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June 2015

Martin Texier l'indigene Sulfureux Yelen

Martin Texier is the son of Eric Texier: a sort of a legend in the natural wine movement.  In a past life Eric was a French nuclear engineer, but he got fed up with the bureaucracy and lack of respect for the environment so he walked away to look for a vocation more closely and naturally tied to the earth.  Texier started experimenting with wine making and eventually leased and then began buying vineyards in the Rhone. The rest is history.

Martin Texier makes the l'indigene label as an experiment.  Where his father will use some sulfur at bottling to stabilize the wine Martin Texier is trying to be as extremely natural as possible.  He uses no sulfur and is attempting to find out just how naturally made wine can be.

Vintage: 2012


Aroma: there's a lot of fruit here, but it's dark ripe focused fruit.  The Yelen kind of smells like Christmas to me with all it's cranberry, currant, and black berry aromas.  I can smell all those fruits both as fresh berries and also as reduced preserves and cooked into serious holiday dishes.  So yes, this wine smells like feasting to me.  That alone is enough to make me fall in love and hold onto a bunch for myself but in addition to the fruit this wine has killer aromas of wild aromatic herbs as well.  I can smell Amaretto, cassis, rosemary, and thyme.  The Yelen is a very potent and nuanced smelling wine.


Palate: Ripe and cooked down fruit flavors dominate the opening of the palate.  There's black pepper and on the midpalate some of that black pepper roasted meat thing Syrah is famous for.  The tannins are here but not too aggressive.  The Yelen lingers for a long time on the palate and after you swallow.  There is an almost extract or elixir kind of quality to the wine; this is a quite serious contemplative deliberate red wine.  Together, serious ,and fascinating: the Yelen seems regal.  There's excellently balanced acidity to it on the back of the opening as well.  Geez, this is really really fantastic wine.  I wouldn't guess this was zero sulfur, just great northern Rhone Syrah from maybe St Joseph. 

Sadly. I could get very little of the Yelen.  It is available at Maine and Loire and the Blue Hill Wine Shop for just under $20; however other shops could order it before it runs out.  The Yelen is also available by the bottle at Vinland.


Tami Nero d'Avola

Tami is made by Arianna Occhipinti in Vittoria Sicily, near the south west coast, across the island from Syracuse.  Arianna Occhipinti began leaning about wine when she was a teenager, studied wine making in university, but dropped out because she disagreed with the industrial methods of her professors.  Click here to see a great video of her: Arianna on wine farming.  She started with 1 hectare of vines that she leased at 21 and slowly, through hard manual work in the vineyards, attention to detail in the winery, and the support of her family and friends became an internationally recognized wine maker known for impeccably balanced and energetic wines made along natural principles.  Arianna makes wines both under her own name (Occhipinti) and under the Tami label.  Arriana started making the Tami wines after she had already gained fame for her Occhipinti wines.  The idea was to make delicious straight forward natural wines that weren't expensive and use the organic grapes from a friend's vineyard to help the local area.  As you can see from the video Arriana is a woman with a purpose and is all in.  It's impossible not to appreciate her commitment.

Aroma: I smell lots of dark, black cherry, and dried cooked berries in the winter from the Tami.  I want to be clear that it doesn't smell over powering or too heavy, but it is very juicy and ripe smelling.  The Tami Nero d'Avola smells warm and comforting with all of it's ripe fruit flavors.  There is just so much black berry and cherry to the is Nero d'Avola.  Hiding behind all that fruit there is also a little woodsey smoky whiff too.  The Tami smells ripe and vivid with out crossing the line into candied or stewed; it smells like a lot of delicious fun.

Nero d'Avola

Palate: The Tami Nero has more acidity than the nose lets on.  It's a vivid, energetic, refreshing medium bodied red with very clear and elegant tannin.  True to Arianna's style this is a focused and pure Nero d'Avola.  It opens with those ripe raspberry and pretty well sticks with raspberry flavors right through the whole palate.  

Arianna's Tami Nero d'Avola is delicious and a steal at about $19.  The only problem is that she doesn't make much (it's labor intensive after all) and even less comes into the country.  I snagged the last 10 cases out of NY.  Arianna's Tami Nero d'Avola is currently available at Rosemont on Munjoy Hill, Rosemont on Brighton, Rosemont on Commercial St, Maine and Loire, Sawyer's Specialties, and Bow St Market.

Famille Laurent Saint Pourcain Rose 2014


Famille Laurent is a small family winery near the headwaters of the Loire.  The Laurents are technically in the Loire, but they're geographically kind of close to Beaujolais and Burgundy.  This Rose is made from Gamay.  The Laurent family has less than 30 acres all broken into separate vineyard plots averaging less than an acre.  Each vineyard plot is hand farmed separately.  The soil is dominated by ancient decayed granite which provides good drainage and makes the vines roots work harder.  

Vintage: 2014


Aroma: Very pretty and elegant floral aromas.  This is a beautiful smelling wine that makes me think of rich smelling flowers like lilacs.  It's not exactly a lilac aroma, but it's that kind of a powerful floral aroma.  This Saint Pourcain rose also smells like ripe red apples to me too!  Very fresh ripe red apples that is, not passed ripe when they start smelling a little cidery but just like very fresh fruit.  I also smell some ripe strawberry.  This is a delicious smelling wine!

Taste: The Laurent Saint Pourcain rose is very fresh, but has a rich strawberry kind of fruit that fills your mouth and lingers.  There's a delicious slightly salty taste on the mid palate that I find mouth watering.  The Saint Pourcain opens fresh and bright but then the fruit comes in and the minerality and then the red fruit keeps lingering on on you palate.  The Laurent's Saint Pourcain is bright, but this 2014 vintage has more fruit and richness than previous vintages.  The acidity is a little less prominent.  I can't wait to see what the 2014 red is like!  Based on this I bet it will be pretty rich.

Famille Laurent's Saint Pourcain Rose retails for about $15 and is available at Aurora Provisions, Meridians, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, Whole Foods, Sawyer's Specialties on MDI, and Rosemont on Brighton Ave.