16
Apr

Natural Wine Week!

This week for Why Not Wednesday we celebrate Colorado Natural Wine Week. There are actually quite a few events happening this week (https://conaturalwineweek.org/events). Colorado Natural wine week was founded in 2014 by a group of wine professionals that wanted to showcase producers that produce their wine in a completely non-invasive way… Natural Wine is defined as: grapes farmed organically (or biodynamic) and transformed into wine without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used and intervention in the natural occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum.

 

A point to note is that there is no official or regulated definition of natural wine! If someone says you are drinking natural wine it doesn’t technically mean anything. There are a lot of self-proclaimed wine aficionados, wine clubs, etc. preaching that wine is only healthy when produced with these strict guidelines. However, remember there is not an official regulated statement about what is “natural wine”. At PWC we believe natural wine is a style of winemaking and a winemakers choice. Let us explain.

 

Think of Natural Wine this way, at least when you are shopping in our store…

 

First, we start with people. As, most of you know we only work with family owned and operated wineries. Why? Because they care what happens in the vineyard, they farm the land with respect, there is not one producer in our store that sprays pesticides in their vineyards. There may be some differences in cover crop, plows, using copper (organic ingredient) etc, but they all grow their grapes in a non-invasive way – they practice Organic farming.

 

Second, the winemakers choice. This is at the core for Natural Winemaking. In theory, its taking fruit that is grown at least organically, then taking it into the cellar adding nothing, while also not taking anything away.” This means, not using a cultured yeast to create a predictable fermentation, no filtering the wine after termination to remove sediments, little to no use of sulfur dioxide… again, nothing added or taken away. This is the process and for us the difference between Modern and Natural winemaking. Some, not all, modern producers will use cultured yeast because they want to insure that they have a smooth termination. Some, may filter the wine at the end of the winemaking process, removing any sedatives. These in our opinion are decisions that a winemaker makes, it does not make their wine good or bad.

 

The talk surrounding “Natural” wine versus “modern” wine brings the talk of “good” or bad” – our interpretation because it is natural does not make it “good” or “bad” again it is a difference in the choice in the cellar, because we curate every single bottle that comes into our shop you can feel free to pick with confidence – but if you would like to try a some natural wine that honestly is just delicious stop by this Wednesday from 4-7!

2016 Tenute Dettori, Sardinia Italy Vermentino :: $22 Sale $19

“I do not follow the market; I make wines that please me, wine of my own local area, wines of Sennori.   They are what they have to be and not what you want them to be.” Alessandro Dettori 1998. Tenute Dettori is an artisanal winery intrinsically tied to its territory,  Badde Nigosolu, an amphitheater of 33 hectares (80 acres) of land at 750 ft of elevation facing North-West to the Golfo dell’Asinara in Sardinia. Here wine has been made for centuries and many of Dettori vines are over a hundred years old.  At Dettori technology and trends are banned. All cultivations are done by hand; Nature fixes the schedule. No chemicals are used, just ancient agriculture (they are organic and biodynamic certified). “We feel the need and the responsibility to hand on to future generations a fertile, healthy earth, and the only way to preserve this patrimony is to exclude a priori every chemical substance”.  The cellar, built underground, follows the same principles. Just stainless steel and concrete tanks are used, where spontaneous fermentation takes place with no temperature control. Sulfites are reserved for bottling, and then only when minimal amount is necessary. Only indigenous varieties are grown: Vermentino, Pascale, Moscato di Sennori, Monica and of course Cannonau; Sennori (with Sorso Oliena and Jerzu)  is one of the most historical areas of Sardinia for this variety; and no, Cannonau is not Grenache. Overall a maximum of 45,000 bottles can be made depending on the vintage.

Golden yellow in color with green hues, this wine has an intense nose of ripe peach and apricots with notes of acacia honey and Mediterranean spices. In the mouth, the floral Moscato softens the Vermentino’s herbal components giving to the wine full body and sapidity, but vibrant acidity.

 

2014 Salcheto Vino Noble de Montepulciano, Tuscany Italy :: Sangiovese $32 Sale $28
Award for Sustainable Viticulture Winner, Gambero Rosso Guide, 2014 There should be a synergy between the earth and all growing things, man included. At Salcheto they try to respect this relationship on a daily basis, as they attempt to maintain a balance with nature through sustainable farming and winemaking practices. These include non-invasive organic and biodynamic growing methods, as well as systematic energy and water conservation. Salco means the willow tree in the ancient Tuscan language, an important plant for wine territories throughout history as its branches were used to bind and the vines. Salcheto is the name of the stream , which springs at the foot of the town of Montepulciano and winds through a valley where willows abounded. This stream is the boundary of our organic and biodynamic estate, rooted in the historic district of Vino Nobile, in the southeast of the Siena province of Tuscany. The willow tree, a species that we continue to replant at the winery, also contributes to the wineries energy independence, is today prominently represented in our logo as part of our commitment to environmental sustainability.

 

2013 Anne-Claude Leflaive Clau de Nell, Loire Valley France :: Cabernet Franc $57 Sale $52

The property comprises 10 continuous hectares of vines on a hillock surrounded by open countryside. The highest point of Clau de Nell offers a glimpse of the Loire in the distance. From here, an uninterrupted view unveils the sky and the river on the horizon, as well as rows of Grolleau, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc. These horizontal lines gradually blend together in the blue-coloured morning mist. Under the midday sun, the systematic alignment of the vineyard’s stakes connects the sky to the earth. The land here is imposing with a relief marked by ploughed furrows. Its fresh and supple earth gives the impression of living and breathing.

The trees bordering the vineyard display a rich and delicate palette, comprising different shades of green. In this area, the natural surroundings freely express strength and sensitivity. Passers-by frequently stop here of their own accord, just to take in the ambience.
One just has to follow the path outlining Clau de Nell to arrive at the estate. The scenery is once again surprising, indeed, the location’s troglodyte caves have been converted into natural wine cellars. Their light-coloured tufa limestone surface illuminates the walls. Well-protected in both winter and summer alike, the oak barrels are always maintained at the right temperature. Sometimes on very windy days, spray from the far-away Atlantic Ocean mixes with the earth’s fragrances. This location boasts a truly unique atmosphere.

Hand-picked estate fruit from 40 year old vines was fermented naturally, macerated for 20 days and aged for 18 months on its fine lees in oak. A wonderfully pure expression of the varietal, the wine offers sweet raspberry succulence with tight, velvety tannins that provide depth and lift.

The story of Clau de Nell is one of timing and serendipity. In 2006, Anne-Claude Leflaive – winemaker and owner of the famed Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy – had just established a marketing company to promote and communicate the benefits of biodynamic agriculture and viticulture. While touring biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Loire Valley, she discovered Domaine Clau de Nell. The owners of the estate, Claude and Nelly Pichard were young winemakers who had rapidly established themselves as the “rising stars” of the region. Unfortunately, financial circumstances prevented the couple from producing wines and in 2008, Anne-Claude and her husband Christian Jacques bought the centuries-old Domaine.

The estate is located in the village of Ambillou-Chateau in Anjou, France. The estate vineyard is a long contiguous parcel – 19.77 acres to be exact – which is located on a south-facing knoll at 295 feet above sea level. From the top of the vineyard one can see the Loire River and, from a distance, the Atlantic Ocean 75 miles away. The vines are planted on sandstone grit and red flint over tuffeau (the soft limestone indigenous to the region) and range from 30-90 years old. In 2011, Anne-Claude and Christian bought a two acre parcel called “Clos des Noyers” to which they planted Chenin Blanc, and in 2012 they signed a long-term lease for additional Chenin fruit from a two acre, biodynamically farmed parcel located in Saumur. The estate vineyard is primarily planted to Cabernet Franc (12.35 acres), followed by Grolleau (4 acres) and Cabernet Sauvignon (3.42 acres). The Chenin planted in 2012 and 2013 in Clos des Noyers and the leased vineyard will come into production in 2015.


In 2009, estate manager Sylvain Potin was hired. He keeps yields at the Domaine low (less than 30 h/h). Harvest is done by hand. The fruit is destemmed prior to cuvaison, which lasts for 20-30 days. The goal is not extraction but proper flavor development – the caps are gently punched down and pump overs are kept to a minimum. The wines age for 18 months in five year old Burgundy oak casks in the estate’s centuries old limestone cellar. The wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered on a fruit day, as defined by the biodynamic calendar. Domaine Clau de Nell is part of the prestigious Renaissance des Appellations association and is Demeter certified as 100% biodynamic.

 

2016 Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair “Les Deux Terres”, Burgundy France – Gamay/Pinot Noir :: $30 Sale $26
This new cuvee is a blend. Since Thibault Liger-Belair started his domaine in Moulin a Vent, he has tasted so many good cuvees in the neighboring appellations. It’s why he have decided to blend some cuvées from Bourgogne Pinot Noir and Beaujolais Cru to produce this blend between these two wine regions. The idea of “les Deux Terres” (the two lands) comes from the marriage between Beaujolais and Bourgogne, and Gamay and Pinot Noir.

This domaine, located in Nuits-St.-Georges, has been in the Liger-Belair family for 250 years.  In 2001, Vincent’s son, Thi­bault Liger-Belair, took over the vines as the winemaker and created Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair. Thibault says “the whole of the crus composing the domain and the tradition inherited of a long, family experience requires us today to work the vines with the utmost respect of the terroirs. The quality is primarily decided in the vineyard by attentive cultivation and that one must remain humble in front of the magic of our terroirs. For this reason, the whole of the domaine is cultivated in biological agriculture, both the treatment of the vines and the soil maintenance. I do not practice biological culture as a sacrifice to fashion but by vocation, since I feel that if we want to produce great wines, it is imperative to question each step of the process.”

 

2013 Anne-Claude Leflaive Clau de Nell, Loire Valley France :: Cabernet Franc ::$57 Sale $52

Hand-picked estate fruit from 40 year old vines was fermented naturally, macerated for 20 days and aged for 18 months on its fine lees in oak. A wonderfully pure expression of the varietal, the wine offers sweet raspberry succulence with tight, velvety tannins that provide depth and lift.

The story of Clau de Nell is one of timing and serendipity. In 2006, Anne-Claude Leflaive – winemaker and owner of the famed Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy – had just established a marketing company to promote and communicate the benefits of biodynamic agriculture and viticulture. While touring biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Loire Valley, she discovered Domaine Clau de Nell. The owners of the estate, Claude and Nelly Pichard were young winemakers who had rapidly established themselves as the “rising stars” of the region. Unfortunately, financial circumstances prevented the couple from producing wines and in 2008, Anne-Claude and her husband Christian Jacques bought the centuries-old Domaine.

The estate is located in the village of Ambillou-Chateau in Anjou, France. The estate vineyard is a long contiguous parcel – 19.77 acres to be exact – which is located on a south-facing knoll at 295 feet above sea level. From the top of the vineyard one can see the Loire River and, from a distance, the Atlantic Ocean 75 miles away. The vines are planted on sandstone grit and red flint over tuffeau (the soft limestone indigenous to the region) and range from 30-90 years old. In 2011, Anne-Claude and Christian bought a two acre parcel called “Clos des Noyers” to which they planted Chenin Blanc, and in 2012 they signed a long-term lease for additional Chenin fruit from a two acre, biodynamically farmed parcel located in Saumur. The estate vineyard is primarily planted to Cabernet Franc (12.35 acres), followed by Grolleau (4 acres) and Cabernet Sauvignon (3.42 acres). The Chenin planted in 2012 and 2013 in Clos des Noyers and the leased vineyard will come into production in 2015.

In 2009, estate manager Sylvain Potin was hired. He keeps yields at the Domaine low (less than 30 h/h). Harvest is done by hand. The fruit is destemmed prior to cuvaison, which lasts for 20-30 days. The goal is not extraction but proper flavor development – the caps are gently punched down and pump overs are kept to a minimum. The wines age for 18 months in five year old Burgundy oak casks in the estate’s centuries old limestone cellar. The wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered on a fruit day, as defined by the biodynamic calendar. Domaine Clau de Nell is part of the prestigious Renaissance des Appellations association and is Demeter certified as 100% biodynamic.

 

Saturday Tasting


We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS! 

 

 

 


Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.