As an example of the incredible wines you'll receive as a Discovery Club member, here's what was featured in August 2023.
Domaine Allimant-Laugner Gentil
Winemakers Hubert and Nicolas Laugner are the 11th and 12th generations of their families that established Domaine Allimant-Laugner in 1724. They farm sustainably on 12 hectares planted with hillside vineyards at the foot of Haut Koenigsbourg along the Rhine River. They specialize in blending vines of different ages, and with the Gentil they revive the historic tradition of blending Alsatian varieties. It is a blend of 45% Riesling, 35% Muscat, and 20% Pinot Gris grapes grown in limestone and granite soils. The grapes macerate for 12 hours to draw out the Muscat before fermenting in stainless steel tanks for six weeks, followed by blending at the end of fermentation.
The Gentil is aromatic and appealing with notes of fresh white flowers and lime zest. On the palate it is crisp and balanced with flavors of citrus and fresh melon fruit. A versatile wine thanks to its fruity nose and fresh palate, it drinks well as an aperitif or with dinner.
The Bura family’s winemaking tradition in Croatia spans over sixteen generations. They have been farming the vineyards on their current property for five generations and producing wines that reflect their passion for their rugged land on the Dalmatian coast. Consisting of gravelly terraces with clay stones and red soil rich in minerals, their land faces south toward the sea and experiences a Mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and mild winters, and they farm here organically with no irrigation. The Rukatac grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed before fermenting in open vats with only native yeasts. After seven days of skin contact, the wine ages for four months in stainless steel inox tanks before coarse filtration and bottling.
A mineral-driven skin contact white, the Rukatac is golden in the glass and rich on the nose with fruit and floral aromas. On the palate it is fresh and bright with ripe apple and herbs, along with a mineral backbone. Its rustic salinity pairs well with shellfish and fattier fish, as well as pork.
Casal de Ventozela ‘Ve-Ve’ Vinho Verde Rosé
In the heart of the Vinho Verde region in Portugal, the Cortinhas family runs a 27-hectare estate with a strong focus on traditional grape varieties. They hold a sustainable farming system certification called Integrated Production that regards the entire vineyard as an ecosystem and focuses on soil fertility and a diverse environment. The ‘Ve-Ve’ is 100% Espadeiro, a red grape native to the region that is known for producing light-bodied wines. Grown in granitic soil receiving sea breezes off the Atlantic, the grapes are hand-harvested, then macerated and pressed whole cluster. They are fermented in stainless steel and spend three months on the lees before a light fining and filtering.
The resulting wine has the familiar slight effervescence of a Vinho Verde along with hints of berries balanced with mineral notes. Its lively crispness is a summer thirst quencher, and it's great with shellfish, grilled vegetables, or a fresh tomato salad.
Prima Materia Nebbiolo Carbonico
Prima Materia grows 10 acres of mostly Italian grapes in Lake County, California. Their vineyards lie at around 1500 feet above sea level in volcanic soils between the Mayacamas Mountains and the Mount Konocti volcano, and winemaker Pietro Buttitta, a former chef, aims to highlight the lesser-known Lake County terroir. The Nebbiolo is produced with carbonic fermentation, a process where whole grape bunches are deprived of oxygen initially, producing an enzymatic fermentation. After this, the Nebbiolo ferments with native yeasts on skins and stems for five days, before pressing and finishing with 16 more days of fermentation.
The Nebbiolo Carbonico may look like a rosé but it drinks like a red. Serve it a bit cooler, 50-55F (20 minutes in the refrigerator). It’s light and dry wine, with notes of violet, cranberry and subtle hints of peppercorn, pairing beautifully with a cheese & charcuterie board.
Quinta do Gradil Tinto
The Lisbon wine region in Portugal is a narrow region of low rolling hills that extends north from the capital along the coast with a long history of winemaking. The Quinta do Gradil property is referenced in historical documents as far back as 1492 and has been solely dedicated to winemaking since the mid 1800s. Sitting between the Serra de Montejunto and the Atlantic Ocean the vineyard enjoys a temperate climate with mild summers. The team grows a combination of native grapes and newer varietals, like Tannat, in clay and limestone soils using a blend of traditional and modern practices.
A blend of 50/50 Tannat and Touriga Nacional, fermented in stainless steel vats, with 70% of the lot aged in French oak barrels. The result is aromatically deep yet balanced with notes of balsamic, dark chocolate, blackberry and firm grippy tannins. This wine craves a grilled rib eye, roasted lamb or an aged cheese.
Weinhaus Heger Pinot Noir “Tuniberg”
The Heger family has a curious pattern of training to be physicians but getting pulled back into the family tradition of winemaking. Doctor Max Heger made the transition in 1935, founding the Dr. Heger Estate. His grandson Joachim followed the same path, founding Weinhaus Heger in 1986, and since then he has had a profound effect on how the world interprets the German Spätburgunder, aka Pinot Noir. Heger farms and vinifies in Kaiserstuhl, the warmest and driest area in Germany with its sun-soaked microclimate and steep volcanic slopes produce wines that are more acidic than most German wines.
The Tuniberg is a 100% Pinot Noir that ferments on the skins and ages in neutral oak barrels. The result is both deep and fresh, with black cherry flavors and a clear limestone character from the soils of the Tuniberg subregion. Its elevated acidity and soft tannins pair well with lighter meats like pork or duck but also vegetarian dishes like wild mushrooms and risotto.