Artisans and Vines October 2023 Newsletter

Interview with a Winemaker

This month, Blandine Mayard, winemaker from Domaine du Galet des Papes, took time from a busy harvest season to answer some questions for our winemaker spotlight.

Did you always want to be a winemaker?
I started talking about becoming a winemaker at the age of 14, and I did a course and internships that taught me a lot, because I love being out in the field. That confirmed my decision to make wine my profession, and also my passion.

Do you enjoy cooking and, if so, do you have a favorite dish that you like to prepare?
I generally cook on Sundays, which is when I have more time. I like to prepare fairly simple dishes using good produce, and my sweet tooth means that I also really enjoy making desserts and pastries.
I like to prepare the traditional Gratin Dauphinois with a nice meat like duck breast or a baked shoulder of lamb with jacket potatoes and garlic! 

Someone very special is coming to dinner. What wine do you serve?
It all depends on the menu. As an aperitif, there’s nothing like a house Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc.  It also goes well with seafood, so it’s a good appetizer. Otherwise, with fish outside our region, I’d choose a Chablis or a Sancerre. 
Then, to accompany a good meat or cheese, I’d go for a red Châteauneuf du Pape or a Bandol (I love Mourvèdre!). 
For dessert, why not stick with a red wine if you’re going for chocolate, or a good Champagne? And to round off the meal, I’d go for a Vieux Marc de Châteauneuf, ideal for digestion!

Do you like to travel? If so, what’s your favourite place you’ve visited?
I love to travel, yes! But it’s the lack of time that doesn’t allow me to do it  much. The estate takes up a huge chunk of my time and I now have a 15-month-old baby who takes up all the remaining time, which is a great joy! 
To get back to traveling, I’d like to do more. I loved Croatia and Corsica with its heavenly landscapes.

If you had one piece of advice to give to someone who wanted to make wine, what would you say?
Wine begins in the vineyard – it’s a whole year’s work and it’s reflected in the wine. You have to be rigorous, passionate and attentive. In the cellar, you have to be meticulous, almost manic. Every wine has its own story to tell, and every vintage is different.

 How would you describe your wines to someone who hasn’t tasted them yet?
Our Châteauneuf-Du-Pape Blanc is a very fruity dry wine, with a hint of minerality and a lovely liveliness on the palate.
Our Châteauneuf-Du-Pape Rouge Cuvée Tradition is a fine, fruity wine with lovely silky tannins. Our Cuvée Vieilles Vignes has more depth, substance and body, often with notes of black fruit.

New Wines

We are excited to be working with Brooks Winery from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. We now distribute five of their wines- all of which are delicious and unique. From left to right:

2021 Brooks Estate Riesling- Bright and lively dry Riesling with mouth-watering acidity and expressive notes of lemon, beeswax, yellow apple, and sea salt.

2021 Janus Pinot Noir A beautifully elegant and balanced Pinot Noir with complex notes of dried flowers, wild strawberries, and Luxardo cherries with well-integrated tannins.

2022 Amycas White Blend– A stunning, dry Alsatian Blend with layers of stone fruit and citrus with a lengthy ginger and peach sorbet finish.

2021 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir– Medium-bodied with notes of cherry cola and blueberry on the nose and a delicious salted caramel and cherry compote finish.2022 Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc– A lively Pinot Blanc with mouth-watering notes of lemon zest, golden delicious apples, and pear with a gravely mineral finish.

Visitors in Town

Early fall has been busy with visitors from our partners. On the top right corner you can see William Long of Long Wines presenting for an event at the Capital Yacht Club in Washington D.C. This event featured Spanish guitar, flamenco dancers, and of course great wine. William toured around the Washington DC metro area meeting with our retail partners and presenting wine for new potential customers. 

In the middle is Paula Yago Aznar, owner of Tempore Wines with Artisans and Vines president, Eric Platt. Paula arrived from Spain and hit the ground running (attending an event two hours after landing in the US!).  Paula visited with many of our partners and presented at a wonderful wine event at SER restaurant in Arlington, VA.

Finally, in the third picture down is winemaker Anton Beukes from Hoopenburg wines,  In the photo, Anton presents his wine at the home of Eric and Linda Platt. Anton visited us from South Africa and kept quite busy. He visited with current and potential retailers as well as partners in trade at a dinner hosted by Eric and Linda. 

Second Annual Artisans and Vines Staff BBQ

The Artisans and Vines team, as well as some of our wonderful trade partners came together to catch up at our annual bbq. It was great to be able to catch up, relax, and try some new wines. Eric and Linda hosted us at their beautiful home and the rain even stopped long enough to allow us some patio time!