Wine & Wanderlust

Free tasting | Saturday, January 5, 2019 | 4-6PM

It’s that time of year again: the start of the new year. The gift-giving, holiday-partying, eggnog-guzzling, tree-decorating days are behind us, and now we all need a damn vacation. That heavy does of wanderlust is settling in, deep down to the core of our souls that crave rejuvenation. We feel the urge to get up and go and breath an unfamiliar scent in a different city breeze or cleansing island air. Enter: WINE. Wine has the ability to transport you to any place in the world. It is the definitive taste of place. Where the vines are grown determines how the wine tastes, among many other environmental factors. Let’s open it up and go somewhere special…and start with these…

 2017 2Naturkinder ‘Drei Freunde’ (Franken Germany) | Yeah, some people talk about the beer, castles, and Berlin as reasons to visit this magnificent country but we both know the real reason to go: the wine. Germany boasts a long history of winemaking dating back to the Romans and through those centuries has configured unmatched techniques with the grapes Riesling (both dry and sweet), Silvaner, and Spätburgunder. Take organic winemakers Melanie Dreuse and Michael Völker for example down in Franken; they took the 3 top planted varietals in Franken (Silvaner, Bacchus, and Müller-Thurgau ) and decided to combine them in an intriguing blend. After being destemmed each varietal rests on its skins for a week before fermentation in a combination of steel and old oak. This blend has notes of stoniness, lemon curd, and green apples.

2016 Birichino Chenin Blanc (California, USA) | Most days people are just trying to come up with excuses to get too California; it could be the beaches, Disney, or Alcatraz Island that strike your fancy, but really a trip to the Golden State should be centered around the vino-they even made a whole movieabout it! So channel your inner Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church and hit the road. While Chardonnay is glorious, I think that more attention should be given to other white varietals in California like this Chenin Blanc from Birichino winery in the Santa Ynez Valley.  This is from winemakers Alex Krause and John Locke who grew this Chenin on Jurassic Park Vineyard (so really this wine saves you a trip to Universal Studios) and after undergoing fermentation with indigenous yeasts it is aged in stainless steel and neutral French oak. This Chenin is unapologetically sassy with its notes of pear, honeysuckle, and awesome acidity.

2017 Laurent Herlin ‘Tsoin Tsoin’ (Loire Valley, France) | Everyone has a bucket list for France. Whether your list includes the Louvre, Claude Monet’s house, or the Catacombs of Paris, mine includes the Loire Valley – the Upper, the Middle and the Lower Loire Valley. This region is a vast area stretching from the western coast all the way into the middle of France and because of the immensity of the territory, the number of grapes and kinds of wine from the Loire is vast. Everything from Chenin Blanc to Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc flourishes there. This Cabernet Franc is from biodynamic wine grower Laurent Herlin, a former computer engineer, who bought 5 hectares in Bourgeuil. This wine is fermented in a mixture of stainless steel and cask and is filled with playful notes of cranberry, raspberries and is basically Loire happiness in a bottle.

2017 Herdade Do Rocim Amphora (Alentejo, Portugal) | If you go to Portugal you’ll have to accept that any adjectives, phone, or camera will fail to capture the exquisite beauty of this country. From turquoise colored oceans with silky sand to mountain peaks topped with greenery to stunning architecture… Portugal has it all. But you shouldn’t go to swim, hike, or see the Castle of the Moors; you should go to drink well!  Wine here is grown from indigenous grapes that you can’t find anywhere else in the world like the grapes in this red blend from winemaker Pedro Riberio. This is a blend of Moreto, Tinta Grossa, Trincadeira, and Aragonez that was organically farmed and fermented in amphora. It has notes of raspberry, cranberry and a smooth earthy finish.

Ahhhh….vacation i.e. wine in your glass and cheese in your hand. Don’t you feel relaxed at The Cheese Shop of Salem?

A picture from Susan’s vacation to Lebanon this past October. View from a rooftop in Byblos.

A picture from Susan’s vacation to Lebanon this past October. View from a rooftop in Byblos.