Okay we're back to our usual tour around Europe with wines from Spain, Italy, Greece, and France! INCLUDING... the just-landed, new vintage of Rezabal Txakoli Rose!! If the sun isn't out, you can at least imagine it while sippin' on this dreamy effervescent rosé. So gear up and pack your bags for this little Euro trip because this selection will take you oh so many places!
CASTELLO DI PERNO BARBERA DI ASTI
Classically Barbera with an intense and lively ruby red color with purple reflections. On the nose very intact, fragrant aromas of small red berries and hints of black cherry alongside floral notes of violet. The mouthfeel is full and agile with vigorous body; persuasive and balanced, it is deliciously drinkable with acidity typical of Barbera. It has an excellent persistence. Simplicity at it’s finest!
Located in Perno, a hamlet of Monforte d’Alba, a Middle Ages castle lies atop the hill overlooking miles of hills and valleys covered with vineyards. This is the land of renowned Cru DOCG Barolo, in between the ridges of Perno and Serralunga. The castle, once transformed into residential homes between the 17th and 18th centuries, is now owned by professor and lawyer, Gregorio Gitti. The project of the Gitti’s family from the beginning was double: to restore the Castle of Perno to its history, both to the most recent one driving it like a home for culture and to the oldest one of the cultivation of vines and the vinification of its own grapes. Castello di Perno, it’s winery born in 2013, is not only the center of an high-level winemaking activity, it is not just a charming historic residence, but intends to embody hospitality as an engaging experience to live and discover, a home for culture, with particular attention to contemporary arts.
The oenological project of Castello di Perno can be defined as neoclassical: balancing equal respect of the tradition and awareness of renewability. A classical imprint in addition to a contemporary vision, Castello di Perno aims to find the best expression of elegant wines. Specific techniques and knowledge of this historical terroir are involved and influence the winemaking with a sensibility that the wines are living things and therefore they are born, they age and improve like the people who seek them as good company.
Destemming, cold maceration for 48 hours and spontaneous fermentation with maceration of about 20 days at a controlled temperature. Aging in steel for about 9 months.
EN COTEAUX PINOT NOIR
100% Pinot Noir
A fresh and pure, yet elegant, expression of French Pinot Noir. Translucent vermillion red in the glass, aromas of fresh red cherries jump out. A well-rounded pinot noir with a relishing aftertaste marked by cherries, spices, and a bewitching earthy flavor. This pinot noir is lush with a light but intense experience of fruit.
Winemaker and grower, Jeff Carrel studied Oenology in France, vinifying in the Loire, Alsace and the Languedoc regions where he took up a role as Technical Director for a Bordeaux wine merchant before taking complete charge of the domaine. Today Jeff works mainly in Languedoc Roussillon but also in Bordeaux, Beaujolais and Burgundy. Jeff develops original wines with precision that deliver a sense of place at a great value. Each wine is a reflection of the people behind them, a story of encounters, cultural traditions, varietals, and the land. Jeff Carrel works with organic growers and his labels include a wide range of wines, domaine wines, and also the By Jeff Carrel brands. Check out his Languedoc which also lives on Agora’s shelves!
He named En Coteaux after the hillsides of the vineyards (“coteaux” is French for “hillsides”), which are nestled in the slopes of the French Pyrenees Mountains. Grown in a coastal climate, cooled by sea and ocean winds. The wine is naturally fermented with no sulfites added.
REZABAL TXAKOLI ROSE
100% Hondarrabi Beltza
This shiny bright salmon pink Txakoli will captivate you at first sniff with vivid aromas of fresh wild strawberries. Silky and expressive in its path, it’s captivating palate is slightly effervescent with peachy notes and just a touch of jalapeno. This native varietal is alive and fruity, with refreshing acidity. A balanced and feminine body with an easy and radiant finish leaves you wanting more!
Txakoli Rezabal winery is located in the best slopes of Zarautz, Getaria and Aia, caressed by the sea breeze. Their vineyards breathe nitrates and they feed by a humid soil that exudes fertility, power of quality and uniqueness of our Txakolis. Rezabal belongs to the PDO “Getariako Txakolina”, which preserves the tradition of many centuries to maintain the characteristics of Txakoli. It requires the latest technology to serve quality, in order to extract maximum juice from the grapes, and traditional methods to preserve these privileged grapes that have survived over time. Rezabal is a family winery, dedicated in body and soul to a passion in which they have been working for years. Three generations of winemakers, the grandchildren are now maintaining the vineyards and wines as their grandfather would. Their passion is born from a beautiful heritage that requires not only dedication, it needs love and affection too. The aitona (grandfather) can be rest assured, knowing that new prunings will come back, new strains will be planted, bunches will be collected and musts will continue flowing.
We call Txakoli Rezabal Rosé “musical” because there is a good harmony in its sensations. From the beginning we chose quality, use of raw materials from the area, innovation and small details produced by Txakoli Rezabal. With 60 acres growing two native varieties, Hondarrabi-Zuri and Hondarrabi-Beltza, in a traditional high trellis system to accommodate the humidity of the area, Rezabal is proud of the progress they have made in sustainable viticulture to preserve and protect the environment.
Fermented and aged in stainless steel, no CO2 additions.
80% Grolleau, 20% Cabernet
This glou glou Grolleau pairs with almost everything and goes down all too easily! Chill it down, let it quench your thirst and rest your mind. Grolleau is a gorgeously low alcohol grape taut with the food friendliest of acid and a rustic charm.'Grololo' Grolleau smells like the all sprinklers just went off at dusk in late July; lawns of peppered strawberry and blackberry, wet sidewalks wafting. And it tastes like spiced raspberry juice, soft, and subtle but spicy, angular, and vibrant, carefree goodness. It's a pure and simple pleasure, the kind of thing you don't have to think too much about.
Since 1978, Jo Pithon has been a star of the Loire. He was the first in the area to switch to organic farming and champion living soils, the first in the area to create hyper-terroir wines from individual parcels after the Burgundian fashion, and an early adopter of natural winemaking.
These 26 hectares produce some of the most lauded Chenin Blanc in the Loire, the bottles you crack on special occasions, yet it’s Pithon-Paillé’s every day drinker, the ‘Grololo’ red and white, that have become the glou glou darlings of international renown. A note of explanation for the more bashful drinker that first sets eyes on the labels’ infamous cartoons: The original red cuvée is a play on the name Grolleau, an indigenous grape of the Loire the fleet-footed and high in acid, making extremely food friendly and nourishing vin de soif. It’s mother’s milk to vinophile. Hence the play on words: Grololo is basically a child’s slang for breasts! On the white cuvée we see the male equivalent on a couple of revelling bare-chested winemakers! Tres risqué!
Now on the verge of retirement, Pithon is handing over the reins as he works closely with rising star Adrien Moreau, a gentleman who’s plied his trade at canonical domaines like Cheval Blanc, Haut-Brion, Harlan Estate, and Roederer (buy a bottle at Agora today!). Vineyard work continues on with Jo’s protege team, pioneers in biodynamic winemaking.
In the end it is still a rather simple endeavor at Domaine Pithon-Paillé: giving the vines all the TLC and none of the chemical punishments, listening and responding as unobtrusively as possible to these plants, and fostering a dynamic environment. As thanks, nature yields back healthy and complex grapes that Domaine Pithon-Paillé can gently guide through fermentation and pass that gift onto the world.
Carbonic maceration highlights the red fruited character of this indigenous Loire variety while keeping the tannins low. A wine made simply from tenderly pampered, biodynamically farmed vines that produce faithful and nourishing grapes year after year.
TATSIS YOUNG VINES XINOMAVRO
Xinomavro, with a touch of Negoska
Typical xinomavro aromas are black olive, cooking spices, earth, and black fruit, but this younger, easily accessible blend of Xinomavro and Negoska retains a freshness and lighter structure. Fruit-forward and ready for consumption, this red mainstains the right amount of structure with long, dusty tannins and concentrated dark fruit of prunes, black cherry and kola nut. Fantastic dinner wine, especially for lamb and beef dishes.
“Our family is as steeped in winemaking history as anyone could imagine,” says Periklis Tatsis, one half of the sibling team that owns and operates Domaine Tatsis with his younger brother Stergios. “During the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the forced population exchanges in 1924 our grandparents came from Ano Vodeno in Eastern Romylia,” an area of Thrace that equates roughly to today’s southern Bulgaria. Periklis explains that his people were always grape growers and winemakers and it had been the trade of the family since time immemorial. “They came from a village that was homogenously Greek, like a leftover from Byzantium, and draw their history from there.”
When the Tatsis family was moved to Greece they chose to settle in Goumenissa, an area (and appellation) that was covered in vine and spoke to their values and history. The fit was natural and the Tatsis brothers forbearer’s property started with a scant 4 hectares that has now grown into 14 with additions that they’ve made since taking over the domaine from their father with their first vintage in 1996. Periklis works the land and oversees the vines with Stergios in charge of making the wine although the lines often blur with a family endeavor. The wines are certified organic with many biodynamic principals applied but the best way to describe them is as one of the small group of original natural winemakers in Greece to pop up in the 1990s, numbering no more than 3 or 4 at most at a time when international varieties, commercial yeasts and 100% new oak was the norm in the rest of the country.
Domaine Tatsis wines can easily be seen as traditionalist in nature but that would be only a part of the story. They constantly experiment, doing long macerations of their native white varieties and long élevage for roses. They release their appellation Goumenissas with significant bottle aging for a true representation of the wine as it should be enjoyed. They are both a throwback as well as on the forefront of the wine scene in Greece with nary a care of what anyone else is doing. There’s no irrigating of the vines and all fruit is hand picked. The wines are fermented with native yeasts, bottled unfiltered and unfined, with only a tiny amount of sulfites added.
Xinomavro, meaning ‘acid black,’ is high quality grape often compared to Italy’s Nebbiolo grape. Negoska is a fairly rare variety with soft tannin and good alcohol that balances Xinomavro’s acidic nature in blending, a practice particular to Goumenissa.
4 MONOS GR-10 GARNACHA
Mainly Garnacha with small hints of Cariñena, Morenillo and Syrah
It pours a pale mid-ruby color with garnet highlights. The GR-10 is elegant on the nose, featuring aromas of ripe red berry and stone fruits complimented by spice and a lovely floral note. The palate is fresh, lively and juicy with soft, fine-grained tannins that perfectly frame the cool red and blue fruit and floral flavors that lead into a refined and savory finish. A mineral spine runs through the wine, adding complexity and depth. Enjoy with dry-rub pork chops, assorted cured meats or a good book.
4 Monos (4 Monkeys) is a team of four friends native to the Sierra de Gredos, a mountain range just 80 km west of Madrid. The four met while hiking in the mountains and discovered that they each had a passion for wine. The group, whose first vintage as a team was in 2009, consists of winemaker Javier Garcia (also the head winemaker at Méntrida icon Bodegas Jiménez-Landi), co-winemaker Laura Robles, wine-lover David Velasco and vineyard-holder David Moreno. Their 4 hectares of vineyards are planted to old bush vines located between 600-1200 meters elevation planted on sand, granite, and schist intermingle with sweet-scented olive, evergreen, almond, and chestnut trees, scrub brush, chamomile, and wildflowers. This is a landscape that feels like a holy collision between the Mediterranean and the Alpine, and the region is often deemed magical for its beauty and immense diversity.
It is this terroir that 4 Monos champions with organic farming, and articulates so beautifully with their utterly crystalline and transparent wines.
Over ten years they have acquired 5 hectares of their own vineyard parcels, a small bodega with built-in concrete tanks in Cadalso de los Vidrios, and are also working another 5ha with local growers who share their passion for organic farming practices. By putting a focus on the land and the variances in terroir from village to village, they have brought the potential of the Gredos terroir to the world’s attention and revived production from grapes such as Morenillo and Cariñena.
This regional tinto from multiple villages in the Gredos that is affordable and highly representative of the Sierra de Gredos terroir. It is named after the spectacular walking trail, GR-10, which connects Lisbon and Valencia and crosses through a few of 4 Monos' vineyards. Minimalism reigns supreme in their cellar. They pick Garnacha, Cariñena and Morenillo as soon as they achieve initial ripeness, and vinify using whole grape clusters, gentle extraction, and aging in neutral oak of varying sizes. The grapes are typically cold macerated 50% whole cluster and 50% de-stemmed, wild yeast fermented for 30-40 days, then raised in 300, 400 and 500 liter used barrels and foudres for 9 months to impart freshness to the wines.