19 Prospect St
"Best Wine Shop"
3 Years in a row
Wine of the Week
2015 Poggio alle Sughere
Morellino di Scansano, Tuscany Italy
$14.99, $13.49 for Wine Club Members or by the case.
For many, Sangiovese and Tuscany are practically synonymous. But, while Chianti and Brunello immediately spring to mind, the less familiar Morellino di Scansano offers equally enjoyable wines by another name.
The 2015 Maremma Toscana Poggio alla Sughere (90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a meaty and succulent red wine that reflects the warmth of the golden sunshine that washes over the Tuscan Coast. There is plenty of dark fruit with blackberry confit and cherry marmalade, especially in this toasty vintage. The wine is soft in texture with pretty layers of spice and dark chocolate. This is a great value wine that speaks of place. This has your favorite meatball recipe written all over it.
Situated in the Maremma province, in the southernmost part of Tuscany, the Morellino territory is nearly halfway between Rome and Florence and centered in the village of Scansano. The vast area includes almost 145,000 acres; however, only 3,705 planted acres (approximately 2%) are registered for the production of this wine, often resulting in long distances between one producer and another.
Unlike Chianti Classico, which boasts a lengthy history, Morellino di Scansano has a much shorter tenure although winemaking in the area dates to the Etruscans in the fifth century.
As the Roman Empire declined, the region was essentially abandoned and became a swampy marshland. Thus, the few remaining inhabitants practiced viticulture solely for personal consumption. In fact, the area was unsuitable for much other than harboring malaria-carrying mosquitos until it was drained by Mussolini during the 1930s. As such, the wealthy residents of nearby Grosseto would flock to the elevated town of Scansano in summer for relief from the heat and illness.
Taste of South Africa with Prime Wine Imports
Saturday, January 12th. 2-4 pm. No Fee
South Africa is producing exciting wines in many styles at amazing prices. We welcome in long time Bellingham wine representative, Renee Stark, to pull a few corks for you. Come experience this country's wine and get the full story while you taste.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound from South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. This was then followed by some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
OCCHIPINITI, Sicily Italy
SP68 2017 Rosso and SP68 2017 Bianco
$26.99, $24.29 for Wine Club Members.
Occhipinti is located in the Vittoria region of southeastern coast of Sicily between the Mediterranean Sea and inland mountains. Owner, winemaker and viticulturist Arianna Occhipinti founded the estate in 2004, bottled her first commercial vintage in 2006 and today works exclusively with estate fruit. Her 62 acres are certified-organic and practicing biodynamic and feature only native Sicilian varietals: 50% Frappato, 35% Nero d'Avola and 15% white varieties Albanello and Zibibbo (aka Muscat of Alexandria). The Frappato and Nero d'Avola vines range from 10-year-old guyot-trained vines which she planted all the way up to 60-year-old alberello-trained vines which she rented initially and was later able to add to her holdings. Total production is approximately 10,000 cases annually.
SP68 wines, named for the road (Strada Provinciale) that runs past her house, are blends, the red a blend of 70% Frappato and 30% Nero d' Avola. With pure aromas of cherry, plum, herbs, and licorice, the wine is juicy and penetrating, with smooth fruit flavors framed by fresh acidity. The bianco is a white wine capable of expressing the richness and personality of Sicily. It is made from indigenous grapes, Albanello 50% and Zibibbo 50%, macerated on the skins and expresses aromas of fruit, citrus, aromatic and balsamic herbs and an expressive, traditional and direct taste. Wine made with old style artisanal methods. These wines are alive and kicking ass!
Arianna started at age 16 in her uncle Giusto Occhipinti's cellar--he being the proprietor of Vittoria's most famous winery, COS--and loved it, enough to go to oenology school and to jump right into her own production. She began with a mere 2.5 acres of abandoned vines attached to a family vacation house. Though university imparted technical knowledge of a sort, the main influence on her ways in vineyard and cellar was in fact her uncle, who raised his wines as well as his niece on organic viticulture, harvest by hand and native-yeast fermentations, none of which is typical of Sicily's bulk-driven wine production. In Arianna's own words: "Not irrigating, harvesting late and not using fertilizers are the secret to making more elegant wines in the area. The freshness and minerality in my wines come from the subsoils. Any wine made from young vines or chemically grown vines feeding only off of the top soil will have the cooked, hot characteristics people associate with wine from warm regions."
Arianna's star has risen very quickly over the last decade in the wine world, and she is rightly regarded as a symbol of success in the world of biodynamic farming and natural winemaking. She has remained committed to those principles, while evolving from her originally more dogmatic outlook. Below is her response to importer Jules Dressner's question about her feelings on the term "natural wine":
"I make natural wine, but this is a term I'm beginning to be less and less comfortable with, because its implications are very complicated. I really want to stress that my main goal is to make a good wine that reflects where it comes from, and for me the only way to successfully do this is to make the wine naturally. When I first started, people were just starting to talk about natural wine. It was very important to me to think about all these issues, and in those early years I definitely had a more militant attitude about it. Making natural wine was a mission, something worth fighting for. Now that I've grown up a little bit, the mission is making wine of terroir. You have to respect the vineyards, and nature in general. When I wake up in the morning, I want to feel free. Making this wine is my opportunity to feel free. So again, my goal is not to make natural wine, working this way is a process to make good wine."
S & J Wine Club
As a Wine Club member, you will receive 2 bottles each month hand selected by Ted and Diane and accompanied by informative tasting notes for each.
Membership includes the exclusive 10% discount in the shop (excluding Cellar Select wines) and the opportunity to receive Club Member Only special offers.
You choose-1 red, 1 white or both. We have three clubs for you:
- World Tour, $29/mo
- Northwest Corner, $49/mo
- Grand Cru, $99/mo
There is no fee to join and you may cancel your membership at any time.
All tastings have no fees!
New Arrivals Tasting
"Wine of the Week"
Taste of South Africa
With Prime Imports
Saturday, January 12th
Bodegas Riojanas Rioja
with Basilio Rodríguez Grueso
Saturday, January 19th
Meet the winemaker/owner
Saturday, January 26th