Wine Offerings

Some of Tuscany’s Best Sangiovese from a “Lunatic” in Montalcino

Some folks think that Venetian-born Giuseppe Sesti is a lunatic. A student of music, art, and astronomy, the last of which became his profession, Giuseppe eventually fell into winemaking after restoring the abandoned ruins of the Castello di Argiano that he purchased in 1975. The castle is located just a few miles southwest of Montalcino and was once an ancient Etruscan outpost. It is there that breezes from the Tyrrhenian Sea and sandy, tufaceous soils produce Sangiovese-based wines of refinement and exuberance.

Before planting his own vineyards in 1991, Giuseppe spent much of his free time visiting local wineries and helping out his neighbors in their vineyards and cellars, gaining the experience that would bring him the recognition he sees today.

The claim by some that Giuseppe is a lunatic comes from his study of both the classics and oral tradition that brought him to re-evaluate the influence of the moon on the vines and in turn the making of the wine itself, allowing him to reduce sulphites to a bare minimum. Indeed, ln I975 he had already published tables of the small and larger moon cycles for agricultural use in order to reduce the use of chemicals on the land. This account by Giuseppe himself gives you an idea of how influential oral tradition was to him. This is about as “old-world” as winemaking gets.

Today, Giuseppe’s daughter, Elisa, who grew up at the estate, is an active partner in all aspects of the vineyard management and winemaking. She continues the eco-friendly philosophy adopted by her father. Elisa’s primary concern is the raw material that goes into the wine. Because, as every great winemaker will tell you, wine is made in the vineyard first. The estate totals about 22 acres of vineyards (a little over nine acres are in the Brunello zone) and production is small.

All prices based on the purchase of six or more bottles (mix and match).

~$22 “Monteleccio” (Toscana IGT 2016)

The name “Monteleccio” is an Italian version of the Latin name “Montalcino,” meaning “hill of the holm oaks.” The wine is produced from 100% Sangiovese that ages for one year in 30 hectoliter oak botti before release. Aromatics of cherry licorice and sun-drenched Mediterranean scrub precede a sip that is simultaneously complex and easy to drink. The generous fruit is bittersweet in the best way possible. “Monteleccio” is a superb value that will elevate any pizza night.

~$31 Rosso di Montalcino (DOC 2016)

100% Sangiovese from five acres of vineyard with characteristic oceanic sediment. The wine ages for 18 months in 30 hectoliter oak botti before release. The world’s leading authority on Italian wine, Gambero Rosso, has awarded this lovely expression of the Tuscan hills it’s highest rating of Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) — an award that only the top wines of Italy will ever receive. A medley of alluring scents rise from a glass: summer fruits, sandalwood, and rose, to name but a few. A sip is fresh and concentrated with fruit, with a plump mid-palate, and a lengthy, mineral finish. It’s a wine with Brunello di Montalcino vibes, without the Brunello di Montalcino price.

$99 Brunello di Montalcino (DOCG 2013)

100% Sangiovese from nine acres of vineyard with characteristic oceanic sediment and vines planted from cuttings taken from very old, neighboring vineyards over twenty years ago. The wine ages for four years in 30 hectoliter oak botti, and a further year in bottle before release. The wine captures the best elements of the excellent 2013 vintage with rich fruit, a polished mouthfeel, and a firm but integrated tannic backbone. It is one of the year’s best Brunello di Montalcino wines that will reward a patient drinker.


For a deeper dive into the philosophy of Sesti, the present state-of-affairs of Brunello di Montalcino, and some beautiful drone footage of Castello di Argiano, check out this interview with Giuseppe.

- - -
Posted on 2019.08.22 in Italy, Saturday Sips, Tuscany  |  Read more...

 

Champagne Tarlant — Masters of Low Dosage

The Tarlant family has tended vines in the Vallée de la Marne since 1687. They began producing their own wine in the 1870s. Such a long and rich history has allowed Benoît Tarlant, the latest family member to head the estate, to continue their reign as one of the region’s most distinguished growers. Benoît’s sister, Mélanie, works the business and marketing side of the operation. 

Benoît’s Ultimate goal is to make zero-dosage Champagne by means of harvesting his fruit when it reaches its “prettiest” maturity — full of flavor with the acidity in balance. But he is not an absolutist. He will adjust his philosophy when the wines call for it, although it is rare for him to produce a wine that receives more than 6g/L dosage (just a hair over Extra Brut). 

Based in the village of Oeuilly, the estate totals 34 acres spread across 57 parcels, each vinified separately. The vines average around 30 years old. Benoit embraces the diversity of his many plots but finds it a challenge to cultivate so many distinct sites using one strict technique. Subsequently, he employs a range of methods depending on the site. Some parcels are managed with biodynamic techniques, some organic, and some with Benoît’s form of “herbal therapy,” where various beneficial herbs are planted among the vines. 

All prices based on the purchase of six or more bottles (mix and match).

~$53 “Zero” Brut Nature  

“Zero” is one of Champagne’s best Brut Nature wines. There are decades of effort in perfecting the cuvée as Benoît’s father, Georges, has been making it since the early 1980s, long before it became trendy. The blend is roughly equal proportions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Ripe fruit, several vintages of reserve wine, and long aging on the lees combine to produce a wine of beautiful depth. Layers of ripe yellow plum, peach, and citrus precede a honey-toasted richness. 

 

$108 “L’Aérienne” Brut Nature (2004)

The long maturation of the fruit in the 2004 vintage contributed to an intense aromatic expression and a superb balance to this wine, an almost aerial sensation — hence the name of the cuvée, L’Aérienne. The blend is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir from the lieux-dits “L’Enclume”, “Les Marguiniers”, “Les Forgeottes”, and “Pierre de Bellevue” consisting of chalk and both friable and hard limestone. It was fermented with natural yeasts and aged in barrel before bottling in May 2005. Disgorgement was performed in 2017 and the wine was finished with zero dosage.

 

$126 “Cuvée Louis” (2002/2003 Base)

Cuvée Louis is named for Benoît’s great-great grandfather Louis, who was the first to bottle the family’s estate wines in 1928. The fruit is from the Tarlant’s original and chalkiest vineyard Les Crayons, named for the high chalk (craie) content of its soils. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from vines with an average age of 65 years, this is a radiant and monumental Champagne. 

 

 

$162 “BAM!” Brut Nature (2009 base)

“BAM!” is produced from the far less common varieties of Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, Petit Meslier. The vines grow in the limestone, sand, and silica-based soils of the “Four à Chaux – les Sables” lieu-dit in the Tarlant’s home village of Oeuilly. This bottling is a 2009 base (50%) plus 2007 & 2008 (50%). It was fermented with natural yeasts and aged in barrel before bottling in May 2010. Disgorgement was performed in April 2016 and the wine was finished with zero dosage.

 

$243 “La Vigne d’Antan” Brut Nature (2002)

“La Vigne d’Antan” (The Vines of Yesteryear) is 100% Chardonnay from a single, ungrafted vineyard on sandy soils in Oeuilly. After nine months of aging in fourth-use oak barrels, the wine rested in bottle for over 11 years before disgorgement in May of 2014. Even after nearly two decades, there is still plenty of  youthful lemon and apple fruit to go along with the mature layers of honey and brioche. This is a one of a kind Champagne.

- - -
Posted on 2019.08.18 in Champagne, France, Special Selections  |  Read more...

 

Dispatches from the Land of Cabernet Franc

Join us this Saturday as we explore the diversity of the Middle Loire valley through several different bottles. Although adjacent, Saumur-Champigny and Chinon belong to two separate sub-regions; Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, respectively. Both regions are known for malleable limestone (tuffeau) that has been built into many a castle and cold underground cellar. Yet the soils are as varied as the expressions of Cabernet Franc that come from these areas with the potential to produce France’s most refreshing and elegant versions of this grape variety.

All prices based on the purchase of six or more bottles (mix and match).

Domaine Filliatreau: Saumur-Champigny

Imagine yourself in a Paris bistro enjoying a whole roast chicken with a heap of pommes frites. The wine you might be drinking is one Paul Filliatreau’s Cabernet Franc wines from Saumur-Champigny. After taking over the family domaine in 1967, Paul soon began bottling and selling wine made at the estate — not the norm in an era of cooperatives. It didn’t take long for the light and fresh style of Paul’s wines to become a hit in Parisian bistros, which remain the main market for Filliatreau wines to this day.

The present era of Filliatreau sees Paul’s son, Frédrik, as the fourth generation to run the estate, now a total of almost 100 acres of vines across dozens of varied parcels. Their approach to farming adheres to a philosophy of sustainability and the domaine is undergoing conversion to organic cultivation with some biodynamic methods. Massale selection is used for all new plantings. After harvest, the fruit is hand-sorted, destemmed, and fermented with natural yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. The wines are moved by gravity and aged almost exclusively in steel.

~$18 “La Grande Vignolle” is 100% Cabernet Franc. The 14 acre lieu-dit of Grande Vignolle sits on a rich limestone plateau above the Loire River. The vines are 35 to 40 years old and lie at the northern limit of the Saumur-Champigny appellation. A juicy and fleshy wine for near-term drinking.

~$24 “Vielles Vignes” is 100% Cabernet Franc from the estate’s most significant vines. The fruit is harvested from vines that are 50 to 90 years old growing out of clay-calcerous soils around the village of Chaintre (just about midway between the towns of Saumur and Champigny). A powerful and lengthy expression of Cabernet Franc capable of developing in a proper cellar for a decade or more.

Bernard Baudry: Chinon

Bernard Baudry is easily one of Chinon’s best producers. Born into a winemaking family, Bernard studied oenology in Beaune and began his professional life as a vine-tending consultant at the Tours laboratory. In 1975 he decided to start his own estate with five acres of vines in the village of Cravant-les-Coteaux. Today the estate is 79 acres and Bernard’s son, Matthieu, works with his father to continue producing the consistent, high-quality wines for which the domaine is celebrated.

The Baudry vineyards have always been cultivated according to environmentally friendly methods and have been organically farmed since 2006. To rebalance the organic matter in the soils they maintain their own compost based on cow manure and straw. Yields are controlled by partial disbudding of the vines but the ultimate goal is to find the right balance based on vintage conditions where the vines naturally restrict their own yields. Harvest is done 100% by hand and post-harvest all fruit is de-stemmed and placed into gravity-fed vats where fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts.

~$31 “Le Clos Guillot” is 100% Cabernet Franc produced from a plot of a little less than 10 acres in size that was planted between 1993 and 2000. The parcel is situated on a south-southwest exposed slope with clay soils on top of the hill and yellow tuffeau lower down the grade and results in a wine that is robust, flinty, and full of tension. The Baudrys are traditionalists and it shows in this classic Chinon.

- - -
Posted on 2019.08.08 in France, Loire, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

The Champagne Society

Welcome to The Champagne Society

Congratulations! In the coming months you will be drinking some of the best Champagne and sparkling wines known to humanity.

As a member of The Champagne Society, you’re in a select community of like-minded folks that appreciate the exceptional in wine and in life. Meet and mingle at dinners and events at hip local venues that are arranged exclusively for The Champagne Society.

All selected wines are from passionate grower/producers or small houses that are deeply connected to the particularities of each of their vine parcels and believe that wine is made in the vineyard first. Many of these wines are highly allocated and we quite often only have access to a few cases of a particular cuvée. The Champagne Society will enjoy wines that quite often aren’t available in any other wine shop in Michigan.

As a member of The Champagne Society you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Every other month we will select a bottle of Champagne for you, ready for pickup or delivery by the 10th of the month. Expect a new bottle every April, June, August, October, December, & February.
  • The price will be $50 – $90 per bottle, which includes a significant discount from our store price (at least 15% off). Your credit card will be charged when the bottle is ready for pickup or delivery.
  • With each bottle we’ll include the details of the producer and the cuvée via email and on our website.
  • You have the option to pick up your bottle at the store or we can ship it to you.
  • No membership fees but we ask that you commit to at least six bottles.

If you’re interested in joining the Champagne Society please give us a call at 248-398-0030 or email elie@eliewine.com


 

 

- - -
Posted on 2019.08.01 in Champagne, France, Special Selections, The Champagne Society  |  Read more...

 

The Champagne Society – August 2019 Selection

Champagne Tarlant “Zero” Brut Nature
Two Half Bottles
Price for The Champagne Society members: $64

The Tarlant family has tended vines in the Vallée de la Marne since 1687. They began producing their own wine in the 1870s. Such a long and rich history has allowed Benoît Tarlant, the latest family member to head the estate, to continue their reign as one of the region’s most distinguished growers. Benoît’s sister, Mélanie, works the business and marketing side of the operation.

Benoît’s Ultimate goal is to make zero-dosage Champagne by means of harvesting his fruit when it reaches its “prettiest” maturity — full of flavor with the acidity in balance. But he is not an absolutist. He will adjust his philosophy when the wines call for it, although it is rare for him to produce a wine that receives more than 6g/L dosage (just a hair over Extra Brut).

Based in the village of Oeuilly, the estate totals 34 acres spread across 57 parcels, each vinified separately. The vines average around 30 years old. Benoit embraces the diversity of his many plots but finds it a challenge to cultivate so many distinct sites using one strict technique. Subsequently, he employs a range of methods depending on the site. Some parcels are managed with biodynamic techniques, some organic, and some with Benoît’s form of “herbal therapy,” where various beneficial herbs are planted among the vines.

“Zero” is one of Champagne’s best Brut Nature (zero dosage) wines. There are decades of effort in perfecting the cuvée as Benoît’s father, Georges, has been making it since the early 1980s, long before it became trendy. The blend is roughly equal proportions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Ripe fruit, several vintages of reserve wine, and long aging on the lees combine to produce a wine of beautiful depth. Layers of ripe yellow plum, peach, and citrus precede a honey-toasted richness.

- - -
Posted on in Champagne, France, The Champagne Society  |  Read more...

 


next

Featured Wines

Wine Regions

France

Italy

Portugal

Spain DO

Grape Varieties

Aglianico, Albarello, Albarino, Albarín Blanco, Albarín Tinto, Albillo, Aligote, barbera, Biancu Gentile, Bourboulenc, Brunal, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cagnulari, Carignan, Carrasquín, Chardonnay, Chardonnay Musque, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault, Clairette, Corvina, Corvinone, counoise, Croatina, Dolcetto, Favorita, Fiano, Folle Noir, Fumin, Gamay, Garganega, Garnacha Tintorera, Gewurztraminer, Godello, Graciano, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Groppello, Juan Garcia, Lambrusco, Macabeo, Malbec, Malvasia, Malvasia Nera, Marsanne, Marselan, Mencía, Merenzao, Merlot, Mollard, Mondeuse, Montepulciano, Mourvèdre, Muscadelle, Muscat, Nebbiolo, Niellucciu, Oeillade, Oseleta, Parellada, Pecorino, Petit Arvine, Petit Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Prieto Picudo, Puesta en Cruz, Riesling, Rondinella, Rousanne, Rufete, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Savagnin, Savignin, Sciacarellu, Semillon, Souson, Syrah, Tannat, Tempranillo, Teroldego, Timorasso, Touriga Nacional, Trebbiano, Treixadura, Trousseau, Ugni Blanc, Verdejo, Verdejo Tinto, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Viognier, Viura, Xarel-lo

Wines & Events by Date

Search