Brett happens

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Posts Tagged ‘Marches

Branco and bianco

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Lisboa 2015, António, Casal Figueira ($35.03, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Vital from ungrafted, 60- to 100-year-old vines. After destemming, the grapes and placed in barrels for fermentation and eight to 10 months’ maturation on the fine lees. Lightly filtered. A tiny amount of sulphur dioxide is added at bottling. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Subtle, nuanced nose suggestive of lemon, quince and white minerals. Subtle and minerally on the palate, too, with veils of white fruit, citrus, honey and wax. Enlivened by fresh acidity. So light yet so intense and pure. Finishes clean and long. Super with Lucky Limes. Steve says this estate’s wines are among the most vintage-driven he’s encountered, with each year bringing a new experience. Well, the 2015 experience is most impressive. (Buy again? Yes.)

Marche Bianco 2016, Terre Silvate, La Distesa ($27.68, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Mostly Verdicchio with small abounts of Trebbiano and Malvasia. The manually harvested grapes come from organically and semi-biodynamically farmed vines in two plots in the Castelli dei Jesi appellation. Part of the juice is left to macerate on the skins for several days. Co-fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Matured five to six months. No added anything except minimal amounts of sulphur dioxide at bottling. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Burned minerals, hay, apple and “chickpeas.” Rich and extracted. Ripe-sweet apple on the attack gives way to citrus and a load of minerals with a definite saline streak. Soft acidity adds just enough buoyancy. Long, minerally finish with incipient honey and almond notes. Fresh, engaging and speaking of its place. A favourite of many around the table, including me. (Buy again? If the Quebec allocation weren’t sold out, absolutely.)

MWG August 11th tasting: flight 3 of 9

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Written by carswell

October 8, 2017 at 11:45

MWG March 20th tasting (2/7): Flat whites?

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Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2012, Panizzi ($20.90, 12102821)
100% Vernaccia. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Gently crushed, no maceration. Fermented in temperature-controlled (18°C) tanks. Transferred to other tanks for five months’ maturation. 13% ABV.
Straw, chalk and quartz, eventually offering up faint stone fruit and lemon. Clean and intense. Starts dry but sweetens as it goes along. Possessed of a certain richness – largely extract – that’s balanced by acidity. Long, minerally finish with a telltale bitter almond note. A second bottle showed better at table. The best Vernaccia sold at the SAQ in a coon’s age, though less accomplished than the private import Barzaghi tasted last year. (Buy again? Sure.)

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2010, Il Coroncino, Fattoria Coroncino ($23.55, 11952138)
100% Verdicchio from vines in the Coroncino and Cerrete vineyards. Farming is organic, though uncertified, and no fertilizers are used. Manually harvested, gently pressed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled (20°C) stainless steel tanks. Whether the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation is left to nature. Matured in stainless steel tanks. Minimal sulphur is added at bottling. 13.5% ABV.
Oxidized butter, flowers, yellow apple, dried lemon, ash. Rich, smooth, concentrated but not heavy. Fruit is present but Heisenbergian: when you look for it, it evanesces. Layered, with substrata of tangy acid and dusty chalk. Long, bitter-edged, moreish. A bottle consumed a couple of weeks after the tasting proved even more compelling and made a surprisingly good match for asparagus gratinéed with Parmesan cheese and topped with a fried egg. (Buy again? Yes.)

IGT Civitella d’Agliano 2012, Poggio della Costa, Sergio Mottura ($21.75, 10782309)
100% Grechetto from organically farmed vines grown in the Poggio della Costa vineyard. Soft-pressed, cold-settled, fermented in temperature-controlled (18-20°C) tanks for 15 to 25 days. Matured on the lees in tanks for five or six months. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV.
Inexpressive nose of lemon and quartz dust. Bland and inexpressive in the mouth. Clean, medium-bodied, with lowish acidity, a saline finish and no personality. I quite enjoyed Mottura’s Orvietto last year but this was simply forgettable. Closed and in need of time? Let’s hope that’s the explanation. (Buy again? Only to give it a second chance.)

I had high hopes for this flight: three monovarietals from three iconic Italian white grapes made by three highly regarded producers. But all three wines fell flat at the tasting, generating little interest, with no one inquiring about availability. Did the cavas neutralize our palates? Were the planets improperly aligned? Are these wines that, like many central Italian reds, need food to show their mettle? That the two revisited after the tasting were capable of providing pleasure (especially the Coroncino) has me leaning toward the food hypothesis. Then again, I thought both made a fine aperitif on their own before I sat down to eat.

Written by carswell

April 14, 2014 at 21:45

MWG March 8th tasting (2/5): Two super-ripe Verdicchios

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Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2009, Podium, Gioacchino Garofoli ($22.45, 00711820)
100% Verdicchio from slightly overripe grapes. Gently pressed, clarified by cold settling, fermented at low temperatures. Matured 15 months in stainless steel tanks. 13% ABV.
Dried lemon, quartz, old straw and wood. Mouth-filling: extracted and intense. Some yellow fruit and dried herbs but more stones and tingly acidity. The finish is heady, saline and bitter. Less polished than the Casal but not without a certain rustic appeal. (Buy again? Sure.)

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2009, Vecchie Vigne, Casal di Serra, Umani Ronchi ($26.40, 11490341)
100% Verdicchio from vines planted in the early 1970s. The grapes are allowed to overripen slightly. Fermented in concrete tanks with native yeasts and matured on the lees. 14% ABV.
Straw, lemon, yellow stone fruit, almond, alcohol. Rich on the palate, stony and dry, with sotto voce fruit and high acidity. Long. Ends on a faintly bitter note. Overall, similar to the Podium but toned down a notch and all the better for it. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

March 16, 2013 at 12:36

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MWG Feburary 21st tasting (6/8): Four middleweight reds

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Vin de Savoie 2011, Mondeuse, La Sauvage, Domaine Pascal & Annick Quenard ($21.80, 10884671)
100% Mondeuse Noire. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in carbon-fiber vats for one to two weeks. Matured on the lees one year in a mix of French oak barrels and stainless-steel and carbon-fiber vats. Lightly filtered. 12% ABV.
Choco-cherry segueing to pomegranate and sandalwood, then to dried raspberry. Light- to medium-bodied. The clean fruit and dark minerals are framed by light tannins and tart aciditiy. As fresh and pure as a draught of mountain air. (Buy again? Yes.)

Bourgueil 2010, Domaine de la Chevalerie ($28.10, 11895268)
100% organically farmed Cabernet Franc. Manually harvested. Fully destemmed. Gravity fed into vats. Fermented with native yeasts. Minimal sulphur regime. Matured in two- to five-vintage demi-muids and other large containers. Bottled unfiltered. 12.5% ABV.
Lovely, layered nose of slate, undergrowth, cherry orchard, old wood and green pepper. Fluid with an airframe structure, good acidity and silky fruit over a minerally substrate. Long. A beautifully balanced Cab Franc that’s enjoyable now but also capable of aging at least five years. (Buy again? Yes.)

Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato 2011, Cascina ’Tavijn ($24.70, oenopole, NLA)
A small estate located near Asti in Piedmont. 100% organically farmed Ruchè. Hand harvested. Vinified with indigenous yeasts and minimal intervention. Matured in Slavonian oak barrels. 14% ABV.
Fragrant: rose petal, slate and black raspberry. Pure, with an intense core of spicy fruit and minerals, pulsing acidity and soft tannins that give it a velvety texture. Long, herby finish. Going by the 2009, this will be even better in a year or two. (Buy again? Yes.)

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2011, Marzaiola, Monte Schiavo ($18.05, 11451894)
100% Lacrima. Manually harvested. Fermented and matured in stainless steel vats. 12.5% ABV.
Plum, rose and maybe some violet, along with darker mineral notes and a whiff of sourdough. Fruity and smooth in the mouth. Round tannins and not a lot of acidity. In fact, it’s borderline flabby and saved mainly by a vein of slate that adds some structure and depth. Drying finish. Not quite up to the 2009. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Written by carswell

March 9, 2013 at 13:17

MWG June 21st tasting: report (1/4)

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IGT Terre di Chieti 2010, Pecorino “Unico”, Tenute Ulisse ($18.80, 11660418)
100% Pecorino from 5- to 10-year old vines. Chilled, destemmed and softly crushed before ferminting and three-months aging in stainless steel. 13% ABV. Vino-lok closure.
Apple and lemon on the nose. Medium-bodied but full of extract. Kept bright by acidity. Savoury lemon intertwines with chalk and quartz. Good, clean finish with a faint bitter note (hazelnut skin?). Fine as a apertif or with simply prepared seafood. (Buy again? Sure.)

Verdicchio di Matelica 2010, Bisci ($20.20, 11660979)
100% Verdicchio. Lightly crushed then pressed to separate the must from the skins. Fermented at a cool 20ºC or less. Aged seven months before bottling. 13% ABV.
Floral bouquet with chalk, grapefruit, melon and eventually jalapeno notes. Rounder and weightier than the Pecorino but also blander (perhaps due to its being served too chilled; the estate recommends 14ºC or higher), which isn’t to say lacking dimension. Clean and bracing with lifting acidity. At this point, not as exciting as the 2009. (Buy again? Yes, especially to lay down for a year or two.)

Rias Baixas 2010, Albariño, Fillaboa ($22.05, 11668129)
100% Albariño from one of the appellation’s top producers. Sees extended lees contact. 13% ABV.
Odd nose that had us wondering whether the bottle wasn’t slightly off: curdled cream against a background of lemon, flowers and coral. Lighter and simpler than its reputation suggests it should be: a savoury, minerally, lemony mouthful with crisp acidity and a saline, slightly alcoholic finish. Not bad but I couldn’t buck the impression that something was missing, that the parts weren’t coalescing into a whole. (Buy again? Maybe to give it another chance.)

Bierzo 2010, Godello, Dominio de Tares ($26.25, 11631852)
100% Godello from 20-year-old vines. Fermented 20 days at 19ºC. No malolactic fermentation. Aged three months in new French oak barrels with daily battonage. Cassein-fined before bottling. 13% ABV.
Complex and evolving nose of yellow fruit, spice and a hint of oak. Ripe-fruity and rich in extract, so conveying an impression of sweetness, yet briskly acidic and actually quite dry. Subtle peach and vanilla give way to a long, spicy finish. Intriguing. (Buy again? Yes!)

Written by carswell

June 26, 2012 at 23:00

Two for the life list

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Vin de Savoie 2009, Les Alpes, Domaine Belluard ($26.95, 11544417)
100% biodynamically farmed Grignet. Fermented with native yeasts, no chaptalization, lightly filtered before bottling. 12.5% ABV. My first encounter with the grape variety, which the Oxford Companion to Wine says is the Jura’s Savagnin (the more recent Wikipedia entry casts doubt on that claim).

Soft, elusive nose evoking stones, flowers and beeswax. Light and minerally, even rainwatery, on the palate, the fruit – more sensed than tasted – tending toward lemon. Dry and acid bright, though that’s really apparent only on the finish. Surprisingly long given the ephemeral flavours, with lingering notes of honey and linden blossom. Subdued, yes, but also elegant, pure, quenching and delicious.

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2009, Panse, Monte Schiavo ($18.40, 11451894 though the link is to the 2010, which appears to have a different name: Marzaiola)
100% Lacrima di Morro. Made from manually and machine-harvested grapes, which are fermented for 7-10 days and raised for 3 months off the lees, all in stainless steel tanks. Filtered before bottling. Lacrima di Morro is a “fast maturing, wild strawberry-scented red grape specialty of Morro d’alba in the Marche” (The Oxford Companion to Wine). Reduced to a single hectare in the mid-1980s, the variety has been revived through the creation of the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba appellation.

The nose is one of the most surprising in red winedom: outrageously floral (“rose water,” said one taster; “peonies,” another; “if you were tasting this blind from a black glass, you’d swear it was a Moscato,” noted a third) along with the expected red fruit. Less unconventional on the palate: medium-bodied (12.5% ABV), lightly structured, with a velvety texture, cherry and wildberry flavours and a faint bitterness on a longish finish. Opened at the most recent Pork Futures event, the wine clashed with the headcheese but worked with the liver terrine adulterated with red currant jelly.

Written by carswell

November 15, 2011 at 23:48