April Wine Club

Buona Notte – ‘Mortadella’ 2022

The vibe: Sooooo we start off this wine club with a fun one that doesn’t really fit well into an existing wine category. Sounds familiar, right? I thought this would be a great “white” to debut this time of year because it’s a skinsy, textured, acid-driven feisty little thing with lots of tension and fun mouthfeel. But also, don’t overthink it. ‘Mortadella’ is a hodgepodge blend of all of the white grapes Buona Notte works with, and they all see 1-2 weeks of skin contact, lending some great aromatics and minerality. The extended extraction from macerating the grapes really showcases what I think makes the Columbia Gorge such an exciting microclimate for natural growers. You get this incredible minerality from the varied soil types which include volcanic, lahar, loess, silt and sand. It’s also much cooler compared to even a few miles east, which elongates the ripening period and allows complex flavors to mature and acid to remain high. Yes yes yes!

The winemaker: Graham Markel learned how to cook at his mother’s Tuscan culinary school at an early age, lending an Italian influence to his wines. For seven years he worked at the acclaimed Antica Terra Winery under Maggie Harrison and Hiyu Wine Farm’s Nate Ready. He learned many things from them, number one being to think deeply about winemaking and how to add beauty to every step of the process. 

The geeky details: A blend of Organic Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Moscato, all between one and two weeks of skin contact. Grapes sourced from multiple sites in the Columbia Gorge AVA. Aged in neutral French oak before bottling. 

Serve: Chilled

Food pairing: I meann… Mortadella anyone? Grab some Italian meats like prosciutto, Calabrese salami, Capicola, get together a whole smorgasbord and see what pairs best. I’d even pair this with an Italian sausage hotdog. Being acid-driven, this wine will pair great with anything higher in fat like cheese and pastries. And of course seafood pairings would go excellent with this.

Album pairing: Kano - New York Cake  


Domaine Saint-Cyr - 'La Galoche' Rosé 2022

The vibe: One of two Beaujolais this month because you can never have too much Beaujolais! While Domaine Saint-Cyr makes some incredible Beaujolais Rouge, this bottle takes a lighter approach with a direct pressing of gamay after harvest, minimizing the time the skins are in contact with the juice. Located at the southern edge of Beajolais in Anse, the vineyard terroir is composed mostly of clay and limestone soil, which shines through in this expression. The mineral-forward profile combined with great ripe strawberries and raspberries and a slight hit of effervescence makes this rosé an easy peasy pick for the smattering of sunny days we’re beginning to see. “La Galoche” is named after a small stream that runs by the property and I honestly can’t picture a more idyllic setting to be drinking this wine in. 

The winemaker: Raphaël Saint-Cyr is the fourth-generation vigneron at the Domaine Saint-Cyr, which was created by his great-grandfather, Pierre Saint-Cyr. Having seen his grandfather and uncle get sick from the chemicals used to treat their vines, Raphaël converted the entire 23-hectare domaine to certified organic viticulture, making it one of the largest organic domaines in the Beaujolais. He has two adorable horses that help him harvest named Simba and El Suegno.

The geeky details: 100% Gamay. Direct press followed by complete malolactic fermentation. Aged in stainless steel for 4 months before bottling. 

Serve: Chilled.

Food pairing: Roasted veggies, salad with strawberries and melon, farmer’s market bread and brie, poke bowls?!

Album pairing: Khruangbin - A LA Sala

Séléné - 'Cuvée de Printemps' AOC Beaujolais 2022

The vibe: Let your hair down. Kick your feet up. Light some incense and break out the cheese platter. “Printemps” means springtime in French and this chill red is perfect no matter what this Seattle weather is doing. The Beaujolais region is a personal favorite of mine as they’ve always been the underdog to Burgundy (they’re literally underneath it) and so they take great pride in what they release. It’s also where the Gang of Four introduced biodynamic winemaking to the contemporary wine industry and set the scene for the current state of natural wine. There’s a ton of history there that I could dig into but the long and short of it is if you’re a fan of mineral-driven, fruit forward, less-is-more approach to tannins and extraction this bottle is gonna be an instant hit. It literally made me say “woahh” with wine in my mouth. 

The geeky details: 100% Gamay. Whole cluster partial carbonic maceration. Six months in concrete before bottling. 

Serve: With a light chill.   

Food pairing: wood fired prosciutto pizza, pulled pork sando with a side of potato salad, hard aged cheeses 

Album pairing: Fanga – Natural Juice 



Andrea Calek - 'A Toi Nous' NV

The vibe: First of all, thank you for bequeathing me with your trust to source the funkiest natty in all the lands. I had so much fun choosing the first funky bottle kick off the club – and though it wasn’t easy I think this bottle shines above the rest. For those unfamiliar with Andrea Calek and his wines, I’m super excited to debut this as his first bottle in the shop. Calek has a reputation for taking a hands-off approach to his wines (even by natural wine standards). But this is a good thing! Just look him up and you’ll find articles with titles like “Andrea Calek Is a Lazy Bum and That’s Why His Wines Are So Good.” His wines are alive and untamed, yet elegant in their own right. ‘A Toi Nous’ translates to ‘here’s to you’, a phrase often used when someone is drinking excessively. Which, let’s be honest, could happen pretty quickly with a bottle this slurpable. It’s quaffable. It’s fruity. It’s expressive. It’s FUNKY. And it’s singing right now. I’ve been loving wines from this region of Ardeche, and I’m toasting you right now from Le Mazel – the neighboring winery to Andrea’s. When I return, I’ll have lots of stories to share (and maybe a bottle or two) so come stop by and we’ll catch up!

The winemaker: Andrea Calek was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. Just down the road from his winery is Le Mazel, the acclaimed winery where so many Ardeche winemakers cut their teeth and where he learned winemaking before starting his own endeavor. His life partner, Stephana now runs the winemaking for the most part as he has taken a step back in recent years.

The geeky details: 90% Syrah, 10% Grenache (36 year old vines) planted on clay-limestone. Certified organic, biodynamic. Vinification: Complete process completed by gravity, native fermentation in fiberglass, on the skins for 18 days with 8-month elevage in steel. 

Serve: With a light chill. 

Food pairing: Idk why but I want to get takeout with this. Nachos from Matador. Pad See Ew from Sen Noodle. Cookies Country Chicken sando. Or oooh would go great with a pie from Delancey.

Album pairing: The Funk Ark - From the Rooftops