August Wine of the Month: Terroir Selections
This month there is no region or seasonality we are focusing on, but rather a small distributor known as Terroir Selections. This Florida-based company shares the same philosophy as Cru when it comes to wine buying. They are boutique-focused and care about the approach and steps it takes to produce quality wine such as organic or biodynamic farming practices, and family owned estates. Cru has dealt with Terroir’s wines before and many of you have loved their selections, so I am proud to dedicate this month’s picks to this unique company.
Raptor Ridge “Shea Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Founded in 1995 by winemaker Scott Shull, Raptor Ridge Winery gets its name from the many families of raptors-red tailed hawks, kestrels, sharp shinned hawks and owls-that share the winery’s 27 acre estate. The estate vineyard is named “Tuscowallame,” the indigenous word for “place where the owls dwell.” It is a fitting name, not only for the raptors that make the vineyard their home, but for those that are released here following rehabilitative treatment by local raptor rescue foundations. The relationship between the winery and the raptors is a symbolic one. As the winery provides a haven for these beautiful creatures, the raptors in turn serve a protectors of the vineyard, aiding the winegrower in the battle against tunneling varmints and migratory birds that damage the vines and eat the ripe grapes at harvest. Raptor Ridge produces only about 7,500 cases of wine each vintage. Uncompromised quality is the focus, not quantity. Scott and Annie consider what they do an honor-working with their hands, providing a product that brings joy, while employing a small, focused of top wine professionals to make it so. From humble beginnings in a converted horse barn behind their home to a state-of-the-art winery on the vineyard property the Shull’s remain grounded in the purposeful production of sincere wines, true to their sides of origin. As for this outstanding single vineyard Pinot Noir from their Shea Vineyard, it is a spicy, energetic, wine with raspberry and cherry scents are complemented by subtle anise and dried rose. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering gently sweet red and dark berry flavors underscored by a smoky, mineral element.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is home to the most precious terroir in the Southern Rhone, and its deep-fruited blends based in Grenache backed up by numerous native grapes are famous in the wine world. It’s winemaking practices extend back generations but there are still winemakers starting their own projects in more recent years. Feraud-Brunel began in 1998 with a partnership between two celebrated winemakers: Laurence Feraud of Domaine du Pegau and Andre Brunel of Domaine Les Cailloux. These winemakers are known for highly regarded Chateauneuf-du-Pape at their own estates but through their collaborative label they are able to source old-vine Grenache from the best growers in the region. The wine is laced with musky cherry and red currant aromas, complicated by notes of garrigue, woodsmoke, and pipe tobacco. The mouthfeel offers sappy cherry compote and floral flavors and hint of licorice, and peppery nuance to add lift. Long, resonating finish with noticeable tannins.