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.
Last year we kicked off the new decade with our 2020 Grand Portfolio Tastings, an inimitable series of events that we host, in any typical year, in NYC, Cincinnati, LA, & SF. And, in any typical year, almost two-hundred of our suppliers, new friends and longtime partners alike, travel from all corners of the earth to tour these cities with us and share the fruits of their labor. It’s during these annual events that partners and customers are able to come and taste their favorites, new releases, and expand their minds to new categories.
Our portfolios continue represent a breadth and depth of selections that we are endlessly proud of; we believe that every producer, country, and category that we represent further elevates the conversation on what it means to drink wine, spirits, sake, and cider. So despite the fact that we are not able to host you in a physical way to test our latest wine, spirits, cider, and sake additions, we’re compelled to share with you, in the spirit of our Grand Portfolio Tastings, some selections that we can’t get enough of — specifically to spotlight producers or SKUs that we’ve taken on in the past year.
Today we’re sharing a spirit, a sake, and wines from across the globe that we would have loved to pour for you during our very hypothetical 2021 Grand Portfolio Tasting. We wish we were reliving the magic again this March, but understand that the sheer anticipation of our next meeting will make it that much more special.
WE’D LOVE TO POUR:
Their 2019 Melon is the definition of refreshing! The same grape used for Muscadet in the Loire Valley, this Melon is sourced from own-rooted vines, planted in 1973 in the Bien Nacido Vineyard of the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Its zippy and mineral flavor evokes the feeling of a sunny Spring day, which is exactly what we all need after this long pandemic winter. The perfect combination of fun and elegant, I highly recommend tasting the full Lieu Dit lineup at your next available opportunity!Erica Skurnik, Sales Management Associate
From the vineyard to the cellar, a low-intervention style of winemaking is practiced. All the fruit is carefully selected from thoughtful growers that farm sustainably without the use of chemicals to produce healthy grapes with balanced acids and sugars. No additives are applied in the winery, the wines are all crushed by foot and hand, and the wines are fermented using only native yeasts.
This 100% Syrah is a blend of components from all of Pax’s favorite vineyard sources on the North Coast. The wine presents aromas of black pepper, plum, blackberries, black olives, and fresh pomegranate. The palate is layered with texture and offers spicy black, exotic blue and vibrant red fruits, black pepper, and white flowers. The cool-climate vineyards craft a medium bodied wine with spicy tannins and firmness that is long and refreshing. This wine will be perfect at your next BBQ or pizza night.Ryan O'Rourke, USA Portfolio Associate
The wine exhibits a laser-like focus thanks to its high acid and aging in larger neutral French barrel. Despite South Africa’s reputation for warmer temperatures, this wine exemplifies everything I love about cool-climate Chardonnay with a nose reminiscent of lemon curd and a chalky minerality that provides it the structure needed to age gracefully for years to come. Given that Crystallum is new to the portfolio as of March 1st, I would have loved to surprise customers with this exciting addition!Cody Stephenson, World Portfolio Manager
If we were holding our annual GPT(s), the first wine I would pour in your glass would be the Schloss Lieser Braunenberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett 2019. It’s a perfect example of a Mosel Kabinett and an excellent demonstration of skill from this incredible estate. The grapes come from the Grand Cru site of Juffer in the town of Braunenberg and are fermented spontaneously in stainless steel. This spontaneous fermentation gives the wines a delicious hint of the classic Mosel “sponti” smell, a bit of funk that plays delightfully with the ripe, peachy fruit, and salty slate minerality. A true Mosel Kabinett can sometimes be hard to find, but Schloss Lieser ticks all the boxes of a refreshing, crunchy, fruity, and pleasing off-dry Riesling..Abby Oliveras, Brand Ambassador, Champagne, Germany & Austria
100% Loureiro from choice, south-facing parcels on granite in the Lima Valley. Hand-harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeast in tank with a 4-month elevage on the lees.Max Working, Greece, Spain Portugal Cider Portfolio Manager
The 2019 ‘Villa Torre’ is rich with ripe stone fruits and splendidly floral, its depth buoyed by a vibrant energy and briskness that speaks to its origins, nestled between mountain and sea. It’s such a pleasure and a welcomed addition to our book!Jared McGuire, Asst. Italian Portfolio Manager
The eastern parcels come primarily from the small gallet, gravel and clay mixed sites deposited years ago from the imposing La Combe Lavaux. This ancient fault long ago spilled way down below the RN74 and formed two of the top sites to the east La Justice and Les Platieres that represent about ¼ of the blend.
The southern parcels are dominated by noble limestone/clay in the high rent district just below the band of cherished Grand Crus. The sites – Les Epointures, En Jouise, and Clos de Arche – make up about 70% of this wine and are situated very close to the chalky mother rock. This dominant part gives the balanced power that is the heart of Ma Cuvée. To bring it all together there is some structure delivered from the rocky and thicker clay of Les Champerriers.
The blend is a brilliantly layered, voluptuous, and generous Gevrey-Chambertin that wraps the iron fist in layers of silk and velvet. Long, luxurious and a wine for today and many years to come!David Hinkle, Chief French Officer
One item we just debuted recently is the Toyo Bijin ‘Ichiban Matoi’ Junmai Daiginjo by master sake maker Taka Sumikawa. Made from Grade A Yamada Nishiki rice he has carefully sourced from some of the best rice farmers in Japan, Sumikawa teases out a wild array of flavors with lush strawberry and melon flavors coming to the fore. This is the type of gorgeous aromatic sake that really shines when served in a wine glass. While we’ll have to wait a bit longer to share some in person with Sumikawa-san in the meantime we’ll be thinking of him and appreciating this complex, layered brew on our side of the world.Jamie Graves, Japanese Beverage Portfolio Manager