Category Archives: Tasting


Saturday Tasting: Bruno Schueller

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SATURDAY April 8th, 1-4pm, $10 for 5 wines

There are very few winemaking estates where history and nobility intersect with the avant-garde. But when it happens the results can be revelatory. Since the mid 1990s, Bruno Schueller has been at the helm of the family domaine built by his father, Gerard, in the 1960s. Over the course of two decades, Bruno has developed a style entirely his own. While paying tribute to his father’s patient and meticulous manner of viticulture, he has challenged local orthodoxy in the cellar, molding the definition of Alsatian wine in his own image. Here’s a picture of his cellar.

schueller cellar

When we visited Bruno and his wife Elena last summer, Elena cooked us a shoulder of pork from a pig they slaughtered just for the occasion. Bradford was really excited to be drinking unsulfured Riesling and eating choucroute garnie. They gave him a local napkin.

bradford schueller
Later on, after tasting from a bunch of barrels and playing a round of foosball (Bruno crushed us), we managed to get Bruno into an Ordinaire tank. He was excited, and plans to use it this summer for hiking and cycling.

bruno ordinaire tank
Among the wealthiest and most conservative regions of France, Alsace is hardly known for experimental winemaking, particularly among the region’s Grand Cru vineyards. In this context, Bruno’s wines often appear iconoclastic. But generalizing the dozen or so cuvées he produces each year can be difficult. Most whites, such as his Edeldeluxezwicker field-blend, are throwbacks to 19th century-style winemaking, when it was normal for Alsatian wines to finish malolactic fermentation in foudre and filtration was considered anathema to their aromatic complexity. On the other hand, some of the key twists in Bruno’s approach come from an affection for the natural wines of Italy, the birthplace of his wife, Elena. He experiments with varying amounts of maceration on Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, giving the already aromatic varieties of Alsace a layer of brooding complexity. Finally, Bruno’s rare and mysterious Pinot Noirs are uplifting expressions of the variety, as heady and
delicately perfumed as they are powerful.
schueller dos
At their best, Bruno’s wines are deep, structured, and ornately detailed masterpieces that force us to question mainstream wine’s attachment to typicity, which for Bruno is not a goal, but a point of reference. These are noble wines, from a noble region, that through the kaleidoscopic lens of a truly creative mind, look more exciting than ever before.
-Quinn (with interjections from Bradford)

We received very few wines–between 6 and 18 bottles of each cuvée–so come early and taste before they are gone.

Pinot Blanc Cuvee H 2015
Sylvaner 2015
Edeldeluxezwicker 2015
Pinot Gris Réserve 2011
Le Verre est Dans le Fruit 2014

We will also have several other cuvées for purchase.


December 2016 Wine Club

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Ryan Stirm 2016 Riesling Nouveau
Riesling is a bit of a divisive variety. Though at its best it’s touted and even fetishized by many sommeliers and wine folks, there’s such a glut of the stuff on the market that it’s easy to have a poor experience with wine made from the grape. While waiting tables at restaurants, recommending Riesling is often met with eye rolls, and the expectation of cloying aromatics and sweetness. Ryan Stirm, a true advocate for Riesling, would change any scoffer’s mind with his wines. Stirm believes that “this terpene-rich grape is the most dynamic, the most transparent, and the most exciting” grape for making wine. Stirm makes strikingly pure wines with a focus on vintage and terroir. He ferments with whole clusters and native yeasts, producing wines that let the vines, climate, and region speak for themselves. This 2016 Riesling Nouveau comes from his plot at Kick On Ranch in Santa Barbara, which he farms organically. Stirm bottled it without sulfur for our West Coast Nouveau party, and we loved it so much that we asked him for more. Fermented dry, this wine’s delicate, pretty aromatics and zing of acidity make this wine delicious as an aperitif or paired with dinner, especially one with a bit of spice. -Kara

Swick Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015
Faced with the daunting onset of the new year, there’s a buzzing tension in the air. The right kind of anti-establisment sentiment, no matter the arena, has been hitting a deep sweet spot. One of my favorite small subversive activities at the shop is encouraging people to try wines that they wouldn’t otherwise choose. A perfect answer for both Loire Valley enthusiasts, looking for bright pretty reds, as well as for west coast wine enthusiasts exhausted by the typical heavier wines that come from our region, is Joe Swick’s elegant take on Pinot Noir. Joe is a quiet but mighty rebel in the face of conventional west coast wine. Using the grapes traditionally grown in Oregon, he overturns expectations with wines that speak with a wry, sassy whisper. Having made wine in California, New Zealand, Italy, Australia and Portugal, myopia is impossible for Swick. His experience shows in his wines, which are beautifully-balanced, quiet riots. The 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot is berry-fruited with soft herbs, cool-toned and warming at the same time. – Kara


2012 Domaine Belluard Mont Blanc
I was first poured this wine from the neck of a cleanly sabered bottle after-hours at the shop. My drunk and drifting reach extended a glass to catch a cascade of softly spiced, honey-yellow bubbles. It came as an after-midnight revelation, and was just what I needed to give me the energy and composure to suggest that our buddies safely make their way home. Some drunkenly content sleep was in order for everyone that night. As I cleaned up the shop, every five minutes I would pause in order to revisit the wine, trying my best to keep up as it expanded and tempered into completeness. Bubbles dissipated and edges softened as it turned towards vinous. Fruit turned to spice, acid and minerality married, and just as the switch was flipped and the shop went dark for the night, I finished my last sip.
Mont Blanc is the top sparkling cuvée from Dominique Belluard, who makes wine for his family’s estate nestled in the Haute-Savoie, at the base of the Alps and just a stone’s throw away from Switzerland. Gringet is the grape; single variety, single vintage, one year on it’s lees. It’s a unique local variety that was close to extinction before Belluard championed the variety and showed the world its potential to make striking and contemplative wines. No abstract thought or intellect is required in order to understand them, and drinkers from all corners of the wine world are drawn toward their transportive abilities. These are mountain wines. Not the brambly, rustic kind, but noble and upright. There is a sense of polished luxury. Sleek and supple, like the leather upholstered seat of a European sports car with horsepower to lend. Mont Blanc can be a drink of celebration, but it is so much more. If given the time and attention it can truly take you places. -Quinn

2015 Vini Viti Vinci A Gégé
Like with any form of art or expression, sometimes a wine becomes so much more with context. When the wines of Nicholas Vauthier first arrived here in the shop, the labels were a constant topic of conversation with customers. They are weird, whimsical, and provocative. One of the more overtly risqué of the bunch was the label for his Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire “a Gégé”. It depicts a woman insouciantly reclining and reading a book with her legs spread, wearing nothing but what look like galoshes. The stark red, square Vini Viti Vinci label is placed very intentionally, framing her genitalia. For a time I thought nothing of it, just assuming it was inspired by the same naughty humor behind many natural wine labels.
Then we visited Nicholas at his winery in Northern Burgundy. We tasted through his cellar, and eventually approached a barrel of Gégé. As he filled his pipette and slipped us all a little taste of bright, juicy, cool Gamay, he provided us with some context. Gégé was Nicholas’ best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on the last night of Vini Viti Vinci’s first harvest, in 2009. To honor him, Nicholas had a label designed that is inspired by the famously erotic oil painting “l’Origine du Monde” by Gustave Courbet, which Gégé had a print of hanging in his home. Courbet was an important leader of the Realist movement who rejected academic convention and was known for the audacity of his work. Shares some parallels with the natural wine movement, no? But anyways, just like that, a wine that I previously drank with simple pleasure has taken on another dimension of deeper meaning. R.I.P. Gégé, whose memory lives on in this spirited and expressive wine, made by the affectionate hands of his best friend. -Quinn


Nicolas Vauthier Tasting

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Saturday, September 10th, 1-4pm, $10

I’m sitting here in Chicago. It’s 7 o’clock at night and it’s 92 degrees. I’m cooking dinner for my kids and the little A/C unit is too small to compete with the pork I’m braising and too loud for me to think, so I turn it off, open the windows, and just let the heat engulf me. Why did I braise pork? That was stupid. I just focus on the cool juice leaking out of the bloody tomatoes and the green turgidity of the cilantro bunch that I’m maliciously chopping into nothingness.

Francisco has decided that he wants an egg. Truth is that the pork is not going to be done until 8:30 and with all the prep and Lupita’s leisurely bottle, it probably makes sense for me to just treat the pork like five-star leftovers, serve him an egg with a wedge of cheddar, give him a bath, and call it a night.

“You want an egg?”

“Ya, oggy dada.”

“Ok. I’ll cook you an oggy.” At least it’s a really expensive egg from some farm.

I open the fridge to get the egg and there, down by the mustard and the coconut water, is this bottle of red wine, shrouded in a crescendo of fog that has bloomed from the violent clash of domestic climates. I actually try to swipe the fog away with a backhanded motion. I feel like Frodo Baggins, or maybe even Hamlet. I bend down close to look at this thing I forgot existed, grab the neck, and twist it around. It clanks against the other bottles, remnants of other hot nights, living out their days in cool lassitude. Sweat beads on the bottle like a hundred spider eyes.

It’s Nicolas Vauthier. A Pinot Noir from Northern Burgundy. It takes over my life. I fumble for a corkscrew and tear the bottle open, pour it into the closest vessel and gulp it with a melodrama that doesn’t make me feel self-conscious one damn bit.

I cook the egg without breaking the yolk. Give Lupita her bottle. Put the kids in bed. Take out the pork and eat it until pleasure has become entirely divorced from necessity.

Come to the shop this Saturday, 1-4pm, to taste all the new Vauthier wines. $10. They are the fucking best and I’m so happy we have them in the shop. Ciao.



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Saturday 1-4pm, $10, with winemaker Chad Hinds

When a bunch of industry folks get together in the afternoon and start drinking and eating, 99% of the time they start with something European, usually French. But a couple of months ago, a bunch of us were prepping a suckling pig for a big going away party, and the first wine we cracked open was the Wunderkind Chenin Blanc from Chad Hinds. We poured it around into tumblers and everyone gulped it down like it was lemonade. We actually started just calling it lemonade. Someone poured it over ice and slaked their thirst while manning the spit. It was a perfect wine: unfiltered, bursting with flowers and stone fruit, and with a certain energy that kept me coming back for more. I can’t think of another California wine that I wanted to drink so much. Sure, there may be “greater” white wines being made in California, but nothing this crushable. Chad even bottled a little bit of it without any sulfur additions, just for Ordinaire. Look for the little Ø on the back.

Chad is going to pour a full line-up of wines on Saturday: three Chenin Blancs and two Cabernet Francs, some of which are being pulled straight from the barrel. They are delicious wines that make me excited about the next generation of California winemakers. They are also extremely well-priced, so swing by, taste, and grab a few bottles for your weekend BBQ. Also, Chad is a great dude, whom you should all meet!


2015 ‘Wunderkind’ North Coast Chenin Blanc (Zero Cuvee)

2014 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc

2015 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc (Barrel Sample)

2015 Alegria Vineyard Russian River Valley Cabernet Franc (Zero Cuvee)

2015 Bates Ranch Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Franc (Barrel Sample)


New Wines from Clos du Tue Boeuf

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SATURDAY JULY 16th, 1-4pm, 6 wines for $10

Thierry Puzelat turned fifty this year and, in a way, so did natural wine. I don’t mean to say that natural wine was born in 1966; in fact, it started millennia ago, somewhere in Mesopotamia, I assume. Rather, it seems to me (and I’ve only been in the game a few years so take this with a grain of salt) that natural wine as a cultural movement is at a certain historical juncture where it has begun to reflect on its own conditions of being, its identity as a movement, and the contours of its future. And while most movements, 50 years on, either fizzle out into ill-defined grayness or splinter into fractious sects, natural wine has proved capable of both broadening its walls and maintaining its lively communal character. I think a lot of this has to do with people like Thierry and the wines he makes with his brother at Clos du Tue Boeuf. Whatever else these wines might be—complex, terroir-driven, whole-cluster, naturally-fermented—they are above all generous, like the people who make them, proven by the drives of friends who traveled across the world to celebrate with Thierry. The claim these wines make on the drinker is that they be enjoyed without restraint, preferably in the company of friends, with simple food full of fat and salt. On Saturday we will pour all six of the new releases. Drink up. Get a plate of charcuterie. And raise a glass to Thierry.

We will taste:

VDF Rosé
VDF Rouge
P’tit Blanc
P’tit Buisson

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La Garagista, 5/28, 1-4pm

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This Saturday we are excited to host the incomparable Deirdre Heenkin, the woman behind La Garagista, a winery in Vermont that is changing how people think about farming, terroir, and wine in general. She attended Brumaire in March after receiving a travel scholarship from Ordinaire. In exchange, she wrote a short vignette answering the question “Why do you make Natural Wine?” Below you will find her answer.

On Saturday we will taste:

Ci Confondre Pétillant Blanc
Ci Confondre Pétillant Rosé
Brianna Pétillant
La Crescent, Vinu Jancu
Frontenac Noir, Loups-Garroux

All the wines are $39 retail. The tasting costs $10. Deirdre will also be signing her new book, An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir. Come early. The wines are as unique as they are rare.

Why do I make natural wine?

Standing  here in our homefarm vineyard pruning on an elemental March day, I feel the warm sun on my back.  It’s supposed to still be winter here, but instead it’s a strangely mild day on our alpine hill.  The air is slightly damp, and I can smell the woodsmoke of vine prunings burning.  I think of roast sausages and onions over the fire.  Suddenly the slow accumulation of these sensory experiences transports me to a sunny spring day in the gray stone clad hills above the ancient temples of Paestum in southern Italy.   Something about the opaque spring sun is familiar.  

My husband Caleb and I drive on a rutted Roman road with our good friend Bruno.  Bruno is a winegrower in the south of Italy, the garden of Italy, in the region of the Valle di Diano, a fertile countryside, a meeting of mountain and sea.  We drive up a steep incline into a small parcel of vines tucked on the backside of a hill. In my memory it faces south-east, turned slightly away from the Mediterranean lapping at the shores, somewhere below. 

Bruno’s car is low slung and as the vehicle grinds to an abrupt stop, he curses elegantly into the still morning air.  Very quickly the situation becomes clear that the car is stuck in the track below the vines, a couple of grooves in white, friable soil that is damp and dark , wet even underneath, grooves made by a tractor, or another car,  or a chariot from another time.  We leave it for later, putting off pushing the car out of its trap, or calling for help.  Instead,  we grasp at more immediate pleasures, and we walk up into this young vineyard, neatly pruned  and planted with oats grown to mid-thigh.  Bruno says it’s time to cut.  Instinctively all three of us brush the furry fruits at the top of the oat stems with our fingers as we swish through the growth.

Bruno tells us these burgeoning vines are all native Falanghina, their little leaves of green unfurling from tight buds, moving slowly toward the sunlight.  The air smells of heat, wet clay, wet stones,  and an indefinable green perfume that comes from the chartreuse leaves pushing out everywhere, on all the trees and new plants and flowers from the hedgerow.  We speak of farming.  Cover crops.  Plant teas.  Copper.  Sulphur. Compost.  Moon cycles.  We speak of family farms, the beauty and difficulties, the differences and the solidarities.  We speak of his brother-in-law, whom he says has a perfectly attuned palate for these vineyards that the family farms together, especially and in a particular for one of their vineyards planted to the noble Aglianico.  Bruno tells of how his brother-in-law walks the rows of ripening, dark fruit close to harvest, tasting berries here and there, gauging, sensing, listening.  When the flavors coalesce in a way that calls to his intuition, he calls the pick and the crew rallies and the black ruby fruit comes in.

In Bruno’s telling, I am mesmerized by this story, by the notion that someone might know a vineyard so well that he or she can intuit that singular moment in which the minor tragedies and glories of a season unfold in layers of flavor, texture, acidity, tension in a way that foretells the future of the fermention and the fruit into the wine.  At that moment, this little diamond -like revelation  is so shiny that the magpie in me becomes enchanted and wants to understand this kind of magic.  I want to be able to do this too.

By then I knew I wanted to be a good farmer, this was why we had come to Bruno to learn, but this was really before I was aware of the fluid notion of natural wine,  of what it meant to be a vigneronne, a winegrower, a person who acted as an intuitive guide and a companion to her vines as well as the wine.  This was before I knew about the limestone and various clays in the valley soils of Vermont, or the volcanic shists, quartz, amphibolites, slates, and garnets  of our homefarm and mountain vineyard.  It was before  I knew how to identify horsetail and stinging nettle, wild white yarrow in our hedgerows.  This was before we had planted more than a hundred vines on our land that had long ago been home to herds of sheep stolen from Spanish nobility.  This was before we would meet a man at a dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard who might be willing to sell me some fruit.  This was before Bruno sat at our own dining table in a farmhouse in snow-clad Vermont mountains and tasted wines that I had made in buckets in our claw-footed bathtub from grapes without provenance bought at market in Boston and that had traveled from California.  This was before Bruno would give me a knickname, that of Capotosta, or hardheaded.  This was before Bruno would give me my first task when we learned from the man at the dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard that we could come pick fruit.  

Taste the fruit.  See the fruit.  Pick the fruit by hand, he said to me.  Choose your clusters.  Destem by hand.  Sort the berries.  Crush by your feet.  Press in a simple ratchet press.  Ferment in glass jars.  Do it the way the old farmers  did it.  Become a peasant.  

This was the moment in which desire and hope entwined and while I didn’t understand what it meant, I knew what I felt and what I wanted to do, had to do.  As I looked out over the intimate little vineyard embraced by the shifting and swaying oats and mixed flowers and we followed Bruno around the perimeter and he showed us how to identify and pick wild asparagus beneath the trees, I became electric.  This was the first piece in a large and ever-evolving puzzle in which I would take the first steps down this thorny but beautifully scented path, this was when I knew I wanted to be a winegrower, someone like Bruno who was passionate and thoughtful and learned in the ways of the vineyard, and someone like his brother-in-law who could see the story of a place and  a vintage in the world of a single ripe grape.   This was the moment when I knew I wanted to grow wine that could be luminous with history, nostalgia, love, spirit, purity, and honesty.  This was the moment when, for the third time in my life, I stood poised on an edge.  And jumped. 


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Cruse Wine Co. with Mike Cruse

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Saturday, May 14th, 1-4pm, $15

Like most people who work in wine, I always get a little bit happier when Mike Cruse walks through the door. He’s a seemingly bottomless reservoir of goodwill, quick wit and—how to put this?—thirstiness. And I don’t just mean thirst for wine. I mean thirst for just about everything. Thirst for conversation, for knowledge, for gossip, for recent discoveries, for tales of child rearing, for an opinion on the recent elections in France, for your idea of how a Pet Nat should be made, how duck liver should be cooked, or how a bottle of Beaujolais should be consumed. You tell him, and then, just like that, he starts telling you what he thinks, and he’s got these long, well-reasoned opinions that are so fun to hear. There’s this lovely balance between the idle flow across disparate topics and a certain reflective rigor that gives texture and direction to the conversation. I could talk to Mike all damn afternoon.


I can picture Mike reading this paragraph, thinking: this is where Bradford is supposed to draw an analogy between my personality and my wines. Mike’s thinking: are my wines down to earth? gregarious? friendly? Is that a good thing?


The truth is that Mike makes a range of wines, from a lightly fruited sparkling Valdiguié to a brooding and structured Syrah. The wines go where they want to go. They bear the mark of a winemaker who is still fascinated by what he can learn from grapes, and who delights in the mysteries of fermentation even as he attempts to discern its rational core. The wines themselves are buoyed by this tension: between a playfulness that moves lateral to analysis and a seriousness that propels one to become involved in the wine’s complex matrix of flavors.


Perhaps it is for this reason that Mike is one of the few winemakers able to move easily in almost all wine circles: slamming bottles of Beaujolais at Ordinaire on Wednesday, then sniffing old Burgundy with the somm set on Friday. And always finishing with Champagne.


On Saturday, we will pour all of Mike’s new wines. Because he keeps getting mentioned in the New York Times and showing up on celebrity Instagram accounts, many of the wines are only sold direct to consumer. But we are going to pour everything on Saturday, including the stuff that doesn’t get released to retail. So it’s a chance to get the wines if you aren’t on the mailing list. More than that, it’s a chance to chat with Mike. See you then.



2015 Muscat

2014 Chardonnay

2015 Sparkling St. Laurent

2015 Sparkling Valdiguié

2015 Valdiguié (Magnum)

2015 Monkey Jacket Red Wine Blend

villemade in his vines

Hervé Villemade: 20 February, 1-4pm

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We deeply believe in every wine that we sell. But each for different reasons. Often our favorite wines are confusing, mercurial, recalcitrant, cerebral, fragile, or ephemeral. Robinot comes to mind. Philippe Jambon, of course, and many others. We love these wines not in spite of these eccentricities, but because of them. But we also have wines that are downright dependably delicious every single time: wines that are soulful, well-structured and immediately satisfying. Julien Guillot comes to mind, as does Thierry Puzelat. And Hervé fits into this second category. His wines are well-priced and always good: bright, fruity, complex and refreshing. They are benchmark natural wines that always have a place in the shop.
His family has been making wine in Cheverny for generations. In the nineties, after farming conventionally for a few years, he decided to start converting to organics, and after tasting the results, he never turned back. He works with Gamay, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cot, Pinot Noir, Menu Pineau and Romorantin. He has a deft touch in the cellar, preferring large, neutral fermentation vessels and very small amounts of sulfur. He also hunts, and makes terrine out of the animals he shoots.

This Saturday, Hervé will visit the shop and pour six of his wines, including a back vintage of Romorantin just so you can get a sense of this grape’s unique evolution.

1-4pm. $10.

2014 Villemade Cheverny Blanc $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Blanc Les Bodices $26
2014 Villemade Cheverny Rouge $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Rouge Les Ardilles $25
2014 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Acacias $37
2008 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Petit Acacia $40

If you can’t make the tasting but would like to purchase the wines, reply to this email. We’ll try to figure something out.


CHAMPANGE TASTING: Beaufort, Collin, Lassaigne, Tarlant, Pascal

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THURSDAY JANUARY 17th, 6-10pm. $20.

This Thursday evening, we feature the Champagnes of Farm Wine Imports. Recently, they acquired a whole slew of amazing producers and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the holidays so that we could pour nice fat lineup. The inimitable Keven Clancy will be in residence, pouring the wines (and drinking them too). Some of the wines are super limited, so come early. Should be fun.

2010 André Beaufort Brut Millésime Blanc de Blancs $85
Domaine André Beaufort has formed organically since the 1970s. They are known for producing powerful and rich champagnes that age for decades. Recently, the son Amaury has started making the wines without the addition of sugar (Brut Nature), resulting in wines that are fresh, vibrant and more accessible in their youth. I find this 2010 more akin to Burgundy than Champagne. This stuff is what F. Scott and Zelda were drinking with their buddies in Antibes. The addition of no sulfites (or anything else) makes this wine aromatically exuberant and unabashedly rich. My wine of choice for New Year’s Eve. Pair with whole lobster tail and a lobe of foie gras.

Ulysses Collin Les Pierrières Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $80
Collin works in the far south, where the famous chalky soil of Champagne is right at the surface, mixed with a high proportion of silex, which imbues these wines with a wonderful mineral component. What makes them unique is Collin’s commitment to harvesting at maximum ripeness, allowing for a judicious amount of oxidation, and fermenting and aging exclusively in old Burgundy barrels. This year, the wine shows richness and depth: succulent apricot, white peach and Bosc pear intermingle with a savory constellation of raw carrot, wet soil and slate. A gastronomic champagne.

Jacques Lassaigne Le Cotet Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $70
From a parcel of 40+ year-old vines growing in the clay and chalk soils of Montgueux. The parcel is distinguished by his proportion of silex (flint) in the soil, which lends the wine a distinct mineral component. Picked at maximum ripeness and then allowed to undergo native fermentation without the addition of sulfites. Aged for two years in old barrels, then hand-disgorged, corked and released. Mineral, fresh, exuberant. A pure blanc de blancs that calls out for a giant fruits de mer tower.

Jacques Lassaigne La Colline Inspirée Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $86
Again, all Chardonnay from Manu Lassaigne, but form only the oldest vines. This wine undergoes fermentation and aging only in barrel. Slightly more unctuous, honeyed and broad, but also showing a very intriguing savory dimension that is reminiscent of great Burgundy. The palate combines baked apple, quince and raw mushroom. It’s more muscular and and mouth-filling than Le Cotet, but still bursting with energy. I would drink this with duck breast.

Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero $50
When I first tasted this wine from Tarlant, i wasn’t convinced. Sure, it was clean and bright, with an electric streak of acidity that would wake up your palate. But it was also a bit simple. I recently retested the wine and couldn’t believe the difference a few months in bottle had made. Still zingy and citrusy, but now showing a complex bouquet of red fruits and white flowers. Made from organic fruit, it’s a blend of 1/3 Pinot 1/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. A wonderful (and affordable) portrait of Champagne terroir.

Franck Pascal Tolerance Rosé $60
A biodynamic estate in the Chatillon area of the Vallée de la Marne. He eschewed chemicals after realizing that vineyards sprays were derived from the same methods as the chemicals he was trained to use in the French military. He also tries to avoid sulfur because it can de-center the energy of living organisms, such as grapes, or a bottle of Champagne. Whatever you think about biodynamics, the results are difficult to argue with. This is the rosé, made by blending 6% red wine from the lowest yielding parcels of Pinot Noir and Meunier. It’s bright and red-fruited, showing a subtle tannic texture that draws out the acidity and accents the lovely fruit. Unique and beautiful stuff.

gideon bottles

Clos Saron Tasting

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I talk about Clos Saron a lot, so I’ll keep this short. Gideon Beinstock makes wine in the Sierra Foothills. He is committed to making natural wines with no corrections or make-up. Wines very simply made: hand-picked, foot-stomped, moved to old oak barrels, and then bottled. They are the most compelling wines being made in California. Today we offer a small cross section of Gideon’s work. His wines are not cheap, but they are worth it. Made in ultra-small quantities, they are unique expressions of California mountain terroir.

$10 for the tasting

2014 Tickled Pink Rosé $35
Our Tickled Pink is a light rosé made from early harvested Syrah and various other red and white varieties. Starting with 2013, the rosé ferments on some white skins/stems and is barrel aged for 12-18 months before bottling.

2014 The Pleasant Peasant $35
A new addition to our family of wines.  Fruit sourced from own-rooted vines planted in 1900 in Lodi. You may think of it as a distant relative of our “Blue Series” (Old-vine Cinsault based wines), having been planted by the same family as that vineyard… A fun wine, with a serious side.

2013 Home Vineyard Pinot Noir $60
Our “Home Vineyard” is north-east facing, at 1530-1600 ft altitude. Overall, the top soil is alluvial clay-loam on volcanic ash, fractured granite, and quartz sub layers. Own-rooted vines, comprising about a dozen known and unknown clones, were densely planted (3’x6′). The vineyard is farmed with zero chemicals and minimal irrigation. Fertilization is provided by grazing livestock animals (sheep, geese, and chickens), supplemented with additional organic compost.

2012 Stone Soup Syrah $60
2009 announced the first vintage of our Stone Soup Syrah. At about 2000ft. altitude, this vineyard is located about one mile up the hill from our home, on our friends John and Ellen Trezevant’s property. This Syrah’s expression is strongly individual: lighter than most in body and alcohol, it has very deep color, vibrant acidity, and fresh aromas. This 2-acre site is a textbook Syrah vineyard: south-facing, steep, extremely rocky, granitic, well drained. The challenge here is getting the vines established in this extreme low-vigor, arid hot-spot, but the early results are highly promising. About 10% of the vineyard is planted Viognier, which has been co-fermented with the Syrah starting with the 2013 vintage.

If you would like to purchase any wines, but are unable to make the tasting, just send me an email at We are happy to take an order over the phone. We also ship all over the United States.


Partida Creus: Saturday Tasting 1-4pm

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Before we talk about the amazing wines we’ll be pouring, I first want to say that local wine celebrity Colin Peter Casey (aka D.J. CPC) will be spinning vinyl on Saturday afternoon, and we’ll be passing out candy to anyone wearing a costume. So come for the wines and stay for the fresh beats.

Ok, the wines…

On our recent trip to Spain and the south of France, the wines of Partida Creus were inescapable to the point of comedy. At every cave, wine bar or restaurant where we gave the servers carte blanche, the wines would hit the table again and again. At first we asked ourselves whether or not it was a hoax. No way these wines could be from Catalunya. Why are they everywhere? Just a flash in the pan trend maybe? But once we stopped thinking about it so hard, I noticed that we were drinking the wines. Fast. I reached a point where my parched and road-worn palate found few wines to be more agreeable. I was repeatedly mesmerized by the the snowy-white opacity of the whites and the electric coral-colored reds.  Fresh, thirst-quenching, and exuberant. We guzzled Partida Creus with friends old and new, and the recurring conversation always brought everyone a little closer.

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerona are an Italian couple from Piedmont who moved to Barcelona to work in architecture. In 2000, they bailed on the big-city lifestyle and found themselves a little piece of land in the Baix Penedes. A growing interest in farming led them into viticulture, which developed into a preservation endeavor that focuses on recovering ancient grape varieties that are native to the Massis de Bonastre, where they live and work. They search the area for unique and abandoned vines in hopes of farming them back into fruit-yielding health, virtuous work opposite the monolithic face of Spanish industrial viticulture. All wines are fermented with natural yeasts, and no SO2 is added at any point in the winemaking. -Quinn Kimsey-White

2014 Vinel.lo Blanco: A rustic but elegant field blend of Garnatxa Blanco, Macabeu, Moscatell, Panse, Parellada, Vinyater, and Xarello. A whisper of barnyard funk gives way to fields of little white flowers, lavender, cannabis, and honey dipped exotic fruit.

2014 Vinel.lo Tinto: Another patchwork of native Catalan Varieties: Garnatxa, Garrut, Sumoll, Trepat, Queixal de Llop, Samsó, and Ull de Perdiu. Separate whole cluster macerations in tank with various times on their skins, ranging from 20 hours to 3 days. Bright and herbal, with iridescent red fruit and wet earth, supported by a rigid mineral backbone.

2012 Sumoll: Dense and sappy, with grippy black fruit and flowering herbs. The most layered and serious of the line-up.

We’re very excited to have these wines in the shop, and supplies are currently limited, so come out and drink them with us! And if you can’t make it this weekend or don’t live in the Bay Area, we now ship throughout the USA. Hit us up. Reply to this email or email

cropped tue boeuf

Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Oct 24th, 1-4pm

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Clos du Tue-Boeuf is a 10-hectare family estate in Cheverny, a small appellation in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. They organically farm Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Sauvignon Blanc (the main varieties of the region), alongside an array of less ubiquitous grapes, such as Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Menu Pineau, and Côt. All wines are naturally fermented and aged without the use of sulfur, with only occasional additions at bottling, never exceeding 15ppm.

Alright, boring technicalities are out of the way. The thing to know about these wines is that they are made by two brothers, Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat, who are, arguably, the most important fixtures in the world of natural wine.


Since the early nineties, they have acted as formal and informal mentors to a generation of younger winemakers, encouraging them to take risks despite market demands and other global pressures. They’re not only rigorously committed to organic viticulture and traditional winemaking; they also embody a certain joie de vivre that turns wine tastings into electrifying parties overflowing with abundant generosity and good will.


And their wines translate this ebullience. They range from quirky to thought-provoking to opulent, without ever losing their ability to evoke thirst.

This Saturday, we pour every cuvée that is imported to the west coast, seven in all. For $10. 1-4pm. Come early because Keven has to go to a Bar Mitzvah.

Touraine Blanc Brin de Chèvre. 100% Menu Pineau. $30
Lively nutty nose. Citrusy and energetic.

Touraine Blanc Frileuse. Sauv Blanc, Sauv Gris, Chardonnay. $23
Plump fruit aromas. Onctuous and generous, with zest.

Touraine Rouge La Butte. 100% Gamay. $20
Fuller than most Touraine Gamay. Brambly aromas find their home in a thicket of raspberries.

Touraine Rouge Le Guerrerie. 50% Gamay, 50% Côt. $26
The odd one out, with Côt exuding its rustic personality. Purple fruits and good grip.

Cheverny Rouge Rouillon 60% Pinot Noir. 40% Gamay. $23
Benchmark Cheverny. Smells and tastes like Pinot, but with punchy Gamay texture.

Cheverny Rouge Caillère. 100% Pinot Noir. $30
The most reclusive. Sweet fruits poke out of the forest floor.

Cheverny Rouge Gravotte. 100% Pinot Noir. $30
Gourmandise. Regal Burgundian aromatics, soil, spring rain.

NOTA BENE: If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would like to purchase the wines, please contact us. We are happy to set aside some bottles for you. We also ship all over the US of A. Email me at We will set you up.


Nicole Deriaux from Domaine de Montbourgeau, Oct 8th, 6-9pm

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I think I shared the experience of many natural wine lovers, when I stopped into a wine bar (probably Terroir in San Francisco) and ordered a “Chardonnay,” and was confronted with this crazy thing that smelled like spring rain and chicken broth and wet rock and raw almond and was thinking, what the hell is this?! And then tasting it and being overcome by a depth of complexity that was utterly unlike any Chardonnay I’d ever tasted. Domaine de Montbourgeau’s “Cuvée Special” Chardonnay was a totally formative wine for me: it got me hooked on the Jura and oxidative styles of wine-making more generally.

Nicole Deriaux has stewarded her family’s ninety-year-old estate since 1986. She is here on one of her rare visits to the United States. We are very luck to host her. We will pour an array of her wines, which express both the unique terroir of l’Etoile (a tiny appellation in the Jura) as well as the rigorously traditional style of winemaking they employ.

Thursday October 8th, 6-9pm. $10 for the tasting.

If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would still like to purchase the wines., fear not! We now deliver all over the United States. Send an email to to set up delivery.


JURA IS NOT DED, Oct 10th, 1-4pm

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This Saturday, myself, Quinn and Cory Cartwright are going to pour some rocking Jura wines from Les Dolomies and Domaine des Marnes Blanches. Some of the cuvées are not available almost anywhere else in the United States. They’re also tasty. We’ll pour 5 or 6 cuvées, including some Chardonnays, a Poulsard, a Trousseau, and a Savagnin. They’re all very exciting, transcending the current discourse about Jura being a fad for wine hipsters–which is a discourse I find just kinda stupid, because the wines are authentic expressions of unique terroir, farmed and vinified by real people who couldn’t give one shit about their wines being hip or whatever. And thank god not all wines are from Burgundy. That would suck.

Anyway, come out and taste some really, really cool wines, and take a few home if you like them.

Saturday October 10, 1-4pm, $10.

If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would still like to purchase the wines., fear not! We now deliver all over the United States. Send an email to to set up delivery.