A Taste of Two Chardonnays and a Delicious Prosecco

by Mark Patykewich on June 14, 2019

Hello from The Caviste

Summer is rolling up quick, schools are out and camps are starting. I thought it would be a good time to present two of the favorite wines in Winston-Salem – delicious Chardonnay and a top tier Prosecco. All speak to summer in a bottle and are perfect for the wonderful porch weather we have been having recently.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most planted and perhaps best known wine grapes in the world. With anything so well known, there cannot help but be varying opinions from people who only drink Chardonnay to the ‘ABC’ group, Anything But Chardonnay. As with anything so widely discussed, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The real dividing factor is not the grape, Chardonnay, but the level of oak/barrel aging and malolactic fermentation in the production process. The more of these two, the richer, rounder and more buttery the wine. The less even to none, the more crisp, clear and laser like the wine. So, today, we will present two Chardonnay’s that present a fine contrast in the two styles, both from Burgundy and roughly 40 miles apart.

 

Domaine de la Chappelle Santenay Blanc
Santenay as a region is mainly known for red wines but it neighbors a renowned white wine region, Chassagne-Montrachet.  White wines from the region are rare, but when found they often reflect the style and elegance of their better known neighbors, as this wine certainly does.
Domaine Chapelle dates back to 1893 when the family first purchased land in Santenay and Cassagne-Montrachet.  The white wines of this estate are rare for two reasons.  First, Santenay mainly produces reds from Pinot Noir.  And for Domaine Chapelle, only about 5% of their production is exported.  But the soils of the Beate, limestone under sandy loam are perfect for whites like this. The vines are 43 years old and the wine is raised for 12 months in barrel with some bating and malolactic is allowed to take place.
These steps result in the richer slightly rounder style of wine one expects from a Cassagne-Montrachet.  But the limestone soil provides a nice underpinning of lively mineral flavors.  It is a gorgeous wine full of rich lemon curd and hints of apricot and ripe pear, perfect for crab or a lemony roast chicken.  $29 a bottle
Bonhomme Vire-Clesse
 
Vire-Clessé is one of the newer appellations in Burgundy, created in 1999.  It was created to single out high quality vineyard sites not covered under the Pouilly appellation, such as Pouilly-Fuisse and others.  Appellation rules limit wines to a maximum of 3 grams of sugar.  This results in wines that are as dry and crisp as Chablis but a bit more richness since the region is further south and the soil contains more clay.
 
The Bonhomme domaine was founded by Andre Bonhomme in 1956, in Saone-et-Loire, in Burgundy’s southern outposts the Maconnais.  His Vire-Clesse bottling comes from a two hectare parcel where vines average 30 years of age, and grow in clay and limestone. This is one of their highest elevation vineyards called “Les Pierres-Blanches.” 
All grapes are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides and harvested by hand at very low yields. All wines are fermented using natural yeasts in a mix of steel and wood and undergo malolactic fermentation.  100% Chardonnay, the wines are full of texture, richness, and beautiful fruit concentration. This bottle exhibits the classic flavors of asian pear, lemon, and a crisp minerality. They are medium bodied with a rich mid-palate. The wine finishes with notes of soft ripe yellow apple and a hint of lemon inflected sea salt.  The minerality has me thinking of fresh fish, perhaps flaky white fish over shaved fennel or grilled scallops. This would make a delicious beach wine.  $28 a bottle.
Alla Costiera Prosecco
Just in time for your first summer getaway, we have one of the favorite sparkling wines back in the store, Alla Costiera’s Prosecco.
Let’s be clear – not all wine is created equal.  This is simply a fact.  All may be “fermented grape juice” to an extent, but some are full of a possible 200 chemicals and made in batches of 200,000 to 500,000 bottles at a time.  We each can have our own preference, and should, but let’s not confuse artisan production with high volume mass produced items.  Alla Costiera was one of the first estates in the Veneto to tend their vines attentively and organically.  Today, they have some of the oldest Glera, the base grape for Prosecco, vines in the region.
This wine cost about the same as any grocery store wine but is made in batches of 2,500 bottles at a time and the quality is easily twice the large production items.  It maintains the enjoyable and lively drinkability Prosecco is known for but has a bit more seriousness and depth to it. I love the way fragrant floral notes intermingle with lime and white peach notes all enlivened by refreshing bubbles.  $16 a bottle.
I would strongly suggest stocking up on this wine for summer get togethers and party gifts when visiting friends.  To facilitate this, we will offer 15% off by the case.  Email us if you would like for us to set some aside.
Have a wonderful weekend, 
Russ and Mark

Frosty Bottles and Slanted Labels – Delicious Wines

by Mark Patykewich on June 8, 2019

Hello From The Caviste
 
The weeks have been busy and we are trying to get prepared for a lot of new and delicious things this fall.  As well, rosés are rolling in to the store on an almost weekly basis now.  So be sure to stop by and pick up some of the new vintages of old favorites and new discoveries.  I wanted to let you know about three new bottles that have recently arrived that are worth any wine drinkers exploration.
Thivin Beaujolais Rosé 2018
 
Last year this frosty bottle of deliciousness flew off the shelves.  
 
This delicious rosé is ‘historic’ in many aspects.  The estate dates back to the 15th century, and was purchased by the Geoffrey family in 1877.  Claude Geoffrey was instrumental in the creation of the Cote de Brouilly appellation.  The estate is currently run by his grand nephew, also named Claude.  In addition,in 1976, it was one of the estates Kermit Lynch visited on his first trip along the French Wine route with famed cookbook author Richard Olney.
 
The wine is made from Gamay grapes from 50-year-old vines growing in pink granite along the ancient volcano that is the hill of Brouilly.  There is an abundance of fresh flowers, hints of magnolia and a little brightness of fresh crushed chilled cherries on the nose.  The palate is full of crunchy red fruits with a little ripe cranberry and bing cherry on the pack. There is a refreshing crispness and a finishing touch of salinity. The only challenge is its complete drinkability that makes you think there is another hole in the bottle. It is a gorgeous warm weather wine and even suitable for sipping under a covered porch during an afternoon summer rain.  A true quality wine at $20 a bottle.
Wines from the Southern Rhone
The Southern Rhone is a complex and multi faceted wine region where the dominant red grapes are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  This is the region where the international ‘GSM’ blend originated.  The region is made up of 18 named Communes and 8 Crus with each producing a different wine from basically the same three grapes.  You could spend many years of studious drinking to identify the differences between regions.  To start your ‘studies’ here are two delicious examples from the Crus of Vacqueyras.
Vacqueyras
Vacqueyras is one of three crus appellations which shares the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirall, the other two being Gigondas and Beams de Venise.  Each is lesser known than their neighbor, Chateauneuf du Papes, but therefore also present greater value for your wine buying dollar. I always feel that Vacqueyras has a bit more elegance in its profile that Chateauneuf du Papes and even its neighbor Gigondas.  Both of these wines certainly demonstrate this.
 
 
Louis d’or – Vacqueyras White
One of my favorite wines is White Rhones.  I think part of why I enjoy them so much is their elusive quality.  Not all are great, but when they hit the right notes they are unlike few other wines in the wine world.  Today’s wine hits all the right notes.
 
This wine is made from 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Clairette and is an absolute stunner.  It has a vibrant richness to it that is reflected in the shimmering colors in the glass as well as the shimmering flavors on your palate.  If you like Chablis with a little added burst of lime inflected minerality and refreshingly delicious green almond notes, this is a perfect wine to try.  Delicious on its own but extra special with sautéed mushroom or herb stuffed grilled trout. $28 a bottle

You say Nebbiolo, Tonight We Say Spanna

March 14, 2019

We got so excited about hosting this tasting and getting a preview of the wines yesterday, we are late in sending out an email. The short version – we are hosting Francis from Vallana Wines tonight for a fantastic tasting of Nebbiolo and perhaps the best value Barbera in the store. Now, to be clear, […]

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Let the Sun Shine In – Allocated Beaujolais

March 5, 2019

Foillard’s Baujolais Allocated and Sought After It is about time we saw some sun and it seems as rare as this allocated Beaujolais. Jean Foillard has long been one of the most respected and sought after producers of Beaujolais. Côte du Py is one of Beaujolais’ great vineyards. Foillard is undoubtedly the master of the […]

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Valentine’s Day Wines

February 13, 2019

Hello from The Caviste, I hope everyone is having a good week.  It is that time of the year, Valentines is tomorrow and spring seems to be halfway here already.  To help you celebrate with your special someone, we wanted to offer some fitting bottles for tomorrow and the weekend. FRV100 Sparkling Rosé Deliciousness This […]

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February 5, 2019

  Good sunny afternoon from the Caviste, This week holds a great winemaker visit and some lovely sale wines. We always enjoying hosting winemakers and look forward to each one.  Martin’s visit is perfectly timed for the pretty weather we have been having. Winemaker Visit Martin Minkowitsch This Thursday, we have another great opportunity to […]

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Inventory Clearance 1/4 & 1/5

January 4, 2019

Let us bring a little brightness to your rainy day with our annual inventory clearance sale. Once a year we do a thorough inventory counting all the bottles and finding some hidden treats here and there.  We’ve collected them and put them on the table, all clearance wines are 20% off their normal price. With […]

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Bubbles Tasting Rescheduled for Saturday, December 29th

December 28, 2018

Well the weather outside is frightful . . . and since Russ is under the weather, the bubbly tasting has been RESCHEDULED to tomorrow (Saturday, Dec 29 – starting at 2pm). Stop by to taste some wines and stock up for your new years eve festivities! We will be pouring the following delightful bubblies tomorrow: […]

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Tonight’s Tasting & Holiday Hours

December 20, 2018

Hello From The Caviste, The holidays are rolling along and we wish everyone the best. It is a cold and rainy day, just perfect for coming out and tasting some delicious and warming Italian wines with Jay Murrie tonight, starting at 4.  Then next Friday, we will have a bit of a bubble fest at […]

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This Week’s Tasting and Next Monday’s Meet and Greet

December 13, 2018

We have some great tasting lined up in the next couple of weeks.  This Friday we will explore some of the breadth in the wines world.  Damon Haynes will be here to pour wines from California, France, Spain and Italy.  A great little tasting to sample the variety available in the wine market today.  This […]

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