8 Things We Drank While Working From Home This Month

8 Things We Drank While Working From Home This Month
Think of this as our monthly answer to, ’so what have you been into lately?’ — fresh updates from Portfolio Managers with unfiltered intel on why we’re drinking what we are.

It’s the end of February. It’s cold. It’s COVID. We’re considering, here in New York, temperatures above 35 degrees to be somewhat tropical, a great excuse for a walk outside during the day or evening (unless it’s literally blizzarding, double parenthesis: unless that’s your thing).

At this time, each year, our office is typically bustling in preparation for our Grand Portfolio Tasting and a smattering of other events we’ve thoughtfully planned to maximize our producers’ time, longtime partners and new friends, visits to New York City. Our next installment in this series, which we’ll release next week, will focus on one wine from each portfolio that we would have loved to share with you during our hypothetical 2021 GPT.

Today we’re sharing a spirit, a sake, and wines of all kinds that provided substantive warmth to us while working from home this week, for Valentine’s Day, and during our windowed amazement of fresh snow this February:

WHAT WE’RE DRINKING:

DAVID HINKLE
Savennieres ‘Clos de la Hutte’, Thibaud Boudignon

‘Clos de La Hutte’, in the hamlet of La Possonniere, is an ancient religious site of seven hectares, of which 2.6 are planted with vines. At the heart of this ancient monastery Thibaud replanted vines produced from a massal selection of Chenin Blanc coming from the very best domaines of the Loire;  five different varieties of Chenin were used together so as to best express the intensity and singularity of this historic site.

The site itself has solid schist, some spots to the surface, others with 30cm sand before hitting the mother rock. Grown on grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil), the wine combines the elegance & delicateness of ‘Clos de Frémine’ with the power of ‘Les Vigne Cendrée’.

This entices with its aromatic finesse and then the power comes in an intense minerality in the mouth…

Click here for Thibaud’s take on ‘Clos de la Hutte’ & what makes this wine so special.


 

TED DAMIANOS
Dominio do Bibei, Ribeira Sacra Blanco ‘Lapola’ 2018

The wines of Ribeira Sacra are getting a lot of attention these days, and for good reason. The ‘Sacred Riverside’ snakes through remote hills where the ancient, terraced vineyards sit at altitudes of 500+ meters above sea level. Growing grapes in this environment is sometimes called ‘Heroic Viticulture’ since the steep slopes don’t allow for the helping hand of machinery.

Dominio do Bibei is one of my favorite producers from the region, and I especially enjoy their Godello-based white cuvée ‘Lapola.’ There’s plenty of richness to satisfy the soul on a cold winter’s night, and enough tension and verve to keep things interesting sip after sip. Aromas of flowers and fennel add complexity to the ripe orchard fruits found on the palate, and the refreshing acidity proved a perfect companion to a steaming bowl of garlic soup and a heaping serving of braised chicken. Salud.


 

KRISTA FARRELL
La Gran Señora Reposado

The click of a Sharpie cap. The swoosh of Method spray cleaner. There are tactile feels and sounds that connect you with a brand and the quality behind it. The pop and clink of the glass top on this beautiful bottle of our newest tequila are sensory primers for the elegant spirit that lies ahead. Once open, I get a heady white pepper aroma that leads to high tone, buttery vanilla cream frosting, and Mexican dark chocolate. This is an easy sipper and makes cocktails that play off citrus and sour feel especially decadent!

 

JARED MCGUIRE
Kofererhof Sylvaner Valle Isarco 2019

Kofererhof’s 2019 Sylvaner evokes that scene from Fantasia when the hippo in a tutu twirls lithely to Ponchielli’s dance of the hours.  Because just like a pirouetting pachyderm, this wine delights us with a kind of irreconcilable contrast, a weighted weightlessness that reveals new dimension, and alters our perception of the physical world.

There is no question this tiny estate stands at the absolute apex of quality winemaking in Alto Adige.


 

MIKE LYKENS
Chartogne-Taillet Les Couarres Extra-Brut 2015

As we get ready for the annual recognition of love mandated by the Hallmark Corporation, I’m in the mood for Champagne. The truth is, I’m a hopeless romantic and a sucker for romantic comedies, an uninteresting fact about me that still amuses Andreas Hütwohl of von Winning when we see each other.

In the spirit of romance and love, I can think of no other producer we represent better suited to be that conduit than our very own Alexandre Chartogne of Chartogne-Taillet. Today I’m drinking the 2015 Les Couarres, produced from a single parcel in the center of Merfy and made entirely of Pinot Noir fermented and aged in oak. It’s a wonderfully textured, rich, and creamy expression of this vineyard that smells like dark cherries and orange blossoms. While this is a wine that will age beautifully for years, it’s tremendous in its youth too, full of energy just waiting to be released, like a tightly coiled spring ready to pull on your heart strings.

 


 

JAMIE GRAVES
Hojo Biden ‘Pastoral Beauty’ Yamahai Junmai

It’s February, there’s still a chill in the air, New York is still blanketed in snow, and the groundhog has seen his shadow so we’ll be hunkering down inside for the time being. We’ve been keeping warm with the help of a favorite Yamahai sake from Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka cuisine is rich and hearty, and they make bold sake to match.

The Hojo Biden ‘Pastoral Beauty’ Yamahai Junmai is layered and creamy, slightly sweeter than most sake, but balanced by a snappingly tart acidic finish characteristic of the Yamahai style. Tonight we’ll be drinking this at room temp and enjoying with a roast pork shoulder, watching the snow from inside a warm New York apartment and looking forward to spring.

 

 


 

CODY STEPHENSON
Huia Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019

Despite the mountains of dirty snow on the city’s sidewalks and the near-freezing temperatures of the last few weeks, that should give us no cause to abandon white wine. Particularly, those as joyful to drink as Huia Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019. Having the opportunity visit the winery last February before the world shutdown for international travel, this wine transports me back to the warmth of Marlborough’s long summer days. Being one of the region’s few producers to fully commit to organic viticulture, this wine is proudly certified organic and owners Mike and Claire Allan intervene as little as possible in the winemaking process.

Unlike some examples of Pinot Gris from New Zealand, this wine leans into the grape variety’s Alsatian heritage and exhibits a fuller body with concentrated fruit. While the nose reminds me of baking spice, the palate is dominated by notes of ripe orchard fruit followed by a long, saline finish. Delicious!


 

RYAN O’ROURKE
Montinore ‘Red Cap’ Pinot Noir 2017

The Montinore ‘Red Cap’ has notes of wet earth and black cherry with silky tannins that make it a perfect companion to roasted mushrooms with crusty bread and chèvre – it’s an easy sipper without food, too. The grapes are all sustainably farmed with a portion coming from their biodynamically-farmed estate, one of the largest in the country.

Per Vinous, who scored this wine with 90 points:

Vivid red. Spice-accented red fruit and floral scents. Weighty yet quite lively for the vintage, offering bitter cherry and red currant flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Finishes with solid grip, subtle tannins and spicy cut, leaving a suggestion of cherry pit behind. Raised in French and Hungarian oak, 21% of it new.Vinous