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:
Savennieres ‘Clos de la Hutte’, Thibaud Boudignon
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…
Dominio do Bibei, Ribeira Sacra Blanco ‘Lapola’ 2018
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.
La Gran Señora Reposado
Kofererhof Sylvaner Valle Isarco 2019
There is no question this tiny estate stands at the absolute apex of quality winemaking in Alto Adige.
Chartogne-Taillet Les Couarres Extra-Brut 2015
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.
Hojo Biden ‘Pastoral Beauty’ Yamahai Junmai
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.
Huia Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019
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!
Montinore ‘Red Cap’ Pinot Noir 2017
Per Vinous, who scored this wine with 90 points: