A Visit to Trier & Luxembourg

After ProWein, I took the train to visit some family friends in Trier. Here are photos of the Mosel River Valley with vineyards along the way:

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Meet Anders Wannborg, my host in Trier, who’s married to my stepmother’s childhood friend, Nina. They have a great love story, but that’s for another day…

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Aside from loving Nina, playing the clarinet in a jazz band and in general living life to its fullest, Anders is also a big lover of wine! In fact, he helped me taste through the wines as I selected for our first container in 2011. An avid collector, here are some shots from his wine cellar:

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Nina and Anders live near the old town in Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Their apartment is built over Roman ruins which had to be preserved during construction, leaving an old Roman cistern in the basement behind their wine cellar. Crazy:

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We spent time walking around Trier, which is home to Germany’s oldest church, the Trier Dom (Cathedral of Trier). Parts of the church date back to 380 AD:

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On my second day with them, we visited Luxembourg, only 15 minutes from Trier. Here is the Vianden Castle, built in the 11th & 14th centuries:

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We also visited a long-time friend of Anders’ — the proprietor of Wengler, Luxembourg’s biggest wine trader, selling both wholesale and retail …Amazing:

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And now we are back at home in Trier, enjoying a glass of 2001 Reuter-Dusemund Riesling Auslese:

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Wow! What a wonderful trip! Off to Munich tomorrow to see my brother & his family, then back to Seattle on Monday.

Cheers,
Jens

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Off to ProWein, Wine Buying Trip — Spring 2017

ProWein 2017_coast of Copenhagen

Since 2011, I make a pilgrimage to ProWein every March. It’s the biggest wine fair in the world (put on for wholesalers and retailers – not open to the public), and it’s a great way for me to efficiently find new wines for our book as well as visit most of my current producers to say hello and taste through their new vintages & new wines. ProWein takes place in Düsseldorf each March, so with my parents in Berlin and my brother and his family outside of Munich, it’s a great time for me to see my family as well.

This year, I decided to blog during this trip so that I could share a little about the people I meet and the wines I’m tasting!

ProWein 2017_Berlin_view from Berliner Dom_v2

Berlin — Aside from the Berlin airport strike that doubled my 12.5 hour trip from (originally) Seattle-Amsterdam-Berlin to Seattle-Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Hamburg …then an ICE from Hamburg to Berlin (causing me to lose a day with my parents), we had a great visit. On this trip my dad and I climbed up the Berliner Dom. Above is the view from the top as well as the view within:

ProWein 2017_Berlin_Berliner Dom_v2

In the evenings, I’d hang out with my parents and enjoy wines that are nearly impossible to find in the Seattle market, like this klasse Blauer Spätburgunder that I enjoyed with my father:

ProWein 2017_Berlin_Blauer Spaetburgunder_v3

Light, smooth, spicy with a hint of smoke. Here’s my dad, btw. He’s 85, and I’m pretty sure this is his first selfie!

ProWein 2017_Berlin_Jens and Hannes_v2

ProWein kicked off on Sunday, March 19. Let the journey begin!

ProWein 2017_heading in

First appointment was with Lambert, remember him?

ProWein 2017_Lambert

Among other things, tasted a Chablis — C’est la bombe! And I think a found a new Bordeaux Supérieur. I don’t want to give away the farm before it’s secured, so stay tuned for more details on new wines…

Here’s Cesar Langa of Bogedas Langa (located in Calatayud in the province of Aragón). His Garnacha is the most recent Spanish addition to our book:

ProWein 2017_Cesar Langa

Here’s his Chardonnay. Bottle is equally as cool as the Garnacha we have in Seattle:

ProWein 2017_Cesar Langa_Chardonny

The one and only — Monsieur Clerget of Sélection Patrick Clerget:

ProWein 2017_Clerget

Looks serious, doesn’t he. He’s actually very funny! We carry his Chevalier Clerget Mâcon-Villages, Beaujolais-Villages and most recently his Réserve du Chevalier Crémant de Bourgogne (killer!). And I had the great privilege of trying some of his many high-end wines. This one was unbelievable:

ProWein 2017_Clerget Montrachet

Madame Rigal says hello to Seattle. She inherited Château du Grand Caumont from her mother, so she is the second generation woman proprietor of this wonderful estate in Languedoc. We’ve imported her Château du Grand Caumont Cuvée Tradition, Cuvée Spéciale & Cuvée Impatience (all reds) since our first container in 2011. This year I really liked her white & rosé. Stay tuned…

ProWein 2017_Laurence Rigal_Chateau du Grand Caumont

On to Day 2:

Greetings from Daniele Pelassa. For those of you who remember, he visited Seattle in 2012. Fantastic new vintages!

ProWein 2017_Daniele Pelassa

If you are a fan of our La Farra Prosecco, meet Adamaria Nardi. She runs La Farra with her brothers, Innocente & Guido. We imported their Prosecco on our first Italian container in 2011 and we’ve done nothing but add to the line: Brut, Extra Dry, DOCG Superiore, Rosé and as of last fall: Pinot Grigio Colli Trevigiani.

ProWein 2017_Adamaria Nardi_La Farra

Next… Jaci’s wish list includes Lambrusco. (You all must be asking for it quite a bit because she’s adamant about this!) We hope to introduce this gentleman to you as our new Lambrusco producer. 4th generation! Stay tuned for details as we get details organized…

ProWein 2017_Lambrusco

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Here is Giulia Franchetto of the Franchetto family, producer of our popular Franchetto Soave “La Capelina”. Their higher-end Soave “Recorbian” arrives in mid-April along with more “La Capelina”. Don’t forget their Pinot Grigio. It’s great for the price!

ProWein 2017_Giulia Franchetto_v2

The only Italian Bayern fan I even met: Luca Ferraris! We carry several of his Ruché wines as well as a very popular Barbera d’Asti. Check them out if you haven’t already!

ProWein 2017_Luca Ferraris

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There were so many more highlights, but I have to sleep now… Stay tuned for Day 3!

Okay, back in the saddle — Day 3:

Anyone interested in wines from Savoie? They are fantastic! Jaci will be thrilled!

ProWein 2017_Savoie

I have to admit that Day 3 was hectic! But I still landed on some great wines including this Pecorino from Abruzzo!

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Look who else I had the pleasure of running into: Tiago Alves de Sousa! Anyone remember him from a tasting at Portalis in 2009?? Crazy-good reds from Portugal!

ProWein 2017_Tiago Alvez de Souza

I always visit Franz Prechtl (Weinviertel, Austria) at ProWein. This year he had his son, Paul Prechtl, with him. Die neue Generation!

ProWein 2017_Prechtl_1

Of course I visited my old friend, Fernando Rojo. He supplies us with our Bodegas Casto Pequeño (Castilla y León) & Bodegas Rauda (Ribera del Duero).

ProWein 2017_Fernando

This year he had me revisit this little treat:

ProWein 2017_Fernando_Tavera

Last but not least… Ines Giovanett of Weingut Castelfeder (Alto Adige, Italy).

ProWein 2017_Castelfeder_Ines

And how better to end the day than with a taste of her latest vintage Pinot Nero Riserva!

ProWein 2017_Castelfeder_BN Pinot Nero

Tomorrow I’m off to visit some family friends in Trier, and we’ll be making a day trip through the Mosel. Stay tuned… we’ll be visiting wineries there as well!

Signing off from ProWein 2017!

Cheers,
Jens Strecker
J. Strecker Selections

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Domaine du Petite Romain

Costières de Nîmes

Networking is key in this business, and I stumbled across this small vineyard by chance.  Domaine du Petit Romain is a family-based vineyard within the Costières de Nîmes region at the base of the Rhône Valley in Southern France.  The owner, Bernard Angelras (pictured), named this estate of 67 hectares after his son, Romain.  35 hectares are planted with AOC vines. It is on the edge of the ancient town of Nîmes and is Terra Vitis certified- or organic/biodynamic in the eyes of the French.

Petit Romain_estate owner

Rocky low hills, round galets (pebbles), coastal breezes from the Mediterranean sea and the sandy alluvial deposits and red shale infested plain of Carmargue the Rhône delta, are the markers for Costières de Nîmes AOC.  It is nestled between Languedoc and Rhône.  The appellation was previously called Costières du Gard before changing its name to Costières de Nimes in 1989.

Costières de Nîmes predominantly produces red and rosé wine — min. 60% combined Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah (min. 20% combined Syrah and Mourvèdre) with accessory varieties of Carignan, Cinsault, and a max. 10% Marselan.  They are closer in style to Rhône wines than wines from Languedoc, and generally they are elegant, well balanced, lightly structured, with aromas of red fruit, blackberry, prune and black cherry.

Domaine du Petit Romain Rosé
70 % Grenache, 30% Cinsault with white flower, rose petals, warm cherries, minerality, and a  nice acidic finish.  Pairing: Grilled meats, Thai dishes, and spicy relishes.

Domaine du Petit Romain Rouge
The Rouge is 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache Bright raspberry and black currant, cinnamon and spice with jammy strawberry, blackberry, blue berries, vanilla, pepper, cloves with youthful tannins.  Pairing:  Steak, meat casseroles and ripe cheeses.

We are very pleased to carry these wines. Contact me if you’d be interested in them as the wholesale level — jens@jstreckerselections.com

Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections

 

 

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Exploring Italy’s Alto Adige via Weingut Castelfeder

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Notes from our 2013 trip to Alto Adige:

We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

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The next morning we met Ines Giovanett, daughter of Günther & Sandra Giovanett, the proprietors of the estate and sister of Ivan Giovanett, winemaker. She took us on a tour of their vineyards on the eastern side of the valley, including such Castelfeder label landmarks as the stone on the “Rieder” Lagrein label and the bridge on the “Glener” Pinot Nero label.

After our morning tour, we met Ines’ (very fit 90+ year old) grandparents who live in a house on the property, and then we settled down to lunch on the terrace. After melon & parma ham, garden tomatoes with mozzarrela & basil, vitello tonnato (thinly sliced veal with a tuna & anchovy sauce, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pasta with homemade garden pesto, and ice cream for dessert (and tasting through the wines in their lineup), we headed out through the apple orchards on the valley floor on the way to their winery, just off the main village square in Cortina. Ines gave us a great tour, finishing in the Castelfeder cellar.

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Alto Adige was a part of Austria’s Südtirol until the end of World War I, and the influences of language, food & culture still prevail. This line of wines capture this wonderful cross of cultures, and the wines that come from these steep vineyards to the south of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains.  We direct import (close to) the full Castelfeder line as well as their premium Burgum Novum line. Please contact us if you’d be interested in purchasing them at the wholesale level:

Castelfeder Pinot Bianco “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio “15”
Castelfeder Kerner “Lahn”
Castelfeder Pinot Nero “Glener”
Castelfeder Vernatsch“Breitbacher”
Castelfeder Lagrein “Rieder”

Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva
Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva
Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections

Posted in Alto Adige / Südtirol, Family-owned Estate, Grauvernatsch / Schiava Grigio, Kerner, Lagrein, Pinot Blanc / Bianco, Pinot Grigio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Château Franc Grâce-Dieu

This small winery had been imported to the States prior to us picking them up.  I distinctly remember this wine and was disappointed that it disappeared off the market for a period of time.  I am excited to have reconnected with them and to support such a superior small production Bordeaux house.

Franc Grace Dieu_vineyards with shed

Château Franc Grâce-Dieu is a 12 hectare Saint-Emilion Grand Cru estate. It’s situated near Château Figeac and is only 2 kilometers from Cheval Blanc. It benefits from a complex soil structure of brown sand, iron deposits in the subsoil and clay. It follows along the traditional Saint-Emilion properties with a grape variety proportion of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. The wine has ripe fruit aromas of black currant & blackberries, and a lightly toasted flavor with a touch of pencil lead & cedar. Complex, well-balanced. Unbelievable value, this wine!

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J.Strecker Selections

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Our First Selection from Pomerol

Yet again another fantastic duo- this husband and wife team makes extraordinary wines.

FR_ Caillou

Château Le Caillou is a seven hectare estate which has been owned by the Giraud-Belivier family since 1975 and is currently managed by André Giraud.  It is located in the northwest sector (next to Château Moulinet), on a one half hectare plot on the plateau next to Château Gazin.  One small parcel is located at the top of the Pomerol plateau where the soil is dense gravel-clay mixture and the other main part is in the northern part of the appellation, next to Château Moulinet, with a lighter sand and gravel terroir. The vines now average 30 years of age.

This wine has an amazing bouquet of ripe red fruits, plum and black cherry. On the palate, it has a rich texture and well-integrated tannins. Deep and fresh flavors of ripe plum, fruitcake, and black cherries are highlighted by notes of cedar and spice.

Cheers!

Jens Strecker, Owner
J.Strecker Selections

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Castelfeder

Alto Adige | Südtirol  (Italy)

We have been so fortunate to have connected with the Giovanett family.  Ivan and Ines are currently at the forefront of this family winery.  Brother and sister team, Ivan is the winemaker and Ines the marketing and director of sales.  They are lively, fun and 100% invested in the culture of wine and community.

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A little history:  The Castelfeder Winery was founded in 1970 by A. Giovanett, who had attended the renowned wine school in San Michele all’Adige and at the founding already had extensive experience as a vintner. In 1989 the founder’s son, Günther Giovanett (born in 1958; father of Ines & Ivan), took over the management of the winery. Continuing in the same tradition as his father, Günther still has close contact with winegrowers, careful selection of the best production areas and well-aimed cultivation of choice varietals.

Involved in every aspect of the winery: this passion for winemaking begins in the vineyard with the planting of the vines, advising and working with the winegrowers and continues through the harvest and gentle pressing of the grapes in the cellar up to the vinification of the wines and finally to their marketing. The result of this difficult but rewarding job is wine to be proud of.

These guys are doing great work! We carry the following wines from their portfolio:
Castelfeder Pinot Bianco DOC “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio DOC “15er”
Castelfeder Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti DOC “Lahn”
Castelfeder Pinot Nero “Glener”
Castelfeder Lagrein DOC “Rieder”
Castelfeder Vernatsch “Breitbacher”
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva DOC
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva DOC
Castelfeder Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva DOC

Here’s the technical info on these wines. Please contact us if you are interested in buying these wines at the wholesale level.

Cheers!
Jens Strecker, Owner
J. Strecker Selections
jens(@)jstreckerselections.com

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