THURSDAY NIGHT TASTING: Let’s Get Domestic
10/9/14, 6-9 pm
Dandelion loves the little guys- small producers, small distributors, and tucked away/ up-and-coming regions all hold a special place in our hearts. Enter, Coeur Wine Co., a small, independent importing and distributing company that started with just one man, Eric Clemons, a passionate wino (and now winemaker!) who branched off on his own after working for some of the larger companies in the market. He represents wines from small producers all over the globe and has a point of view and palate very similar to our own! And several months in, when he told us he had hired a sales rep., we were thrilled to discover it was our former neighbor and customer Mariel! Join us tonight in welcoming Mariel back to Gpt for a tasting of three great domestic wines from the Coeur portfolio, over bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District.
Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2013
Willamette Valley Pinot is hot, hot, hot! An underdog no more, this beautiful wine growing region in Oregon has become incredibly popular, producing a lot of really fantastic wines, most notably from Pinot Noir grapes. Despite it’s popularity and the abundance of it available these days, this thin skinned grapes is one of the hardest to grow and vinify- just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean they should be. The climate and terroir of the Willamette Valley however is ideal for growing this finicky grape! The folks at Grochau source fruit from a number of choice vineyards to make their Commuter Cuvee, a wine intended to demonstrate the “bright, fresh purity” of the region’s Pinot. The wine is aged for 7.5 months on the lees, in mostly used oak, and racked just before bottling. The result is a spice laden sipper with plenty of juicy red and black berry fruit. Drink it with abandon, and drink it in abundance. $22
THE FINGER LAKES
Lily and I both love the Finger Lakes, having both visited and participated in wine in the region at various points in our careers. After working (and drinking) a bit there during the 2013 harvest, I was really taken with the people I met and the wines being made. The growers and producers I got to know were humble, creative, hardworking people in the business of making wine for all the right reasons. Definitely an underappreciated area, the Finger Lakes region is producing some really excellent wines from both international varietals and hybrid grapes, the latter often with the help of nearby Cornell University’s Viticulture and Oenology program. While we are all eager to buy local goods and eat locally sourced produce, meats, and fish, somehow drinking wines from nearby hasn’t become as much of a priority. We know we can have a part in changing that, and are excited for you to taste these wines with us tonight and make them a part of your lives!
Keuka Lake Vineyards is a gorgeous, small estate winery located on fertile southern slope of the Y shaped namesake lake. They sell a lot of their fruit to neighboring wineries, but reserve a small amount of certain varietals for their own small production of old-world style artisan wines.
Keuka Lake Vineyards Gently Dry Vignoles, Finger Lakes 2013
I’m proud to say that I hand picked some of the grapes for the wine in this bottle with some fellow sommeliers and wine buyers this time last fall! But my contribution ends there, and Moss Bittner, Keuka’s winemaker last year, is responsible for the rest. Vignoles is a complex hybrid grape variety of unknown heritage most commonly grown in the Finger Lakes. The 2013 was vinified relatively naturally, fermented long and slow in stainless steel tanks. Though it’s a grape that naturally produces a good bit of residual sugar in it’s wines, there is also an incredible amount of bright, sunny acidity and we find this wine to be extremely well balanced. Lip-smacking but never sour, tropical and fruit forward but not sweet, this “Gently Dry” Vignoles is an excellent example of some of the cooler hybrid varietal wines coming out of the region. It tastes like an eternal summer, which I know I want in my life! Drink as an aperitif or with light seafood dishes. $17
Keuka Lake Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2011, Finger Lakes 2011
Cabernet Franc is consistently one of my favorite red varietals grown in the Finger Lakes, and Keuka’s is an excellent example. The majority of the grapes for their cuvee actually came from Overlook Farms on Seneca Lake, with the remainder from their own younger vines. This is a dark fruited, spicy red, with elegant, silky tannins and significant structure. This wine pairs beautifully with the crunch of fall leaves, slow roasting brisket and farm fresh root vegetables. Done and done. $22