Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina $21.99
Txakolina (cha-koh-LEE-na) is a high-acid and low-alcohol style of wine that is traditional in the Basque province of Getaria. Ameztoi, now under the direction of fifth-generation winemaker Ignacio, makes their Txakolina only from the native varietals Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, naturally fermented at very low temperatures to preserve the vivid freshness of the grapes. The refrigerated fermenters are closed to retain natural carbon dioxide, which combines with the crystalline minerality of the grapes to yield an incredibly refreshing and fun aperitif wine that is sure to cut through the summer heat.
Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2014 $48.99
Advocates of the new breed of “natural wines” speak of “low-intervention” wine-making, a hands-off approach in the cellar that, at times, can result in some rather cloudy and indistinct beverages. But this idea of letting the natural process do most of the work is in fact just as at home in the cellar of the most old-school “classic” style producer in Vouvray. Foreau uses only indigenous yeasts for fermentations carried out in 300 liter barrels. Malolactic fermentation is disallowed by the low temperatures and the wine only rests on the lees, with no stirring, for a handful of months before assemblage and bottling. The result is a wine of great purity, power, and expression, capable of aging for decades but seriously impressive any time you open one. Combinations of citrus oil, smoky minerals, almonds, and dried apricots seem to deepen endlessly as the wine unfurls in the glass. LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Estate Argyros Santorini Assyrtiko $29.99
With an average vine age of 70 years and yields as low as one ton per acre (most fine wine is produced from yields between two and three tons per acre), Estate Argyros has the raw materials for truly classic Santorini Assyrtiko. Due to the winds and the scarcity of water in Santorini, the vines are trained into the shapes of baskets or bracelets along the ground, resulting in grapes of brilliant intensity. After a cool fermentation lasting about three weeks the wine rests on the lees in stainless steel with occasional bâtonnage. The nose announces preserved lemon and herbaceous notes, leading to a middle palate with good concentration, no doubt in part due to the high level of dry extract, which in turn provides a lengthy and satisfying finish. The wine develops beautifully with aeration, suggesting that it will evolve nicely over the next five to ten years in the cellar.
Domaine Nicolas Brunet 2012 Vouvray Brut $24.99
I have sung the praises of Domaine Nicolas Brunet before, and will no doubt do so again. The fact remains that this is one of the most under-the-radar, underpriced treasures from not just Vouvray, but from the Loire Valley writ large. Their traditional method Brut spends a minimum of three years on the lees during the second fermentation, and the 2012 has now spent several more years under cork and cage, allowing the wine to really develop the deeper toasty notes that combine with piquant quince and almond blossom, flinty minerals, and hints of lemon zest. In close to 30 years working with wine I do not think I’ve come across anything that matches this quality at this price point. Please note, Now You’re Cooking purchased the rest of the 2012 available in the United States, so come in and stock up while it lasts!