Big thanks to Nathaniel Center for this timely piece on Avinyó! It’s December and time to get excited about bubbles!
On our first day in Spain we arrived at the Avinyó winery in Penedes excited and slightly jet lagged. We were greeted with cava poured from parones and a steaming plate of paella (that respectively enhanced the excitement and removed the jet lag). In a region dominated by large producers and bulk wine, the Esteve Nadal family operates a quality-oriented winery in the village of Avinyonet. As we walked through the vineyards, they explained that out of the approximately 240 cava producers in Penedes, only 20 or so make cava exclusively from their estate vineyards (and Avinyó is among this select few.) For the family, this small scale and attention to detail is really what sets them apart. Most wineries of their size bring in grapes to supplement their harvest, but Avinyó actually ends up selling away anything that “doesn’t work for them”. Even in low-yielding years their tiny winery doesn’t have the capacity to vinify everything they grow, so choosing the absolute best has always been a necessity. Natural ambient yeasts are employed whenever possible and they a favor long cold fermentation (which they compare to steeping ingredients for extended periods in cooking). Read more
Thanks Charles Hildreth for this reflection on Remelluri in Rioja.
La Rioja, the oldest DOCa in Spain, is a bit shy of 2,000 square miles. As of a 2015 report, it has 61,645ha (152,328 acres) planted to vines, 16,413 vineyards, and over 600 wineries. The three principal regions are Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja with each area producing its own unique expression of Rioja wine. La Rioja Alavesa and La Rioja Alta, located closer to mountains, are at slightly higher elevations and have a cooler climate. La Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.
As a comparison, there are less than 30,000ha of vines planted to about 100 different AOCs in Burgundy, France. And yet that region is famous for its intricate system of village and vineyard designation. As we discovered, it takes a visit to Remelluri, near Ribas del Tereso in Labastida, to help intrepid oenophiles understand why the Rioja Denomination of Origin is misguided and sorely behind the times. Read more
With tears in my eyes, I must share with you all some very sad news.
We lost a loving brother, an eccentric, loyal and devoted family member last night Sept. 10, 2016.
He was phenomenally chaotic, brilliant, honest, dutiful and legendary in his generosity. Marc brought light to the core of T Edward.
Our history is filled with indelible Pichon moments, we’ll miss you. RIP Marc Pichon.
-T. Byrnes Read more
Thank you to everyone who came out on Tuesday to A Year in Wine at Lafayette! It’s been quite a year since our 20th Anniversary Tasting in 2015. Keeping things fresh, we opted to pour only items that had joined our book since then, including 34 estates and 6 new craft distilleries, totaling over 200 additions to our portfolio! We’ve been busy! We hope you had a chance to taste through everything, from Domaine Arnoux to Xavier Benier and Nicolas Badel. Bodegas RE, Hudson Vineyards, Vodopivec, Pfluger and High Wire Distilling. We also saw new additions from Matthiasson, Forlorn Hope, Teutonic, Rio Maggio and Pierre Frick. Big thanks to our friends André Tamers at De Maison Selections, Bill and Byron at Goatboy Selections, Emily Kunhardt of Craft Distillers and Roberto Ijalba of Bodegas Santalba. We hope to see you all again soon! Read more
While we’re gearing up for fall and soaking in the last rays of summer sun, we’re taking this week to look back at a few highlights from the summer and spring. Happy Labor Day! We’ll see you in full gear next week. Read more
“I think I’d sort of been faking it for a little while when I first got into wine,” said Lee Campbell of the Andrew Tarlow group. “I knew I was fascinated by it but I wasn’t quite sure why. I think I thought it was because I thought it was like taking an interdisciplinary course in a liberal arts college, where you have to study everything.” But when she went to a winemaker’s luncheon while working at City Hall Restaurant, a single sight synched her past with her future. “We were sitting in the Garden Room at this restaurant Provence in Soho,” she continued, “which is no longer there. And at one point, I looked at the winemaker’s hands and I think I really wanted to see hands that looked like they worked and his hands had callouses on them, his nails were a little fucked up and it made me happy! I thought, here’s this guy [Michel Chapoutier], he’s a very well known winemaker, with some of the top buyers in New York; but he’s still a working man. He’s still a laborer. And that was very important to me. To know there was a farm connection. Once I knew there was a farm connection, I felt much more at home in the wine industry. Because before that point, all I knew was the hoity-toity New York side: the buyers, the somms. They were often European, they were mostly men. It was a lot of dudes with accents, so it was nice to see that there was another side to it. Read more
André Tamers with Thierry Tissot in Bugey
Named for his grandfather, whose father who had a general store in old Savoie on the Annecy Lake, De Maison Selections is returning to its French roots. “A long time ago,” said André Tamers, “we had quite a bit of French wines. But then I realized I had to let it all go and focus on Spain, because Spain, for obvious reasons, was just red hot. And since I’d lived there for three years, I thought I’d take the opportunity and run with it.” Read more
2014 was an amazing year for all of us here at TEW. And for this, we offer great thanks to our families and friends, to our winegrowers and buyers, and to everyone who supports us and them. Looking back on the year, our 20th as a company, we’ve a lot to reflect on. Cheers to a beautiful year! We look forward to spending 2015 with you! 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.
Tuesday’s Passport Terroir, our 20th Anniversary Tasting at The Public Theater, Joe’s Pub and The Library was epic, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without YOU! We are eternally grateful to the 160 winegrowers who came to celebrate their years with us, and to the over 800 industry friends who joined us. Cheers!