by Leslie Pariseau

It's sequin season. So it feels appropriate that we embark upon Carnival with a disco-themed wine club. Specifically a Disco Liquids-themed club. What is Disco Liquids you ask? It's Louisiana's first and only completely natural wine distributor started by DJ Piazza, who has worked in wine for many years, including at Diversey, a natural shop in Chicago, and most recently at Margot's in the Marigny. DJ has incredible taste and ALSO: ENTHUSIASM! When DJ shows up at the door with a bag o' wine to taste, everyone gets excited because he is excited.

What is a wine distributor you ask and why do you care? Let us not bore you with the silly ins and outs leftover from post-Prohibition legislation; in short, a distributor is the middle rung between wine importers and wine buyers, and it's important because they filter what we're able to drink in New Orleans. If distributors pick up great importers with great wines, they pass those fabulous bottles on to us.

Disco is important for New Orleans because DJ's ideals are strong. He buys wines (and ciders!) produced by people who are working in tandem with the earth—to heal the earth—and to create wines that reflect the earth with truth. For us wine buyers, he's demystifying the often murky layers of what wine comes in and who gets to buy what, while providing super accessible points of connection including a very good website, super updated inventory, and in-person "office hours." When does he sleep? We do not know. In any case, each of the wines in this club exemplify what DJ's book expresses—truth, beauty, and very good drinking.

If you want to meet DJ, we're doing a Disco party with Dani Rozman of La Onda and Onda Brava, two beautiful labels from California and Chile, respectively. We'll be pouring all of Dani's wines and dancing the night away. THURSDAY, JAN 18 6-10PM, LFG.


Bardos "Winter Walker" Cider Sonoma, CA NV

Yes, you signed up for a wine club. But I'm in charge here, and you're getting a bottle of cider this month. Let us leave all of our preconceived notions of cider at the end of this paragraph and move forward with the mystical experience of Bardos.

The California dream of Aaron Brown and Colin Blackshear, Bardos is based in Sonoma, and is named for the Tibetan concept of the space between death and whatever comes next. (Where, occasionally, I wonder if I am existing.) I cannot impress enough how deeply Brown and Blackshear's way of creating telegraphs what we are attempting to express at Patron Saint.

At Bardos, Brown and Blackshear glean apples from orchards that have been abandoned or gone feral. Many of these places are historic, planted a century ago or more, and in danger of being razed for encroaching monoculture. They're reviving a relationship with orchards that can translate time and transport us to eras long disappeared. As Brown told me, they are "excavating old wisdom," while cultivating a spirit of exploration for these liminal spaces of life, death, and the beyond. "You can make thousands of cases of cider without water," says Brown, explaining the merits of cider and its low impact in a region ravaged by corporate agriculture. Because the sites they are working with are outside of formal farming systems, they are necessarily dry-farmed and have not been sprayed or treated with chemicals.

In this club, we have "Winter Walker," a late-harvest gleaning from the historic Walker Family Farm in Graton, CA, planted by the descendants of this mountain man sometime after his Western adventures. It's tart and bracing, clean and fresh. It's excellent day wine (cider = lower ABV), and it's akin to drinking a bit of history. The Bardos friends are quite devoted to the codes of esoterica, and I encourage you to explore their method of conveying information. You won't find "Winter Walker" anywhere on the label, but you will find the figure of Juan Soldado, a Mexican martyr whose ghost is said to wander the site of his death along the Mexican-American border (yes, this is also political wine). Each label is adorned with one of these "boons," or metaphors that can't be fully explained, but conveys a vital message.

This newsletter could quite easily become a love letter to Bardos, so I will leave you here to taste, consider, and have your mind changed. Should you agree, we have in-shop, the Rocínante, Yeti, Saint Cabora, and Hatch. Come try them all.

Vini Sassara "Coconar" Bardolino, Veneto, Italy 2022

When we opened, we stocked all of Sassara's wines on the shelves. Except, somehow Coconar. I don't know if it wasn't in the market, or I just missed it, but there will never be a time post-this club we don't have it if we're able. (It's exclusive to y'all for the month though.)

The Coconar is orange wine for everyone. It's 100% garganega, a lean white wine grape, that's been macerated for two months on the skins, lending it its amber hue. Like so many of Sassara's wines, there is a soft minerality to the Coconar. It's gentle like an ambling river, fresh like young cantaloupe, and aloe-cool.

Sassara's wines are made and farmed by Alessia Bertaiola and her husband Stefano. They're of an ancient sea, which translates chalk and mineral sleekness. The style is a balance between new and old, with its youthful spirit, biodynamic practice, and weaving through of the old ways. Come in to try the Esotico (red'ish/rose'ish), Vin de Anfoa Bianco (terra cotta slick orange), Chiaretto Ciaro (rosé), and Bardolino Goto Rosso (dangerously delicious light red).

Calvez-Bobinet "Hanami" Saumer, Loire Valley, France 2022

On the eve of our friends and family back in November, I chose to serve Calvez-Bobinet's pineau d'aunis, a beautiful expression of one of my favorite grapes of all time. River rock petrichor smattered with fresh red fruit, whammy shazammy. Since then, everyone at the shop has become devoted to Émeline and Sébastien's wines. Once a professional dancer, Émeline worked at a wine shop in Paris, discovering natural wine, and then joined Sébastien, the 8th-generation of a wine-growing family in the Loire Valley where they care for cabernet franc and chenin blanc on the clay and limestone used to build the famous castles of the region.

"Hanami" translates to "flower-viewing," the ephemeral Japanese ritual of observing flowers, and often the sakura or cherry blossoms in spring. This lively vin de soif is reminiscent of zippy red spring fruits—raspberry juice, wild strawberry, soft violets, unfurling green shoots. Carbonic maceration gives it a bit of effervescent lift, and, I'm telling you, you're going to come back for another bottle once you've drunk this one. It's perfect Mardi Gras stuff. And lucky for you, we'll have it. We also have their Poil de Lievre ("hair of the hare!"), chenin blanc with a deliciously, chalky marshmallow elegance.