A nice story from Massimiliana with Castello di Tassarolo:
They recently rescued a 12 month old horse from being slaughtered and will soon be coming to their vineyard to begin living happily with them. The green mark on the horses’ back means that the horse should kept behind and not slaughtered. They are all very happy about their new addition-the beautiful and intelligent horse that will soon be helping them in their vineyards!
Here are some cool pictures from San Polino, one of our great producers from Tuscany! Luigi presenting wine at a recent event and Katia and Avni working the fields. They have been extremely busy with the spring work in the vineyards and also the hordes of people who have been coming to visit the winery. During these busy times they do at least 3 to 4 winery and vineyard tours a day with tastings included! If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by…if not just be sure to drink some of their great wine:
- Brunello di Montalcino 2006-A rich and velvety wine with berry, mineral and dried floral aromas and flavors. Full and velvety, with cherry jam and velvety tannins. Round and lovely. Starts off soft but then builds with loads of tannins. Best ever. Best after 2015. Made from organic grapes. James Suckling (95 pts)
- Brunello di Montalcino RISERVA 2006-Aromas of sandalwood and strawberries, follow through to a full body, with chewy tannins and a long finish. Intense fruit. From biodynamic grapes. Wine Enthusiast (94 pts)
- Brunello di Montalcino 2007-A round red, sporting cherry and plum flavors matched to a firm structure, followed by firm grip on the finish. This shows some power, along with a hint of clay or loam notes. Best from 2014 through 2028. Wine Enthusiast (93 pts)
- Brunello di Montalcino 2008-The complex aromas of ripe fruits with hints of leather and spices. Full bosy, with very fine tannins and a silky finish. The polished texture of the tannins is impressive for the vintage. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold. James Suckling (93 pts)
|March 14, 2013|
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Matthieu Barret – Domaine du Coulet
“Matthieu Barret represents the future in Cornas. His domaine is, in my opinion, the single most exciting new domaine in the appellation today.” High praise from the Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth.
Domaine du Coulet was founded by Matthieu’s grandfather after WWII. While Matthieu’s farther decided not to follow into his farther’s footsteps, Matthieu knew early on that he wanted to be a winemaker and in 1998 at the age of only 23, he took over the family’s 10 hectares of steep hillside vineyards right in the heart of Cornas. A great move for Matthieu and Domaine Coulet as the estate has emerged as one of the Northern Rhone’s finest producers and one of the top natural winemakers in the world today.
Ever since Matthieu took the helm of the estate he has worked in an organic and biodynamic way. In 2002 the domaine became certified biodynamic. . With each vintage, Matthieu has gained a better understanding of his vine parcels and through thoughtful experimentation, he now turns out a remarkable selection of Cornas wines that express the unique nuances of each micro-terroir. No new oak, no racking, minimal use of sulfur and no fining or filtration. Matthieu’s wines are about purity of fruit, distinct minerality and pronounced terroir expression.
Domaine du Coulet consists of approximately 25 acres of the appellation’s 225 total, planted entirely to Syrah on multiple parcels on Cornas’ mid-slope and hilltops. The domaine is completely Biodynamically farmed—certified by ECOCERT and is a member of BIODYVIN.
Cornas Brise Cailloux: Young vine and old hillside grapes aged primarily in cement eggs, very degraded granite soils and a clayey-silty strip for the bottom slop.
Cornas Les Terrasses du Serre: Blend of three mid-slope parcels, old vine on granite.
Cornas Billes Noires (Black Marbles): From 55-year-old vines on granite at the Summit of Arlettes
Cornas Gore: Special selection from Coulet’s best micro-terroirs bottled only in magnum
Côtes du Rhone, “CARIGNACHE“ is produced under the Matthieu Barret label along with a selection of other wines including the Petit Ours Gris, Côtes du Rhone; Petit Ours Brun, Vin de France; and Croze Hermitage. All organically produced with minimal intervention.
Manual harvest using small bins. Soils of decomposed granite gore (small crumbly pebbles composed of granite sand) over base of Jurassic limestone and clay marl yield 25 hectoliters/hectare on average, Brise Cailloux averges 35 hl/hectare, for Billes Noires and Gore cuvées a miniscule 20 hl/hectare. Barret practices 100% de-stemming, fermentation with indigenous yeasts, Pigéage (punching down) once a day for three weeks. Elevage for the three top cuvees takes place in 400 liter neutral barrels for a period of 18 months. Brise Cailloux aged in combination of older barrels and cement eggs (600 liters and 1600 liters) Wines are not racked. The use of sulfur is minimized and there is no fining or filtration.
Annual Production:15,000 bottles / 1250 cases of Cornas wines combined on average yearly basis Billes Noires and Gore produced only in exceptional vintages. A selection of other wines including the Cote du Rhone, “CARIGNACHE” is produced under the Matthieu Barret label.
Elisabetta Foradori, one of Italy’s top “superstar” winemakers, famous for her work with Teraldego in the Alto Adige has come together with 2 friends, Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann, to develop Ampeleia: a completely unique project in the Maremma region of Tuscany, farmed biodynamically, focusing on the synergy between mankind and nature, producing fresh and elegant, silky wines.
The estate overlooks the medieval village of Roccatederighi, located on three different levels of altitude varying from 200 to 600 meters above sea level – Ampeleia di Sopra (Upper Ampeleia), Ampeleia di Mezzo(Central Ampeleia) and Ampeleia di Sotto (Lower Ampeleia). Ampeleia includes a total of 150 hectares of which only 40 are planted with vines. The property slopes down towards the sea, nestled in a territory made of numerous plots of land, hidden among the lush vegetation, where earlier Etruscan settlers nourished the soil to grow grapes. All vineyards on the estate were planted following an in depth terroir research of each single site.
Ampeleia offers three interpretations and expressions of the territory and even though having the same style, they display different characters: Ampeleia is born trough a synergic interaction of Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, mainly grown on higher vineyard sites where the climate is milder (Ampeleia di Sopra and Ampeleia di Mezzo), plus 5 complementary varietals -Grenache, Carignano, Mourvèdre, Alicante and Marsellan -grown in the lower and hotter areas of the estate (Ampeleia di Sotto). Ampeleia is a wine with great character and personality, elegant and with intense fruit.
Kepos is the result of a careful and meticulous grape selection from vineyard parcels located in lower and central Ampeleia of Grenache, Carignano, Mourvèdre, Alicante and Marsellan. A wine for immediate drinking pleasure, displaying aromas of Mediterranean maquis with hints of spices, flowers and fruit, delicate and immediate fragrant.
Geologically, the estate boasts a broad range of soil types – loamy, sandy soils with fragments of shale rock and marl enriched by light ferrous veins. The latter explain the name of our local hills, i.e. “Colline Metallifere” (Metal Hills) boasting an ancient mining tradition. Other soils include volcanic rock, clay pebbles and a wide range of minerals which form a gravelly surface layer providing excellent water drainage.
Climatically, the entire area, and in particular the higher slopes, are exposed to frequent winds. Here is where the sea breeze meets and interacts with the mountain breeze. Unique climatic conditions of Ampeleia di Sopra, allow harvesting the Cabernet Franc by the end of September taking advantage of cool late summer nights during the crucial phase of the fruit ripening process. The climate of Ampeleia di Mezzo and Ampeleia di Sotto is typical maritime Mediterranean.
The grapes for Ampeleia are fermented in truncate cone shaped oak tanks and in 50-60 hl concrete vats. The average maceration time is 10-20 days and is temperature controled between 28°and 30°C. Final blending is done in several stages starting from the spring following harvest. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 15 to 16 months.
The grapes for Kepos are fermented in 70-80 hl concrete and stainless steel tanks for 7-8 days at controlled temperature between 25°-27°C. Then the single batches are aged in truncate cone-shaped oak tanks and in 50-60 hl concrete vats. The blending of the wine batches is done in the spring and the summer following harvest.
Champagne Piollot Pere et Fils
Five generation Growers, now operated by winemaker, Rowland Piollot, continues to be dedicated to preserving the traditions of Champagne.
Rowland’s father’s lifelong passion was to select only the best vine plants, by observing them closely year after year. Rowland’s heritage was thus a vineyard composed of plants resulting from Selection Massale – a method of vine propagation in which cuttings are taken from a number of different older vines – which is to a great degree are responsible for the unique character of their vineyard. In 1986 the Piollots decided to begin making and selling their wines under Piollot et Fils.
Piollot utilizes organic and biodynamic practices both in the vineyard and in the cellar to procuse the purest expression of his family’s land and terroir. Everything is estate grown, hand harvested, natural/indigenous yeast fermented, carefull berry selection.
Rowland only uses natural fertilizer prepared on the estate and ensure that the soil is worked regularly. Rowland pays careful attention to his plants so that he may help guide them. In accordance with the tradition of their village, the Piollots create 100% Pinot Noir rosés by employing the maceration process.
The single objective: to establish a healthy and balanced system in which the vine plant and the terroir are able to fully express themselves in all their authenticity.
Grape Varieties: 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonay, 6% Pinot meunier, 4% Arbanne
- 50% east facing
- 50% west facing
- 20% more than 40 years
- 60% from 20 to 40 years
- 20% less than 20 years
Domaine Henry Pellé
Situated right in the heart of France, in the extreme east of the Loire Valley, a stone’s throw from Bourges, near Sancerre, lies the charming little village of Morogues with its fields, meadows and slopes clustered around its very beautiful church. Pelle’s vineyards are located in the prime growing areas around the village of Morogues, thereby yielding wines of superior concentration, minerality and brisk acidity. Even though wine has been produced for years in Morogues, and even though the Pellés have been winegrowers for generations, it was only in 1959 (when the Menetou-Salon appellation was created) that the history of this very young appellation and that of the Pellé family became inter-twined.
The vines grow in Kimmeridgean clay-limestone marl made up of myriads of minute fossilized oyster shells called locally terre blanche or white soil. The domaine practices organic viticulture highlighting the terroir with control yields, native yeast fermentation and aging on the lees. The reds see complete destemming, fermenting on the skins for 10 to 21 days, pumping over and punching down of the cap, Malo-lactic fermentation in the spring and both Vat and barrel aging. No chemicals or synthetic yeasts are used. Sulpher is utilized in extremely limited amounts.
“Henry Pelle is Menetou-Salon’s finest producer.” Robert Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide, 6th ed.
Since 1995, Anne Pellé, and enologist Julien Zernott have been responsible for the incredibly pure and wonderfully terroir driven wines being produced at Domaine Henry Pellé.
Menetou-Salon Blanc, Les Bornés 2010: This is a blend of many sites in the vicinity of Morogues. The vines are both young and old, with many over 35 years. Les Bornés is the local term for the clay soil.
Sancerre Blanc, La Croix au Garde 2009: Since 1982, the estate has been cultivating 5 hectares of Sancerre in the village of Montigny. The ‘Caillotes’ type of pebbly clay and limestone soil. The Pelle’s recently acquired 2 additional hectares of vines growing on Kimmeridgian marl from another winemaker. This acquisition allows Domaine Pelle to obtain a beautifully aromatic wine that mixes citrus and floral notes underpinned by beautiful minerality.
Pouilly-Fume, Les Boucanes 2009: 100% pure Sauvignon Blanc from 1.5 hectares of 20 year old vines, planted 7500 plants/hectare on Kimmeridgean marl, harvested at peak maturity, gentle pneumatic pressing, Stainless Steel temperature controlled fermentation then kept on fine lees for 5 months.
Menetou – Salon Rouge, Les Cris 2009 : 100% Pinot Noir from 5 hectares of 50 year old sélection massale vines grown on clay and limestone, both Kimmeridgean marl and Portlandian, with native yeast fermentation for 2-3 weeks with punching down and pumping over then sixty percent of the wine is vinified in 400ltr barrels for 7 to 11 months. The wine is a classic, rich Pinot of great finesse and length.
Clement Klur – Vignoble Klur Clement
The Klurs humbly and sincerely do what the family has done for generations; make the best Alsatian wine that their terroir will allow and offer a warm welcome to their visitors.
Cultivating Organically and Biodynamically
The uniqueness of Katzenthal is that it lies on a geologic fault that is 500 millions of years old. Their parcels of Wineck-Schlossberg and Steinacker are planted on two-mica granite slopes, originating from the mother rock of the Vosges massif, at the head of the village and about 600 meters from the Vosges fault which is composed of alternating sedimentary soils like clay-limestone, mussel chalk (fossil-rich limestone), and marl (lime-rich mud) at the base of the Hinterburg. Recognizing the value of these unique features, their ancestors chose to establish certain grape varieties on the heights and others at the head of the village so that each variety of subsoil and soil can best express itself.
The Klurs have used natural material to build their home, guest houses and winery, and are currently installing solar panels. A round underground natural cellar with a green roof keeps cool naturally.
For years the Klurs have used no treatments or synthetic fertilizer and have developed a biodynamic compost in a partnership with other vignerons. They prepare infusions from nettles, horsetails, and willows for treating the vines; they respect the sowing schedule for working the soil and applying the biodynamic preparations to the vines. For maintaining biodiversity in a landscape which tends to favor monoculture, they are preserving their stone walls and hedges and planting fruit trees. All of these practices provide a refuge for numerous species whose utility is to maintain equilibrium among the vines. True biodynamic viticulture!
Manual harvest. Almost all of their parcels are on hillsides, with some slopes attaining a 40% grade. All work is done manually and demands a real passion for the vine. Their grape vines are on average 35 years old but in some parcels they have 55-60 year-old vines. For two to three weeks, by stages, their grapes are gathered in 3 passages for each parcel and/or by variety, at the height of their maturity.
The Klur vineyards originated from a long family tradition but have been dedicated to organic production since 1999. Today, they have 7 hectares of vines in 20 parcels located in Katzenthal mostly on granite soil, but also on clay-limestone soils. The Klur wines are considered to be characteristic, very personal, clean, yet elegant, dry and fruity, representing an excellent quality-price ratio.
Integrity Wines is proud to present four of Klur’s introductory level wines:
Voyou de Katz 2009, from Muscat, Riesling and Sylvaner from 35 year old vines on chalky-clay and alluvial soils, showing fruity, dry, crisp minerality as a light fun wine to drink.
Pinot Blanc 2009 , 100% hand harvested Pinot Auxerrois from Alluvial soil. Easy drinking, fresh and light – a perfect everyday wine.
Pinot Gris 2009, hand harvested from 35 year old vines on chalky-clay soil, shows a very clean bouquet, lively mouthfeel and nice length. It has rich candied fruits character and slightly smokey aromas.
Reisling Katz 2009, Sandy and alluvium soil, hand harvested 30 year old vines, with a fine bouquet, floral aromas, clean, crisp mouth feel.
San Polino – Luigi Fabbro and Katia Nussbaum
Luigi (or Gigi as everyone calls him) Fabbro and Katia Nussbaum aim to produce wines that faithfully reflect the spirit of their territory and vintage. Gigi and Katia believe that life on this planet is intertwined by a single thread. They believe that the relationship between humans and vine is a relationship of symbiosis produced through natural selection. They intervene as little as possible in the vineyard as well as in the cellar where they create the conditions that facilitate the natural development and full expression of the individual personality of each wine…
Gigi and Katia believe that the true value of their wines is found in their integrity and authenticity. “As farmers and wine makers it is this that makes our work so infinitely stimulating and enjoyable.”
San Polino consists of 2.5 hectares of vineyard and 1.5 hectares of olives which are surrounded by the wilderness of mediterranean woods and shrubland producing certified organic-biodynamic Brunello, Rosso di Montalcino and olive oil. Only the Sangiovese vine varietal and use, for the most part, only manual work in the fields. Gigi and Katia pay great attention to the health of their soil, believing that true DOCG can only come from soil that is thriving with a complex interaction of micro-life. No pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are used, instead they inoculate the vineyards with insects to raise populations of important but unfortunately dissipating insect species and with micro-organisms that will resolve the usual problems of fungal attacks in the vineyard. Experience in a biodiversity-mapping project in the Brazilian Amazon has provided great benefit to San Polino where biodyversity plays an integral role it the dynamics of the farm.
Vineyard Details: South-east of Montalcino, near Castelnuovo dell’Abate, between Montalcino and Monte Amiata, in the Val d’Orcia. South-facing over the valley of the Ribusuoli river. Height above sea level 400-450 metres. Selezione Massale is practiced.
The soils of San Polino range in their texture from sandy-loam to clay-loam with a rich scheleton presence. Interspersed throughout the fields are large areas of galestro (shale) and red earth. The soil is well drained and has a good water permeability and, at the same time, good water retention. A satisfactory natural presence of the essential nutrients necessary for healthy vine growth means that only a minimal quantity of fertilizers are ever used. In many years they are not used at all.
The vineyards face south receiving sun all day with a downhill slope at a gradient of 22%. An almost constant southern breeze coming from Monte Amiata maintains a fresh and healthy climate where the need for fungicide spray is reduced.
Winemaking at San Polino adheres to the “Renaissance des Appellations” Quality Charter. The wine is fermented naturally, using indigenous yeasts. Several daily operations of manual pigiage (punching of the cap), delestage (rack and return) as well as rimontaggio (pumping over) are performed. The Wine is aged in Slavonia oak vats and barrels varying in size from 3800 to 2600 liters. French oak barriques are also used for batonage of the light lees to be then blended back into the rest of the wine. Wine making and wine stocking is under temperature control. Nitrogen is used to pump the wines and to protect them from oxidation. No additives are used apart from minimal quantities of Sulphur Dioxide (generally less 60 mg per litre of Total Sulphur Dioxide).
Wines: Sant’Antimo 2008, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino “Helichrysum” and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva .
Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Bordeaux (Premières Côtes de Blaye)
Château Peybonhomme, one of two château’s owned by the Hubert family (Ch. La Grolet) and is among the most important producers in Premières Côtes de Blaye. One stormy night in December 1999 was the impetus for Jean-Luc and Catherine Hubert to convert their two vineyards to organic and to use biodynamic methods. The storm had winds up to 200 km/hr, uprooted many trees and even damaged the tower of the castle they call home. Jean-Luc describes it as “apocalyptic” and as they listened to the winds howl, the next year they stopped using chemicals and started the transition to biodynamics.
Chateau Peybonhomme is located in Bordeaux’s right bank of the Gironde, near Blaye. This organic/biodynamic vineyard is said to be on the best limestone and clay soils of the region. Jean-Luc Hubert’s desire has always been to create wines which embody the living memory of the terroir. Fifth generation winemaker, indeed, Jean-Luc Hubert is a viticulturist to whom the history and the life of the vineyard and the estate are a vital ingredient of the wine.
Weed killers are banned and products used to treat the vines are limited to sulphur and bacillus thuringiensis. The vines are only fed with natural fertilizer, rock powder, organic compost and green fertilizer. Insects help to reduce the use of fungicides including copper widely used in Organic Agriculture. The strategy focuses on maintaining the biodiversity involving the auxiliary predators of vine parasites. Indirectly, the greater level of biodiversity, the lower the doses of treatment required.
Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours consists of 64 hectares spread over the communes of Cars, Blaye, Plassac and Berson, with South/South-West exposure on the “premiers” slopes dominating the “Gironde” river. 75% Merlot, 10% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet-Franc, 5% Malbec. Average age of vines is 30 years. Manual sorting of the harvest, 100% destemmed, temperature control, approximately 3 weeks of fermentative maceration, the wine is aged for one year in oak barrels before being bottled.
Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours Premières Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux red, their flagship wine, Merlot 75%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Cabernet Franc 8% and Malbec 2%. Clay-rich soil with the highly chalky subsoil and moderate yields. Very gentle maceration and fermentation achieved with http://pokerterium.net native yeasts, the wine is aged in barrels.
Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours, “Le Blanc Bonhomme” Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux : 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Sémillon from 5 year old vines on argilo-limestone soil. The grapes harvested manually in small boxes. Partial carbonic maceration, soft pressing. – indigenous yeasts fermentations – daily bâtonnage for 2 months then bi-weekly. Suffers total: 80 Mg/L. A great mineral freshness with citrus fruits perfumes. In the mouth, it is a fleshy wine with a very long finish. The sémillon tends to dominate the sauvignon, adding great subtlety and complexity.
Le Clairet de Peybonhomme Bordeaux-Clairet (Rose) : 100% saignee Cabernet Sauvignon, Le Clairet is a wine bled in Stainless Steel after 36 hours’ maceration. The result is a Bordeaux-Clairet wine with an intense pink color, slight vinosity with aromas of currents, cassis and cherries. 600 cs.
Quintessence de Peybonhomme, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux : The Egyptian strip which decorates the label of the ‘Quintessence de Peybonhomme’ vintage is there to remind you that in the Egypt of the Pharaohs wine was eternal. The grapes come from Château Peybonhomme’s oldest vines of, 85% Merlot and 15% Cabinet-Sauvignon. ‘Quintessence de Peybonhomme’ is limited to 10,000 bottles. A beautiful dusky shade fringed with purple, spicy, vanilla and violet notes with a smoky touch; in the mouth black fruits, licorice and pleasant, velvety tannins.