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Flatiron Wines & Spirits
929 Broadway
New York, NY, 10010
212-477-1315

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Latest Blog Entries

Natural Discovery in 2015 Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage

by josh-cohen

There are treats and than there are very rare treats. There’s nothing more exciting than being turned on to a truly great producer from a favorite region for the first time. Make the discovery in stellar vintage, like 2015 Northern Rhône, and you have a very rare treat. Natacha Chave’s Crozes and St. Joseph were just such a treat. Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise. We were at a tasting put on by Jeffrey Alpert, a very tiny boutique importer you probably haven’t heard of. He doesn’t blog, he doesn’t retail or even distribute his wines himself. But he does find absolutely stunning natural producers (like Ganevat, no less!). But even amongst the lineup of Jeffrey’s recent discoveries, Natacha’s wines stood out. They were delicious and tasted precisely of their terroirs—but in a personal way. They were clearly made by the same vigneronne with a distinct philosophy. They shared the same feelings of freshness and unforced complexity. They evolved in the glass and, when we decided to stay and eat lunch afterwards, hers were the wines we went back to again and again. The wines we want to drink are the wines we want to buy, so we did a little research. We liked what we learned. Natacha grew up in a winemaking family. Her brother, Yann Chave, took over the family domaine when she was still studying philosophy. And when she finally decided to make wine, she knew she needed to strike out on her own—she “just didn’t like the limitations that would go along with joining [her] brother.”   Working without limitations, born from a tiny parcel in the old heart of Saint-Joseph Working without limitations has led to great things. She founded her domaine, Aléofane, with a tiny parcel in the old heart of Saint Joseph. Three years later she added some old vines in Crozes. She farms organically (she’s certified) and with biodynamic techniques. She's experimenting with new plantings of the old Sérine clone from massale selection. Sulfur use is minimal. Her winemaking aims to let the fruit and terroir speak. She does very little extraction (a bit of pumping over) during the long, slow fermentations made on the natural yeasts. There’s about a week of maceration before she moves the wine to large demi-muids and some barrels for 10-12 months of aging. Her wines sound old-fashioned and traditional, and in a way they are. But they have an accessibility that seems to be her unique take on the approach. Working like this, on her own terms only, means the wines get all her attention and are incredible expressions of her vision of the terroir. It also means there aren’t a lot of bottles. She’s been discovered in Europe, so almost none of the little she makes comes to America.   We should really keep these for ourselves, shouldn’t we? We bought all we could and offered them to our newsletter subscribers, leaving us with just bottles.  Normally, with a new discovery like this, we would have gleefully stashed away the rest in our library but, after discussing amongst ourselves, decided that the wines were just too delicious and the story too good that we had to share what little we had left. As such, we are thrilled to be offering a sampler pack to our loyal blog readers, good while supplies last: buy any 3 or more of these wines and take 10% off with the code ALEOFANE10, at checkout. Shop all the wines now or learn more about each, below. DOMAINE ALÉOFANE, CROZES-HERMITAGE, 2015 $27.99 Good structure, very fine tannins, mineral notes. Fairly old vines (from the ‘70s) and so some depth, but absolutely delicious right now. John Livingston-Learmonth liked the wine and gave it a ****(*) rating (very high for him!). DOMAINE ALÉOFANE, ST. JOSEPH ROUGE, 2015 $32.99 This is a slightly more serious wine with sharper-edged minerality and one that we’ll be laying down (as well as drinking now). JLL says “this is rather stately, impressive.” DOMAINE ALÉOFANE, ST. JOSEPH BLANC, 2016 $29.99 Delicious Marsanne/Roussanne 50/50 blend that is generous up front and mineral and fresh on the finish. Only 250 cases made. -Josh Want to get more offers like these straight to your inbox? Sign-up for our newsletter already! As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine. We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. ;)

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A cut above the rest: 2013 Collemattoni Brunello

by josh-cohen

2013—a very good Brunello vintage Don’t yawn! I know vintage hype can be tiring, especially in Italy, where climate change has (for now, at least)—really been a friend to wine. The message can get repetitive. For instance, in Montalcino three of the past four vintages (2010-2013) have been all-stars (and early tastes of 2014s have even revealed some gems in that tricky year). But having too many good vintages in quick succession is a good problem to have, right? So I'm not going to shirk from asking you to pay attention to the 2013 Brunelli, as it's what we call a "classic" vintage with especially strong communication of terroir. The wines are lifted, light-filled things of beauty. One of the best examples I've tasted so far is from Collemattoni, an organic estate with holdings in Sant' Angelo in Colle and Castelnuovo dell'Abate. Like the same year in Piedmont, from which we have already seen many great releases, Tuscany enjoyed a longer, cooler growing season with more sun hours than in the preceding couple of vintages. Timing of the harvest was trickier in Tuscany, though, with a threat of September rain. Producers who picked too early or too late ended up with wines that don't show the full potential of the vintage. But those estates that got it right, Collemattoni among them, turned out wines of exceptional elegance and balance. Why Collemattoni?  A cut above Seriously under-known relative to its quality, Collemattoni is a very traditional estate, using a 20- to 25-day maceration and aging the Brunello in large Slavonian casks for at least 30 months. Their most modern twist is environmentalism: not only are they certified organic, but 80% of the winery’s electricity comes from solar panels and biomass processing. Meanwhile the pricing is definitely a throw-back to past years. And if you take advantage of our Blog Special, you’ll have some delicious wine for now and (if you can cellar it) many years of future enjoyment.  Through Sunday 6/24, just use the code – COLLEMATTONI13 – once you add the wine to your cart. Collemattoni, Brunello di Montalcino, 2013 $49.99 $45.99 on 3 or more bottles. There’s nothing better of a summer evening than a big steak off the grill (or out of the cast iron skillet) with a bottle of Brunello. This Collemattoni is great now, but only going to get better with time. -Josh Want to get more offers like these straight to your inbox? Sign-up for our newsletter already! As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine. We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. ;)

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NYC: This Week's Tastings!

by chris

Virgil Kaine Whiskey Thursday, June 14th, 5-7pm Founded by two Southern chefs, Virgil Kaine makes whiskeys that balance traditional Southern elegance and aesthetics with cutting-edge culinary know-how. Today we will taste: We'll be tasting: Virgil Kaine, Robber Baron, Rye  Virgil Kaine, High-Rye, Bourbon (Rip Track)  Exploring the Wines of Bordeaux with Coline Friday, June 15th, 5-7pm Classic Bordeaux will never go out of style. There's good reason, too—the wines are powerful and soulful. They speak to a centuries'-long history of precision winemaking. Please stop by to taste some of our favorite, affordable Bordeaux wines with the lovely Coline. We'll be tasting: Château Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Médoc, 2004  Château Puy Arnaud, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, 2014  Château Maison Blanche, Montagne Saint-Émilion “Les Piliers de Maison Blanche”, 2014  New California Wines Saturday, June 16th, 2-4pm You may not know how much we love California wines, considering the wide variety of French, Spanish, and Italian wines that we stock. But we do! Especially when they are well-made, in a style reminiscent of those Old World wines, without too much oak or manipulation. We've picked out a few of our favorites to pour for you, including a field blend of too many white grapes to count, a rosé made from Portuguese grape called Touriga Nacional, and a carbonic Zinfandel we've written about more than once. Please, stop by for a taste! We'll be tasting: Shebang, North Coast White “Cuvee IV”,  NV  Arnot-Roberts, Rosé, 2017  Broc Cellars, Vine Starr Zinfandel, 2015 

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The delicious case of Benjamin Zidarich

by josh-cohen

Long before Sicily, there was Friuli Friuli is special. It's where the old Austrian empire ran into Italy, and where the Eastern Bloc of the Cold War met the West. It's also where the earth enjoys an unusually dense patch of limestone, and a climate ideal for producing fresh white wines and late-ripening red varieties. No wonder that—since long before Sicily emerged on the world stage—Friuli has been a center for experimenting, for natural wine-making, and for simply making lots of delicious wines. Everybody associates all this with Gravner, and his bold, frankly tannic orange wines that shocked the wine world when they first appeared. But others have followed in his direction, with variations on the theme. Neal Rosenthal—importer of Cappellano, Bea and other great nature-focused Italian wines—has discovered a new one and just brought him to market. Gravner-light: Zidarich's lovely orange Malvazia Benjamin Zidarich is definitely nature-focused. He farms biodynamically and expects to receive certification this year. In the winery he makes his white wines naturally and a touch orange—he leaves the juice on the skins for a bit to extract color, flavor and all the goodness skins and their polythenols have to give. But he takes a much gentler approach than you find at Gravner. You see this in the color. The orange hue is obvious only when you hold the glass up to the light. And you get it in the taste. While many orange wines emphasize fruit peel and tannic power, that stuff is just an afterthought in Zidarich's wines, which are really focused on minerality and the flavor of the grape variety. In this case, the grape variety is lovely Malvasia. You can think of it as the Viognier of Italy—or spell it with a Z instead of S and call it the Viognier of Slovenia. The Malva(z/s)ia of Zidarich is in particular like Condrieu, with captivating florality—white flowers, jasmine—weaved together with tense fruit flavors. The limestone soils seem to float to the surface, lifting the wine with a light layer of minerals. The skin contact rounds out the wine, giving it presence and—we understand from the Rosenthals, who tasted a 12-year-old example—good aging capacity. It's a lovely dance between playful and serious, and also an excellent pairing for summer vegetables! This week only (through Sunday 6/17), we have a special price for blog readers. To take advantage, just use the code – ZIDARICH – once you add the wine to your cart. Benjamin Zidarich, Malvasia/Malvazia, 2015 - $42.99 $36.99  -Josh Want to get more offers like these straight to your inbox? Sign-up for our newsletter already! As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine. We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. ;)

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