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NO BRAINER CLUB 6 BOTTLES FOR $100

May 2021 Wine Club

No Brainer 

Buil & Ginè-Nosis 2018

A site specific wine from the Rueda DO of North Western Spain, Nosis is 100% Verdejo. Grown on 35 year old vines, in terraces over the Duero River.  This wine represents what the producers have learned abroad balanced with their mission to create wines that are expressive and regionally unique. The Rueda character is defined by three elements: the Verdejo grape variety, the continental climate and its type of soil. The wine itself is dry, fresh and very fruity. Complex, with notes of tropical fruits: pineapple, mango, passion-fruit. Well-balanced in the mouth for having very intense aromas.

False Bay-Pinotage 2018

The producer Paul Boutinot came to the Western Cape of South Africa to seek out and rescue grapes from old, and under-appreciated vineyards. These treasures were otherwise destined to be lost in the large co-operative blends that were dominating South Africa’s wine industry back in the 1990s. Unusually for that time, Paul transformed those Cape gems into wines with a minimum of intervention.

Since the 1960s Pinotage has had its ups and downs but currently it is on the ascent, being more widely planted than its parent Cinsault. Pinotage is the result of breeding cultivars with elegant, cool climate characteristics (Pinot Noir in the cooler Burgundy areas) with those suited to hot climates (Cinsault in the Languedoc). The frequently found rustic quality of Pinotage is part of its charm and it retains both the hot, country wine character of Cinsault, with some of the delicacy and elegance of Pinot Noir.
Wild yeast fermentation, low yielding bush vines and ageing in large French oak foudre inform this richly-fruited, yet savoury and satisfying Pinotage. Plummy aromas with a faint hit of barbecued meat. The palate is full and rich with slightly rustic tannins and an impressively long finish.

Yalumba- Barossa 2018

Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s most historic family owned wine company. It remains fiercely independent and extremely progressive through the generational ownership by the Hill-Smith family.  Yalumba’s longevity and success is a result of patience, collaboration and progressive thinking. There is foresight to embrace the natural terroir to craft wines with individual character and a sense of purpose, a spirit to reinvest in the land upon which it operates and knowledge to behave as a leader in the industry. Yalumba is committed to sharing stories of provenance gathered over more than 168 years of history of family winemaking.

Scattered across the Southern Australian Barossa Valley floor, a number of special old, bush vine Grenache vineyards contribute to this wine. A range of terroir, including climate and soil types, can be found at each site, helping to make this individual and intriguing style of Grenache. Bright and bouncy, it bursts with ripe red berries followed by dried leaf, green peppercorn and floral characters. The palate is equally dainty, with crunchy acidity, juicy fruit and soft herbal tannins. A straightforward but highly likable drop for drinking young.

Filling wine bottles by the batch / Photo courtesy of Yalumba

Savvy Sipper 

Domaine D’Aupilhac- Lou Maset 2019

Three generations of Fadats have farmed the large, eighteen-hectare lieu-dit known as Aupilhac. The vineyard is  in the village of Montpeyroux, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. While the Fadats have farmed this land since the nineteenth century, the vineyards date even farther back to the time of the Romans.  Aupilhac is a special parcel for many reasons. Nestled below the ruins of the village’s château, these terraced vineyards of limestone scree and marl enjoy perfect southwest sun exposure, giving dense, chewy wines loaded with Mediterranean soul. The Domaine has  also elected to have the fruit certified as organic, a mandatory three-year conversion process. For them, this is a choice both of conscience and pragmatism. In their words, “We believe that work in the vineyards has far more influence on a wine's quality than what we do in the cellar.” However, what happens in the cellars is equally compelling. Domaine d’Aupilhac’s wines find a terrific balance of ripe fruit and silky tannins, power and grace. When aged, these wines achieve a complexity rarely found in wines sold for many times the price, while their wildness and intensity makes them equally appealing young.

A blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Carignan, 5% Syrah, 5% Alicante Bouchet.  “Lou Maset”  tastes like freshly pressed wild blackberries gently warmed by the sun, with an herbaceous quality recalling the shrubbery growing on the vineyard’s perimeter. It is a bit coarse on the palate, but not in an aggressive way

Domaine de Druban- Beaumes-de-Venise 2019 

To walk through the high-altitude vineyards at Domaine de Durban  is to walk through an astounding span of history. On the site of a former Roman healing springs destination, a mere handful of soil reveals well-preserved, ancient Roman roof tiles and medieval pot shards.Wine has been a part of the culture here for millennia. Ancient philosopher Pliny the Elder was the first known to praise the Muscat from this place. During the Middle Ages, it was a fortified farm, where it has run regularly since 1159.

A constellation of fortune seems to converge at this particular spot of the Southern Rhône in France. Pine trees protect the area from the intensity of the persistent mistral. The soils are rich and deep, with clay, limestone, and the soft, ochre Trias, lending finesse and freshness to the wines. The high altitude in the vineyards means a slightly cooler microclimate with strong sun exposure, a blessing that the Domaine credit for the amazing consistency their wines enjoy year after year. (Even The Oxford Companion to Wine takes space to note the terrific concentration that Durban’s vineyards achieve.) 

This particular wine is unfiltered, aged for 12 months in truncated conical oak vats. It is a blend of  70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre. A luscious mouthful, this red Rhône has wild strawberry in its pretty fruit bouquet and dried thyme as the aftertaste subsides.

Bottle Popper 

Catherine & Pierre- Breton(Cab. Franc) Franc de Pied 2019

The Bretons farm 11 hectares just east of Bourgueil near the village of Restigné in the Loire valley . The Bretons received organic certification in 1991 and recently began the three-year process of seeking biodynamic certification. They’ve become international icons for the natural wine movement in an area where the climate and soil can make organic viticulture difficult.
Catherine and Pierre Breton grow, vint and bottle Cabernet Franc uncompromisingly. They use minimal sulfur, ferment with indigenous yeasts and bottle unfiltered. Weirdly, the local Loire slang for Cab Franc is actually "breton." The tank-aged Franc de Pied is bottled from ungrafted vines grown in gravel and limestone.

Domaine Huet- Le Mont Vouvray Demi Sec 2019

The Loire Valley’s most famous estate was founded in 1928 by Victor Huët, and rose to prominence under his son, Gaston. It was purchased by the Hwang family in 2003. The estate’s three vineyards- Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont, and Clos du Bourg- sit atop Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte. By any reckoning, these rank among the greatest vineyard sites in the Loire Valley. The estate was one of the first in France to adopt biodynamic viticulture. Depending on the vintage, the estate can make Sec, Demi-Sec, Moelleux, and/or Moelleux 1ère Trie (selected berries), from each of the “big 3” vineyards.

Harvest is by hand, and occurs over 2-3 successive passes (“tries”) through the vineyards. Intact bunches are pressed into a 50/50 mix of tanks and old demi-muids, where fermentation proceeds naturally with indigenous yeasts. The wines are racked into old barrels where they spend the winter before bottling in April. Malolactic fermentation is neither encouraged nor discouraged.

The 2019 Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec is clear, fresh, deep and complex yet pure, fine, elegant and perfectly interwoven on the nose, where notes of crushed flint stones, limestones and concentrated citrus fruit aromas and even iodine notes are revealed. Very elegant and refined on the palate, this is a round, juicy, seductively fruity yet firmly structured and piquant Le Mont whose sweetness is captured by fine tannins and a sustainably dense, vital and salty finish
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