October 26, 2023
Who are they?
After years on the Mexico City bartending scene, Hillhamn Salome decided she wanted to deep dive into her favorite spirit: mezcal.
In 2015, she founded Mexico’s first female-powered distillery, staffed by a lean team of five women. Their signature offering, Xila (pronounced “SHEE-la”), means “woman” in the indigenous Oaxacan language of Zapotec.
What are they making?
Flor du Luna’s signature offering is Xila Licor de Agave, a mezcal-based aperitif. The aperitif’s journey starts in Oaxaca, where Salome sources the base Espadin mezcal from mezcalero Edilberto Bautista, who manages the palenque (mezcal distillery) with his wife.
Once the base mezcal arrives at Flor du Luna’s Mexico City distillery, the team macerates the mezcal with botanicals for seven days. Each of the botanicals — roasted pineapple, ancho Chile, cinnamon, pepper, clove, hibiscus, and lavender — are hand-picked by the Flor du Luna team for quality and consistency, with one team member taking full responsibility for each botanical.
Then, the team blends the mezcal with homemade simple syrup, bringing the ABV of the mezcal down from 50% to 20% — aka the perfect proof for a buzzy brunch cocktail.
Why do we like them?
I’ll be honest. I think Xila is one of the most slept-on spirits here at Stanley’s. Once tasted, its unique flavor profile sticks in your mind. It’s warmly spiced, but just as at home in a summer spritz as in a boozy coffee drink. It has an edge of tropicality, and an almost cocoa-like sumptuousness to it.
It can be intimidating to buy a liqueur, but you don’t have to overthink Xila: put some over ice, and you’ve got a great sipper.
But, if you feel like getting a little more ambitious, try this variation on a mezcal Negroni, inspired by Andrew Saglia’s Tierra del Fuego:
1oz Aperitivo Cappelletti
1oz Xila Licor de Agave
1/2 oz Angelisco Tequila Blanco
1/2oz Fidencio Espadin Mezcal
3 dashes Dashfire Mole bitters
October 19, 2023
Who are they?
+Roland Velich is the zealous winemaker behind Moric (pronounced Moritz).
+He began his career working with his family’s estate, making the sweet wines the region was once famous for before starting his own project in 2002.
Where are they from?
+Mittelburgenland, Austria, close to the Hungarian border, east of Vienna.
+His estate is comprised of 55 acres of 50-100+ year old vines situated on steep slopes.
What are they making?
+Wines primarily from Blaufränkisch, also known as Lemberger in the US and Germany or Kékfrankos in Hungary.
+While most winemakers in Austria treat this grape like a warm climate grape and pile on new oak and push for more extraction, Roland sees it differently and treats it as if it were Grand Cru Burgundy, showing that this grape that can be terroir-transparent in the right hands.
+His approach was to find old vineyards with unique terroir and combine rigorous selection in the biodynamic vineyards with low yields, natural fermentation, and patient, low-intervention winemaking with fairly primitive techniques. With each vintage, Roland has refined his style, creating something that did not previously exist in Austria.
+Initially he made single vineyard wines separately and then blended them, but since 2019 he has made three single-vineyard bottlings. Even though the vineyards are close in proximity, the wines are distinctly different. Some of them from more than 110 year old vines producing only enough fruit to make a few hundred bottles of wine per acre.
Why do we like them?
+Roland’s commitment to terroir expression is so strong that he finds himself at odds with the Austrian governmental tasting panels each year. Several of his wines are regularly refused DAC status because they don't follow the panels stylistic interpretation. They want classically clean and clear wines, fined, filtered and with plenty of SO2. Roland refuses to engage in that much manipulation, feeling it diminishes the sense of place. So his wines are often labelled simply as “Osterreich”, or Austria. To him, nothing is more important than expressing place and to not adhere to a regulated style.
+Roland Velich is one of the defining winemakers of the Austrian wine scene. A pioneer of elegance and finesse. He just might be making the best Blaufränkisch in the world, just saying!
October 13, 2023
Owner and winemaker Mike Lucia has been finding his way in the California wine world since he moved to Healdsburg as a teenager in 1992. Working in restaurants in the area, he started to get to know some local winemakers and his first wine job was working a harvest at DeLoach Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Although he had no experience, during his interview with the winemaker, Mike was asked what he wanted to do and his response was something every winemaker dreams of hearing when looking for harvest interns — “I want to clean!” And just like that, he was in.
This experience sparked something in him as he met people in the industry from the winemaking side, hospitality, vineyard, and even in maintenance who clearly loved what they did. And he felt inspired by watching people taste the wines and see their eyes light up from something he helped make. Working at DeLoach led to jobs at many other well-respected wineries such as Ridge, Forchini, Goldeneye, and Copain. Mike fell in love along the way with the wines of Burgundy and sought to find a similarly nuanced, terroir-driven experience at home in California.
In 2014, while still the assistant winemaker at Copain, Mike started a side project of the kind of wines he loved to drink and so began Rootdown, referencing to the influence the soil has on a wine. Today, Mike has expanded to include a few more brands: Es Okay, which was a way to help growers find a home for leftover fruit and as it turns out is way better than “okay” and Cole Ranch which pays homage to John Cole who planted the high-elevation, 55 acre Cole Ranch Vineyard in ’73 with Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon - old school, classy, structured sort of wines. Cole Ranch happens to also be America’s smallest AVA and in 2019, Mike became an owner of it. He’s since shifted the focus for Rootdown to all Jura-inspired wines and has grafted 6 acres to Trousseau, Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Savignin and Chardonnay.
Mike’s intention is to let curiosity form an experiment, while making serious wines that over-deliver at their affordable price points. Stylistically, his wines are low alcohol, high acid, and more delicate. He’s very hands-off, allowing the grapes and sites to speak for themselves. The wines are fermented with native yeast, no new oak, bottled within 10 months to preserve freshness and varietal character, and sulfur is used only in amounts less or equal to what is found naturally on the vine and added at bottling. The vineyards are farmed organically and harvested to lead with earth and texture rather than only fruit. We have the Trousseau and Chardonnay available in the shop now but it’s super limited and almost gone sooo..see you soon!
October 09, 2023
Komasa Jyozu was founded in 1883, starting out making shochu for local shrines for religious ceremonies.
They’re from Kagoshima Prefecture at the very southern tip of Japan.
While focusing primarily on shochu for almost 150 years, Komasa released its first gin in 2018: the Satsuma gin (which we have in the shop)!
This gin features plenty of local botanicals, but the shining star is the Sakurajima komikan, a type of mandarin orange that only grows in Kagoshima Prefecture. It is also Japan’s smallest mandarin, clocking in at around 1.5 inches diameter.
Why we love them!
We love an inventive new-school gin here at Stanley’s, and this one is a total standout. The mandarin quality shines through in a tenderly floral way, making each sip feel like the first day of spring. The texture, as well, practically melts in your mouth, a direct result of the rice used to form the base spirit. Plenty of gins make a great martini or gin and tonic (and this one is no exception) — but you might find yourself wanting to sip this one neat.
October 02, 2023
+Andrew and Annedria Beckham founded Beckham Estate in 2005. Andrew is an Oregon native and has been a ceramics artist and teacher for over 25 years, still teaching at a local high school. Annedria grew up in SLC and manages the business side of things. She’s often the face of the estate, hosting many tasting experiences. Andrew spent several years apprenticing under respected winemakers in the region, and started producing his own wines in 2009.
+Thirty minutes south of Portland on a hilltop in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains.
+They originally intended to only build a ceramics studio when they moved to the area in 2004 but were instead so inspired by the local farming community that they began planting their future vineyards, consciously leaving riparian zones for natural habitat and wildlife.
+Their 34 acres include plantings of Pinot Noir, Trousseau, Riesling, Sauvignin, Sauvignon Blanc, Aligoté, and Gamay. Each year they source a small percentage of fruit from fellow producers that share their farming philosophies, but grow different grape varietals.
+The vineyards are organic, have been dry-farmed since the beginning and they stopped tilling in 2012. Over the years, their approach has evolved to include many principles of Biodynamic and regenerative farming, incorporating grazing animals and plant diversity into the vineyard management.
Why we love them:
+Not only do they make wine but Andrew also hand-builds all of their amphorae! The A.D. Beckham label ferment and age primarily in these amphorae. His ceramics business, Novum Ceramics is the 1st commercial producer of terra cotta amphorae for winemaking in North America.
+Andrew has noted some benefits of using clay, like: the extraction at the end of the primary fermentation is brighter and higher toned and has more energy and tension, the wine doesn't get as hot and doesn't ferment as fast, and during aging, the wine is exposed to twice the oxygen as in oak so they tend to mature at a much faster rate, thus able to be bottled at 9 or 10 months versus 18 for oak.
+There’s a kinetic motion inside amphora where the cooler contents at the bottom move towards the top. The vessel’s shape, with its progressively rolling shoulder, forces the cap of stems, seeds and skins formed on top of the wine to roll over and return back to the bottom, creating a soft texture.
+His biggest inspiration in winemaking is Italian winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, whose wines we also have in the shop! Andrew says her use of amphorae opened his eyes to a world of maceration he didn’t know much about. Her daughter even came to visit the winery and they agreed the texture is similar even though their wines are made on opposite sides of the world!
+The wines bottled under the Beckham Estate Vineyard label are only from their estate. They follow the same winemaking philosophy as the A.D. Beckham wines, but are aged in primarily 225L and 425L neutral French oak barrels. They strive for a transparent elegance with no enhancements in the winery and are often designated by parcel.
+These wines are absolutely stunning and you can expect some new additions to the current lineup in the shop soon!