When you’re thinking about your holiday plans, you probably have “eat, drink and be merry” right near the top of the list.
Nothing quite compliments those holiday meals with a perfectly paired glass of wine, but unless you’re a sommelier, you may not always know the right one to choose.
But have no fear, that’s what the Agora Wine Club is here for!
Each month as part of the Agora Wine Club we put together a selection of wine to share our knowledge and help our customers find new and exciting wine selections.
This month’s Wine Club selections include:
- Château Yvonne Saumur-Champigny ‘L’lle Quatre Sous’
- Alta Alella GX
- Averaen Pinot Noir
- Casale del Giglio Cesanese
- La Battagliola Lambrusco 15
- Capezzana Barco Real Carmignano
Château Yvonne Saumur-Champigny ‘L’lle Quatre Sous’
Located in Parnay, Chateau Yvonne has been surrounded by vineyards since the middle ages, when the monks at the Abbaye de Fontevraud brought their influence to the region. The Chateau dates to the 16th century, but not much is known until 1813, when a local winemaker moved in and began producing wine on site. In 1997, Yvonne and JeanFrançois Lamunière decided to recreate the abandoned vineyard with the help of Françoise Foucault. In 2007, Matthieu Vallée took over and decided to keep the name Chateau Yvonne in hommage to the incredible work done by the previous owners. Today the domaine is one of the best producers in Saumur, composed of 3 hectares of Chenin Blanc and 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc (30 year old vines), spread out over 28 small plots in three villages.
The vineyards have been farmed organically (Ecocert certified) since 1997 and biodynamically since 2012. Yvonne’s production remains extremely low, averaging only 2000 cs annually. All vineyard work here is done manually, and Matthieu makes the wines with as little manipulation as possible: native yeast fermentation, no additions other than SO2, slow malolactic fermentation, minimal racking, and bottling unfined and unfiltered. The dominant soils here are limestone and tuffeau stone but outcroppings of gravel and sandy clay give completely different expressions of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc.
It boasts a deep, rich color, then a nose of black raspberries, red and black currants, plums and cranberries. Taste is savory: berries, blood, meat, herbs. Bright acidity, structure.
Great with food! Our best tip? Match it with real herbs in whatever dish you’re serving.
Alta Alella GX
This cuvée is very easy-drinking thanks in part to its fresh attack. It is cherry in color with purple hues. You will detect aromas of red fruit which are lifted by floral/violet aromas. Very fruity on the palate, with the red fruit prominently appearing fresh and well balanced before revealing dark berry notes, including blackberry, as well as licorice. The ensemble fades in a pleasing mineral finale, offering a fruity aftertaste with soft tannins.
The wine comes from a young family business settled in a magnificent amphitheatre facing the sea, Alta Alella tends to vines according to organic agriculture principles.
Set in the midst of the Serralada de Marina Natural Park, a step from the Mediterranean Sea and just a few miles away from Barcelona, stands the ALTA ALELLA MIRGIN winery, the dream-come-true of the Pujol-Busquets Guilléns. A family that has always been dedicated to viticulture. Josep Maria and Cristina have spent their whole lives sharing the wine and cava culture. Their daughters Mireia and Georgina grew up surrounded by vineyards, grapes, harvests and bottles. It’s in their DNA. Knowledge, passion, perseverance and dedication. A lifestyle. It’s a way of understanding wine and cava responsibly by making it entertaining, innovative while also adopting a real taste for new trends. They are committed to nature, so they offer an avant-garde product. Their respect for the land becomes the celebration of a new experience.
After destemming, the grapes begin a process of maceration-fermentation for 15 days at 22°C in stainless steel tanks to extract the maximum of fruity aromas. Afterwards, the grapes are gently pressed and, once finished the malolactic fermentation in vats, the wine is immediately bottled.
Averaen Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir
Ripe ruby-red with juicy, fresh fruit and berry flavors – think dark cherry, cranberry, blackberry, more cherry. Clove, mocha, blood orange and vanilla accents abound adding complexity. The texture is ripe and plush with a line of acid running through to keep the wine vibrant. The wine is all about focus, electricity, and verve.
Fruit sourced from six Willamette Valley AVAs and well over a dozen vineyards combines in this sweetly fruity wine. Pretty plum and marionberry flavors are enhanced with a light touch of herbs, putting a frame around the finish.
In 2018, winemaker Adam Smith (who, while in Oregon, has made wine at Shea, Domaine Serene, and Nicolas-Jay) they made their first vintage of Averaen. Smiths relationships in the Valley have quickly afforded Averaen privileged access to Oregons highest quality fruit at prices reflected in the great value of this first release. Sourced from six Willamette Valley AVAs and well over a dozen vineyards.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley offers an ideal growing climate, where strong winds blow from the nearby Pacific Ocean, and the mix of ancient volcanic soils and marine sediments from a prehistoric ocean floor lend intense minerality and complexity to the Pinot Noir grapes grown on them. Simple sustainable farming, hands-off winemaking and a passion for Pinot Noir dictate Averaen’s mission.
Casale del Giglio Cesanese
Deep ruby red. Intense aromas of marasca cherry, typical of late varieties, followed by spicy notes of white pepper, black pepper and violet. The mouthfeel is soft, with persistent tannins and pronounced acidity, essential criteria for long aging.
Casale del Giglio was founded in 1967 by Dr. Berardino Santarelli, a native of the Appenine hill town of Amatrice. The estate lies between the towns of Aprilia and Latina in the Agro Pontino valley, some 50 kms. south of Rome. Unlike other parts of the Latium region, or other regions of Italy, this territory was still uncharted in viticultural terms when Berardino Santarelli and his son Antonio launched their research project in 1985. Endorsed by the Agricultural Department of Latium’s Regional Government, the project involved researchers of international standing, many of whom still contribute to Casale del Giglio’s research today.
This variety hails from the Latium Province of Frosinone, once inhabited by the ancient Volsci tribe who conquered the town of Satricum in 488 BC and ruled supreme until the Romans established a colony there in 385 BC. Cesanese is a low yield, late-ripening variety which lends itself to late harvesting. The cluster is small, sparse and elongated, the berries oval and medium-sized. The harvest does not take place until late October as the vineyards are situated on relatively high, hilly slopes. Submerged cap, spontaneous fermentation at 18-20° C for approximately 20 days is followed by a further 10/12 days of maceration on the skins to extract the very last traces of the tannins in which the skins and seeds of the Cesanese grape are particularly rich.
Pairing : Agro Pontino Valley Water Buffalo Stew
Recipe for 4 people:
Soften an onion in olive oil, add the meat cut into small pieces and sauté in its own juices. Add a little white wine, chilli, salt and water and cook over a low heat until the meat is ready. Add a clove of garlic crushed with a little vinegar, cover and simmer for a few minutes. Serve with seasoned sprouting broccoli.
La Battagliola Lambrusco 15
100% Lambrusco Grasparossa
Bright, simple and clean, here is a bubbly Lambrusco that opens with tones of forest berry and wild strawberry followed by a touch of bitter almond skin. A harmonious and zesty flavor with a pleasing presence of fruit. Sparkling fine bubbles forming a lively and evanescent foam that lines the edge of the glass.
In 1999, Alberto Salvadori inherited the beautiful country house in Piumazzo named “La Battagliola” from his mother Anna Maria. The Modenese plains were still young and mostly uncultivated at this time, but Alberto could see that they had potential to produce high quality grapes. He transformed the land into an area of 70,000 Lambrusco Grasparossa vine cuttings. Alberto chose Grasparossa because it is the grape variety most suited for the land. The soil at La Battagliola is gravelly, a feature distinctive of the growing area of Grasparossa. This unique aspect not only lowers the risk of pathogens, but it also guarantees the consistency of the wine in terms of aromas, flavour and great quality. The Lambrusco Grasparossa “Dosage 15” is La Battagliola’s flagship. it pours an intense ruby red color, with a beautiful fruity bouquet of cherry, raspberry and blackberry. It is crisp and refreshing, with a good structure on the palate.
Alberto never stopped looking forward to new challenges, such as his goal to preserve traditional varieties of his land from extinction. In 2015 La Battagliola started to grow another indigenous variety of Emilia Romagna: the Pignoletto spumante. Today La Battagliola has 27 ha under vine and a production of 60,000 bottles per year. Alberto’s children Beatrice and Tommaso share the same passion for wine and now help run the winery and estate.
Farming practices: sustainable
Fermentation: stainless steel tanks (primary) stainless steel autoclaves (secondary)
Aging: 4 months on the fine lees in stainless steel
Drinks so well on it’s own! But also drinks well with gamey foods, hors d’oeuvres, and pasta in broth.
Capezzana Barco Real Carmignano
75% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon , 5% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Franc
Barco Reale has a shiny, rich ruby red colour in the glass. Cherry and plum aromas are complemented by a touch of oak. Rounded and ripe on the palate, it shows lovely balanced fruit and tannin structure. There is a hint of spiced berries on the long, elegant finish. Gorgeous aromas of dark cherries, earth, leather, spice are woven together with floral scents, licorice and crushed stones, which all burst from the glass. On the palate this is well-structured with excellent depth and a core of red fruits leading up to the lingering finish.
The Carmignano region, which lies in Tuscany next to the Chianti district, is Tuscany’s smallest and oldest DOCG (controlled designation of origin guaranteed). Until the rise of Super Tuscan wines which allowed producers to break all the normal winemaking rules, Carmignano went about 450 years as the only red wine in Italy that was allowed to use Cabernet Sauvignon in its blend. The vines grow in the ancient Medici estate, known as the “Barco Reale” or “Royal property” which was established in 1626. With this decrete, which is the pride of Tuscany, Grand Duke Cosimo III set Italy’s first laws establishing boundaries and production standards for quality wines.” Today Sangiovese, Cabernet and Canaiolo grow in this ancient area that was a hunting preserve surrounded by walls over 30 miles long. Barco Reale is a younger version of Carmignano that received DOC status in 1994.
Organic farming, Native Yeasts, malo occurs in stainless steel and then wine is aged in Allier French oak barrels for 6 months and another 3 months in bottle before release.
This is a great wine to have on your table with whatever you’re serving this holiday season!