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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
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
This beautiful Barbaresco comes from 40 to 50 year old vines planted in Serraboella, the most elevated point on the highest hill of Neive, with quite extreme diurnal shifts in temperature leading to an elegant and lifted style of Nebbiolo. The nose opens with notes of soft spice, sandalwood, dried roses, violets, and macerated cherry. The palate is rich, yet taut, showing beautiful flavors of dried cherry, forest fruit, dried orange peel, more spice and sandalwood. The tannins are present but well integrated, and this wine has acidity for days. What struck me the most upon tasting at the cantina was the intensity of flavor and complexity that builds to a beautiful crescendo and an incredibly long finish. Drinking well now with a long decant, this will only improve in your cellar. A fantastic value. Oskar Kostecki
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
A really terrific 2014, and the most forward of the trio of vintages we currently have in stock. It’s a touch lighter and more open than the 2015, brighter and with grainy, slightly more rustic tannin; good (and balanced) concentration and a mostly savory palate speak to me of Brunate – a wine to drink sooner than the 2013 or 2015. 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
At $58.99, this is a bargain Barolo – no irony intended / all things being relative. The 2015 is about 70% Brea Ca’Mia, a Grand Cru if there ever was one. Brea accounts for the intensely chalky, savory profile of the wine – a baby at this stage, and in need of a good 10 years asleep in the cellar. Still, a bargain! Jamie Wolff A lot of structure in this young Barolo, and even after being open for over 4 hours it still seemed quite austere. Yet nonetheless very impressive, with a lot of complexity. Notes of medicinal cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, citrus peel, burnt orange peel, and very pretty floral tones of fresh and dried roses. The palate shows prominent tannins that will take a few years to soften. No need to rush this wine. Oskar Kostecki
At $58.99, this is a bargain Barolo – no irony intended / all things being relative. The 2015 is about 70% Brea Ca’Mia, a Grand Cru if there ever was one. Brea accounts for the intensely chalky, savory profile of the wine – a baby at this stage, and in need of a good 10 years asleep in the cellar. Still, a bargain! Jamie Wolff
A lot of structure in this young Barolo, and even after being open for over 4 hours it still seemed quite austere. Yet nonetheless very impressive, with a lot of complexity. Notes of medicinal cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, citrus peel, burnt orange peel, and very pretty floral tones of fresh and dried roses. The palate shows prominent tannins that will take a few years to soften. No need to rush this wine. Oskar Kostecki
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
As always, this is a special wine. Elegant, but fairly powerful, tasted in May 2019 it showed a ton of depth amplified by ripe tannin, and a complex and super-long finish. In many vintages Brovia Rocche has made me think of Chambolle, but the 2015 is more in the line of Cote Rotie. Ok, that may be a specious comparison, but I do love Cote Rotie! Jamie Wolff
– 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
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
This shows a clear step away from the cooler Verduno wines, with silky, suave tannins, and a richer palate; it’s more muscular, and denser than the Verduno wines. It’s beautifully integrated and complete – quite amazingly appealing for new Barolo. I wrote that “this would be very popular”. Of course there’s only one way to find out… Jamie Wolff The Gramolere from Fratelli Alessandria showed really nice intensity, both on the nose and the palate. The ripeness of the vintage shows, with a slightly candied and juicy quality to the cherry and raspberry fruit. The palate introduces more savory notes of cocoa nibs and some herbal character. Great density and richness to this Barolo that will appeal to folks looking for some broadness in their Nebbiolo. Oskar Kostecki
This shows a clear step away from the cooler Verduno wines, with silky, suave tannins, and a richer palate; it’s more muscular, and denser than the Verduno wines. It’s beautifully integrated and complete – quite amazingly appealing for new Barolo. I wrote that “this would be very popular”. Of course there’s only one way to find out… Jamie Wolff
The Gramolere from Fratelli Alessandria showed really nice intensity, both on the nose and the palate. The ripeness of the vintage shows, with a slightly candied and juicy quality to the cherry and raspberry fruit. The palate introduces more savory notes of cocoa nibs and some herbal character. Great density and richness to this Barolo that will appeal to folks looking for some broadness in their Nebbiolo. Oskar Kostecki
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 rustic nature with an accessible structure, this Barbera (from grapes in and near the Barbaresco appellation) was fermented in barrel and aged in stoneware. Minimal sulfur is added at bottling. The nose is bright, with spicy and fresh dark forest fruit. The palate is also focused and vibrant, with black cherry, dried herbs, and a hint of salty, dark minerality. The wine displays a peak of high acidity and subtle tannin. David Hatzopoulos
A generous but supple Dolcetto, this wine was fermented in stainless steel then aged in stoneware and glass. Minimal addition of SO2 at bottling. Unlike other examples of the grape, Gea’s ‘Pinotto’ doesn’t rely on bitter accents - instead it displays aromas and flavors that make me think of springtime. The nose shows fresh picked violets, blackberry and blueberry. On the tongue, there are similar wild fruits, with hearty characters of fresh earth and minerals. Structure-wise, it is softly textured with attractively low acidity. David Hatzopoulos
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
Beautifully balanced between fruit and savory aromas and flavors supported by very fine ripe tannin and fresh acidity, with fantastic length. Vibrant, and super elegant – a remarkable Barolo. Jamie Wolff My first experience with the wines of Giulia Negri, and after hearing all the hype, this one didn't disappoint. A beautiful lifted nose of cherry, cherry flesh, crushed pomegranate, raspberries, orange peel, burnt orange peel, cedar, undergrowth, and dried flowers. The complexity translates well to the palate, with vibrant acidity framing well-structured tannins. Aromatically, this is one of the most beguiling Barolo's I've tasted from this vintage. Oskar Kostecki
Beautifully balanced between fruit and savory aromas and flavors supported by very fine ripe tannin and fresh acidity, with fantastic length. Vibrant, and super elegant – a remarkable Barolo. Jamie Wolff
My first experience with the wines of Giulia Negri, and after hearing all the hype, this one didn't disappoint. A beautiful lifted nose of cherry, cherry flesh, crushed pomegranate, raspberries, orange peel, burnt orange peel, cedar, undergrowth, and dried flowers. The complexity translates well to the palate, with vibrant acidity framing well-structured tannins. Aromatically, this is one of the most beguiling Barolo's I've tasted from this vintage. Oskar Kostecki
Considered to be the warmest part of the valley of Valtellina (hence the dramatic name) Inferno is situated close to the town of Poggiridenti, with the grapes growing on steep slopes and rocky soils. This 1974 has aged gracefully, with a faint grip of tannins and good acidity framing slightly vegetal and herbal notes of sage and mint, with coffee, tobacco, cedar, warm spice and hint of cured meat and smoke. Fully mature, this is a wine to be enjoyed now with roasted meat, game, or a mushroom risotto. Oskar Kostecki
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
Ravera di Monforte has an isolated feel to it - the position is definitely in a wilder spot than most Barolo vineyards, with a lot of woods around, and an air of peace that's unusual in an intensely farmed place. The hillside is very steep; there is a stream hidden in the woods at the bottom of the hill, and I imagine that in hot weather it's cooler there. Principiano's vines are left completely untreated, with flowers and grass allowed to grow without cutting; it's an Edenic spot. The 2015 is a very elegant wine, beautifully restrained, with a light body, but plenty of intensity. Lifted and citrusy, I think this has a tremendous future. Jamie Wolff To echo Jamie, Ravera di Monforte is one of the most soulful vineyards in Barolo that I have had the pleasure of visiting. There is a quiet about it, broken only by the soft humming of bees that buzz around the 100 year-old rosemary bush that marks the entrance to Ferdinand Principiano's vines. Though I might be guilty of slight hyperbole (my emotions sometimes get the better of me - and Ravera is an emotional place) the wine from this vineyard is quite exceptional as well. More perfumed than the Serralunga, with dark floral tones of dried violet, with deeper and darker fruit; macerated cherry, black cherry, deep raspberry and red plum. Beautiful energy on the palate, with vibrant acidity and a long finish. One of the wines I've been most eagerly awaiting to arrive stateside after tasting in Piedmont in April. Only 3,000 bottles per vintage. Oskar Kostecki
Ravera di Monforte has an isolated feel to it - the position is definitely in a wilder spot than most Barolo vineyards, with a lot of woods around, and an air of peace that's unusual in an intensely farmed place. The hillside is very steep; there is a stream hidden in the woods at the bottom of the hill, and I imagine that in hot weather it's cooler there. Principiano's vines are left completely untreated, with flowers and grass allowed to grow without cutting; it's an Edenic spot. The 2015 is a very elegant wine, beautifully restrained, with a light body, but plenty of intensity. Lifted and citrusy, I think this has a tremendous future. Jamie Wolff
To echo Jamie, Ravera di Monforte is one of the most soulful vineyards in Barolo that I have had the pleasure of visiting. There is a quiet about it, broken only by the soft humming of bees that buzz around the 100 year-old rosemary bush that marks the entrance to Ferdinand Principiano's vines. Though I might be guilty of slight hyperbole (my emotions sometimes get the better of me - and Ravera is an emotional place) the wine from this vineyard is quite exceptional as well. More perfumed than the Serralunga, with dark floral tones of dried violet, with deeper and darker fruit; macerated cherry, black cherry, deep raspberry and red plum. Beautiful energy on the palate, with vibrant acidity and a long finish. One of the wines I've been most eagerly awaiting to arrive stateside after tasting in Piedmont in April. Only 3,000 bottles per vintage. Oskar Kostecki
Allowing for the fact that wine is a very subjective experience, I like to think that I call it as I see it. So I believe I’d know if it was a disaster, but otherwise I’m irrational and unreliable on the subject of G. Rinaldi. When I’m there, I wander around in a kind of stupor of infatuation with the wines. My penetrating notes (for 2013 Tre Tine, for example) say things like “super-great” [full stop]. I suppose if I have to have a wine crush, it might as well be on one of the best wineries in the world. Jamie WolffPS: Please don’t shoot the messenger. We don’t make the prices (neither, so far as I can tell, do the Rinaldis, because the wines leave the cellar at very reasonable prices). We’re well into the world of luxury goods here, and all I can do is sigh and make puppy dog eyes at the bottles while they’re in the shop. I do think it’s an objective fact that these are great wines and even if it’s a gratuitous comparison, they are the superior of many far more expensive wines.
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
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
The sadly neglected by Americans third grape of the Langhe triumvirate, Dolcetto needs love and attention. But in the hands of a committed grower, there is real detail, real energy, real soul. Elio Sandri is one such grower. Signor Sandri captures the freshness and brambly brightness of the variety—crunchy fruit, fresh acidity, and fine-grained tannins. The overall impression is amiability; it cries for salumi, perhaps carne cruda, maybe even bàgna cauda. This is a pretty, charming Dolcetto, one without airs or pretense, but in the 2017 vintage, a wine that beckons you back to the glass which is perhaps its greatest attribute. Now I don’t know if anyone in New York will make a plate of vitello tonnato or agnolotti del plin (though they should!) but wines of exuberance and joy deserve a place at your table.
Francesco describes San Cristofero’s soils as being very high in chalk, producing very fresh and aromatic fruit. Tasting the wine also confirms Masnaghetti’s description of San Cristofero giving “wines of good structure though at times a bit austere in character which require some years of bottle age to fully amalgamate and unwind”. A rush of aromas carry orange zest, iron, chalk, herbs (including an intriguing suggestion of carraway), all of which follow through on the palate. Savory, very long, obviously young and somewhat austere, this is a brilliant, classic wine. Jamie Wolff
Perhaps Francesco Versio is just young-looking… He has to have a lot of energy for his very demanding day job (winemaker at Luigi Oddero with Dante Scaglione) and yet he is also making his own excellent Barbaresco. The 2016 is about 65% from San Cristoforo and the balance from Cotta and Starderi (all in Neive). Tasted in late June the wine was showing gorgeously, very open and complete, savory with delicate citrusy aromatics, and beautifully balanced – a super elegant and refined Barbaresco. Jamie Wolff
Castellinuzza e Piuca is a small family owned winery in the hilltop town of Lamole, halfway between Siena and Florence, home to some of the highest elevation vineyards in the Chianti Classico zone. Their Rosso Toscana is a bit of a throwback, a co-fermentation and maceration of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Malvasia Bianca like Chianti would have been made in the old days. Fermented with indigenous yeast and macerated on the skins for 8-10 days, they wine then aged for 12-14 months in concrete tank before it is bottled with only minimal filtration. A beautiful ruby red in the glass, this wine has great freshness and tension, backed by good acidity and medium, but rustic tannins. Notes of fresh cherry, dried cherry, red forest fruit, dried flowers, and an herbal undercurrent. Juicy and fun, but with enough complexity to keep it engaging all the way through, this would pair wonderfully with any sort of roasted poultry and fall flavors. Oskar Kostecki
Fornacina only produces their riserva bottling in their very best vintages. From 100% Sangiovese Grosso selected from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell'Abate, a charming village hanging over the Abbey de Sant'Antimo a couple kilometers south of Montalcino. This riserva wine is vinified in stainless steel for thirty days before spending 48 months in the huge Slavonian oak casks traditional to the region. After this, the wine spends another twelve months in bottle before being released to the market. This allows an extraordinary delicacy of tannic texture that belies this wine's immense power. This is on the spicier side for Brunello, with notes of morello cherry and plum enrobed in silken hints of baking spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and licorice. Full bodier, rich, and elegant, this wine is fantastic with braised meats, filet mignon, wine-based stews, and osso buco. Andrew Farquhar
From very old vines, this is very much in the same mold as the Chianti – and was vinified identically – but is considerably deeper and rounder without any additional wood, alcohol, or extract – just a direct expression of the old vines. I think this is remarkable – it strikes a fascinating balance between palate-enveloping darker fruit and finesse. JW
Aside from Gregory Dal Piaz’s fervent recommendation, I fell for Lecci e Brocchi for obvious reasons: the wine tastes like Chianti – very good Chianti, in fact. It’s aromatically quite intense, with bright red fruit bound to stone and savory rocky herbs. On the light side of medium-bodied, the palate follows the aromas – if anything the stony-iron character is more present. This is a very harmonious, long, and quite elegant Chianti. Jamie Wolff
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
The Chianti Classico Riserva is a more serious reflection of the same principles underlying Retromarcia. It is produced from a plot of 40-year-old Sangiovese vines that contain around 5% Canaiolo Nero and naturally yield about half as much fruit as the young vines used for Retromarcia. The wine is fermented for 3-4 weeks on skins in steel and then aged for 2 years in old wooden botti and unlined cement tanks.
While I always love the wines from Monte Bernardi, every year Sa’etta is one of the most compelling. The organic viticulture, reflective sandstone soils, extra élevage result in wines of great purity, lift, tension, and dare I say, flair. There’s the beautiful characteristic Morello cherry fruit (though perhaps given a boost of florality and finesse here). This is underlain by a deep sense of nearly salty minerality (not just acidity, though this is also expressed, despite the warmth of the vintage). And finally there’s this savory, energetic kick to the finish, which pulls off the neat trick of not just length, but expansiveness; there’s real dimension and style here to match the stoniness at the core of the wine. A real treat now, but this should be splendid with 8-12 years and beyond in the bottle. John McIlwain
These bottles were purchased on release and have been in professional storage since. Thanks to the great generosity of our friend, the entire proceeds from this sale will be donated to the ACLU, and to Doctors Without Borders.
These bottles were purchased on release and have been in professional storage since.
Thanks to the great generosity of our friend, the entire proceeds from this sale will be donated to the ACLU, and to Doctors Without Borders.
Camerani Marinella, of Corta Sant’Alda fame, and her eldest daughter produce this remarkably fresh wine from 5 hectares of vines in Valpolicella. The grapes (35% Corvina, 35% Corvina Grossa, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara) are hand harvested, destemmed, and gently pressed. In the cellar, the juice is vinified using native yeasts in stainless steel. The nose is floral, with dark flowers. There is a hint of tilled earth along with more pronounced aromas of cured meat and red berry. The mouthfeel is relaxed, with exceptionally low tannin for wines of the region, and a thread of acidity that works to carry the cherry fruit on the palate. Pairing with hearty, earthy foods like Thanksgiving carrots, potatoes, and yams will work beautifully. David Hatzopoulos
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
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
Foradori's Teroldego feels like a benchmark. Not that there is excessive opportunity to do comparative tastings of this lesser-known grape, but of the ones that we've tried, this wine is neither over-oaked, nor reedy and thin, but always perfectly balanced in its intensity and expression. A medley of brambly red and dark fruit (blackberries, plum) interwoven with dark spice, earth and green notes of blackcurrant leaf. The 2016 vintage is quite reserved when first opened, but some air reveals its true potential. One of my favorite pairings with roast pork. It's a great testament to Elisabetta Foradori and her family, and the hard work that has been done in the vineyards and winery for nearly 40 years, that this expression of Teroldego has risen from relative obscurity to be a true staple. Oskar Kostecki
Azienda Agricola Le Strie is a tiny property located in Valtellina, composing a little over 1 hectare of vines located in Sassella and Valgella subzones, producing around 7,500 bottles annually. The grapes are farmed organically, hand-harvested, and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel. The subsequent wine ages for about 18 months in large botti. The Le Strie Rosso di Valtellina has a wonderful nose of raspberries, red and black cherries, red plum, rose, and crushed violets. The palate is precise, at once delicate and lifted, but also carrying intensity, with soft tannins and bright acidity. With a hint of earthiness, this wine worked beautifully with a mushroom risotto. Oskar Kostecki
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
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
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
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
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
In the words of our friend Ernest from PortoVino: "It’s the mediaeval elixir that the monks saved in the monasteries when Rome was burning." 2013 was the first vintage that Luigi Tecce has released of this wine, a small parcel of ancient Aglianico clones planted in 2000 using the cordone speronato trellising system. The yields here are about half of Tecce's other vineyards, and the wine carries a depth and density that justifies its name. There is beautiful intensity on both the nose and palate, with heady aromas of macerated black cherry, blueberry, and fig, with a smoky mineral/volcanic underbelly and a touch of balsamic. The 2013 is starting to show some slight notes of development, but its still clearly a baby, and will be rewarded with decades in the cellar. Oskar Kostecki
2016 was a near perfect vintage in Taurasi, with just the right amount of rain and temperatures remaining stable throughout the growing season, leading to very classic, structured wines with a lot of tension. Satyricon comes from a 1.5 ha, southwest-facing parcel at 550 meters above sea level. Notes of black cherry, kirsch, and wild black forest fruit interweave with hints of tar, roasted meat, and bitter dark chocolate. The wine has great structure, with very well-integrated medium plus tannins offset by great acidity. A pleasure now, this will have a long life ahead of it, and I wouldn't hesitate aging this for ten to fifteen years. 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
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