Free tasting | Saturday, September 1, 2018 | 4-6PM
Opening up a gang of 'Island Wines' on the first of September is helping perpetuate the denial that summer is nearing to an end. Vines grown on islands have a plethora of environmental advantages including prominent shifts in temperature throughout the day, cooling sea breezes in the evening, lots of sunlight, mountainous terrain, fertile and generative soils, and rocking salinity and minerality in the juice. It’s rare to find larger producers on small islands; with island vine growing comes smaller production and a sense of overall community. Come relish in the summer-ending denial for just a bit longer until the hustle and bustle of autumn (and October in Salem) is upon us. #islandlyfe
The Island Line-up:
2017 Channing Daughters Winery, Sauvignon Blanc Mudd Vineyard (Long Island, New York) | Winemaker James Christopher Tracy, along with his passionate team, produces wines on all three Long Island AVA’s: North Fork, the Hamptons, and Long Island. The Channing Daughters tasting room and cellar in Bridgehampton is located on the picturesque coast of the Atlantic. Cooling ocean breezes sweep over their 28-acre farmland including their Sculpture Garden Vineyard with towering creations (pictured) from business partner and venture capitalist Walter Channing. 50% of their grapes are sourced from neighboring farmers on North Fork, while their own vineyard plots are fermented and bottled independently including their delicious 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Mudd Vineyard on North Fork. Notes of lemongrass, green apples, tart citrus and a creamy finish reminiscent of a refreshing Alsatian Pinot Blanc, but oh so New York lovely.
NV Channing Daughters, VerVino Variation 2 (Long Island, New York) | Ummm…two words: Jalapeño. Vermouth. Right?! VerVino Variation 2 is a fortified and aromatized wine, which has a base wine of Sauvignon Blanc plus the addition of 30 botanicals including lantern jalapeño, thai green chili peppers, borage, tarragon, cucumbers, angelica, mint, and zucchini blossoms. You can serve and enjoy VerVino on its own or added to an Aperol spritz for a kick. Go wild and make a dirty martini or even a gin and tonic! Or pour over ice and top with a bit of lemonade, garnish with some mint! As one fan wrote on the Channing Daughters website: “We finished nearly half the bottle. First straight up, then on the rocks, then with soda and gin. (Seriously.) I kept having images of fairies and other woodland creatures drinking this ambrosia." It’s magic fairy juice!!!!
2017 Az. Agr. Raìca, Isola dei Muraghi Bianco (Sardinia, Italy) | Az. Agr. Raìca is the biodynamic brainchild of Cinzia Pelazza in the sunny and windy climate of northeastern isle of Sardinia. For you Barolo lovers out there, Cinzia is part of the husband and wife duo behind Az. Agr. Eugenio Bocchino of La Morra in Piedmont, Italy. Finding respite and rejuvenation in island life, Cinzia and Eugenio began their dream of making white wine (as they are Nebbiolo experts!) on Sardinia and have achieved yet another line of natural wine with precision and meticulous expertise. Their 100% Vermentino was late-harvested and underwent skin contact for 14 days imparting a brilliant color of Rapunzel’s braids. The wine was then aged for two months in used barriques before additional aging time in stainless steel. The mouth is full-on saline and mineral driven ending with notes of thyme and dried apricots. Glory in a bottle!
2017 Cantine Valenti ‘Poesia’ Rosato (Sicily, Italy) | Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world; in Greek Mythology, Etna is said to be the burial place of a giant killed by Zeus. Atop one of the highest vineyard sites of all of Etna is the Valenti vineyard, which is planted 800 meters above sea level. Giovanni Valenti and his son, Alessandro, are native Sicilians and all of their biodynamic wines are inspired by the arts, which, akin to winemaking, they are equally passionate. This 100% Nerello Mascalese rosé is named ‘Poesia,’ or poetry, and has a full body with notes of raspberry sorbet and classic Etna-volcanic earthiness. Che buono!
And last but not least….Envínate!
After a fun-filled, natural wine-fueled night in Providence last weekend, I started seeing a trend at each locale: Envínate. Translated to ‘wine yourself’ from four pals who met in Alicante, Envínate wine is focused on exploring the natural and ancient Atlantic-infused terroirs of Spain off the coast of Africa. (I visited the Canary Islands for Spring Break in 2004 and the nude black-sand beaches on Tenerife and Gran Canaria were otherworldly.) 100% organic, no chemicals are used on any of the Envínate vineyards, and all grapes are picked by hand, stomped by dancing feel, and fermented with wild yeasts. Envínate has been on the ‘hot-list’ and deemed the ‘new Spanish’ wine of the moment by many wine lists and journalists over their last few vintages. Its small production and rarity in the market is appealing. Most appealing, and the most important, is how it tastes: freakin’ awesome.
2017 Envínate, Benje Blanco (Canary Islands, Spain) | The Benje Blanco is from the Listan Blanco grape variety.The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, and aged in used barrique for 8 months. A full mouthfeel with juicy notes of tropical fruits and some vanilla and sea salt. Pair with tapas!
2017 Envínate, Benje Tinto (Canary Islands, Spain) | The Benje Tinto is made almost entirely from the indigenous Listan Prieto grown in pure volcanic rock. Aged in barrique and almost Trousseau-like with notes of smoke, raspberries, and light spice.
In the words of Roberto Santana, one of four in the Envínate clan, “If we are trying to make wine in Tenerife, we are trying to make wine in Tenerife, with that terroir—not a wine that looks like Priorat or looks like Burgundy.” This is island wine at its best. It tastes like a black-sand, volcanic ash-laden island.