Monday, October 8, 2018

Wines We Tasted in a (One Time) Biodynamic Wine Class at Bay Grape

It was a pleasure yesterday to be a guest speaker at Oakland's Bay Grape, a natural wine shop on Grand Ave. across the street from the lake, and enjoy a flight with students.

We tasted four wines from Champagne, Oregon, and Alto Adige in Italy. Here are the wines (which you can now find and buy at Bay Grape - their prices are pictured in the four bottle shot below). All of these producers exhibited these wines are the International Biodynamic Wine Conference this May. (Read all about all the wines exhibited there in the online version of the program guide.) (Yes, I picked the wines.)

From left to right:

• The DeSousa Champagne is from a grower Champagne producing family with a 24 acre vineyard in Azize. This nonvintage Champagne is made in a traditional blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. Lovely as an aperitif or with food. 840 cases made.

• The 2016 Pet Nat from Johan Vineyards is a "natural" take on a sparkling wine, with a fruity spin on this year's vintage, a stylistic change from previous vintages. I have a case. Perfect for casual occasions, and fun to spring on friends who think they don't like wine. It's a compliment to say it's reminisecent of a fruit punch (but with way less sugar). A fascinating, fun wine. 500 cases made.

• The Alois Lageder 2016 Porer Pinot Grigio is in a class by itself. This northern Italian family are deeply engaged in Biodynamics, converting the many small local growers they work with to Demeter certification over time. Alois Lageder (senior) is the now the president of Demeter Italy. (Here's an informative interview about the winery.)

This Pinot Grigio bears no comparison to the generic pablum most associate with PG. This one's a star, packed with nuance and complexity. That's because it's a blend of three lots of pinot gris vinified separately (varying amounts of skin contact - up to a year for one lot - and stem inclusion). 500 cases made.

• The 2016 Brick House Gamay Noir is from the Ribbon Ridge region of Oregon's Willamette Valley. This variety's become a darling of the natural wine scene. (Because it isn't Pinot or Cab?) Brick House proprietor Doug Tunnell was among the first to grow it in Oregon, planting his vines back in 1992. Flavors: red cherry with delicate pepper notes. 550 cases made.

A big thank you to Bay Grape for hosting this one hour class, part of their 8 week series on Natural Wines.

Wine Shops and Others: I'm happy to present classes elsewhere on Biodynamic Wines. Let me know if you're interested in hosting a class. Ideally, I'd like to do a whole 4-8 week series on Biodynamic Wines.

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