Back by popular demand, we’ve assembled a follow-up to last year’s holiday season New American Sampler. Our American section continues to evolve along with exciting new developments in the field (pun intended). This year’s sampler brings together a festive sparkler from Maine, a light red made in Utah, and four cutting edge new releases from California.
Buy all six at a 15% discount for $135, while supplies last.
2014 Oyster River Winegrowers “Morphos” – Warren, Maine
This horse-powered farm and winery works with French-American hybrids from their own vineyards, and purchases some fruit from other growers in the Northeast. This pétillant natural (ancestral method sparkling wine) is made from cayuga and seyval blanc grown in New York. With satisfying yeasty, toasty notes, Morphos would make a perfect opening number with New England-made cheeses.
2014 La Clarine Farm Sierra Foothills White “FNA” – Somerset, California
A welcome visit this week from Hank Beckmeyer and his wife Caroline prompted their repeat inclusion in this year’s sampler. Minimalist in just about every sense (including quantities produced), LCF has become one of the cornerstones of our American shelf, continuously bolstered by the arrival of new and inventive cuvées. This is our first look at “FNA”, an inconceivable blend of fiano and arneis, of which only two cases came into the state.
2014 Donkey & Goat Filigreen Farm Pinot Gris – Berkeley, California
Husband and wife Jared and Tracy Brandt source their fruit from sustainable farms in the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa. By Californian standards, they were early proponents of the hands-off, natural methods of winemaking, with the goal always to be to make honest, terroir driven wines that are expressive and individual: what Tracy calls “wines for the table not for the cocktail glass”. (Read their full manifesto here). This fleshy, full-bodied Pinot Gris is made with fruit sourced from Filigreen Farm in Anderson Valley. Five days of maceration on the skins yields a lush, textured white built for richer meals.
2014 Arnot-Roberts Rosé – Healdsburg, California
Since opening their doors in 2001, these two friends have made a name for themselves with both their classic cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir bottlings, and their growing collection of wines produced from early or more recent experimental plantings of obscure grape varieties like trousseau, ribolla gialla, sylvaner and colombard. This rosé is made of 100% touriga nacional, which, like the more trendy trousseau, is one of the grapes traditionally used to make port. We are unrelenting in our opinion that rose is more than just a summertime flavor, as you will find if you choose to serve this with any of the impending holiday meals.
2014 Ruth Lewandowski Wines “Feints” – Salt Lake City, Utah
Evan Lewandowski is the artistic free spirit behind this Utah-based winery! Evan came to Utah for college, left to travel the world and make wine, and ultimately returned to set up his winery here in 2012. The fruit for this unusual blend comes from a single hillside plot at Lowell Stone’s Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, California. Lowell’s farm is a micro-encyclopedia of Italian varieties, hence this unlikely blend of barbera, dolcetto, and arneis. Evan calls this wine “Feints” because it is deceptive by design – too light to be a red, too dark to be a rose, but 100% delicious all the same!
2013 Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Healdsburg, California
Anthill Farms is the project of three friends, Anthony, David, and Webster, who met over a dozen years ago while working at the renowned Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg. California may be learning its lesson that pinot noir is more about restraint than power, and that lesson is being further refined by folks like Anthill Farms, in the notion that phenolic ripeness is still of paramount importance.