February 2017 Wine Alliance

What sort of questions do you ask yourself when drinking a glass of wine? Number one is probably, “do I like this?”. Quickly following; what is/are the grape variety/s, what region does the wine come from and then who is the producer? At some point we might consider what kind of vessel the wine is made in, the significance of soil type and health, or how farming practices impact a finished wine. The network of variables that contribute to what flows into your glass is immense.
In this month’s club I’d like to draw attention to a critical yet often unrecognized element in your experience - the wine importer. The reason the importer is so important is because they are the folks who are choosing the wines that come to the U.S. Without them our drinking options would be severely limited.
A great importer will select great wines…to their palate. A great importer’s palate will have a strong identity, a honed point of view, or, you might even say, an attitude. It can take years of experience tasting hundreds and hundreds of wines to develop the skill it takes to carefully select a group of wines that are thoughtful, true and delicious. It sounds fun but honestly, it’s hard work. Understanding where your own tastes meet an importers’ will make selecting wine (when you’re way from Vif!) much easier.
De Maison Selections is the importer that we’re highlighting this month. De Maison Selections was founded 21 years ago by André Tamers with a focus on high quality boutique producers from France and Spain. More specifically he searches for unique vineyard sites which are farmed in a non-interventionalist way. He cares deeply about the history of place and how the owners of the properties relate to its past.  André has had plenty of time to develop long standing relationships with producers and hone his “company palate” which he describes as “Francophile” (Keep that in mind because he imports a lot of Spanish wines which are noticeably more lifted than you might expect).
I always wonder what keeps someone doing what they do so I asked André and love his answers!
Shawn -What motivates y'all to keep going?
Andre -Sustaining and rehabilitating ancient cultures.
Shawn -What's captured your curiosity over the last year or so?
Andre - First rediscovering ancient parcels in forgotten lands and secondly insuring correct provenance from producer to Customer through proper handling of all wines.
 
BTW – you’ll find the importer’s name on the back label so when you love something turn the bottle around and see who brings it!
Drink with Focus Club
Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas Albariño Rias Baixas, SP
Grape – Albariño. This special Albariño from Do Ferreiro is sourced from 200+ year old vines. Pair the Albariño Cepas Vellas with shellfish and tasty fish.
D. Ventura Viña Caneiro Ribeira Sacra
Grape- Mencia. D Ventura’s top wine, from stunningly steep south-facing vineyards right on the Sil river. These are old vines are on slate soils, producing a wine that shows the Mencía grape at its deepest and most complex.
Drink Everyday Club
Do Ferreiro Albariño Rias Baixas, SP
Grape – Albariño. The Do Ferreiro Albariño is sourced from a variety of vineyards Gerardo Mendez owns and farms throughout the Salnès. This valley’s proximity to the ocean and protection by mountain ranges has gained it the reputation for being the best area in Rías Baixas for viticulture.
Joan d’Anguerra Altaroses Montsant, SP
Grape – Garnatxa. The Altaroses is Joan d'Anguera's first certified biodynamic and organic wine. The Anguera brothers have decided to label the wine as a “Granatxa,” the old Catalan name for Garnacha, as an emblem of their focus on adhering to the lighter, traditional style of wines that used to be made in Montsant.