Category Archives: This weeks directons to great juice

Move over Tang Wolfe’s got the JURA!

Couch potatoes, control freeks, non deviating schedule keepers stop reading-now. However, sky divers, envelope pushers, proverbial I’ll try anything oncer’s you are confirmed for a wild ride and may read on.

Most of the Miami wine community is about as boring as the politics here in the closest state to the US.  Hum drum, mid numbing and rooted in over extracted, unbalanced, looking for big scores, kind of swill.  Saving me from the “suck the life out of my body & brain” is of all things twitter.  Yup, one of the only connections I have to witty wine world outside of the shepards that lead most palates to the same slaughter over and over again here in Dwade county.  Vicariously living or pretending to live in places like; NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and for that matter even Madison saves my cerebral cortex from implosion.

Budding “twitterships” have made me focus on some out of the box growers, regions and importers that have made their mark with wine that is true to one thing…itself!  Hey South Florida, don’t say I told you, but, I introduce you to the wines of the Jura.

Situated to the west of Switzerland, the Jura is a French AOC that is indeed influenced by the soils and weather of burgundy to her immediate west. Slope, southeast exposure, limestone and fossils are truly similar to those of the Cote d’Or.  In the 4 AOC’s; Cotes du Jura, Arbois, L’Etoile & Chateau-Chalon all give Jerez, Montilla and Tequilla a run for their noses from the highly oxidative qualities of this region where it is not uncommon to ferment and then leave Chardonnay, Savagnin & Melon-Queue-Rouge in old burgundian barrels for years while it develops a similar “flor” that contributes to the impressive nuttiness of her whites.  Poulssard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau are the dark skinned Jura grapes that produce super light to deeply colored wines that are super interesting with soft, smooth and a satisfying old world balance.

Friday night after two months of being educated as to where the hell is the Jura actually is, what  grapes are grown here and who are the growers that matter are, we had our first tasting of 3 growers from two AOC’s within the region.  Arbois & L’Etoile, Chardonnay, Melon-Queue-Rouge, Poulssard & Trousseau. 

The wines were opened at 10:30 in the morning, both the whites and the reds to allow for optimum development for the tasting at 7pm.  Not even the most amazing burgundies had a transformation as these did with ample air.   

  

 Michel Gahier Chardonnay “Les Crets”, Arbois 2007 – throw out  your pre-conceived Chardonnay notions out the window as soon as you take a quick whiff of its slightly oxidized aroma. You might even momentarily mistake it for a sherry–but that’s what makes this low-alcohol, food-friendly Chard as particular, and wonderful, as the place from which it hails. With its aromas of talc, nuts, fleshy, ripe pears, and apples and has a cream-cutting acidity and tanginess on the tongue that begs for a a spoonful of nutty cheese.  

Niocole Deriaux Domaine de Montbourgeau,  L’ Etoile 2008 – Chardonnay-based white a great alternative to white Burgundy. Super crisp flavors and precise aromas, ranging from toasted nuts, to fresh stone fruit, with a supple feel in the mouth and considerable body. 

Nicole Deriaux Domaine de Montbourgeau Cuvee Speciale, L’ Etoile 2005 Attractive golden-yellow with a pronounced sherried nose. It reminds me of late season apple orchard visits, sitting amongst the fallen apples and leaves. Pears, apple cidery tones, caramel, hazelnuts, slightly sweet bouquet. On the palate, bone-dry cider, nuts, earthiness. The oxidation is rescued by razor-sharp acidity and intense minerality that carries through the finish. This wine just oozes individuality and terroir.

Jacques Puffeney, Arbois 2005 Melon-Queue-Rouge loosely translated as “grape with a red tail. This variety of Chardonnay is distinguished by a small pink region at one end of each berry. The wine is fermented in stainless steel then moved to wood for 18-24 months of aging before being bottled. Non-oaky Chardonnay you will have no difficulty appreciating the taste of this wine. Puffeney does not fine or filter his wines; perhaps that shows in the juicy snap and volume of this delicious white wine.  

Michel Gahier Ploussard, Arbois 2009 – A relative value in its category. Quite a light example of this grape variety, the wine shows strawberry, floral raspberry and the faintest hint of red, citrusy blood orange. This was one of the wines that needed a roller coaster of 8 hours to wake up and become a quite lovely bottle of wine. 

Michel Gahier Trousseau, Arbois 2008 – Upon opening  this wine it was like drinking a just tilled garden.  Then 3 hours later this was my tasting note “seems like it went to the circus & played w/ the elephants while rolling in walnut oil.  Then at the tasting the red fruits, pepper and minerality just burst out of the glass. All naturally made with nervous acidity, intense flavors of tart cherry, cranberry skin, hibiscus, cinnamon spice, and a savory finish.

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Turkey Day Wines Free Friday Nov. 19th 7-9pm

Join us for a free tasting Friday Night from 7-9 of wines for the Holiday Table:

Arnaud Ente Aligote 2007– With its lovely, pure Aligoté nose, this is a racy and exciting wine. Old vines and meticulous work in both the vineyard and the cellar are responsible for the high level of quality. Bright lemon and pungent lemon zest mingle with chalky, saline minerality in this Aligote from 70 year old vines. This is tart, but ultra-refreshing and invigorating.

JJ Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Kabinet Riesling 2008– Wurzgarten means “spice garden,” to give you an idea of what to expect here. Christoffel is one of Mosel’s great producers, and doesn’t disappoint here. Smell and taste thyme, fresh lemon/lime, red currants, sassafrass and lots of classic Mosel slate. OFF-DRY.

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2008 -This Pinot Gris has some weight to it, but seems lighter for the clean-cut acidity that defines the wine. Hints of licorice and white pepper spice up the white peach and lemon zest flavors, with smoke and brine on the finish Indice 1 $47btl

Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau 2010– This is how Nouveau is supposed to be, but very very very rarely is! This new wine naturally settled in the cave as the winter chill circulated through open windows for months, then it was bottled unfined, unfiltered, and unsulfured and shipped by plane in mid-November. The wine was made with natural yeasts only and was not chaptalized. You are getting wine in its most natural state possible. You don’t want to know what most people do to stabilize their Nouveau. But this Domaine doesn’t worry, because their wine is drunk up so quickly. Besides, the Dupeubles know what they are doing; their family has been making wine here since 1512

Domaine Lapierre Morgon 2008 

This incredibly natural, velvety Beaujolais made of 100% Gamay is perhaps the purest expression of this region’s wines we have ever tasted. Made by a father and son team, Domaine Lapierre Morgon is made from meticulously hand harvested grapes, with gentle and natural winemaking methods, and oak aging in Burgundy barrels from Domaine Prieure-Roch in Vosne Romanee. 3rd generation farmer Marcel Lapierre had been farming with biodynamic methods for close to 30 years and eschewing full carbonic maceration. With his tragic passing earlier this month at the age of 60, his son Mathieu will take full charge of the winemaking and continue his father’s legacy, hopefully for many, many vintages to come…

Elyse Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2007– is deep plum colored with exotic aromas of clove, espresso, violets, cola and blackberry compote. On the palate big flavors of strawberries, wild plums, cinnamon, blackberry, blueberry and hints of coffee and spice lead to a broad mouthfeel with smooth, yet firm tannins. This wine is loaded with big fruit and spice flavors, has fine texture, great structure and a strong backbone making it a great candidate for ageing.  Go ahead and order that 22 ounce Porterhouse! Or bring out the wild game, lamb shank or some strong cheeses. Use your imagination, this wine is versatile!

Neyers Zinfandel Pato Ranch Contra Coasta County 2008– When this vineyard was being planted, William Jennings Bryan was being nominated as the Democratic candidate for president. Now, more than 110 years later, the vines are still producing a small crop. The wine we make from it has been hailed as one of the most respected bottlings of Zinfandel to come out of the state. We’re aware that many winemakers would succeed with the fruit from this unique vineyard; we feel fortunate to be the temporary beneficiaries of a rare treasure. We refrigerate the grapes as they are harvested, meticulously inspect every cluster twice before crushing it, and do a skin contact maceration for 45-60 days before the tank is drained and pressed. The finished wine is then aged in 60-gallon French oak barrels for 10 months before our customary unfiltered bottling

Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2007– Beautiful nose of crushed rose petals and red raspberry. Flavors of ripe black cherry, raspberry and spiced fruit with tones of French oak. Finishes with a lush velvety mouthfeel. Although Old Vine is often loosely interpreted in the wine industry, Seghesio’s benchmark is fifty years. The average age of the vines producing this wine nears 90 years!

Robert Biale Zinfandel “Black Chicken” Napa 2008-Another in a line of big, bruiser, powerful yet gloriously drinkable Zins from Robert Biale. This blackish purple wine shows currant, blackberry, dried fruit, molasses, berry jam and vanilla flavors on its luscious mid-palate. Supple, young tannins emerge on the rich and jammy finish. 91 points Wine Spectator: “Dense yet sleek, with blackberry and cracked pepper aromas and complex, layered flavors of plum, licorice and roasted sage, finishing with firm, loamy tannins


Only 1750btls & 66 Magnums Arnaud Ente’s Volnay Les Santenots 2006

I have had a personal connection with this grower since I fell in love with wine.  It was 1997 and I was on my first “kiss the dirt” & “schmooze with the farmers” tour with Kermit Lynch Imports, more specifically w/ Bruce Neyers.  We were in Beaune and had the most amazing dinner at Ma Cuisine (the place to eat and drink and rub elbows with the famous in Burgundy), Bruce and the elders retired to their hotel room and left (at that time) the young guns behind with Arnaud and his wife.  Arnaud invited us back to his house for a tasting in the cellar, which was at the time no bigger than my single car garage. The 4 of us along with Arnaud and his wife all picked a barrel to straddle and sit atop, funny thing that I still remember was the TINY amount of wine…we were “Riding” 6 barrels and there may have been maybe another 10 in the tiny cellar.  That night we passed the wine thief around and Drank 4 whites and 2 reds out of the barrel till the sun came up.  When the rooster sounded, myself and one other who could get to his feet left with Arnaud and went to La Goutte d’Or his most prized Premier Cru vineyard to this day.  He has two rows which drunkenly we help him with “Ecolage”(yes its French but the only word I know) the training of the shoot of the vines through the wires and breaking the cane at a point so the canopy fills in around the fruit zone. Yes, I think I was 29 and I was having the best time ever and have never forgotten my time in Beaune or his wines.

Arnaud Ente is a perfectionist. He works his vineyards meticulously (en bio, but not officially certified), yields are low. His aim is to make pure, mineral wines. He gained experience working with no other than Coche-Dury. In 1992 he began his own Domaine, renting vineyards from his father-in-law. Today he belongs, as far as I’m concerned, to the Big Four of Meursault (the others being the usual suspects Comtes Lafon, Coche-Dury and Roulot), even though the domaine is quite small (a little over 4 hectares) and Ente doesn’t have a lot of premier cru’s in his line-up.

Ente is better known for his Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts and his various Meursault bottlings, but this is flat-out gorgeous red Burgundy. Light to medium garnet color (always a good sign for me, suggesting no heavy extraction); the bouquet is just so lovely – ripe cherries, inflected with subtle notes of pine and sea salt; the palate is one of fleshy red cherry fruit, underpinned by a solid mineral core and kept fresh by bright acids; the lovely inner-mouth perfume is the clincher. This is Volnay!

Arnaud Ente describes 2006 as “one of those vintages where the maturities arrived late but very fast. Sugars were high, in fact, we had the best sugars since 1999. I started picking very early by the standard of the ban de vendange [officially mandated harvest date, which was declared on the 18th], which is to say on the 13th of September as I asked for, and received, a permit to begin early. I have relatively precocious terroirs and I didn’t want too much alcohol for no good reason. I did a rather soft vinification for the reds, which in this case meant that I did a relatively long cuvaison but with no punching down at all. There was also no chaptalization, which is the first time that this has ever happened to me.” A gentle touch of wood frames much more elegant red berry fruit aromas that are cool, pure and detailed and this sense of reserve continues onto the mineral-infused and serious flavors that possess integrated tannins.


Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe Homage to International Grenache Day Friday Sept. 24th

grenache 
ALL HAIL GRENACHE
AT WOLFE’S WINE SHOPPE 
 Friday, September 24th  7-9pm
 

At a recent international symposium held in the south of France, the participants decided to designate one day to promote the greatness of Grenache — “G Day”– to occur around the world. Grenache is a red grape used widely in producing red wine throughout Spain and France, as well as in other parts of the world. It is somewhat sweet, and its primary use in wine is as a blending grape, rather than being used on its own. In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha, where it is the single-most planted grape in the country. There are two varieties, known as Garnacha Tinta and Garnacha Blanca, with the red variety Tinta being by far the more popular. We are doing our part in this global movement to put Grenache in its rightful place on the wine map and hope you will join us.

  $10 to all Wolfe Pack who go old school and call (305) 445-4567 or E-mail with an RSVP to jeffrey@wolfeswines.com or send us a tweet @wolfeswines, otherwise it’s $20 at the door.

 
Wines to be tasted:  
Les Brugueres, Scala Dei, Priorat 2008
Altovinum “Evodia” Old Vines Garnacha, Calatayud 2008
Artazuri Garnacha, Navara 2009
Le Pigeoulet en Provence, 2008
Maxime Francois Laurent “Pourpre” Cotes du Rhone 2008
Domaine Pallieres Gigondas 2006
Domaine le Sang de Cailloux Vacqueyras Cuvee Floureto 2007
Paisajes VII Rioja 2006
Capcanes Cabrida, Montsant 2008

 

 
 
 
     
 

Happy 5771 L’Shana Tova

The Kosher Wine Rub from Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe just in time for and for Rosh Hashana & Yom Kipper   

What is it exactly that makes a wine kosher? A kosher wine is one handled only by Sabbath-observant Jews-those individuals who observe kosher dietary laws. In addition, kosher winemakers are forbidden to use any products, such as unauthorized yeasts or animal-based fining agents, that might fall outside the parameters of kosher convention and thus compromise the ritual essence of the wine.

Yet aside from the individuals who are permitted to come in contact with the wine or grape juice, there is no difference between the techniques used to make a kosher wine and a non-kosher wine. That is unless the kosher wine is designated mevushal, perhaps the most misunderstood term in the kosher wine tradition.

Literally speaking, “mevushal” means “boiled.” However, mevushal wines are not boiled in the literal sense of the word. They are heated to a temperature that meets the requirements of an overseeing rabbi, which admittedly is pretty high. The modern technique of making wine Mevushal is to run the “must” quickly through a heat flash pasteurizing unit where the wine is quickly heated to at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit.                                              

For Sabbath-observant Jews, kosher wine is holy in nature. But after a kosher wine has been ritually heated to become mevushal, it is less sensitive to ritual exclusions. A mevushal wine can be handled (or poured) by a non-kosher Jew or even a non-Jew and still retain its kosher integrity. As a result, mevushal wines are far more practical to serve in kosher dining establishments where non-kosher staff may attend to kosher dinner guests.

By contrast, a non-mevushal-or non-heated-kosher wine remains highly sensitive to religious custom in both the production stage and after bottling. A bottle of non-mevushal wine may not be opened or served to Sabbath-observant Jews by anyone other than equally observant Jewish individuals.

The rub for me with mevushal wines, it’s that heating a wine to a high temperature does not usually improve its sensory qualities. Under such conditions, heated wines can take on a sweet, maderized taste or even a burned, rubbery edge.

So here are our selectionso of un-heated non mevushal wines for the holiday’s

Teperberg Family Estate Meritage, Judean Hills, 2007                                                                                                                                                      The Meritage from the Teperberg Reserve series is an exceptional wine, blended in the “noble” Bordeaux traditional style, using the Ella Valley grapes. This Meritage is a blend of the classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France and Petit Verdot. While most wines are named after a single varietal, Meritage wines represent the highest form of the winemaker’s art of blending. This Meritage has a rich fruity character of cherry and blackberry with overtones of oak and is full bodied with a well balanced structure.

Teperberg Family Estate Reserve Cabernet, Judean Hills 2006                                                                                                        Dark toward inky-garnet, full-bodied, reflecting its 15 months in oak with gentle spices and a hint of smoke, with once firm tannins now settling in and fine balance with wood and fruits. On the nose and palate an appealing array of spicy currant, blackberry, cedar and mineral notes, those light hints of anise and cigar tobacco on the long and generous finish.

Binyanina Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007        The Yogev label (Yogev means “worker of the land”, farmer), which reflects the contribution of dedicated winegrowers, toilers of the soil, to the quality wine that is the outcome of a process that begins in the vineyards.  Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) from the vineyard of Eli Heyman in Karmei Yosef.   Merlot (50%) from the vineyard of Dror Eliraz in Moshav Lachish (both Samson Area). The wine reveals typical fruit aromas with hints of red fruit scents, is slightly jammy and seasoned with a pinch evergreen. A medium bodied, complex and richly flavored wine that is ready to drink now.

 

Barkan Altitude Series Cabernet Sauvignon 720 2007                                                                                                                                                      This regal purple and black Cabernet Sauvignon from the Altitude series is derived from the vineyard on Mt. Godrim on the Lebanese border (720 meters above sea level) to achieve its cool climate aroma of eucalyptus, mint, and coffee, with tastes of cherries, cassis, herbs, and a hint of tobacco. Aged for twelve months in French oak casks. Cabernet Sauvignon 720 displays a powerful and elegant finish.

YatirCabernet/Shiraz/Merlot 2006                                                                                                                                                                                                  A blend of 35% Merlot, 24% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Typically, this wine has three principal grapes, listed in order, and some supporting characters. The order tends to change from year to year. This year’s version is rather light in the mid-palate, but well focused and rather suave with ripe tannins providing some grip on the finish. It has a sunny demeanor and a sort of sweet ‘n’ herbal medley of flavors.

 

 

Capcanes Peraj Haabib Petita, Montsant 2007–                                                                                                                                                                    Medium ruby with flucks of violet; fresh, seductive aromas of red berries and cherry; loads of red fruits in taste; crispy and ripe, concentrated and well balanced but not over-powered; very Garnacha in character and mineral in taste. Medium finish with crispy but soft tannins Rich and powerful fruit of very old indigenous Garnacha bush vines coupled with the structure of black, muscular Carinena and deeply concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon makes this an amazingly full bodied and unique wine.

Capanes Peraj Haabib, Montsant 2008                                                                                                                                                                                          Our most amazing kosher wine, at least that’s what the Wolfepack feels.  The wine is incredibly dark in color with a fabulous black cherry, chocolate and floral nose. In the mouth, the Peraj Ha’abib showed medium fine tannins, fresh acidity and a round mouthfeel, ebbing to a long, lush dark spice and red fruit finish. Definitely a fun wine, and worthy of all the accolades.

7 requirements that must be followed in order to produce a Kosher wine.

  1. According to the practice known as orla, the grapes of new vines cannot be used for winemaking until the fourth year of planting.
  2. No other fruits or vegetables may be grown in between the rows of the vines (kalai hakerem)
  3. After the first harvest, the field must lie fallow every seventh year. Each of these sabbatical years is known as shnat shmita.
  4. From the onset of the harvest, only kosher tools and storage facilities may be used in the winemaking process, and all of the winemaking equipment must be cleaned [sometimes up to 7 times with hot water] to be certain that no foreign objects remain in the equipment or vats.
  5. From the moment the grapes reach the winery, only Sabbath observant [male] Jews are allowed to come in contact with the wine.
  6. All of the materials (e.g. yeasts) used in the production and clarification of the wines must be certified as kosher.
  7. A symbolic amount of wine, representing the tithe (truma vama’aser) once paid to the Temple in Jerusalem must be poured away from the tanks or barrels in which the wine is being made.

Mas D’en Compte Priorat (Porrera) 2006 at Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe

One of the oldest grape-growing families in the Priorat, the Sangenis family had historically sold the entirety of their production to the local coop until 1995 when they formed a new company, Mas d’en Compte, to bottle wine under their own name. Now, young Joan Sangenis manages the estate and makes the wines and has converted the entire estate away from chemical pesticides and herbicides.

In a region where almost everyone has a few vines over 50 years old, the Sangenis family’s entire vineyard is practically this old, with several small parcels of 100+ year old vines of Grenache and Carignan. Also, they are one of the few holders of extremely old vine white Grenache, a varietal that many properties have ripped out. This old vine material means that yields are extremely low and concentration quite high.

50% garnacha, 40% carinena and 10% cabernet sauvignon) Bright ruby. Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas are energized by blood orange and baking spices. Fresh red fruit flavors are complicated by an exotic lavender pastille quality and given lift by juicy acidity. An elegant, precise wine that finishes with excellent tangy cut and persistence. Nothing overdone here.  It was aged for 14 months in new French and American oak. It reveals a bouquet of toasty oak, pencil lead, lavender, spice box, and black cherry. Firm and structured on the palate, it is very tasty in a straightforward manner. It can be enjoyed over the next eight years.


Slow Food Miami Film Series with the “Wolfepack”

Slow Food Miami Film Series with Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe

For those who see the word Salt on the marquis and think immediately of food seasoning, not Angelina Jolie, consider Slow Food Miami’s just announced film series, beginning with a screening of today Ingredients: A Documentary Film , which explores solutions for creating a community based on seasonal food, on August 26th at 8:15 p.m. at the Coral Gables Museum. And so you don’t go hungry and gnaw on your nails during the movie, they’re also offering pre-theater dining options featuring special menu selections with “vibrant seasonal menus by chefs who support the local food movement.”

Among the participating chefs: Chef Allen at Books & Books, Norman Van Aken of Norman’s 180 and Cindy Hutson at Ortanique on the Mile. Movie tix are $15 and available here. Dinners range from $24 to $55. Jeffrey Wolfe and the “Wolfepack” at Wolfe’s Wines will be pouring film-relevant wines directly following the screening in order to inspire conversation. He will also be working with Sommeliers at each restaurant on pairing selections.Can’t make this one? Don’t fret. It’s the first of several local and sustainable food-related films and dinners continuing