Muscadet All Day


There’s 10 inches of snow on the ground, and I’m daydreaming about being up in Maine for the summer—shoes off, walking through the blueberry fields toward the dock. Smelling the salty air, tiptoeing around shells, putting my feet in the water. I can almost taste the brine. When I miss it this much, Muscadet is there for me.

Michel Delhommeau’s Harmonie was made in the Loire Valley of France, but it’s a seasonal New England time capsule. His grapes never felt the salty air of the Penobscott Bay in early June, but somehow, they’re kindred spirits. The wine is a crisp morning, rocky sea foam, a fresh summer apple during a hike. Dried pineapple rings from the corner store.

Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine (it even has Maine in its name) is surrounded by granite that formed millions of years ago, as lava cooled. Everywhere else in the Loire, molten lava turned into granite, but in Monnières, the village where Michel Delhommeau makes Harmonie, it held its ground. Harmonie is grown from 25-40 year old Melon de Bourgogne on unique gabbro soil—an igneous rock, formed by molten lava. Gabbro—this ancient, independent hunk of crystal—is the reason for Harmonie’s, well, harmony.

The best wines, yes they’re balanced and complex and well made, but really, the wines I try to remember are the ones that spark nostalgia for me. They’re the wines that make me remember something beautiful and precious. Harmonie carries a memory with it—one I can’t wait to return to.

Drink with oysters, scallops, lobster rolls, crab cakes, and other seaside fare. If you’re a vegetarian, succotash, summer squash, and herbs herbs herbs.

Hooray Vouvray!

BY: Maia Fleming  @wwwmaia   Who makes it:  Damien Pinon   Where:  Vouvray   What is it:  Chenin Blanc   How is it made:  Practicing, non-certified organic since 2007, indigenous yeast

BY: Maia Fleming


Who makes it: Damien Pinon

Where: Vouvray

What is it: Chenin Blanc

How is it made: Practicing, non-certified organic since 2007, indigenous yeast

“As long as you're using Chenin Blanc, anything is possible.” --Francois Pinon

I found that quote while scouring French and English websites, trying to find out if Damien Pinon is related to well-known Vouvray producer Francois Pinon (spoiler alert: probably only distantly). Francois goes on to say, in his interview with Jules Dressner, that Vouvray is the “only appellation in France where you can produce the wine you want on any given parcel. Sparkling, still, sec, demi-sec, dessert wines: the choice is the vigneron's.” That’s part of the magic when you see Vouvray on a wine list. Is it still? Is it sparkling? How much residual sugar does it have? Does it see oak? How long has it been aged? It smells like  a classic aromatic white, flowers and fruit, but the first sip is always unpredictable.

Chenin Blanc as a varietal is known for its puckering acidity and inherent sweetness, and it is most famously grown in South Africa and the Loire Valley in France. Vouvray is an appellation d’origine controllee (AOC), aka a “protected designation of origin,” in the Loire. It’s the largest white wine appellation in the wider Touraine region, on the northern banks of the Loire, and it almost exclusively grows Chenin Blanc. Hence, if you see the word “Vouvray,” you should think “Chenin Blanc.”

On to the Vouvray of the Day®! Damien and Michel Pinon are 3rd generation winemakers that operate a 22-hectare estate in the commune of Vernou-sur-Brenne. The vines grow in calcareous clay and tuffeau limestone, and the wine is vinified and preserved in cellars dug into the tuffeau. Damien Pinon’s 2017 “Tuffo” Vouvray is a sec (dry) wine that smells like ripe pears, bruised bodega persimmons, and heady calla lilies. Medium-bodied and perfumey, it coats your mouth, with a pop of minerality and acid to balance out its fruit. I think the wine could stand up to more rich foods than the traditional chicken or fish, so go crazy. Think a cheese plate with charcuterie and preserves! If you’re just dipping your toe into the waters of Vouvray, this is the perfect introduction.

Lo-Fi from Santa Barbara is some hi-fi natty.

BY: Claire Cerda  @clairecerda

BY: Claire Cerda



Now that you’ve you've fallen in love with the Old World style Cab Franc from Chateau Yvonne that Margot wrote about last week on the blog, you should check out this New World style Cab Franc from Lo-Fi which comes from Santa Barbara, California.

Old World wines refer to wines made in countries that are considered the birthplaces of wine, mostly Europe and the Middle East. They tend to be lower alcohol and lighter-bodied, with deeper and earthier flavors. In contrast, New World style wines come from countries that used to be colonies, such as the U.S., New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Australia and South Africa. They tend to be higher in alcohol, fuller in body, more fruit-driven in flavor. Old World wines are typically bound by certain laws protecting which grapes, techniques, etc. a winemaker can use if they want to associate themselves with their region (also called French AOC, Italian DOC or DOCG, Spanish DO, etc. depending on where they are). New World wines are more often #norules and typically use whatever grapes and styles the winemaker thinks would taste best, meaning there’s a lot of experimentation. For many years, people thought New World wines were lower quality than Old World wines. After the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976, people started to gain more respect for New World wines. A panel of world-class critics selected a New World Chardonnay called Chateau Montelena from California as the best wine in a blind tasting over big selection of heavy hitters from Burgundy in France.

Lo-Fi wines follow the tradition of New World, #norules wines set by Chateau Montelena, but their expression is a balance of New World and Old World. It’s a passion project between two friends, Mike Roth and Craig Winchester. They're extremely versatile wines that are easy to drink. The Cab Franc is low in alcohol, made in neutral oak - so it does not impart flavor on the wine, relies on native yeasts for fermentation, and has little to no sulfur added when bottling. Roth and Winchester, big time record collectors, use a round LP vinyl label with a hole in the middle as the inspiration for the wine label design. When describing their wines, they say that they enjoy the spontaneous and magical parts of natural winemaking, just like the vinyl nerds that enjoy the unpredictable and unedited cracks, snaps, and pops from their records. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor this wine than to share a playlist with y’all that I’ve been working on for little while for the bar. Cheers!

Just Mad for La Folie

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY: Margot Mazur


About ‘La Folie’:

  • Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

  • Vintage: 2017

  • Region: Saumur-Champigny, Loire Valley, FR

  • Alcohol: 12.5%

  • Farming practice: Biodynamic

Some grapes get all the attention. Big time celebrities like Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot are always in the spotlight. Sure, we have the newest starlings like Picpoul and Sumoll who are coming in for their share, but I’d like to make a case for a certain dewy-eyed grape that’s been there all along—Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Franc is a grape often overlooked. For the most part, it came to favor being blended into Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-dominant wines. Cabernet Franc on its own, though, makes a delightful wine, and Chateau Yvonne’s ‘La Folie’ proves it. Chateau Yvonne dates back to the 16th century, and is located in the heart of Cabernet Franc country of the Loire Valley. Specifically, Saumur-Champigny, just a 40 minute car ride away from Chinon, an area where two grapes shine—Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc.

Cabernet Franc is not the big bold attention-grabbing Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. It doesn’t have the acidity of Syrah or the tough tannins of Nebbiolo. Instead, Chateau Yvonne’s Cabernet Franc is an elegant wine. It’s a wine that teaches us about balance. There’s raspberry and blueberry, green pepper, black pepper, and spice. The texture is smooth but present, and the acidity is just enough to bring it all together.

Cabernet Franc might not be the Ferrari of grapes, but it’s the grape I feel we’ll hear a lot more about in the natural wine world’s upcoming trends. It’s the grape I reach for time and time again. It’s the grape that makes me feel comfortable, relaxed, loved, even. ‘La Folie’ is a wine that hugs you tight and doesn’t let go. It’s with you on a night when it’s just you and your dinner. No date, no big night ahead of you. Just you, your baked ziti, and a wine that won’t let you down.

Pata-ping Patapon

BY: Grace Wexler  @grace_wex

BY: Grace Wexler


What is Pineau D’Aunis?

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz pretty much sums it up when the entry for Pineau D’Aunis reads:  “Ancient, light and underrated Loire variety, often used for rosé but capable of interesting reds” (pg804). Pineau D’Aunis is a dark skinned ancient varietal that is basically exclusively grown in France in the Loire Valley. If you’ve encountered this grape before, more than likely you tasted it as a rosé or as a component of a sparkling wine. Pineau D’Aunis can be a tough grape to cultivate, it’s susceptible to sunburn, irregular yields, chlorosis and, due to the grapes small berry size, it can also suffer from botrytis; however, when it is cultivated well, as is the case with Domaine Le Briseau’s Patapon, the enchanting unique qualities of the grape are on center stage.

Who is Domaine Le Briseau?

Domaine Le Briseau, the maker of the enormously delicious “Patapon” and a pillar of natural winemaking in the Loire, was once run by wife and husband Natalie Gaubicher and Christian Chaussard. Le Briseau translates to “the shatterer” which reflects the solid layer of subsoil flint present in their vineyards which is extremely difficult to penetrate/shatter. In 2012 Christian Chaussard had a fatal tractor accident working the vineyard he loved so much. To complete the 2012 vintage, neighbors from all around the community banned together to help Natalie in completing harvest and production. Today Domaine Le Briseau still farms to organic standards and with biodynamic principles. They produce incredible wines using Pineau D’Aunis, Gamay, Chenin Blanc and Côt grown on limestone, flint, and in places, clay soils.

So how about this Patapon?

Patapon is easily one of the most interesting and dynamic wines I have ever tasted. It is an eye-catching medium ruby red that excites the palate with an incredible peppery quality. Bright fresh red fruits swirl around your tongue as you sip this wine and you’re left with a perfect gentle structure of soft tannin. Patapon goes everywhere, does everything. It’s texture and vibrant flavors excite and marvel in the mouth. Patapon is a wine that is so easy to love, that can’t be forgotten, and has a history that must be remembered.


Robinson, Jancis, et al. Wine Grapes: a Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. HarperCollins Publishers, 2012.

Dressner, Jules. “Domaine Le Briseau & Nana, Vins Et Cie. in Jasnières/Coteaux Du Loir.”, 2013,

The Buzz on Il Musticco

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY: Margot Mazur


About ‘Il Musticco’:

  • Varietal: Ciliegiolo and Gamay de Trasimeno

  • Vintage: 2017

  • Region: Umbria, Italy

  • Sulfur: None added!

  • Aged in: fiberglass barrels

Tiberi Il Musticco

There are wines that make you think, and then there are wines that make you feel. For me, Frederico and Beatrice Tiberi’s ‘Il Musticco’ is the latter. It’s a wine that takes me back to a summer day in Portland, Oregon, walking through the rose gardens in SE, laying down right on the grass that makes you feel like you’re in a Monet painting set between Hawthorne and Division.

This delightful sparkler is a blend between Ciliegiolo and Gamay de Trasimeno (which is actually Grenache, and not Gamay at all). On the nose, ‘Il Musticco’ is your first love—absolutely pretty. Roses and bright cherries sing their way out of the glass. If A Midsummer Night’s Dream had a wine pairing, this would be it. On the palate, a minerality comes out that gives this wine its backbone and character. It’s an irresistible blend of salty, limey, and fruity that makes you want to get on a plane to Umbria right this minute and hug the winemakers.

The name and label of ‘Il Musticco’, for Beatrice Tiberi’s childhood nickname, couldn’t be more fitting. It’s whimsical and light, pointing back to a sort of child-like sense of fun. Drink it with friends.

Crazy Cool Cat

BY: Maia Fleming  @wwwmaia

BY: Maia Fleming


Who makes it: Eric Texier
Where: Cotes du Rhone, St Julien-en-St Alban
What is it: 85% old vine Grenache, 15% Clairette/Viognier/Chasselas/other
How is it made: co-harvested and -fermented in whole clusters, gently pressed. Brief 5-day maceration in concrete tanks. Aged for a year in concrete before bottling. Biodynamic.

Translating to “crazy cat,” Texier’s “Chat fou” is an intentionally fresh, breezy style of Cotes du Rhone. I personally can’t shed light on the origin of its name, since this wine is anything but unapproachable, and it doesn’t sneak up on you or attack when you least expect it. I did, however, take the opportunity to pose the bottle with my roommate’s crazy cat Zuzu, and at least that resemblance is uncanny.

The wine is soft and elegant, with tart fruit and pronounced minerality. Old school done right. It smells like cooked cherries and licorice and my mother’s overgrown backyard ‘garden’ of broken terracotta pots and unidentifiable weeds and herbs. “Chat fou” is from the commune of St Julien-en-St Alban, just a 25 minute drive south of Hermitage in the Ardèche, known for its old-vine Syrah and Grenache and its granite soil. Predominantly Grenache, the wine is unusual for its cepage, the remaining 15% consisting of indigenous white varietals. Vinified locally to obtain its AOC, the wine is then transported to a 16th-century cellar in Charnay-en-Beaujolais, where Texier lives.

Texier is a renowned natural winemaker, known for his scientific approach to organic and biodynamic wine production, and for bringing attention and acclaim to regions of the Rhone that were once prominent but had fallen into disrepair, particularly Brezeme in the Northern Rhone. Originally a nuclear engineer, he changed careers in 1992, trained with Jean-Marie Guffens at Verget in Mâcon, and made his first vintage in 1995. He now makes 30 different wines, from 10 different origins, from the Mâconnais to the Rhone. In the world of natural wine, his signature leaf insignia denotes excellence. “Chat fou” is no exception.

I recommend this wine slightly chilled, with a crazy cat to warm your lap.


BY: Claire Cerda  @claireacerda

BY: Claire Cerda


Folks at the bar often ask us, “When I’m at a store, how do I know that a wine is natural? Is there some sort of label that identifies a natural wine from a commercial wine?” We typically say that the best way to know whether or not a wine is natural is to ask around at your local wine shop (if you’re in Boston, we love The Wine Bottega, Central Bottle, The Wine & Cheese Cask, Social Wines, and Streetcar JP). But in short, the answer is no - there’s no label or easy way to tell if a wine is natural or not. A big reason for that is that there there’s no official accreditation nor one-size-fits-all definition for what makes a wine “natural.” Angiolino Maule, a natural winemaker in Italy, is working on creating some standard practices across all natural winemakers that could address some of these challenges. We recently started pouring his floral and snappy wine, Masieri, by the glass at Rebel Rebel and as I read more about Maule, I learned all about the work he’s done to bring science into his winemaking process and build community around natural wine.

In 2000 he founded an organization called VinNatur that connects more than 170 producers from around the world to share their experiences and research on natural winemaking practices. He’s worked with scientists to develop natural ways to fight pesticides, better understand wild yeasts in cellars, and improve soil quality. Organizations like VinNatur (Raw Wine is another example) are promoting natural winemaking practices and helping more winemakers figure out how to adapt their practices to work naturally. In short, Maule is basically a badass and doing so much to promote natural winemaking practices and help others continue refining their techniques.

If you’re curious about Maule’s wine, Masieri, here’s a bit more info about his wine and the technical specs:

Grape: 100% Garganega (second pass)

Name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown: La Biancara

Location of the vineyard: Veneto, Italy (Northeast Italy)

Alcohol: 12%

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Nouveau Style Wines ( And Wasenhause's Baden Nouveau)

BY: Grace Wexler  @grace_wex

BY: Grace Wexler



Life Lessons We Can Learn from Nouveau Style Wines

( And Wasenhause’s Baden Nouveau)

1.Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Nouveau style wine is young and fresh and mostly uncomplicated. It’s a good reminder that like a lot of things, wine doesn’t always have to be a serious stroking your moustache in a buttondown, contemplating the virtues of different vintages affair. Sometimes the best thing to do is laugh and glug!


As a style,Nouveau is born from Beaujolais Nouveau: a youthful release just months after the grapes were harvested that same year. Nouveau is a wine that celebrates the end of a years harvest, a celebration of the wines to come! We can always find a reason to celebrate and Nouveau style wines is just one of those reasons.

3.Relax after a hard day ( or a hard harvest)

After harvest has completed, the vines close their sleepy eyes and go into dormancy, and the barrels and vats of juice sit wiggling and fermenting, winemakers and farmers alike kick off their boots and crack open their nouveau. Don’t forget to reward yourself and relax after a day of hard work, not just with a glass of vino but with a snuggly nap or a hot bath too.

4.Share with friends!

A bottle of nouveau ( or any wine really) is the perfect size to share. It’s a nice reason to get the group together and enjoy some good company and some nice fresh flavors. Some of the best things in life are even better when shared with people around you!


Grab a glass and cheers to the young, happy, fresh flavors of Nouveau!

This special Nouveau style wine is from Kaiserstühl in Baden ( thats just to the east of Colmar and the French border with Germany, ). Unlike Beaujolais Nouveau its made from Pinot Noir grapes ( and made in Baden not Beaujolais obviously). This Baden Nouveau from Wasenhaus maintains bright youthfulness with popping flavors of blueberries and currants. What really sets this wine apart from other glou glou glasses however is its rich earthiness. Dense aromas of juniper, violets and cedar greet you on the nose and translate just as boldly on the palate bringing out a peaty quality that reminds of digging your palms into fresh potting soil. This Baden Nouveau is just springy enough to go down easy but leaves enough to contemplate that you keep coming back for another sip. Why not take all five lessons you learned above and try ‘em out with a glass of Baden Nouveau at Rebel Rebel.

RIP Campanino as we know it. You'll be missed.

BY: Maia Fleming  @wwwmaia

BY: Maia Fleming


Who makes it: Vigneti Campanino

Where: Umbria

What is it: Malvasia Toscana*

*not quite, but close, one of the multitudes of Malvasia variations

How is it made: de-stemmed, vinified without temperature control or sulfur. Aged in fiberglass, skin-contacted briefly. Unfined, unfiltered. Biodynamic.

In some ways, writing this feels like a eulogy. Campanino was sold last year, and will no longer be making wine under the auspices of the natural wine guru Danilo Marcucci. Campanino was one of Marcucci’s first projects, along with Collecapretta. It’s a rustic, small operation, only 4.5 hectares, high in the Umbrian Apennines. At 900 meters (2,700 ft!) above sea level, the grapes withstand intense weather and frost. They survive by ripening in the Southern sun, on slopes so steep you can barely walk. It’s sad to think this might be the last time I’ll be drinking Campanino, at least as it exists today.  

Smelling the Bianco, I have an overwhelming sense of deja vu--I’m smelling something I know, something I’ve smelled millions of times. But what is it? Immediately, there’s this umami funk, maybe charcuterie? This underlying sweetness, salt… After a few more swirls, I’m picking up grilled fennel, meyer lemon--and then it hits me. I’m from Maine, I grew up walking across the Casco Bay bridge at low tide, smelling damp seaweed drying in the sun and the tang of salt crusting on the sand as the water recedes. This wine smells exactly like that.  

That being said, the wine itself is much more approachable. It’s a juicy, vibrant wine, with tart acidity and long mineral finish that coats the mouth. Fresh citrus: think ripe pomelo complete with its massive, bitter pith. For those of us that always ask for an extra lemon wedge when dining out. I recommend drinking it with any sort of vegetable dish, perhaps an asparagus dish, to pay homage to Umbria. Or by itself, as I did, down to the last cloudy, unfiltered drop.

Primavera is coming but until then... Primitivo.

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY: Margot Mazur


About ‘Unodino’:

  • Varietal: 100% Primitivo

  • Vintage: 2013

  • Region: Puglia, Italy

  • Vineyard name:

  • Alcohol: 14%

  • Total production: 2000 bottles, only in excellent vintages

Macchiarola Unodinoi

The ‘Unodinoi’ is a winter wine. I say that because it’s a wine that makes you want to get your blanket, put on your fuzzy socks, get some pasta going, and melt into the comfortable snowy coziness that is New England in February, while it helps you reminisce of springtime.

It’s February 2nd and I’m drinking Macchiarola while watching “Groundhog Day”. Apparently spring is coming early this year. That’s good because this striking bright red Primitivo won’t be enough to keep me thinking of spring flowers for long. On the nose, there’s strawberry, bright cherry, a bit of thyme. On the palate, it teases of hiking trips—fresh soil and earth, crisp tart acidity, and the smooth velvet feel of a warm late spring breeze.

Domenico Magnione of Tenuta Macchiarola must be familiar with this sort of breeze—the domaine is in Puglia, Southern Italy, on fertile soil farmed organically since 2007. Made with wild yeast, destemmed, and aged in concrete, drinking it brings you to a land you’ve never seen. This wine has a home. It has a sense of place.

Why drink this wine? The grape, Primitivo, is one you might already be familiar with. It’s sibling, Zinfandel, has long been loved and heralded as one of California’s original grapes. We used to think Primitivo and Zinfandel were one and the same, but now we know that they both descend from Crljenak, an ancient grape from Croatia. In fact, Primitivo and Zinfandel are closely related, and as someone who drinks a lot of California Zinfandel, it’s a wonderful experience to see a different side of the genetic lineage through Macchiarola’s ‘Unodinoi’.

The pure ripe fruit, yet lasting and balanced acidity, is enough to make me reach for this bottle again and again. Open it up when it’s time to relive the bounty of late Spring. I can’t wait for you to try it.

We're just KouKou for urban wineries!

BY Claire Cerda  @claireacerda

BY Claire Cerda


Here’s a little more about the technical specs:

Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

Name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown: Crown Point Vineyard

Location of the vineyard: Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara, California (southwest CA)

Alcohol: 12%

Total production: 840 cases

While scanning the wall of bottles at Rebel Rebel, people frequently ask to check out KouKou by Broc Cellars. At first glance, they may be drawn to the bottle because of the minimalist label design (I get it - like Kanye, sometimes we get emotional about fonts), but this design is intentional. It represents part of the winemaker, Chris Brockway’s holistic approach to making his wine relatable.

Brockway has talked about how the artist Marta Johansen matched the visual design of his brand with what’s in the bottle. He says, it’s “very simple and pure, no filler or fluff…lots of emotion for me.“ By keeping the style simple, it emphasizes the beauty of the electric magenta juice that’s inside. Brockway’s approach to winemaking is interesting for a couple of reasons: he’s making wine naturally - nothing added and nothing removed in the cellar - and because he is making it in the heart of Berkeley, CA. He isn’t surrounded by acres of vines, but rather a cement plant, a motorcycle repair shop, and a few other urban wineries (like Edmunds St. John and Donkey and Goat).

Just like brewers might purchase their hops from other farmers and producers, these urban winemakers purchase their grapes from vineyards and make wine in a warehouse. This method has actually been around for a while, starting with the garagistes, (makers of "garage wines") who made easy-drinking wine in their garages in Bordeaux in the 1900s and challenged traditional big-bold French styles. #rebels

KouKou by Broc Cellars shares the similar easy-drinking style these garagistes envisioned.

I love how Brockway’s space in Berkeley, his labels, and his wine are all working towards making wine more accessible. He’s even found a way to get his wine on the menu of Palo Alto’s Shake Shack. Like the name suggests (KouKou translates to baby chicken in Japanese), this wine is playful. It’s juicy, it’s crushable (meaning you and a friend can easily down this entire bottle without thinking too hard about it), and it takes like sour cherry candies with great acidity. I can’t wait for you to try it!

Hausherr? Oh Sure!

BY: Grace Wexler  @grace_wex

BY: Grace Wexler


Who made it: Hubert and Heidi Hausherr

What it’s called: Aussitôt Bue

Where it’s from:Alsace

What it is technically: A cuvée of Auxerrois, Sylvaner and Pinot Gris

What I thought of it: I drank this prickly, mineraly, fresh golden hued juice on the day of our first big Boston snow storm. I love a wine that I want to stick my nose in and inhale for hours and this alsation star had so many layers that I could have done just that. Give it a swirl-wet rocks. Give it a sniff- geraniums. Put that sniffer right in close- preserved lemon and the leaves from tomatoes! On the palate this wine has such punchy, bright citrusy acidity that made me think of lemon peel, lemon juice and kumquat. Bottom line: yes we drank the whole bottle and yes it was golden to the last drop.