Tasting notes, Elegant Reds; September 14, 2019

2017 Le Piane Maggiorina

Boca, IT

Regular Price $22.99

Sale price $17.99

This is an easy drinking blend of 13 grape varietals (but principally Nebbiolo) from the Alte Piemonte region of Boca in northwestern Italy. The name (Maggiorina)  refers to the ancient (early Roman) method of trellessing, in which three vines are trained upward to the four points of the compass. This method is said to enable resistance to harsh wind and inclement weather and ensure good health of the vines. The resulting wine is bright and fresh and delicious.

2016 Château Feuillet Torrette

Valle D’Aosta, IT

Regular Price $24.99

Sale price $19.99

East of Boca is the tiny Valle D’Aosta, the smallest wine region in Italy and better known for its skiing and cheese than its wine. But that’s not the fault of the wine. Nestled in the Western Alps, abutting both Switzerland and France, this multi-lingual region grows grapes found almost nowhere else and makes wines that are both unique and delicious. Crisp and refreshing, the wines from here  make modern, internationally styled wines seem ponderous and dull. Maybe because they are?

2017 Herve Villemade Pinot Noir

Loire Valley, FR

Regular Price $29.99 

Sale price $23.99

Herve Villemade is a superstar grower and winemaker in the central Loire valley who has been making low intervention/minimal sulfur added wine since the late 90s, after meeting the late Marcel Lapierre. Lapierre was part of the original ‘Gang of Five’ in Beaujolais, who in the 70s, steered the Beaujolais wine community back towards more traditional methods of wine making. Others have taken up that mantle since, leading many wine neophytes to assume that ‘natural’ wines are a new ‘thing’. Uh, nope. Anyway, Villemade makes classic, fresh, bright and spirited wines without the benefit of additives, new oak barrels, mass-produced yeasts or chemical fertilizers. Voila! 

2013 Antoniolo Gattinara

Gattinara, IT

Regular Price $49.99

Sale price $39.99

This wine, of 100% Nebbiolo, is far from Barolo and Barbaresco both geographically and stylistically. Brother and sister team Alberto and Lorella Antoniolo supervise every aspect of growing and winemaking under the practiced eye of their pioneering mother, Rosanna. The resulting wines are rich and sublime, with characteristic Nebbiolo flavors and aromas (tart cherry, roses, leather and tar) but with far less tannins and far more racy acidity than one finds in Barolo and Barbaresco.

2016 La Vizcaina de Vinos ‘Las Gundinas’ 

Bierzo, SP

Regular Price $42.99

Sale price $33.99

This is a single vineyard blend of (mostly) Mencia from the northwestern Spanish wine region of Bierzo. Made by Raul Perez, who is among the most renowned of the current generation of winemakers, it is lively and fully flavored with bright dark berry, black olive, herbal and violet elements. It’s a compelling and deeply seductive wine that will change and improve both in your glass and your cellar.

2017 Terres Dorees (J.P. Brun) ‘Grille Midi’ Fleurie

Beaujolais, FR

Regular Price $39.99

Sale price $31.99

Full disclosure; we really like the wines of Jean Paul Brun. He’s a traditionalist (stylistically) but pushes the envelope in terms of expanding his portfolio. Lst week we tasted his new Roussanne (which is a rarity in Beaujolais) and this is his old school Fleurie. The grapes come from a unique location within Fleurie with very poor soils and old, low yielding vines. The wine is fermented traditionally and slowly and then aged in large oak vats for 6-8 months. The resulting wine is full and rich yet supple and fresh with herbs, black fruit, floral notes and a good tannic backbone. This wine will delight cru Beaujolais lovers and amaze the naysayers that don’t like Gamay despite never having tasted it.