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Seashells, Seashells on the Sea Floor

My daughters cringe when I hear an English voice in the checkout queue and immediately perk up and ask them where they are from (possibly with an exaggerated clipping of consonants so they can't miss my accent). It may seem silly to my girls, but it brings me a bit of joy to connect with someone who shares similar roots.

Wines, too, can be connected through similarities in the soil in which they were grown. Even wines from different countries and continents can reflect a certain kinship due to aspects of their terroir. This week, both of our wines – a Sauvignon Blanc from Burgundy and an Italian Chianti – take some of their essence from the fossilized seashells found in abundance in their soils. These terroirs impart a beautiful minerality and tension which comes directly from the vines’ interaction with the calcium-rich shells.

Goisot Saint-Bris Exogyra Virgula 2019 ($24) is the new vintage of this stunning Sauvignon Blanc that our Wine Friends couldn’t get enough of last season. It’s named after a type of tiny oyster that lived in the shallow warm Jurassic seas over 200 million years ago and whose fossil remains are common in the limestone soils in this area of Burgundy. This wine has a fresh, intense minerality with lots of savory herb flavors and bags of citrus zest. It would perfect alongside a garlic roast chicken or seafood with a buttery sauce as it lifts any flavours on ethereal wings.

Our friends at Goisot continue their sustainable and biodynamic march to being in total balance with nature and it is a joy to see their wines deepen in their expression each year.

Poggiotondo Chianti Riserva 2015 ($32) is made by my dear friend Alberto Antonini, one of the world’s top winemakers, who I met several years ago while developing a new vineyard in Tuscany (I knew I liked him the minute he stepped out of his Land Rover). Alberto’s vineyards at Poggiotondo are full of ancient seashells-- in this case a type of ancient clam – which once again imparts a minerality and tension that is really apparent in the wine.

Alberto is very good at creating silky tannins and balanced acids, so this wine just slips down your throat. It is a must for either a marinated steak or ragu with fresh pasta. I was lucky enough to have it with a wild boar ragu on one of my trips to Tuscany, and it was over the top. Normally $40+ bottle, we're thrilled to be able to share it at this great price.

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