February Case of the Month: Terroir

Case of the Month $179 (Regular Price $224)

Terroir is a popular term used by wine enthusiasts globally- but what does it mean to describe a wine that is reflective of its terroir? Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils, terrain, and winemaking traditions affect the taste of the wine. For the February Case of the Month, our team member Jon offers a selection of 6 pairs of grape varieties or grape blends that highlight this super fun wine concept. Taste and learn how the same grapes can have distinct expressions when grown in different parts of the world. Below you’ll find descriptions of the wines featured this month. We hope you enjoy the selection!

(NZ) 2017 Marisco 'The Ned' Pinot Gris $16

This award-winning wine hails from the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand. To produce the distinct flavor of ‘The Ned,’ vintners take a portion of the grapes used and give 5 days of skin contact during the winemaking process, which helps to impart the wines’ salmon-like color as well as its unique acidic structure and mouth-feel.

Variety: 100% Pinot Gris. Steel fermented.

Tasting Notes: Aromatic and floral, vibrant acidity. Green watermelon, citrus. 

Pairing: Great aperitif wine, and nice with lighter fare including grilled fish and salads of bitter lettuces.

(OR) 2016 Lady Hill Pinot Gris. $18

The Zorn-Owen family has been farming the same land in the Willamette Valley since the 1850s. Jerry and Elaine Owen began producing wines on the property in 1995. They now offer a broad selection of grapes and styles, including their Pinot Gris, grown in clay rich soils on slow sloping hills of their St. Columbian Vineyard. This is a great example of ‘Tipicity of Terroir’ for our local wine regions- an aromatic and lively wine, with a touch of residual sugar and creaminess.

Variety: 100% Pinot Gris. Both steel and neutral oak fermented.

Tasting Notes: Aromatic and floral. Citrus pith, yellow pear, honeysuckle.

Pairing: Cheddar and Gruyere fondue, fettuccine alfredo pasta

 (IT) 2017 Castelfeder Chard $19

Castelfeder was founded in 1969 and is a small private winery located in the Alto Adige, one of Italy’s Northern-most wine regions. The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties. The vineyard being situated at higher elevations with steep slopes assist in creating a well structured, mineral driven wine. It reads lean and bright on the palette, and is simply fun to drink.

Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Tasting Notes: Wet limestone and citrus pith, medium bodied with hint of white pepper and green pear.

Pairing: Very food friendly- enjoy with herb roasted chicken and potatoes, or a spicy seafood stew.

(FR) 2017 Bernard Defaix Chablis $25

Fourth generation from a family of vine-growers, Bernard Defaix started his operation in 1959. The two sons of Bernard have been managing the domain for the last 20 years. This wine is aged in stainless steel tanks, which is the typical practice for the region. The Defaix Chablis is characterized by its freshness and structure. This vintage is an accessible, textbook example of chardonnay from the Chablis.

Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Tasting Notes: Flinty, lemon, green apple, and prominent slate minerality

Pairing: Oysters, Crab Roll, Moules Frite

(OR) Division Gamay Noir ‘Lutte’ $26

Division Winemaking Company is a Portland, Oregon based winery founded in 2010 by Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe. They are greatly inspired by the wineries of Loire, Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone where they first learned winemaking and viticulture. Determined to make approachable and balanced wines though minimal manipulation, the winemakers have a passion to work with well farmed and terroir expressive vineyards, many of which are organic and/or biodynamic. This wine, named "Lutte," which means "fight to overcome" in French, refers to the particularly challenging year of weather the grapes had to endure on the vines. This Gamay is notably pretty, offering a silky and lush texture with dark cranberry fruit and bright acidity.

Variety: 100% Gamay

Tasting Notes: Red and blue berry fruit, black pepper, a touch earthy

Pairing: Roasted pork shank, bacon braised greens

(Fr) 2014 Roland Pignard Morgon $24

Roland Pignard took over the family estate in 1977 and immediately turned towards organic and biodynamic practices. Pignard land has 60 year old vines that produce Gamay wine with subtle, pure fruit, lovely acidity and a pronounced mineral character.  This wine is age worthy, and delicious served with a slight chill.

Variety: 100% Gamay

Tasting Notes: Graphite, damp soil, dusty tannins, raspberry, plum

Pairing: Steak, game birds, pork chop

(FR) Chateau La Coustarelle 2014, Cahours $15

Wines carrying the Cahors appellation must be made with 70% Malbec, making it the primary grape of region. Once used as the backbone for many Bordeaux wines, this thick-skinned, late-ripening grape produces deeply colored wines. Château la Coustarelle is owned by Michel and Nadine Cassot. With their 30 year old vines aged in oak barrels, the duo produces bold, but well balanced reds with prominent structure.

Variety: 90% Malbec, 10% Tannat

Tasting Notes: Ripe blue and black fruit, licorice, well integrated tannins

Pairing: Bacon Cheeseburger, Steak, Braised Ox Tail

(OR) Powers Malbec $13

The powers family has been making wine in the Columbia Valley, Washington since 1982. This Malbec uses 40% stainless steel fermentation, and also 3 year aged French oak barrels. Showing lush layered fragrant aromatics of blackberry and violet, this Malbec jumps out on the palate with nice depth and complexity.

Variety: 93% Malbec, 7% Mourvedre

Tasting Notes: plum, pomegranate, forest herbs, black tea, and orange zest

Pairing: Carne asada burrito, Steak Frites

(CA) 2015 Green + Red Chile Canyons Zinfandel $30

Briary and zesty, and still in a youthful phase, offering wild berry, underbrush and cracked pepper flavors that finish with a touch of rustic tannins. Green & Red Vineyard, named for its red iron soils veined with green serpentine, is located in the steep hills on the east side of Napa Valley. The planting was started in 1972 on grounds with vineyards originally planted in the 1890s. All their wines are estate grown. This wine is aged in both American and French Oak, with 20% new oak.

Variety: 100% Zinfandel

Tasting Notes: Dark purple plum, sage, black peppercorn

Pairing: BBQ’d meats, charred veggies

(IT) Felline Primativo di Manduria DOC, Puglia $12

The Felline vineyards sit in the heart of the historic Manduria, located on the coastal heel of the Italian boot. The area has a warm growing season and deep red, calcareous bedrock soils with older vines dating to the 1940’s. Averaging 50 years of age, these old vines grow as free standing bushes in iron-rich red earth with clay subsoil. Today, the wines produce masculine, complex and concentrated wines.

Variety: 100% Primativo (Zinfandel)

Tasting Notes: Savory, prominent tannins, firm acidity, tart red fruit

Pairing: Meatball Sub, Pasta Bolognese

(Sp) Pago Casa Gran Casa Benasal Tinto 'elegant' 2014 $14

The wine making team at Pago Casa Gran uses all estate grapes that are grown following the strict European organic standards. Their fields are biodynamic, and they use native yeasts during the fermentation process. This Spanish estate is located in the Les Alcusses, a protected valley and preserved as a cultural landmark at the foothill of La Batida mountain, where wineries have existed since the 4th century B.C. Their ‘elegant’ grapes are grown in sand and clay soils, and fermented in both concrete vessels and French oak barrels. The result is a full-bodied, fruit driven red, with balanced tannins + acidity.

Variety: 50% Garnacha (Grenache), 30% Syrah, 20% Monastrell (Mourvedre)

Tasting Notes: Red and Blue fruit tones, soft dusty tannins, nice acidity

Pairing: Roasted Sausage and Broccolini

(FR) Chateau Paraza Minervois $12

The Minervois appellation lies in the western part of the Languedoc region in France. Chateau Paraza is a family run operation that uses organic and sustainable farming techniques. Their grapes are estate grown on clay-limestone soils, and range between 30-50 year vines. This classic French grape blend produces a focused and fresh, medium bodied red.

Variety: 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre

Tasting Notes: Kitchen spice, black cherry, brambleberry, leather

Pairing: Soft + fragrant cheeses, beef strogonoff