fine Wine Source Wine Club

June 2017
Chateau Fontaine: Getting its French title from proprietor Lucie Matthies’ middle name and paying homage to the French immigrants who settled in the area, Chateau Fontaine was a deserted potato farm and cow pasture when Dan Matthies discovered the property in the 1970’s. He was attracted to the favorable south-facing slopes, which are better suited for growing grapes. Today, the cow pasture is one of three vineyards totaling 30 acres of grapes with plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, among others. Today Dan and Lucie’s son Doug is the wine maker and the family hosts many tourists and Michiganders at the estate. Chateau Fontaine is located in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula just south of Leland and Lake Leelanau. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, Chateau Fontaine was the first Michigan wine that we sold here at Fine Wine Source. They have won many awards: Chateau Fontaine Picked up Gold at the 2013 Great Lakes Wine Tasting Competition for their Woodland White and Woodland Red. At the Michigan State Wine Tasting Competition Fontaine won Gold on their semi-sweet white Riesling and Best of Class for their 2012 Pinot Blanc. All told, Chateau Fontaine has won over two dozen gold medals at various wine competitions from here in the Mitten to the Finger Lakes region of New York.
About: The Chardonnay is made in a White Burgundy style and undergoes malolactic fermentation. It is aged for one month in neutral French oak. The wine has a full body, creamy texture, and a bright crisp taste of light citrus, apples, and grapefruit. The grapes are grown on our estate property on thirty year old vines; some of the oldest in all of Northern Michigan. The wine is ready to consume now; however with proper storage, it will age gracefully for many years.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay
Alcohol: 12%
Tasting Notes: Straw yellow with glints of golden hues in the glass with a nose of Michigan apples and light citrus. Lemon and apples play on the tongue with a creamy texture and bright crisp finish that is as refreshing as a dip in Lake Michigan.
Food Pairings: Think fresh catch out of any Great Lake: Salmon, Whitefish, Lake trout, Perch or Walleye grilled, fried, or in a beurre blanc. Fruits and cheeses on the deck at the lake house or watching the sunset over Lake Michigan!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Crisp and light with a long finish. Flavors of apple and pear, best served with chicken, fish, or duck.

fine Wine Source Wine Club

April 2017
Cave des Vignerons de Saumur: A cooperative of winemakers in the Saumur appellation of the Loire Valley set up their operations on the top of the hill in Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg in 1957. The cooperative has 272 members, including 156 growers over 1750 hectares and employs 52 people. The group that created the Les Pouches Rouge includes Yvon, Genevieve and is headed up by Robert and Marcel; two strong willed vintners whose family history is literally as deeply rooted as the ten kilometers of underground “galleries” that were originally quarried for the soft limestone “Tuffeau.” This rock was used to build the magnificent castles and chateaus in the region and the tunnels that remain have been converted into perfect wine cellars. Saumur is a picturesque city dominated by one of the most famous castles in France that is built from the “Tuffeau” limestone. The Loire Valley region in the heart of France is famous for its natural beauty, magnificent architecture, castles, and great wine. The region is rich in history and culture: The Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here, Joan of Arc led her French troops to victory in the Hundred Year’s War in the Loire, and the region is known as the cradle of the French Language, with the purest French spoken here. The Valley contains several distinct wine regions, each with its own characteristic varietals, appellations, and styles. As a testament to all the contributions to French and Global Culture the region has to offer, The Loire Valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
About: The Les Pouches Rouge is 100% Cabernet Franc and grown in the Cabernet d’Anjou appellation which is planted to 75 hectares (185 acres). The annual production is only about 5,000 hectaliters (132,086 gallons) with yields of about 60hl/ha. The grapes are hand harvested and completely destemmed for 15-20 days, depending on the time of the harvest. The juice is extracted manually and fermented in temperature controlled vats. After fermentation the wine is bottled early and stored in the underground cellars, dug out of the limestone “Tuffeau,” where it ages without exposure to light and at a controlled temperature. The wine is best served at fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit and can be kept with a slight chill throughout serving. Varietals: 100% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol: 12.5%…Drink now through next year.
Tasting Notes: A beautiful deep ruby red color and a bouquet of red fruit with black currant and raspberry make it attractive as soon as it hits the glass. A fruity flavor and spice greets the palate with characteristic soft tannins and an elegant finish.
Food Pairings: Enjoy this Saumur Cabernet Franc with red meat, game, or poultry and cheese. It is becoming increasingly popular with seafood dishes and Asian cuisine, served partially chilled throughout the meal.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Cabernet Franc at its best!! Soil and earth driven spicy red with a long lingering finish, best served with pepper steak or spicy pork dishes!!!

December Domestic Wine: NV M. Lawrence ‘US’ Brut, Leelanau, MICHIGAN

L. Mawby has produced estate grown and bottled Leelanau Peninsula wines since their first crush in the fall of 1978. Now they make entirely methode champenoise and cuve close method sparkling wines. Many wines are from their estate vineyards; however, they are producing wines from grapes purchased from other vineyards as well. Their current annual production is less than 8000 cases: this modest volume allows them the pleasure of winemaking in the style they enjoy – small lots made with minimal handling.

All L. Mawby sparkling wines are made using the methode champenoise, and are aged in the bottle before  disgorging, with many cuvees being given 3 or more years of tirage aging. Their M. Lawrence sparkling wines are produced in the cuve close method, are given less aging, and are less costly than the method champenoise sparkling wines.

Methods of Producing Sparkling Wine and their Relation to M. Lawrence:   Most sparkling wines go through two fermentations: one to turn the grape juice into still wine without bubbles (that’s called a base wine) and a subsequent one to turn the base wine into bubbly wine. The winemaker instigates the second fermentation by adding yeasts and sugar to the base wine. The added yeasts convert the added sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2) bubbles. When yeasts convert sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide is a natural by-product. If fermentation takes place in a closed container, that prevents this carbon dioxide from escaping into the air. With nowhere else to go, the CO2 becomes trapped in the wine in the form of bubbles.

Beginning with the second fermentation, the longer and slower the winemaking process, the more complex the sparkling wine will be. Some sparkling wines are ten years in the making; others are produced in only a few months. Although many variations exist, most sparkling wines are produced in one of two ways: through second fermentation in a tank (like the M. Lawrence ‘US’), or through second fermentation in a bottle. The quickest, most efficient way of making a sparkling wine involves conducting the second fermentation in large, closed, pressurized tanks. This method is called the tank method or cuve close (meaning closed tank in French), or charmat method (after a Frenchman named Eugene Charmat, who championed this process).

M. Lawrence ‘US’ Brut is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that are hand-picked and carefully whole-cluster pressed. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then blended with reserve wines and fermented a second time in a closed tank [the cuve close method]. The wine is then filtered, dosaged, and bottled.

Varietal:  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay                                    

Alcohol:  11.0% by volume

Tasting Notes:  Pale yellow gold… complex fruit aromas… yeasty accents… fruity… crisp style.

Food Pairings:  Sparkling wine is one of the most fun wines to pair with so many different kinds of food. Drink this wine with scrambled eggs, popcorn, potato chips, cheese, pasta, or sushi!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts:  Lively, electric, and really fun! Great wine for the holidays! I’m a bubbly kind of a person, and this is right up my alley!”-JL

December Imported Wine: 2011 La Quercia Aglianico IGT, Puglia, ITALY

Winemaker Antonio Lamona is a “true blue,” grizzled farmer-type, who is both utterly likeable and totally invested in his wines. Although his father also grew grapes, Antonio is the first in the family to bottle his own and, beginning in the late sixties, he began cultivating vines that are entirely organic. As Antonio says, “we are very proud to make organic wines–we believe this is the way to obtain the highest quality while also respecting nature and human health.” All grapes are hand-picked and pressed within two hours of harvest. Located on a windy hillside with a vista of the Adriatic Sea, Antonio’s farm is entirely self-sustaining: they produce their own salami, bread, vegetables, olive oil, and cheese.

La Quercia is an uncertified organic estate, and this wine, harvested from a single cru owned by the family in Puglia, really delivers. True, you won’t find a “discoteca” within a hundred miles of the place, but in terms of sheer, natural beauty and down-to-earth hospitality, there’s no better place to see.

History of Aglianico and its Relation to La Quercia:  Aglianico, pronounced roughly “ahl-YAH-nee-koe” is a black grape grown in the Basilicata and Campania regions of Italy. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. The name may be a corruption of vitis hellenica, Latin for “Greek vine.  Another etymology posits a corruption of Apulianicum, the Latin name for the whole of southern Italy in the time of ancient Rome. During this period, it was the principal grape of the famous Falernian wine, the Roman equivalent of a first-growth wine today.

A ‘La Quercia’ is a majestic oak tree that grows in southern Italy. From Antonio’s single vineyard site in southern Italy, he offers this inspired Aglianico. This wine represents one of Italy’s most noble grape varietals. Above all, Antonio believes in respecting the earth: “I want to make wines that please the body and the spirit.”

Pronounciation:  La Quercia (la-KWIR-cha) 

Varietal:  100% Aglianico 

Alcohol:  13.0% by volume

Tasting Notes:  From the master of Montepulciano, Antonio Lamona delivers his signature combination of power and finesse with one of the most difficult varietals of all: Aglianico. With the classic ripe plum and white pepper notes that this Noble varietal is known for, it is a rare opportunity to taste Aglianico in a fresh, immediate style, that deftly manages the soft tannins. Delightful for everyday enjoyment! 

Food Pairings:  Perfect with pomodoro pasta or meat off the grill! Also serve with seared Ahi tuna with plum sauce and grilled polenta cakes-an ideal pairing.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts:   “Rich and loaded with flavor. Terroir based wine that has flavors of cedar, tobacco, and berries, with a long and lingering finish.”-JL