Maldivinas is a partnership between childhood friends Juan Carlos Arenas and Guillermo Fernandez Santos established in 2006 from plots of old vine Garnacha around the town of Cebreros some 50 miles due west of Madrid. This is traditional winemaking territory, where the stunningly beautiful landscape of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range is recognized for the production of balanced Garnacha-based wines in a landscape that is otherwise scorching and dry but with broad diurnal temperature swings that allow for wines to maintain the acidity to balance all that ripe fruit. To get some idea of the altitude here, Cebreros is just east of the Central Mountain System’s highest peak, the slender Almanzor, towering above the landscape at close to 9,000 feet.
The organically farmed old-vine wines of Maldivinas express a diverse range of the local granitic and schistous terroirs. These are wines that tend toward Burgundian in texture. They are ethereal, full of pure fruit, and a balanced extraction. While Gredos has already received recognition as a unique wine region, it seems only a matter of time that they will be awarded their own appellation.
Maldivinas “La Movida Granito” (Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2013)
Special Price: $221/6-pack (~$37/bottle)
Widely planted throughout Spain and much of the Mediterranean the Garnacha grape in the right hands and right place has the ability to express the distinct characteristics of the soil and climate where it grows. The 100% Garnacha “La Movida Granito” is a tribute to the decomposing granite soil from an organically cultivated, 4.5 acre vineyard of 90 year old vines at roughly 2,600 feet elevation. The wine is fermented by native yeasts in one concrete tank, with a percentage of whole clusters to highlight the characteristics of the fruit, and then aged in neutral oak barrels before bottling. Aromatically complex with layers of floral, berry, and spice, a sip is juicy and practically begs another in short measure. For a simple yet classically tasty pairing, serve with a big slice of tortilla de patatas. Only 300 cases produced.
Maldivinas “Combate” Albillo Real (Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2015)
Special Price: $232/6-pack (~$39/bottle)
Although there is very little Albillo Real left in Spain it is the noble white grape of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range. Floral and full of body it is a variety that gains a lot of density from the hot and sunny days in the Gredos summer. “Combate” Albillo Real is 100% old-vine Albillo Real from high altitude vineyards. Its aromas of ripe yellow orchard fruits lead into cool herbality to finish with a lengthy and lively mineral twist. There are no comparisons to this wine but if we were forced we might say that it’s something like the lovechild of a partnership between Burgundy and the Rhône. Only 100 cases produced.
Ampeleia Cuvée “Ampeleia” (IGT Costa Toscana 2012)
Special Price: $183/6-pack (~$31/bottle)
Many of you are already familiar with Elisabetta Foradori’s biodynamic, Teroldego-based wines of unrivaled quality that shine on the international stage. We have featured these northeastern Italian gems over the past couple of years and have fallen in love with their charm, beauty and intensity.
It is our pleasure to introduce another exciting project led by Elisabetta further south near the Tuscan coast. Ampeleia was conceived in 2002 as a partnership between Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann, and Giovanni Podini. It seeks to reveal the diversity and potential of Maremma’s Colline Metallifere, a mineral-rich, mountain-hill group mined since Etruscan times that occupies the central-western part of Tuscany, just west of Montalcino.
Although Ampeleia owns around 320 acres of land, only 86 acres are planted to vine in an effort to promote biodiversity. These 86 acres are spread over three separate areas of differing elevations: The largest and highest unit of the estate, Ampeleia di Sopra, resides between 1,350 and 1,800 feet above sea level. It is mainly planted with Cabernet Franc in a landscape dominated by chestnut groves. The middle unit, Ampeleia di Mezzo, is mainly planted to Sangiovese with some Grenache and Carignan. It is divided into small plots that range from 750 to 1,050 feet above sea level and the vineyards are surrounded by cork oak woods and Mediterranean scrubland. the furthest unit and closest to the sea is Ampeleia di Sotto. At about 600 feet above sea level the vineyards are planted mainly to Grenache. Since 2009, Ampeleia di Sopra has been farmed biodynamically. The two other sites are farmed organically on their way to conversion to biodynamic.
Showcasing the variability in altitude, soil type and microclimatic conditions of the three areas the cuvée “Ampeleia” is the estate’s top wine. The base of the wine consists of low yields of Cabernet Franc from vines planted in the early 1960s in Ampeleia di Sopra but it has a smattering of other varieties from all three climats. Aging takes place for 12 months in wooden barrels and cement tanks.
Cuvée “Ampeleia” is among the most pure and transparent expressions of coastal Tuscany available. No need to wait, with the estate soon to release the 2016 vintage, the 2012 vintage is presently drinking at near perfect maturity. A grocery cart of heady aromatics include mixed berries, cherry licorice, minty herbs, a touch of chocolate, and a whisper of lavender. A sip is generous with dense fruit that seamlessly merges with a medium-bodied mid-palate and a mineral-rich, lengthy finish. Maremma is known for its large population of wild boar so if you happen to own our favorite Italian cookbook – Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking – her dish of stewed pork with porcini and juniper would be a special pairing.
Domaine d’Aupilhac “La Boda” (Montpeyroux Languedoc 2014)
Special Price: $243/6-pack (~$41/bottle)
After recently drinking a bottle of 2014 Domaine d’Aupilhac’s stunning cuvée “La Boda” paired with a luscious cut of beef we couldn’t be more pleased with its evolution over a year after its initial release. It practically fills the room with fragrant notes of ripe blueberries and blackberries, garden herbs and crushed stone. A sip is simultaneously ripe and electric, filled with pure fruit balanced by a marathon finish. While this wine will provide pleasure for many years to come it is drinking so well today it might not last in the cellar.
“La Boda” gets its name from the Spanish word for marriage. The blend is a union of terroirs: 45% Syrah comes from the north-west facing vineyard of “Les Cocalières” that is situated at an altitude of some 1,150 feet and rich in prehistoric oyster fossil deposits, which lend an incredible length and minerality to the wine. The remaining 45% Mourvèdre and 10% Carignan come from the “Aupilhac” vineyards on south-west facing hillside terraces.
The lieux-dits of Aupilhac and Les Cocalières are renowned, fully biodynamic-certified properties located in the enclave of Montpeyroux just across the river Hérault from Daumas Gassac and Grange des Pères. Though five generations have farmed these choice vineyards, it is Sylvain Fadat that brought the estate its acclaim. Not one to shy away from hard work, Sylvain cultivates vines on steep, extremely rocky terrain, and has even terraced much of the land himself – an enormous financial investment and back-breaking work but necessary in this case to reveal a great terroir.
Sylvain believes that effort in the vineyard has the most influence on the quality of his wine and he is in tune with every nook and cranny of his varied parcels, coaxing old vines to root deep into soils of limestone, clay, scree, and blue marl. The grapes are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used. The wines are bottled unfiltered in accordance with the lunar cycle and optimal atmospheric pressure. It’s the meticulous attention to each and every one of the small details that results in a deep, rich, and vibrant wine of great expression.
Situated in the heart of the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the vineyard Clos Saint Patrice has an unhindered view of the famous Château of the popes which has dominated the village and its vineyards for almost 800 years. But the great view is not the only thing that makes the vineyard special. As far back as 1838, Clos Saint Patrice was identified as one of the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards in the directory L’annuaire de Vaucluse. Modest winemakers Guy Jullian and his son Jérôme purchased the Clos in 2009 and thus became the first owners of a monopole in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
A little over four acres in size, the Clos is located on the appellation’s Villafranchian terrace and enjoys a southerly exposure. The parcel is planted with very old Grenache and Mourvèdre propogated from ancient vines. The soil is made up of rounded silica pebbles above clay and sand colluvial deposits.
It is this marriage of great old vines and unique terroir that gives the wine of Clos Saint Patrice the balance and elegance to stand out as one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s finest wines. Indeed, one of the most respected French wine publications, Le Guide des Vins Bettane & Desseauve may have said it best: “This minuscule parcel which very nearly disappeared has risen from its ashes thanks to the efforts of a dynamic team which, from the very first vintage, managed to equal the most elegant wines of the appellation…This is a highly recommendable estate which is unfortunately likely to produce small volumes in comparison to the demand.”
But of course the wine doesn’t make itself. Guy and Jérôme tend the vines by hand and according to the principles of organic agriculture. No chemical products are ever applied. In order to obtain an optimum balance they will allow the fruit to hang until phenologically mature. Harvest begins at the end of September for the Grenache and finishes mid-October with the Mourvèdre. In the cellar, maceration and fermentation are done exclusively in concrete tanks. Aging takes place over 14 months in concrete vats and a further 12 months in the bottle.
Domaine Saint Patrice “Clos Saint Patrice” (Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015)
Special 6-Pack Price: $864 ($144/bottle)
The 2015 Clos Saint Patrice has all the finesse and balance you expect from one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s top wines. Notes of dried flowers and fennel-heavy herbes de Provence rise above a rich cherry fruit essence. A sip fills the mouth with luscious, sappy red fruits to move on to a silky mid-palate and everlasting mineral finish. With the tension and elegance of a world-class wine, Clos Saint Patrice will likely reward a drinker over the next couple of decades, or longer.
Domaine Saint Patrice “Vieilles Vignes” (Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015)
Special 6-Pack Price: $318 (~$53/bottle)
The unique character of Domaine Saint Patrice’s “Vieilles Vignes” Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes from the diversity of its terroirs. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah from multiple plots: La Bertaude, Bois-Lauzon, Cabrières d’Orange, Cabrières de Châteauneuf-du Pape, Bois-Dauphin, Le Pied Long, Les Bousquets, Les Terres Blanches, Les Marines, and Les Galimardes. In the cellar, maceration and fermentation are done in concrete tanks. Aging takes place over 14 months in concrete vats, large oak foudre, half-muids, and barrique with a further 12 months after bottling. On the nose are luscious red and black fruits with a hint of kirsch beneath warm terracotta and mint. A sip is simultaneously ripe and pulsing with wiry energy. Drink now or over the course of the next decade, especially with lamb and rosemary.
Domaine Saint Patrice “Vieilles Vignes” (Côtes-du-Rhône 2015)
Special 6-Pack Price: $97 (~$16/bottle)
A wine to stock up on, Domaine Saint Patrice “Vieilles Vignes” Côtes-du-Rhône is boisterously fruity in aromatics and flavor with some clean earth and a hint of herbs. A sip is downright poundable, juicy, with a finish that extends far beyond its reasonable price. It has all the elements one looks for in the type. The attractive price is just the cherry on top. It is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah from three plots: Les Champauvins, Le Coudoulet, and Boisfeuillet. In the cellar, maceration and fermentation are done in concrete tanks. Aging takes place over 14 months in concrete vats and large oak foudre with a further 12 months after bottling.
12-pack of Top-Quality 2014 Bordeaux Half-Bottles in Wood Box $350
Stop by the shop this Saturday to sample a few fantastic red wines from Bordeaux.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life – even if that wine lover is you – look no further than our mixed 12-pack of Bordeaux half bottles packed in attractive wood boxes. We selected an assortment of “Left-Bank” mostly Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux, ranging from Cru Bourgeois to Classified Growth wines.
All wines are from the 2014 vintage, which has shaped up to be the best vintage following the historic back-to-back vintages of 2009 and 2010. The long growing season and a glorious autumn allowed for both maximum ripening and concentration. Yet ultimately it was the cool summer weather that has determined the style of the wines, with low pH and great body the wines of 2014 Bordeaux will generally show both power and freshness.
The sealed gift box includes a one page description of the wines and two each of the following bottles:
Château Lynch Bages (Pauillac)
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
This classified “Fifth Growth” estate is one of the most recognized producers in the world. Since 1973 it has been owned by Jean-Michel Cazes and is now run by his son, Jean-Charles.
Château Maucaillou (Moulis-en-Médoc)
52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot
A property on the rise. Philippe Dourthe is at the helm of this family owned estate known for producing wines with depth of fruit and a firm and tannic structure.
Château Pédesclaux (Pauillac)
53% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 47% Merlot
Pédesclaux recently enlarged their vineyard holdings with the purchase of 29 acres situated on the Milon plateau. These vines are located next to parcels owned by Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild.
Château du Glana (Saint-Julien)
70% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 30% Merlot
A complete renovation in 2003 brought Château du Glana up to the standards of modern times in its wine making and vineyard management techniques. A genuine value wine from Saint-Julien.
Château Chasse Spleen (Moulis-en-Médoc)
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
One of nine “Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels” as classified in 2003, and one of the top two producers in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation (alongside Château Poujeaux).
Château Sociando Mallet (Haut-Médoc)
60% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc
Sociando-Mallet was a forgotten and derelict property by the time it was bought by Jean Gautreau in 1969. The estate has since seen considerable expansion and modernization, and subsequently a reputation for quality.
If one or two 1.5 liter magnum bottles of Bordeaux make more sense as a gift for your wine loving friend or your cellar, we have a large selection to choose from. Prices range from $160 to $290 for some of the top producers of the region, including: Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Troplong Mondot, Second-Growth Saint-Julien Château Léoville-Barton, and Third-Growth Margaux Château d’Issan, among many more.