Friday, September 1, 2023
Labor Day Wines
(Wines that Work Hard!)
Hatzidakis Santorini Familia 2022
$41.99 - THIS WEEK ONLY 10% OFF
Wine region: Santorini / Village of Pyrgos, Greece
Varietal: 100% Assyrtiko
Vineyard: altitudes from 200 to 300m, on volcanic igneous lava soils
Vinification: Indigenous yeasts, aged 6 months in stainless steel tanks before bottling
Assyrtiko is the flagship white grape of Greece that originates from Santorini – the famous island with stunning blue and white churches and soils made up of volcanic ash from the volcanic eruption about 3600 years ago. The growing conditions on Santorini are almost impossible: burning heat, scarcity of water and ferocious winds, which sometimes exceed 80 km per hour. To protect the plantings, the vines are cultivated using a unique training system called ‘basket’ (‘kouloura’). Needless to say, that yields are extremely low. As a result, the best examples of Santorini Assyrtiko are incredibly complex wines which are ranked among the world’s top whites. (Fun fact: The volcanic ash is poisonous to phylloxera, the louse that destroyed most of the world's vineyards. This means assyrtiko vines are not grafted like most of vines in the world, with some root systems over 400 years old.)
Hatzidakis came into existence in 1996 when the late Haridimos Hatzidakis decided to recover the abandoned vineyards of his wife's family in the town of Pyrgos (Santorini) using respectful agriculture and respecting the Santorini tradition. Currently, his daughter Stella Hatzidakis takes charge of the great legacy her father left her.
Bright yellow color with lemon and white flowers nose. Smooth and aerial on the palate with a gentle and refreshing acidity on the finish. Matches well with shellfish and fish plates in general, green salads, asparagus white sauce meats and cheeses from Cyclades complex.
Monastero Suore Cistercensi - Coenobium Ruscum 2021
REG $32.99 - THIS WEEK ONLY 10% OFF
Region: Vitorchiano, Lazio, Italy
Varietals: Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio and Grechetto
Vineyard: old vines date to 1963 on volcanic soils, manual harvest.
Cistercian nuns has been organically farming their 5 hectares of vines in Vitorchiano, Lazio, since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until Bea Giampiero of Umbria made the acquaintance of the Sisters of the Cistercian that the rest of the world began learning about these wines produced by 80 nuns in a quiet religious outpost.
A blend of the same four grapes (Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio and Grechetto) but, in this instance, the juice is left to ferment on the lees for a period of two weeks or more, extracting all of the flavors, colors and textures of its fruit. The result is a wine of often deep golden color and penetrating minerality with hints of herbs, particularly anise, and wild flowers. There are approximately 4,000 bottles produced annually of this cuvée, the overwhelming majority of which comes to the USA.
Raul Perez Ultreia St. Jacques 2020
REG $22.00 - THIS WEEK ONLY 10% OFF
Region: Bierzo, Castilla Y Leon, Spain
Varieties: Mostly Mencía with Bastardo (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet)
Vineyard: 5ha in Valtuille de Abajo planted between 1900-1940 on clay soils
Vinification: 80% whole cluster fermentation in large oak vats; aged in various vessels - 225L, 500L, foudre and cement. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Raúl Pérez Pereira is universally considered to be one of the world’s most visionary winemakers. Since he produced his first vintage for his family’s winery in 1994 at the age 22, he has been in the forefront of the conversation about what has been called “The New Spain”. In 2005, he left his family business to strike out on his own, creating Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, which quickly became the point of reference for the Bierzo appellation. In the intervening years, he has expanded his sphere of activity to include the appellations of Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra and Tierra de León, but his heart and his home remain in Valtuille de Abajo, the village in Bierzo where his family has been tending vines for well over 300 years.
In addition to numerous other accolades, Raúl was named “Winemaker of the Year” by German publication Der Feinschmecker in 2014 and “Best Winemaker in the World” for 2015 by the French publication Bettane+Desseauve. In the February 2018 Decanter, Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros wrote, “Raúl Pérez is the archetype of the intuitive winemaking genius.” A picture of Raúl in that same article is captioned, “Is this the best winemaker in the world?” Raúl would certainly not self-apply any of these superlatives. In fact, his genius is far exceeded by his humility and generosity of spirit. That humility comes through in his wines. These are not “winemaker” wines so much as they are unadulterated expressions of the villages and vineyards from which they hail.
WA 93-94 pts
Pedro Parra y Familia Cinsault ‘Monk’ 2018
REG $40.00 - THIS WEEK ONLY 10% OFF
Region: Itata, Bio Bio, Chile
Itata is a small, remote wine region in the Bio Bio area of southern Chile. The area is an outstanding mysterious place, full of history, terroir, and passion. Itata and Bio Bio were for many years an area of isolated granitic mountains, near the ocean, 500 kms south of Santiago. A difficult place to visit for centuries, isolation was responsible for a strong local commitment to viticulture and wine, absolutely lost in time, and totally disconnected with the wine modernity that happened in Chile in the last 40 years, including introduction of Bordeaux varieties, irrigation, and high-yield production. In a geological sense, the area is defined by Paleozoic era, 220-300 million year old, schist and granite soils. There are no vines planted on the schist due to planting of pine and eucalyptus during the Pinochet era, so the terroir for wine in Itata is defined by the granite. Within the granitic areas, Pedro prefers to focus on the sandy quartz granite soils, as they force roots deeper than clay soils and therefore express the terroir better. Weather is coastal, cool, and cloudy with enough rain to make dry farming possible. The two varieties most widely planted in Itata are Cinsault (45 to 70 year old vines) and País (60 to 120 year old vines).
Pedro Parra was born in Concepción, Chile, near Bio Bio and Itata. He holds a PhD in terroir from the Paris Center of Agriculture, with six years’ experience in French terroirs. As a highly respected consultant working in several countries and terroirs (Chile, Argentina, USA, Italy, Canada, France, Armenia), Pedro has been described as the leading figure of the “New Chile” movement in part because of his constant endeavor to bring a new vision to the Chilean wine industry, searching for quality terroirs and developing new plantings throughout the country. As a consultant, Pedro’s has worked with many wineries, that includes Comando G, Jean-Marc Roulot, Liger Belair, Altos las Hormigas, and Chapter 24.
This single vineyard Cinsault comes from soils rich in silt, sand, and red granite. Native yeast fermentation with 30% whole clusters. Aging took place in 1,500-liter oak vats for just under 1 year prior to bottling. The muscular “Monk” Cinsault pays homage to jazz musician Thelonius Monk by displaying a direct, strong, and complex wine in full force
— WA 94 pts; DC 96 pts; TA 96 pts