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At Barrel with Languedoc’s Chateau Maris

USQ welcomes Jacques Herviou to the Barrel on Thursday, April 5, from 6pm to 8pm, for a duo of Languedoc cuvées from Château Maris. An entirley organic effort, from viticultural practices to a winery made completely of hemp bricks (that’s right, hemp!), Château Maris produces a delicious selection of biodynamic wines. Featured as a kick-off to Earth Month, we’ll pour two selections from the La Livinière Cru of Minervois. An are most notable for Vin Doux dessert wines, Minervois’s still wines are shooting to the spotlight thanks to efforts like those of Château Maris. Stop by for the old-vine Château Maris 2009 Biodynamic Syrah and Château Maris 2008 Continuité de Nature Carignane and get the lowdown on this planet-friendly effort!

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservations are not required.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Do you want to be my date to the Spring Fling? Twist and Shout your way over to USQ tomorrow for our annual Spring Fling Mega Tasting. We’ll be pouring wines from Italy, Spain, France, South Africa, and Greece, set to our favorite sock hop hits. They’ll be a Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On. Sip on summertime selections such as Nora Albarino, Naia Verdejo, Raats Estate Chenin Blanc, Hiedler Gruner Veltliner, Althea Prosecco, Willm Riesling, Chateau Larose Trintaudon Haut-Medoc, Rustenberg John X Merriman, and more. Throw on those Blue Suede Shoes, and we’ll see you there!

Admission to the tasting is free, and reservations are not required.

We Be Jammin’ at the Island Wine Party

Jam out to righteous Reggae while jet-sipping your way through the Mediterranean Sea’s prime wine-growing regions at USQ’s Island Wine Party, this Saturday from 2pm to 5pm. We’ll be your tour guides through Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, Majorca, Canary Islands, and Porquerolles—no boat required! Sample popular varieties like Cannanou, Vermentino, Nero d’Avola, and Nerello Mascalese, but don’t miss out on esoteric pours such as Frapatto, Listan Negra, and Callet. These are unique wines with tons of personality, much like the their dreamy native isle locales. Featured producers include COS, Amina Negra, Bermejos,Domaine Leccia, Argiolas, and Planeta, among others.

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservations are not required. Boat shoes and sailor hats welcome. More information here.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Catch some luck of the Irish tomorrow, as we host our USQ St. Patrick’s Day party from 2 to 5pm. Our pot of liquid gold features tastes of Irish whiskey and Irish cream from Emerald Isle producers including Jameson’s, Redbreast, Midleton’s, Bushmill’s, Tullamore Dew, Concannon, Coole Swan, and Ryan’s Irish. Be sure to don green, though, because you don’t want a nasty pinch from our team of leprechauns.

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservations are not required.

Looking for a cocktail to spice up your St. Paddy’s Day party? Check out our concoction, the Tyrconnell Clementine and a lucky standby, the Nutty Irishman.

Stephane Tissot Talks Jura

Stéphane Tissot boasts just as much character as his well-respected, nuanced, biodynamic wines from the Jura. A wine region nestled between Burgundy and Switzerland, the Jura’s chillier climate, late harvest times, and marl, clay and limestone- based soils provide the framework for unique and innovative wines, such as the sherry-like Vin Jaune and the native variety, Trousseau. Tissot’s “quest for aromatic diversity” has led to the creation of more than 30 different varietals, including such bottlings as his 2008 Traminer and 2010 Poulsard. He makes seven different Chardonnays alone, including the 2009 Chardonnay “La Mailloche,” which he poured at USQ along with five other bottlings in late February. We chatted with the exuberant Tissot about his Demeter-certified biodynamic wines, German Riesling and family vacations.

How would you describe Jura wine to someone who has never had it?
“How would I describe it? Oh my. Well, Jura is a small area between Burgundy and Switzerland. When you speak about Jura, you think mountain. We’re 80 kilometers from Burgundy but a completely different climate and soil. We have a very different history. We were Spanish for 80 years in 17th century. We have five different grapes [Chardonnay, Traminer, Poulsard, Trousseau, Savagnin] and a totally different style of winemaking.”

Do you blend the five varieties?
“No, the only blend is in the Crémant.”

What sets your wines apart from other Jura producers?
“I’m in the north of the area. I have an estate of 46 hectares. In total, I produce more than 30 wines, and for example, I make seven different Chardonnay. Every one is from a different soil—clay, marl, limestone—and each produces a different style of the wine. It’s clay soil on the ‘La Mailloche.’ It’s got lots of character, a very spicy Chardonnay, and lots of concentration but very nice acidity. Lots of acidity why? Because clay soil is a very fresh soil and results in nice acidity.”

You mentioned during the tasting a certain dish to pair with your Chardonnay. What was that?
“ ‘La Mailloche has lots of power, minerality and acidity. It goes well with chicken with cream of mushroom.”

We know you like experimentation. What are some of the projects you’re working on?
“We don’t enough! Every year we are trying to make something different and new. Each year is an experiment. Something new I’m doing now, is, well, most Jura producers make one Vin Jaune. I have enough Savagnin that I make four Vin Jaunes, each from different soils. When you speak about Vin Jaune, you speak about the winemaking, of the style, of the power, of the concentration, but sometimes we miss all the complexity of the wine on every soil. For me, four different Vin Jaunes is a step forward for winemaking.”

Describe the process of making Vin Jaune.
“Vin Jaune is very similar to Sherry. We use the grape Savagnin. There is a lot of alcohol capacity in these grapes, and we leave these grapes for six years in oak barrels. We leave a floor of yeast at the top of the wine, and this floor of yeast protects the wine [from the air] and gives a character to the wine.”

Why did you decide to go biodynamic?
“We have been biodynamic since 04. When you’re biodynamic, you have a different life in your vines, in your grapes, and in this way, you can make very easy wine. It leads you. You can keep your yields low, and it increases the minerality. When you drink a glass, you want to drink another one, because they have very nice acidity.”

What do drink at home?
“Oh, at my place, I drink wine from my estate, of course, but I really drink wine from everywhere. When it’s good, it’s good. I have lots of different styles of wine in my cellar. I like Syrah; the Rhône can be very very good. I like a good Riesling, too. You know, in France, it’s not so common to find a really good Riesling from Germany.”

What is the most memorable bottle you’ve had?
“One that is very interesting is…we bought land in 2001, and I had wine from those vines, a 1959. Very very good.”

What are some of your other hobbies besides wine?
“Mountains are very important in my life. I like skiing. I love to spend time with my family outside. Sometimes, I’m too busy to see my family. When a winemaker is working, he’s working. You have to take time with your family to visit without the wine.”

Does that mean family vacation? Where do you go?
“When we go on holiday, we like to rent a small boat on the channel in Burgundy and spend four or five days just winding along the channel.”

Check out his wines available at USQ here.

Viaggio a Italia

Take a stroll through “la dolce vita” this Saturday as USQ takes you on on a tour of Italy with our Viaggio a Italia Tasting. Sip more than 15 wines from famed appellations of the Mediterranean country, such as Barbaresco, Valpolicella, Chianti Classico, Campania, and Fruili, among others. We’ll have producers in the house too! Chat with winemakers and representatives, including Bruna Grimaldi, Claudio Morelli, Pier Busso, Alberto Vaona, Enrico Pierrazuoli, Isabela Blasig, and Mattia Ca Montanari, who will be pouring selections of their current offerings.

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservations are not required. Find out more information here.

Wine: 101 Tuscany with David Weitzenhoffer

Our Wine 101 series continues with a look at the wines of Tuscany. Guest host David Weitzenhoffer returns to the Salon with an array of wines from a number of this famed region’s top producers. Attendees will enjoy Chianti, Brunello, Carmignano, and super-Tuscan red from producers such as Felsina, Villa I Cipressi, Il Borghetto, Due Mani, and Podere Forte. A seated event, guests will enjoy the wines both during the seminar and afterward, alongside savory treats.

Reservations are required to attend this event. Tickets cost $25, and include a $10 wine voucher valid toward purchases the night of the event. Reservations are limited to two per customer. Cancellations made less than 24 hours before the event cannot be refunded.

For more information and to sign up, go here.

USQ’s Southern Exposure Tasting

It may still be winter in New York, but it’s summer in the other hemisphere! Join USQ tomorrow from 2pm to 5pm and head south of the equator for our Southern Exposure Tasting. Warm up with sunsoaked sips from South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand, including tropical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, structured Chilean Pinot Noir, electric Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc and silky Mendoza Malbec. Featured producers include La Posta, Kanonkop, Luca, Tikal and Los Vascos, among others.

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservation are not required.

Want to hear about special tastings? Follow us on Twitter @USQWines and like us on Facebook!

Fabio Alessandria on Video Here

Fabio Alessandria of G.B. Burlotto visited the Salon for a tasting of his Barolo wines, including a vertical of his Barolo Cannubi. One our favorite tasters captured his talk on video. Check it out here.

At Barrel with Daniel Boulle of Domaine les Aphillanthes

Rising southern Rhône producer Daniel Boulle considers himself a vigneron before a winemaker. Having tended vines and sold off his grapes for years, he, in 1999, began crafting his own Côtes du Rhône wines. Robert Parker wrote that they “may be the richest Côtes du Rhône I have tasted” and we appreciate the ripe character about them. USQ welcomes Boulle to the Barrel for a Tuesday evening of Domaine les Aphillanthes tasting. 

Boulle’s domaine is located in the small town of Travaillan, just northwest of Gigondas, and he produces several cuvées of Côtes du Rhône, with his wife, Helene. He employs a series of biodynamic practices in the vineyard and believes in minimal intervention. He ferments in concrete vats and bottles without filtration. What results are powerful and expressions of Rhône blends, such as his 100 percent Syrah, the Cuvée du Cros, and Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre cuvées, Cuvée des Galents and Cuvée des Trois Cepages. Swing by for sips and stories on the Domaine les Aphillanthes current releases.

Admission to this tasting is free, and reservations are not required.