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Bussoletti’s Ciliegiolo di Narni "Asla" is the new name for the wine we all knew and loved as “0535” (with the illustration of a red Lion and a castle on the label) from central Umbria. Keeping with the lion theme (The lion on the label is a reference to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, which were inspired by images of the medieval castle in Narni), this is just a new label, that though unnecessary (we liked the old one just fine!) is actually quite charming. The wine, more importantly, is also charming! A fresh, easygoing red, the nose is rich with fresh red cherries and rose floral notes with delicate tones of black pepper. Juicy on the palate with fresh 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!
70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese. Selective hand-harvest of the best, optimal ripe grapes. Traditional vinification on the skins with 8-10 days maceration. At least 6 months in stainless steel tank. Soil: Morainic hills. Production area: Traditional wine growing region of Bardolino (on the eastern shore of Lake Garda).
This lovely rosato is 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara, from organically tended vines on the shore of Lake Garda in the Veneto. Soils are rocky with clay. 12-36 hour maceration before natural fermentation. Aged in stainless steel. In the glass, the color is a cool pink. The nose is ripe with cherry fruit and accented with fresh herbal notes. On the palate, there is a zing of raspberry and a clean mineral drive. The palate has high acidity and a great textural swish. David Hatzopoulos
Col di Luna produces sparkling wines at the foot of the Dolomites, with a family tradition and preference for the Brut style. Flora rosato comes from the local grape variety called Raboso, a trifecta of spice, brambly fruit, and a rather energeticacidity! The wine is fermented with a slight maceration on the skins for 12 hours, and then continues to ferment in the tank. Once the wine settles, the producer transfers the juice to the bottle, where it finishes fermentation and creates the magic fizz. This is the traditional col fondo style, and you’ll notice a bit of ‘fondo’, or sediment, in the bottle. For a fresh and fizzy start to your Thanksgiving feast, perfect on its own or with appetizers and lighter fare, or on the table with the meal for a refreshing sip between sides and mains.
The COS 2022 Frappato comes from the certified organic vineyards of one of Sicily's most recognizable and acclaimed producers. The 20 year old vines are planted to level vineyards, 300 meters above sea level. The soil in this area of Vittoria, on the islands southern edge, is mostly red sand of limestone and silica. The fruit is picked by hand before moving to the cellar for a natural fermentation on the skins in concrete. The wine ages for nine months in concrete and three more in bottle before release. For a Frappato, the COS 2022 is rather deep in hue. The nose is full of freshly picked and sliced cherries and strawberries. Flavors on the palate are similar to the wine's aromas, displayed in a juicy, barely tannic (but still tannic) structure. Good acid and a dark mineral tone lend the wine a clean mouthfeel, full of freshness. A distinct expression of Frappato, definitely more pronounced than most others. Serve with a chill if you'd like.
The De Fermo family, currently run by Stefano Papetti and Nicola De Fermo, have been making wines in Abruzzo for generations and have a long history of making biodynamically farmed, minimal intervention wines. The Rosso "Concrete" is 100% Montepulciano that sees a five-day maceration and ages for 10-12 months in - you guessed it - concrete. It's rustic but fresh while still showing some of the power typical of the region, albeit with nice lift and none of the heaviness. There's lots of crunchy red fruit and a dense mineral core with bright acid and subtle texture that make this a perfect match for pizza, pasta with red sauce or equally enjoyable on its own.
With tons of earthy fruit aromas, this is very bright and simultaneously rich on the palate Really classic, textbook Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with the great bonus of being lifted and energetic.
Monte Dalle'Ora makes beautiful classically styled wines - biodynamically farmed, with native yeast fermentations - and this hits all the right notes for a light and elegant Valpolicella Classico. The blend is 50% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara & Oseleta. A translucent ruby in the glass, with violets and wild raspberry on the nose, and a delicate fruity lift on the palate. Maceration is for about a week, in concrete and steel tanks, and aging is quite short, with the wine bottled usually in February or March. It's all about freshness here, with minerals and acidity playing a key factor in its versatility with foods, especially upcoming feasts.
The Lagnusa Nero d’Avola vines range in age from 20-50 years old, and they give the wine remarkable depth and complexity. My notes for the wine's bouquet reads: "smokey, dark roses, tar, and savory cherry." It is almost startling how complex the nose is upon first whiff. The palate has classic red berries, with a little spice and fresh herbs. The structure is bright, with only a hint of pleasant tannin and some lovely acidity.
Grillo, Inzolia, Catarratto. Oak Aged, Vegan. Its higher natural ABV means the wine is less reliant on fortification and is more expressive of Marsala’s indelible terroir. Aged for more than two years in botti, without temperature control or topping up. While fortified, the base wines were 'alto grado' (high grade), meaning they were harvested from later harvest, riper grapes.
Occhio di Sale is a wine we did not have on our shelves when we first introduced Giuseppe Cipolla's wines, so it was a pleasant surprise to try his lovely Rosato, made primarily from Nero D'Avola grapes with small amounts of Catarratto, Insolia, and Moscato d'Alessandria. As the folks at LDM describe: "80% of the blend consists of direct-press Nero d'Avola, with the other 20% a two-day co-maceration of 15% Nero d'Avola and 5% white grapes. Fermentation is in barrel and fiberglass, then blended to age in stainless steel. So unique." We couldn't agree more about how unique the wine is! It's probably the wine I most want to try again as there was a delicacy and density that left me intensely curious. The fruit is faint, more hibiscus or rose water than any red fruit note you might expect from the Nero d'Avola. The aforementioned density was in the mid-palate, giving the wine a lovely length and reminding more of a white wine than a red. -EL
Passofonduta Rosso is 90% Nero d’Avola with 10% Nerello Mascalese, it’s a rounder, deeper wine, a more contemplative and serious sibling to Le Robbe. It does share Le Robbe’s intensity and lift, balanced with bright, earthy plum, and a host of savory, mineral aromas and flavors. Another candidate for one of the great wines of Sicily - no mean achievement, these days. My tasting note opens with a highly technical “Wow!” - Jamie Wolff /// LDM Notes: "Exclusively from the Contrada Passofonduto. The vines were planted by Giuseppe between 2015 and 2017 and are all trained in albarello. The soil is calcareous clay with a heavy presence of gypsum. Altitude varies from 180 to 380m and the exposition is west/north-west. A favorable range of temperatures (night/day) is guaranteed from the nearby Platani River and adjacent forests. The grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and macerated for six days."
A beautiful, fresh Frappato from the Pianogrillo estate in Sicily. Bright red and translucent in the glass, with ripe cranberry, red berries, and eucalyptus notes. A perfect light-bodied red from the overlooked Frappato grape!
100% Lagrein. Rich and plummy in color. Liqour-like cherry on the nose, with heady birch, black pepper, and raw almonds. Raspberry and cherry on the palate - mineral drive and salty, mineral center. A great wine, with high acidity and grippy, engaging tannin. An incredible expression of this very Alpine grape! David Hatzopoulos
100% Lagrein from Alto-Adige. A barely translucent purple in the glass. The nose is dark and brooding, with mellow tones of black plum, blackberry, fennel sead, and garden soil. Becomes floral with time, and then a little ripe peach apepars. The palate has great nervy fruit, with lapping flavors of black cherry and gravelly minerality. Structure washes over the tongue, with lush tannin and bright acidity. New to Lagrein? Definitely start here. David Hatzopoulos
2011 seems like a very respected vintage, with good aromatics, acidity and structure. The 2011 was 13% alc, like the 2010, and captures the lightness and cooler side of Nerello Mascalese.
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
The Teresa bottling is 100% Ruché from a two hectare, organically farmed vineyard, fermented in stainless steel and aged for a year in large, old oak barrels. Continuing Nadia Varrua's commitment to natural wine, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with no addition of sulfur at bottling or at any point of the winemaking process. The profile is rustic, but the wine is medium-bodied, with delicate tannins and fresh acidity. Should pair perfectly with any pork dishes, wild boar, charcuterie, gamey foods for a slightly gamey wine.
From steep vineyards in the Enfer D'Arvier appellation in the Vallée D'Aoste, this is 90% Petit Rouge, with a bit of Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Gamaret. The fruit is destemmed and fermented in a mix of fiberglass and stainless steel tanks, and then aged for nine months in steel. Always rustic, ripe, and aromatically vivid, with wild mountain berries on the nose, and medium tannins. A unique wine from a unique place!