Jane Lopes' Desert Island Wines

Jane Lopes' Desert Island Wines

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Jane Lopes is a California-born sommelier and author. She has worked at New York's Eleven Madison Park, Nashville's The Catbird Seat, Chicago's The Violet Hour, and most recently as the wine director at Attica, one of Australia's most celebrated restaurants. Jane was featured on Esquire network's 2015 television series Uncorked, which follows six New York City sommeliers in pursuit of the prestigious Master Sommelier title. In September of 2018, Jane passed the Master Sommelier exam, becoming the only woman in Australia to do so, and one of only 34 women in the world (and less than 300 people in total since the 1960s). In September of 2019, Jane finally put her University of Chicago literature degree to good use in publishing her first book, a personal and educational guide to wine called Vignette: Stories of Life and Wine in 100 Bottles.

Heymann-Löwenstein Riesling Uhlen Roth Lay Grosses Gewächs 2014

German Riesling is perhaps my favorite wine of all time. The wines of Heymann-Löwenstein, to me, always seem to be of the most attuned to the vintage and site: the aromatics dip and volley with peculiarities of the year, the textures fluctuate, and the balance point shifts. I could drink their wines each year, every year, and never get bored. And I'm not the only person to think this. When I met the famed Mosel winemaker Egon Müller in 2017, I asked him what other Mosel producers he drinks. He had one answer for me: Heymann-Löwenstein. Heymann-Löwenstein farms biodynamically and makes wines in a bit more oxidative style than is common, meaning you can expect more notes of marzipan, orange oil, and hazelnut rather than lime, peach, and smoke. It is a complex, compelling, and singular dry Riesling -- one of the greatest in the world! This is especially true when you can find a slightly older bottle from a great vintage, of which 2014, superlatively classic in nature, certainly qualifies. 

Il Borghetto Montigiano 2016 

When I first tasted the wines of Il Borghetto, I could not quite comprehend Sangiovese made in this style though: ripe, savory, open-knit, delicate, and detailed. It is Sangiovese for Burgundy drinkers. Il Borghetto is based in Chianti Classico, but has rarely labeled their wines under the appellation. 

The grapes are hand-harvested from two certified organic vineyards in San Casciano Val di Pesa, in northwestern Chianti Classico. They are fermented whole cluster and left on skins for 30 days, then aged in concrete. The result is a plumper mid-palate, softened structure, and a wild red-fruited quality. Where Chianti Classico can sometimes suffer from reduction or astringency, Montigiano is crystal clear and wide open. 2016 was a brief reprieve from the ever warmer vintages on the Tuscan Coast, with a mild end to the growing season that allowed for an extended harvest and ultimately classic yet incredible wines



Yalumba Tri-Centenary Grenache 2013

Having just spent three years in Australia, I've been exposed to some of the great wines of the country (and the world!), and this wine is one of the finest. Yalumba is a testament to the fact that, especially in Australia, the “new world” is often not so new. The estate has been making wine continuously in the Barossa Valley for over 150 years, a feat of longevity that few estates even in Europe could match. "Tri-Centenary" refers to the fact that these grenache vines, planted in 1889, have seen three different centuries. The Tri-Centenary grenache is hand-picked, native yeast fermented, and left on skins to macerate for 31 days. It is then aged in 5+ year old French oak hogsheads (made at Yalumba's very own cooperage!). The result is a great balance of plump, sumptuous grenache fruit with a firmness and freshness that belies the hot Barossa climate. Rarely do you see a wine of this caliber, made from some of the finest, oldest vines in the world, at such an accessible price point.