Tasting notes, Feb. 8. 2020; Wines of Italy

2018 Tenuta le Calcinaie Vernaccia di San Gimignano


Regular Price $19.99

Sale price $15.99 

Just outside of the famed and ancient seven towered town of San Gimignano lies the small winey of Tenuta le Calcinaie. If you’re in the area, skip the town (which is a bit of a tourist trap) and visit the winery, where they produce fresh and rich and delicious wines like this one. The grape here is Vernaccia (yep, another not-Chardonnay white grape) and the wine is full and appley and floral and crisp and thoroughly enjoyable.

2018 Bera Vittorio e Figli Arcese


Regular Price $24.99

Sale price $19.99

This is a joyful blend of Cortese, Arneis, Sauvignon Blanc, Favorita and Vermintino. A classic ‘field’ blend (no one really tries to pin down how much of each grape is in the blend), all the varietals are co-planted and co-fermented, and then spends up to a year in concrete on its lees, Its then bottled with a touch of residual sugar, to create some additional fermentation and thus some bubbles (carbonation). This is wine is almost too much fun.

2018 Lagaria Ramato Pinot Grigio


Regular Price $18.99 

Sale price $14.99

So, you’ve no doubt heard of the ‘new’ wine, discovered or invented by hipsters, called orange wine. So, you might think this is one of those ‘new’ wines. Well, not really, as there is nothing new about orange or ‘ramato’ (which translates to ‘copper’) wines. These are made by allowing the ‘white’ grape skins to stay in contact with the must (juice) for a longer period of time, allowing for the natural pigmentation to color the must. This longer skin contact also adds texture and body and flavor. This practice is as old as the hills. Of course, hipsters did invent flannel.

2010 Cerreto Libri Chianti Rufina


Regular Price $41.99

Sale price $32.99

The buzz about ‘natural’ wines (which we call ‘wine’) continues unabated. Neither rare nor novel, these are wines that are produced with a minimum of, well, not really effort, but anything that isn’t typical or natural to the vineyard. In other words, as wines have been produced for milliniae, and (mostly) still are. Or at least the wines that we offer are. Anyway, this wine is an old school Sangiovese-driven Chianti from Rufina, which is the smallest of the subzones of Chianti. The wine is all but ‘self-made’ from uncrushed grapes that are allowed to ferment with indigneous yeasts in their own time. Aged in concrete, old barrels and then in the bottle, it’s released when it’s ready. 

2016 Antoniotti Coste della Sesia Nebbiolo


Regular Price $34.99

Sale price $27.99

Certainly, Nebbiolo reaches its apogee in Barolo and Barbaresco, but that doesn’t mean Nebbiolo from further north in Piedmont are ‘less than’; consider them, perhaps, ‘different than’, Father and son Odilio and Mattia make wines the old fashioned way (again, which is why we call them ‘wine’), harvesting by hand, pressing by foot, fermenting by nature. The subsequent wine is soulful and deep, not thick and loud; poetic rather than operatic. 

2016 Natalino del Prete ‘Torre Nova’ Negroamaro


Regular Price $22.99

Sale price $17.99

Wine collectors love to boast about their connections, which enable them to get wines made in minute quantities that you can’t get! Yet, many of the wines that they pine for are made in enormous quantities and then are artificially and selectively restricted to create the perception of scarcity. There is always enough Mouton-Rothchild to go around! This wine, however, is genuinely rare…500 or so cases made annually. Does that make it better than mass-produced ‘icons’? That’s up to you…but it certainly offers some bragging rights. Rustic and firm with wild berry and herbs and earthy notes, this wine tastes Italian (not exactly sure how better to describe it). Drink it with any food at any time. Make sure you tell your collector friends that they can’t get it.