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The 499 Friesa is one of the softest examples of this grape that I’ve ever tasted. In the glass, it shows a dark ruby color. The nose is savory, with all the classic smells of Piedmont - earth, herbs, and fresh red fruits. There are wispy aromas of smoke and black pepper, clear signs of this rustic variety. The palate delivers rich and fruity flavors of red plum, warm cherry, and semi-bitter anise. Medium tannin and moderate acidity create blanketing structure.
Castellero is located in the village of Barolo, between the more famous vineyards of Bussia and Cannubi. This steep slope is composed of well-draining calcareous marl which are perfectly suited to Nebbiolo. This site is planted to the historic Michet, Rosè and Lampia clones of Nebbiolo, and propagated by massale selection. The Castellero is deeper and shows more concentration than the normale bottling, with notes of cherry, red forest fruit, dried spices, herbs, floral notes of rose and violet, sweet spice, and undergrowth. Pair with roasted red meat or game, or cellar for a few decades. -Oskar Kostecki
To my taste I would have to guess this was a Barbaresco, but a Barbaresco of great finesse and elegance. If there’s a place in the wine to determine that you’re elsewhere, it might be the unbelievably suave and ripe tannins of the Bricco Ernesto. Aromatically the wine is expansive and rich, a lovely combo of dark cherry fruit and earthy Nebbiolo florality and earthiness. The palate is bright and intense, with an incredibly complex finish – a burst of black cherry, amaro-like herbs, citrus, balsam, and that very fine tannin to extend everything. This is a much deeper and more serious Roero wine than one would ever expect. It is, by any definition, a natural wine, completely unmanipulated, and with a final SO2 level of 27mg. Pretty brilliant wine, in my book, and it will be really interesting to see how it develops. I have a very high opinion of just two other Roero producers (Chiesa, and Val del Prete), but Bricco Ernesto is a game-changer. Jamie Wolff
Made from organically farmed grapes, by one of the Langhe’s largest organic vineyard owners, with vines on the margins of the great sites of Barolo and Barbaresco. They make more than they can sell under their own label, so we’ve lucked-out: the wine is delicious, ready to drink, and a great buy at the price. Classic Nebbiolo, with roses and a hint of dried red cherries, earthy forest floor, and fine acidity.
Very engaging on the nose, like uncovering a bowl of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries while a breeze of light flowers and green grass stirs on a summer afternoon. Really, if the aromatics of this wine don't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. The color is a translucent rhubarb hue. On the palate, there is vibrant acidity and only a minuscule tannic touch. The fruit on the tongue has more of an edge than it does on the nose, with tangy red cherry and crisp red apple. Edgy but deliciously fresh. David Hatzopoulos
From Nebbiolo planted to the calcareous limestone and sandy soils of the Rio Sordo vineyard in Barbaresco. Vines planted in 1978 and see no chemical herbicides. All fruit is picked by hand. Alcoholic fermentation and skin maceration lasted 14 days, before malo began. Aged in Slavonian oak cask (10-17 hl) for 22 months before being aged in bottle for 8 months. This is a darker, more concentrated Barbaresco, with wonderful earthy flavors and plummy fruit.
From Nebbiolo planted to the calcareous limestone and sandy soils of the Tre Stelle vineyard in Barbaresco. Fermented with skins for three weeks before moving to Slavonian botti (10-20HL) for 18 months. Aged in bottle before release. The Tre Stelle is Cascina delle Rose's more elegent style of Barbaresco. It is more floral, more red fruited, with a touch more mineral zip, than the Rio Sordo bottling.
Grapes from a small parcel in San Rocco Seno d'elvis in Alba. Grapes fermented naturally in concrete and aged for a year in large casks. The color of this Nebbiolo shows a clean cranberry core and lovely, burnt red edges. On the nose, aromas of red cherry, green herbs, and elegant floral tones combine with darker smells of orange rind, black pepper, and a touch of smoke. Plump flavors on the palate of cherry, savory citrus, and salt, leading to a bite of black tea. Structurally, this Nebbiolo has a mineral center, with a fantastic ounce of tender richness, healthy acidity and soft tannin. Truly out of this world! David Hatzoopulos
This vibrant red 70% Nebbiolo, 15% Vespolina, and 15% Croatina. Cristiano Garella teamed up with Giacomo and Carlo Colombera to produce wines in the Northeastern corner of the Piedmont, known as Alto-Piemonte. Christiano had been associated with a few producers in the area, focused on revitalizing a once-prominent wine producing region, and Carlo had been growing grapes in Bramaterra since the 90s. The bottle comes from the appellation of Coste Della Sesia, with volcanic-sandy soils. The vines have Southwestern exposure and have an average age of 40 years. All fruit is picked by hand and ferments for 14 days in stainless steel without temperature control. The wine ages for 10 to 12 months in used barriques before bottling. Aromas of redcurrant and strawberry contrasts those of graphite, bell pepper, mint. The palate has dark plum, ripe black cherry and spicy, cracked black pepper. High acid and strong tannin last in the mouth long after the sip. A lovely chew. The finish has a hint of sour blackberry, bolstered by a snappy mineral drive. Great wine! David Hatzopoulos
Same story, different wines: I would have 'normally' tasted these in Piedmont in May. Over the last few years I've fallen in love with the Alessandria wines, and I'm completely confident that I will love their 2016s. I'm going to buy some of each for myself, if that's a testimonial. You may have noticed that we don't use outside taster's notes, but for what it's worth I'm told that this set of wines got serious rave reviews...The Barolo is 'typically' a blend of about 10% Gramolere, and 4 Verduno vineyards: Boscato, Neirane, Pisapola, and Riva Roca, Jamie Wolff
Grignolino farmed organically from a few parcels owned and rented by Fabrizio Iuli. Fabrizio is the only winemaker in the village of Montaldo di Cerrina, carrying on a tradition started by his grandfather, who planted vines in the 1930s. Fabrizio's first vintage was in 1998 and he is proud of the classic Piedmontese wines he creates. The Natalin is fermented in cement with native yeasts. Aged in cement for around 7 months. The Natalin 2019 is a lovely shade of black cherry in the glass. On the nose, this Grignolino has beautifully unique fruit, with the scent of pungent ruby red grapefruit and small forest plums, with accents of smoke and fresh violets. On the palate, there is blood orange, with juicy red currant, and a minerally earthiness. Structurally, the wine is set by fantastic tannic form, with a zing of medium acidity. David Hatzopoulos
On Sale - was $799.99!
On Sale - was $89.99!
This needed some air, after which it was delicious, open and light-to-medium bodied, with fine balance. Very good indeed. Jamie Wolff
This needed some air, after which it was delicious, open and light-to-medium bodied, with fine balance. Very good indeed. Jamie Wolff
Elio Sandri is still not the household name he deserves to be considering the extremely high quality of his wines. This bottling is entirely from grapes within Barolo that did not get selected for the eponymous bottling, so he uses them for this more entry-level bottling, ferments in steel, then ages in a combination of neutral wood and tanks for a short time. The nose is savory with notes of dried earth, sun-dried tomato, rhubarb, oregano, and the palate has more freshness, salinity, and present, but approachable tannins that make this a great current drinking Nebbiolo, especially with heartier fare. Michelle DeWyngaert
Dogliani is a small town south and west of Barolo, which gives its name to a DOCG wine zone – a ‘Dogliani’ must be made from Dolcetto (life was a little simpler for everyone when the wines were called “Dolcetto di Dogliani”, but the marketers won that conversation). The zone of Dogliani, is considered the best area for Dolcetto (which not so long ago was more expensive than Nebbiolo) where Dolcetto was historically given the best sites, whereas in Barolo and Barbaresco Dolcetto is generally relegated to lesser positions in the vineyards – “Bricco”, as in Bricco Molea, means the top part of the hill, which receives the most sun and ripens best.There are plenty of contemporary Doglianis that are an attempt to make what Italians call ‘important’ wines, and thus are dark, extracted, and often oaky; Trediberri’s Dogliani is a more traditional style, intended to be fresh and lively, a wine for food, for every day, to open a meal, to drink while your Barolo ages. But this is no simple wine, and it has remarkable aromatic complexity with bright current-like fruit, white flowers, chalk, and a deep savory aspect – altogether mouth-watering. It’s very appealing on the palate, light-midweight and with the fruit in balance with chalk, and expressing a strong sense of place. From vines that are 50-70 years old; fermented in concrete for about 10 days, and aged in a combo of concrete and steel. A killer Dolcetto! Jamie Wolff
I've tried to resist the temptation of a potential cliché, but: this made me think of Burgundy, because this is a really elegant Brunello with no sign of heat, beautiful balance – it’s intense, but not at all too rich, with good lift, and a clear sense of place. I’ve tasted Fornacina for about 10 years now, and terroir emerges in the wine; the relatively high altitude (400+ meters), and the high PH of the galestro soil, must play a role in how fresh the wine is, even in a hot vintage like 2015. The wine is very fragrant with “frutti di bosco”, or forest fruits (wild strawberry, blackberry, etc), clay and “sotto bosco”, or forest floor – leafy and earthy. After 4+ hours open, it’s showing even better: a very refined wine, aromatic, dynamic, and delicious. Jamie Wolff
A nice lively translucent color; both savory and meaty red fruit on the nose; very bright cranberry and current fruit on the palate, and somehow both powerful and elegant. After 4+ hours the wine relaxed and opened to become really drinkable – a very fine Rosso. Jamie Wolff
Gioventu Chianti comes from Michael Schmeltzer, the man behind our beloved Monte Bernardi wines. As expected, this wine is fantastic - worth so much more than the $16 price per bottle. From younger vines (planted in 2010) of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Ciliegiolo. After the grapes are crushed, the wine ferments naturally in cement tanks. Aging in also in cement and lasts 12 months. There is no fining or filtering before bottling. The color of the wine shows a burgundy center, becoming a clearer, burnt red on the edges. The nose is bold, with complex layers of fruit and earth. Aromas of black cherry, dark red flowers, and crushed, loamy rocks are at the core, with spicy, woodsy smells of milled black pepper and autumnal dried leaves right above it. The palate is focused on savory fruits of blackberry, cherry, and red citrus, freshened by a zing of clean minerality. Structure-wise, this wine has power, with long lasting acidity, and tannin on the top of the gums and down the tongue. An incredibly delicious wine! Paired wonderfully with taco truck carnitas and al pastor on day two... David Hatzopoulos
100% Sangiovese, 13.5° alcohol, vinified in concrete and aged in old wood ranging from tonneau to 30HL botte. And wow! Very aromatic – delicately floral, bright fruit, stony. On the palate a lovely light texture and beautiful balance, again very stony, with sweet raspberry, thyme, olive, and slightly grainy tannins that add complexity. Very, very good, old school wine – I’m brought back to why I fell for Chianti in the first place. After a few days open still beautifully lifted and complex – my kind of wine. 111 points. Jamie Wolff
From organically-farmed vines planted in red Galestro soils. The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Chiorba has a bright ruby robe. The nose offers an effusive mélange of wild raspberry, rose petal, sour cherry, freshly fallen leaves, a bit of iron and dried flowers. The palate displays fine brightness and acidity, with succulent tart red fruit flavors, a sapid mineral core, and a long, mouthwatering finish. Delicious now, the pinpoint balance has me expecting a fine upside in the intermediate future. This is shows great flair and is what I want in a Chianti. Highly recommended. John McIlwain
A Chianti Classico Riserva that pushes tender dark fruit and fresh earth into leading roles. 100% Sangiovese from the Sa'etta Vineyard on the Monte Bernardi estate in Panzano. This single vineyard has southern exposure, boasts soils of shale and limestone, and maintains vines of 40(+) years of age. The area is described by the producer's website as having the "best position, exposure, and terrain on the estate." The choicest grapes are picked by hand from vines tended with biodynamic practices. Once moved to the winery, natural fermentation begins in large oak casks. After malo naturally occurs in Austrian and German oak, the wine ages in wood for 18-30 months. Bottle aging before release is a minimum of 12 months. The wine is unfiltered. Powerful and full, the color in glass is black at the core, with dark burgundy edges. The nose is a basket of fresh black olives, sage leaves, bushy stems of oregano, dried dark cherries and milled cocoa. Large ripe plums and dates are the foundation to a dish of flavors that also include less forward notes of Provencal herbs and subtle black tea. There is an overarching "of-the-earth" quality, aromatically and flavor-wise, that makes this Sa'etta '16 so comforting and pleasant to drink. It has medium acidity and a tempered, though engaging, chew. Please enjoy in 2020, but know that the wine has been made to develop well over many years. Sipped alongside Parmesan-polenta with sausage, shrimp, onions and tomato. Looking forward to revisiting today after a night open... David Hatzopoulos
This is the only Super Tuscan we carry in the store, and an anomaly within the character. 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc, and 15% Petit Verdot. All estate grown fruit, picked by hand, from southern facing slopes. Natural Fermentation in steel, secondary fermentation in oak, with 18-24 months of aging in barrique and tonneaux before bottling. The color here is black cherry, especially dense in the center of the glass. The nose is minerally and bright, with a scent of crushed graphite. Additional aromas of soft vanilla bean, mosey forest floor, and fruits like cherry, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry fill out the profile. The palate also carries that stony character, surrounded by rounder flavors of plum and dark cherry. On the finish, that lean taste of graphite reappears to add an earthy final touch. This is a tannic wine, but tender on the tongue with a soft middle. Acidity is refreshing and vibrant. What a beautiful wine! Complex and so tasty. Drink now or age 10 years. David Hatzopoulos
Another fantastic vintage of this staple red from Monte Bernardi. 95% Sangiovese with 5% of Canaiolo Nero from estate vines in Panzano, Chianti. Wine is fermented naturally in oak and stainless steel before aging 18-24 months in oak. The nose is very fragrant, with notes of warm blueberry preserve, balsamic and freshly baked pie crust. Above those deep aromas, there are fresh red cherries and woodsy forest shrubs. On the palate, there are flavors black cherry, milled coffee beans, and a very lovely note of candied blackberry. The wine has a long finish of herbs and spice. Structure-wise, this Chianti has high acidity and healthy tannin. An incredible wine! David Hatzopoulos
Like all wines from the Soave DOC, this 2018 Adalia Singan is primarily made from the the Garganega grape, with the addition of other varietals, including the native Trebbiano di Soave. The vines are trellised in the pergola trentina fashion, allowing a canopy of leaves to soak up the maximum amount of sunlight while the fruit hangs shaded below. Vineyards are located 250 meters above sea level to calcareous soils. Fruit is picked by hand at the end of September before being destemmed and gently pressed. Fermented naturally, including a short time on the skins. Aged in stainless steel before bottling. The nose shows breezy aromas of grass, sea salt, apple, almond and apricot skins. On the palate, there are halved and grilled lemons, salt, orchard fruit, and a touch of tender brioche. David Hatzopoulos
This frizzante is 100% Ortrugo. A grape once used mostly as a blending companion to the more fancied Malvasia, it is known for articulated acidity, thus making it a perfect foundation for sparkling and semi-sparkling wines. In recent years, it has come out of the shadows and is frequently used for single-varietal wines, mostly coming from the region of Colli Piacentini in Emilia-Romagna, known for its limestone soil. The Bulli Ortrugo begins with vines of 10-50 years of age. Guyot trained. The grapes are picked in September and October. Native yeasts are used to ferment the wine dry, and after waiting over the winter months, grape must from the autumn harvest is added to induce secondary fermentation. This, of course, gives the wine a sparkle. Like all wines from Bulli, it sees no added SO2. When first poured, before getting air, the nose is crushed and chalky limestone. Released soon after are aromas of savory/sweet Jordan almonds, nectarines and blossoms, along with a trace of that original, almost smokey, minerality. The palate is salty, with flavors of firm pear, sage, and a very long, dry finish of fresh lemon zest. The color is that of homemade lemon-water. Contrary to what is said about Ortrugo, I didn't find this wine incredibly high in acid. Well balanced flavors and structure here. Paired very well with Friday night sushi. David Hatzopoulos
A fantastic white blend from Campania made of 80% Caprettone and 20% Catalanesca. In the glass, the wine shows a glimmering yellow. The nose is floral, with almond skins, yellow cherry and apricot fruit. On the palate, the wine has a zing of flint and minerals, with white tea and fresh apple flavors. It has a lovely, clean swish and medium acidity. The finish is herbaceous with a salty snap.
Coming from vines in San Vito, Sardinia, planted to the region's grumbling granite soils, mixed with red-tinted quartz. Vine age is 10 years. Grapes harvested in late August and early September. In the cellar, the fermentation is natural, in stainless steel, including 6-8 hours of skins contact. The wine ages in 1950s concrete tanks before being bottled without filtration. This Vermentino has an incredibly special nose. A bouquet of herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary), with sliced, chilled yellow tomato slices and shaved parmigiana. The palate has tart, small yellow apples, lemon zest, and more green herbs. The structure is bright, with a swish of delicious, tender texture - ending with a long salty finish peaked with great acid. David Hatzopoulos
Vespaiolo derives its name from the wasps (vespa) that feed on the grapes as sugar accumulates later in the season. The wines are often made into a passito style sweet wine but this wine shines as a rich, dry wine with bountiful aromatics. The vines are planted on a decomposed volcanic soil at high density to limit yields, and are fermented with native yeast in steel.
Another rare wine in the world of Prosecco – a true natural wine, certified organic, made without sulphur, refermented in bottle and aged on the lees. What you get is Prosecco with real character and rich flavor. It’s aromatically bright with lemon notes, and in the mouth is bone dry with refreshing green apple, savory and stony, and great with food with its charming very slightly bitter and fresh finish. A wine that way out-performs at the price. Jamie Wolff
Exceptional skin-contact Ribolla Gialla from one of the most popular producers on the Italian/Slovenian border, Jasko Gravner. Fermented with native yeasts and aged in amphorae and a portion in wooden vats, before going into barrel for three years to age. Bottled without fining or filtering. A definite treat for anyone who hasn't experienced Gravner wines before!
Il Conte Pinot Grigio is 100% tank fermented from organically farmed fruit in the Veneto. The wine is then mostly aged in tank, with a little put in barrels to add texture. Light, bright and refreshing - this is for your next party. Lemony and grassy, with a touch of lean, yellow stone fruit. Drink up!!
This is a rare item: Clean, crisp dry Prosecco, made from organic fruit, indigenous yeasts, very low SO2. This is a wine that will please everyone – your inner wine geek, and your (here please fill in the blank for your friend or relative who pays no attention to the details but will guzzle it down and ask for more). An amazing value! Jamie Wolff
The Lombardo Gavi is a staple at Chambers. The 2020 has bright fruit of apricot and lemon, zesty minerality, and a medium mouthfeel. Even though there is a bit of weight on the palate, the wine also shows a touch of effervescence. A great bottle for anyone looking for a wine with ripe yellow fruits and a dynamic texture. David Hatzopoulos
Crivella is made with fruit from Riccardo Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz, and crisp with balancing acidity. A great match with cheese or not-so-sweet desserts, like panetone, or fruit pies. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff
From the famous area of San Gimignano, this wine is 100% Vernaccia from calcareous soils with marine sediments. Vineyards exist between 800 and 1000 feet above sea level. Farming is certified organic. This wine sees a moment of skin contact and is aged in glass lined concrete. A fantastic, spicy nose, full of black and white pepper. There is a touch of fruity apple and bell pepper, plus a fresh smell of plush, green grass. The palate is also very zesty, with lemon peel and crisp pear - with a finish that slowly changes from fruit to clean and focused salinity. High acid with a mineral core - this wine will wake you up with its snappy flavors and structural vitality. So, so, so good! David Hatzopoulos
From the eastern facing, sandy slopes of the Grillo della Timpa Sicilia DOC, Fuedo Montoni delivers a refreshing but complex wine. 30 year old vines, planted at 700 meters above sea level, and handled under certified organic methods. Fermentation happens in cement, and for a portion of that time, the juice is in contact with the grape skins. The wine then ages in cement, in contact with the lees, for 6 months. The result is a complex, but utterly fresh glass of white. The color is clean lemon. The nose offers aromas of golden apple, pear, apricot and white flowers. Flavors are of dried lemon, green herbs, lime zest, salt and white pepper. The skin maceration definitely gives the wine a touch of tannic stability, like banisters to the wine's highly angled, persistent acidity. Really enjoyable wine that wakes up the palate. David Hatzopoulos
Oltretorrente has produced a wonderful Timorasso since they were founded in 2010 by Chiara Penati and Michele Conoscenti. The vines, planted in 1996, are tended organically with biodynamic practices and the grapes are vinified simply: the bunches are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts in steel, resting on the lees for 8 months to lend texture and complexity. A touch golden in the glass, the wine shows strong aromas of ripe peach, honey, beeswax, and yellow flowers. The palate has some weight with a supple texture, plenty of acidity, and rich stone fruit over a chalky mineral backbone. Simultaneously rich and crisp this wine would bring levity plus flavor to starchy winter foods.
I loved this wine when I first tasted it, and I liked it even more as we followed it at dinner over several days. It remained fresh and crisp, and – in true Sicilian style – it proved to be very versatile at table, matching beautifully with black bean soup, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and grilled salmon with salsa verde. It turns out that Grecanico Dorato (the grape used here) is closely related to Garganega (the grape used in Soave), but this news surprised me because the wine is so much more exciting than 99.9% of Soave. At 12.5° alcohol, it is light and crystalline, with aromatics that made me think of exotic, gewurz-type fruit – lychee, pineapple, warm spices, all with an intense chalky / mineral foundation and racy, lemony acidity. From 30+ year-old vines, fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. Quite a remarkable and complex wine that far out-performs its price. Jamie Wolff
The Fiano Irpinia is declassified Fiano Avellino, from the estate's organically farmed younger vines. The soil composed of volcanic clay, loam, and silt. Fruit is picked by hand in late October. Low temperature natural fermentation is done in stainless, and aging for 6 months follows, also in stainless steel. No fining, no filtering, and aged in bottle 3 more months before release. The wine is a hearty yellow, with tints of green. On the nose, beautiful aromas of citrus and quince, with chopped herbs and salt. The palate has a touch of orange zest, with pear and firm, unripe stone fruit. Great acidity, with lapping texture.
The 2020 Greco di Tufo is produced from 100% organically farmed Greco, vines planted in the 90s. Volcanic soils of clay, limestone and sandstone. Harvest takes place by hand in late October. Low temperature natural fermentation in stainless, before 8 additional months aging in stainless, on the lees. Bottle aging for an additional 3 months before release. No fining, no filtration. The wine is only slightly darker in the glass than the Fiano Irpinia is, but expression-wise it is much more savory. The wine displays aromas of newly peeled yellow and orange citrus skins, with accents of clove, white pepper, smoke and salt. On the palate, there are flavors of tangerine, garden herbs, and dried papaya. In my mind, this is the perfect cold weather white. A little spicy, with a little warmth in fruit, but bright with medium acidity and engaging with a whisper of tannin. David Hatzopoulos
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Manzoni froma small .6 hectare parcel above the town of Bolzano. The vines are only 10 years old, but are already producing a beautiful, textured white wine, that is both weighty and elegant. Quite floral on the nose, the palate shows notes of white blossom, ripe citrus, apricot, honey, and crushed vitamin candies.
A blend of Pignoletto, also known as Grechetto Gentile, and Trebbiano, from organically farmed grapes. Bottled after halting fermentation, allowing carbonation to develop within the bottle. It is not disgorged, and is cellar aged for 15 months before release. In the glass, the color is a silvery lemon. On the nose, there are rich floral aromas, ripe lemon fruit, and sliced apricots. Like the TerraQuilia reds, this sparkling white is a touch herbaceous, balancing a faint bitterness on the edge of zingy lemon fruit and dried stone fruit. The palate has a bright core, but a softness in surrounding texture, creating a very compelling mouthfeel. Highly drinkable, but full of character. David Hatzopoulos
The 2016 Ruvaln Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG from Adalia comes from vines 400 meters above sea level, planted to calcareous soils. The vines are planted in in the double pergola trentina trellising system, which gives the leaves the best exposure to the sun's rays, while keeping the grapes cool under a shady canopy. The Ruvaln is made up of 40% Corvina, 40% Corvina Grossa, and 20% Rondinella. The grapes are selected by hand in the first part of October and let to naturally dry for 3 months. At the beginning of February, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed. Spontaneous fermentation begins in stainless steel, followed by malo. In the cellar, the wine ages in barrel for 24 months before release.
A while ago, my fiance filled me in on an interesting fact. Many of the grapes that go into the red wines of the Valpolicella DOC are named after the birds that eat them. Corvina is based on "corvo," which means "crow." Rondinella is based on "rondine," which means "swallow." The Adalia 2018 Laute is 35% Corvina, 35% Corvina Grossa, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara. The grapes are trellised in the regionally traditional pergola trentina system, allowing the leaves of the vines to catch optimum sunlight, while the grapes are shaded underneath their canopy. Fruit is picked by hand at the end of September, destemeed, and gently pressed. Fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel. The wine sees one week on the skins before malo. Aged in stainless before bottling. On the nose, the Laute shows red cherry, stripped tree bark, clove and pepper. The palate has juicy cherry and plum, coffee, and with cool green herbs. The mouthfeel is fresh, lush with it's fruit, and soft with it's tannin. David Hatzopoulos
The Adalia 2018 Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore Balt comes from a blend of the regions traditional red grapes. Composed of 35% Corvina, 35% Corvina Grossa, 20% Rondinella and 10% Molinara from vineyards planted to calcareous soils at 300 meters above sea level. Like all of the Adalia wines, the vines are set up in the double pergola trentina system, allowing the leaves to obtain as much sunlight as possible, while shielding the fruit below the canopy. The grapes are picked by hand in the second half of October, before being destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation begins with native yeasts in stainless steel. Maceration on the skins lasts for approximately one week. At the end of February, the wine is then "passed over" the skins of the dried Amarone grapes for 7-10 days. Aging is done in oak barrels for 18 months, where secondary fermentation finishes before bottling. On the nose, the wine has plummy dark fruit, with cherries and herbs. There is a hint of raisin. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with cherry and earth on the palate. David Hatzopoulos
Pietramore has produced a rare example of Montepulciano that has density and richness without being overwhelmed by new oak; in fact, this wine doesn't see any wood barrels at all. Produced from a vineyard of biodynamically farmed Montepulciano the grapes are crushed and macerated for two weeks during fermentation. About 15-20% of the juice is bled off to increase the depth of flavor and the wine is then rested in steel for 6 months followed by a few months in bottle. The nose shows deep berry fruit, with resinous herbal tones of thyme and rosemary, and musky notes of fallen leaves and moist earth. The palate is rich with ripe, full tannins but lifted by acidity and balanced against red fruit with a clean finish. Try it with bolognese, braised beef or lamb, roasted mushrooms, aged cheese, or kebas. -AP
Grapes are grown in San Vito, Sardinia, to soils of crumbling granite and red-tinted quartz. Fruit from these 10 year old vines is harvested in mid-September. Native fermentation is done in 1950s cement tanks. Wine ages in the same tanks for 5 months before being bottled unfiltered. If you enjoy Grignolino from the Piedmont, this bottle would be great for you. Extremely fresh on the nose, with a mix of fresh picked raspberries, blueberries, sprigs of Provencal herbs, and dark flowers. Over an hour open, aromas of black tea and mint shine through. On the palate, the wine has an aperitif-like profile. Flavors of blood orange, red cherry, and a mix of bitter but refreshing herbs create an appealing, easy drinking character. Like Grignolino, although the wine is approachable, and definitely chill-able, it has some tannic foundations. Grip is felt on the sides of the tongue and the tops of the cheeks. A long finish, shaped by appealing, strong acidity, is noted with flavors of red fruits and black pepper. David Hatzopoulos
Bardolino is just north of Valpolicella, and shares the same three grapes (Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella) as those wines. The “Nogara” is mostly Corvina, with some Rondinella; despite the fact that Corvina is the more structured grape, the Nogara is a lively and fresh expression in which it’s hard to perceive the relationship between Bardolino and Amarone. The color is quite light (a dark Rosato in some other quarters), and cranberry and strawberry fruit dominate, underpinned by lime peel and chalk – refreshing chilled, easy to drink at 12.5 alcohol, guaranteed to hit the spot on a hot day, and absolutely delicious. Jamie Wolff
I love Etna, and I’ll go out of my way to taste Etna wines, even though they are mostly not much to my taste. Thus I am really happy to have found Flavia, another crazy-good Sicilian wine imported by Vinotas (see Pianogrillo). Flavia is made by two of the younger generation of the Rallo family – famous for Marsala, but apparently present on Etna “since 1860”. Flavia is made from certified organic grapes, fermented with indigenous yeasts in steel, and aged in used Slavonian botte. Pedigree aside, note that it’s a liter bottle, so 25% more volume – it would be a bargain for a .750 bottle. This is a classic expression of Etna – on the lighter side – very pure, and unmistakably Nerello Mascalese. It was correct and pleasing at first, but after some serious time open (and on the second day) it really sang. Great wine, amazing value. Jamie Wolff
Il Fortunato aced it with their Rosato Spumante; another lively sparkler produced from organic vineyards with only a minimal addition of sulfur. The nose is playful with a mix of bright berry fruits and fresh red cherries cut by tart apple skins. On the palate, a delicate mousse lifts the wine showing some weight, great acidity, and just touch of sugar. Absolutely lovely! Pair with charcuterie, simple pasta, or simply drink on its own. Andy Paynter
This effervescent Barbera is one of a kind! Just a little fizzy, the wine is perfect for denser holiday meals - like root vegetables and roasted white and red meats. In the glass, it has a dark ruby color. The nose is fresh, though full of dark fruits (cherry, blackberry, and small plum). There are aromas of birch, smoke, and savory orange peel. The palate has blueberries and raspberry, mixed with slightly bitter green herbs - before finishing with a light essence of strawberry. High acid on the tongue, and just a little sparkle, make this wine incredibly drinkable. You’ll want this in stock all winter long!
Bauccio is a special selection of 50+ year old vines in the Liscone vineyard. After fermentation in open-topped wood, the wine is matured in large tonneau; the wood seems to integrate seamlessly. The 2013 has a dark purple robe. Violets, leather, cassis, black fruits and leather mingle on the nose. The palate is muscular and ripe and it’s quite a mouthful: black brambly fruit and plum stone, a bit of game, obsidian stone, and cracked pepper. Rich, but deft, this has firm, but fine-grained tannins and a bit of mineral smoke on the after aromas. This is still young and probably in need of a year or two more in the cellar, but delicious and quite satisfying with a lamb ragu with mezze maniche, chilis, mint, and pecorino with enough freshness to make the mouth water in anticipation of the next sip and bite. A fine Aglianico Del Vulture that veers more towards elegant than rustic, while still capturing the wild character of the DOC. Fine stuff and treat with richer dishes. John McIlwain
Liscone is an old Contrada, or farm; Paulo says that the fruit for the Liscone bottling comes from younger vines — only 30 years old... After about 2 weeks in open-top fermenters, the wine goes in old tonneau. It's intense — smokey, very mineral. Savory, with ripe tannin, this isn't a fruit-driven wine, but a really sophisticated expression of the Vulture. The wine is certainly drinkable now, but this is a fine candidate for mid-term aging.
2017 was a much riper vintage than 2016, and this wine shows it. Francesco added a tiny bit of sulfur just at bottling. The nose opens with notes of plum, a hint of prune, dark forest fruit, stewed raspberry and blackberry, dried cherry, grape jam (a high quality one), baking spice, nutmeg, and a hint of forest undergrowth. The palate is juicy, still with a lot of energy and acidity to retain balance. Though lacking some of the subtlety and fascination of the 2016 vintage at the moment, it may be best to hold for a year or two, as I feel this will be a wonderful wine with some time to settle. That being said, there is no harm in opening it now, and indeed at a recent tasting some folks preferred the more forward aspects of the 2017. Oskar Kostecki
2017 was not an easy vintage for producers on Etna. Extreme heat and no rain posed a huge threat to production. With yields down, many consumers were worried about the quality of the vintage. Masseria del Pino's I Nove Fratelli 2017 is one of the most expressive bottles of Etna Rosso that I've ever tasted. Complete with a mix of fresh and candied red fruits, green herbs and fresh volcanic soil, this is a dynamic bottle in aroma and taste. It doesn't lack structure either, though it is leaner and fresher than the 2016 vintage. It goes to show you how wonderful farming and great winemaking can turn a scary vintage into a real success. Bravo to Federica and Cesare for delivering such a fantastic bottle of wine, despite the hardship. David Hatzopoulos
The Sisma by Monterosso is structured, with bright acidity. The 2017 vintage was hot compared to the 2016. Earthy aromas of smoke, iron, and crushed black stones mix with dark cherry and cassis on the nose. On the palate, the flavors are framed by ripe, firm tannins, with bursts of earthy red plum and blackberry/raspberry fruit. This is an assertive Nerello Mascalese, especially in contrast with the gentler character of the 2016. A few years in the cellar should allow the flavors and structure to integrate. David Hatzopoulos
From 15 year old vines planted in both guyot and pergola training systems, Pranzegg's Lagrien is fermented with submerged cap for 4 weeks, and is a deeper expression of "mountain wine."Notes of dark fruit (blackberry, plum, and cassis) mingle with mineral notes wet stone and graphite. Framed by quite bright acidity, this is a great food wine, and will pair well with anything from a steak or roast pork, to a burger or barbecue.
The Allegracore bottling from Romeo del Castello is 100% Nerello Mascalese from the younger part of their vineyard, planted in 2004. The wine is fermented in 5000L stainless vats for 20 days. The wine ages for a year afterwards, also in stainless. An elegant and approachable Etna Rosso, it has been a Chambers Street favorite since the 2009 vintage! The nose on the 2018 is a fresh bouquet of pitted, ripe dark cherries and plums and violets. Attractive green aromas balance the flowers and fruit with swaths of spring grass and ferns. The juicy palate is full of cherry, raspberry and plum - all bolstered by an enticing minerality of dark stones. The finish is long, ending the wine on notes of dried red fruits and herbs. As stated above, we always love this wine, but the 2018 is a knock-out. You'll want this bottle during summer meals outside. David Hatzopoulos
From the Veneto, this is a low alcohol rosato. A fresh blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara - grapes most famously used in the production of Valpolicella reds.
Vittorio Savino, owner of Fenicotteri, joined Foti’s small association of producers called i Vigneri (some of whose wines from Mt. Etna we always have on our shelves). I Vigneri offers unparalleled expertise in every aspect of viticulture and production (including the services of Ciccio, the group’s mule). Foti’s work at Gulfi, and his knowledge derived from the vines in Pachino must have been very valuable when trying to restore a vineyard that’s virtually on the shore of the lagoon. The farming is impeccable (only copper and sulfur and sheep manure are used on the bush-trained vines) but it’s the location that brings an incredibly compelling mineral and saline lift to the wine. Called Fenicotteri (flamingo, in Italian) after the migratory flamingoes who visit the lagoon next to the vineyard. JW Firmly medium-bodied, the 2015 shows beautiful notes of black cherry, blackberries, black currant, raspberry jam, a hint of leather, cut hay, cocoa, coffee grinds, with hints of black pepper and a black olive brininess. Well integrated and soft, but quite present tannins and medium acidity. Wonderful complexity which just keeps unfolding the longer the wine is open. There is a certain plushness, without anything extravagant. This wine is very compelling all the way through the bottle. Oskar Kostecki
In Emilia-Romagna, Terraquila creates red méthode ancestrale sparklings from organic Lambrusco Grasparossa. The wine goes through a cold maceration with the skins. It is aged for 15 months on the lees and is released without disgorgement. The color of the Falcorubens is a dense red. Aromatically, the wine offers roasted coffee and dark forest fruit, with a touch of barnyard and earth. Similarly, the palate is full of burly flavors like smoke, plum, raw herbs, and espresso. The structure is soft with a touch of tannin. A lovely wine to sip, a great bubbly for the cooler weather. David Hatzopoulos
A co-harvest of Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, and Sangiovese from biodynamically farmed 53 year old, pergola-trained vines on the western shore of Lake Garda. Considered too atypical to be labeled under the Bardolino Chiaretto DOC, Daniele Deliani just labels this as a humble vino rosato.