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The Barale Barolo is a blend of fruit from 3 vineyards (all in the town of Barolo): Castellero, Monrobiolo di Bussia, and Preda. The 2015 has good depth and extract, but it seems completely effortless in it’s elegance – this is wine that feels like it just exists – it hasn’t been forced in any aspect. In April it was aromatically seductive, with lovely orange peel and eucalyptus, silky tannin, and a long, expansive finish. Jamie Wolff
Nebbiolo grapes from the Castellero vineyard in the Barolo commune, planted in 1979 and 1991. The grapes are hand harvested in the first weeks of October. The grapes are destemmed and crushed, with wine macerating on the skins for 30 days. Fermentation in 15-30 hl French oak lasts for 3 years, before being bottled without filtration. Bottle aging lasts a year before release.
This wine is from estate owned, 29 year old vines of organically farmed Barbera, trained in Guyot fashion. The vineyards are planted to soils of loamy silt and clay, with traces of fossils. The hard harvested grapes are destemmed and fermented in steel. There are 7 days of skin maceration. Aging is done for 12 months in barrel, with 6 additional months in bottle before release.
This wine is made with organically farmed Guyot trained Dolcetto vines. The grapes are hand harvested in the beginning of September before fermenting in steel, with a 6 day maceration on the skins. The wine is transferred for a quick period to oak while undergoing malolactic fermentation.
Last week marked the 3rd time I’ve tasted three vintages of Boggione Brunate together, and it’s reinforced how consistent in quality the wines are, expressive of vintage, but very un-fussed with in the cellar. The 2013 is showing very savory, earthy and chalky, with some cherry fruit and very fine ripe tannin. It’s an expansive mouthful, in a way that suggests it’s going to drink well fairly soon. A very fine wine indeed! Jamie Wolff
After a decent interval to let the wine breathe, the 2015 shows its great potential – fragrant with flowers and earth; plenty of bright juicy fruit, but overall savory in character, with pronounced ripe tannins – as you taste the wine it blossoms, expressing both finesse and the power of Brunate - and it becomes increasingly delicious. I will put some bottles in the cellar, but given sufficient time in the decanter you can enjoy this now. Jamie Wolff
The range of wines at Brovia always show individual character, but this is amplified in 2015. Alex Sanchez (of Brovia) told us that he sees 2015 as first “a vintage of terroir”; when we get to the Brea Ca’Mia one of our group says “Serralunga to 11”, which pretty well sums it up, except that there are only a few other wines from Serralunga of this quality (side diatribe: most Rionda misses the standard). As usual the Ca’Mia is the most tannic and structured of the line-up, this is certainly a long-term prospect. 111 points. Jamie Wolff
I thought this was the best Garblet Sue I’ve tasted in 20 years of visiting Brovia. I often find this wine opaque (from a sensory perspective), but I don’t think I’ve had a chance to taste a mature bottle. By contrast the 2015, while quite dense and rich, was very expressive and showed a depth and complexity that was exciting. One for the cellar. Jamie Wolff All density, dark fruit, and spice. More medicinal than the normale bottling, with black cherry, cedar, licorice and baking spice. Quite dark and brooding, this will need a number of years to come into it's own. Oskar Kostecki
I thought this was the best Garblet Sue I’ve tasted in 20 years of visiting Brovia. I often find this wine opaque (from a sensory perspective), but I don’t think I’ve had a chance to taste a mature bottle. By contrast the 2015, while quite dense and rich, was very expressive and showed a depth and complexity that was exciting. One for the cellar. Jamie Wolff
All density, dark fruit, and spice. More medicinal than the normale bottling, with black cherry, cedar, licorice and baking spice. Quite dark and brooding, this will need a number of years to come into it's own. Oskar Kostecki
– A beauty – tight, of course, and subtle and austere now, I thought this was a gorgeous Villero, with everything you’d want in a wine to put away for 20 years. Very fine indeed. Jamie Wolff
The Boiolo is the only Barolo produced by our friend Mauro Drocco at Azienda Agricola Camparo, and it shows beautiful complexity. From 20-50 year old hand harvested Nebbiolo vines in La Morra, from slopes of south-eastern and southern exposure. The vineyard is planted on clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous and marl soils. Grapes are picked in October, before being pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine ages in large French oak casks for 24 months before it is transferred to bottle, where it rests another year prior to release. On the nose, there are fresh black and red fruits, a touch of spicy licorice, and a savory aroma that conjures a bundle of dried green herbs. The palate has a bit of flesh, edges of tannic strength, and a clean line of acidity. Ripe black cherry hang above flavors of earth and dark stones. A very pleasurable wine, drinking well today. David Hatzopoulos
This family estate, run by third generation winegrower Mauro Drocco, has been certified organic since 2000. The grapes come from both Diano d’Alba and La Morra, from vines (40-50 years old) planted on eastern and south-eastern facing slopes. Grapes are hand harvested, then the wine ferments in stainless and spends 12-18 months in large oak casks before being cellared for 6 more months in bottle. Dark forest fruit, like cherry and blackberry, on the nose, along with accents of espresso, herbs, and flowers. The palate has a base of lively red fruit, nuanced by flavors of cocoa shell and dark minerals. David Hatzopoulos
According to Camparo's website: "Sorì means a vineyard with the best exposure to the sun in the local Piedmontese dialect." This wine is 100% Dolcetto from Diano d’Alba, which is where the estate’s winery is based. Grapes are handpicked from 30-40 year old vines on slopes of south-eastern and south-western exposure. The soil is complex mix of clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous and marl. The juice is fermented and aged in stainless steel, next resting for 12 months before being cellared for an additional 3-6 months in bottle. Fresh black and red fruits show on the nose, with hints crushed dark stones and violets. On the palate, there are flavors of wild cherry, with a touch of bitter skins, and blackberry. The mouthfeel is structured well with medium tannin. David Hatzopoulos
Camparo’s vibrant Nebbiolo comes from 20-40 year old vines (hand harvested) in Diano d’Alba, harvested in October. Vineyards are planted on eastern and south-eastern facing slopes of clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous, and marl. Fermentation takes place over 20-30 days in steel tanks, before the wine is aged for 12-18 months in oak casks. There are 6 more months of bottle aging before the wine is released. The result is a wine showing woodsy aromas on the nose, with fresh earth, and mix of plum, raspberry, and blackberry. The palate has similar dark fruits, along with a herbaceous edge. David Hatzopoulos
“Grignole” is Astigiano (dialect of the region of Asti, home to Grignolino) for ‘a lot of seeds’ – Grignolino has a lot of seeds; hence the label – a festa of happy seeds, or if you prefer, pips. Grignolino is very light in color, and has both high acidity and tannin - A typically Piemontese grape. As Ian d’Agata says “Grignolino was, until recently, a tragically unfashionable wine because of its pale red-pink color, lack of obvious sweet, ripe, soft fruit flavors, and very high acidities and tannins.” A well-made Grignolino has low alcohol – 12.3% in this case! Grignole is made in stainless steel (no need for more tannin from wood), and macerates for just a few days; if you find that your Grignolino is dark in color, try a different version.Grignole is pale, almost like a rosato; it’s very aromatic with strawberry, sour cherry, pepper and delicate herbs. These follow through on the palate, which is layered and lively – and amazingly long and complex for such a humble and humbly priced wine. If you know Poulsard, the Grignole distinctly brings it to mind; it has quite a similar profile, and like Poulsard works well with cheese and other fairly rich food. Grignolino is also very versatile at the table; we drank it with fairly spicy vegetarian tacos and pretty much finished the bottle without any struggle (or regrets). Jamie Wolff 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
“Grignole” is Astigiano (dialect of the region of Asti, home to Grignolino) for ‘a lot of seeds’ – Grignolino has a lot of seeds; hence the label – a festa of happy seeds, or if you prefer, pips. Grignolino is very light in color, and has both high acidity and tannin - A typically Piemontese grape. As Ian d’Agata says “Grignolino was, until recently, a tragically unfashionable wine because of its pale red-pink color, lack of obvious sweet, ripe, soft fruit flavors, and very high acidities and tannins.” A well-made Grignolino has low alcohol – 12.3% in this case! Grignole is made in stainless steel (no need for more tannin from wood), and macerates for just a few days; if you find that your Grignolino is dark in color, try a different version.Grignole is pale, almost like a rosato; it’s very aromatic with strawberry, sour cherry, pepper and delicate herbs. These follow through on the palate, which is layered and lively – and amazingly long and complex for such a humble and humbly priced wine. If you know Poulsard, the Grignole distinctly brings it to mind; it has quite a similar profile, and like Poulsard works well with cheese and other fairly rich food. Grignolino is also very versatile at the table; we drank it with fairly spicy vegetarian tacos and pretty much finished the bottle without any struggle (or regrets). Jamie Wolff
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
All of Francesco Clerico’s wines (Barbera, Barolo, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo) could be used in a class as textbook examples of traditional Langhe wine. Clerico’s certified-organic vines are in Bussia di Monforte (mostly in the Colonello sub-zone of Bussia Soprana, and also in Bussia Dardi), an easy walk from his cantina in Borgata Bussia Soprana - like the wines, a hamlet that feels as though time has passed by. 2015 was a good year for Barbera in general; Clerico’s is cool, deep, and lifted, with lovely balance between bright plummy fruit and earthy, savory and forest-y notes. It makes perfect sense for Thanksgiving, as it should work well with all of the varied components of the meal, even the cranberry. Jamie Wolff
Dark red fruit, limestone – a juicy underpinning for firm chalky tannin, rich and lifted, pure and delicious. A grand cru wine, and some competition for that other Monvigliero…Jamie Wolff
Fermented in concrete and aged for three years before release. The nose is richly fruited, with bold red plum, spiced cherry, and fresh, healthy mulch. A hint of coconut shavings and nutmeg add a special aromatic accent. The palate is just as dynamic, boasting flavors of baking spice, espresso, roasted herbs, and savory dark cherry. The mouthfeel has a surprising fresh edge, with clean mineral zip and pleasant dusty tannins. David Hatzopoulos
A delicate and inviting Rosso from piedmont, mostly Barbera and Dolcetto here. Bright acidity, with a touch of eucalyptus on the palette. It definitely benefited from 15-20 minutes open, as the acidity gave way to softer, more floral and deeper red fruits. -Eben
A stunning wine - my note from tasting in the cellar starts with a highly scientific, “Wow!” There is none of the potential excess of 2015, instead lovely fruit, with savory, balsalm and stony notes. You get the sensation of a dark core that has yet to blossom – giving the fruit a stony base and suggesting great potential in the cellar, although the wine is balanced and delicious now. Jamie Wolff
Sassella is widely considered to be the most noble and elegant of the five subzones of Valtellina. Terraced vineyards on steep, south-facing slopes produce high quality "mountain nebbiolo" with great ability to age. The 1974 Sassella from Pelizzatti still clings to a bit of fruit, with notes of dried cherry, cherry pit and red plum being accompanied by cedar, sage, and hint of smokiness. Drink now with roasted pork, game, or savory dishes laden with umami. Oskar Kostecki
Cowabunga! A Piemontese wine at only 10.5% ABV. And no added sulfur! I would say that's unheard of, yet here it is. Principiano's incredibly charming and utterly delicious Dosset (the name for Dolcetto in the regional dialect) is a beauty: light, fruit-forward and energetic on the palate, with soft tannins and lively acidity. The Dosset shows vibrant fruit notes of cherry, forest berries, red current and red plum, with beautiful floral tones of rose and violet. Very light when first opened, with some air it fleshes out a bit, and a purple plummy note creeps in, along with a hint of spice. Great with a slight chill. Oskar Kostecki
Black cherry and kirsch flavors are underlined by subtle hints of bresaola, dark chocolate, and fresh earth. It's not a powerful vintage, but nevertheless impresses with its lightness, litheness, and elegance (2/28/16). Jonas Mendoza
We mostly taste Grignolinos that are dark, heavy, very tannic, lacking the freshness and charm that “correct” Grignolino shows. I think Rovero’s is textbook: light colored, aromatic of flowers, tart red fruit, with light tannins, and crisp acidity – all of this adding-up to a wine that I’d call charming for it’s easy drinkability, but underpinned by enough structure to keep it interesting. This, btw, is a red wine that is delicious a bit chilled, and it’s very versatile at the table. JW
A very fine and very complete wine. Balanced, savory, with super-elegant tannins, this needs some real time in the cellar. Jamie Wolff
Sandri’s 2017 Barbera is a beauty. I might as well say tell you now: it has 15° alcohol. This is becoming quite common in Piedmont; some winemakers / some wines can handle it, and Sandri seems to have it figured out – at any rate the wine isn’t hot or overblown. It’s a Monforte wine – structured, savory, with lovely balanced black fruit, somewhat restrained; it’s a big wine, but has grace and energy. This is a Barbera that will benefit from a little time in the cellar to unwind and show it’s best, although you can promote the same result if you give it a couple of hours in a decanter. At the moment I’m writing (July), it strikes me as a perfect barbeque wine! Jamie Wolff
I'm not very attached to color analysis, but this wine has great color - by which I mean, for Nebbiolo, not very dark, in fact somewhat pale, but with bright cranberry tones - a sure sign that it's not too extracted. That visual translucence applies to the palate too - a surprisingly graceful wine for Rocche dell'Annuziata; rich with fruit but without any fat, and very long. Jamie Wolff
This Rosato from Sangiovese is a happy find for us at the start of Rosato (Rose!) season. Like the Vernaccia, I thought this was even better on the next day, when the aromas of earthy clay and bright cranberry and cherry fruit are more dramatic. The palate is very bright, but beautifully balanced by the wine’s lush texture. This certainly has the acidity to go well with a lot of different foods, and I’m already dreaming about it with something from the grill, once this extended cold rain we’re having ends… Jamie Wolff
The tint hamlet of Lamole (population 35) is one of the highest points in the Chianti Classico appellation. On soils of sandstone and clay, interspersed with small stones and pebbles, Anna Maria and Guiliano of Le Masse di Lamole craft their electric wine from Sangiovese vines up to 100 years old, some of them still bush trained. Our friend Tess from Portovino Imports described the 2016 as a Bambi wine, "sprightly, chirpy, (endearingly) gangly" in its youth when tasted a few months ago, now entering a "grunge phase, black eyeliner and nail polish: a depraved, provocative Bambi." I loved this description, and indeed the 2016 shows some beautiful brooding character, with notes of black cherry, dark forest berries, plum skin, raspberry leaves, brambles, blood orange peel, with a hint of ceder and an herbal character, almost anise. There is a also the wonderful floral character associated with Lamole, with dried rose petals, violets, and iris (though this connotation might be conditioned by the iris flowers decorating the label). With medium tannins that feel increasingly rustic as the wine opens and framed by great, juicy acidity, this is a beautiful experience of Sangiovese from a quite unique area of Chianti Classico. Oskar Kostecki
The delicious "Il Meticcio" is a blend of Canaiolo, Malvasia and Ciliegiolo - a blend dedicated to their mixed breed dog "Tiberio." The wine shows a deep pink color in the glass, with hints of salmon. The 2018 is a hearty and structured rose, with notes of dry tart cherry, ripe strawberry, red currants, and an interesting herbal character. Quite firm on the palate, with a bit of structured tannins yet quite bright acidity, and an undercurrent of earth and mineral notes. The finish is long and lingering. Quite delicious now, but I wouldn't hesitate holding this for a year or two to see where it goes. Oskar Kostecki
Retromarcia means “to back up” or “to reverse” and is Michael Schmelzer’s reference to an old approach to Chianti that is hard to find today, focused on allowing the character of Sangiovese to show above everything else. The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese composed of young vines planted on a mix of galestro and sandstone soils. The grapes are fermented with native yeast on the skins for 2 weeks in stainless steel and then raised in a mixture of old barrels and unlined concrete tanks for 18 months before being bottled unfiltered. As a classic Chianti should be, the acidity is mouthwatering, warming up the palate for a range of food; try it with everything from classic red sauce pastas, sauteed greens, and saltier cheeses all the way to richer food like roasted lamb or game birds.
Pietramore produces both an array of classic Italian wines as well as Olive oil, all from their biodynamically farmed vineyards. The vineyards are located in the Chieti and Teramo provinces close the to eastern coast. The grapes are pressed with ~15% of the juice drained off to intensify the concentration of the wine, and then aged in vats for 6 months with no oak aging.
Ausonia’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Anfora is made using an ancient method of fermenting and storing wine in clay vessel (or amphora) which originated in Georgia and was used by the Greeks and Romans for centuries. The amphora helps protect the wine from oxidation and gives the wine a tannic and earthy, yet mineral-driven character. Ruby red in color, this Montepulciano has an intense aroma of red fruits, sweet spices, dried flowers and turned earth. The palate is full-bodied and complex with a dense core, lush tannins, bright acidity, and flavors of ripe cherry, raspberry compote, dark chocolate, dried violets and a distinct minerality. The finish is long and earthy and full of licorice and herbal notes. This wine would make an excellent complement to hearty dishes, red meats, roasted vegetables, and grilled mushrooms. Anna DeBeer
This is one of my favorite Rosatos which I look forward to every year. It's from Faro in Sicily - north of Etna, in fact almost at the very north-east tip of Sicily, in a spectacular vineyard above the sea. Because it's the same grapes as Etna (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, + the local Noccera) you get some of the same sensations, but Faro has much sandier soils, and the wine is more fruit-forward, strong on cranberry and raspberry. Fairly dark in color, this is incredibly adaptable with food - no shy, watery Provencal wannabe, but with real depth, even at 11.5% alcohol, so easy drinking, with gravitas. Jamie Wolff
From the higher part of Feudo di Mezzo (640 metres), and vines over 60 years old.Frank writes "A challenging location in order to achieve perfection in maturation. It has the power as well as refined elegance... A complete wine." 2000 bottles produced.
A 'feudo' is a farm; the Feudo di Mezzo is a large farm (now with many different owners), and this is from the lower ("Sottana") part of the farm, with elevations of about 580 metres, and 40 year old vines. Frank writes: "Although lower in the valley floor, the wines are of an unusual elegance which characterizes this area. Relatively deep soil which, in humid vintages can create some problems although the well ventilated site helps to get ripeness. Burgundian elegance and roundness, even in hot vintages makes this a special wine with finesse as it’s personality." 2500 bottles produced.
A blend of Nerello Mascalese grapes taken from each of Cornelissen's single vineyards; the vines are over 60 years old. 12,000 bottles produced.
85% Nerello Mascalese, with the balance Nerello Capuccio, Alicante Boushet, Minella, and Uva Francese - a blend more reflective of the old days on Mt. Etna than 100% Nerello Mascalese. From vines over 50 years old.
Dry Lambrusco rosato still seems to be a bit of a rarity, which is baffling when excellent examples like Corte Paglieri’s rosato are available. Corte Pagliari Rosato is a very traditional style of Lambrusco; made from organically farmed Lambrusco Sobrara grapes, it is re-fermented in bottle rather than tank and is made without the addition of sulfites. A deep bronze-hued ruby, the aromas of the wine practically jump out of the glass showing rhubarb, ripe cherries, and citrus zest with a deep violet floral tone. The palate is crisp and balanced with a very delicate bubble and very low tannin, notes of peaches, juicy strawberries, and a slight minty tone. While not suited pairing with the richest foods, this would be a perfect match for soft cheese, bitter veggies like fiddlehead ferns, fatty fish, roast chicken, or pork chops with rhubarb compote. Andy Paynter
Made from Natalino Del Prete's small holdings of Aleatico (and possibly Malvasia Nera). The vines are between 30-60 years old. After harvest the grapes are dried, leading to the wine's eventual concentration. On the nose, deep fruits and dark floral notes share the stage with more tertiary aromas of bark and warm field grasses. The palate has plummy flavors of spiced red and black berries, with undercurrents of earth. The wine's sweetness is masked by its freshness, but it is still definitely a bottle for sipping and sharing. David Hatzopoulos
Natalino Del Prete farms 10 hectares of mostly Negroamaro and Primitivo vines just north of Lecce in southern Puglia. Certified organic since 1994, his vineyards are never treated with any chemicals (they look quite wild!) and the vinification is decidely old-school, with minimal intervention and no sulfur added at any point, including bottling. The 2017 Negroamaro Anne is from a plot of 30 to 60 year old vines planted on clay soils. Rustic and slightly barnyardy on the nose, this wine opens with black cherry, black plum and a general medley of dark fruits, and finishes with notes of dark cocoa and earth. Medium plus bodied, with very good acidity, this is a wonderful example of "farmhouse" wine from the Italian South. Oskar Kostecki
The mission of Feudo di Santa Tresa is to showcase the best of their coastal Mediterranean vineyards and farm only using organic means. The red, sandy loam, 'Terra Rossa', adds a unique complexity to their wines. This 100% Frappato is light and easy-drinking but is not lacking in depth. The nose shows a mix of wild strawberry, a touch of dried red fruits, dried savory herbs, and a savory, ferrous note from the red soil. The palate is juicier with a nice balance of acidity from the sea air that sweeps through the vineyards, and ripe strawberry and red plum from the warm Sicilian sun. Serve this with a bit of a chill with lighter proteins, it's extremely versatile as a food pairing. Michelle DeWyngaert
Lezer was first made in 2017, when hail led to damaged grape bunches. Not wanted to extract too much from the broken skins, Foradori went for a very short maceration of just a few days, and released the wine as a light and fun alternative to their more serious red wine offerings. It was a hit, and (somewhat reluctantly) they agreed to keep making it-to our great satisfaction. The 2019 is as delicious as previous vintages, light and juicy, fresh, easy-drinking yet still engaging, with notes of cranberry, raspberry, pomegranate, ripe strawberry, ripe red cherry, cherry pit, and a hint of citrus peel. Perfect with a slight chill, and a great light red for spring and summer. Oskar Kostecki
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
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
Wow. Full-bodied and full-blooded, this Primitivo is an intense and profound example of this variety. As with the 2017 Negroamaro, Francesco added a small amount of sulfur at bottling. The nose shows notes of red currants, black currants, black cherries, raspberry preserve, plums, raspberry leaves, cedar, dried herbs, and a hint of earthiness. On the palate there is a similar mélange of red and black fruit, with a hint of dried fruit and raisin. The wine has prominent tannins and quite warming alcohol, though with good acidity and still some modicum of freshness and lift. A serious wine. A bit edgy at the moment, this will perhaps be best in 3-5 years, though if enjoyed now, give a decant of an hour or more. Oskar Kostecki
From a one hectare site of 120 year-old vines planted on the slopes of Mount Etna, this is volcanic wine at its best. The nose opens with a lovely bouquet of ripe raspberry and overripe strawberry, red currant, macerated cherry, deep red forest fruits, and dried orange peel. There are hints of nutmeg and other pungent spices, sage, thyme, and a hint of something green, perhaps tomato vine. On the palate it is medium bodied, with bright acidity and medium but soft, very finely integrated tannins. The palate introduces more citrus (blood orange) and pomegranate on top of the red fruit. The volcanic minerality really shines here, melding the fruit and herbal notes with ash and smoke. There is beautiful grip and intensity on the palate, which leads to an incredibly long finish. Paired perfectly with grilled sausages, but this is a very versatile food wine. Drink now with an hour's decant, this will continue improving for the next 10+ years. Oskar Kostecki
This white comes from some of the oldest vines in Italy, most being over 100 years old, and some almost 300. Monte di Grazie was started by a doctor in 2004 in the town of Tramonti, high up in the Lattari Mountains of Campania. The wine consists of 40% Ginestra, 40% Biancatenera, and 20% Pepella, from volcanic soils. The grapes are destemmed before pressing, and fermentation occurs naturally in stainless steel. The wine spends 6 months aging in stainless before bottling.
Sisma bottles come from a single vineyard in the crater of the Monte Rosso cone at the base of Mount Etna. The 2016 vintage conditions were excellent; it had the appropriate amount of sun and rain, all at the right times. This led to perfect fruit maturation. The nose offers wild fruit (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry) with pepper and spice. The palate offers flavors of plum (and plum peel), Provençal herbs, and pepper. There is a plush tannic framework – engaging but far from mouth-drying. David Hatzopoulos
In addition to farming their two hectares, the Monterosso team sources organically-farmed Nerello Mascalese for their Volcano bottling. The 2017 vintage was hot and had very little rain, resulting in an extremely small harvest. Grapes were picked two weeks earlier to ensure freshness. The wine is bold and robust. The fruit on the nose is dark (blackberry, cherry), with a hint of amaro-like aromas and smoky earth. The palate has a character of bitter and herbaceous red/black fruit and savory cured meats. David Hatzopoulos
Monterosso is named for the reddish Etna soils of sand and pumice in which their vines are grown. The Volcano Rosato is produced using 100% Nerello Mascalese, sourced from vineyards that Monterosso either manages or knows are being farmed with organic practices. In the glass, it shows an elegant shade of rose gold. The nose is redolent of cherry, wild raspberry, white and red flower aromas, with a lean accent of green herbs. The palate is more assertive, with cherry, cranberry fruit, and laced with iron minerality. David Hatzopoulos
The Lagnusa Nero d’Avola vines ranging in age from 20-50 years old, and they give the wine remarkable depth and complexity. It has an opulent, silky texture, but it’s also a juicy and racy wine, with intense red cherry fruit, herbs like mint and thyme, and a hauntingly long stony finish. This shows the quality of much more expensive wine, and it’s full-on competition for the best Nero d’Avola from Vittoria and Pachino.
Sourced from 50 year-old vines trained in pergola and farmed biodynamically, this is a more profound expression of the grape Schiava than one usually finds. The wine is fermented with 30% stem inclusion and macerates for 6 weeks in large conical vats followed by elevage in old oak and cement tank for 10 months. 2015 was a warmer year, and the wine shows more exuberance than previous vintages. The nose is full of dark cherry, ripe plums, plum skin, dark wild forest fruit, violets, cracked black pepper, and blackcurrant leaf (my original note reads: "smells like a pristine forest"). The palate introduces more red fruit: raspberry and cherry. The wine has great verve and acidity, with medium tannins that are quite soft and well integrated. Well-rounded and well-balanced, this is at a great moment now, showing a bit of development, yet still retaining nice primary elements. Very giving, yet relaxed. An engaging food wine, that has the ability to pair with a wide range of dishes. One of my first choices for Thanksgiving dinner. Oskar Kostecki
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
Unlike the other sparklings that we offer from Terraquila, this wine has been disgorged. The ‘zero’ in the name represents the fact that there are no lees left in the bottle. Like the Falcorubens, the varietal is Lambrusco Grasparossa, and it delivers intense savory profiles on the nose and palate. Aromas of heavily charred meat and grippy dark forest fruits match a lean palate of prickly plum skins, dried red cherry, and Provençal herbs. Dry, tannic, rustic, but bright and lovely. David Hatzopoulos
In Emilia-Romagna, Terraquila creates red méthode ancestrale sparklings from organic Lambrusco Grasparossa. 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. David Hatzopoulos
The Terre Sparse farm is located in the north of Piedmont, in the the Caluso DOCG. This Erbaluce comes from a small .25 hectare parcel of 40 year old vines, farmed organically on morenic soils (old glacier deposits). The wine is fermented and aged on its lees in stainless steel, and spends 13 days in contact with the skins. Delicious and quite complex, it shows notes of ripe fuji apple, apricot, nectarine, peach fuzz, pithy lemon, underripe plum, mirabelle, white blossom, honeysuckle and wildflower honey. There's a bit of grip on the palate, with soft tannins and great acidity. Vibrant and quite fresh, this Erbaluce (as Ernest from Portovino puts it) isn't exactly glou-glou, there's too much texture and savory notes, but it "goes down easy after day of hard of work on the farm, or a day at the desk typing." Very enjoyable and an excellent addition to our orange wine contingent. Oskar Kostecki
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, yet it was one of the more captivating ones we've discovered this year. Very energetic on the palate, with notes of wild strawberry, raspberry, grapefruit, grapefruit pith, and hints of an herbal character. The wine has good acidity, and a definite energy, with a shifting character; sometimes showing more the red fruit aspects, sometimes the slighty bitter and herbal. A thoroughly enjoyable and delicious wine that is very engaging on it's own or with a wide variety of food. Oskar Kostecki
Tasting Vinica’s Tintilia makes me wonder how this grape ever fell out of favor in Molise in the first place. It seems particularly well adapted to the high altitude vineyards of the region, showing a balance between ripe fruit and fresh acidity. The grapes are crushed at low pressure and allowed to ferment naturally in open top vessels before being held in steel tanks for two years. There is no temperature control at any point, which allows malolactic fermentation to occur naturally over time. The wine has a pleasant herbal tone of green pepper that peaks out on the nose over tart berry fruit, red roses, and moist earth. The palate is quite fresh and marked by bright acidity and soft tannins with a pleasant, earthy finish. This may not be a wine to cellar for ten years but it is a wine that casually conveys a sense of joy and is a carefree food pairing choice. Give it a try with rich pasta dishes, roast pork, stuffed mushrooms or open it at your next summer barbeque. Andy Paynter