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Spring Wines!

April is here and we all saw that earlier showers have brought gorgeous flowers. Antelope Valley along with the rest of Southern California is covered in wildflowers.

Spring is here!

And so…here is some #greenwine for the month, and these are green in every sense of the word. Many likely think of Vinho Verde, that famed green wine of Portugal with a bit of fizz. That’s not the only “green” wine on the market though, so many can be thought of as possessing green qualities. We will be cycling through quite a few green wines this month so be sure to visit often. 

These are the three wines that will spring the #greenwine feature:

SpringWineRoseFirst, we have the new stalwart to our refreshing whites BTG, Rebenhof “Von Alten Reben” Trocken Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Mosel Germany 2014. A dry riesling will always be that great mineral glass of wine that refreshes and invigorates. This bottling comes from one of the most esteemed vineyards in the Mosel, Ürziger Würzgarten (ERTS-ih-ger VERTS-gar-ten). As is the German way, vineyard names are usually literal in origin and adhere themselves to the town the reside in. This vineyard is literally translated to the Spice Garden from the town of Urzig. Blazing red and insanely steep, the Ürziger Würzgarten vineyard fills the picturesque amphitheater formed by this dramatic bend in the river producing a winewith exotic, spicy aromas and a mesmerizing earthiness. We find this dry riesling exhibits gentle charm with a fine fragrance of acacia blossom and herb garden. Typically, the wines of the Mosel are made in an off-dry style that lend fruity and refreshing characteristics without higher levels of alcohol, but here we have a great take on adry version.

Second in the selection is Roccafiore “FioreFiore” Grechetto Umbria, Italy 2014. This wine absolutely deserves the title of a green wine due to the winery’s dedication to the environment around them.

Roccafiore has created a farm of 90 hectares entirely dedicated to growing natural and sustainable crops. Wine production is included in this context with the added value of environmentally sustainable (“Green Heart Quality” certification). At Roccafiore the quality of the environment is considered as important in the production as the land, the climate, the vines and the wine-making style. Roccafiore has been a pioneer in Italy in choosing solar panels in order to generate its own electrical power. In this way it is possible to save 90,000 Kg of carbon emissions per year. This is the last of the environmentally friendly choices of Roccafiore, which started already at the beginning with lighter bottles, biofuels for all the tractors, water saving measures. The mission of an environmentally friendly approach is to give birth not only to a competitive asset but to pursue a wine-making philosophy in harmony with the land it comes from.

The wines are strictly obtained from local varietals and are cretified “Green Heart Quality”. This certification of the Umbria Region founded with the intention to validate the Umbrian excellence with low environmental impact, which are committed to reducing water consumption (water footprint) and CO2 emissions (carbon footprint) through the use of energy from renewable sources, which perform agricultural practices in total respect for nature and the environment.

More about the area and the wine itself, Roccafiore is located in Umbria, a landlocked region in the geographical center of Italy. The Umbrian countryside around Orvieto is a rolling patchwork of vineyards, olive groves, and hardscrabble brush growing from tufa outcroppings. The history of Orvieto is shaped by a volcanic rock called tufa. Tufa is a soft rock deposited in the valley a hundred thousand years ago after a volcanic explosion. Erosion has cut away all the surrounding rock, leaving a bluff hundreds of meters high…the perch upon which Orvieto sits.

All of this comes through in the wine. The ripeness of a continental area, the richness and aromatic complexity from influence of the soil and transparency of the environment. I LOVE this wine. 

And then the namesake #greenwine, Nikolaihof “Hefeabzug” Grüner Veltliner Wachau Austria 2015. The origins of the grape name is the German word for green, “Grüner” and “Veltlin” is the German name for Valtellina in Northern Italy. 

Nikolaihof is one of the oldest wine estates in Austria, whose history goes back almost 2000 years to the Roman empire. Originally chosen by the Romans because it was considered a Celtic holy site prior to 800 B.C., the foundations of the current house date to a Roman tower which existed as early as 63 B.C. Wine has been produced here since the time of the Celts and continued throughout the time of the Romans. Germanic monks obtained the estate during the collapse of Rome, and the first written evidence of winemaking comes from 470 A.D. This writing documented the monk’s ownership of the vineyard ‘Im Weingebirge’, the earliest named vineyard site in all of Europe.

In 1894 the Saahs family took over the estate and carried on the traditions the monks had established here. Integrated farming continued, and even as winemaking and grape growing took a larger role at Nikolaihof in the 1960s, chemicals were never used in farming. Essentially this estate has always been organic. Nikolaihof has been practicing Bio-dynamics since 1971, making them one of the longest Bio-dynamic practicing wineries in the world. Nikoliahof became Demeter certified Bio-dynamic in 1998.

Nikolaihof still functions as an independent, bio-diverse farm, growing all kinds of herbs, fruits and flowers, tending beehives for honey, and even using seeds for grapeseed oil. The average age of the vines at the estate are 47 years old and the vineyards are farmed without herbicides, pesticides, artificial fertilizers or synthetic sprays. Instead, stinging nettles, manure, valerian root and other specially produced preparations are used. Natural fermentations are the rule, in Austrian oak vessels, deep in the cold, 700-year-old cellar. Long lees contact and aging are the norm, with some wines aging as long as 15 years before being bottled.

But really, about the wine, it smells of greens and herbs. Radish, arugula and sweet pea tendrils always come to mind. I love this wine with salad and seafood. Their is a significant amount of lees contact which helps give the wine richness and body, but also matches the wine with richer foods. Grüner Veltliner and oysters can be magical as well as a pasta like our Pappardelle with calabrian chile sofrito and fava bean whipped ricotta.

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