- Wine Club
Considered one of the best producers in Fleurie, Clos de la Roilette, located in the village of Fleurie, covers 9 hectares of one of the best slopes in all of the Beaujolais Crus. The clos has an eastern exposure, borders the Moulin-à-Vent appellation, and produces wines that are beautiful when young and have the capacity to age for more than 10 years.
In the 1920’s, when the Fleurie appellation was first created, the former landowner was infuriated by losing the Moulin-à-Vent appellation under which the clos had previously been classified. He created a label using a photograph of his racehorse Roilette and used the name Clos de la Roilette, without mentioning Fleurie. By the mid-1960s, the owner’s heirs had lost interest in the clos, and a large portion of the land had gone wild and untended. In 1967, Fernand Coudert bought this poorly maintained estate and replanted the vineyards. His son Alain joined him in 1984, and has been the winemaker since.
The Couderts say their particular terroir (mainly clay and manganese) and the age of their vines (30-80 years old) account for the richness of their wine. It has a deep color with a hint of purple, a restrained nose of crème de cassis, a rich, full mouth with flavors of cassis and black cherries tinged with a nutty character, and finishes with refreshing acidity. These are wines that age gracefully and often take on the aromatic character of a Pinot Noir.
The wines of the Clos du Rouge Gorge are delicious examples of the indigenous grapes of the Roussillon and some of the finest from the new generation of young winemakers in the region.
Cyril Fhal came to the Roussillon from the Loire Valley in 2002 and found small parcels of north-facing hillside vineyards on gneiss, about 20 miles northwest of Perpignan, where the soil, exposure and altitude of the vines result in a freshness and minerality in the wines. The vines have been farmed biodynamically from the beginning, with light plowing by hand or horse. Natural composts and biodynamic treatments have revitalized the soil, and plants and flowers among the vines bring beneficial insects and a diverse fauna - the mountainside vineyards have a magical quality and seem to blend in with the surrounding sparse vegetation.
Cyril rejected the AOC regulations of the Roussillon, which require 30% Syrah or Mourvedre, not indigenous to the region, believing that due to their excess of maturity and lack of acidity in this climate, result in fat and heavy wines, thus his reds from the local Carignan and Grenache are Vins de Pays Cote Catalanes. according to Cyril, the local Macabeo for the white is the most apt at expressing the mineral character of the soil. Yields at Clos Rouge Gorge are small, harvesting is done by hand, light crushing by foot is followed by slow, traditional fermentations (not carbonic), with no extraction, alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel. Very little sulfur is used in the winemaking.
These are almost Burgundian-style wines of great purity and subtlety that combine delicacy and power. Balanced, finessed, and full of character, they are products of living soils, with pure silky fruit, moderate levels of alcohol and firm acidity.
The Clos du Tue-Boeuf in Les Montils (AOC Cheverny) is one of the most important natural wine estates in the Loire Valley. Winemaking at the Clos dates back to the middle ages - the wines were enjoyed by King Francois 1er in the 16th century. The Puzelat family has been present in Les Montils since the 15th century - it was Jean and Solange Puzelat who took over the estate in 1947, and transformed the polyculture farm principally into vineyards. Their sons Jean-Marie and Thierry grew up in the vines, and after working individually at estates in France and abroad, they each returned to take over the family domaine, first Jean-Marie in 1989, joined by Thierry in 1994.
Quickly becoming part of the growing natural wine scene in France, the Puzelat brothers stopped using all additives in their vinifications in 1994 and the vineyards became certified organic in 1996. Fermentations are spontaneous, and most of the wines are unfiltered.
The Mattioli family has been in the tiny hamlet the Romans once called Collecapretta (hill of the goats) since the 1100's. For generations, they have been cultivating the rugged hillsides of southern Umbria. Located just outside of Spoleto, in a tiny borgo called Terzo la Pieve, today's farm is a scant 8 hectares in total; 2 planted to a mixture of local olives trees, 2 planted to farro and other ancient grains, and 4 planted to indigenous old vines. Vittorio Mattioli, his wife Anna and their daughter Annalisa live together with 3 generations of their family inside the tiny village overlooking the valley below with the high Apennine Mountains and Gran Sasso looming in the background. The elevation is some 500+ meters and the soils are a mixture of calcium and iron rich clay with outcroppings of tufo and travertine limestone.
Though the total production of Collecapretta is only about 8000 bottles in a good year, the family chooses to vinify many different cuvees in hopes of expressing the vineyard and grape varieties at their best.
All the wines are made in much the same fashion: natural fermentation takes place in open-top cement containers without temperature control or sulfur additions. The wines then age for various amounts of time in glass-lined cement vats or resin tanks before bottling in synchrony with the waning lunar cycle. There is no sulfur used at any point in the winemaking process. All farming in the vineyards is completely natural, only composts made from their own animals are used to aid vine health.
Michael Cruse was born and raised in Northern California and came to the wine business through his love of science. His moment of clarity came after attending a lecture at Cal Berkeley by Terry Leighton of Kalin Cellars. For the first time then, Michael was able to envision a path where his deep knowledge and appreciation for science could take him into the world of wine.
Michael took several positions in order to learn the basics, including stints in the cellars of Sutter Home, and Merryvale in Carneros where he would work his way up to becoming the assistant winemaker. After several years of working for others, Michael felt the desire to strike out on his own and make wines that reflected his vision and admiration for California. Along with a few partners, Michael set up shop in an industrial warehouse in Petaluma, where he built a custom crush facility and launched his first sparkling wine project, Ultramarine, in 2008.
In 2013, Michael launched Cruse Wine Co. with the goal of creating wines that were fruit-driven, fresh and delicious, but still serious. The roots of the North Coast run deep with Michael, so he chose to focus on sites within Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Contra Costa Counties to create these wines. Uninterested in creating another Pinot Noir or Cabernet, instead he found inspiration in lesser-known varieties such as Valdiguie, Tannant, Carignan and St. Laurent.
The flagship wine of Cruse Wine Co. is the red blend Monkey Jacket (the name inspired by an old, British sailor song). A blend of Validiguie, Carignan, Tannat, St. Laurent and other field blend reds, it offers incredible drinkability with brightness and ample structure, epitomizing the style of Cruse Wine Co. Michael also makes small lots of single vineyard varietal wines from Valdiguie, Tannant, Syrah, Carignan and Chardonnay.
Believing that sparkling wines are the true lens into a vineyard and its place, Michael also wanted to bring a sparkling component to Cruse Wine Co. that didn’t compete with his Ultramarine project. The Cruse Tradition Sparkling wine is made using the same traditional methods as Ultramarine, but sourced from interesting sites that don’t necessarily match the coastal vineyards of Ultramarine. The petillant natural wines are crafted from single vineyard plantings of Valdiguie and St, Laurent, with nothing else added. The wines are disgorged, so they are bright, clean and show great purity.
Daniel Bouland is a great producer of old-fashioned Morgon. From less than 7 hectares of old vines in the Douby, Côte de Py, and Delys, lieux of Morgon, plus small parcels in Chiroubles and Cote de Brouilly, he makes wines that can age 20 years, and are comparable to fine Côte de Nuits Burgundies.
The majority of Daniel Bouland’s old vines lie within Corcelette, in the hilly Haut Morgon to the northwest of the appellation. Bouland farms a number of old-vine parcels in this terroir, where the sandy granite soils over weathered schists tend to result in wines of great perfume and finer, rounder tannins than those of the nearby Côte de Py. His Corcellette Morgon vineyard is 60-80 year old vines. De Lys (between Corcellette and Ville Morgon) was planted in 1926. In 2014 he acquired another old vines parcel - Bellevue, on schiste and granite. All his grapes are hand-harvested and vinified with full clusters in order to extract all the organoleptic qualities, and bottled unfiltered.
Charlie Miller founded Dewey's wines in 2016 after working harvests around the globe and winemaking stints at A.P. Vin, where the focus was on vineyard-designate pinot noirs from up and down the California coast, and Cruse Wine Company where he helped make some of the most exciting sparkling wines in California.
Charie's wife and business partner Emma Rosenbush is a longtime Californian but forever a New Yorker at heart. After several years in Mexico City where she co-founded Pichón, an American brunch-inspired pop-up restaurant, Emma returned to California and opened Cala Restaurant in San Francisco with friend and mentor Gabriela Cámara. She remains a managing partner there, as she helps to build Dewey's Wines.
Domaine Charvin was created in 1851 by Guillaume Charvin. For more than a hundred years, the harvest of Domaine Charvin was sold in bulk to negociants in the Southern Rhone Valley. The modern age of Domaine Charvin began in 1990 when the young, energetic Laurent Charvin took over the management of the estate. Laurent was the sixth generation of his family to work at the property, but 1990 was the first vintage for the domaine to produce, bottle and sell their own wine.
The small family estate is located in the north of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The domaine has vineyard holdings of just 8 hectares in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 13 hectares in Côtes du Rhône. The average age of the vineyards is over 50 years old, with the oldest being nearly 80 years old. Laurent Charvin describes his vineyard site as being cool for Châteauneuf, as a result of their vines being mostly planted on sandy north facing slopes. Farming is biodynamic and the estate is certified organic.
Charvin produces finely styled, Grenache-based wines showing great depth and finesse (approximately 80% Grenache for each wine with small amounts of Vacaresse and Mourvedre as well as small amounts of Carignan and Bourboulenc for the Côtes du Rhône). Winemaking is traditional, with no de-stemming, and all aging is done in cement tanks. No wood is used for the elevage of either wine. There is no mystery here, simply old vines, very low yields and minimal winemaking intervention. Domaine Charvin's Côtes du Rhône is regularly rated one of the very best from this area--not surprising as the vines for this cuvée directly border the appellation for Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the northern sector where they are located.