July Wine Club

Tenuta Nardone –  ‘Pupo Punk’ Greco 2021

The vibe: Y’all asked for it! With this heat wave, I figured now’s the time to debut a sparkling wine in the club, and obviously it had to be a pét nat! Pétillant naturel wines, also referred to as the méthode ancestral, pre-date the champagne method, originating in France in the 1500s. But boy are they having a moment now. These little numbers get their pop naturally as the name suggests, without forced carbonation or dosage. Just bottle the juice under a cap as it’s still fermenting and it’ll continue to bubble away in bottle as the yeast snack until they can’t snack anymore. That’s why pét nats are typically dry, since fermentation is fully completed. That sediment at the bottom is actually dead yeast (aka lees), which impart a unique profile to the wine. In fact, there are whole regions and classic styles based around the profile of lees, like Muscadet or Chablis. This wine in particular has light, frizzante-style bubbles with incredible texture and density. It has a wild side to it to be sure, but it is also poised, with excellent structure and bracing tannins, perfect for washing down whatever savory or spicy dish you might be noshing on. Gently tip the bottle upside down to incorporate the lees, or keep it upright for a couple hours if you prefer a clear glass.

The winemaker: “Wine is meant to be drunk!” Nicola Nardone is the soul of this volcanic estate in Venticano, in the Campania region of Italy. After graduating in viticulture and oenology at the University of Bordeaux, he took over the family business in 2004. He grows grapes typical of the area such as Greco in the case of this pét nat, also Coda di Volpe, Falanghina and Aglianico. All vine work is done completely by hand, and natural flora is embraced, adopting the Organic Forest philosophy of keeping nature as intact as possible. Spontaneous grass grows among the vines and no herbicides or pesticides are used. Nicola also abstains from sulphur use across all of his wines, in stark contrast to the rigid, conventional tradition of Bordeaux school of thought.

The geeky details: 100% Greco. Two days of skin contact, then spontaneously fermented and bottled in the méthode ancestral. No sulphur, no fining or filtering.

Serve: With a chill.

Food pairing: I just watched the first episode of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (I’m late, I know) and in it he visits Naples, the birthplace of pizza and cultural epicenter of Campania. Being from Campania, this wine would pair perfectly with a wood fired margharita. It also has some serious savory, textural, and even briny undertones, which would work well with anything umami, spicy, salty, or sour. I’m thinking pickled veggies, tinned fish, and even harder dishes to pair like kimchi bowls or Szechuan stir fry.

Album pairing: The Clash – London Calling


Kelley Fox  – ‘Nerthus’ 2022

The vibe: I’m inventing a new style of wine called peach wine. It’s not totally orange, it’s not pink, it’s peachy. And it tastes like peaches too! Stonefruit meets powdery minerality in this refreshing peach wine. It’s a made entirely of a “white grape” blend. I use air quotes because Pinot Gris grapes have pink-tinted skins, and since some of these grapes see time on the skins á la orange wine, hey presto we end up with a sunrise-colored hue. That was a lot of fruit-talk, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how stoked I am to debut Kelley Fox to the shop with this month’s wine club. Some of you might be familiar with her – she’s made a name for herself since opening her winery in 2007, and has been at the bleeding edge of the Oregon winemaking scene ever since.

The winemaker: Kelley Fox has been making wine since 2000, after pivoting from her degrees in Psychology and Biology and pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry. Rather than learning about wine in a classroom setting, she spent time in the vines with winemakers themselves, including her dear friend and inspiration, David Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards. Yeah, that Eyrie. They were the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley and first in the US to make Pinot Gris in 1970. With her connections, she is able to source from some of the great vineyards in the Willamette. Everything is hand-harvested, fermentation is spontaneous with natural yeasts and she even plays music for her wines. Her bottles are 100% natural, while remaining composed, refined, and true to the Willamette Valley terroir.

The geeky details: 34% Early Muscat, 34% Pinot gris, 18% Riesling, and 14% Pinot blanc. All fruit is whole cluster pressed after picking, except for a couple of fermenters of skin-contact Pinot gris (one pigeage per day, pressed at dryness). It was allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. Élevage - 5mos stainless tanks until bottling.

Serve: With a chill.

Food pairing: Hmmm, peaches?? Peach salad? Pesto peach chicken with burrata. Chips and peach salsa. Or omg a peach cobbler with ice cream.

Album pairing: Peaches & Herb – 2 Hot!


Kobal – Blaufränkisch 2022

The vibe: I assume you’ve already popped the two chillers from this pickup in the fridge (or maybe a cooler!), shouting at Alexa to start a timer until they’re ready. I realize it’s hotter than the inside of a fermenter right now and a red wine is the last thing on your mind. But! This is a realllyyy good red. And we all know how fleeting heat waves are. This is a Blaufränkisch, a varietal mostly grown in Austria, though thought to possibly be from Slovenia, where this winery is based. Slovenians actually have their own word for the grape: Frankovna Crna. It presents as a purply, blackberry-cherry-chocolate trio with woodsy undertones. It’s definitely a year-round drinker as you can pair it with both casual pizzas, roasted chicken or heartier gamey meals. It is best decanted for 45 minutes. And in case you want to grow your cellar, this should age beautifully over the next 5 years. Best enjoyed with company and a cozy meal, or as I first enjoyed it, at a cabin in the San Juans after a summer sunset.

The winemaker: Bojan Kobal produces wine in the Haloze appellation in Štajerska Slovenia, considered one of the top wine-growing sites in Europe since Roman times. Here, old vines root deep into marl slopes and absorb minerality, a signature profile of these wines. Kobal itself is a tiny garage winery, a project of Bojan’s outside of his day job as winemaker at Pullus (another fantastic Slovenian winery). He has a passion for indigenous varietals that rarely make their way out of the country, much less to our shores. Lucky us that his wines made it here!

The geeky details: 100% Blaufränkisch, hand-picked and de-stemmed, then skin macerated for 3 weeks. Spontaneous fermentation. Matured in used barrique barrels for 6 months where it finished malolactic fermentation. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered.

Serve: Cellar temp (60F)

Food pairing: Casual or classy, you decide! Backyard wood-fired pizza, roasted chicken or turkey, grilled chicken salad, burgers and French fries, or gamey stews and bratwurst, potatoes and braised greens.

Album pairing: Don Glori – Don’t Forget to Have Fun




Lares – ‘Chimera’ Pét Nat 2021

The vibe: The label asks “we good?” Yes, yes we are very good. This is a friggin’ fruit salad of a pét nat with apples and grapes oh my! Lares is a form of creative exploration for winemakers Meredith Bell and Luke Wylde. With the main winery, Statera Cellars, focused on making honest and elegant Willamette Valley Chardonnays, this little label lends a space to lean on what they’ve learned over the years and to explore new pathways and make wine in their own way. And this wine is certainly that. Not only is it made with grapes they don’t typically work with, it’s a co-ferment style, meaning multiple varietals and fruit fermented together, then bottled as a pét nat. That’s pretty wild even for the Willamette. And honestly, all things considered I’m not even sure it’s that funky! It’s just so drinkable. The apples lend some lifting acidity and green crunchiness, but they don’t take center stage. Rather, this drinks almost like a prosecco or sparkling dry Riesling. And it just so happens to look like Gatorade. It is wild. It is fun. And it is unique AF.

The winemaker: Statera Cellars is owned and operated by two friends, Meredith Bell and Luke Wylde. They are the first winery in the Willamette to exclusively make Chardonnay – they love the grape and have a mission to showcase its potential and diversity. Using traditional winemaking practices results in wines that are compelling and alive. Lares is a small label focused on working with grapes outside of Chardonnay and creating even more honest and eclectic cuvées.

The geeky details: 50% Pinot Gris, 40% Apples, 10% Riesling. Hand-picked, native yeast fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered fruit wine.

Serve: Cold! 

Food pairing: Cheeese. I’m thinking Camembert. Or stinky blue or brie, which the lifting acidity and fruitiness will compliment.

Album pairing
: Reuben Vaun Smith – Da Cuckoo YaYa