Feels like FALL
this morning! We stepped outside to offer some breakfast to a stray cat
on our balcony and the air was cool and crisp! What better time to talk
about Beaujolais? Beaujolais
is a region in the southern part of Burgundy where the red wines lean
away from Pinot Noir and instead focus on the lighter-bodied Gamay
grape. Many of these wines are made using a method called carbonic maceration, in which the grapes sit in a container of some type with almost no oxygen and lots of carbon dioxide and undergo an intracellular fermentation (sugar to alcohol) within the grape itself! Pretty
cool, very historic, and it lends these wines some of their classic
fruit-driven character. Possibly because Beaujolais was where the
“Natural Wine” movement began, and also because it creates lighter
wines, this process has become something we see with other grapes these
days and all over the world. Tonight we’ll compare several examples –
two classic Beaujolais, one village level and one Cru – as well as our new most favoritest everyday sipper, the amazing Ayunta from the slopes of Sicily’s active volcano, Mount Etna. The ever-so-fabulous Mariel of Coeur Wine Company will be behind the Lions Club Bar tonight breaking your coeur with these beautiful wines. So come on down to the Shrine of Wine and party with us tonight. We’ll be serving up  WINE, BREAD, CHEESE, VINYL & LOVE!

Domaine Saint-Cyr, La Galoche Beaujolais 2018

Beaujolais like we thought we’d never be buying again at this
price. Raphael Saint Cyr is the fourth generation vigneron at the
Domaine de Bellevue, which was created by his great-grandfather Pierre
Saint Cyr in Anse at the southern edge of the Beaujolais. When Raphael
took over the winemaking in 2008, he let go of a large portion of
Beaujolais vines around the winery, and acquired vines further north in
the crus of Morgon, Regnié, Chénas, and Moulin-à-Vent. At the same time,
he converted the entire 23 hectare domaine to certified organic
viticulture, making Domaine de Bellevue the largest organic domaine in
the Beaujolais. Unusual for the region, the crus are all single vineyard
parcels, and the name of each terroir is listed with each wine. All of
the wines are vinified with natural yeasts. They are fermented in
concrete tanks and then aged in used barrels for 12-18 months. La Galoche,
the straight Beaujolais cuvée, is aged for 6 months in concrete tanks.
From a 15 hectare plot of 25 year old vines that sit on clay-limestone
soils. Hand-harvested and de-stemmed. A carbonic maceration using native
yeasts for 15 days and alcoholic fermentation for 20 days, followed by 6
months aging in concrete tanks. Organic, natural, no sulfur added. WE LOVE THIS WINE, IT’S PERFECTLY DELICIOUS AND $20!

Domaine Saint Cyr, Chénas Les Journets 2017

is a relatively young winemaker, but he’s making his wines in a very
traditional way. He’s also quite a cool guy, a big teddy bear who smokes
too much. We describe his style as “New school old school new school”
and he is friend of the Fab Four. The
Chenas is profoundly mineral. Come on a Journet! 😉 100% Gamay. Sourced
entirely from a new block of 40 year old vines on white granite soils,
2017 is the first vintage for Les Journets. 100% Carbonic fermentation
with native yeast, followed by 8 months aging in neutral barrels. Organic, natural, no sulfur added. $36

Ayunta, Terre Siciliane Nerello Mascalese Rosso 2018 (Etna)

Did we bury the lead? Maybe. When it comes to carbonic it makes sense to talk about Beaujolais first BUT!  We could not be more excited about this frickingdelicious-amazingaffordable wine! We’ve
been hoping for something different, and so, it turns out, has
winemaker Filippo Mangione. This carbonic example of Nerello Mascalese
from Mt. Etna provides another view into the area, something more wild
and more freshly red-fruited, still with the telltale smoky minerality
of the volcano, but more of an everyday drinker, with a price to
match. This is the kind of wine winemakers produce for their families
and their neighbors. Historically this style was known as “pista
e’mmutta” (Meaning: press it and put in the barrel straight away). In
this case, there’s a gentle pressing with short carbonic maceration
followed by fermentation in a cement vat.

is a family owned little grape farm & winery, running 2,8 hectares
of old vineyards at almost 700 meters above the sea level on the
northern slopes of the Mount Etna in Sicily, close to the little village
of Randazzo, about one our driving north the city of Catania. Our focus
is to produce wines with the best personality of the terroir and the
indigenous grapes from Mount Etna. Growing up in Agrigento on Sicily’s
southern coast, Filippo Mangione had winemaking in his blood. For
generations his family tended vines and made wine in their palmento
until his grandfather passed away in the sixties. The vineyards and
building were sold off; leaving his family without an estate. After
university, he dove headfirst into the world of wine: working as a
waiter, sommelier, journalist, and sales/export in both the US and the
UK. The more he worked selling other peoples’ wines, the more he felt
the pull to revive his family’s legacy and re-establish an estate of his
own. In 2011, after months of visiting and walking the slopes of Etna,
Filippo happened to meet the old owner of a nearly abandoned vineyard in
Calderara Sottana planted in the early 1900s behind a grove of chesnut
trees. Too old to work the vineyards any longer, he was thrilled that
Filippo wanted to continue his work, telling him “Take it. Don’t let
this vineyard die.” Filippo spent his life savings to buy that vineyard
and Ayunta was born. Their winemaking protocol is very easy: “only grapes and only time.” Organic, biodynamic, natural. $20