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Wine Club: River Wines

Macanitas winery in Douro Valley.

Macanitas winery in Douro Valley.

It’s time for another edition of Wine Club! This month, we used a river to connect two amazing regions in two different countries. We’re talking about the Duero river in Spain that becomes the Douro in Portugal! 

Let’s start with the selection from the Portuguese side. Most of the time when you think of the Douro, either rich, sweet Port comes to mind, or bold reds. But did you know they make incredible whites there, too?

The wine we chose - a blend of Viosinho, Côdega de Larinho, and Gouveio - is the result of a sister and brother team. António and Joana Maçanita both have made their mark all over Portugal. Joana has made it her goal to revive the Algarve region of southern Portugal, while António focuses on the Alentejo and Azores regions. Together, they have a project in the Douro under their last name, Maçanita. 

The wine from these two that you’ll find in your Wine Club bag has stunning minerality, a strength of whites from Douro. The elegance of this wine is world class, as is its balance. A true gem!

Now into Spain! From Ribera del Duero, we’ve chosen a classic 100% Tinta Fina, the regional name for the old vine Tempranillo that grows in this world-renowned region. Bodegas Torremorón is actually the winery that serves over 80 growers surrounding it. 

In the 18th century, the producers of the time constructed a series of underground cellars, collectively called “Torremorón.” The winery’s name pays homage to this.

In 1957, area growers and producers incorporated to create Torremorón Bodegas. In 1990, massive improvements to the winery allowed the project to continue on, to this day producing exceptional wines of incredible value.

We look forward to seeing you Sunday! The release party starts at 2pm and goes until 6. As always, we’ll have contextual wines to taste and Wine Club bags to pick up! 

Joana Macanitas holding a glass of white blend in her winery.

Joana Macanitas holding a glass of white blend in her winery.

Old vines of Tempranillo from Torremoron winery.

Old vines of Tempranillo from Torremoron winery.

Winemaker Fernando de la Cal showcasing his old family vineyard with many 80+ years old vines.

Winemaker Fernando de la Cal showcasing his old family vineyard with many 80+ years old vines.

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The Tale of the River Duero-Douro

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The river Duero (in Spain) and Douro (in Portugal) has a long rich history, from its birthplace in the heartland of Spain passing through the famous Ribera del Duero, then entering into the west to the Douro Valley in Portugal, crossing the northern side of Portugal ending up in the Atlantic coast splitting the historic city of Porto.

A river full of tales, commerce, history and of course flooded with centuries of wine history. The river Duero was born millions of years ago, just south of the famous D.O.C. Rioja, this river has shape the wine landscape and livelihoods of many communities in the Spanish region of Castilla y Leon. Passing through a few noticeable wine regions such as Rueda D.O., Toro, D.O. and of course the main region of Ribera del Duero, where the variety of Tempranillo “Tinta fina” is king. A regulated region with strict aging laws produces some of the most age worthy wines in the Iberian Peninsula.

In Portugal, the river enters through hillsides and mountains shaping the famous valley of Douro. Mostly known for grapes dedicated to fortified wine, Porto production. However, there’s been a shift most recently on the production of still, terroir driven wines: from mineral driven whites, rosés and reds. Most of the wines of this region are historically field blends using native grapes such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Vousinho and Gouveio to name a few. Over 30 different varieties can end up in a bottle of wine.

The tale of the Duero river its full of history from both sides of its trajectory. It has shape the wine and food culture and traditions in Spain and Portugal. On the Spanish side the river passes through a high-altitude plateau with vines planted on valleys and slopes on the northern and southern side of the river. The Ribera del Duero is home to iconic wine producers such as Vega Sicilia, Protos, Pago de Capellanes and many others that we showcase in the shop. This region has a more classic-traditional approach to winemaking. In contrast, on the other side of the western side of river, diversity and creativity drives the wines made Douro valley.

In Douro valley the landscape is majestic, a photogenic wine region that everywhere you turn and twist the river has a predominante presence. Most of the vineyards are planted on steep hillsides, and slopes, all hand harvested where precision and patience are important to produce quality juice. Historically many grapes are dedicated to Porto production but now the new generation of winemakers such as the Maçanita siblings, Wine and Soul, Niepoort are producing elegant still wines that we love to drink.

After passing these two main wine regions, the Douro river ends up in the city of Porto meeting the Atlantic Ocean. A majestic journey that was been a mayor factor for both countries development, commerce between them and the world, and continues to support the livelihoods of many communities. The river is life, but its also the main reason we enjoyed the wines from these two famous regions.

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Wine Club: Indigenous Grapes from Campania!

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Wine Club time again! An ongoing theme of Wine Club is travel. We love picking places that produce great wine that would also be a blast to visit. This month’s selection certainly fits that bill!

Campania is a gorgeous region of southern Italy on the Mediterranean coast. The famous Amalfi coast beaches lay within it, as do hundreds of vineyards and wine producers. If you’re interested in learning more about this amazing region, check out this post we wrote about it.

For the wines this month, we chose a crisp, lively white with tropical fruit tones, and a rustic red made from an ancient indigenous grape. Campania wines tend to really show a sense of place, so we picked two terroir driven bottles.

For the white, we chose a wonderful example of the grape Falanghina. The warm days and cool nights of the region leave the wine with pronounced flavors and balancing acidity. The producer, La Capranera, takes its name from a type of goat that lives in the hills of the area. Once almost extinct, they are thriving now, much like Campania wines themselves!

For the red, we went with a 100% Casavecchia. This grape likely would have gone extinct were it not for a recent revived interest in indigenous grapes. The name Casavecchia literally means “old house.” Legend has it that it gets this name because someone found a lone vine of it growing in some Roman ruins, and that all the vines growing today are descended from that vine. King Ferdinand IV of the House of Bourbon in Naples apparently loved this grape. The painting of a dog on the label of this wine comes from a detail in a painting in his palace!

The grapes in this wine hail from the province of Caserta, at the foothills of Friento Mount. They grow at an altitude of 200 meters in clay and carbonic soils, and are hand picked in the first and second week of October. The wine itself has flavors and aromas of dried red cherries, plums, herbs and wild spices, with hints of licorice and black tea. Let breathe to allow the tannins to soften up. Serve with char-grilled pork chops and veggies.

The release party will take this Sunday, July 28th, starting at 2pm. See you then!

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