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Skin Contact July 2021

Jul 2021, Issue 10

 

Hot Child in the City

Summertime is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate the season than with some killer bottles of wine to take to the beach, your friend's barbecue, or to enjoy out on your front porch watching the sunset? We have some incredible offerings, including some chillable reds that are perfect for drinking al fresco. However you're celebrating, we're here for you! Stop by the shop and let us curate some bottles for all of your summer get-togethers! Click the grid for July's Bottle Shop Picks!!

-Jeremy


What's New at Helen's

• We are pouring wine EVERY WEDNESDAY from 4-7pm at Appleton Farms!

• Shop hours are Wed-Sat from 12-6pm.

• Due to the hot summer temperatures and increased beach traffic, we're taking a break from deliveries until the end of the season. You can still order through our website and pick things up at the shop, or come on in and browse the shelves! .


Barbara Öhlzelt

We begin this month in the Kamptal region of Austria, often associated with big, broad, masculine wines. Barbara Öhlzelt is flipping that notion upside-down, producing vibrant wines full of tension, balance, delicacy and refinement. She champions lesser-known sites and rejects heavy-handed techniques, allowing the land to speak for itself. Her wines are beautiful and full of a quiet, simmering intensity.

Why We Love It

Zöbinger Grüner Veltliner is aged in old acacia barrels. Racy and delicate with notes of ripe apples, fresh herbs, tobacco and bright minerals.

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Judith Beck

We're featuring two incredible women from Austria this month. Next up is Judith Beck, who took over her family estate in Burgenland in 2004, after working with wineries in Piedmont, Chile and Bordeaux. All biodynamic, nothing extra added, these wines are pure joy. Judith herself says it best: "Wine and the joy of living and pleasure all go hand in hand. We prefer wines which captivate all of our senses with each new bottle and each new sip."

Why We Love It

Koreaa is a field blend of Grüner Veltliner, Scheurebe, Weissburgunder, Neuburger, Welschriesling, Zweigelt and others. The name comes from the local nickname for the vineyard area, which has been called Koreaa since the 1950s. A chuggable orange wine with notes of flowers, stone fruit and hazelnuts.

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Clos des Mourres

Next we’re off to the Southern Rhone Valley in France. Ingrid and Jean-Phillippe Bouchet are the husband and wife team behind Clos des Mourres, named after a wild salad green that Jean-Phillippe’s grandparents used to use in all their family dinners. A love story at its core, the Bouchet’s converted the family farm to organic and biodynamic farming practices, using no sulfur and fermenting with native yeast. The resulting wines are pure expressions of the grapes and the love of generations.

Why We Love It

Pompette is a rosé made from Caladoc (a local cross of Grenache and Malbec) and Grenache Noir. Neon pink with notes of cherry, raspberry, blood orange and fresh herbs. Full of character, lush and bright.

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Alicante Wine Label

Abbia Nòva

We finish this month in Lazio, Italy, near Rome. Daniele Proietti and his cousin Pierluca run 7 hectares of land inherited over the years from his family. They were farming organically in the 80’s, and have since converted completely to biodynamics, using all-natural resistance techniques they’ve developed themselves. Abbia Nòva grows ancient varietals and take a hands-off approach in the cellar, allowing these grapes to tell their own histories with each bottle.

Why We Love It

Cesanese del Piglio is made from 100% Cesanese grapes. Fresh and vibrant with notes of cranberries, plums and pomegranates. Give this red wine a chill, and it’s the perfect pairing for a summertime barbeque.

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Alicante Wine Label

Thanks for reading and until next time, Cheers!


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Skin Contact June 2021

Jun 2021, Issue 9

 

Beyond The Sea

June is here, and it's time to usher in the summer season. Beach vibes, cookouts, sun-filled days and farmer's markets... our favorite time of the year, hands down. Whether it's a bottle of bubbles at the beach, a chilled red with some just-picked grilled veggies, or a tart and textural orange wine to match the sunset, we have the perfect bottle to fit your summer plans. Click the grid for June's Bottle Shop Picks!!

-Jeremy


What's New at Helen's

• Helen's by the Glass! - Join us at Appleton Farms every Friday from 4-8pm for wines by the glass, beer and wood-fired pizza, all served al fresco. Starting June 11th!

• Cedar Rock CSA - Are you a member of Cedar Rock CSA? If so, you can pick up wine and beer orders with your regular CSA pickup! Just place your orders through Helen's website by noon on Wednesdays, and choose Cedar Rock as the pickup location when you checkout! Starting June 9th!

 

• Delivery Schedule - We will be offering free local delivery on Wednesdays and Fridays for the month of June! Just order by noon for same day delivery - $50 minimum for free delivery.

• New Shop Hours - Beginning this week, Helen's will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6pm!

• Natural Wine Bar at Home! - Having a dinner party or gathering at your house?? Want a natural wine bar delivered and set up for you? Shoot us an email for more info!


Kobal

We begin this month in Haloze, a small appelation in Styria, Slovenia. Steeped in tradition, Haloze has been regarded as a prime wine-growing region since ancient Roman times. Bojan Kobal is a mastermind winemaker, showcasing not only the rich history of the region, but also the future of where Slovenian wine is going. Focusing on mostly white wine, Bojan also makes some incredibly playful and gorgeous pet nats, and we're so excited to be featuring two of his sparlkers this month. Both of these wines are perfect to toast the beginning of summer. Drink these on the beach, and soak up the sun.

Why We Love It

The white version of Bajta is made from 100% Yellow Muscat. Lively, juicy and mouthwatering. A little hazy with notes of lemons, limes and flowers. A distinct yeastiness and a creamy texture. Sunshine in a bottle!

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The rosé style of Bajta is made from 100% Blaufrankisch, sometimes called the Pinot Noir of the East. A similar yeastiness and creamy texture to her Muscat sister, due mainly to the use of wild yeasts in the ending bottle fermentation. Notes of strawberries and raspberries, bright and beautiful.

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Bodega Marañones

Our next stop is the Sierra de Gredos near Madrid, Spain. The conditions here are extreme in every sense, with a harsh climate and rocky, steep slopes. Despite that, the Sierra de Gredos are home to some young and innovative winemakers. Fernando Garcia of Comando G fame is at the helm of Bodega Marañones, consisting of four different vineyard sites. Great care is paid to the various microclimates and soil conditions as well as to the winemaking process itself. Many of his grapes are even pressed by foot! All of his wines are bursting with purity, finesse and are truly a joy to taste.

Why We Love It

Picarana is made from 100% Albillo Real, a rare grape that exists mostly in the Sierra de Gredos. A juicy and early grape, Albillo makes wines that are rich and textural. Super aromatic with notes of tree fruit and citrus.

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Claus Preisinger

Our journey this month wraps up in Burgenland, Austria, the eastern-most region of the country. Claus Preisinger has always known what he was destined for, attending a viticultural HIGH SCHOOL before working abroad in a few California vineyards. He released his first namesake wines in 2002, and converted to full biodynamics in 2006. His commitment to the environment really shines through in all of his wines, with little intervention and use of ambient yeasts that give them a real sense of place. Claus is a free spirit who strives for beauty in simplicity.

Why We Love It

Puszta Libre! is a blend of Zweigelt and St. Laurent, both native Austrian grapes. It's light and smooth with notes of red berries and crushed violets. A PERFECT summertime red.

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Alicante Wine Label

Liquid History

Vinupetra Wine Label

My name is Vermouth, and I'm a true jet setter. I can be found in nearly every place that makes wine, although my origins are largely based in Europe. I am a wine at heart, although I'm always fortified with botanicals and herbs. I can be sweet or dry, red or white, light or rich. In essence, there is a version of me that's perfect for every situation: as part of your favorite cocktail, as an aperitif, or an after-dinner sipper. I am a far cry from that old bottle of vermouth in the back of your parents' liquor cabinet, so forget whatever you think you know about me, and get ready for a real treat!

Helen's favorite for the summer is the PARTIDA CREUS MUZ from Catalonia, Spain, served over ice. Muz is a blend of nearly-forgotten native red grape varietals, fortified with Alpine herbs and citrus. Guaranteed to make you smile!


Thanks for reading and until next time, Cheers!


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Skin Contact May 2021

May 2021, Issue 8

 

Knocking on Helen's Door

Happy May! With Spring now in full bloom, hopefully all of you are feeling that sunny optimism as we move into the warmth of the season. We are so excited to open our doors to the public once more, so you can peruse our physical shelves and discover some new favorites on Wed/Fri/Sat from 12-6pm. Online ordering will also continue for in-store pickup and local delivery, so you can stock up your cellars in whatever way makes you happy. Cheers to sunnier days ahead!

-Jeremy

PS - Click the grid above for all of May's picks!


Domaine Belluard

We begin this month high in the French Alps. Dominique Belluard took over his family's land in Savoy back in 1988. His main focus has been the grape Grignet, a native varietal found only in his area that was nearly extinct. In fact, there are an estimated 64 acres of Grignet in the world, and Dom cultivates 54 of those! He's also the only winemaker to be bottling this grape commercially, making this bottle of bubbles EXTRA special. Biodynamic, emotional and absolutely gorgeous.

Why We Love It

This sparkler is made from 100% Grignet, and unless you've had one of Dom's wines, you've probably never had this grape before. Bright and fascinatingly complex, with notes of pine forest, baking spice, toasted walnuts, pear, honey and lemon curd. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Domaine Padié

Our next stop is in the Southwest of France, a wine region known for it's renegade spirit and boundary-pushing bottles. Jean-Philippe Padié was born and raised in Burgundy, but always dreamed of moving to his grandparents' home in the Languedoc-Roussillon. He's been making natural wine in the village of Calce since 2003, never using additives or sulphites. The land is full of vertical faultlines that create countless valleys with countless microclimates, and Jean-Philippe's wines are a reflection of this wild and untamed land.

Why We Love It

"Le Tourbillon de la Vie" is named after a song by Jeanne Moreau and translates as "The Whirlwind of Life". Made from 100% Macabeu, this wine is medium-bodied, bright and dry, with notes of pink grapefruit, stone fruits and mint. Drink this will all things spring - fish, chicken, a big, herby salad, tapas, or just sitting out on the beach at sunset. Pure magic.

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Margins

Next, we're heading to the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Winemaker Megan Bell is all about the margins - those underrepresented places that are often left out or overlooked - and bringing them and their vines into the spotlight. Part of her project is to work with small, local growers to help them transition to organic farming practices. These are exciting, low-intervention wines with a mission, and we're excited to showcase the great work that Megan is doing!

Why We Love It

This rosé is a blend of Barbera, Merlot and Petite Syrah. The vineyards are on the coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and this cooler growing climate has preserved the natural acidity beautifully. Super bright and thirst-quenching, with notes of strawberries and citrus.

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Alicante Wine Label

Clos Lentiscus

Our last stop this month is in the Penedès region of Spain, just north of Barcelona. Manel Arinyò and his brother Joan took over their father's land in 2001. Prior to this, the land was farmed conventionally and the grapes were sold off. Manel converted everything to organic and biodynamic techniques, and started bottling his own wine. His sparkling wines rival the best grower champagnes, and really, everything he touches turns to gold. These wines are as natural as can be, but there's no funk in sight. Just purity, elegance and sunshine.

Why We Love It

Litrona is 100% Sumoll, a native grape to the Penedès region of Spain, and these vines are 80 years old! Fermented and aged in very old barrels and clay amphorae for 1.5 years before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Notes of dark fruit and earth. Best with just a slight chill.

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Alicante Wine Label

Thanks for reading and until next time, Cheers!


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Skin Contact April 2021

Apr 2021, Issue 7

 

Needles and Pins

As the vaccine rollout opens up more and more, there are a lot of emotions coming up to the surface. Excitement, relief, and even a catharsis of all the tension we've been carrying with us for the past year. As we rush to return to "normal", what if we considered what parts of "normal" are worth rushing back to? Maybe we have a chance to create something better. April is a time of rebirth, and what better time to start something fresh and inspired? Cheers to new beginnings, more kindness and deeper connections. The shop will be re-opening starting April 30th, and we can't wait to welcome you back. Wed/Fri/Sat from 12-6pm!

-Jeremy

PS - Click the grid above for all of April's picks!


Listen In...

Alexis had the opportunity to talk about Helen's Bottle Shop's evolution and pivoting during the pandemic with The Brand Smiths, an exciting podcast about small businesses and modern ways of connecting with the public.

Click the logo to listen in!

Sous le Végétal

Our first stop this month is the beautiful Greek island of Samos. Sous le Végétal is a collaboration project of Jason Ligas and Patrick Bouju. They are working against the norms of industrial farming, turning to biodynamics as a way to restore a healthy permaculture to their land and vines. They even use herbs and natural balms to soothe, heal and protect their vines! Focusing solely on the grape Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, each of their cuvées shows just how versatile and shapeshifting this grape can be.

Why We Love It

Livia is made from 100% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, most famous as a light sparkler from Northern Italy and as a dessert wine from the South of France. This grape is native to Greece, and shines here with a light all its own. Long and full-bodied, with zippy acid and notes of aromatic flowers and savory sea salt.

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Kunoh Wines

Our next stop is on the gorgeous South Island of New Zealand, in Tasman. Yuki Nakano is a former sommelier from Kyoto, who brings his passion for Japanese food culture to New Zealand winemaking. He brings out a savory, umami quality that is all his own - he only eats Japanese food to keep his palate as fine tuned as it was during his days in the world of fine dining. With a big thirst for knowledge, Yuki has developed a strong grasp of the nuances of natural winemaking, although has never formally studied. A wunderkind of epic proportions, his wines are rare, fresh and one-of-a-kind. Kunoh is Yuki's mother's family name, which he's carrying on with this magical project.

Why We Love It

Table 30 is made from 90% Pinot Blanc and 10% Riesling, co-fermented on the Riesling skins, aged for 10 months and bottled unfiltered. Lightning bolts of acidity, notes of lemons, limes and magnolia blossoms. Round, textured and unforgettable.

Label art by Parisian artist and friend Yuki Yashiro.

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Idlewild

Mendocino County, California is our rosé stop this month. Sam Bilbro is the man behind this incredible project, focusing solely on grape varietals that are native to Piedmont, Italy. All the grapes are sourced from 2 vineyards, managed by Wild Ruth Farming, a collaboration between Idlewild and Ruth Lewandowski Wines. This means small production, and a truly hands-on approach from the beginning of the vines to the finished bottles. Holistic farming practices are used, which help let the land and the grapes speak for themselves. What you get from all this is a strong reflection of European winemaking, where a sense of place takes centerstage, wrapped up in a fresh, modern, New World sensibility. Surprising and delicious at every turn.

Why We Love It

Flora and Fauna Rosé is a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera. From California. That alone is exciting enough, but wait until you taste it. Aromas of blood orange, grapefruit, sea spray and alpine herbs, juicy berry and orchard flavors that dance between savory and fresh. Powerful but with delicate subtlety. This is a serious rosé that you'll have a blast drinking. Happy Spring, indeed.

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Alicante Wine Label

Nicolas Carmarans

We finish our journey this month in the Southwest of France, a region that truly is the Wild West of winemaking: less rules, more experimentation and some renegades who are making magic happen. Nicolas Carmarans ran a wine bar in Paris for many years before moving back to his home of Aveyron, to get closer to the land and to start making wines of his own. He blends native varietals with modern techniques for some really special and unique wines.

Why We Love It

Fer de Sang is made from 100% Fer Servadou, sourced from 70 year-old vines. Grapes are fermented in fiberglass tanks and undergo carbonic maceration, a process that is used famously in Beaujoulais, giving a lightness and playfulness to grapes that would otherwise be more stern and serious. This stunner has notes of smoke and leather with bright berries and a silky texture. Ooh-la-la!

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Alicante Wine Label

What's new at Helen's

We will be re-opening the shop to the public on April 30th! We want to do so with as much care and thoughtfulness as we can, so we'll be open Wed / Fri / Sat from 12-6pm. Same delivery schedule will continue as well, so you can get your favorite bottles in whatever way makes you happy. We can't wait to welcome you back in!


Thanks for reading and until next time, Cheers!


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