A Beginner’s Guide to Greek Wine

A Beginner's Guide to Greek Wine

At the shop, we get asked every day, “What’s new?,” “What’s cool?,”  or, “What’s tickling your palate right now?” What they all mean is, “What’s the next big thing?”

If you ask me, the answer is Greece. If you care about wines of character and history, of authenticity, Greece is where you should be looking.

 

What you need to know about Greek wine

For starters, Greece is small. Smaller than Nepal (really!). Yet, within its narrow borders, it hosts a teeming collection of grapes and terroirs. Add to that a recent revolution in quality winemaking and you have a perfect storm for exciting wine.

Each of these factors is important. So, let’s go through them one at a time.

  • Roughly the size of Louisiana, Greece boasts 300 or more indigenous grapes that have never traveled abroad, each with a unique voice. Chardonnay and Cabernet are planted everywhere in the world, but to hear what Debina, Liatiko, and Limniona have to say, you have to go to the source. The most common grapes you’ll encounter are Assyrtiko, Malagousia, and Moschofilero for whites and Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko for reds. Yes, Xinomavro is what passes for common in Greece. Then there are many grapes that are so rare that only a producer or two grow them. The opportunities for exploration are many.
  • I also think Greece will explode in the wine-world’s consciousness because of its incredibly diverse climate, soil, and topography. Greece is at the very end of the Alps and almost the entire country is mountainous—so rugged that vines and sheep or goats are the only things that farmers can reasonably raise in much of the country. The soil is generally thin and poor: terrible for most farming, but optimal for great wine, as vines that struggle give the best fruit.
  • Don’t forget the weather: sunny and dry. Greece enjoys an incredibly high annual number of sun hours, a feature that not only attracts German tourists but also makes it possible for grapes to ripen even at the high altitudes necessary for good acid/fruit balance in the grapes. This is also a very dry and windy country, which means much less disease pressure than in, say, Bordeaux, and so a relatively easy path to organic farming.
  • Lastly, there’s been a sea change in what wines producers are choosing to make. For a long time, all we saw imported from Greece were generic, internationally-styled wines—either from international grapes like Syrah, Merlot, and Chardonnay—or from native grapes like Agiorgitiko or Robola but so weighed down with wine make-up like new barriques and laboratory yeast strains as to be indistinguishable from more global wines. But that is all changing right now, and fast.

To be fair, a handful of producers started down this path of authentic Greek Wine in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but their revolution didn’t mature and take hold until this century. Now it’s spreading at quite a clip, and just when Americans are falling in love with these kinds of authentic wines like never before. Who knows what delicious things will develop here in the next decade or two?

Map-of-Greece-Flatiron-Wines-Spirits

Greek Wine 101: A beginner’s guide

What follows is a brief and far from complete overview of Greece’s vinous landscape today. A sort of Greek Wine 101. But know that I’ve ignored whole regions, grapes, and styles. And even the categories I address are vastly simplified.

To encourage broad exploration, throughout the months of July and August we’re offering 10% off any purchase of 3 or more Greek wines, and 15% off mixed cases. Click here to view our full Greek inventory in New York City or in San Francisco or keep reading below for more regional information.

PELOPONNESE

This is the southern half of mainland Greece and is what I think most Americans picture when they think of Greece: it’s mountainous, dry, scrubby, generally sort of tan in color most of the year. The main grapes are Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero, Monemvasia, Muscat, Mavrodaphne, and Roditis.

This is probably the region farthest behind in the quality revolution, as there is still an inexplicable obsession with new and small oak (is Nemea the last hidey hole for the marauding barrique?). I happen to believe that Agiorgitiko is a grape with enormous potential, but I have seen little of that potential manifested, so we mostly focus on whites and rosés from the Peloponnese at Flatiron.

Producers to look for: Parparoussis, Troupis, Barafakas, Papaioannou, Tselepos.

MAKEDONIA

Without wading into the fray over the name, we’ll just say that this is Macedonia, the region in Greece, not the country (Greeks refer to the latter simply as Skopje, the capital of FYROM, or Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Situated in the far northeast of mainland Greece, this is where Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great, burst forth to rule the known world; the Macedonian Plain (one of only three flat places of any real size in Greece) is where Alexander assembled his army to march east.

The main grape here is Xinomavro, presented on its own in most of the subregions (most notably Naoussa and Amynteo) but blended with Negoska in the subregion of Goumenissa. Xinomavro often gets compared to Nebbiolo, and there’s something to the similar balance of tannin to fruit to acid, as well as the light color and long aging potential. The vineyards of Macedonia are generally at slightly lower altitudes than much of the rest of Greece, more rolling hills than straight-up mountains. Soils vary enormously here, including clay, sand, loam, schist, and even marble. In Domaine Nerantzi’s vineyards, 3500-year-old potsherds even contribute to the mix.

Producers to look for: Tatsis, Dalamara, Kokkinos, Nerantzi, Karanika, Chatzivariti, Kamara, Argatia.

EPIRUS

Also in the north, but on the western side of the country, Epirus is extremely mountainous and green, full of rushing mountain streams, strikingly tall old forests, and elaborately-clapboarded, slate-roofed architecture that would make you believe you were in Switzerland or Austria or Bavaria rather than Greece. The vineyards are inland and at high elevation, and the soils are mostly clay and limestone. Grapes here are Debina for white, and Vlahiko & Bekari for red.

Producers to look for: Glinavos, Katogi Averoff

THESSALY

Here we’re just going to focus on one producer. Most of Thessaly is flat and hot, and you’d think the wines wouldn’t be very interesting. For the most part, you’d be right, and much of the output here is sold in bulk. But there is one producer who is changing that storyline: Christos Zafeirakis. Based in the town of Tyrnavos in northeast Thessaly, near the foot of Mt. Olympos, Zafeirakis works with some international varieties, but mostly focuses on native Malagousia and Limniona. The latter hadn’t been planted by anyone for a very long time, until Zafeirakis took an interest and started putting out his game-changing red wine. Now that he’s proven its potential, a bunch of other folks have gone and planted it, too—a success story for grape diversity!

While I haven’t found much else of interest in Thessaly so far, Zafeirakis’ wines came out of nowhere (though the family have been grape growers for a long time, the winery was only founded in 2005), so I’m actually pretty excited about what else might crop up here going forward.

Christos, pouring his wine at our shop!

Producers to look for: Domaine Zafeirakis

ISLANDS: IONIA

Situated off the western coast of Greece and facing Italy across the Ionian Sea, the islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Kefalonia are yet another completely different side of Greece (there are a few more islands in the chain, but these are the major ones for wine). On average, these islands are larger and more mountainous than those in the Aegean. The Ionian islands were a Venetian possession for several centuries, and that colonial influence is readily apparent in the architecture and cuisine. This is the homeland Odysseus spent ten years struggling to reach after the Trojan War.

Chief among the islands for wine is Kefalonia (Cephalonia), featuring the towering Mt. Ainos, a 1600+-meter hunk of limestone rising from the sea. It is cold at the top even in summer, and you will see bands of heavily shaggy mountain goats picking their way through the chilly fog in July. So, the climate here is relatively cool, even on the scrabbly lower slopes where the vineyards are located. Alberello (bush) training is common and many vines are ungrafted. Native grapes include Robola, Tsaousi, Vostilidi, and Mavrodaphne.

Producers to look for: Sclavos (Sclavus and Sklavos also appear on the label)

ISLANDS: CYCLADES

This is the other place that I think Americans envision when thinking of Greece, as the Cyclades are the land of white-washed buildings with stone terraces overlooking the blue, blue waters of the Aegean. They’re called the Cyclades because some folks think the islands are laid out in a circle shape (I don’t see it, but whatever). While some of the islands have been almost completely overrun with tourism (Santorini, Mykonos), there is a lot of cool wine happening here, even amidst the madding crowds.

The Cyclades extend southeast from Athens into the Aegean (they are really the final and lowest mountains in the chain that runs down the entire mainland) and are generally hilly rather than mountainous. Summers are very hot and dry, limiting the potential areas for quality vineyards to the highest reaches (e.g., the granite slopes of the Kalathas valley on Tinos) or places with uniquely water-retentive soil (e.g., the volcanic ash on Santorini, which sucks up the morning mist and feeds it back to the vine roots during the day). There are some genuinely cool, genuinely weird and unique vine-training systems here as well—the most famous being the koloura baskets of Santorini, but don’t forget the supine ksaplota of Tinos either (and see the Flatiron Wines instagram account for a rare video of plowing with this training system). On Santorini, phylloxera doesn’t stand a chance, and vines are ungrafted, with some root systems many centuries old—a truly unique situation in the world of wine.

Grapes include Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mavrotragano, Mandilaria, Aspro Potamisi, Mavropotamisi, Koumariano, Rozaki, Monemvasia.

Producers to look for: Hatzidakis, Koutsoyannopoulos, Karamolegos, Roussos, Sigalas (Santorini); Domaine de Kalathas (Tinos).

ISLANDS: CRETE

Crete is Greece’s largest island, and perhaps its most beautiful. Wine is grown in every district in Crete, though it must be said that most of the island is carpeted with olive trees. It’s an open secret that much of what is labeled and sold as Italian olive oil actually comes from Crete. This is perhaps the most different part of Greece, and Greeks agree, viewing it in much the same way that Italians view Sicily; I’ve even heard comparisons to Texas.

It’s pretty dry all over here, but especially in the eastern region of Sitia, where the remote and rocky Ziros plateau rises 650 meters above the Mediterranean. The island’s (and perhaps the country’s) most interesting wines come from this region, from the hand of Yiannis Economou. Soils range from sandy red clay to blue marl to wildly mixed conglomerate river rock. Everywhere you look are low rounded humps of wild herb plants drying in the sun all day and lending their Cretan garrigue to the grapes. Grapes include Liatiko, Mandilaria, Voudomato, Kotsifali (red), and Assyrtiko, Vilana, Thrapsathiri (white).

Producers to look for: Economou (Oikonomoy is how it appears on labels), Stilianou

Thanks for reading, now go explore!

-Susannah

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Castello di Rubbia

Here’s what’s simple about the wines of Castello di Rubbias from Friuli: they’re delicious and perfect for summer, whether you want a medium-bodied white wine with floral and mineral notes, a meaty red wine to go with BBQ, or an exquisite orange wine to blow everybody’s minds.CastellodiRubbia

But that’s about all that’s simple about them. The wines come from Carso, an Italian (and Slovenian… more on that later) region with a slew of grapes, both local and French. The climate is influenced by both the Alps and the Mediterranean, with a strong north wind in the mix as well. And the rocks! The region gives its name to the strange geology found here, characterized by very thin, red, iron-rich soil over a limestone shell that protects numerous caves, sinkholes, and underground streams below. If you’ve been to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, you’ve been inside a karstic formation. Neat stuff.

And the winemaking here ping-pongs back and forth between super-modern, ultra-clean wines and those made with millennia-old techniques of extended macerations and aging in amphorae with no sulfur. All this makes Carso a moving target, not easy to understand. Consequently, the area oscillates in and out of importance, floating on a restless ebb and flow in popularity.

But Castello di Rubbia’s wines stand out sharply against this chaotic background. Their vineyards have made wine for four hundred years, and the 13-ha family-run estate (founded in the ’90s) draws deftly on the deep traditions (native grapes, indigenous yeast, working by hand), while judiciously incorporating modern innovations (like temperature control) that help the wines to express those fascinating terroirs.

A note on the labeling: Carso stretches into Slovenia, and many growers tend vines on both sides of the line (the border here was somewhat arbitrarily set in 1947, not fully reflecting local culture and tradition). But recent EU labeling accommodations permit growers to label their wines “Carso–Kras,” to include both the Italian and Slovene names for the combined region. Hence the mouthful on these labels!

Cheers, Susannah

Castello di Rubbia, Carso-Kras Malvasia, 2012 $29.99
There are over a dozen distinct grapes with some version of Malvasia in their name, most of them unrelated. This is Malvasia Istriana, and it is very good. Elegant, round and polished, with subtle floral and mineral notes. Five days maceration on the skins gives smooth, fine tannins.

Castello di Rubbia, Carso-Kras Vitovska, 2012 $36.99
Red winemaking techniques applied to a white grape give exotic ginger and tangy mandarin notes anchored by the fine prickles of lacy tannin reminiscent of Barbaresco. 20 days maceration and one year on the lees.

Castello di Rubbia, Carso-Kras Terrano, 2013 $29.99
Terrano may be related to Refosco and/or Mondeuse, but the genetic jury is still out. This is meaty but fresh, with a texture reminiscent of Aglianico. The ferrous tang distinctive of Terrano from Carso’s iron-rich soils inspired local doctors of yesteryear to prescribe it to anemic young ladies. Its high resveratrol content offers a more modern health advantage—salute!

You can order this selection of Castello di Rubbia online or send us an email at orders@flatiron-wines.com

Côte-Rôtie without Compromise: Bernard Levet

“Levet’s wines are now among the very best being made in the appellation.”

— Josh Raynolds

Bernard Levet is truly one of the last of the Mohicans. While several domaines are starting to emulate a version of this style, there are vanishingly few great producers of Côte-Rôtie from the old guard that continue to work in Levet’s uncompromisingly traditionalist manner.

Levet’s wines capture the essence of Syrah grown in the “roasted slopes” of the Northern Rhône. This is especially true of the Chavaroche, a wine made from a beautifully-situated single vineyard in the Côte Brune. The vines, at 40 years, are now just reaching old age, and we have noticed a big increase in quality in the last 10 or 15 years.

Levet’s wines are not exactly known for their polish. Levet is not afraid to express Côte-Rôtie’s wild side, much as Verset did for Cornas back in the day, or as Paolo Bea does for Sagrantino. However, in recent vintages some of this wildness seems to be giving way to increased finesse. This is no doubt thanks to Agnès, the daughter of Bernard, who is now making the wines. Agnès has been creating truly top-class examples of the AOC, and as Raynolds notes above, Levet must now be considered to be in the very top tier of Côte-Rôtie. 

Although 2013 was a poor vintage in Bordeaux and considered only a middle-weight success in Burgundy, the quality is excellent in the Northern Rhône. The wines have the freshness that is the hallmark of 2013s everywhere in France, but in Côte-Rôtie they also have power and depth. Raynolds notes the 2013 Chavaroche’s “superb concentration and energy,” finds it “strikingly vibrant, seamless and persistent,” and even prefers it—by a whisker—to the monumental 2010.

Although Levet is a tiny producer—the family works just over 3 hectares—we have access to good quantities and can manage to keep some regular stocks of the wines. We are currently highlighting the current 2013 release, but there are also a few remaining bottles of 2011 and 2012 to snag. 

Cheers,
Susannah

 

Levet, Côte-Rôtie “La Chavaroche”, 2013 – $59.99
Levet, Côte-Rôtie “La Chavaroche”, 2013 1.5L – $127.99
If you are interested in purchasing Levet’s 2013 La Chavaroche please email us at orders@flatiron-wines.com

Levet, Côte-Rôtie “La Chavaroche”, 2011 – $59.99

Levet, Côte-Rôtie “La Chavaroche”, 2012 1.5L – $119.99 

 

Chinons of Philippe Alliet

One of the great things about Cabernet Franc is its dichotomy of pleasure. This noble grape rewards the intellect with its subtlety, but also delivers a very simple satisfaction that talks directly to our brain stems. Responsible for high-flyers in Bordeaux like Château Cheval Blanc, Cabernet Franc also finds glorious expression in the central Loire regions of Saumur, Bourgueil, and Chinon.

Last week in our newsletter, we were excited to offer the new releases from a producer in the Chinon vanguard: Philippe Alliet. When Philippe took over his father’s estate in 1985, he also took on his uncle’s, thereby reuniting his grandfather’s parcels. He has worked hard in the vineyard and cellar to raise quality. His farming is practicing-organic with an emphasis on low yields and perfect ripeness. All the grapes are fully destemmed.

Alliet’s wines appeal to the whole wine-lover, intellect and brain stem both. They can have the complexity and sense of terroir that makes them worth contemplating. But the style is also informed by a look south to that land of châteaux, with a focus on concentration of fruit, density, and polish. A passionate Bordeaux-phile, Philippe visits producers there several times a year, bringing used barrels back from top addresses for his own cave.

We wish we could keep these on the shelf year-round, but Philippe has built quite a reputation for himself over the last 30+ years, so the wines typically sell out. Act fast while we have them available online! All are delicious now – especially the “basic” Chinon – but they are also worthy of mid-term aging.

Cheers, Susannah

Domaine Philippe Alliet, Chinon 2015 $19.99
Grown on sandy clay soils, this is riper than most folks’ entry-level Chinons, but still deliciously lively and crisp, and very pure. Ready to elevate any casual evening.

Domaine Philippe Alliet, Chinon “Vieilles Vignes” 2014 $30.99
From Alliet’s oldest parcel, inherited from his parents. Gravel soils and fifty-year-old vines give a firmly structured and ageworthy Cabernet Franc.

Domaine Philippe Alliet, Chinon “L’Huisserie” 2013 $34.99
Philippe’s newest vineyard, L’Huisserie boasts clay/flint soils and gives a juicy but elegantly textured palate and will age very well.

Domaine Philippe Alliet, Chinon “Coteau du Noiré” 2013 $42.99
Though the vines here are some of his youngest (17-25 years), Philippe sees in the clay/limestone soils the greatest potential of all his sites. Full-south exposition and a steep grade encourage extra ripeness to balance the firm tannins, adding another level of longevity to this finely detailed wine.

Winemaker Dinner: Valtellina’s Balgera at Franny’s

Meet the Winemaker: Paolo Balgera

Join us at Franny’s Tuesday night for a beautiful spring dinner with winemaker Paolo Balgera of Valtellina! 

Come experience Italy’s most noble of grapes from the little known region of Lombardia. While not nearly as famous, or expensive, as it’s Piemonte cousin, the mountain Nebbiolo of the Valtellina region, lovingly referred to there as Chiavennasca, is as expressive as the Alpines themselves.

Meet winemakers Paolo and his son Matteo from Balgera, whose unwavering passion and commitment to making the truest expression of this ancient region’s wine, continues to impress. The wines will be paired with a springtime meal inspired by the region of Valtellina that will include spring radishes, wild mushrooms, house-made bresaola, and an alpine cheese course.

Tickets can be purchased through Franny’s through their website or call 718-230-0221 for a reservation.

Tuesday, May 3rd at 7pm
$125
Includes 4 course dinner, beverage pairing, tax and gratuity.
Start Time: 7:00 pm
End Time:  10:00 pm

The Cellar at franny’s
348 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

 

Lesser Known Grapes from Piedmont

Wineries such as Brovia, Francesco Rinaldi, and Castello di Verduno are famous for their top-notch Nebbiolos. But at home in the Langhe even legendary winemakers don’t drink Barolo and Barbaresco every day. Instead, the Piemontese drink a host of lighter reds, and the list doesn’t stop at Barbera and Dolcetto.

Freisa, Ruche, Grignolino, Brachetto, and Pelaverga make up an important (and delicious!) part of Piedmont’s complex viticultural heritage—a part that may have been a little over-shadowed by our collective fascination with the greatness of Nebbiolo. These are fascinating varieties with their own unique characters, nobilities, and place at the table.

Freisa is either a parent or a child of Nebbiolo, a relationship demonstrated by the lighter hue common to both grapes, as well as the fine-boned but firm tannic structure. Named for its scent of wild strawberries, Freisa also shows a darker side—think gamefowl, lighter renditions of lamb, or pork shoulder for pairing. 

Lighter on the color spectrum, Pelaverga is a rare specialty of the Barolo’s Verduno subregion. Burlotto and Castello di Verduno both make great, if very different examples. The latter makes a Pelaverga that is light, not tannic, and delicately peppery, while Burlotto’s version is ethereal and redolent of rose petals. This is a go-to wine for fresh salami and hard cheese.

Grignolino, another thin-skinned grape, manages to be both exuberant and poised, fresh and tart, with a nose of cherries and almonds. With energetic fruit snapped into shape on the finish by the grape’s signature delicate tannin, this is a great choice for transitioning into autumnal flavors at the table.

Since these lesser-known grapes are lighter, lively, and chillable, Italians even reach for them in place of white wine, for their enchanting fragrance and effortless friendliness with foods and budgets. And unlike great Barolos, they don’t require aging.

But you don’t have to be Piedmontese to enjoy these wines: they’re here and make as much sense anywhere in the U.S. as they do back in the old country. Of course, if the popularity of wines like Correggia Brachetto “Anthos” is any indication, wine enthusiasts are already on board.

Cheers, Susannah

Burlotto, Freisa, 2014 $19.99
Francesco Rinaldi, Grignolino d’Asti, 2014 $17.99
Castello di Verduno, Pelaverga Piccolo “Basadone”, 2014 $22.99
Correggia, Brachetto “Anthos”, 2013 $15.99

 

 

Cardedu: New Wines from a Sardinian Traditionalist

Like Corsica, its neighbor to the north, Sardinia has what it takes for great wine: sunshine, moderating Mediterranean influence, interesting soils and microclimates. So why aren’t we all chasing the latest cult Cannonaus?

We don’t know for sure, but we were very excited to taste the new releases from the third-generation Loi family at Cardedu. The property was started by Alberto Loi in the late ’40s, and the family continue to work their vineyards in Ogliastra—a central-eastern region on the island easily regarded as the best terroir for Cannonau wine. The soil is composed of granitic crumbling making a silty-sandy, mineral-rich bed for the vines to flourish in. The sunny weather, breezy ventilation, and poor rainfall also bless the vines.

The Loi family works their vineyards organically, hand-harvesting from a variety of parcels perfectly suited for Cannonau, Monica, and Vermentino. The wines are fermented entirely with natural yeasts and rest in neutral Slavonian oak and French barrique. Each bottling is a brilliant snapshot of their sunny, rocky Mediterranean island.

And, what’s more, their wines are an incredible value. This is the upside of their island still being relatively undiscovered by the international food and wine scene: we get to explore this under-examined region for a bargain-basement price. These aren’t wines you have to chase yet, but they are well worth grabbing!

Cheers, Susannah

Cardedu, Vermentino di Sardegna “Nuo”, 2014 $15.99
Like the missing link between birds and dinosaurs, this wine combines Ligurian Vernentino’s seaspray aromatics and Corsica’s pulpy, fleshy fruit. Really, it’s just ridiculously good for the money, and made for any seafood dish you could think of.

Cardedu, Monica di Sardegna “Praja”, 2014 $15.99
Sardinia, like Corsica, is a culture unto itself. Politically it is Italian, but culturally it has a unique identity. And you see that in its grapes: Monica grows nowhere else (it is often asserted that it was brought from Spain, but genetic analysis has debunked these claims) and works brilliantly with foods from light snacks through grilled white meats. This is lighter and juicier than the Monicas we generally see here, with friendly red fruit and delicate herbal edges.

Cardedu, Canonau di Sardegna “Caladu”, 2012 $15.99
“Can(n)onau (the Lois use the historical spelling, but two Ns is more common these days) is Sardinian for Grenache, but this is a far cry from the Grenaches of the southern Rhone or the Garnachas of Spain: meatier, smokier, more structured, and far less overtly fruity. Cannonau is the island’s most favored grape, and the Lois’ clay and sandy land around the small town of Jerzu is generally regarded as its “grand cru.” Fun fact: “caladu” means sunset in the local dialect.

The Jura’s craziest: Macvin from Montbourgeau

Mountbourgeau’s Macvin We have this now.  What is it, you ask?  Well, it’s a wine.  It’s a spirit.  It’s both.  It is confusing.

Macvin is a traditional product of the Jura with almost a millennium of history behind it.  It is made by fermenting late-harvested grapes (all five varieties grown in the Jura are eligible, though most is made from the whites, Savagnin and Chardonnay) and then arresting the fermentation prior to completion by adding marc (brandy made from pomace leftover from fermenting other wines).  Macvin may only be made with marc from the Jura.

Most Macvin is pretty nasty, syrupy, insipid, strawberry-tasting stuff, but there are a few good ones out there, and we just bought one.  Nicole Deriaux at Montbourgeau makes her Macvin from Chardonnay and Poulsard, with a 2:1 ratio of wine to marc.  Then she ages it for 3 years (double the minimum required) in barrel.  It should be served slightly chilled as an aperitif or with a dessert of comté, fruits, and nuts.  Yum!

It is on the shelf in the Jura section rather than with Ports, Sherries, etc.  Not surprisingly, given its origin, it comes in a funny bottle.

If you want to hear about our rare Jura wines as soon as they come in, please email me here and I’ll add you to our Geek Wine List.  We promise, no spam, just freaky grapes, crazy winemakers, and delicious fun.

Bidding Martin Texier adieu

Martin Texier at Flatiron Wines

If you, as we are, are already missing Martin’s quiet charm and impish grin in the wake of his return to rural France and all the glamors associated therewith, you may take small comfort from the thorough and informative interview with the man himself posted here. No matter what your taste in wine or your opinion on the role of Sulfur in winemaking, Carol’s blog post with Martin is an excellent explanation of the factors involved. We have been so happy to get to work with Martin these last five months and look forward with great anticipation to tasting the wines he and his father, Eric Texier, will make together in the coming years–rest assured, you will be able to find them on our shelves.

Meet the Winemaker: Gilles Crochet of Domaine Lucien Crochet

We’re thrilled to be hosting Gilles Crochet, the man behind the great Sancerres of Domaine Lucien Crochet, for a free tasting at the shop this Thursday, May 8th, from 6-9pm.  Whether you’re a longtime fan of the domaine and the region, or exploring it for the first time because of Eric Asimov’s most recent New York Times Wine School, this will be a great opportunity to enjoy some Sancerres (white, pink, and red!) with the man who made them.

We’ll be tasting:

2012 Croix du Roy Blanc (the NY Times wine…)

2011 & 2012 Le Chene Blanc

2009 Croix du Roy Rouge

2005 Cuvée LC Blanc & Rouge

2013 Sancerre Rosé