This month we wanted to focus on wines that make us happy. We find delight in so many parts of the process; from the place of where it is grown, to how it is made, to the hands that make it happen and then ultimately the wine itself; the aromas, the mouthfeel, the taste, the finish. Finding joy in their stories, their style and characteristics and the moments we have when we get to enjoy and indulge in them. We hope you find happiness in each bottle you open and in every single day.
P. & E. Mullins
2021 Daniel Sauvignon Blanc
Most of you might know this already, but in case you didn’t, and we can have our proud moment of bragging rights; the Daniel wines are our family wines. Fitzgerald Wine Company is made up of Ellie’s dad, stepmom, brother and sister-in-law. Ellie’s brother Daniel is the winemaker. Their focus is working with wine growers throughout Sonoma County and showcasing small special plots by making beautiful wine from these unique vineyard sites. The Daniel wine we are sharing with you is one of our favorites. It comes from Totem Ridge vineyard which is on the eastern edge of Sonoma County in Knights Valley. It is a warm region with cool nights, tucked into the Mayacamas mountain range. The terroir is rich with volcanic soils. It’s wild and natural, in the early Spring it surrounded by ferns, almost like a scene out of Jurassic Park. It is all organically farmed. This clone of Sauvignon Blanc is a very aromatic clone, one more typical to California and the New World. The grapes are harvested at night when it is cooler to hold onto the aromatics. What sets this apart, is Dan’s wine making style, which is more traditional of the Old World, like the Loire Valley in France. After fermentation, the wine is put in neutral French barrels and left on its lees with bâtonnage (stirring) until bottling, about six months. One of the things we love about Dan’s winemaking style is the way he captures texture and body in his wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is a great example of just that. In the glass this is a vibrant yellow with a greenish tint like of an underripe banana. Aromas of gooseberries and citrus blossoms waft from the glass. The palate is silky with a velvety texture throughout. Notes of peach are right up front with ripe strawberry notes on the bright and acidic finish. Production is very small, only 45 cases produced.
2022 Château Soucherie Rosé
It’s hard for us not to mention the Loire when speaking about wines that make us happy. Time and time again we find ourselves reaching for a bottle from the Loire. Be it Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, Cheverny, Chinon, Anjou… these wines all so unique, but comfortable and familiar to our palates. Château Soucherie lies in the Anjou and is known as perhaps one of the most idyllic and beautiful properties around. The château itself sits above the vineyards which wander all the way down to the banks of the Layon River. How special this site is mirrored in the way the earth, the vines, the grapes, and the wine is treated. From managing every part of the vines by hand, from pruning, to trellising, to harvesting, to the winery, to the bottle, each stage is done with great care and precise detail. Made of 70% Grolleau and 30% Gamay. There’s a clarity that you notice immediately from the bottle to the glass, with a pale peachy pink tint. The nose needs time to show itself, its bit muted at first with dusty a character but as it opens up, notes of yellow apples come through. The palate is reminiscent of a hard fruit candy, the finish is chalky and dry. Enjoy this wine with friends on a lazy summer evening, it will no doubt bring a smile. Only 7,800 bottles are exported to the US each vintage.
2020 Manoella Red
This Portuguese red blend comes from my (Ellie) most recent trip. Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Portugal with my family and some dear family friends. It was a very quick trip to squeeze in before the summer season really took off and that also meant that I was traveling without the P to my P. & E., aka, the Pat of Patellie’s. It was decided that I would be the advance team. Not miss the opportunity to get there and explore although be it short, I should take it all in and then one day when we go back together, I’ll be a bit more in the know. I was fortunate enough to make it to Wine & Soul in the Douro Valley. Which seriously was so beautiful that there were multiple times I was on the verge of bursting into tears of joy. Owned and operated by George and Sandra a husband-and-wife team that focuses on preserving older vineyards and traditional winemaking methods. George comes from a 5th generation Port making family in the Douro and Sandra from a winemaking family near Lisbon. They met in 1999 and founded Wine & Soul in 2001. Some of their vineyard sites date back 92 years and they have up to 42 identified varieties thus far in the old sites. The vineyards are surrounded by olive groves and forest allowing for biodiversity on the land and for the inhabitants (wild boar, insects etc). Steep trellised vineyards are only accessible to work by foot and mules. After hand harvesting, the grapes are foot trodden in large stone lagares (similar to a shallow pool). The wine is then fed by gravity to fermentation tanks and then to neutral French barrels to age. The Manoella site was planted by George’s great great grandfather. It is a very fresh example of the Douro. The fruit is picked with lower sugar and higher acidity, as with overripe fruit as you lose the identity of the place. This red blend is of 60% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz and 5% Tinta Francisca. It is a beautiful garnet color. With aromatics of violets, bright cherries, and raspberries. There is purple plum and spice on the palate with gentle gripping tannins and a charmingly elegant finish. Only 50,000 bottles produced.