Some more of Saumur please!!

BY: Danielle Pattavina  @dpattavin   “Saumur Blanc”  2015   Producer:  Domaine du Collier   Region:  Loire   Appellation/subregion:  Saumur   Grape Varieties:  Chenin Blanc   Soil type:  Tuffeau (limestone)   Vessel type:  Burgundy barriques   Certified:  Organic  Unfined. Unfiltered. No sulphites.  7 hectares; 25 - 75 year old vines.

BY: Danielle Pattavina

@dpattavin

“Saumur Blanc” 2015

Producer: Domaine du Collier

Region: Loire

Appellation/subregion: Saumur

Grape Varieties: Chenin Blanc

Soil type: Tuffeau (limestone)

Vessel type: Burgundy barriques

Certified: Organic

Unfined. Unfiltered. No sulphites.

7 hectares; 25 - 75 year old vines.

Domaine du Collier Saumur Blanc

...VALLEY OF WHITE STONE...

We have a category on our menu at Rebel Rebel, ‘Special Sauce’. People ask: “What does it mean, special sauce?”. This Collier Chenin has been sitting in that category the past few days. I love pouring it for folx because their faces do these amazing things when it gets in their mouths. Underripe pineapple, those green eyes on the pineapple… that’s what I taste, and ice cream! green pineapple ice cream (I’m channeling the ‘90s gastrophysics movement, it’d actually be a foam, probably). This wine is delightfully deep. It’s more than that, it’s damn sexy and everyone that asks about ‘Special Sauce’ has a taste and ends up with a whole glass.


Antoine Foucault worked with his father, Charly, and uncle, Nady, of the famous Clos Rougeard, in Saumur-Champigny. In ‘99 Antoine & Caroline Boireau (married to Antoine) established Domaine du Collier. They make wine in Breze, which is in Saumur, which is in Anjou, which is in the Loire Valley. The Loire River runs through the valley. Chenin blanc originated here in Loire, in Anjou, in fact, in the 9th century.


The old-ish chenin vines (25 - 75 years) work through the limestone soil, called tuffeau here. A note about tuffeau: that milky white stone that is the iconic Loire architecture, both quaint and noble, simultaneously. It is the local limestone. It was mined heavily in the 15th century (many wine cellars in Anjou & the wider Loire are made of tuffeau). Tuffeau was formed on the floor of the ancient seas around 90 million years ago, in the Mesozoic Era. (If your heart skips a beat to think looking at the face of a building is a window to an ancient sea 90 million years ago: YOU’RE ALIVE.) The tuffeau is made from fossilized living organisms and sand particles that are compressed: shells and tiny foraminifera that 90 million years ago were deposited in shallow water in the ancient ocean. (Again, is your heart racing like mine is?!)

Antoine & Caroline only make about 1250 cases of wine a vintage. Often their wines spend 2 years in elevage; it’s special to say the least. They are practicing organic and stringent with treating their land naturally, without chemicals, same goes for the cellar practices. All the work is done by hand, wild/naturally occurring yeasts only, vinification happens underground in the their very chilly ~10th century cave.


Come to Rebel Rebel & taste it. 


Falling for Falistra

BY Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY Margot Mazur

@solomargot

Podere Il Saliceto Falistra

I like knowing that I’m drinking wine made by interesting people. Wine is a product, after all, and someone makes it. Those people, just like any other person who makes any other product, have personalities. Just as it makes me not want to consume a product made by someone who goes against my values or is just not a great human, it makes my heart jump for joy knowing I’m drinking wine made by a person I admire. I like to think that a producer’s personality makes it into the wine, as a part of the terroir almost, and I believe that even more so with Falistra.

Podere Il Saliceto’s Gian Paolo Isabella may be more known in different communities for his Muay Thai skills than his wine. He lives in Modena, home of Parmesan, balsamic vinegar, and the incredible grapes of Lambrusco. There are six varieties of Lambrusco—Lambrusco di Sorbara is the most well known in Modena, and the one used for Isabella’s Falistra, which he turns into a rosé. Each Lambrusco variety has its own characteristics—Lambrusco di Sorbara gives a racy acid to a wine, and elevates Falistra. It gives it some bounce, some life, some fun.

Lambrusco grapes are secret grapes to me—they don’t scream for attention. They’re not international varieties. In fact, they’re not grown outside of Italy, except for a tiny grouping in Argentina. Lambrusco has endemic place in the region of Emiliga-Romagna, making it all the more special and unique in the world of wine.

Lambrusco may be known in the United States for super sweet red wines, but much of Lambrusco is quite dry. It can be a still red wine, a rose, or a sparkling wine—which is what we know it for the most. We can expect most Lambruso to be a darker shade of red, but Falistra defies expectations. It’s a sparkling rose that makes you say “Lambrusco?”. It’s strawberries, cherries, herbs, it somehow manages to still be earthy. It’s Lambrusco, all right—it’s unique. It’s a wine that you can drink with literally anything. It’s bright, it’s exciting, and most of all it’s fun.

Drink this lambo at a BBQ with some grilled peppers while it’s still hot out. It’ll surprise you!



Famille is Family

Famille Vaillant Cabernet Breton  BY: Alexandra Tennant  @alexandra_r_t

Famille Vaillant Cabernet Breton

BY: Alexandra Tennant

@alexandra_r_t

If I had to choose a trait that I value most in a person, I would choose that it’s being a good storyteller. I believe it requires kindness, empathy and patience to be a truly great one, which is why it’s the highest form of praise I can think of to offer. There are hundreds of ways to tell a story, and there are many, many people who have found great ways to tell them. This is, in part, why I love natural wine. It is story. By default, by resisting through just being, rebelling by occurring, natural wine is story by simply not being conventional wine. Every vintage of every label is another story to tell, and every glass from that bottle is going to amount in an experience, however small. 


I chose Famille Vaillant’s “Cabernet Breton” for my first blog post because it plays a tender chapter in my own wine story. It starts on a bambi-legged move to Chicago at the precious age of twenty-three to pursue big entertainment dreams in the comedy industry, where I fell into a job as a backserver on the opening team of a gilded, sprawling steakhouse in the cold storage district of the West Loop. I took my first wine classes and was regularly tested to verify my ability to watch other people serve Cakebread Chardonnay by the glass. At that time, I wasn’t quite sure that when my sommelier told me with wildly-gesticulating enthusiasm that, yes! I was indeed tasting tobacco in this cab sauv! that the wine wasn’t actually fermented with tobacco. I also wasn’t quite sure about Burgundy, was it a grape, was it a place, was it both, and why did the Alps seem to get involved so often, and this wine is room-temperature why is everyone so concerned with how hot it is? This I take with me to every new guest that I serve who has stared at the menu with either helplessness or defensiveness or indecisiveness soon followed by the very common, “I do not know a single thing about wine.” Yeah, dude, welcome to the first chapter of your journey; surprise, there is no tobacco involved in the fermentation process!


Fast forward through five years filled with many generous and kind wine directors, and dozens of stewarded bottles on my couch, and Friday afternoon wine class after Friday afternoon wine class after Friday afternoon wine class, I arrived at a very informal Friday Afternoon Wine Class at one of the best restaurants I’ve ever worked for. My bar manager wanted to do a blind tasting with the team to practice working through basic identifying skills. This is the superpower sommeliers train for, and I have gawked at many a wine training, at many a tasting, at those with a more detailed, exercised palette than mine who can identify the varietal and region in seconds from one single swirl, inhale and swish. So it’s hard to accurately depict the excessive swell of pride I felt when my bar manager removed the brown paper bag from Famille Vaillant’s 2018 vintage of “Cabernet Breton”, and I looked down at my own paper to check what I had written in hesitant cursive under varietal: cabernet franc and region: loire. 


It is a basic step in any one wine person’s wine story, but this wine holds a tender spot in my heart for being the first, real signifier of a lot of work, education, and blurry evenings on my couch. 


It doesn’t hurt that this wine is what I want my red wine to taste like. With a nose of white pepper, and early morning earth, damp with a dead-of-night rain long finished. There is a transition in its wetness, and maybe that transition is early spring. With fruit, there is rainier cherries, gone soft and bruised in the bag, but also hopeful plums that you saw for the first time all year after the long winter, hard stone plums that were picked too early, and no matter what will never ripen in the fruit bowl. The skins of those plums. There is gravel too, if there is a nickle mixed in with the gravel, and also you skinned your knee on the gravel, so there is a pinprick of blood.


The finish is vegetal. A great storyteller in my life with whom I shared this bottle said there is a tail end spice, and unfortunately, the lingering essence of olives (I am allergic to them, and they loath olives [fortunately for both of us, as it turns out, no olives were used in the fermentation of this wine]). I personally experience green pepper in the finish, which was my first clue, the first time I had this wine, that I was drinking cabernet franc from the Loire. 


This wine also has story, one many years long. It comes from Anjou, a subregion of the Loire Valley in France. The land was established by the Vaillants in 1626 and it has seen over 20 generations of grape-growers and winemakers since. The vines themselves are 60 years old, and they have been in the hands of siblings Laurence, Dominique and Jean-Francoise since the 1980s, where they immediately began the conversion to organic and biodynamic practices, for both of which they are now certified. It hits all of the big natural wine marks: unfined! unfiltered! bottled sans soufre! Hard-harvested, of course, natural-occurring yeasts, obviously. 


The wine sees neutral wood during fermentation and for six months of aging before bottling. This validates the soft and gentle tannins some might refer to as velvet, some being me. 


This wine would probably like to be paired with a small gathering, taking turns telling boastful tales of small, personal accomplishments to the reception of generous support. It would also do well with a serious check-in of feelings, or a report of a challenging trial not yet finished. It digs on friendship and big laughter, but also I think some hefty cheese and, if we’re being honest, a bowl full of olives. 



From Claire: A Missive

Dear Rebel Rebel team and community,

OMG! It’s Claire with Evan Lewandowski!

OMG! It’s Claire with Evan Lewandowski!

I couldn’t think of a better way to say I love you and I miss you than with a song. Here’s a new playlist with summer tunes, evening tunes, and pairs-well-with-delicious-wine tunes.


As some of you know, I’ve moved temporarily to San Francisco for my full-time job. The second day I arrived in SF (NOT San Fran - that’s apparently very dorky to say) was the day of the U.S. Women’s World Cup final against the Netherlands. I went to Standard Deviation Brewery in the Mission to watch the game. Their beer was lovely and supported LGBTQ youth. #stayqueerstayrebel


Someone I met at the brewery told me that young people in SF don’t drink wine anymore. He said that they only drink craft beer and cocktails. I was shocked! I’m in wine country! How could this be true? I’ve spent the past month asking everyone that’s willing to talk about it (sorry strangers!) what they think about wine culture in SF. I’ve figured out that people DO drink wine here - a lot of it. I’ve had a few little incredible wine-related moments along the way that I wanted to share with you:

  • At Ruby Wine in Dogpatch, I met a former English professor and his wife who is an anthropologist. He read a poem to me called The Geranium by Theodore Roethke, which about a houseplant. We started talking about how difficult it is to keep houseplants alive after I caught him pouring out wine from a wine glass into a nearby plant. Hey - we’ve all done it.

  • Waiting in line to pay at a CVS, a guy with a parrot on his shoulder stood behind me. He told me he was very wine drunk and asked me if I wanted to hold his parrot. Of course, that’s the type of thing you should always say “yes” to.

  • I saw Evan Lewandowski at Ordinaire Wine Shop & Wine Bar and tasted all of his wines. We talked about his recent move to California from Utah, the story behind his wine called Feints, and took a selfie together. He told me that he spends a lot of time thinking about the metabolic processes of cells (hello fermentation!) and driving fast around the vineyard in his truck. Winemakers are rockstars.



I’m excited to keep exploring this city. If you have any recommendations, please send them my way! See y’all soon.

Love,

Claire

Rabasco Rabsco.... Iole Rabasco

IMG_0008.JPG

Rabasco, Rabasco… Iole Rabasco.


I love to drink wine made by women. I like to eat food made by women.

So, I cooked something & drank this wine.

I recommend doing the same.


Iole Rabasco has about 11 hectares in Abruzzo, in Pianella to be specific. 

Her soil is pure. 

Her wine is too.

It’s alive and it’s lively; like green strawberries that are still small and new.

Right when you pop this bottle your mouth starts watering. 

You’re transported to her mountaintop estate.

The Adriatic Sea, a 25 minute drive East, is in the glass. 

It’s zinging coral-colored montepulciano that, as it warms a little in the sun (we’re eating new potatoes, little wax beans, chunks of summer tomatoes swiped through aioli on a porch somewhere), reveals hardy warm weather herbs like thyme & lovage…sour cherries galore.


Rabasco’s vineyard site sits on calcareous clay with alluvial sediment and fossil remains. In ancient times glaciers carved up Abruzzo and the rivers that followed those glaciers carried the sediment rich with biological material (now fossilized). 

These Cancelli vines are growing on the Southwest exposure. Rabasco looks to the astronomical calendar as a guide for working in the fields and the cellar, and they practice biodynamically with respect to the future and the past.

There’s no filtration, fining, and never any sulfur whatsoever in her wines; it’s pure naked wine.


For a jolt of beauty see her unadulterated lands, here.



More and more of DeMoor please.

DeMoor’s “Sans Bruit”

DeMoor’s “Sans Bruit”

Every once in a while you stumble upon a producer whose wines consistently speak to you. Alice and Olivier De Moor are that couple for me. Their wines are classic, classy, and universally loved. Find me a person who doesn’t want to shed a tear over their Chablis, and I’ll eat my hat. Their Aligoté is one of my favorite wines of all time. That’s why when the Sauvignon Blanc came into Rebel Rebel, I jumped at the chance to take it home.


Alice and Olivier De Moor are the perfect couple to be producing white Burgundy. They’re the picture you imagine when thinking about French wines. Olivier grew up in the town of Courgis, less than 5 miles from Chablis. Their Chablis is aged in the cellar of his grandfather’s house. They’ve been partners in wine since 1989, creating beautiful Chardonnay, Aligote, and Sauvignon Blanc in a majestic blindingly-white soiled region for 30 years. Beyond making elegant wines, though, they’ve been pioneers in their region when it comes to crafting wines naturally. They’ve been farming organically for 14 of those years, since 2005. Today, they make wines without S02 during harvest or bottling.


Sauvignon Blanc is not the bread and butter of the De Moor team. Their different cuvees of Chardonnay are their mainstays. However, that’s what makes their Sauvignon Blanc so beautiful. It’s an anomaly in the line-up. The Sans Bruit is grown on Portlandian rock, covered in well-draining clay. It’s aged in stainless steel tanks, a departure from the old oak barrels that age their Chardonnay. It’s finicky, sometimes taking a whole year to ferment. I brought the Sauvignon Blanc to a birthday party held outside in the backyard, mostly wine-os like me and other beverage enthusiasts. 


The wine was elegant and alive, but confusing, or rather—curious. If you had blinded me on it, I would have called it Chardonnay. To quote my friend Katie, “whoa, Sauv Blanc?’. It had a silky texture, a body that made you savor the wine—not crush it in the late June heat. A bundle of citrus, just a slight touch of grass, it was Sauvignon Blanc, but it was also more than that. It was smooth, restrained, it was captivating. It was Burgundy.


Drink this Sauvignon Blanc outside, with friends. Preferably, in a backyard in the summer, as the party is settling down and the sun is setting.



Pitter Patter of my heart at Paterna

Paterna!!

Paterna!!

BY: Grace Wexler

@grace_wex

I was lucky enough to have a chance to visit Paterna earlier this year in March. Even when I’d tasted Paterna’s wines the first time, without context of place, I really loved them. They are charming and playful but have moments of profundity and seriousness. Delivering all the punch of Chianti but with more vibrance and bounce and emotion. Visiting their farm I was even more overcome by the beauty and calm that settles upon this lovingly worked organic Tuscan world. Claudia and Marco showed us around their vines explaining little interesting changes and discussions they have as agriculturalists year to year. Marco represents a generation of winemaking before Claudia so there are always little reminders of tradition vs new, memories vs now. They’re debating whether the old pruned wood should be burned ( this is the old way, the superstition is that the smoke from the burning wood will protect this years vines from frost and disease.) or if it should be chopped up and put back into the soil to nourish the vines and complete the life cycle. Marco explains that the harvest begins almost an entire month earlier than it did when he was a kid. Their work confronts them with the changing climate day to day and year to year. Their vines are the loveliest. The sun sparkles across scraggly little green mounds of cover crops between rows, nitrogen fixers like wild peas and wild barley, and illuminates an array of little bumps of color of tiny wildflowers speckled through the ground on their entire property. To go full millenial on you and really pull it back from the poetic: Paterna is a viiiiiibe. This feels immediately like a place where you can’t help but pray to the earth and feel the good she emits.


We move to a tour of their cellar two rows of old barrique. Giant stainless vats. Colorfully painted cement containers. Marco pulls samples with the thief ( legit I did have to look up the official term for that big ‘ol pipette) and empties little splashes into each glass. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit what a true THRILL it gave me everytime I tasted a wine direct from its vessel. Like…. What is this fresh magic?? Back at their Cantina, Tamara has created a true feast of beans and pasta and cured meat. Best of all we get to top everything with the olive oil they make themselves. If you ever want to see if olive oil can make you cry, theirs will certainly make you feel all the feelings. It is at their cantina table that I taste the Il Terraio for the first time and it is at my own kitchen table that I taste it again. Il Terraio is , unsurprisingly, a magical ride. A blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and a baby bit of Orpicchio, 20% of this wine sees skin contact during fermentation but the other 80% is direct press. Looking back at my notes from tasting this in Tuscany I feel very validated that the second time I drank it I experienced the same things.


Claudia and Marco

Claudia and Marco

Cement Tanks at Paterna

Cement Tanks at Paterna

Old barriques and stainless vats in Paterna’s cellar

Old barriques and stainless vats in Paterna’s cellar

One of the sweet angelic dogs at Paterna

One of the sweet angelic dogs at Paterna

OMG sweet baby cat with wine.

OMG sweet baby cat with wine.

It’s not a highly aromatic wine so you really find yourself burying your nose deep in there, and when you do- ripe sunwarmed lemon, fresh dreamy grass, Anjou pear…. Fresh rain?? Tasting this wine is a quiet moment, sitting, listening to the wine unfold its flavors on your tongue. It’s light, crisp, clean. Unripe mango, a twist of lemon, a lil punch of pineapple and pear. This wine doesn’t scream fruit or scream acid or SCREAM anything. A little reminder of acidity tickles your palate at the end but it’s got nothing to prove.  I must truly share that sometimes tasting a wine makes me so emotional that I write incredibly cringe worthy verbose tasting notes and visuals and this is what a wrote at my kitchen table at 7:30 pm in June : A wine you have to get up close to hear, it’s not shouting anything, it’s singing a quiet self assured song. It knows itself, its not trying to prove anything, like lying in the grass at Paterna with a gentle sun and a breeze listening to the bees buzz and the dogs running……Don’t worry I know that a more annoying description of a wine has never been written but the fullness of my heart when drinking wine from Paterna made me feel like you just had to see how romantic their wine makes my senses.



Oh Nerocapitano, My capitano.

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot     How it’s made:   Region: Sicily, Italy  Varietal: 100% Frappato  Fermented in: plastic vats  Aged in: cement  Maceration: 14 days

BY: Margot Mazur

@solomargot

How it’s made:

Region: Sicily, Italy

Varietal: 100% Frappato

Fermented in: plastic vats

Aged in: cement

Maceration: 14 days

Sicily may as well be its own country. Yes, it’s part of Italy, but when you consider the culture, the landscape, and yes, the wine, you notice some incredibly unique characteristics of this island that keep you guessing and pull you in. At Lamoresca, named after the local olive variety, Moresca, the 4 hectares under vine are surrounded by iron rich, red-tinted clay and sandstone hills that, during the heat of the summer, may make you think you’re closer to Mars than to Italy. The vines stand close to booming olive trees, co-mingling with the history and heritage of the land. Wines coming from Filippo and Nancy Rizzo hold on to those traditions, while maintaining a natural winemaking philosophy that showcases the region’s terroir.

Understanding Sicilian wine is understanding Sicilian soil, climate, and culture. The climate near Lamoresca, about a 30 minute drive from the Southern coast, is very warm and dry, with very little rain. They harvest their grapes by hand at full ripeness, which usually happens in the last week of October. They focus heavily on their olive oil production, taking care to tend their local olive trees—Moresca and Tonda Iblea varietals that produce a fruity, delicate flavor that’s typical of Sicily.

Lamoresca’s wines are all extraordinary. They focus on the historic grapes of their region, including Nerello Mascalese, Nero D’Avola, and Frappato, but the one that’s especially close to my heart is their “Nerocapitano”, made entirely from Frappato, a lighthearted grape that makes a joyful, earthy red wine in the hands of team Rizzo. Nerocapitano is a local name for Frappato, one that can be used interchangeably. This wine is made with an eye to tradition, fermented with no temperature control in open top plastic vats. You won’t find huge new-fangled winery equipment here. The wine sits on the skins for two weeks, then undergoes a natural malolactic fermentation, in tandem with the Sicilian breeze.

I drank this wine over Memorial Day weekend, when I unplugged and took a trip up to a remote cabin in Maine with my boyfriend. We were completely alone, an hour drive from the nearest town and cell phone reception. We started a fire outside, sat on a couple of wooden Adirondack chairs, and popped the Nerocapitano before the sun set. The wine was a perfect match to the warmth of the day, with gorgeous bright cherry notes and a beautiful texture. It’s light, yes, but earthy in a way that’s unique to a Sicilian wine. Volcanic flavors bounce around a perfectly balanced acidity. It’s a wine made to be enjoyed in nature, recognizing your own terroir—the feel of the breeze, the smell of the grass and soil, and the warmth of the early summer sun.


Your Summer Plans: Visit Maine & Drink Cider (also, wine!)

Photo Courtesy of  Upper Glass   BY: Danielle Pattavina  @dpattavin

Photo Courtesy of Upper Glass

BY: Danielle Pattavina

@dpattavin

Your Maine Itinerary:

Drive straight to Tandem Coffee, 742 Congress St, Portland for the best breakfast and pastries (and coffee).

Pit stop at Maine & Loire, consider dinner at Drifter’s Wife either now, because you left really late, or tomorrow on your way back down.

Arrive! Oyster River Winegrowers in Warren (buy cider & wine for your hike tomorrow). Check their website for *Pizza Nights* and *Cider Dinners*! Oyster River Winegrowers are community people and they’re always doing special things.

Sammy’s Deluxe in Rockland for real Maine food and natural wines.

Camp the night?

North for Chase’s Daily breakfast & hiking snacks.

Back South for a hike at Maiden Cliff.

Drive to Glidden Point in Damariscotta Bay, buy a bag of oysters, and shuck them in the peace of forest and lake right where they were raised.

Stay forever.


Your Summer Plans: Visit Maine & Drink Cider (also, wine!)

We had a rocking time with Oyster River Winegrowers at the Olmstead Tasting afterparty a few  weeks ago here at Rebel Rebel!

You should go to Maine and visit them. Taste their ciders and their enigmatic wines, in their barn.  

A deepdive on their Instagram will provide you a virtual trip and give shape to how they farm and make their ciders and wines. But, better to just go to Maine and see firsthand.


Oyster River Winegrowers is in Warren, Maine, only 3 hours from Rebel Rebel, or 1 hour 20 mins from Portland and was established in 2007. The operation is small: Brian, Allie, Joanna, Reggie (Reggie is a dog). Brian studied winemaking at Fresno State and then set out to make wine with: nothing added and nothing taken away. All the fruit is hand-harvested. The yeasts are native to the fruits and their cellar, no refrigeration, and the fermentations are spontaneous. They grow a variety of apples and grapes and their livestock graze the land providing fertilizer.

Tasting the Hoboken Station Cider

Photo Courtesy of  alongcamecider

Photo Courtesy of alongcamecider

For lunch I roasted a whole porgy with Spring onions; second course: Landaff from Jasper Hill. I paired it all with the Oyster River Winegrowers Hoboken Station Cider. The cider has a soft carbonation and is golden with acid that pokes you in the nose— a modest but high-registering twinge of just ripening pineapple rind. It’s dry and has shedding layers of a slightly musty damp basement, some toasty toast, a lil’ bit o’ lemon peel and a season's worth of apples in a multitude of forms: bruised golden-ripe apples, crunchy green apples, gnarled and sour tough little apples, big juicy yellow apples... It’s named Hoboken Station Cider for a trolley stop that used to be where Oyster River is, in the 1900s.

Photo Courtesy of  Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia


The 2015 cider was made of Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Ellis Bitter, and Rhode Island Greening.

These are all cider apples. Look for their Wildman cider. The Wildman is made from wild apples that have no names. Apples, unlike some other tree fruits, cannot pollinate themselves so, every seed has the possibility to produce a different apple. The Wildman cider is made with these types of ‘wild apples’ (it also sits on the skins for a bit). The Organic cider is made from all eating varietals (like Macintosh and Cortland).

 







Rebel Rebel Quasi-Newsletter Vol.2

You asked for it, and we delivered! The news of the day--what's on the horizon for Rebel Rebel, what's going on in the world of wine, and what we're talking about and listening to behind the bar! Each week I'll be sharing upcoming events Rebel Rebel is hosting, or local events that you shouldn't miss. And like the librarian I wish I was, I'll be recommending a few articles about the broader world of wine, hospitality and feminism. Think of it as a quasi-Rebel Rebel newsletter. All the news worth reporting, reported!*


What We’re Reading:

Lauren Friel is Making Boston Drinking Culture a Little Less Bro-y

OH HAI BON APPETIT

Check out this dope write-up on Lauren and on Rebel Rebel. Meghan Nesmith gets it.

“‘We decided on all natural wines for two reasons,’ Friel says. ‘First, the damage that conventional, industrial wine making does to the environment is terrifying, frankly. The other is that natural wine, because it always has been kinda scrappy, is more inclusive of young people, women, people of color, and queer people. It’s also just more fun.’”

Favorite throwaway detail from the article:

“Her neon yellow acrylics tapdance along the rows…”

Lauren’s nails have been on point this week, and I’m glad someone else noticed.


How The Boston Area’s Female Wine Experts Are Breaking The (Wine) Glass Ceiling

“Hayes also sees a correlation between the rising popularity of natural wines — her own specialty — and the preponderance of women leading area wine programs. The natural wine community’s focus on sustainable practices, Hayes points out, reflects its compassionate and accepting outlook overall.”

We  ladies at Rebel Rebel feel privileged to work in a city with so many talented female wine professionals, and we agree with Lauren Hayes that it’s no coincidence natural wine can be found on more lists across the city. Let’s lean into the trend!


How Does Your Love of Wine Contribute to Climate Change?

“All these measures barely scratch the surface, unfortunately. To really make informed choices, consumers need to know what wineries are doing in the vineyard...no step is too small. The least we can do is make climate issues more urgent in our own lives, and to pass that message on to others.”

We need to ask more of the wine we drink, and wine production in general, in our changing world.


Turn It Off: Why The Wine Industry Should Prioritise Dry-Farming

“...before there can be organic, natural, green, zero-carbon or biodynamic wines with any authenticity to help us in this quest, there have to be ‘dry-farmed’ wines.”

It’s not Waterworld yet, so let’s dry-farm!


What ‘Wine Country’ Gets Right (And Wrong) About Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

One of many think-pieces about the Netflix movie. We at Rebel Rebel heartily enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t completely accurate to the Napa Valley experience. Let’s address the infamous natural vineyard scene, though, and what exactly “wine diamonds” are:


What The Heck Are Tartrates? And Do They Signal That Something Is Wrong With The Wine?

“The higher quality your bottle of wine is, the more likely you are to see tartrates. That’s because on the lower end of the wine spectrum, the wine is often cold stabilized in order to filter the tartrates out.”

Short, sweet, and science-heavy! Older article that breaks down what those crystals are at the bottom of your glass, and why they’re a good sign.  



 
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We’re Mad as Hell.

Alabama y’all. Another move to overturn Roe v. Wade and use female bodies as political chess pieces. Not on our watch. We launched #RoseForResistance to bring together local businesses to help women in Alabama, donating 100% of our rose sales to the Yellowhammer Fund

Emily Isenberg, of Isenberg Projects, has helped spread awareness and support for our fundraising efforts. Check out the website #RoseForResistance for participating partners and other restaurants donating rose sales this weekend. We’ve had tons of wine donated to the cause--special shout-out to Vineyard Road, Olmstead Wine, Violette Imports, Louis Dressner Selections, Oz Wine Co. and Birichino out in Cali.

On that note:

Events to Fight the Patriarchy!

Memorial Day Monday Bake Sale! 11am - 1pm

Bake Sale to support Planned Parenthood. Sweet treats for sale $5 a pop; all proceeds go towards supporting our choices and our bodies.

Tuesday, May 28 A Fundraiser For Abortion Access 6-8 PM

Organized by The Cauldron, a radical feminist social practice that focuses on transformative experiences through intentional gathering, vulnerability and fostering community. 100% of rose sales at Rebel and event ticket prices go to The National Network of Abortion Funds. Buy your tickets here .

Other Rebel Rebel Events:

Sunday, May 19 Searching for the Holy Grail of Wild Mushrooms w/ Tyler Akabane 12-  1 PM

This class is for anyone interested in learning about some of the world’s most sought after mushrooms! In this class we will cover the who what where and why’s of why these fungi claim such high prices, as well as how to find some of them around here! We will also go over some of the wild plants and fungi of mid spring that should be out in our area RN.

Tickets available via Eventbrite


What We’re Listening to:

If you’re a member of the Glou-Glou Illuminati you listen to the wine podcast “Natural Disasters” produced by natural wine enthusiasts Marissa Ross and Adam Vourvoulis. It’s been on hiatus but it returned last week with a new episode and a new season! Check it out if you haven’t before.

Carly Rae released her new album, finally, sooo…




Oh Cecilia, You're Breaking My Heart.

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY: Margot Mazur

@solomargot

About this wine:

  • 60% Syrah, 40% Sauvignon Blanc

  • 30 year old vines

  • Suncrest Vineyard, Penn Valley, CA

  • Foot stomped grapes

  • Aged in oak for 8 months

Frenchtown Farms ‘Cecilia’ Rose

Gosh, wine can be so much fun. Certain wines can sometimes create such a feeling of joy and wonder in me, like a kid running up to an ocean wave. Some wines you just have to, have to, show your friends—they make you giddy. Frenchtown Farms’ ‘Cecilia’ is just that. I took ‘Cecilia’ to a friend’s dinner party the other night, and was thrilled to pour it for folks who I was sure would also think it was just about the coolest thing in the world. (Shout out to Kelcey’s amazing potatoes).

‘Cecilia’ is a co-ferment of Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. Usually, if there is more than one grape varietal in a wine, winemakers will harvest them separately, then put them in their own separate fermentation vessels—be that oak or stainless steel or what-have-you—then, either allow them to age separately before blending, or blend and allow them to age blended. ‘Cecilia’, however, is co-fermented, which means that the Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc ferment together in the same vessel. This is rarely done, and brings out a ton of flavor in wine that you don’t usually get. The way two grapes co-ferment can be unpredictable, and for me, Frenchtown Farms really knocked it out of the park. The two grapes speak to one another in such a way that makes you think the wine is a single varietal. It’s harmonious, balanced.


The mix is 60% Syrah and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, which gives the wine a beautiful blush rose color. The wine is unfined and unfiltered, and ages in oak for 8 months before bottling. This wine is as fresh as they get—floral with so much beautiful and bright berry flavor. It’s got some texture to it, and just begs you to put it in your bike basket, skip out on work, and head to a picnic. This wine is the beginning of Spring and you’re feeling the floral breeze, surrounded by blossoms and flowers, and you’re thinking—dang. Summer’s almost here.

Drink this with laughter! It’s a great pairing.

We Were on a Podcast!

This is one of the wines talked about ( can you tell we love it?)

This is one of the wines talked about ( can you tell we love it?)

This is Grace and Maia sitting by a microphone to prove that they recorded a podcast.

This is Grace and Maia sitting by a microphone to prove that they recorded a podcast.

So this cool thing happened. These two guys Nick and Andy who have a podcast about Pizza ( immediately interested, right?) approached Rebel Rebel about sitting down and chatting with them about natural wine and pairing wine with Pizza, and well, we did it! Here it is.

K, Syrah Syrah!

 
BY: Grace Wexler  @grace_wex

BY: Grace Wexler

@grace_wex

Yes! This is the map I was talking about! That’s Tarn!

Yes! This is the map I was talking about! That’s Tarn!

What is it?

Bubbly Syrah from South Western France! ( Tarn to be more specific, Gaillac to be even MORE specific. ( See the map on the left)

Who made it??

Marine Leys. She’s worked with other winemakers and even used to work in film production in France, Canada, Ireland and Turkey. Now she has her own land ( about 5 ha) in Gaillac and she’s Making amazing wines from mostly indigenous Tarn varietals ( think Duras, Mauzac, Braucol). Thank goodness she is because this juice is pure heaven!

A sparkling RED you say?

Oh yeah, I said it.

But what is it like?!

Imagine nestling the tip of your nose into a soft fluffy bouquet, tiny bubbles come and cuddle up to you carrying with them gentle notes of cranberry, ripe strawberry… is that… roses?? Plunging deeper you let the vibrant red liquid wash over your tongue and all your senses. The gentle cranberry transforms into wild, fresh, tart, BOUNCY cranberry. Tiny blueberries pop on your palate- dancing and bobbing between each bud. Fresh spring leaves burst forth on the branches of the trees that line your path as you pirouette into the warm afternoon! .... I don’t know, it’s kind of like that.

How does Marine make it bubbly?

Ancestral Method baby. After the grapes are harvested and destemmed, the juice ferments in fiberglass tanks for 3 months. Just when the wine is nearly done fermenting, she takes it (no filtering!) and bottles it up! That way, the fermentation finishes in the bottle and the CO2 that is produced by the yeast eating up the rest of the sugars is trapped inside until it can reveal itself as delicious bubbles in your glass!

But where can I get it?

…. What do you think! At Rebel Rebel of course!





Rebel Rebel Quasi-Newsletter Vol.1

*You asked for it, and we delivered! The news of the day--what's on the horizon for Rebel Rebel, what's going on in the world of wine, and what we're talking about and listening to behind the bar! Each week I'll be sharing upcoming events Rebel Rebel is hosting, or local events that you shouldn't miss. And like the librarian I wish I was, I'll be recommending a few articles about the broader world of wine, hospitality and feminism. Think of it as a quasi-Rebel Rebel newsletter. All the news worth reporting, reported!*

Actual Photo of @wwwmaia researching this piece.  BY: Maia Fleming

Actual Photo of @wwwmaia researching this piece.

BY: Maia Fleming

 

What we’re listening to:

"I’ll Drink to That!" podcast, episode 463, “The School of Hard Rocks”

A thorough, easy-to-understand breakdown of rock and soil types by geologist and terroir specialist Brenna Quigley. Recommended by Danielle!

Lizzo’s new album on repeat. Duh.

 

What we’re looking forward to:

Tuesday, May 7th Faith Armstrong Foster visits Rebel!

Come hang with none other than Faith Armstrong Foster, mistress of California’s finest natural wines (and proprietress of Onward Wines). We’ve loved Onward Wines for years and years, and we’re SO PSYCHED to have Faith joining us. She’ll be here to answer all of your burning Cali natty questions, and we’ll pour a range of her wines for your delight. 8PM ‘til late! This is a free event that’s open to the public—come one, come all!

Saturday, May 25th 12-1 pm CBD for Stress and Sleep

Are you CBD-curious? Heard about the amazing health benefits of this hemp-based product and want to learn more? Join Emily Kanter of Cambridge Naturals for an informative and interactive talk on CBD for stress, sleep and healthy pain management, and try some of our favorite CBD products yourself! Ticket includes a take-home sample of topical CBD and a 20% off coupon for a CBD product of your choice at Cambridge Naturals.






What we’re reading:

How Natural Wines Develop Reductive Notes

“Unlike traditional wines ‘that are saturated with sulfur dioxide and will remain stable without any possibility for evolution in one direction or the other,’ says Valette, ‘natural wine with little or no sulfur doesn’t block the wine’s natural chemistry, which means that in some cases, at certain periods in the life of a wine, it can lead to reductive or oxidative phases.’”

The science behind reductive notes in wine, and a balanced take on why they can be prevalent in natural wine in particular. We agree with Lena Mattson's experience pouring natural wine--reductive notes aren't a huge concern, and they typically disappear after the first glass.

Why Is the Wine Industry Ignoring Black Americans’ $1.2 Trillion Buying Power?

And the excellent article it references from 2016:

Drinking While Black: One Woman’s Dilemma

“‘People aren’t talking to us, period,’ Tanisha Townsend, a wine educator and consultant, says. She’s speaking about the wine industry’s ‘old-fashioned’ approach to consumer marketing — one that doesn’t aim to reach drinkers who aren’t white. The majority of wine advertising and marketing, and many of the industry’s cultural gatekeepers, don’t appear to recognize the diverse preferences or buying power of the black market.”

The wine industry needs to be more inclusive. Period. And it needs to acknowledge its race issue.

The Big Reverb of Australia’s Lo-Fi Wine Movement

“With their emphasis on minimalist winemaking and organic or biodynamic farming, these producers have unintentionally become a sort of conscience to the industry, a voice in the heads of wine drinkers everywhere, asking questions that go beyond taste to issues of health, morality and philosophy, all while making wine that ranges from delicious to profound.”

An overview of the growing natural wine movement in Australia, and the debate the movement is sparking.

It’s Getting Harder to Tell the Difference Between Wine, Beer, and Cider

“I was a late adopter, but hey, I eventually made it to the world of natural wine. And it was then that I started to notice that as the wine, beer, and cider that I drank got more rebellious, they also became more and more similar to one another.”

A short article, but it highlights some of our favorite producers, including Oyster River Winegrowers (stop by Rebel Rebel to try their Hoboken Station Cider!)

Getting to Know Piquette, a Wine-Adjacent Spritzer

“Pretty much everyone [in the U.S.]—save for about eight people—is completely in the dark about piquette.”

Not for long! A common practice in Europe, more and more American winemakers are beginning to produce piquette. Low ABV, perfect for the summer, piquette is 1.) sustainable and 2.) delicious.




Howlin for Villalobos "Lobo"

BY: Claire Cerda  @claireacerda

BY: Claire Cerda

@claireacerda

       Folks at the bar sometimes come in and ask for a glass of wine that comes from a specific place, such as Italy, Argentina, or Spain. The other evening, I had someone ask me about wine from Chile and we got into a really interesting conversation about their volcanic soil, the mission grape, and three amazing Chilean natural winemakers: Villalobos, Cacique Maravilla, and Roberto Henriquez. We’ve served Cacique Maravilla’s Pipeño and Vino Naranja at Rebel Rebel before, and I’m so excited that we’re pouring Lobo Carmenere from Villalobos by the glass this week. It is made with 100% Carménère, which gives the wine ripe fruit flavors with a dark chocolatey bitter finish (in a good way). This grape has an interesting story: for many years, people thought it was extinct!

It’s originally from Bordeaux, France. In 1867, a plague of phylloxera, which are almost microscopic, pale yellow sap-sucking insects, related to aphids, destroyed most of the vineyards in Europe, including the Carménère in Bordeaux. Just before the plague broke out, Chilean growers had imported cuttings from Bordeaux, which included Carménère grape, were planted in the valleys around Santiago near Merlot vines. They were spared from the phylloxera plague because of central Chile’s climate and minimal rainfall. “In 1994, the French ampelographer (grape botany expert - a.k.a. coolest job ever), Jean-Michel Boursiquot, noticed how some of the ‘Merlot’ vines took a much longer time to ripen. Boursiquot carried out research to determine that somewhere close to 50% of the Merlot planted in Chile was actually the long lost Carménère variety of Bordeaux.” (Wine Folly: 10 Cool Things to Know About Carménère Wine). After a few years, Chile officially recognized Carménère as its own unique variety and to this day remains the the world's largest area planted with this variety. Come check out a little piece of history and have a glass of Lobo Carmenere from Villalobos at Rebel Rebel!

#roséforatleastpartoftheday

BY: Grace Wexler  @grace_wex   Poderi Cellario E Rosato    What are the grapes ? Nebbiolo and Dolcetto   Where is it from ? The Piedmont in Northern Italy   What method does it use ? Direct Press   Why is it good ? Because it tastes like a sunny afternoon with a cool breeze! Cranberries, unripe strawberry. Tart, focused and freeeeesh!

BY: Grace Wexler

@grace_wex

Poderi Cellario E Rosato

What are the grapes? Nebbiolo and Dolcetto

Where is it from? The Piedmont in Northern Italy

What method does it use? Direct Press

Why is it good? Because it tastes like a sunny afternoon with a cool breeze! Cranberries, unripe strawberry. Tart, focused and freeeeesh!


Idlewild The Flower Flora & Fauna    What are the grapes?  Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo   Where is it from?  Mendocino, California   What method does it use?  Direct Press   Why is it good?  It’s a juicy refreshing delight! Soft round lush fruit, punctuated by bright, tart, freshness. Structure and bounce!

Idlewild The Flower Flora & Fauna

What are the grapes? Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo

Where is it from? Mendocino, California

What method does it use? Direct Press

Why is it good? It’s a juicy refreshing delight! Soft round lush fruit, punctuated by bright, tart, freshness. Structure and bounce!


Ok, but what IS Rosé?

We all know rosé is delicious, but what IS it? How is it made? Traditionally There are two ways to make rosé.

Option 1: Direct Press

After grapes are harvested, they’re crushed up and gently pressed, separating the skins from the juice. Wines mostly get their color from the skin of the grape. The direct press method affords the juice just a small amount of time in contact with the skin which is how the blushy pink hue is achieved. The overwhelming majority of rosés you see today and on our shelves at Rebel Rebel are made using this method.

Option 2: Saignée

Saignée method views rosé more as a byproduct of red winemaking than as a singular product that a winemaker sets out to create. “Saignée” comes from the french word that means “to bleed”. In this method some of the juice from fermenting young red wine is bled off/ removed. This juice finishes fermentation separately and becomes rosé. It has had a shorter period of time in contact with the grape skins ( maceration period) so the juice has extracted some color and tannin but not as much as the red wine that remains in contact with the skins as it finishes fermenting. This method also has the added effect of concentrating the juice that will become finished red wine.

Theres also an Option 3 but its not very common.

Option 3 is blending! We’ve all accidentally made rosé in our glass when switching between red and white at the dinner ( or lets be honest lunch) table but, blending red and white wine together on purpose is another way to make pink. In traditional winemaking, the only place where you’ll see this done is Champagne. Champagne houses and vigneron can legally blend Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Any other rosé that has a classification/designation however ( AOC, DOC, DOCG, IGP ….you get it) can’t be made pink by blending red and white. Here we have another reason why natural wine can be so extra fun. If you aren’t following the rules to begin with then you can make rosé however the fuck you want! It’s still not as common as seeing rosé from the direct press method from above, even in the natural world, but you will occasionally find a rosé that blends red and white together (Frenchtown Farms “ Cecilia” is a good example of this. This wine blends Syrah with Sauvignon Blanc!).


We have a couple fun rosés on our shelves so come test out your new knowledge when you reach for that pink drink. #onlypinkdrinks2019




Yo Cab Franc! You are Welcome at this Party.

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot   About this wine:    Grapes : 50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Franc   Region : Cahors, France   Fermentation : Whole cluster, native yeast   Aging : 6 months in cement and barrels

BY: Margot Mazur

@solomargot

About this wine:

Grapes: 50% Malbec, 50% Cabernet Franc

Region: Cahors, France

Fermentation: Whole cluster, native yeast

Aging: 6 months in cement and barrels

Fabien Jouves’ ‘Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees’

If you’ve read this blog in the past, you’ve known me to wax poetic about all of the worldly delights of Cabernet Franc. The grape is a mainstay in my life, one that can reveal itself differently from bottle to bottle. From earthy and peppery to rich and juicy, it’s a grape that has many costumes, yet speaks of terroir. That’s fitting, as I’m drinking Fabien Jouves’ ‘Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees’, the wine’s label a multitude of costume masks.

This wine is Cabernet Franc from a joyous angle, thanks in part to it’s partner in assemblage, Malbec. The split is 50/50, and the two grapes make an incredible companionship resulting in beautiful red and blue fruit flavors, a velvety round texture, and an earthy nose. The wine is lush and ready to be loved by anyone—it’s crowd pleasing and inspires joy. A perfect choice for, well, a soiree!

As it should, the wine speaks to the winemaker as well. Fabien Jouves started making wine in 2006 at his family estate in Cahors, but shies away from tradition a bit by creating a variety of wines that are out of the box for the region. ‘Tu Vin Plus Aux Soirees’, is a case in point. Malbec, or Côt as the locals call it, must make up at least 70% of any wine produced in Cahors. If a winemaker chooses to break that rule, they can only put “Vin De France” on their label, and they won’t make it to a “AOC” status. By blending 50% Cabernet Franc into his 50% Malbec, Jouves is making a statement, as well as creating the wine he’s most excited about.

This wine is fun, forward, juicy, and delicious. To hell the rules!

Wine Drunk: A Retrospective

By Claire Cerda

@claireacerda

I recently started reading a really cool (read: nerdy) book called 900 Years of Wine: A World History by wine writer and wine historian Rod Phillips. In his book, Phillips describes how the economics, the politics, and the culture of wine developed from ancient times, through the Middle Ages, and into the modern era. I’m only a few chapters into the book but I wanted to share some really interesting stories that I’ve learned about winemaking from 9000 B.C. to 1000 B.C.

Wine was first made in the Fertile Crescent, which is now modern-day southern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and northern Egypt. Historians aren’t really sure who the first person was to make wine, but they do agree that wine was “discovered unlike beer and bread which are thought to have been invented” (pg. 15). Phillips writes that pre-Neolithic humans may have discovered wine after eating the fermented wild berry juice leftover in the animal hide or wooden containers used for foraging. It’s also thought that humans may have observed birds and other animals acting a little tipsy after eating fermented fruit and berries (hey, we’ve all been there).

Phillips also tells a wine discovery story about Persian king Jamsheed. I’ll warn you - it’s a little grim. Jamsheed really liked fresh grapes and kept them on hand in jars during off-season months. One day, he tried some grapes from the jar only to find that they weren’t as sweet as he remembered. They had fermented in the jar. He labelled the jar “Poison” and put it back on the shelf. Phillips writes, “As the story goes, a woman from the royal harem, suffering from headaches so severe that she wanted to die, drank some of this ‘poison’ so as to put an end to her suffering. She was promptly overwhelmed by the alcohol and fell into a deep sleep. When the woman woke she was surprised to find that her headache was gone (and we must assume she was also surprised to be alive). She told the king of the magical cure, and he set about making more wine” (pg. 15). In order to make more wine, they needed more fruit. They planted vines and after about two or more years, they were able to make a lot more wine from their more regular supply of fruit. Wine production increased throughout the Fertile Crescent during this time because humans were no longer relying on wild grapes but rather using their own cultivated crop. Phillips is sort of suggesting – if you can believe it - that the discovery of wine was a major catalyst for humans transitioning away from nomadic hunter gathering lifestyle into a more settled society. I believe it. #worthit

What's your favorite wine book? Come in to Rebel Rebel and let's talk about it!


Oh, hello, Xarel-lo!

BY: Maia Fleming  @wwwmaia

BY: Maia Fleming

@wwwmaia

Who makes it: Partida Creus

Where: Penedes

What is it: Xarel-lo

How is it made: Direct press, initial tank fermentation, 10 months in bottle on the lees then disgorged. Practicing organic.

Everyone’s a sucker for good packaging. Wine is no exception. Even professional wine-drinkers (yes, I have a great job, I know!) fall for branding. Earlier this year, Rebel Rebel put Partida Creus’ wine “VN” Vinel-lo Blanco on the list. The second I saw the bottle I knew I was in love. Wax top? Check. Enigmatic, simple, bold label? Check. Slightly clear bottle, fine lees a seductive cloud rising from the bottom? Oh, hello there... And then I tasted the wine. Holy Shit! A fangirl was born. Wine so good it doesn’t need to rely on its packaging, distinctive as it may be.

That being said, I recognized the Xarel-lo Ancestral immediately as the work of Partida Creus, its large “XL” a homing beacon from the Rebel Rebel shelves. Xarel-lo is a white grape variety of Spanish origin best known for its use in the production of Cava. The word “Ancestral” refers the method used to make the wine sparkling. Ancestral is one of the earliest methods of sparkling winemaking, the grape must bottled while fermentation is taking place, trapping the CO2 as the fermentation finishes. The wine is then disgorged but no yeast, sugar or dosage is added. This method is also known as petillant naturel, aka “Pet-Nat.”

Partida Creus wines are made by Antonella Gerona and Massimo Marchiori, ex-architects that stumbled into wine-making after retiring and buying a farm. The husband and wife team fell in love with the farm, roughly an hour south of Barcelona, for its lush almond and olive trees. The rare indigenous grape growing wild on the property? That was a surprise. Eighteen years later, after starting with the Sumoll they discovered, they now make a business of buying old, abandoned, low-yielding vineyards and farming obsolete grape varietals.

This “XL” Ancestral isn’t made with a rare varietal, but Xarel-lo is a classic Catalan grape, perfect for the clay limestone soil. Barely bubbly, tart and bright, the wine has exaggerated minerality and intense acidity. The nose: summer straw piled high, drying in the sun, lemon curd cold from the fridge, banana cream pie, homemade limoncello. Something sweet and something golden. Drink this with ceviche, fish stew, pasta with puttanesca. Or by itself on a patio!

Of Brooklyn and Balagny

BY: Margot Mazur  @solomargot

BY: Margot Mazur

@solomargot

Grape: Gamay

Region: Fleurie, Beaujolais

Alcohol: 12.5%

Gamay is a fantastical grape. It’s a grape that inspires so many different characteristics. It’s a grape that really runs the gamut of flavor. If you’re looking for fruit—Gamay. If you’re looking for depth and mushrooms—Gamay. Glou glou? Gamay. Structure and complexity? You guessed it. Julie Balagny’s ‘En Remont’ is a testament to all the different aspects of Gamay that we know and love. Its structure is silky, yet put together. The acid is lively, inspiring you for another sip. It’s floral and deep—it doesn’t lack complexity.

I’ve heard of Julie Balagny along the grapevine (lol), and mostly, as with many female winemakers, men have told me she’s “a recluse”, and “weird”. No matter what you may have heard, Julie is a serious winemaker who focuses on her task at hand—making interesting, complex, sometimes challenging wines that play to a sense of nostalgia and memory. She grew up in Paris, fell in love with the countryside, and moved to Beaujolais in 2009, finding a small area of Fleurie to call her home. Her wine benefits from natural yeast and is steeped in the Beaujolais tradition of cold carbonic maceration, inspiring the fresh raspberry fruit so evident in the wine.

As a Brooklynite who went to school upstate, I relate so much to Julie’s love of the country and eagerness to move out of the big city. Her character vibes with me, her pull to nature and wine country appeal to me. To be honest, Julie’s wines—I’ll say it—they push me a bit. The combination of the challenge and the inspiration of the winemaker, though, move me. Today, Julie lives in the Moulin-A-Vent area of Beaujolais, among chickens, cats, and dogs, using old-school hand-cranked American presses, moving into biodynamic production, and really connecting with the land around her. I’m so glad for winemakers like Julie, and the culture and forward-thinking (yet, so rooted in tradition) winemaking that she represents.