220 20th St S
Arlington, VA 22202
As always, Matthew brings some great wines from the portfolio of European Cellars! In case you need to be reminded, the wines from European Cellars are about “place over process” and are wines borne of struggle because hardship produces purity. Fruit comes easy in wine, it is the result of sunny days and plenty of water. Purity comes from a vine’s struggle to survive, its fight against the rocks it is planted on, its fight against the plants that surround it, and its fight against the conditions of its vineyard. Many of these wines are organic, practicing organic, or biodynamic, they harvest by hand, and ferment using indigenous yeast. Vinifying with minimal intervention, they are farmers as much as they are winemakers. Today, we are celebrating some great spring treats from their portfolio; wines that are ideal as the weather turns warm and the sun moves higher into the sky every day!
- Menade Verdejo 2015: The three siblings behind Menade are Marco, the viticulturalist, Richard, the winemarker and Alejandra managing sales and communications. Each has a tremendous amount of respect for what their family has achieved in Rueda but they are not content to rest on anyone’s laurels. Marco had converted the vineyards to organic; Richard has traveled to learn his trade and discover that their future is working with the indigenous Verdejo variety; and Alejandra has been traveling the world promoting their region and their wines. The Sanz siblings agree that organic farming, a high proportion of old vines grown on chalk and careful harvesting at night are essential to produce vibrant and fresh wines. This 100% Verdejo shows very concentrated mineral and white fruit notes backed by a nice herbaceousness – fennel and thyme – that makes it especially refreshing. A great example of pure Verdejo that would pair great with fish tacos, veggie tacos, fresh guacamole, coriander chicken, pollo en pepitoria, or anything that needs a splash of acidity to brighten it up!
- Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige Rosé 2016: While considerably less than 50% of the blend of the Prestige Rosé, Cinsaut makes its presence felt through the vivacious fruit and perfume of this wine. The remainder is Grenache – a fitting companion as both these grapes have a long history in the Languedoc and compliment each other quite well. The pale color comes from the gentle pressing of these grapes right after harvest rather than by maceration on the skins. It offers perfumed notes of wild strawberries, orange, and flowers. Clean and lightly juicy, this is a patio-pounder. Grown on a practicing biodynamic estate in Saint-Drézéry, this hand-harvested rosé is a sensational value! (And, if you like this, don’t pass up their great old vine red blend.)
- Domaine Lafage Miraflors Rosé 2016: Named after an old estate located in the heart of Domaine Lafage, Mas Miraflors, the Miraflors Rosé is sourced from old vines of Grenache Gris, which are roughly 75 years old, planted near the Mediterranean. Added to this is some Mourvedre that Jean-Marc Lafage planted about 15 years ago. Both of these parcels are in Côtes du Roussillon and are farmed organically before being hand-harvested. This a direct press rosé with the color coming from the skins of the pink Grenache Gris berries, and naturally, from the much darker Mourvedre. It is aged in tank for 4 months before bottling. This wine has great notes of raspberry, strawberry, and rose petal in a delicious, quaffable style. Pairs well with pizza, burgers, lasagna, and patios!
- Michel Gassier Cercius Rouge 2015: Michel Gassier is a restless and innovative vigneron. Usually inquisitive personalities like Michel start as outsiders, enfants terribles, iconoclasts. Such is not the case with Michel, whose family has owned vineyards in the Costières de Nîmes for four generations. Together with his wife Tina, they are helping to establish a new level of quality for Costières de Nîmes without forsaking the uniqueness of their terroir. The Costières de Nîmes is politically part of Languedoc but its terroir is part of the Rhône valley and while most of the vineyards Michel Gassier farms are located here he also tends vines further inland and closer to the Rhône river – hence its Côtes-du-Rhône designation. Based on Grenache, with a small portion of Syrah, Cercius comes from a warm terroir of deep limestone soils topped with galets. With the quality of the 2015 Rhône vintage being touted so highly and this being such a great value, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pull the cork on this wine! Stock up now, before it disappears!