Tasting notes from the terroirists.
2006 Coenobium Vino di Tavola di Lazio ($23) Winemaker Giampero Bea is making this brilliant white in conjunction with an Umbrian monastery. A blend of Verdicchio, Grechetto, Trebbiano, and Malvasia, the wine is vinified using no temperature control and very little élevage [maturing before bottling]. This vintage has bright yet subtle acidity, with a very clean initial push on the palate, and beautiful floral characteristics as it opens, often reaching its peak the day after opening. A testament to natural winemaking, as well as an example of what intact biology can produce in an ancient, undisturbed location. –D.M.
2002 Triacca, Valltelina Superiore ($36) Nebbiolo from northern italy, grown at a 2,600-foot elevation along the Swiss border. This has to be my favorite wine from a “bad year,” one that delivered erratic weather throughout most of Italy, with extensive rain, hail, and sleet followed by a very warm summer. But those above the snow line saw a different year altogether. here the Nebbiolo ripened beautifully, with great acidity and a solid, sustaining tannic structure. This varietal speaks to me with a pinot-like acidity, but it also has the capacity to develop into a bigger wine, depending on ripeness and region. if you love Pinot Noir, it’s time for you to meet its italian cousin, Nebbiolo. –D.M.
2004 Jacques Puffeney, Arbois “Poulsard” ($26.50) Jacques Puffeney, son of a vineyard worker, started making wine at just 17 years old. Considered the “pope” of Arbois, a small appellation close to the Swiss border in France, his “Poulsard” is one of my favorite reds–light, lean, and amazingly minerally, with beautiful notes of red fruits and perfect acidity. This, along with some Beaujolais we carry, is the perfect summer wine. What I would be drinking on a sunny sunday in Dolores Park…if I had a sunday off! –G.G.
2006 Catherine et Pierre Breton, Bourgueil “La Dilettante” ($22.50) Catherine and Pierre Breton are making some of the most exciting Cabernet Franc in the Loire these days, working their vineyards biodynamically, and not adding any sulfur during either vinification or bottling. “La Dilettante” is Catherine’s wine. She uses carbonic maceration on whole clusters to start the fermentation, and releases the wine relatively early to be drunk “on the fruit.” Light (for a Cab Franc), fruity, with a great sense of terroir, this wine is to be served at cellar temperature and enjoyed on a sunny day with a BBQ or some charcuterie. –G.G.
2002 Radikon “Oslavje,” Friuli ($52) One of those “weird wines” that we love so much at Terroir. Long maceration on the skins, no temperature control, no sulfur–the wine is made in the vineyard, not in a lab. “Oslavje” is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris. it’s an orange-colored, tannic white wine, with loads of spices, white flowers, and apples on the nose: a perfect match for aged cheese or any rich, hearty traditional Friulian dish such as a creamy chicken with potatoes. –L.E.
2006 Jean Foillard, Morgon “Côte du Py” ($29) The vineyard is located in Villie-Morgon (Beaujolais). Jean started in the early ’80s as an employee, eventually renting and then buying this vineyard. I like all the wines at the shop, but Foillard’s “Côte du Py” delights me with its capacity to match any situation: meat, fish, lunch, brunch, dinner, breakfast. It is a light, refreshing wine with red fruit accents and low tannins but still showing a great structure and aging capability. This wine would turn any Zinfandel drinker–well, almost any– into a Beaujolais fanatic. –L.E.