Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG

 
Luca Ferraris - Ruchè de Castagnole Monferrato

Luca Ferraris - Ruchè de Castagnole Monferrato

Ruchè is a small production red grape grown on no more than a total of 40 hectares in around the villages of Castagnole Monferrato, Refrancore, Grana, Montemagno, Viarigi, Scurzolengo and Portacomaro. It was first granted DOC status in 1987 and then DOCG status in 2010.

A medium-bodied, aromatic red, Ruchè is known for a nose full of fresh forest, roses, notes of wild berries, plums, summer cherries & spice. With good acidity and tannins, it’s made for food. Enjoy with the specialties of the region – truffles, mushroom risotto, braised meats and game, pastas.

Our featured direct import is, Agricola Luca Ferraris, whose vineyards extend in the hills of Castagnole Monferrato in the province of Asti (Piedmont), where Ruchè was born:

“To understand how the Luca Ferraris winery came about we must trace the story back to the nineteenth century when Luca’s great-grandfather Luigi Ferraris immigrated to America during the gold rush. Striking gold, he sent the money back to his wife Bruno Teresa, giving her the chance to realize her dream. After her husband passed away in 1921, she bought the house in Via al Castello that until recently housed Luca’s winery. Two years later, Luca’s grandfather Martino purchased II Casot, at the time nothing more than a simple rural hut in the middle of 40,000 square meters of land. Martino planted vines and bought barrels to make wine with his own grapes in his own cellar. He started by selling his wine to wholesalers in the area, then later began to increase his business by selling larger bottles to individuals traveling back and forth to Turin every week on horseback. Today on that land we have one of our most representative vineyards: Vigna del Casot.

Following the footsteps of Luca’s grandfather Martino, it was up to his father to decide what to do with the family’s passion for wine. In the time of the great industrialization by Fiat in Turin, he moved to the city as his peers did, but he also decided to keep his passion for the vineyards alive by collecting and giving its grapes to the agricultural cooperative in the village. That continued every year until 1999, when after graduation as an agriculturist, Luca began working at the family business, restoring the old cellar and starting to make wine from the vineyards. It was the turning point for the operation, and perhaps even for the Ruchè variety. In the area of the seven municipalities producing Ruchè, Luca was the first to thin vineyards to improve their quality. He wanted the company to specialize exclusively in high-quality production and also began to travel the world looking for new customers and markets. Production was raised from 10,000 bottles in the 2000 vintage to 60,000 in 2003 thanks to a partnership with Randall Grahm, the Californian winemaker founder of already famous for his Bonny Doon Vineyard. Today the Ferraris estate produces about 130,000 bottles of wine (about 50,000 of Ruchè) from 18 vineyards covering 25 hectares. Luca Ferraris Agricola is the largest family owned agricultural company in the seven municipalities of the Ruchè-growing region.”

We carry two Ruchè wines & a Barbera d’Asti from Luca Ferraris:

Luca Ferraris Clàsic Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG
6-9 months in oak big barrel; 3 months in the bottle, unfiltered. Ruby red color. Forest woods and rose petals. Flavors of ripe raspberries, summer cherries, spice & flowers. Enjoy with truffles, game, medium-aged cheeses, red and white meats, pasta, especially mushroom risotto.

Luca Ferraris Bric d'Bianc Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG
Stainless steel; 3 months in the bottle, unfiltered. Ruby red with purple rim. Nose of roses and cherries. On the palate: plums, ripe raspberries with hint of candied orange. Clean, dry finish. Pair with white and red meats, pasta, young and medium aged cheeses, game.

Luca Ferraris del Martin Barbera d’Asti DOCG
9 months French oak; 3 months in the bottle, unfiltered. Garnet red with violet reflections. Violets, herbs and spices on the nose. Intense flavors with ripe black raspberries, macerated cherries, spicey notes and a balanced acidity. Enjoy with white and red meats, pasta, young and medium aged cheeses, game.

Please contact us if you are interested in these wines at the wholesale level. If you would like to purchase them at the retail level, they are available at Portalis Wine Shop in Ballard and can be ordered through your favorite local Seattle wine shop.

Cheers!
Julie & Jens, owners
J. Strecker Selections

 

A Visit to Trier & Luxembourg

 

After ProWein, I took the train to visit some family friends in Trier. Here are photos of the Mosel River Valley with vineyards along the way:

 
 
 
 

Meet Anders Wannborg (above), my host in Trier, who’s married to my stepmother’s childhood friend, Nina. They have a great love story, but that’s for another day. Aside from loving Nina, playing the clarinet in a jazz band and in general living life to its fullest, Anders is also a big lover of wine! In fact, he helped me taste through the wines as I selected for our first container in 2011. An avid collector, here are some shots from his wine cellar:

 
 
 
 

Nina and Anders live near the old town in Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Their apartment is built over Roman ruins which had to be preserved during construction, leaving an old Roman cistern in the basement behind their wine cellar. Crazy:

 
 
 
 

We spent time walking around Trier, which is home to Germany’s oldest church, the Trier Dom (Cathedral of Trier). Parts of the church date back to 380 AD:

 
 
 
 

On my second day with them, we visited Luxembourg, only 15 minutes from Trier. Here is the Vianden Castle, built in the 11th & 14th centuries:

 
 
 
 

We also visited a long-time friend of Anders’ — the proprietor of Wengler, Luxembourg’s biggest wine trader, selling both wholesale and retail …Amazing:

 
 
 
 

And now we are back at home in Trier, enjoying a glass of 2001 Reuter-Dusemund Riesling Auslese:

 
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Wow! What a wonderful trip! Off to Munich tomorrow to see my brother & his family, then back to Seattle on Monday.

Cheers,
Jens

 

Off to ProWein, Wine Buying Trip

 
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Since 2011, I make a pilgrimage to ProWein every March. It’s the biggest wine fair in the world (put on for wholesalers and retailers – not open to the public), and it’s a great way for me to efficiently find new wines for our book as well as visit most of my current producers to say hello and taste through their new vintages & new wines. ProWein takes place in Düsseldorf each March, so with my parents in Berlin and my brother and his family outside of Munich, it’s a great time for me to see my family as well.

This year, I decided to blog during this trip so that I could share a little about the people I meet and the wines I’m tasting!

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Berlin — Aside from the Berlin airport strike that doubled my 12.5 hour trip from (originally) Seattle-Amsterdam-Berlin to Seattle-Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Hamburg …then an ICE from Hamburg to Berlin (causing me to lose a day with my parents), we had a great visit. On this trip my dad and I climbed up the Berliner Dom. Above is the view from the top as well as the view within:

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In the evenings, I’d hang out with my parents and enjoy wines that are nearly impossible to find in the Seattle market, like this klasse Blauer Spätburgunder that I enjoyed with my father:

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Light, smooth, spicy with a hint of smoke. Here’s my dad, btw. He’s 85, and I’m pretty sure this is his first selfie!

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ProWein kicked off on Sunday, March 19. Let the journey begin!

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First appointment was with Lambert, remember him?

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Among other things, tasted a Chablis — C’est la bombe! And I think a found a new Bordeaux Supérieur. I don’t want to give away the farm before it’s secured, so stay tuned for more details on new wines…

Here’s Cesar Langa of Bogedas Langa (located in Calatayud in the province of Aragón). His Garnacha is the most recent Spanish addition to our book:

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Here’s his Chardonnay. Bottle is equally as cool as the Garnacha we have in Seattle:

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The one and only — Monsieur Clerget of Sélection Patrick Clerget:

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Looks serious, doesn’t he. He’s actually very funny! We carry his Chevalier Clerget Mâcon-Villages, Beaujolais-Villages and most recently his Réserve du Chevalier Crémant de Bourgogne (killer!). And I had the great privilege of trying some of his many high-end wines. This one was unbelievable:

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Madame Rigal says hello to Seattle. She inherited Château du Grand Caumont from her mother, so she is the second generation woman proprietor of this wonderful estate in Languedoc. We’ve imported her Château du Grand Caumont Cuvée Tradition, Cuvée Spéciale & Cuvée Impatience (all reds) since our first container in 2011. This year I really liked her white & rosé. Stay tuned…

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On to Day 2:

Greetings from Daniele Pelassa. For those of you who remember, he visited Seattle in 2012. Fantastic new vintages!

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If you are a fan of our La Farra Prosecco, meet Adamaria Nardi. She runs La Farra with her brothers, Innocente & Guido. We imported their Prosecco on our first Italian container in 2011 and we’ve done nothing but add to the line: Brut, Extra Dry, DOCG Superiore, Rosé and as of last fall: Pinot Grigio Colli Trevigiani.

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Next… Jaci’s wish list includes Lambrusco. (You all must be asking for it quite a bit because she’s adamant about this!) We hope to introduce this gentleman to you as our new Lambrusco producer. 4th generation! Stay tuned for details as we get details organized…

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Here is Giulia Franchetto of the Franchetto family, producer of our popular Franchetto Soave “La Capelina”. Their higher-end Soave “Recorbian” arrives in mid-April along with more “La Capelina”. Don’t forget their Pinot Grigio. It’s great for the price!

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The only Italian Bayern fan I even met: Luca Ferraris! We carry several of his Ruché wines as well as a very popular Barbera d’Asti. Check them out if you haven’t already!

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There were so many more highlights, but I have to sleep now… Stay tuned for Day 3!

Okay, back in the saddle — Day 3:

Anyone interested in wines from Savoie? They are fantastic! Jaci will be thrilled!

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I have to admit that Day 3 was hectic! But I still landed on some great wines including this Pecorino from Abruzzo!

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Look who else I had the pleasure of running into: Tiago Alves de Sousa! Anyone remember him from a tasting at Portalis in 2009?? Crazy-good reds from Portugal!

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I always visit Franz Prechtl (Weinviertel, Austria) at ProWein. This year he had his son, Paul Prechtl, with him. Die neue Generation!

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Of course I visited my old friend, Fernando Rojo. He supplies us with our Bodegas Casto Pequeño (Castilla y León) & Bodegas Rauda (Ribera del Duero).

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This year he had me revisit this little treat:

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Last but not least… Ines Giovanett of Weingut Castelfeder (Alto Adige, Italy).

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And how better to end the day than with a taste of her latest vintage Pinot Nero Riserva!

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Tomorrow I’m off to visit some family friends in Trier, and we’ll be making a day trip through the Mosel. Stay tuned… we’ll be visiting wineries there as well!

Signing off from ProWein 2017!

Cheers,
Jens Strecker
J. Strecker Selections

 

Domaine du Petite Romain

 

Networking is key in this business, and I stumbled across this small vineyard by chance. Domaine du Petit Romain is a family-based vineyard within the Costières de Nîmes region at the base of the Rhône Valley in Southern France. The owner, Bernard Angelras (centered), named this estate of 67 hectares after his son, Romain (pictured right) with his younger son, Thomas (left). 35 hectares are planted with AOC vines. It is on the edge of the ancient town of Nîmes and is Terra Vitis certified- or organic/biodynamic in the eyes of the French.

Rocky low hills, round galets (pebbles), coastal breezes from the Mediterranean sea and the sandy alluvial deposits and red shale infested plain of Carmargue the Rhône delta, are the markers for Costières de Nîmes AOC. It is nestled between Languedoc and Rhône. The appellation was previously called Costières du Gard before changing its name to Costières de Nimes in 1989.

Costières de Nîmes predominantly produces red and rosé wine — min. 60% combined Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah (min. 20% combined Syrah and Mourvèdre) with accessory varieties of Carignan, Cinsault, and a max. 10% Marselan. They are closer in style to Rhône wines than wines from Languedoc, and generally they are elegant, well balanced, lightly structured, with aromas of red fruit, blackberry, prune and black cherry. The two wines that we carry from Domaine du Petit Romain are:

Domaine du Petit Romain Rosé
70 % Grenache, 30% Cinsault with white flower, rose petals, warm cherries, minerality, and a nice acidic finish. Pair with grilled meats, Thai dishes and spicy relishes.

Domaine du Petit Romain Rouge
The Rouge is 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache Bright raspberry and black currant, cinnamon and spice with jammy strawberry, blackberry, blue berries, vanilla, pepper, cloves with youthful tannins. Pair with steak, meat casseroles and ripe cheeses.

We are very pleased to carry these wines. Contact me if you’d be interested in them at the wholesale level — jens@jstreckerselections.com

Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections

 

Exploring Italy’s Alto Adige

 

Notes from our 2013 trip to Alto Adige:

We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

The next morning we met Ines Giovanett, daughter of Günther & Sandra Giovanett, the proprietors of the estate and sister of Ivan Giovanett, winemaker. She took us on a tour of their vineyards on the eastern side of the valley, including such Castelfeder label landmarks as the stone on the “Rieder” Lagrein label and the bridge on the “Glener” Pinot Nero label.

After our morning tour, we met Ines’ (very fit 90+ year old) grandparents who live in a house on the property, and then we settled down to lunch on the terrace. After melon & parma ham, garden tomatoes with mozzarrela & basil, vitello tonnato (thinly sliced veal with a tuna & anchovy sauce, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pasta with homemade garden pesto, and ice cream for dessert (and tasting through the wines in their lineup), we headed out through the apple orchards on the valley floor on the way to their winery, just off the main village square in Cortina. Ines gave us a great tour, finishing in the Castelfeder cellar.

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Alto Adige was a part of Austria’s Südtirol until the end of World War I, and the influences of language, food & culture still prevail. This line of wines capture this wonderful cross of cultures, and the wines that come from these steep vineyards to the south of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains. We direct import (close to) the full Castelfeder line as well as their premium Burgum Novum line. Please contact us if you’d be interested in purchasing them at the wholesale level:

Castelfeder Pinot Bianco “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio “15”
Castelfeder Kerner “Lahn”
Castelfeder Pinot Nero “Glener”
Castelfeder Vernatsch“Breitbacher”
Castelfeder Lagrein “Rieder”
Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva
Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva
Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections

 

Château Franc Grâce-Dieu

This small winery had been imported to the States prior to us picking them up. I distinctly remember this wine and was disappointed that it disappeared off the market for a period of time. I am excited to have reconnected with them and to support such a superior small production Bordeaux house.

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Château Franc Grâce-Dieu is a 12 hectare Saint-Emilion Grand Cru estate. It’s situated near Château Figeac and is only 2 kilometers from Cheval Blanc. It benefits from a complex soil structure of brown sand, iron deposits in the subsoil and clay. It follows along the traditional Saint-Emilion properties with a grape variety proportion of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. The wine has ripe fruit aromas of black currant & blackberries, and a lightly toasted flavor with a touch of pencil lead & cedar. Complex, well-balanced. Unbelievable value, this wine!

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J.Strecker Selections

Weingut Castelfeder

 

We have been so fortunate to have connected with the Giovanett family.  Ivan and Ines are currently at the forefront of this family winery.  Brother and sister team, Ivan is the winemaker and Ines the marketing and director of sales.  They are lively, fun and 100% invested in the culture of wine and community.

A little history:  Weingut Castelfeder, located near the village of Cortona in Alto Adige (Südtirol) in northernmost Italy, was founded in 1970 by A. Giovanett. He attended the renowned wine school in San Michele all’Adige and at the founding already had extensive experience as a vintner. In 1989 the founder’s son, Günther Giovanett (born in 1958 and father of Ines & Ivan), took over the management of the winery. Continuing in the same tradition as his father, Günther still has close contact with winegrowers, careful selection of the best production areas and well-aimed cultivation of choice varietals.

Involved in every aspect of the winery: this passion for winemaking begins in the vineyard with the planting of the vines, advising and working with the winegrowers and continues through the harvest and gentle pressing of the grapes in the cellar up to the vinification of the wines and finally to their marketing. The result of this difficult but rewarding job is wine to be proud of.

These guys are doing great work! We carry the following wines from their portfolio:
Castelfeder Pinot Bianco DOC “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio DOC “15er”
Castelfeder Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti DOC “Lahn”
Castelfeder Pinot Nero “Glener”
Castelfeder Lagrein DOC “Rieder”
Castelfeder Vernatsch “Breitbacher”
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva DOC
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva DOC
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva DOC

Here’s the technical info on these wines. Please contact us if you are interested in buying these wines at the wholesale level.

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections
jens(@)jstreckerselections.com

 

Spain’s “Oldest” & “Funniest” Winemakers

 

Bodegas Casto Pequeño // Castilla y León

This winery has two experienced winemakers (pictured below). I had the pleasure of meeting the very entertaining Alberto Gutierrez on my first buying trip to Europe, and the Cotoval Tempranillo has been in our book ever since. Over the last years, we’ve added several more lines (see below for more details).

Spain has the largest output of wine in the world- a lot of it is just juice. Our friends at Bodegas Casto Pequeño acquired the winery in 1977 by the Casto Family. The focus is on making quality wines that represent their region, while having an extremely competitive price. Using the latest technology, their modern facility is able to produce top wines that are exported all over Europe and beyond.

Winery Casto Pequeño was founded in 1977 when the two oenologists Casto Pequeño (the “Oldest”) and Alberto Gutierrez (the “Funniest”) created Casto Pequeño SL. Casto Pequeño is the oldest living active oenologist in Spain, and his extensive experience is useful in achieving wines with good quality.

The Bodega is located outside the city Benavente, about an hour due south of the city of León. Ever since its inception, the philosophy has been to create quality wines at reasonable prices and since 2005 the Bodega produced wine under DO Tierra de Castilla y León. The winery does not own vines; therefore, it sources all of its grapes from the more famous neighboring districts, with the philosophy that they will make wine of at least the same quality as in (for example) Duero, but at a much better price. They succeed at this by buying the grapes, after which they are transported to Bodegas Casto Pequeño where the wine is made. They don’t have the DO stamp of Ribera del Duero for examples, but they also don’t have to pay the price for this stamp.

We carry the following wines from Casto Pequeño:
Bodegas Casto Pequeño “Cotoval” Verdejo
Bodegas Casto Pequeño “Cotoval” Tempranillo
Bodegas Casto Pequeño “Gravedad” Tinta de Toro Tempranillo

Let us know if you are interested in purchasing these wines at the wholesale level. They are terrific quality for the price!

Cheers,
Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections
jens(@)jstreckerselections.com

 

Nottola, in the Heart of Montepulciano

 

This wonderful estate was on our first container from Italy in 2011, and their wines continue to be some of my favorites. Classic and stylistic, the family wisely invested in Riccardo Cotarella as their consulting winemaker.

Located in the picturesque countryside of Montepulciano, Azienda Agricola Nottola was founded in 1992 as the realization of Cavaliere Anterivo Giornarelli’s vision; a winery that produces only the highest quality wines. Giornarelli placed Riccardo Cotarella in charge of the estate’s wine production. Cotarella works alongside wine technician Francesco Bozza, who is responsible for the estate’s agronomical affairs. International recognition quickly followed with the introduction of Nottola’s Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine, earning Nottola’s reputation as one of the top wine producers in Montepulciano.

I have not had the pleasure of staying in their bed & breakfast, but as you can see from the photos, it looks wonderful. Agriturismo Villa di Nottola>>

We carry the following wines from Nottola:
Nottola Chianti Colli Senesi
Nottola Rosso di Montepulciano
Nottola Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Nottola “Il Fatore” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Reserva
Nottola “Anterivo” Toscana Rosso

Please contact us if you’d be interested in ordering them at the wholesale level.

Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections
jens(@)jstreckerselections.com

 

A Jewel from Entre-Deux-Mers

 

Literally translating to “between two seas”, Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest region within Bordeaux. Located on the Right Bank, it is the area between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers.

In the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation, Château Martinot benefits from an unmatched situation on clay-limestone hilltops dominating the Dordogne River, a few kilometers from Saint-Emilion. Since 1790, this family-owned estate has passed from mother to daughter for seven generations. The current manager has collected part of her inspiration from trips to California vineyards, e.g. her cement vats for a thermo-regulated wine cellar. Her wine shows off freshness and delicious fruit aromas: nose with pear and white flowers notes, a vivacious palate start with a supple evolution; fresh final with notes of lime, grapefruit and acacia flowers.

– mother to daughter tradition
– great location of the estate
– simplicity and elegance
– sustainable viticulture and minimal intervention

Cheers to an excellent, well-priced Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend from Bordeaux!

Jens Strecker, Owner
J.Strecker Selections

 

Jean-Christophe Perraud

 

I discovered this guy’s wines last spring when I was in Europe buying wine & I love them. They are fresh, well-made wines at a price point hard to find in Burgundy. At 24, winemaker Jean-Christophe Perraud (pictured) produced his first vintage with his family’s 4 hectares. Less than 10 years later, he’s selling wines around the world (but still at a good price)! I’ve decided to post a little about the winemaker & his wines directly from him in a letter he sent introducing himself:

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Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of growing grapes and making wine. After completing my studies in oenology at the Lycée Davayé near Macon, My dream became reality when, in July 2005, I produced my first vintage out of 4 hectares of vines. As a young unknown who wanted to get noticed, I decided that eye-catching labels might do the trick. I played on the name Perraud – (Charles Perrault was a famous French writer of fairy tales) to produce wine labels with fictional fairy tale characters listing only the name of the Domaine (estate) and the grape variety. The result was rewarding. My white Macon was an instant success – lush yet elegant and accessible to all palates. Our “terroir” was yielding its secrets at last!

2006 saw the birth of our Saint Véran. As a family of grape-growers, we had acquired the vineyard in 2003 but the young vines needed time to mature. Thanks to our patience the first vintage yielded a fresh young wine with an untypical note of very mature fruit – another proof that our “terroirs” are unique!

At the end of 2006 we started on the construction of our new winery and in 2007 added a red wine to our range. I am persuaded that red Macons have a future in our region as long as the grapes are well nurtured and carefully selected.

In 2008, we took ourselves out of the Cave Cooperative to whom we used to sell the greater part of our grape harvest and officially created the Domaine Perraud. We had been working towards this new departure for 6 years and the completion of the new winery in 2007 enabled an exciting fresh start.

By 2009, the Domaine Perraud had acquired 25 hectares of vineyards and in 2011 we added a Crémant de Bourgogne to our range. Today, we look towards a future of careful crop control and a return to traditional methods of wine production.

Jean-Christophe Perraud


We carry 3 of his wines:
Domaine Perraud “Le Grand Sorbier” Macon Villages
Domaine Perraud “Le Grand Sorbier” Bourgogne Rouge
Domaine Perraud “Le Grand Sorbier” Crémant de Bourgogne

Please contact us (info@jstreckerselections.com) if you would be interested in purchasing either or both at the wholesale level.

Cheers,
Jens Strecker
Owner, J. Strecker Selections

 

Cava from Penedés!

 

On my first trip to Europe for J. Strecker in the spring of 2011, I didn’t have any luck finding Cava, so I had a couple contacts in Spain on the lookout for me. Literally a couple weeks before the shipment was to set sail, I got an email from a contact there saying, he had found a great connection for Cava in our price range that he thought was a quality product. He shipped us some samples, and it was good enough to hold the boat. Both the del Lleó & the (NU) are terrific, well-priced Cava and they have been very well received in the Seattle marketplace. You can find them all over the city, in wine shops, grocery stores & restaurants alike.

More from the winery:

Maset del Lleó winery is situated in the very heart of Alt Penedés, the top area in the country for cava production. The D.O. Penedès is situated between the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona, in an area approximately 80km wide, bordered in the north by the Montserrat Mountains and in the south by the Sitges and Tarragona coast. The composition of the land is varied, ranging from clay-limestone areas to the sandy soil found at different depths where the vines put down their roots. The climate is mild in the winter and hot in the summer, without being extreme. The influence of the sea and the sun provides our land with a warm, gentle climate, suitable for cultivating the traditional white varieties such as Xarelo, Parellada and Macabeo (necessary to produce cava) as well red varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cariñena.

In 1958, when Maset del Lleó was already a consolidated wine and cava producing company, Antoni Massana bought an old truck and started distributing fruit, vegetables, wine and cava directly to customers in Barcelona. In this way one of Maset del Lleó’s distinctive features came into operation: service direct to the customer. At the end of the 1980s, Maset del Lleó continued to make weekly deliveries in Barcelona, taking the opportunity to take orders for the following week. Continuing today, Maset del Lleó still has telephone orders available to its customers. This direct and personal service with the client initiated a fruitful period of expansion which led Maset del Lleó into transforming and improving the original winery, without losing the family character of the business.

Along the years, Maset del Lleó has incorporated the most innovative technologies of production and communication. Thanks to modern techniques, systems and machinery, the winery has been able to improve upon the original quality of wines and cavas.

Please contact me if you are interested in ordering either of these 2 cava:

Bodegas Maset NV Cava Del Lleo Brut
Bodegas Maset NV (nu) Cava Reserva

Cheers,
Jens

Jens Strecker
Owner, J. Strecker Selections
http://www.jstreckerselections.com

 

Delicious Cava from Penedès

 

On my first trip to Europe for J. Strecker in the spring of 2011, I didn’t have any luck finding Cava, so I had a couple contacts in Spain on the lookout for me. Literally a couple weeks before the shipment was to set sail, I got an email from a contact there saying, he had found a great connection for Cava in our price range that he thought was a quality product. He shipped us some samples, and it was good enough to hold the boat. Both the del Lleó & the (NU) are terrific, well-priced Cava and they have been very well received in the Seattle marketplace. You can find them all over the city, in wine shops, grocery stores & restaurants alike.

More from the winery:

Maset del Lleó winery is situated in the very heart of Alt Penedès, the top area in the country for cava production. The D.O. Penedès is situated between the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona, in an area approximately 80km wide, bordered in the north by the Montserrat Mountains and in the south by the Sitges and Tarragona coast. The composition of the land is varied, ranging from clay-limestone areas to the sandy soil found at different depths where the vines put down their roots. The climate is mild in the winter and hot in the summer, without being extreme. The influence of the sea and the sun provides our land with a warm, gentle climate, suitable for cultivating the traditional white varieties such as Xarelo, Parellada and Macabeo (necessary to produce cava) as well red varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cariñena.

In 1958, when Maset del Lleó was already a consolidated wine and cava producing company, Antoni Massana bought an old truck and started distributing fruit, vegetables, wine and cava directly to customers in Barcelona. In this way one of Maset del Lleó’s distinctive features came into operation: service direct to the customer. At the end of the 1980s, Maset del Lleó continued to make weekly deliveries in Barcelona, taking the opportunity to take orders for the following week. Continuing today, Maset del Lleó still has telephone orders available to its customers. This direct and personal service with the client initiated a fruitful period of expansion which led Maset del Lleó into transforming and improving the original winery, without losing the family character of the business.

Along the years, Maset del Lleó has incorporated the most innovative technologies of production and communication. Thanks to modern techniques, systems and machinery, the winery has been able to improve upon the original quality of wines and cavas.

Please contact me if you are interested in ordering either of these 2 cavas:

Bodegas Maset NV Cava Del Lleo Brut
Bodegas Maset NV (nu) Cava Reserva

Cheers,
Jens

Jens Strecker
Owner, J. Strecker Selections
http://www.jstreckerselections.com

 

Chantovent Co-operative

 

In my opinion, co-operatives are often the way to go for value because if the co-op is well run, they get to choose from the best grapes in the area and then they turn around and sell it for less. Co-ops don’t usually have big names, but who cares when the wine tastes delicious and is a good price! Chantovent is an excellent example of this for me. The wines we carry from them are outstanding and comparatively speaking, dirt cheap!

Jean d’Alibert Winery in Languedoc

Chantovent was founded in 1953, but since 1993, the company has been part of the world of wine production within the Jean d’Alibert Group. The company is owned by 1,200 winegrowers brought together into one winemaking union, representing 6,000 hectares of vineyards, with a total annual production of 325,000 hectolitres.

When the winegrowers of this region decided to join forces, they invested passion and 20 centuries of tradition and authenticity into their 6,500 barrels. So, Chantovent is the true expression of Languedoc, a plentiful, wild region of Mediterranean landscapes and southern cuisine.

For over 30 years, Chantovent has developed close links with viticulture. This collaboration focuses on the needs of consumers who enjoy the high-quality products which result from the expertise of winemakers who are passionate about what their terroir has to offer. We import several labels from this cooperative including:

Château Rivière Minervois Rosé
Jean d’Alibert Languedoc Rouge
Domaine de l’Estagnol Minervois Rouge
Château d’Hautpoul Grand Réserve Minervois Rouge

You can find these wines throughout the city at: Bert’s Red Apple (Madison Valley), QFC, Wine World, Portalis Wines and more.

If you are interested in buying these wines at the wholesale level, please contact us.

Cheers,
Jens

Jens Strecker
Owner, J. Strecker Selections
http://www.jstreckerselections.com


 

Domaine Moltès, a treasure from Alsace

 
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Another contact that I have in France lives in Pfaffenheim (Alsace) and although she & her sister represent wineries from all over France, she is partial to her neighborhood wines, and so she should be. The wines from neighbor, Domaine Moltès, are very small production (600 cases of the Pinot Blanc & 1000 cases annually of the Riesling) and I think they capture the essence of Alsace: richness of the fruit (from the special soil), almost an oily texture on the mid-palate with that nice dry acidity on the finish. They are classic food wines!

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Domaine Moltès was founded in 1925 by Antonio Moltès, who carefully selected the grapes and property with which to create excellent wines. His son, Roland, has since restructured the winery, bringing greater vinification and aging to the wines. The family shares a passion for the requirements necessary in ensuring the wines’ qualities. Among this, the family is keen on keeping their attention on producing high-quality grapes, and utilizing environmentally friendly growing techniques. Their estate takes care of the soil that nourishes the vineyards, working it and monitoring its composition. Each vineyard has its own requirements because each vine age exposes a clean and specific productivity.

The 13 hectares of vines that make up Domaine Moltès extend into the hills that bordering the town of Pfaffenheim. The planting density is 5000 vines per hectare, and we work to control the vine vigor and force them to put down roots deep enough. With more space for each vine, the ending results are greater.

Their obsession for perfection leads them to select only the best. It is in this spirit that they produce wines within the region of Alsace.

J. Strecker is proud to import the following products from Domaine Moltès:

Domaine Moltès Pinot Blanc
Domaine Moltès Riesling Rèserve

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing these wines at the wholesale level.

Cheers,
Jens

Jens Strecker
J. Strecker Selections
http://www.jstreckerselections.com

 

About J. Strecker Selections

 
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J. Strecker Selections is a wine import & distribution business founded by Portalis Wines owners Jens Strecker & Julie Howe. Drawing upon Jens’ vast wine knowledge, his European heritage, and his long history of world travel, they seek to revisit the Old World (as well as some New World lands) to find undiscovered, delicious, well-priced wines, representative of their respective wine growing areas to import into Washington State.

For some time Jens & Julie had dreamt of an import business, keen on utilizing Jens’ experience as a wine merchant and his ability to choose great wines for the price while further creating price advantage by cutting out the middleman for Seattle wine buyers. When WA State wine laws changed in December 2009 allowing retailers to direct import, they jumped at the opportunity. Since then, they have been busily at work, selecting, purchasing and organizing the movement of these wines from their homes around the world to Seattle port. With the help of their team, they will introduce them to Seattle wine buyers via Portalis as well as your restaurants, wine shops and grocery stores.

For more on our book of wines: France, Italy, Spain & Argentina. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing any of these wines at the wholesale level: (206) 783-2009 or info@jstreckerselections.com & we’ll have a sales rep get in touch with you.

Cheers!

J. Strecker Selections