Wine & Spirits “Red Value Wine of the Month”: Santomas Refošk Liter

Wine & Spirits magazine recently reviewed Santomas LNG Refošk Liter, one of our bestselling wines, and named it the “Red Value Wine” winner for the month of July! 2014 Slovenska Istra Ludvik Nazarij Glavina Refosk:  A terrific bargain and great introduction to refošk, this bright and juicy wine shows lovely aromas of violets and spices, with brambly black raspberry flavors and a light meaty note. Serve with pork shoulder. 89 points -Stephanie Johnson Our notes: LNG are the initials for Ludvik Nazarij Glavina who reestablished the Santomas estate in 1997. It is primarily composed of fruit harvest from younger vines. Despite its tremendous value and liter volume it is made entirely from grapes they grow that undergo the same rigorous selection.The easiest drinking of the Refošk Santomas produces, it remains distinctly Refošk. At once nimble and deep. Forest fruit is accented by a spicy Mediterranean twang. It’s a light but highly expressive, surprisingly complex wine. Bottles like this are customarily consumed with local ham (Pršut) that benefits from the dry “Bora” wind which imparts the same savory notes found in the wine, but is quite versatile elsewhere; even with some seafood. The fact that it comes bottled by liter only … Continue reading Wine & Spirits “Red Value Wine of the Month”: Santomas Refošk Liter

Georgia: a visit to dreamland by Tim Atkin MW

Tim Atkin MW spent some time in Georgia recently, exploring the rich wine culture and variety of indigenous grapes. Wine is part of Georgia’s DNA, too. This is the so-called cradle of wine – grape pips have been found here that date back more than 8,000 years – but it’s so much more than a living museum. Wine is the national drink, consumed with gusto in a series of toasts and salutations at official meals, but also in countless bars and restaurants. Tbilisi is a wine city that’s every bit as vibrant as Bordeaux, Mendoza, Logroño or Florence. Read the whole article here. Browse Georgian wines.

Taste Georgian Wines with Sarah Grunwald of Taste Georgia

We are excited to be hosting a few tasting events with Sarah Grunwald, founder of Taste Georgia, over the next few weeks in California. Sarah is a sommelier and Georgia enthusiast. Hopefully you can join us at one of the events listed at the end of the post! Allow Sarah to introduce herself and her company: “I am absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Blue Danube this summer to co-host three Georgian wine tastings in California with the support of the Georgian National Wine Agency. Blue Danube is a leader in the emerging Eastern European wine markets which includes the Republic of Georgia, the oldest known wine region in the world. We’ll taste a variety of wines, which both represents the ancient techniques and also showcases the way Georgians are embracing modernity. I contacted Blue Danube a few months ago about this then potential collaboration in California that will be held while I am visiting. Though I live in Rome, Italy, I am from California, a state that nursed my passion for wine until I moved to the old world. I studied for and passed the sommelier exam and eventually started teaching a University level class at the Instituto Lorenzo … Continue reading Taste Georgian Wines with Sarah Grunwald of Taste Georgia

In once Soviet Georgia, an 8,000-year-old wine tradition returns

Long before stainless steel and oak barrels, Georgians used giant clay pots, called qvevri, to ferment and age wine. The practice is now seeing a revival throughout Georgia with excellent results. It takes about three months for an artisan like Remi Kbilashvili to craft a new qvevri. Kbilashvili’s craft is a living totem to Georgia’s 8,000-year-old wine-making heritage; in 2013, UNESCO, the United Nation’s education organization, recognized the qvevri as an element of “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.” Read the rest of this fascinating article by Daniella Cheslow for McClatchy DC. Browse our Georgian wines.

“Off-the-beaten-path sparklers” from The Boston Globe

It is nice to see Bagrationi getting some much deserved attention in this article by Ellen Bhang for The Boston Globe. The charmat method is also used at Bagrationi, based in Tbilisi, in the Republic of Georgia. The company, a leading producer of bubbly in the former Soviet country, is named for a prince who established the sparkling wine house in 1882. Winemakers craft native grapes like chinebuli (also known as chinuri), mtsvane, and tsitska into a frothy sparkler offering appetizing scents of apples and a touch of yeastiness. Read the whole article here. Try Bagrationi 1882 “Classic” Brut for yourself!

What Is “Pét-Nat,” Really?

We are excited to introduce three new Slovenian “Pét-Nat’s” from Štoka. But what is “Pét-Nat” you may ask? In essence, it is an old method for producing gently sparkling wines that has become popular again. This article written by Zachary Sussman for Punch really describes the process and how it originated. As a form of fermentation, the technique pre-dates the so-called Champagne method by a couple centuries, at least in those areas of France—like Gaillac, Limoux and Bugey—where it has historically been practiced. Unlike the Champagne method, which enacts a secondary fermentation by adding sugar and yeast, the ancestral method allows the initial fermentation to finish in bottle without any additives, imparting a gentle carbonation by trapping carbon dioxide. Read the rest of the article here. Try the new Pét-Nat’s, or Peneče in Slovenian: Štoka Bela (Vitovska) Peneče 2014 Štoka Rosé Peneče 2014 Štoka Teranova Peneče 2014

Georgia’s Giant Clay Pots Hold An 8,000-Year-Old Secret To Great Wine

Daniella Cheslow reports on the rich winemaking history of Georgia for NPR. Georgia’s winemaking heritage goes back 8,000 years and centers on the qvevri, a cavernous terra-cotta pot shaped like an egg, lined with beeswax and buried to the mouth underground. But these ancient vessels were sidelined by the industrial wine production dictated by seven decades of Soviet rule. Over the past 10 years, however, qvevri wine has slowly recovered. Today, it is a calling card for Georgian wine around the world. Read the rest of the article here. Browse our Georgian wines.

A Brief Introduction to the Confrérie de Tokaj

The French word “confrérie” means brotherhood and is used extensively for cultural or religious partnerships between groups of people. The Confrérie has a long history in Tokaj. It was originally set up in 1987 by the state winery, Tokaj Kereskedőház, as La Confrérie “Vinum Regnum, Rex Vinorum”(King of Wines, Wine of Kings) de Tokaj. The members goal was to promote the wines and gastronomy of the Tokaj wine region. Starting in 1999 La Confrérie “Vinum Regnum, Rex Vinorum” de Tokaj was managed by Tokaj Renaissance, a producers’ association, and the twenty Tokaj Renaissance members became members of the Board. Tamás Dusóczky, who has worked internationally to rebuild the image of the Tokaji wine since the fall of Communism, received the majority of votes and thus became Grand Maître. After 15 years of service, Tamás recently stepped down but remains an honorary board member. The most recent reincarnation of this group is the Confrérie de Tokaj (Tokaji Borlovagrend) which was formed in 2012 by 100 founding members, many of whom are winemakers. In addition to reforming the Confrérie and initiation ceremony, members travelled to Burgundy to learn more about famous auction Hospices de Beaune, and organize their own annual wine auction. … Continue reading A Brief Introduction to the Confrérie de Tokaj

Why You Need to Taste the New ‘It’ Wines From Croatia and Beyond

Wine writer Lauren Mowery tells you why you need to try wines from Croatia…and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Start with gorgeous Croatia, a wine-rich culture blessed with a long Adriatic coastline, and continue east, curving around the Black Sea with Moldova, Bulgaria, and Turkey; each country offers indigenous grapes at affordable prices, allowing imbibers to visit far-flung locales, via wine, for less than $20. Read the rest of the article on The Village Voice blog. Try one of the “it” wines recommended by sommelier Cliff Rames, Wines of Croatia: Bibich R6 Riserva