Sips for Summer

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Looking for some sustainable sips this summer?  Orlando resident Rob Chase, who works for Augustan Wine Imports, offers his picks and tasting notes below, but concedes that terms like “natural” and “organic” may not be easy for the average consumer to translate when it comes to wine.  In fact, many producers who do use organic or biodynamic growing methods don’t use the terms to market their wines.

According to Chase, most of the producers below fall under the “natural wine” umbrella, a term that has created a good deal of controversy. (Wine writer Eric Asimov touched on this issue in The New York Times earlier this year.) What these wines do have in common is an authenticity that results from little to no manipulation of the grape prior to bottling.

The Edible Orlando staff enjoyed each of these selections, all of which are available locally, while shooting our Alfresco Spring Lunch story for the spring issue.  They’ll segue beautifully into summer’s lighter flavors as well.

2010 Pepiere Muscadet

From the Loire Valley, the mouth of which is on the Northwestern portion of France. The grape is Melon de Bourgogne, not Muscadet. No relation to Muscat, Muscadine, etc. Their proximity to the ocean has led to a clean, mineral driven, almost saline at times flavor profile, which complements the local seafood consummately. Delicate flavors with great acid, and surprising aging potential. Amazing with raw oysters, any shellfish, etc. I am convinced that this is one the best wine values on the planet. 100% Melon de Bourgogne. Available at Cavanaugh’s, Tim’s Wine Market, Whole Foods Market, and The Wine Barn.

2010 Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc

Chardonnay from southern Beaujolais, made by purist winemaker Jean Paul Brun from his 30-hectare family estate (1 hectare = 2.4 acres). Very clean, refreshing, and lively chardonnay. No oak, extended bottle aging and lees contact instead. Limestone and clay soils, less than 5% of Beaujolais is planted to Chardonnay. 100% Chardonnay. Available at Whole Foods Market and Cavanaugh’s.

2010 Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais “L’Ancien”

Throw all perceptions of “typical” Beaujolais & Beaujolais Nouveau out the window. This is real Gamay, made more in the style of Burgundy rather than the mass-marketed stuff on the shelf of every big box store in the US. Roughly translates to “the ancient”, referencing that these are his older vines. All natural yeast, the larger producers use a lab created, tomato based yeast called 71b to give those bubble gummy, super fruity flavors. 100% Gamay. Available at Tim’s Wine Market and Cavanaugh’s.

2007 Jean Louis Chave “Offerus” St Joseph

This domaine has been passed down from father to son since 1481. They offer estate wines, as well as “Select” wines, this being of the latter category. It means simply that they did not grow this fruit. However, they have long term contracts with several growers, who all farm organically to their specifications. This is an affordable and immediately approachable example of what Syrah from St Joseph can be. 100% Syrah.  Available at Cavanaugh’s.

2010 Elio Perrone “Bigaro”

Save this one for last. Hailing from Asti in Piedmont, Bigaro is a unique blend of Moscato and Brachetto. Most often, Brachetto is used in wines such as Rosa Regale. This wine is also slightly sparkling, low alcohol, but retains more finesse and elegance, rather than just sugar. 50% Moscato, 50% Brachetto. Available at Tim’s Wine Market and Cavanaugh’s.

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