One thing we love to do when we are traveling is instead of going to the big hot spot, we find our way to something a bit obscure. Yes, it’s usually a little harder to get there, sometimes communication is a bit of a struggle, but it always comes with great reward. We’ve decided to take you off the beaten path for this months’ wine club. Exploring lesser-known regions, varietals, and styles. One of the many reasons we love wine is that the discovery and learning never ends. There is always more to come across and uncover. Every vintage, every winemaking generation creates something new and sometimes unearths something forgotten.
P. & E. Mullins
N.V. Fitz-Ritter Riesling Sekt
Germans drink the most sparkling wine per capita. Spain has Cava, Italy Prosecco, France Champagne and Crémant and Germany has Sekt, and it is said to be one of their best kept secrets as most of it is not exported and consumed at home. The Fitz family is one of the oldest producers of Sekt with the current owner operators being the 9th generation. Full disclosure, Ellie, formerly a Fitzgerald was also drawn to the family’s’ name and then won over by these beautiful bubbles. Made from 100% Riesling, this Sekt is a “Trocken” which means dry in German. The estate is in the town of Bad Dürkheim which is in the region of Pfalz. It is in the Rhine valley surrounded by the Palatinate Forest which creates a little warm microclimate protecting against the cold winds. The terroir is rich & sandy and between the vineyards are almond orchards which makes for an ideal setting to grow beautiful organic Riesling. Made in the Charmat method (second fermentation in small pressure tanks) and aged on its lees this Sekt is bright and fresh with tiny tight persistent bubbles. In the glass is a bright golden hue and the bubbles dance constantly. The nose has aromas of green apple, under ripe honeydew melon and straw, it is lively. The palate is invigorating with acidity and reminiscent of green apples dipped in honey with a medium round body and dry refreshing finish.
2019 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc
In Southwestern France on the coast of a little Mediterranean Bay, perched up on cliffs of limestone above the sea is the little charming fishing village of Cassis. Vineyards have been cultivated in the region since the 12th century, although in 1870 Phylloxera wiped out the vineyards like most everywhere in Western Europe, but by 1892 the people of Cassis began to replant them. These seaside vineyards are hit with cool winds off the sea and sun soaked with the strong Mediterranean sun and the fruit bares distinct characteristics from its environment. Cassis has only 220 hectares of vineyards and 11 Domains, most of what is produced is consumed locally and as you can imagine not much is exported, only 6,000 to 9,000 bottles per year are dedicated to the market here in the States. Domaine du Bagnol is run by Cassis native, Jean-Louis Genovesi and his children Sébastien and Lisa. The land is farmed organically and by hand. The wine fermented in cement until completely dry. A blend of Marsanne 51%, Clairette Blanc 31% and Ugni Blanc 18%, makes up this juicy yet dry wine that calls for a bowl bouillabaisse (a match made in heaven). In the glass it is clear and crisp. The nose is briny and reminiscent of banana taffy. It has a richness throughout its body with a clean, supple finish.
2019 Grosjean Torrette
Vallée d’Aosta, Italy
Located in the Northwest corner of Italy, along the French and Swiss border of the Western Alps at the foothills of the majestic snow peaked Mont Blanc is the village of Fornet where the Grosjean family has been for many generations. Originally cattle farmers, the family would produce wine for their own consumption. In 1969 Dauphine Grosjean, father of 5 sons, entered his wine in “Exposition des vins du Val d'Aoste” a local wine expo. His wine received such recognition that it motivated him to begin Grosjean Frères winery with his five sons, the frères (brothers). The brothers have been named “savers” of indigenous grape varietals in the region and this Torrette is a great example of that made with an indigenous blend of 80% Petit Rouge and even lesser known Vien de Nus, Doucet, Fumin and Mayolet. These unique alpine varietals are farmed organically and biodynamically while natural yeasts are utilized for fermentation. Aged in both stainless steel to preserve the fresh bright fruit that the cold alpine air provides and in oak casks for longevity and maturity, this wine made us glad we wandered to Torrette. In the glass this is a deep ruby red. The nose has layers of stewed fruit, baking spice, leather, and butterscotch. The palate is bright with dark blueberry fruit, black currants, and cedar chips. The tannins are gentle, and the finish is just so pretty.