Love of Pinot
Hi there! Jess here, your personal Sommelier Concierge. Pinot Noir is practically perfect for every season and ideal for any occasion. As we put on our boots and walk into the snappy cold days of January, what better wine to have on hand? I am truly excited to introduce a handful of Pinots from unconventional regions in our newest Discover Box: ‘For the Love of Pinot’.
TESSELAARSDAL HEMEL-EN-AARDE, SOUTH AFRICA
“Believe in your dreams.” Berene Sauls is the very personification of this rallying call, and I cannot help but be inspired by her. Her story in the wine world started first with a nannying job for the Hamilton Russell family’s four daughters. As the kids got older, she expressed interest in taking a position at the Hamilton Russell winery as an office assistant. From there, she worked in every department at the winery before finally creating her own brand. Mentored by Anthony Hamilton Russell and winemaker Emul Ross, she has exceeded all expectations with her first wine project Tesselaarsdal, which is the first wine project wholly owned by a member of a “previously disadvantaged community” in the Hemel-en-Aarde area. She honors her roots by naming her wines after the historic rural hamlet Tesselaarsdal where she was born, not far from the Hemel-enAarde Ridge where her ancestors lived as freed slaves.
Bottoms-up Line: A wine as compelling as its maker.
DOMAINE DELAPORTE ‘CUL DE BEAUJEU’ SANCERRE ROUGE, FRANCE
The Cul de Beaujeu vineyard, one of Chavignol’s most famous, boasts a steep 60-degree incline and
a vast storied past. Planted in the Middle Ages by the monks of Beaujeu, the wine it produced was of such renown, it was reserved for Princes and Archbishops. Matthieu Delaporte, third-generation young-gun winemaker, took over the management of Domaine Delaporte’s 33 hectares (which have been in the family for over 300 years) and produces this super tasty 100% Pinot Noir gem. Since stepping on board he has introduced organic practices, eliminating all pesticide use, to preserve the land in-order-to pass it on to future generations. He is definitely doing some good here.
Bottoms-up Line: Pinot so good it’s practically Royal.
ESTANCIA USPALLATA MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
The highest vineyard in all of Mendoza, located at 6,560 feet above sea level just outside the village of Uspallata,is the last place any wine lover would search for captivating pinot noir. Yet, it is here, in this magical place of colorful mountains and million-yearold soils that a micro, five-acre parcel of pinot noir is planted on a mountain’s edge. A brave new world of mountain viticulture that’s just beginning to find its sea legs.
Bottoms-up Line: Your new favorite pinot noir, drink it before its famous.
AUGUST KESSELER ‘HÖLLENBERG’ RHEINGAU, GERMANY
At the age of 19, August Kesseler unexpectedly became the successor of his parents six-acre bulk wine estate. Having set out to become a race car driver, not a winemaker/ vineyard owner, makes it all -the-more impressive that the estate today spans over 80 acres and is one of the flagship producers in the Rheingau. August and his band of brothers-from-another-mother are an extraordinarily talented German crew, and their Spätburgunder [Sh-pATE-boor-gun-der], German for Pinot Noir, ranks among the very best in Germany.
Bottoms-up Line: International renown for the finest pinots in the land. I dare you to have a bottle and say Spätburgunder three times fast.
BASS PHILLIP BIN 17K GIPPSLAND, AUSTRALIA
Bass Phillip, the legendary Australian pinot noir producer you have never heard of. The estate, established in 1979 in South Eastern Australia’s Gippsland region, stands on the singular mission to produce terroir-driven wines of purity, elegance and complexity as well as the belief that “the difference between good and great Pinot Noir is texture.” Winemaking is led by Burgundian winemaker Jean-Marie Fourrier of Domaine Fourrier in Gevrey-Chambertin, who was inspired by the great Henri Jayer and aims to make Bass Phillip the DRC of the southern hemisphere.
Bottoms-up Line: This is meticulous, biodynamic pinot noir perfectionism at its best.
ALAIN GRAS BURGUNDY, FRANCE
Saint-Romain, one of the seemingly infinite picturesque-postcard French villages perched on a beautiful hill, and also, a profoundly under-appreciated, bastard stepchildesque wine region of Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. It is here we find Alain Gras, the hero of our story and Saint-Romain’s most ardent ambassador. The little-known village presents as a veritable wallflower surrounded by a super-star cast of Burgundy greats like Meursault, Volnay, Pommard and Puligny Montrachet, but there is more here than meets the eye. This charming spot offers pinot noir vineyards at elevation, composed of chalk soils and protected from wind by impressive cliffs. What more could you want?
Bottoms-up Line: A discovery akin to falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and stepping through the Secret Garden door.
May your January evenings be filled with wonderment at these different faces of Pinot. I can’t wait for my box to arrive! Bottoms-up!