We are a wine shop that explores the best of both worlds with retail shopping and a walk-in tasting room open Tuesday through Sunday. Our tasting room selections change monthly and always focus on a different "Old World" and "New World" region. The ever-changing menu allows our guests to constantly explore and discover something new. This month we are exploring Beaujolais, France and Central Coast, California. Order a flight of all four wines or simply stop by, shop, and enjoy a glass. It's up to you!
As one can imagine, the wine making history in Tuscany goes back thousands of years. By thousands, we mean pre-Romans, all the way back to the Etruscans, like 500 B.C.! Truly a defining old world region, Tuscany is home to the Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano appellations. Spanning nearly 9,000 square miles from the northwestern coast along the Tyrrhenian Sea running south to the central heart of the country, it is the fifth largest wine region in Italy.
This is a region dominated by red wines and Sangiovese reigns supreme. The constant rolling hills assure that most vineyards see some sort of slope, and each appellation has defining characteristics that come from the various microclimates and soils. Aside from climactic conditions, Sangiovese is also extremely temperamental and known to have multiple clones leading to even more nuances in flavor profiles. Blending has traditionally taken place in Chianti as well as Montepulciano (don't be confused by the grape Montepulciano in southern Italy). On the other hand, Brunello di Montalcino sticks to Sangiovese alone. "Brunello" is dialect for "the nice dark one" and the wines produced in Montalcino are often some of the most highly regarded Sangiovese wines in the world.
Of course we cannot forget the "Super Tuscans" which were born in the mid-1900's. With traditions steeped in wines built around Sangiovese in central Tuscany, planting the French grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and others began along the coast in a district called Bolgheri. Of course these new wines garnered attention off the bat, but a decline in quality Chianti in the sixties and seventies also drove them to to the front of the pack. Chianti would ultimately tighten up laws and standards, but the Super Tuscans had made their mark and were there to stay.
White wines have always been less prominent in the region, yet have always played their role. A few varietals were also traditionally blended with Sangiovese (Trebbiano and Malvasia). Vernaccia from San Gimignano may be the most historically well known white wine from the region, but we love the simplicity and salty freshness of Vermentino from the coastal area of Maremma.
Our Tuscan flight this month starts with a fresh Vermentino from the coast and moves right on into the reds. Stop by and explore the wonderful nuances of this classic region with us.
New Zealand sits about 1,000 miles southeast of Australia and is host to the most southern lying vineyards in the world. The country is divided into two islands, the North Island and the South Island. Despite being one of the newest major wine regions, grape growing and winemaking can be traced back to the early 1800's. However, New Zealand struggled to find its foot as a wine industry until the 1980's. This can be attributed to a few factors which include a strong temperance movement in the early 1900's. Wine could not actually be sold in restaurants until 1960. Supermarket sales were not allowed until 1990. It would be the rise in popularity of one grape that would eventually jumpstart the entire industry: Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. These joyful, zippy, tropical styles of Sauvignon Blanc emerged in the 1980's, gained rapid popularity, and just like that, New Zealand was catapulted onto the world wine stage.
The climate varies throughout the country but is generally cooler and influenced by both the surrounding bodies of water and the spectacular mountain ranges. Vineyards are all relatively close to water simply by nature of the long shape of each island, but the mountains are steep and erosion can be a problem so many vines are planted further down in the hills and flatlands. The generally cooler growing season leads to longer ripening periods and elevated intensity of flavor. Despite the fame of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it's important to note that the country produces many other high quality wines.
A few key regions on the North Island are Aukland, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and Martinborough. Kumeu River is a family run winery producing Chardonnays out of Aukland that rival some of the best in the world. Craggy Range has been producing Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah out of Gimblett Gravels since the mid 90's. Gimblett Gravels is part of Hawke's Bay and is perhaps one of the warmer appellations. The sand and gravel soils here are often compared to Bordeaux and the wines continue to garner international attention.
The Marlborough appellation sits at the northern tip of the South Island. Esk Valley is a classic example from the region, and the note-able texture is not only pleasing to the palate, but adds a bit more complexity. While Pinot Noir is grown in many places, Central Otago on the south end of the South Island is known to produce earthier styles, and we are delighted to showcase the "Moonlight Race" from Burn Cottage.
New Zealand Flight
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