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Archive for September, 2011

Wines of Catalunya–Cesca Vicent

Vineyards at Cesca Vicent

Equipped with a detailed soil map of her estate, illustrating its 11 different soils types, Francesca Vicent–a fifth generation producer–makes terroir driven wines.  Dating to the 15th century, Cesca Vicent is one of the oldest Priorato vineyards.  Drawing from two separate plots that reside at 160-240m altitude–Mas d’en Corral and Maria Prunera–Cesca Vicent, at 13.2ha, cultivates organic vineyards.  Working with these varying soil types, Francesca also has a variety of microclimates at her fingertips.  In 2006 the estate conducted a study of their soils, performing some 30 boring tests, so that they might analyze the results and best match each soil type with the most optimal grape varietal.

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Mas Foraster & Trepat

Three generations at Mas Foraster: Ricard Sebastia, Josep Foraster, &  Julieta

Located in central Catalunya, Conca de Barberá is well known for its production of cava, but it is also home to Mas Foraster, one of two producers to make a red wine from Trepat, a native grape that is typically reserved for rosé wines and cavas.  Using estate fruit only, the family run Mas Foraster practices integrated farming and occupies 29ha, 14ha of which are dedicated to the production of red grapes, including 3.5ha of 51 -year-old vines of Trepat.  “To me, the [Josep Foraster] Trepat was like a Grand Cru Beaujolais of Spain,” says Jorge, our South American/Iberian Portfolio Director.  “It’s new to most everybody…no one has really been exposed to it on its own.”

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Serge Laloue 2011 Harvest Report

Just in from Serge Laloue: the 2011 Harvest Report!

The first samples were taken on August 10th, confirming that the approximate 3-week head start the vines got in the spring was maintained. From then on, the grapes developed normally under a mix of sunny conditions and rainy spells. The opening of the harvest was officially set for September 7th.

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Grower Rioja with Andre Tamers

Telmo Rodriguez of Remelluri discusses the importance of returning to traditional bush vines and field blends.

In June, Georgia Blume went with Andre Tamers to visit his wineries in Northern Spain.  What follows are her recollections and reflections.  Thanks Georgia!

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In June, I was fortunate to be invited by Andre Tamers to visit his wineries in Northern Spain. If you don’t know Andre, he is the founder of De Maison Selections, arguably the most interesting and revolutionary Spanish importer in the country right now. Andre Tamers and Tom Edward ironically both started in the wine world “repping” the street for Monsieur Touton, and Tom was the first distributor to bring Andre’s wines in 15 years ago.

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Domestic Portfolio Tasting 2011

Elizabeth Pressler of Elizabeth Spencer

Tuesday’s Domestic Portfolio Tasting at the Union Square Ballroom marked the passing of the Domestic baton at TEW.  From the hands of Patrick Burke, who now takes singular charge of our French Portfolio to the palms of Brian Pilliod and Juerie Park, our Domestic Portfolio, as shown on Tuesday, demonstrates a foundation of talented winemakers from California and the Pacific Northwest.  From 11:00 to 4:30, the crowds flowed in with rain on their shoes.  It was an excellent showing and we wish to thank all the winemakers and tasters who came by to celebrate the launching of another great year.

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VHR–2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, The Inaugural Vintage

On Friday morning, Bruce Phillips and Francoise Peschon, of VHR, or Vine Hill Ranch, in Oakville, Napa Valley, came by Studio TEW for a visit.  Here to debut their inaugural vintage–the VHR Cabernet Sauvignon 2008–Bruce discussed the inspiration for the wine, along with the history and transformation of his family’s vineyards.

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Riding River Road from Piermont to Nyack

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden this path regularly, off 9W and through Piermont to Nyack, north along the Hudson River, via River Road.  It’s been over four years, since I’ve spent time on the bike.  And when I was riding, it was all about the training, or chatting with teammates, as we rode in the park or over the GWB, and so I rarely took enough notice of my surroundings.  In fact, we used to joke about racing in beautiful locals, like the Ephrata Stage Race in Pennsylvania, or Housatonic Hills in CT, or Bear Mountain…”What a beautiful course!”  Yeah…Nice pavement! We spent a lot of time staring at the ground,  looking for, reacting to, or initiating the next move, with no time to admire the farms, houses, countryside, or forests.

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Isastegi––Natural Cider from Basque Country

Yes, the Vuelta España is over, however, our love of all fermentations from Basque County is not.  And because, for 15 years, the Vuelta began and finished in Bilbao, we thought it most appropriate to finish our coverage of the Vuelta with Isastegi, a natural cider from Basque Country, which is also how we’ll toast the announcement that next year’s Vuelta will begin in Pamplona (also in Basque), of the running bulls fame.

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Bebame Red–Red Wine from El Dorado County

We welcome Bebame (“drink me” in Spanish), a blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay, the most recent addition to our Domestic Portfolio. What follows are a few words from the winemaker:

WE LOVE TRANSPARENT, DELICIOUS, EASY, CHARACTERFUL, AND DEEPLY FLAVORFUL WINES THAT ARE FINELY STRUCTURED AND RELATIVELY LOW IN ALCOHOL: CHINON, BOURGEUIL, BEAUJOLAIS, MONDEUSE, MARZEMINO, LAGREIN, BARBERA, ALBARINO, VERMENTINO, TXAKOLINA . . . . YOU GET THE IDEA.  WHAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND IS WHY THIS STYLE OF WINE IS RARELY MADE IN THE NEW WORLD.  WHILE THERE IS A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT THAT SAYS NEW WORLD WINE HAS TO BE RICHER, HIGHER IN ALCOHOL, AND RIPER, WE DON’T BUY IT.  WE BELIEVE THAT IF THE GRAPES ARE PLANTED ON COOL, APPROPRIATE SITES, AND ARE WELL-FARMED AND PICKED RIPE AT REASONABLE SUGAR LEVELS, AND TRULY MINIMALLY HANDLED IN THE CELLAR, THEN WE CAN MAKE JUST SUCH WINES WITHOUT COMPROMISE IN THE NEW WORLD.

–BEBAME TEAM


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The Vuelta Espana Visits Basque Country!

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While we are well aware that the Vuelta España has come to an end, with Juan José Cobo of Team Geox-TMC as the overall GC winner, we wish to take a moment here to turn back the clock so that we can linger on Stages 19 & 20, when the peloton passed through Basque Country.  Home to three wine regions, including D.O. Arabako Txakolina, D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina, and D.O. Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country once hosted the start and finish of the Vuelta España for 15 years in a row.  From 1955 to 1970, this 21-day stage race began and ended in Bilbao, and for the first time since 1978, the Vuelta returns to its roots.

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