Downtown Durham's neighborhood bottle shop and wine bar offering curbside pickup, local delivery, and shipping to 43 states.
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Raleigh, Cary, Hillsborough and Surrounding
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Fermented in stainless steel tanks between 21°-28°C with daily remontage. Basket pressed. Malolactic in one and 2 year old barrels. Aged 12 months prior to bottling.
Montmorillonite Clay & Limestone
2016 marks the vintage I packed my tools and notebooks and moved the Pentimento project to another property.
Sometimes circumstances align in a way that make clear minded thinking easier. Pots boil, and pots boil over. Nobody likes to make a mess while they’re cooking. And at the moment your gut feelings kick in, very loudly telling you: “there has got to be more than this" — that’s when growth is possible.
One of my favorite professors at UC Davis had this quote on his office door: "Where there is chaos, there is opportunity.” For him, this was a reference to some physics principle I didn’t understand at the time, which was why I was sitting outside his office, waiting for extra help 4 afternoons a week. Staring at quotes taped to his door was my standard waiting game. The point is, it’s easy to get discombobulated and nervous when things don’t seem right, but the older I get, I have learned to look for the stepping stones amidst the clutter and the filth. In 2015, I saw an opportunity developing that would allow me to take what I had begun, making Pentimento over the years 2008 – 2014, and transition the entire production, with all my ideas, to a place where, very simply, I could make better wine.
Ever the present student, I listened to my mentor, Stéphane Derenoncourt and the people around me in France with whom I’ve been working and learning from since 2004. Simon Blanchard, Frédéric Massie and Julien Lavenu have been advising me since the day I showed up as a post graduate intern. I had only 2 French words that I could pronounce correctly: "Michele" and "D’Aprix". Nevermind their talent as teachers and winemakers; these men became trusted friends; their patience was and is worthy of the saints. This many years later, I never hesitate to consult them on even the smallest of details. I take a lot of pride in the fact that my most useful skill is the ability to identify who the smart people are in the room, and listen to them.
All around, taking my project to Côtes de Castillon is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made professionally, because I am now working alongside a family who spends the entire year working in their vineyard, fully engaged in the daily process of what is required to be vineyard owners and winemakers. They are Séverine, Philippe, Aurélien and Flavie. And their home is known as Manoir du Gravoux.
As it turns out, Côtes de Castillon is a place that has advantages terroir-wise and wine-wise, but it also serves as a metaphor for all the good things that come from not being afraid to make decisions. Plus Stéphane’s home and vineyard, Domaine de L’A, is right next door.
(The 9th and 10th vintages are gently aging in bottle, to be released when they’re ready. They will let us know when that is). I’m really proud of it, and have been chomping at the bit to get it to market, and onto the bar tops and dinner tables where it belongs. I love making wine. I normally co-exist between 2 places, and I am lucky to have partners in France and in New York that look after one thing while I’m looking after another. In any year, there are a whole bevy of working parts and people involved in a wine’s birth and development: it is farmed, harvested, vinified, aged, shipped, imported, distributed, tasted, liked (well, hopefully), added to lists or shelves and then FINALLY, provided all the other parts went ok and in the right order, it is poured into a glass and consumed. Try to remember that when
2016 marks the 8th vintage I have made of this wine I call Pentimento.
Pentimento was my first project and I hope I get to make this wine for a very long time. I’m thrilled to present the new and evolved version, to show the work, and most importantly, take the opportunity to say thank you again. The use of the word ‘Pentimento’, as some of you know, is basically my attempt at a perpetual thank-you note, to all of the people who continue to help me along the way...
So, THANK YOU to the crew in France for the continuing education, for always pointing me in the right direction, and letting me make the decisions, good and bad. And THANK YOU to Village Wine Imports, the team of people with whom I get to work stateside everyday. They are in the offices, the warehouses, on the phone, guiding the zoom meetings, in cars, in delivery trucks, driving across states to deliver the wines I make to the people who drink them. These ladies and gentleman do all the work we don’t see on Instagram. I’m grateful for all of them.
I look forward to opening a bottle of Pentimento 2016 at some point soon. Enjoying it with people who like wine, with no need for ego, or self-consciousness, and seeing the ‘yum’
smile... making people happy is the whole reason to make wine in the first place.
I hope you like it.
LouElla is Downtown Durham's neighborhood bottle shop, bar, and event space offering curated wine, craft beer, and fortified selections from family operated producers. The business takes its name and mission from owner and proprietor Campbell Davis's Great Aunt LouElla who was much beloved for her warmth, hospitality, and generous spirit. Whether we are serving you at the bar or helping you pick that perfect bottle to host your celebration, our mission is to share LouElla's hospitality with the community.
Owner & Manager
For Cam Davis, LouElla is the culmination of more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and beverage industry. Cam has successfully managed some of Durham’s finest locally and nationally recognized establishments, including Hutchin's Garage, Guglhupf, Rue Cler, and Durham Catering Company. He brings a wealth of wine and beverage knowledge, not only from his extensive restaurant experience, but also from his tenure as Durham Sales Manager for wine distributor Bordeaux, Fine and Rare.
316 West Geer St, Suite A, Durham, NC 27701
Tue. - Thu. 11am - 9pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am - 10pm
Sun. 11am - 8pm