Tutti Frutti de Stéphane
Producer: Les Vins Pirouettes
Region: Alsace, France
Christian Binner launched ‘Vin de Pirouettes’ to feature small grape growers in his home region of Alsace, making delicious value driven wines, produced in eco-conscious ways. It’s an association of organic and biodynamic growers, always evolving and growing, creating a community designed for collaboration. They chose “Pirouettes” as the name of this cooperative to symbolize the fun they have building a community and making delicious wine, but also the mastery of technique required to produce these wines of impeccable quality.
Cultivated and vinified by Stéphane Bannwarth, “Tutti Fruitti de Stéphane” is a blend of indigenous Alsatian grapes including Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Gewurztraminer. The result is fresh, aromatic, and complex. Binner says, “It’s important to say that Pirouette is by no means a négoce. On the contrary, each cuvée is vinified at the winemaker’s own place, respecting its history and character.” This wine is a direct expression of Stéphane, this beautiful blend of native Alsatian grapes, the limestone silt on which the vines grow, and the culture and community of Pirouettes. You’ll find us enjoying this bottle with a spread of snacks from our cheese counter at the waterfront watching a Champlain sunset.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
One of the founding principles of Les Pirouettes is freedom: quality growers should have the opportunity to make the wines they are worthy of, rather than sell their grapes to large co-ops for too low a price. So it seems only fitting for them to be represented by an artist who set out to create their own record label. Prince created NPG records in order to become free from the financial and artistic control of his major record label. He understood how important it is to have ownership over your name and that where you put your name matters. Prince resented that the Warner Bros label had use of his name, and he sought emancipation by changing it to an unpronounceable symbol and using pseudonyms. At Les Pirouettes, they take a different approach for a similar result: choosing to always include the growers name on every bottle, giving credit where credit is due.
While Les Pirouettes aims for their wine to be fun and enjoyable, the underlying quality of their product would not be possible without expertise. This Tutti Frutti by Stéphane Bannwarth is completely refreshing, with floral aromatics and tropical fruit notes, and would probably shine at your next taco night. But it still took finesse to achieve - Stéphane and his family have been perfecting their skills in Alsace for decades and bring skilled passion into every bottle. Prince made some of the best pop music of all time because he had a true artistic sense. “When Doves Cry” has serious lyrics about relationship troubles, and yet the song is downright fun anyway. Oh, and Prince plays every single instrument on it. Talk about expertise. The absence of a bassline keeps the track lifted, while the walking synth beat adds brightness. With the strong guitar riff entrance, it reminds me of the first whiff of Tutti Frutti, indicating: “this is about to be good.”
A la Santé des Mécréants
Producer: La Vignereuse
Region: Gaillac, France
Marine Leys traveled the world making films and working as a diving instructor before settling just North of Toulouse in France to make wine. Her work brought her to Ireland, Canada, and finally Turkey, where she worked in a vineyard for the first time. Like so many, this vineyard work was just the beginning. She studied winemaking in Beaune, and produced her first vintage of wine in Gaillac in 2014. She works exclusively with indigenous varieties to showcase this oft forgotten region. The wines have only been getting better since.
40-year-old Durus vines produce the fruit for this powerful cuvée. The result is full-bodied, richly textured, structured, and ripe. Marine plays a huge role in the quality of this wine: grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, and fermented in cement tanks with regular pump overs. She set out to prove Gaillac was capable of making fabulous wines, and the result is clear. Pair this with a saucy braised meat dish for the ultimate experience.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
Vignerese à la Santé des Mécréants and “Water” are both flowing and bright. The delicate wildflower, blackberry, and herbs on the nose will catch your attention, not unlike the feathery harmonization in the hook of this song. Marine Leys of Vignerese expertly balances energy and elegance in this Duras, but it didn’t happen overnight.
Before the lovely Marine was making wine in Gaillac, she was a professional diver working in film and cinema, particularly specializing in underwater film. It’s fitting, seeing as she has fully immersed herself into the world of wine - though not without overcoming some obstacles. “Water” describes a breakout from the norm, the narrator feeling compelled to “jump into the water” toward whatever ambition calls to them instead of “waiting for the sunlight.” People may criticize, but follow your gut.
After Marine worked with the legendary Plageoles family, she began converting leased vineyards to organic. In a region where the vast majority of growers were males using conventional tactics, she was warned that organic would not prove effective. Well here we are years later with the proof that her efforts not only worked, but also they excelled. The bridge of “Water” is stripped down, resulting in an uber-focused feel, as if the narrator can see their goal is close: “my face was numb, my lungs were sore, and still I swam until my feet could touch the shore.” This dreamy bottle of Duras is proof that hard work pays off. With a cheeky name that translates to “cheers to the miscreants,” it’s like she’s winking at her fans and haters alike.