DECEMBER WINE CLUB WINES

PRIMARY WINE:
BERNARD VALLETTE - NEE BULLEUSE BRUT SPARKLING WINE – VIN DE FRANCE, FRANCE
Located in the Southernmost Rhone River region and created by the Marquis de la Guiche, over 150 years ago. Today it is owned and run by winemaker Bernard Vallette. It has over 640 acres; cultivated organically since 2004 and certified Demeter (biodynamic) since 2006. The grapes for all his wines are hand harvested, and he only uses natural yeast fermentations, and doesn’t add any sugar (chapitalization). He allows the grapes to produce the best wine they can. We sampled the Nee Bulleuse (Born of Bubbles) in October during our search for a great bubbly for our wine club and upon tasting this wine, we were intrigued, impressed and delighted - we think you will too. Although this wine comes from the Southern Rhone, this wine is labeled as Vin de France because when Bernard submitted his wines for labeling, they were refused by the agency that designates the appellations, merely on the basis of being "atypical”. Bernard has refused since to submit any of his wines. This gorgeous wine was made in the “méthode traditionnelle”, meaning that it was produced with the same steps as any true Champagne would (double fermentation). This lovely wine, however, is made from the Gamay grape, which is traditionally grown to make Beaujolais wines. Pour yourself a glass of this wine and you’ll notice the abundant creamy bubbles, the rustic toasty aromas, the strawberry and raspberry notes along with hints of yeast. Then take a sip and you’ll taste the strawberry, raspberry and cream notes that hit your palate as you get a burst of lively acidity. The finish lingers with toast and berry notes; you’ll see what we mean when we say how elegant and appealing this wine is. This wine was imported in very small quantities and here at Anne’s we expect to sell out upon release. You can make this your New Year’s Eve celebratory wine and pair with Cranberry Chevre cheese, Salmon sashimi, or if your heart fancies it, this wine is hearty enough to handle spicy foods. This wine retails for $24.99

PRIMARY RED WINE:
CLAUTIERE – “2 COCKY SISTERS” RED WINE – PASO ROBLES, CALIFORNIA
In a recent visit to Paso Robles, I came across Clautiere Winery. Paso Robles seems to be coming into their own, and I’m not the only one to think this, as Wine Enthusiast has declared it 2013 Wine Region of the Year (Nov, 2013). Paso Robles has many amazing small producers of wines with very talented winemakers both local and from all over the world, and many with decades of history in the region. Paso is also home to many diverse mini-climates that lend themselves to producing a large variety of wines. And this shows in this wine from Clautiere, to whom you should pay when next in Paso Robles. On my last visit to Clautiere, I sampled their 2 Cocky Sisters, an eclectic blend of 28.4% Syrah, 23.3% Mourvedre, 23.3% Counoise, 15% Grenache, 5% Roussanne and 5% Viognier and aged for 24 months in both French and American oak. Red ripe raspberry and cherry aromas with hints of vanilla on the nose, then palate treats you to a rush of berry notes, medium yet silky acidity and mellow tannins. This wine is appealing to experienced palates as well as those just starting the wine adventure. If you’re the type of person that keeps a bottle of wine open for more than one day, this one can hold out for 3 days without losing its charm. This wine is perfect for the holidays when you have to pair your wines to not only foods but also your guests. This wine retails at Anne’s for only $14.99

SECONDARY RED:
2009 BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS QUADERNA ViA – CRIANZA – NAVARRA DO, SPAIN
This wine comes to us from Navarra, Spain. The winery was founded by brothers Jose and Raul Ripa who only grow Tempranillo and Cabernet, and do it organically. They adhere to this belief so much that they built a classroom in their winery to teach all who visit about the way wines were made 50 to 60 years ago in Spain, before chemical fertilizers became normal in the wine industry. The name of the winery also honors the old ways, as the name Quaderna Via refers to a style of poetry, popular during medieval times in Spain. The brother’s wine philosophy honors nature and produce only what nature gives them. This Crianza comes from the area where a lot great Rioja wines are produced and 100% of the grapes are Tempranillo. When we tasted this wine, we were impressed with the bright cherry color, the intensive aromas of bright red fruit, plum and vanilla. A medium-bodied wine with fresh acidity, earthy flavors, well-integrated oak and a long finish which speak to its aging in 12 months of oak and 12 months in bottle before releasing it. Try pairing this versatile wine with Spanish cheeses, spicy chorizo, Serrano ham and grilled lamb or pork dishes. This wine retails at Anne’s for $19.99

SECONDARY WHITE:
2011 LAURENT MIQUEL – CHARDONNAY VIOGNIER – LANGUEDOC, FRANCE
Laurent Miquel, a talented young winemaker, hand selects the best grapes from his family’s estate near Beziers, in the South of France. The chateau, Caza Viel, is in the St. Chinian appellation. The estate has been in the Miquel family since the French Revolution in 1789, when it was purchased from the local monks at Fontcaude. With mature, naturally low-yielding vines, this estate is among the most prominent independent producers in the Languedoc. Laurent crafts these premium wines as a testament to the distinct terroir of the site and to reveal wine with exceptional personality and character. This wine is medium body, lively, and intriguing blend of two varieties. The Chardonnay is picked early to retain acidity, and fermented entirely in stainless steel before blending with the beautifully perfumed Viognier juice. The end result is a balanced, round white that instantly pleases both nose and palate. Pair this wine with rich, creamy cheeses, turkey, pork chops, or creamy sauce dishes. This wine retails at Anne’s for $13.99

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