It’s July and time for a new Protocol #WineStudio session. #WineStudio is a virtual wine tasting that takes place on Twitter each Tuesday at 6pm PST. Please check out Protocol Wine Studio’s web site to learn more and follow along on Twitter using #Winestudio. This month Protocol, along with assistance of Le Metro Wine Underground, is celebrating the Independent Spirit of US wine makers. The session is off to a great start! Our first week of #Winestudio Aaron Epstein of Le Metro Wine Underground shared his process for selecting this month’s wines. Aaron is a wine curator; which is an excellent description since Aaron literally pours his passion into his wine selection process. I highly recommend you visit the Le Metro Wine web site to discover the amazing wine themes Aaron creates each month and how you can receive them right at your door. Le Metro is not your traditional monthly “wine club;” rather, Aaron curates a selection of wines and included educational information so you can enjoy full sip and learn experience that is perfect for wine novices as well as full blown oenophiles.
“Each wine in this edition was lovingly crafted right here in the USA from locally grown grapes. Yet you’ll find no California Cabernet or Pinot Noir from Oregon. The states represented will surprise you: Vermont, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Colorado. The wines will astonish you too; every one of them is world class.”
La Garagista 2013 “Coup de Foudre” Pétillant Naturel, Vermont: The first wine explored was a great introduction to the Independent Spirit of American wine makers. The Pétillant Naturel was a lovely sparkling wine made from 100% Brianna grapes. It was a unique looking sparkling wine, thick with a light amber color, almost like beer. On the nose it dazzled with fresh cut flowers and stone fruit. On the palate this sparkling wine was like no wine I have ever tasted. It opened with flavors of spring flowers, apricots and tart green apples with a hint of honey as it trailed down the back of my palate. Some tasters shared a taste of candle wax, to be honest I am not sure I know what candle wax tastes like. This wine had a heavier texture than most sparkling wines but was quite light on the palate. It was rustic and intriguing. Furthermore its 11.5% alcohol adds to accessibility of this sparkling wine. I sipped a bit during our #Winestudio tasting then resealed it and shared it the next night with a group of my girl friends with all natural fresh NY style cheese cake. The Pétillant Naturel was a perfect pairing with the cheesecake because overall it was a mildly sweet wine. This wine would make a great pairing with a light meal on a hot summer day or just relaxed sippin by the pool. It was so intriguing I wish I had more to continue to learn and explore what the wine had to teach me. SRP $30; order direct from La Garagista.
In this #WineStudio session I learned a lot about a newer grape variety, the making of pét-nat and the greater natural wine making process. Here is some of what I learned: Brianna is a cold climate cousin of Muscadet, developed by Elmer Swenson in 1983 in Wisconsin. The cold climate aspect is important because grape varietals in Vermont have to be able to withstand temperatures as low as 25degrees Fahrenheit. As Tina Spina Morey of Protocol Wine Studio explained, “Petillant Naturel or pét-nat …is the ancestral way to produce a sparkling wine. Winemakers use natural yeasts and sugars from a still-fermenting must, bottled before the end of the fermentation where CO2 is trapped under the crown cap (the preferred way to top off a bottle.) The interesting part of a pét-nat is that each bottle can taste just a little different from the original batch which is the polar opposite of what the traditional method aims to do. And yes, pét-nats were born of the natural wine movement—natural yeasts, riper grapes, lees time.” This was very insightful as I continue to learn about natural wine making techniques.
La Garagista: The proprietors of La Garagista are Deirdre Heekin (who joined us on #WineStudio) and Caleb Barber. La Garagista means one who makes wine and utilizes a garage. Deirdre and Caleb’s establishment is a vineyard, orchard, award winning restaurant and gardens. Furthermore, Deirdre and Caleb have authored two books between them. So not only are they producing unique and delicious wines but they are true renaissance people who fully cultivate their land and talents. Their restaurant, Osteria Pane e Salute Enoteca has been noted by Food and Wine Magazine as one of their most amazing wine experiences in America! They began planting vineyard in 2007 and utilize three vineyards; harvesting Marquette, Frontenac Noir and La Crescent from Vergennes, Marquette from Mad River, and we grow Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc, Gris, and Noir, Riesling, Melon de Bourgogne, and Blaufrankisch on their farm property. La Garagista’s focus is on natural farming, “We farm naturally with a focus on permaculture, biodynamic and whole-farm agriculture methodology. We also farm fruits and vegetables, an orchard for cider, nut trees and flowers. We use no chemical pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers. In order to manage our vineyard with respect for our terroir and environment, we use compost and green manure created on the property, rotating cover crops, and natural tea sprays made from herbs and plants on the property to combat disease and promote beneficial insects, encourage the plants, and healthy soil.”
My Song Selection: The song I have selected to pair with the La Garagista 2013 “Coup de Foudre” Pétillant Naturel is Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac. I was told Deirdre really liked Fleetwood Mac and once I tried the pét-nat it was easy to pair it with Fleetwood Mac, a great and unique American band. Like Deirdre I really like Fleetwood Mac and look forward to seeing them for the first time this coming December. Second their music is timeless and represents some of the best of American Rock and Roll. Third, any great band of collaborators like Fleetwood Mac pairs well with wine because wine is also a collaboration. Finally, Go Your Own Way is the way of La Garagista. They are a unique and eclectic Vermont winery, orchard, garden and cantina. They have chosen the natural way of wine making and are producing high quality delicious wines like no other. They have chosen to go their own way and they are rocking it!
Get your own bottle of La Garagista 2013 “Coup de Foudre” Pétillant Naturel and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!