Eurpoean Cellars– “As an importer, we wish all our wines to speak distinctly of “a place” – that their expression is one of that particular locale, unobscured by winemaking interventions (but sometimes enhanced by them?). We respect the historical – both what preceded and what will inevitably follow – embracing and championing indigenous varieties and the land upon which they are grown and nurtured.”
Eric Solomon– “I have a mantra: Place Before Process,” says Eric. “I’m interested in what makes grapes from one vineyard different from a vineyard 100 kilometers away and I’m not interested in a cookie cutter approach to winemaking… There are areas of France, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland that I haven’t yet begun to explore… Oh, and I’m a huge proponent of indigenous varietals… I don’t want a chardonnay from Spain or a Merlot from Portugal… That’s like going to Tuscany and ordering Sicilian food… I plan to build a portfolio that focuses on terroir… I really want to identify, champion, and rescue varietals that have been nearly wiped out in a quest for designer grapes… There’s a sea of stuff out there that’s been ignored, the true regional wines… Have you ever tasted a Spanish white? I predict they’ll reach the same cult status as German Rieslings…” Obviously this is not a man who intends to rest on his laurels. As long as there’s a grape undiscovered, a region ignored, or a talented winemaker laboring in obscurity, Eric Solomon will be traveling the globe in search of them.”
Burgans– ” Burgans is made at the famous Bodega Martin Codax by Luciano Almoedo, perhaps the biggest advocate of the Albarino varietal in Spain. Luciano was extremely influential in obtaining worldwide recognition for not only the varietal, but also Rias-Baixas. Today, the Bodega has grown considerably and is known as one of the most progressive in the zone. The use of wood is definitively eschewed at the Bodega in order to preserve the natural lift and minerality of the grapes. As such, the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel with light lees stirring. The wine is blended by Eric Solomon, working in concert with the property, and is bottled in the spring after harvest.”
Burgans Albarino 2013
Rias Baixas, Spain. 100% Albranio. Stainless steel with some lees stirring. “Reveals loads of tropical fruit, white peach, honeysuckle and apricot notes along with medium body and a fresh, lively style. The crisp acid and abundant fruit make this a hedonistic, crowd-pleasing, dry white to drink over the next 1-2 years.” “Delivers notes of lemon, peach, mineral, and a hint of tropical fruit aromas. Round, ripe, and savory with a slightly exotic personality, it is a nicely textured effort that over-delivers in a big way.”
Espelt– “Although the Espelt family has been growing grapes for quite some time, it was not until 2000 that they began to produce their own wine. With over 500 acres of vineyards planted to a multitude of varieties, Espelt’s ultra modern winery is responsible for some of the greatest values in the region with a whimsical sensibility. The property is located in the Northeast of Spain close to the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenees mountains, an area with low rainfall and healthy cool winds from the north. It has very old vineyards planted on two National Parks on slate and granite soils. The road to the famed restaurant, El Bulli runs through the Espelt vineyards.”
Espelt Garnacha Old Vines 2012
Catalonia, Spain. 100% Garnacha. Farming: Sustainable with organic and biodynamic practices (undergoing EcoCert certification for 2013). Vineyards: Estate vineyards. Soils: Slate and granite (pizarra y saulo). Age of Vines: Planted in 1920. Aging: 3 months in new French oak. 90 Wine Advocate- “Made from 100% Grenache planted in decomposed granitic soils, and aged four months in new and used French oak, this deep ruby/purple-colored 2012 Garnacha Old Vines demonstrates what high quality can be found in obscure Spanish appellations. Aromas of kirsch, lavender and strawberries emerge from this medium-bodied, dense, rich 2012. Enjoy this delicious Spanish red wine over the next 3-4 years.”
Capcanes– “The property is situated in the village of Capçanes and served for several years as the village cooperative. In the 1990’s, the co-op began making kosher wines for the Jewish population of Barcelona, and from that exposure in the much larger city, the property began to attract a greater level of interest.
In 1995, a vast investment took place and the whole winery was been completely restructured and modernized. Eric Solomon was quite impressed with the quality of the wines and saw the potential for even further improvements and launched several custom cuvee projects with Capçanes, building the strong foundation on which their close relationship is built.”
Celler Capcanes Mas Donis 2012
Montsant, Spain. 85% Garnacha, 15% Syrah. 9 months in American and French oak. 94 Wine Advocate- “Another baby Priorato, the 2012 Mas Donis, a custom cuvee from Eric Solomon, is composed of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged nine months in both new and used French and American oak. The Grenache comes from 70-year-old vines, and the Syrah from 30-year-old vines. It is difficult to find a better value than this incredibly rich effort. The bouquet offers up a smorgasbord of aromas, including crushed rocks, spring flowers, kirsch liqueur and blacker fruits. Full-bodied with a velvety, voluptuous texture, and admirable opulence, density, purity and texture.”
Castano– “Created by Ramon Castaño Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castaño is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns about 400 hectares (10% of the D.O.) in four prime vineyard estates.
Bodegas Castaño, as it is known today for its entrepreneurial spirit, focus and vision, really begun in the early 80’s when it slowly and carefully started to experiment with bottling and its state of the art winery facility. The family’s commitment to both quality and the Monastrell variety is unparalleled. Today, Daniel Castaño, one of Ramon’s sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.”
Castano Solanera 2012
Yecla, Spain. 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Garnacha Tintorera. Vines: 15-40 years old. Aged: 10 months in French (80%) and American (20%) oak barrels. 94 Wine Advocate- “Even more remarkable is the 2012 Solanera Vinas Viejas, a blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache aged 10 months in a combination of French and American oak. A custom cuvee that is only available through importer Eric Solomon, this amazing red wine displays notes of lead pencil shavings, acacia flowers, black raspberries, blueberries and black currants. This full-bodied, intense 2012 tastes like it should cost three to five times as much. Full-bodied, stunningly pure and textured, it should last for 4-5 years, possibly longer.”
Novellum– “is a custom cuvee of Chardonnay grown and made by Jean Marc and Eliane Lafage for Eric Solomon. Year after year, the Novellum Chardonnay is lauded for being one of the best Chardonnay values on the United States market. Because the wine is un-oaked, many restaurants have found it to be a terrific “by the glass” Chardonnay which marries quite well with food. As one of Eric Solomon’s first “custom cuvees” (in a long line of successes), Novellum remains one of the most popular bottlings in the portfolio.”
From Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate “Located outside the town of Perpignan, Domaine Lafage is run by the talented Jean-Marc Lafage and covers a number of diverse vineyards spread through the Roussillon. These three cuvees are a joint venture between Jean-Marc and importer Eric Solomon. The all represent fabulous values that warrant attention.”
Novellum Chardonnay 2012
Vin De Pays, Cotes Catalanes, France. From organically farmed vines that average 30 years old. Aged: 30% Burgundian barrel and 70% stainless steel; 3 months on Viognier lees. “Year after year, the Novellum Chardonnay is lauded for being one of the best Chardonnay values in the United States market. Many restaurants have found it to be a terrific “by the glass” Chardonnay because it marries so well with food. As one of Eric Solomon’s first custom cuvees, now in a long line of successes, Novellum remains one of the most popular bottlings in the portfolio.” 87 Wine Advocate: “The silken-textured Lafage 2012 Novellum Chardonnay is generously juicy if rather simply apply, its hints of spice, caramel and vanilla from barrel complimentary, and its finish satisfyingly soothing.”
Chateau Pesquie– “In 1985, Paul and Edith Chaudiere left their jobs in private industry (she was a voice therapist and he was a physical therapist) to study wine at one of France’s top wine universities at Suze la Rousse. 1989 marked the creation of the property in Mormoiron, one of the tiny villages dotting the beautiful countryside under the Mont Ventoux. Since then, they have been pushing the quality envelope in the zone, forcing other growers to raise quality as well.
The name “Pesquie” comes from old Provencal (which by the way is still spoken by a few people in the area) and means a “water basin” (the property is built on the site of an old pond.) The wines from Pesquie are some of the best values in the EC portfolio and would be double the price if grown just 20 minutes away in more “known” appellations.”
Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Rouge 2011
Côtes du Ventoux, France. A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. Vines average 30-60 years old. Aged: 6 to 8 months in oak (40% new, 60% used). “Dark red in color. Intense nose with notes of black berries and spicy aromas like pepper. The mouth is medium to full-bodied yet still very fresh and elegant tannins and flavors of red and black berries with a touch of spice. Pairs easily with food, from simple dishes like pizza, kebabs, charcuterie and salads to more ambitious cuisine like terrines, poultry and roasted or grilled meats.”