growth of garrigue in this part of France... Herbs de Provence anyone?
I like to imagine myself drinking this wine with halibut I grilled on a sunny evening, using a bouquet of sage/rosemary/lavender to brush melted herb butter and lemon onto the fish. 

Since 2007 Elise Renaud and Benoit Salel have been doing double-duty as viticulturists and archivists, working diligently to find, propagate, and replant old varieties which were once grown in the southern Ardèche.
Like many of the more rural areas of France, the region’s indigenous/ancient grape varieties had long since fallen into oblivion. Along with the more familiar varieties that are found in appellations throughout the Rhône region, Elise and Benoit have patiently cultivated varieties such as Chatus, Dureza, Raisaine, and Picardan.
For them, these indigenous grape varieties are the soul and identity of the Cévennes Ardéchoises. As Elise and Benoit say, “There is nothing to invent, the future is simply what has been forgotten.”
🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Pair with: grilled fish, herbs de provence, aromatic/herbaceous chicken dishes 
🍇 Grape Variety: 100% Raisanne, the ancient white variety indigenous to the Ardèche
🌱 Farming: Practicing Organic
🍾 Winemaking: native yeast fermentation in stainless steel followed by aging in neutral oak
🧑🏼‍🌾 Winemaker: Elise Renaud and Benoit Salel
🌎 Region: Coteaux de l'Ardèche, France

🌡 Serve: Cold

Azimut | Skin-Contact White Field Blend | Penedes, Spain | 2023

More spring, more sunny wines... 

I like to imagine myself drinking this (probably too early in the day) with friends in sunshine. Picnic lunch. LAUGHS! Olives, tinned fish, gabagool, fresh young cheese. Fancy baguette from some mythical baker. Maybe a farmers' market peach.   

Don't let my frivolous imagination detract from these amazing farmers.

The Suriol family has been farming this Mediterranean estate since the 1600's on a property that used to be home to a medieval farmhouse. Phylloxera wiped out their entire vineyard, which they replanted to American Rootstock and eventually started selling Cava to local tavernas.

Azimut comes from the Arabic word for direction, which is a reference to their farming ethos... they follow the moon.

In the 1990's the Suriols converted to Biodynamics, so they make agricultural decisions based on the lunar cycle, embrace polycultural farming, and treat their estate as a micro-ecosystem with crops and animals taking care of each other.


 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Pair with: Mediterranean food, picnics, pasta, hanging out 
🍇 Grape Variety: local whites- Parellada, Sumoll Blanc, Garnatxa Blanca, Moscatell
🌱 Farming: Biodynamic

🍾 Winemaking: Natural fermentation with the grapes’ own yeasts, 5 days on skins and then 3 months in underground concrete tanks. No filtration, fining or additives, kiss of sulfur at bottling

🧑🏼‍🌾 Winemaker: Assís Suriol
🌎 Region: Penedès, Spain

🌡 Serve: Cold 


Swick Wines | "Chillable" Mourvedre Blend | Williamette Valley, Oregon | 2022

The spring calls for a license to chill. Here we have a fun cofermentation of multiple grapes including the white grape, Verdelho, for brightness/freshness. This tall drink of red feels like a dance party on your tongue.
If there's a wine you're going to drink while eating pizza al Fresco, it's friggin this one!
Joe Swick's winemaking philosophy is, " naked and raw as possible while fun and delicious. Wine that tastes like wine, not kombucha.”
Joe's wine journey began in 2003 when he worked his first harvest at a local Oregon winery, which led him to traveling the world as a harvest rat working in Tasmania, New Zealand, Portugal, Italy, and France.
In France, he discovered natural wine and it was hook, line, and sinker.
Around 2013, Joe brought all his knowledge and new-found minimal intervention ethos to the PNW where he works with organic and biodynamic vineyards in both Oregon and Washington. While he is a minimal-interventionist, he's not radical or dogmatic... “I’m not a fan of having to dump wines down the drain. If it means 10-20 ppm total SO2 added to a wine, I will do it. I prefer wine that tastes like wine, not kombucha... No yeasts, no acid 'corrections,' no temp control on the fermentor wines… Nothing is controlled. 100% of the stems are used in my red wines, which I work by foot 1-2 times a day.” 

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Pair with: pizza, pasta, chicken kebabs, mediterranean meat dishes
🍇 Grape Varieties: Mourvedre, Malbec, Verdelho, Pinot Noir
🌱 Farming: Biodynamic & Organic

🍾 Winemaking: manual harvest, spontaneous cofermentation of all grapes in one neutral vessel, no conventional additives, no fining

🧑🏼‍🌾 Winemaker: Joe Swick
🌎 Region: Oregon

🌡 Serve: Read the label


Castella Abate | Sangiovese | Tuscany, Italy | 2022 

If you're grilling a piece of red meat because it's nice outside, this is your wine. This Toscana Rosso is a fresher and brighter example of Sangiovese, which I feel falls right in the warm night red sweet spot...

Vibrant enough (thanks to 100% stainless steel) for a warm night but bold enough for a meaty dinner. 

Carla Visconti farms a small, certified organic vineyard 7-8 minutes southeast of Montalcino proper. In addition to her impressive skills as a vigneronne, Carla is an accomplished artist. Her boldly colored, modernistic front label is La Rinascita ("the rebirth"), painted in swinging, psychedelic, 1970's Florence.

Carla says La Rinascita represents "the defeat of evil and the birth of good that never dies and is always reborn." Talk that talk, Carla! We love it. The vineyard is limestone-rich clay, vines are 34-41 years old.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Pair with: grilled red meat
🍇 Grape Varieties: 100% Sangiovese
🌱 Farming: Organic
🍾 Winemaking: 100% stainless steel
🧑🏼‍🌾 Winemaker: Carla Visconti
🌎 Region: Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
🌡 Serve: Decanted

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