Prosecco Col Fondo
Colli Trevigiani IGT
Old school natural re-fermentation in the bottle, hand harvested, unfiltered, member of ColFondo Agricolo
The Ruggeri brothers (Ruggero and Andrea)
Yellow with green hints and lots of fine active bubbles. First up are creamy yeasty fresh baked scents followed by a pears & mellow apple blend, touch of lychee as it opens, and over time a teeny very light citrus tingle in the way back…it’s beautifully light & dainty. Sipping and all the scents & creaminess are right there…gentle, free and as it grows more full with a little more of a lemon/lime crisp tingle in a good way, and a crumble of sugar cookie with a pinch of salt. Just a dreamy, enchanting glass of bubble love that has enough edge can pair with some good ol’ rock n roll.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: Not tonight
Ruggero & Andrea have designated themselves as “guardians” for their land, and what a beautiful rich, green, sloping vision it is. As in their own words, “We have the duty to transfer a little of the wonderful landscape in which we live into the glasses.” L’ Essenziale completely transports you to their history (how it’s made & etc) and celebrates their native grape. It also links you to a group (ColFondo Agricola) unified under 10 winemaking commandments, secondary fermentation in the bottle, and the sparklers being able to pass a blind tasting & seal of approval before they can carry the project’s logo on the back label. Oh and it doesn’t hurt if you like a little head banging to AC/DC, to join this sparky band of vintners. 🎸🤘Rock on!
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Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG
Settimo Rottaro, Italy
Alessandro, Gian Carlo, Davide, Sergio and Marco
Just like that good old yellow green crayon but shining. Breathing in white flowers & blossoms, mix of green apples, a little green grass, firm crisp pears, a little bubbling citrus spark with a savory herb bundle with sage, thyme, & more, and of course my old familiar of that mineral spring house. Oooh this is delicious! Tasting green apples, pears, light honeysuckle, a sprig of fresh cut grass, a salt rim, and that same herb & mineral hit again. This is gentle, delicate and adventurous at the same time, and as it opens in the heat of tonight it blooms & shows its beauty.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: it’s ok but better on its own
Once upon a time there were five boys/friends that watched their elders revel & devote themselves to the growth & creation of an elixir, “Erbaluce Passito”, and well…it stuck. They did grow up, find their place in the world, but their minds circled back to that happy reminder from their childhood, or as they say “with our project we try to replicate those ancient gestures to give new life to that wonder of taste and inner search that springs out of a Settimo Rottaro Erbaluce Passito glass …” Oh, to have a chance to recapture the past, harness a dream and make it real. Just like their native jewel of a grape…it’s a kind of magic!
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Vineyards certified organic, low intervention, native yeasts
Castilla y León, Spain
Thyge (Chus) Benned Jensen
Deep ruby purple. Give it a little cellar chill out time. Scents start popping up of cherries, plums, strawberries with caps, pinch of black pepper, and then a fine jumble of thyme, cloves, anise & ginger. Taking a few sips and it’s so light & graceful yet with strength (you know…iike an ice dancer), cherry, plum & strawbluecranpomrasberry cocktail, a violet or two, herb & spice blend with a grind of pepper & a teeny twist of lime/orange. I ❤️ this wine!
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: surprisingly brings out all the delicate lovely moments even more
Oh, I never tire of hearing of a person finding their dream. Thyge (or as his friends call him: Chus) left his old work life in Copenhagen and followed a glass of wine that led him to Spain. Pretty darn brave without a background or training in the vines, but I guess love & determination can be a recipe for success. He’s now a champion of native grapes and honestly he has romanced Juan García into a true gem. This bottle lured me in and then made me pick up a second one. Just follow the instructions in the name “Bébeme” and “drink me”. 🍷
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Sauvignon Blanc 2022
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Belén & El Principal vineyards
Sustainable, hand harvested, unoaked
Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Winemaker: Ricardo Baettig
Crack the can and pour…very light yellow-green shimmer. Scents come running out immediately of a passionfruit/grapefruit/mango cocktail quickly followed by a citrus party blend, tomato leaf, some green pepper & a little pinch of cayenne, and a light river rock in the back, Sipping and so smooth and easy. All of the scents are in the tastes and the green pepper is a little bit amped with cayenne in a good way, now this may sound odd but it’s really good…it tastes like a green tomato plant/leaf smells, some honeysuckle, green pears, Golden Delicious apples, lemon & lime zest, and that musky mineral goodness keeps it all level.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: NO
Prisma’s vibrant can art kind of spells out all the delight you find inside, and it’s also very portable & easily recyclable which is a huge plus for me. It all comes from a collaboration between Brazos Imports & Grupo Belén, which leads me to search for info on the vineyards. Turns out they have to be from Viña Morandé (one of the most awarded wineries in South America-Decanter 2023), established by Pablo Morandé who is also part of the same Grupo. Ricardo Baettig is also Morandé’s winemaker. So this all comes full circle and I can quit chasing my tail trying to see how all this fits together. Now, that is out of my system, going to just enjoy popping another can & kick back with the perfect music & video pairing for this wine of PRISMA’s “Andy”. If you like the Raveonettes, Vivian Girls, Strawberry Switchblade, PSB & Dave Gahan, etc…then you will love these two Danish sisters. Oh, and one more thing, don’t forget to recycle that can and leave the world a greener place.
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Vini Conestabile della Staffa
Umbria Rosso IGT
Monte Melino, Italy
Winegrower & maker: Danilo Marcucci
Ruby…think deep stained glass like Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Breathing in scents of cherry, plum, a dash of good funk then violets, mini roses, a slight vanilla touch, and a mix of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and as it says a rustic vibe. Tasting and it starts off tart & alive with cherries & plums, oil cured olive pits, dried crushed herb blend maybe tarragon & thyme, smoke, black & white pepper, juicy blackberries, red currants, tart & fresh green & pink strawberries, and a wood shaving from my grandfather’s shop.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: deliciously smooth
Y’all know how much I love wine, but it’s also the tales, the history, and what draws people to work the vines. Reading about Danilo Marcucci on SelectioNaturel’s site and they write he’s the first to say this is his wife’s land and “he is merely a guest, married to the vines and his wife Alessandra’s noble lineage” (dating back to the Middle Ages w an arranged marriage in the 1700s sealing the families’ deal). He just rebooted everything, and was lucky that chemicals were never used on the land, since he’s been called “Italy’s Lord of Natural Wine”. He learned from old school masters after being introduced to a glass of nature, and his philosophy is “No chemistry in the vineyard, no technology in the cellar.” Sometimes keeping it all about nothing can make everything oh so beautiful.
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Organic, vegan, gluten free & no chemical additives
Created by Álvaro de la Viña & Ana González (Selections de la Viña)
Crack open and pour on the rocks or you can just drink it straight up from the can (an orange slice is suggested too but I’m fine as is). It’s warm gold with lovely active bouncing bubbles. Take a sniff and there’s mountain herbs, blossoms & other white flowers, that lovely dry vermouth smell joined with a pop of nose tickling citrus. Sipping and again that delicious vermouth taste and feel and again that mountain herby along with a touch of coriander/cloves, a drop of clover honey, and a red grapefruit juice splash.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: bleh
This is one fun cocktail to sip holding onto the last bits of summer while embracing the oncoming feel of fall. Álvaro & Ana selected the vermouth for this recipe from Bodegas Robles in Montilla-Moriles, who have been around since 1927, and organic since the 90s. There’s an extra gift that comes with their wines/vermouths…they have paired soundscapes which are “not so much a prescription for the ‘right’ matching of wines and sounds as an invitation to open up to what your senses awaken in you.” So when you pop this can and let it roll around over your tongue, what do you feel?
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Anne Pichon Wines
Gris Montagne 2022
Grenache 50%, Cinsault 30%, Syrah 10%, Carignan 10%
Organic, biodynamic, sustainable, indigenous yeast
Ventoux, Rhône, France
Winemakers & nature lovers: Anne Pichon & Véronique
Very light orange pinky rose. Nothing is overpowering in the scents. It’s fresh yet a little creamy with cherries, plums, some mellow melon, and sea breeze & wet stones. Sip and it’s delicate yet vibrant at the same time, plums (red & yellow with the fruit, skins & all), cherries, pomegranate, that touch of cream feel, a strawberry/raspberry blend with salt & lick of rock, and a lemon zing slides in toward the end.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: absolutely delicious
Every bottle of Anne Pichon’s wines that I’ve had fill me with different emotions. Some have been passion, others pure joy, and this one a gentle caress of peace, love & and a dreamy slow moving time in the countryside. Now back to how this wine came about. Anne & Marc (her husband, who sadly passed away) Pichon found a perfect place to make wine in an already organic yet left behind domaine that came with quite a romantic name in my bee & bug loving book, “Mur-Mur-Ium” (the buzzing song of bees). Aptly named since they even have a beekeeper that’s placed his hives in the vines, which is a sheer delight for me. As I’ve babbled about before, my great-grandfather was a beekeeper & these beneficial creatures fascinate me. There’s a video “The T Edward Morning Show with Véronique of Anne Pichon” & her description of her brother Marc as a nature lover full of passion & a free spirit was so beautiful; how they as a family decided to continue with the winery even after his death is so touching. After listening to Véronique’s words, their “Sauvage” wines seem to me to be like a love letter to nature, it’s complexity, strength & beauty. ❤️🐝
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Catch & Release Wines
Block Party 2022
Pinot Gris 50%, Riesling 30%, Gewürztraminer 20%
Organic, native yeasts
Beno Stewart & Monica Varriale
Rose tinted orange sunset with unfiltered goodness. Scents of a papaya/mango/orange-citrus cocktail blend with a little Creamsicle, some heady blossoms, a bit of musky IPA tangerine, and a salty slate breeze with a teeny bit of natural good funk in the way back. All of the scents are there in the taste and also a bit more natural sweet like honeysuckle, touches of fresh squeezed Valencia oranges, cantaloupe, a lime pop, and a smidge more of that salty slate. So delightful and easy to enjoy so don’t overthink this smile in a bottle, just grin and wink right back at it.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: NOPE
Catch and release used to be what I did at my grandparents’ pond except the day I was using my kid’s reel and a giant catfish swallowed my plastic toy hook. Let’s just say my great-grandmother “Nana” had to come over and make some of the best batter fried catfish I ever had. Actually this wine would have been great with it but at the time was paired with Pepsi. Now let’s get back to the present and this wine. Beno & Monica sum up their objectives best, “We make wines we like to drink, in partnership with growers who lead from the front of regenerative farming. We champion simplicity, prioritize delicacy, and crave acidity at every turn.” What better reason than to make yourself, others and the earth happy. I say raise another glass to them, and “Get The Party Started”!
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The End Of Nowhere
100% Pinot Gris
Organic, hand harvested, native yeasts, unfined & unfiltered
Grapes from Heringer Vineyard in Yolo County
Amador City, CA
Founder and winemaker: Chris Walsh
Burnt orange red stained glass. Sniffing and there’s cherry wit a teeny touch of balsamic, rhubarb, strawberries red & green, ripe bell pepper, and a dusting of white pepper. First sip and those strawberries & rhubarb are there again along with tart & smooth cherry, a cranberry & bell pepper cocktail, a grind of white pepper, and a lemon peel twist.
Pairs with Cheez-Its: deliciously vibrant
Drinking another glass and listening to “Hallo Spaceboy” remix on repeat. Will admit I am a fangirl of Bowie, Eno & PSB, so this bottle just said bring me home, and that led me to finding out who Chris Walsh is. Originally from Amador, his dreams took him to NYC. Eventually he ended up in the food & wine industry, became a sommelier, and then realized it was time to return back to his roots, home, wine studies, and work with great wineries & winemakers (two in particular I love: Donkey & Goat and Matthew Rorick). Now he has 2 lines of wines. “Little John Lane” made with grapes he grows on his 10 acres, and “The Edge of Nowhere” sourced from Sierra Foothills small organic growers he respects and trusts. As he says, “We are committed to practicing organic farming and treating the land with more than a little love. We live here, and will do whatever it takes to preserve our land for future generations… even if that pulling weeds by hand.”
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100% Zibibbo di Pizzo
Calabria Bianco IGP
Organic, sustainable, hand harvested, native yeasts
Francavilla Angitola, Italy
Yellow green shining light. Sniffing and wow! There’s melons (honeydew with a bit of cantaloupe & more), pears, peaches, lemon soda & citrus blend with a touch of tangelo, a whole bed of flowers including a heady bit of wisteria & magnolia, dusting of vanilla/Oreo cream filling, and a lovely lush & lingering memory of a night filled with amore. All of those scents are there in the taste but a bit more festive & floral with a musky melon, a cream feel evened out with that citrus lemony lime-arita zing with a salty rim, and a gentle touch of our old cool spring house (sans salamanders). Just so good!
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: crisps it all up so depends on your mood
Zibibbo di Pizzo has one passionate champion and protector in Giovanni Benvenuto. After his studies in agronomy, he returned to his grandfather’s land and treated it (and still does) in the natural reverent way it deserved…going organic and sustainable. He’s also joined in his/their cause with a few other growers/winemakers (aka “I vignaioli dell’Angitola”) to resurrect, rebirth & keep this ancient grape (Zibibbo) flourishing. Honestly if there was a fan club for this grape, I’d be more than happy to join because this wine is flirtatious, romantic, just makes me so happy, and reminds me that beautiful experiences like this show me that we do live in “What A Wonderful World”.
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