New European Arrivals

From our Hang Time tasting on Thursday, April 14, 2016…

Red Feet wines are a curated collection; when a vintage changes, we taste the new one to make sure it meets our standards. We’re always on the lookout for new items that are both interesting and true to their grapes and place of origin. Today’s wines reflect our approach.  Five wines, five countries—ready, set, go!

 

The narwhal on the label of Atlantis Txakoli 2014 evokes the mysteries of the sea.  This wine comes from the Atlantic coast of Spain, the DO of Txakoli de Álava; it’s made from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape.  Wines from this region are clean, with high acidity, mineral, floral, and saline notes, and a slight effervescence.  To bring out this last feature, they are traditionally poured into a tall glass from a height of one to four feet.  Northeast Italy is the source of Inama Vin Soave Classico 2014, made from 100% Garganega.  This grape came first to Campania in the southwest, brought by the Greeks millennia ago, and migrated to the Veneto over the centuries, mutating somewhat along the way.  It offers aromas of chamomile, elderflower, and iris, minerality midpalate, and almond on the finish. A father-son team craft this wine from 30-year-old vines.  Their goal was to restore the reputation of the grape, so they asked local growers what Soave “used to be” and why, and used old-fashioned techniques (more skin contact, less sulphur, and malolactic fermentation) to make their wine.  Both of these wines pair well with white fish or salad.

 

Greece, too, provides a wine made from an unfamiliar indigenous grape: Skouras Saint George 2012, 100% Aghiorghitiko (translates as “St. George”).  This comes from high altitude vineyards in Nemea, where Hercules killed the lion.  Grapes were tank fermented and aged one year in French oak.  Ripe cherry and berry fruits join anise, black pepper, and baking spices, both supported by ripe, elegant tannins. Our French offering is from one of the villages in the Rhône allowed to put its name on the bottle.  L’Ameillaud Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2014 is a blend of four varieties dominated by Grenache, made traditionally from 45-year-old vines by an ex-pat Englishman and his wife.  Fruit is generous in both aroma and flavor, with enough tannic support to age for several years.  The Iberian Peninsula is back with a Portuguese wine, Sonho Lusitano Vinhos Duas Pedras 2013, from Alentejo in the south (known for its production of cork).  The two rocks in the wine’s name are the granite and schist that dominate the soils.  This blend combines Portugal’s best red grape, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, and a touch of Viognier to lift the wine, all fermented together.  The winery is the joint project of a British wine scholar and a noted winemaker.  All three of these wines will stand up to hearty food; since they are true expressions of their place, try local recipes.

 

Join us next week as we again travel the world with a focus on compelling blends! 

 

-M.P. Rouse

Spring is in the Air

From our Hang Time tasting on Thursday, April 9, 2016…

…but there’s been a lot of winter on the ground this week.  To mark the (hopefully) impending nicer weather, Red Feet is pouring some brighter, lighter wines.

Weingut Stadt KremsGrüner Veltliner 2014, with its fresh citrus, white pepper, and crisp finish, is great with both Austrian and Asian cuisines.  Weingut Stadt Krems is the Green Bay Packers of producers—the estate is owned by the city of Krems, and was established in 1452 to provide funds for the local hospital.  This was a difficult vintage, but Grüner is a trouper; despite very low yields, the wines are brisk and pleasurable.

Alsace had it a little easier, producing classic wines with high acidity; grapes were healthy, with superb maturity.  FamilleHugel Gentil “Hugel” 2014 is a blend of six grapes; it offers lovely florality (lemon balm, cherry blossom, jasmine, rose), lychee and pear fruit, and subtle spice (cardamom).  Pair with fish in cream sauce, crab or lobster dishes, or Indian spices.

One sure sign of spring is the increasing number of rosés on Red Feet’s shelves, and we’ll taste one made by a co-op of master vignerons from the heart of Provence.  La Vidaubanaise Le Provençal Rosé 2015 blends a hefty dose of Grenache with smaller amounts of Cinsault and Syrah to capture the sun-drenched warmth of Provence in a traditional flute à corset bottle.  Let this be a part of your first picnic of the season, or serve with bouillabaisse or Piggery charcuterie.

Our reds are on the lighter side compared to those in recent Hang Time events.  Paolo Scavino Vino Rosso (2014) hails from the Piedmont in northwest Italy.  While it’s very Italian in aroma and flavor, it’s a bit of a bad boy, rating only a “table wine” designation and no real vintage date.  Its crime is having blended Piedmont stalwarts—Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo—with one not on the list—Merlot. It’s unoaked, unlike other wines from this (mainly) Barolo producer, and pairs well with traditional Italian foods.  Our final wine is another fundraiser for the local hospital: Domaine des Hospices Civils de Lyon Beaujolais-Villages 2014.  Beaujolais-Villages is made from grapes grown in 39 villages in central and northern Beaujolais; this comes from Le Perréon, one of the best.  As with all Beaujolais rouge, this is 100% Gamay, harvested by hand.  It is completely unoaked and made using semi-carbonic maceration, making it a wonderfully fruity wine with a certain elegance balancing its exuberance.

These are only a few of the possibilities as you move from the winter table to the spring one.  Think aromatic whites, some with heft, others light on their feet.  Go for spicy, fruity, elegant reds to replace the brooding power of winter’s choices.  And of course, don’t forget the rosé—Red Feet has 11 and counting!

-M.P. Rouse

More Values from Southern France

Let the mistral take you from Gigondas to the coast of the Mediterranean near Roussillon, or hop on a boat and make the journey to the beautiful island of Corsica…

Sunset above Gigondas (Southern Rhone).


Domaine du Cayron 2013
$33.50 –Gigondas, France

This sleek blend of old vine Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault with a touch of Mourvedre is dark and spicy with notes of plum, wild black cap berry jam, and toast.
Dating back to 1840, Domaine du Cayron has seen five generations of the Faraud family continue to produce renowned Rhône wines.

Aromas of black fruit, spice and espresso are present in this 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Carignan blend. It is dry and supple, with flavors of boysenberry, licorice, and plum.
Domaine Cabirau is located in the town of Maury, on a hillside below the ancient Cathar fortress of Queribus. Grapes are hand harvested from vines dating back to 60+ years.

The aromas of this Vermentinu offer almond, peaches, fennel, stoney minerality, and light herbs. Rich and round on the palate–you’ll find Meyer lemon and stone fruits braced by moderate acidity.
Corsica is a fascinating Mediterranean island belonging to France. While it follows French wine laws, it is located closer to Italy, whose history and culture it shares.

The latest, greatest value from the Rhône Valley: L’Ameillaud Cairanne Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2014

One example of a fantastic value from the south of France is the L’Ameillaud Cairanne Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2014 made up of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre grapes. Proprietors Sabine and Nick Thompson live just outside the medieval village of Cairanne in the Southern Rhone Valley and rent a very nice holiday house, should you ever need one!

You will find great density and depth in this wine with deep blackberry, kirsch and black cap raspberry fruits, Asian spices, violets and bramble. While generous, red wines from Cairanne always present a certain refreshing character and finesse. They do not cross over into overripe flavors despite their richness.

In fact, beginning with the 2015 vintage, red wines from Cairanne are considered “cru” or classified growth wines and will no longer need to be accompanied by the words ” Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages. So, remember the name Cairanne (“cay-rahn”) and look for these tremendous values. Enjoy this $16 gem with lamb, red meats, hearty braised vegetables, mushrooms, charcuterie and late nights by your bon fire.

Click here to purchase.

A picturesque view of the landscape of Cairanne (Southern Rhone).

 

Your Local Specialists in the Wines from the South of France

Fetching a morning baguette from the village of Rasteau (Southern Rhone)

Red Feet Wine Market sells wine from small producers all over the world. From the beginning, we have sold more wine from France than from any other country, and specifically, we have come to specialize in wines from southern France.

Southern France includes areas as diverse as the Cote d’Azur, where the Cannes Film Festival is held, to the Camargue, where the original cowboys, “les gardians,” ride white horses to round up the local bulls they raise for Spanish bull fights, to the Côtes du Ventoux, where Mont Ventoux rises 6,000 feet above sea level and blows winds exceeding 55 mph 240 days a year.

Grape vines were first planted by the Romans two thousand years ago when retiring Roman soldiers were given plots of land throughout southern France as a means to solidify the Empire’s stronghold.

The Pont du Gard, an ancient Gallo-Roman aqueduct and bridge in Gard (Languedoc)

Northern and Southern Rhone, Provence, Languedoc-Rousillon and Corsica are the major wine regions of southern France. These wines are some of our favorites due to their:

1) rich, appealing flavors that please nearly everyone
2) versatility at the table
3) drinkability with or without food
4) consistency year after year
5) value-oriented pricing

Each year, Owner Dewi Rainey takes a few weeks to travel in the south of France, where she has become friends with several winemakers in the region. Connecting deeply with the foods and culture of the region brings back that extra sense of pride in selling these delicious wines.

We carry more than 55 selections from southern France with 22 of them costing $15 or less! So next time you need a wine for just about any meal or party, stop in for a taste of the French Mediterranean.

Browse our online selection of French wines.