70% Agiorgitiko , 30% Moscofilero
The color is bright, light cerise with pink hues. Vibrant and clear on the nose, with aromas of ripe cherries, raspberries, hints of flowers, and rose petal notes. On the palate it has a medium body, moderately high acidity and the slightest suggestion of very ripe tannins. Flavors are consistent with the aromas, with a light sensation of sweet grass and bubble gum. The finish is moderately long, with developing flavors that lead to complexity.
George Skouras was born in Argos, in the Northern Peloponnese, which is one of the oldest towns of Europe, with a 3,000 years long tradition of wine and culture. In 1980, George went to study Agriculture at the University of Dijon, in Burgundy, France. On graduating from Dijon with a degree in oenology, George started gathering experience in many classic wine-producing regions of France, Italy and Greece. A long-held vision, the creation of Domaine Skouras materialized in 1986. Initially, the small wine-making facility was in Pyrgela, a small village on the outskirts of Argos. The next logical step was the creation of a boutique winery in the Nemea Appellation area, in the village of Gimno. The Nemea zone is the largest and possibly the most exciting Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for red wines in Greece. There, the countless hours of manual work on an extremely small scale became an invaluable study on the Agiorgitiko variety and the Nemea denomination. The establishment of the final winery in Malandreni, also in the Nemea Appellation, took place in 2004. The new infrastructure increased capacity and technical capabilities, but not for creating more technical wines. For the Domaine Skouras team, technology is all about control and observation, allowing for minimal intervention on the wines, if and when it is needed – and only to the requisite extent.
Fermented in stainless steel vats. Short maceration, no malolactic fermentation and short aging over fine lees.
Pair with a (hopefully!) sunny February afternoon, charcuterie board, or a gorgeously roast chicken.
ATHLETES PINOT NOIR
100% Pinot Noir
This garnet-hued Pinot is loaded with fresh, silky flavors of sour cherries and red fruits. Lively and fresh, it is marked by notes of morello cherry, strawberry, raspberry, dried rose, cherry blossom and a subtle earthy funk. The palate has great texture with silky tannins and a soft, persistent finish. Serve slightly chilled.
Les Athlètes du Vin is a négociant project focused on typical, value-driven wines from the Loire Valley in France. Basically, a group of like-minded friends and winemakers who all have their own projects and wineries, but every year band together to create tasty, approachable cuvées made from shared fruit. They call themselves Vini Be Good. This Pineau d’Aunis is a perfect example of their handiwork. A rare grape that sometimes gets lost in blends, or made into cheap rosé, but one that becomes an absolutely delicious wine when treated with respect.
The labels for Les Athlètes du Vin are drawings by French artist, illustrator, and cartoonist Michel Tolmer, who has been the unofficial lead artist of the French natural wine movement since the 1990s. The sportif themed labels remind us that wine isn’t always reserved for the table, and as the world begins her reopening, it’s totally time to stretch the old muscles and get outside. “Drinking wine is also a sport, as you have to lift your elbow — a very high-level intensity of physical activity, you know,” says Founder Fabrice Gendrot.
Sustainable farming practices, hand-harvested, native yeast fermentation, minimal sulfur addition, & only 5,000 cases produced.
Pair with cheese & charcuterie, salmon, bean and lentil stews, pizza, pasta, tacos… the list goes on!
MONTE SANTOCCIO VALPOLICELLA
40% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara
This elegant wine has a youthful mid ruby coloring offering clear translucence. It shows a savory, minerally nose filled with wild cherries, fresh herbs, and peppery hints. Dark berries and ripe maraschino cherry fill the palate with a brilliantly savory mouthfeel paralleled by fine and smooth tannins. The long finish and mouth-filling palate almost offer vibes as if it’s a more restrained and elegant Amarone.
Based in the Veneto village of Fumane, in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico appellation, Nicola Ferrari and his wife Laura live among the 3ha of vines - Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara - from which all of their brilliant hand-made wines are produced. Nicola Ferrari, winemaker, was 26 years old when he started working for Giuseppe Quintarelli, one of the region’s most respected winemakers. Nicola's winery is carefully conceived and ideally located and he believes in exercising full viticultural control - from the farming through to the final wines in bottle (which are produced at the small winery in the middle of the vineyards, precisely the arrangement he insisted upon). The style is elegant, balanced and restrained, yet expressive.
Non-Certified Organically Grown Grapes. Manually harvested grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts only. 15 day maceration on the skins is followed by aging in concrete vats for 8-12 months, depending on the vintage.
Perfect with appetizers, pasta, salami and young cheeses. Excellent if served chilled as an aperitif.
BOSCHIS FRANCESCO DOGLIANI DOLCETTO
Dolcetto means "little sweet one" and this young, fresh and classic expression of Dogliani is just that. Deep blue-crimson in color, with a touch of rusticity. A rush of sweet red berry fruit, flowers and spices makes a strong opening statement. In the glass, heaps of ripe dark berry fruit surrounding a lush framework provides plenty of the richness that is such a signature of the Boschis wines, but there is also more than enough brightness to keep things nicely balanced. Finishes with a luscious vinous quality and velvety finish. Very easy to like!
A family farm in the truest sense, the Francesco Boschis estate is run by Mario Boschis with the collaboration of his wife Simona and their two adult sons Paolo and Marco. They not only have some of the best high-altitude, old vines plantings of Dolcetto in the Dogliani appellation but also grow hazelnuts, as well as keep bees and cattle on their farm.
Dolcetto di Dogliani has always been acknowledged as the finest expression of the variety. Though the appellation shares a border with Monforte, vineyards are at an average of 550 meters above sea level, about 200-300 meters higher than those of Barolo and Barbaresco. This elevation, in combination with a slightly cooler climate, made Dolcetto the first choice for all of the best exposures, since it was too cool for Nebbiolo. Boschis soils are similar to those of Serralunga: calcareous clay, that, with these elevations, gives the wine a powerfully enhanced bouquet, as well as minerality and structure far beyond what you might expect from humble Dolcetto. Boschis’ old vines – some as old as 70 years—are all from a massal selection of Dolcetto from a prephylloxera vineyard of the late 1800s. Their biotype of Dolcetto is very peculiar compared to the more diffuse types being planted today: it has a red stem, very low yields and small berries with a thick skin. The first vintage under the Boschis labels was 1968, so 2018 marked 50 years of estate bottling for the family, even though they have been growing grapes in Dogliani since 1919! They have a total of 22 hectares, but only 10.4 are planted to vines. Though the family works organically by definition, they are not certified. The EU labels their farming practices as sustainable.
The eye-catching labels of the wines are the work of Teresita Terreno, a local Langhe artist, and each gives hints about the wine’s nature: the strawberries on the spring-released Pianezzo refer to the wines early approachability. The San Martino has an autumnal scene, harmonious and languishing in the year’s remaining warmth—San Martino’s elegance and complexity are always on full display. Vigna Prey shows an austere hazy winter’s day frozen in snow—this is the most structured and powerful of the trio.
Fermented on the skins in stainless steel and aged in stainless steel for 8-10 months before bottling.
Pair this with Piemontese-inspired menus such as risotto with truffles, meat and sage stuffed ravioli, all kinds of salumi and cured meats, beef and veal dishes as well as fine Italian cheeses. Goes great with black-pepper seasoned dishes and tomato-based pasta dishes!
80% Grenache and 20% Carignan
Fresh raspberry fruits on the nose, full bodied on the palate with a ripe cherry and dark fruit, blackcurrant and a touch of spice. The Carignan adds a bit of soul to the vibrant Grenache, with nicely balanced acidity with supple tannins.
The Cicada takes its name from the emblem of the Domaine – Chante Cigale – the famed 'singing cicadas' of Provence. The Cicada (Cigale in French) is a very popular symbol of Provence. It is found everywhere, in many different forms in souvenir stores, on provencal fabric, and the pottery versions that hang on the facades of houses to supposedly attract luck and happiness.
The history started in 1874 when Hyppolite Jourdan chose to name the 28 hectares family property Clos Chante Cigale. In 1936, Châteauneuf du Pape was declared the 1st AOC in France and producers in the area then started to structure themselves to meet the new standards. At that time, Paul Jourdan was at the head of the family estate and he decided to rename it Domaine Chante Cigale.
Domaine Chante Cigale, located within the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, has been owned and operated by the Sabon Favier for many generations. The Estate now stretch over more than 102 acres on the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, divided into 45 parcels, scattered all over this exceptional terroir. The diversity of its soils and of the grape varieties allows the elaboration of unique and exceptional wines. Recently Christian Favier released the reins to his son, Alexandre, who is fast becoming the new rising star of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Despite only being in his early 20's he has been lauded by notable journalists in the US and the UK. Alexandre Favier and his team are taking good care of every step of the wines production themselves, respecting this way the spirit of the Domaine.
Alex Favier sources the grapes for his IGPs from land the family owns in the Vaucluse, specifically in Gigondas – La Marteillère with clay soil for the Grenache & L’Hers on limestone for the Carignan, vines are 30 years old. Hand-harvested and de-stemmed, short maceration in concrete for the Grenache plus aging in 5 yr old Burgundy barrels for the Carignan to round out the tannins.
Great lightly chilled with pasta and risotto dishes, grilled fare, or for February movie nights.
AMONA TEMPRANILLO RIOJA
With a clean and bright color with bluish reflections, this wine shows abundant aromas of red and wild fruits. On the palate, red fruits explode complemented by balanced acidity and soft tannins. Displaying a fresh fruit forward style with a medium body, this wine is beautifully structured.
From the heart of Rioja Alavesa comes the most endearing project of the Gil family. Rosario Vera is not just any winery, but the way to remember the mother and co-founder of the family label Founded in 2017, Rosario Vera is the newest winery from Gil Family Estates. It is located in the town of Laguardia in the D.O.Ca. of Rioja, Spain. The Rioja Alavesa area was chosen because of its proximity to the Sierra de Cantabria. The mountainous alignment isolates La Rioja from maritime influence. The precipitation that takes place is mainly in spring and autumn. Rosario Vera’s vineyards consist of small plots, planted 15 to 60 years ago. Calcareous clay soils, the climate, as well as high altitude, make a perfect place to grow vines and obtain high quality grapes. The label is sentimental to the family showing a protection amulet symbolizing their grandmother, nine branches representing her nine children, and leaves that represent each of the grandchildren.
Hand-picked Tempranillo grapes from small plots of vineyards planted on clay-calcareous soils were fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks. 15% of the grapes were fermented using the traditional carbonic maceration process, which is very common in Rioja Alavesa.
Pair with pizza, red meat, or a cozy fireside evening.