Thanks Marco (pictured above)!
The 2013 – 2014 season was particularly challenging in the North East of Italy where Friuli Venezia Giulia is located between Venice and Slovenia.
In particular we faced a very warm winter and an early spring. On the one side, warm winters make the vineyards easier to work, most especially the pruning and trellising that we do 100% by hand. On the other hand, winter has the important function of sterilizing the vines from molds and fungus, which affects the plants. As we work organically, using only the traditional copper and sulfur strategy against peronospera and oidium, we knew that we needed to be fast and respectful in the timing of our actions during spring and summer. Read more
From Northwestern Minnesota, Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese of Far North Spirits sent us these stunning images and report from their 2014 rye harvest. Working field-to-glass, the couple distills from start to finish, with every step of production done by hand. Cheers!
The 2014 season actually began in the fall of 2013, as is the case with winter grain crops here in the far north.
We grow a winter rye variety called AC Hazlet, which was originally cultivated for the Canadian prairies from two rye varieties originating in the Central Chernozem region of Russia (Gazelle and Saratov). Hazlet was selected for its exceptional winter-hardiness, reduced height, and high fertility. Read more
JP harvesting at Chateau Coteau, Margaux
Patrick Burke, our French Portfolio Director, traveled from his home in Lyon to meet JP and Pam in Bordeaux, where they visited with a few of our growers. What follows is his assessment of the state of Grower Bordeaux. Thanks #ExPat!
There is, I think, a very valuable association to be made between the growers in Champagne and the dwindling number of small family estates of the Medoc. When a few small growers with good reputations decided to stop selling their harvests to big Champagne houses, in favor of making their very own limited production Champagnes, a movement was born. The Grower Champagne movement ensures itself a sustained place in the Champagne market because buyers around the world love the story of the “little guys” making very good, very rare, Champagnes. Don’t we all love to support the underdog? If one looks to the modern Medoc landscape they will see a seriously speculative wine scene dominated by historic Chateaux owned by multinational mega-companies that are getting bigger at the expense of the small family owned estates. Read more
Piero Busso tending to his grapes
Patty James also attended Barolo Camp, along with Georgia Sugerman and Meghan Ivey. Here’s a few words from her visit with the Busso family at Piero Busso. Thanks Patty.
Piero and Pieroguido Busso took us across the road to the Cru Albesani vineyard, where they call their parcel the Borgese vineyard because it surrounds their cantina and house. On a foggy and drizzly afternoon we went to check the grapes for rot, after four days of rain, but all in all the fruit looked good. The vineyards were filled with small berry Nebbiolo grapes that still needed a little more sun before they could be harvested. We then took a steep drive to the Gallina vineyard, and I was so impressed with the meticulous care that goes into their farming. Father and son are in the vineyards daily to check the grapes and remove leaves so the fruit can ripen perfectly. With grass and weeds growing beneath the vines, and soft organic soils under foot, one can see clearly the application of their natural approach to winegrowing. Read more
Vittoria Alessandria in the San Giovanni vineyard at Gianfranco Alessandria
Along with Georgia Sugarman, Meghan Ivey also attended Langhe/Barolo Camp, and what follows are her notes from their visit to Gianfranco Alessandria. Thanks Meghan!
When we approached Monforte d’ Alba mid-morning, to visit the vineyards of Gianfranco Alessandria, we could smell the beginning stages of harvest. The Dolcetto had been picked just days before, and was in tank upon our arrival. They were still two weeks out from picking Nebbiolo, and at least one week away from Barbera. I couldn’t wait to get busy. Read more
Stefano & Angelo Ferrio, winemakers at Cascina Ca ‘Rossa
Georgia Sugerman recently attended our Barolo/Langhe Camp, where she spent the day at Cascina Ca ‘Rossa in Piemonte. What follows is her script on the visit, along with some stunning images of the area. Thanks Georgia!
Pulling up at Cascina Ca ‘Rossa in Roero on a foggy Thursday morning, three generations of Ferrio’s came to greet us. The youngest, Stefano, was already covered in mud from a morning’s work in the vineyard. His father Angelo and grandmother were more formally dressed (in part a generational thing as Angelo had been working the vineyards too). We spoke broken Italian discussing the poor weather, their cute dogs and what we’d eat for lunch, then we put on our work boots and went for a walk. Read more
Andre Tamers (right)
“Our idea of wine in Spain is just Rioja,” began Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections to a group who’d gathered at Toro‘s Backbar Room to taste with Tamers. “Dusty, earthy, classic, old school Rioja…I’m gonna take that and throw it all out the window. Spain has incredible history and terroir. There’s a lot of misconceptions. Caitlin [Doonan, Beverage Director at Toro] and I have talked a lot about Rioja as a place of microclimates and terroir.” And so it began, with a rant and a brief history of how the region’s independent producers were rolled over by industrialization, followed by a tasting that demonstrated Tamer’s efforts to resurrect the families who make wines of true Rioja terroir.
Patrick Burke harvesting in Pommard at Domaine Delagrange
As most of you know, Patrick Burke, our French Portfolio Manager is living the year in Lyon. He spent the past couple of weeks harvesting the rounds with our producers in Burgundy before heading to Barolo for Barolo Camp with Greg Reeves, our Italian Portfolio Manager, and a few reps. What follows is Patrick’s (#ExPat) report from the field. Merci Patrick! Read more
Chantal Tortochot sent us the following report for her 2014 harvest at Domaine Tortochot, along with these stunning photographs. Thanks Chantal!
There was no winter in Burgundy with a lot of rain in autumn.
The months of February, March and April were mild, sunny, and dry. This allows an early development of the vines. June has been very beautiful, largely dry, and warm sometimes quite hot. So the flower time passed with some north Wind that made some millerandage. There was no risk of mildew and any other disease. Read more
A harvest report is just in from Domaine Fichet, one of only three producers in the village of Ige in Maconnais. With original plantings that are over 30-years-old, Domaine Fichet is owned and operated by Oliver and Pierre-Yves Fichet, who’s father, Francis Fichet, first started bottling the family’s wines in 1976. Francis was also one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Chardonnay dominant region, and the family’s lieu-dit “Chateau London” is one of the oldest and most reputable terroir in the Maconnais. Big thanks to likemyvillage for the images and text.
To start harvest season I went to visit the team at Domaine Fichet. Listening to winemaker Olivier Fichet you sense the impatience of getting a year’s worth of work harvested in safety. Read more