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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.
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 2016 Brunate is super-aromatic, hitting Nebbiolo’s typical indicators of bright cherry fruit, rose, rich earth/clay/limestone, some balsalm and minty notes; the wine develops even more complexity with air. To me it sings Brunate – that is, a wine with evident power and a serious nature, but also austerely elegant, and balanced between power and finesse without any strain or obvious effort. This is a classic wine that will repay some years in the cellar, but on day 1 it was very good, on day 2 excellent, and on the third day quite spectacular. This may not be the most practical schedule for home drinking, but pouring into a decanter or pitcher in the morning will yield a similar result by dinner time! I can’t resist pointing out that for a Barolo Brunate of this quality the price is very reasonable. But you can do even better: take a 10% discount for any 12 bottles of wine from our inventory, AND – for 24 hours only – we are offering a 15% discount for a 12 bottle case of Boggione. Jamie Wolff
The 2016 Brunate is super-aromatic, hitting Nebbiolo’s typical indicators of bright cherry fruit, rose, rich earth/clay/limestone, some balsalm and minty notes; the wine develops even more complexity with air. To me it sings Brunate – that is, a wine with evident power and a serious nature, but also austerely elegant, and balanced between power and finesse without any strain or obvious effort. This is a classic wine that will repay some years in the cellar, but on day 1 it was very good, on day 2 excellent, and on the third day quite spectacular. This may not be the most practical schedule for home drinking, but pouring into a decanter or pitcher in the morning will yield a similar result by dinner time!
I can’t resist pointing out that for a Barolo Brunate of this quality the price is very reasonable. But you can do even better: take a 10% discount for any 12 bottles of wine from our inventory, AND – for 24 hours only – we are offering a 15% discount for a 12 bottle case of Boggione. Jamie Wolff
You wouldn't think a Barbera to be so expressive and layered, but this bottle by Cantina del Lupo surely is. The nose has a classic Piedmontese mix of earth and fruit. Aromas of blackberry and cherry waft from the glass, along with hints of loose, healthy, pitch-black soil. On the tongue, there is red cherry, plum, and a woodsy flavor of birch and spice. Subtle but well placed tannin balance the the warm fruit on an edge of medium acidity. For those of you that loved the 2015 vintage of this bottle, we're sure you'll enjoy the 2018 just as much. 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
On Sale - was $279.99!
Azienda Agricola Carlo Chiesa is one of the few producers of the Roero that we trust to deliver wines with a sense of place. That said, this bottle is produced with grapes from the Langhe hills to the south. It's weighty crimson cherry in color. On the nose, wild herbs and fresh red berries pair up for an attractive bouquet. Upon opening, the palate proved tense in structure, but came around to a balanced mouthfeel of good tannin and high acid. Black cherry fruit and crushed dark stones on the tongue. A pleasant bottle to open now, a great example of what 2018 Langhe is bringing to the market Nebbiolo-wise. David Hatzopoulos
"Bramaterra 2016 is 80 % Nebbiolo, 10 % Vespolina, 10 % Croatina, the vineyard is located in Masserano on a volcanic brown soil. Fermentation was in concrete with 38 days of maceration for the Nebbiolo grapes. After we blend the 3 varieties and we wait the spring for the natural malolactic. The wine aged for 2 years in a botte 6000 L."- Information sent directly from Giacomo Colombera. The 2016 'Cascina Cottignano' Bramaterra has a color of dark cherry. The nose has expressive, plump red fruits, like cherry and raspberry, along with a hint of flowery perfume. These aromas float above a distinctly savory character, which I found to be reminiscent of fresh, dark-green sea grass - salty and rich, not bitter or vegetal. On the palate, the wine shows a medley of black and red berries, before a long, herbaceous finish. It has a ripe mouthfeel with lovely, tempered acidity, flashy stoniness, and a broad blanket of medium-level tannin. David Hatzopoulos
"Bramaterra 2016 is 80 % Nebbiolo, 10 % Vespolina, 10 % Croatina, the vineyard is located in Masserano on a volcanic brown soil. Fermentation was in concrete with 38 days of maceration for the Nebbiolo grapes. After we blend the 3 varieties and we wait the spring for the natural malolactic. The wine aged for 2 years in a botte 6000 L."- Information sent directly from Giacomo Colombera.
The 2016 'Cascina Cottignano' Bramaterra has a color of dark cherry. The nose has expressive, plump red fruits, like cherry and raspberry, along with a hint of flowery perfume. These aromas float above a distinctly savory character, which I found to be reminiscent of fresh, dark-green sea grass - salty and rich, not bitter or vegetal. On the palate, the wine shows a medley of black and red berries, before a long, herbaceous finish. It has a ripe mouthfeel with lovely, tempered acidity, flashy stoniness, and a broad blanket of medium-level tannin. David Hatzopoulos
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
I knew I would love this wine. From 100% Vespolina grown in the sandy, volcanic soils of Bramaterra in the Alto Piemonte. There are two hectares planted, one with younger 15 year old vines, the other with vines aging between 40 and 50 years old. Southwest exposure, 1150 feet above sea level. The grapes are tended with organic methods, and harvested by hand. In the cellar, natural fermentation lasts 10 days, and the wine spends a 6 month elevate in saintliness steel tanks. The wine is bottled without filtration. Out of the bottle, the nose smells of cherries, cigar ash, and healthy, vibrant red flowers. Over time, the bouquet deepens and darkens, becomes plummier, and takes on the same gravelly expression you'd expect from a pungent Medoc. The palate has ripe red fruits, with crisp apricot and a layer of zippy black minerals. The weighty stone fruit flavor grows after seeing 2 hours of air. Structurally, great acidity, focusing on the back of the tongue, that balances the wines lovely, fruity middle. Tannic in the right places. Very well built. Paired with blackened pork chops in a cherry sauce, with buttered carrots and rice. Too good! David Hatzopoulos
On Sale - was $459.99!
ON SALE - was $149.99!
Castellero runs over the crest of a hill to share a border with Bussia, but it’s mostly on the west side of the hill, facing Cannubi. The point is that while Fenocchio’s vines in Bussia and Castellero are close together, the wines are very different; the vineyards are vinified identically, so it’s a dramatic lesson in terroir. The 2016 Castellero shows bright fruit, spices, blood orange, with very fine tannin – it’s fresh and very elegant – a very (trigger warning) feminine wine to Bussia’s dark and muscular – a great wine. Jamie Wolff
My friend Gregory Dal Piaz calls Villero “training-wheels wine”, because if you’re new to Barolo it’s an easy wine to like - so it figures that I’d really like Villero. There are great Villeros from Brovia, Cascina Fontana, G. Mascarello, Fenocchio, Oddero (and in the old days the excellent Barolo Enrico VI from Cordero di Montezemolo) – and in fact I think what they all have in common is a certain openness, balance, and yes – accessibility and charm that make them easy to like. I haven’t tasted Fenocchio’s 2016 but based on past years I have found it easy to like. Jamie Wolff
On Sale - was $139.99!
This wine is Gattinara — so says the previous owner, who we trust entirely — but is labelled in celebration of the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. It wasn't easy to sell Gattinara in 1970, so the creative vendor tried some novel approaches... We don't know if it worked, but we do know that old Francoli is worth a try. JW
On Sale - was $799.99!
On Sale - was $749.99!
On Sale - was $89.99!
All Grignolino, spontaneous fermentation, with minimal SO2 added. Very crunchy and refreshing, with Grignolino's characteristic tart and juicy fruit. EL
There are many reasons why I could never be a wine critic, foremost my general lack of discipline. At the time, tasting in Sandri's cellar, I knew perfectly well that when the time came to offer the wine that I'd want to use any notes I made. And yet, this is what I wrote: "Fantastic, complete, super-promising, buy at least a case of this." Well, perhaps that says it all? Sorry not to attempt to wax poetic, or at least descriptive! 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 the 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 tacos on day two... David Hatzopoulos
On Sale - was $199.99!
I Fabbri's Fiasco bottling is an incredibly bright Sangiovese from one of our favorite Chianti producers. The nose of this fresh red is full of wild fruits - cherries, strawberries, and blueberries. Lending a rustic accent is a pleasant aroma of savory green herbs. Flavors of black cherry and dark stones create a bright palate with a healthy level of high-toned verve. Great acidity and a light hint of tannin round out this delicious (and dangerously drinkable) wine! Serve at cellar temperature for extra refreshment. David Hatzopoulos
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
The 2012 Adalia Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG comes from vines planted at 350 meters above sea level to calcareous soils. The wine is composed of 40% Corvina, 40% Corvina Grossa, and 20% Rondinella. The vineyards are trellised, following the regionally specific system of pergola trentina. Grapes are selected and picked by hand in the first part of October, before naturally drying in a room known as a fruttaio, specifically designed to create the best environment for the grapes to lose moisture. In February, after 4 months in the fruttaio, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed. Natural fermentation begins in oak casks and lasts for a month before malo spontaneously occurs. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels before release.
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
Beginning with Auosnia's pied de cuve, new grapes are added and kept to ferment for 15 days on the skins before wine is pressed off. This is the same procedure for Ausonia's more fundamental Apollo bottling. However, in this case, aging is done in amphora. One vessel is 8 hectolitres and one is a smaller 2 hectolitres. This lasts 12 months before the wine is bottled unfiltered and aged 6 more months in bottle. The color is black in the center with purple edges. Compared with Ausonia's standard Apollo, this wine shows much less fruit. It is more reserved. The wine's nose is soft, with notes of iron, tobacco, soy sauce, raw almonds and walnuts, and dried, savory red cherry. The palate has black cherry and a mix of warm herbs. In structure, the wine displays a soft texture of well-integrated tannins and medium acidity. David Hatzopoulos
Bussoletti’s Ciliegiolo di Narni “0535” is a fresh, easygoing red wine from central Umbria and shows exactly why I have fallen in love with the grape. Produced from a four hectare plot of younger vines planted facing north to encourage elegance over ripeness, the wine is fermented with ambient yeast in steel tank and bottled after resting for six months. The nose is rich with fresh red cherries and rose floral notes with delicate tones of black pepper. Juicy on the palate with restrained acidity and very little tannin, it shows more strawberry and raspberry fruit. This is a wine that can lift through richer foods: try it as a foil to creamy or cheesy pasta dishes, as a pairing for charcuterie, or enjoy it on its own. The lion on the label is a reference to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia which were inspired by images of the medieval castle in Narni (also pictured).
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.
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
The Rosa dei Casaretti is lighter in color than many Italian Rosatos, but the wine has some real depth. Aromatically charming, with strawberry dominating, and leafy herbal notes and a hint of grapefruit peel balancing the ripe fruit. The wine is light and very fresh; we drank it at home with a summer risotto of shell peas, sugar snap peas, and pecorino – it was a great match. 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
Foradori first produced Lezer in 2017 as an experiment as an alternative to their more serious red wines; it was a big hit and is now much anticipated – and in short supply. You will find that your glass is hard to put down – it’s easy drinking, but shows still some complexity, with juicy cranberry, pomegranate, and softer ripe fruits, and is great chilled – perfect for summer. 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
The nose on La Visciola's 2015 Priore Superiore brings a warm wood shop to mind. Fresh resin, smoke, pine and candle wax. Additionally, there are airier aromas of dark flowers, clove, mint, and even a hint of something savory, like paprika. The palate is generous, with low acidity and a plush softness structured by imposing tannin. Displayed are flavors of deep red cherry fruit, pine, birch, and turned earth. The color of the wine is rustic, balancing between it's dark red core and clear mahogany edges. One of the most soothing Cesanese wines I've tasted, combining power with a certain mature, tempered character. Drinking great right now. David Hatzopoulos
The 2017 Vignali from La Visciola has a deep red core, with earthy red edges. Freshly picked cherries and strawberries, red plum, dark flowers, loamy earth, and a hint of smoke and aromatic herbs combine on the wine's pronounced nose. The palate has a distinct flavor of roasted coffee, along with a depth of cherry and plum. A beautiful wine that doesn't lack strength, high in acidity with medium tannin. David Hatzopoulos
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
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
Rossese is the grape, Dolceacqua the place, just a few miles from the French border, and close to the sea. And (naturally, since nothing about grapes is simple) Rossese is a genetic match for the French grape Tibouren, known to me for some terrific rose and red (the Clos Cibonne, for example) in Provence. Dolceacqua is considered the best source for Rossese, and the wine should be fairly light, and definitely fresh in character. The Pisano shows lovely bright tart fruit – cranberry, and cherry, along with clay, and fresh herbs; it will take to being served cool; it’s a red for a warm day. We celebrated the early spring weather last week with the first outing to the backyard grill: salmon, zucchini, and Rossese – it was a hit. Jamie Wolff
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.
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.
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
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
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