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…spontaneously fermenting

back to the roots

photo

Since it’s fall and root vegetables are in season now, I thought I would take this time to finally, after a quiet year (of not updating much), get back to my roots.

So here are two visuals of what I consider back to roots that stimulate me. Beet roots and Rosso del Contadino. Both come from the land and from nature. Both are natural. both are delicious

Contadino

The Contadino 9 continues Cornelissen’s drive to create the best wine he can from the grapes that nature gives him. Thanks to Frank’s careful attention to not disturb nature, she gives him healthy grapes. But if it wasn’t for his intellect and expertise, the wines would not be as wonderful as they are. Because  I know, and especially he knows, and despite what many winemakers say, wine IS NOT made in the vineyards. The raw materials come from the vines, but knowing when to harvest the grapes and what to do next can only be decided on by the winemaker.

This is why Frank’s wines taste of the volcano. Deep, salty and bloody. They come from a place that is undisturbed by humanity and they taste that way. So, with all the respect that is due you Frank, thank you. Thank you for understanding nature and how to take what she gives you and produce some of the most compelling wines I have ever tasted.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, Frank Cornelissen - Mt. Etna (Sicila), Italy, natural wine (100% living wine)

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Castell'in Villa – tradition through the vintages

The Greek-born (Princess) Coralia married into the noble Pignatelli family and together, she and her husband bought the The Castell’in Villa estate (more like a «village», hence the name) in 1969 and produced first vintage was the 1971. The vineyards cover a mere 54 ha of her vast estate and produce between 80,000-100,000 bottles per year, which is not much.

In total, the Castel’in Villa estate encompasses about 300 ha on which she produces wine, a very nice olive oil, runs a charming agriturismo, and a great restaurant.  The restaurant makes all the food fresh on site, and many of the ingredients are sourced locally, like the herbs, wild pig and the pheasant. Coralia is also an appreciator of eclectic art and some unusual sculptures can be seen on her property.  Although she is approaching 75 years of age, he demeanor and looks deceive that age, as she socializes with a glass of wine with you until late into the evening. Always poised and elegant yet never arrogant. A certain sense of calm emanates from her that is both charming and contagious.

Castell’in Villa work very traditionally both in the vineyards and in the cellar and her vineyards are very much alive with wild pigs and pheasants (which you can hear quite clearly throughout the day & night). The wines ferment spontaneously, except in extreme vintages where a neutral yeast might be added to commence fermentation.  If I heard correctly, they have only had to induce fermentation once in the most recent years. Maturation in large Slovenian botti  give these Chianti’s a very traditional feel even though they are 100% Sangiovese, which until recently was not allowed under the legislation. It was customary to blend in some other local red grapes and even some white grapes. I would like to note that I overheard Coralia saying she had just purchased some new French botti so it will be interesting to see how this affects the future vintages.

I wasn’t much of a Chianti fan until I had tasted some older vintages a few years ago and I recommend to do your best to taste an older vintage to really appreciate a Chianti.  On this recent visit to Castell’in Villa, I got to taste the following wines (in order of vintage from youngest to oldest):

2006 Chianti Classico Riserva – (not yet for sale) Tight and a bit closed. Very serious. Concentrated and young and one of the only wines I tasted that showed hints of dark fruit. Rough and young tannins.  Hints of spice. Yet remaining fresh.  Really a storage wine.

2003 Chianti Classico Riserva – very open, but at first appearing a bit overripe and representative of the 2003 warm vintage. Only 10 min in the glass and the wine opened to reveal bright red fruit and spice with hints of smoke. Nicely integrated oak.  Became very fresh and drinkable with very refreshing acidity. I enjoyed this vintage tremendously.

2001 Chianti Classico Riserva – A more classic & reserved nose with less development snowing than the ’03 even though it was two years older. Less raspberry and more cherries. More classic and typical Italian nose. A youthful nose with hints of balsamic evolution. Roses and rose hips.   On the palate, cherries and cherry pips. More restrained than the ’03 yet more structured and serious at the same time. Surprisingly young considering it’s 10+ years. Nicely integrated oak. More tannic also than the ’03. In my opinion this wine needs 8-10 more years to really show its stuff.  The ’03 is more drinkable and refreshing and easier to drink (quickly).

*The ’01 you talk about and the ’03 you drink

2000 Chianti Classico Riserva – another warm vintage. Nose – more serious again then the ’03 but showing more evolution than the ’01. Mineral with cherries. Feels more mineral than ’01. Very open and floral with hints of balsamic, but only hints. Feels a bit more alcoholic than the other two vintages. Fresh but somehow a bit more austere than the previous two. The alcohol sits a bit in the back of the throat. Some nutty hints on the nose, which I don’t mind. Not as fresh as the others with some acidity which pokes a bit making it a bit more challenging to drink on it’s own. The least drinkable so far. Not sure this wine has potential to improve in the cellar. It seems the fruit is more evolved than the structure. Medium tannins. Spiky, edgy and not so balanced in my opinion.

1993 Chianti Classico Riserva – evolved on the nose. Stewed cherries and hints of balsamic. On the palate still very much alive and vibrant with vivid acidity. Notes of lavender fill the glass and my nose. Very enjoyable

1983 Chianti Classico Riserva – surprisingly quite closed initially. Very timid on the nose. Balsamic notes. As it opens, it feels more serious and sure of himself even than the 1993. Hints of licorice.  On the palate the wine is quite open and focused with sweet tannins and fresh acidity.  More herbaceous and spicy than the 1993. Sweet ripe fruit, raisins. Still very focused with really sweet fruit. Honestly, still a young wine with many years to go.

2008 Chianti Classico – fresh and expressive. Sour cherries, refreshing and light. Long with medium tannins. Good alcohol integration. The nose is wide open. Fresh and vibrant. Long.

2008 Chianti Classico Riserva Poggio Delle Rose – Some dark fruits. Very structured  and oak is a bit evident, but not dominant. Darker fruits then the other wines. Stronger tannins from both the fruit and wood.  A bit earthier than the others, you can taste the soil in the wine.  Summed up, this wine has fantastic fruit and concentration. However, not my style of wine.

1995 Vin Santo – fresh and light and with such great, ripe acidity that the wine finishes dry. Sultana’s and nut’s. “Amabile ma secco” (fruity/sweet but dry). “Lascia la bocca pulita con un bel ricordo” (leaves the palate clean with a nice memory/souvenir)

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Castell'in Villa - Toscana, Chianti, Italy, Toscana

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Rosantico

The Moscato Rosa vine has an ancient  history dating back to the  Austro-Hungarian Empire here in Friuli, hence the clever name on the label. Fulvio Bressan’s family have always had this small (1 HA) vineyard, and Fulvio’s father used to make a sweet wine from the vine, the traditional vinification method for this grape.  A rather rich history for this rather difficult little vineyard.

The vineyard had an extremely low yield of about 1500 liters in 2009 for the 1 HA, that’s about 2000 bottles. And that was in a good year.  Bressan picks the grapes late to insure ripeness, which is tricky since this grape has a high level of “colatura” or risk of falling off the vine when ripe. But still he waits to pick the grapes late so that they are dry like sultana’s, adding to the risk that botrytis cinerea (noble rot) will set in, which is not desired here.  Add these risks together and you  have the elements of total vintage loss, which is what happened  in the previous 7 vintages! Also no wine was made in 2010 and the 2011 is still in tank fermenting

After the manual harvest, the grapes were pressed and de-stalked. Maceration was for 3 days, fermentation was spontaneous thanks to the ambient yeasts present on the bunches. Alcoholic fermentation lasted for about 4 weeks, followed by an induced (by a small increase in temperature) malolactic fermentation.  The wine was then racked and left on the fine lees in stainless steel for two years, giving the grape the chance to show its elegance and personality. The wine was then bottled without filtration. The wine then continued for a bit longer for some bottle maturation.  Total alcohol is 13.20% and total acidity is a fresh 6,38 g/l.

Click here for some nerdy information for those who care.

Date tasted: March 3rd, 2012 18:30

Appearance:  Normally I would say “see the photos”, but since the photos i took were in a dimly-lit place, I will try and describe the color. It has more of a light-reddish-copperish color, than of a pure rosé like we might see from southern France. Like a pure extraction of fruit juice. Intriguing for sure. See photo 😉

Nose:  Wild fruits (berries) and rose pedals, very intense. Hints of floral soap, yes soap.

Palate:  Dry. Important to emphasize dry, as in none or very little residual sugar. Texture of a liquor, with the alcohol a bit noticeable but not enough to throw the wine out of balance. I think this aspect of the wine will integrate nicely in the coming years adding to its complexity. Super length and acidity giving this syrupy wine lots of freshness. Really very liquor-like in the texture. Like a syrup made of fresh berries.  The after taste had mild yeasty hints, which I liked.

Although enjoyable now, will be enjoyable for years to come for sure. Goodbye today’s rosé and hello rosé for tomorrow!

 

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine)

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A Winemakers Dinner – Fulvio Bressan

Event:  Bressan Wine Maker Dinner

Restaurant:  Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken

Date:  Saturday, March 13th 2010

Host:  Fulvio Bressan, Vinosseur, 213 W Wine Imports

I have done a producer profile on Bressan in past posts, but nothing I have written could have prepared me for such a down to earth warm person such as Fulvio.  Energetic and outgoing, Fulvio entertained everyone at our table and the other tables as we made our rounds to introduce him to our guests.  I thought I was going to have my work cut out for me with the translating from Italian, but it turns out that Fulvio’s grasp of English is very good, making my job a little easier.  The turn out was better than anticipated with a completely full restaurant with even a few tables being turned.. for quaint little Bergen, this is quite a feat! Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 7 WINE MAKER DINNERS, Bressan, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Events, natural wine (100% living wine)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part V – 1999 Cru Pignol

And along came the Pignolo grape, another very rare, refined, prestigious and indigenous grape of the Fruili-Venezia Giulia region in North-Eastern Italy.  This grape has the potential to make “Cru” level wines, like Bressan’s Cru Pignol, a stunning example of what this grape can do when care is taken in the vineyards and the winery.   According to Fulvio, the Pignol needs at least 8 years of aging to become a great wine, and after tasting his latest Pignol release, I would have to agree. At 10 years of age, this wine is just a baby. Drinking well now, but begging to be left alone for another ten.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part IV – 2004 Schioppettino

The Schioppettino is a  red grape grown predominately in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.  Also known as the Ribolla Nera, pills Schioppettino literally means “gunshot” or “little crack”.  Records show that red wine made from the Schioppettino was used at marriage ceremonies back to 1282.  The grape was nearly lost to extinction thanks mostly to the phylloxera epidemic. Today, Bressan is one of the few wine makers making wine from the Schioppettino grape.

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area: 3.88 HA
  • Planting year:  1982
  • # of vines/HA:  3086
  • Sun exposition: Southern, with rows oriented EAST-WEST
  • Harvest:  Permitted to slightly over-mature (so as to attain very high fixed acidity congenital to the species), harvested by hand.

Wine Making: Grapes are de-stalked and brought to must by way of soft-pressing; extremely long maceration with principal fermentation along with the grape skins, refrigerated with well water at a controlled temperature not exceeding 25C (77F).  After racking, the wine undergoes an ulterior 35 days of fermentation. The wine is then stored in stainless steel tanks, followed by aging for at least 2 more  years in 2000 liter oak casks. After bottling, groups of 500 bottles are placed in large chests, which are then stored in a temperature controlled warehouse for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.58 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: Medium dark brick red. Very very slight development showing. Medium intensity.

Nose: Very intense freshly ground black pepper. Blackberries and dark plums with mineral undertones. Floral and very intriguing. Hints of roasted meat.  Forest floor, musk and wild fruit. Very complex and intriguing nose.

Palate: Very intense on the palate as well with aromas of black pepper, wild dark berries, musk and hints of red berries with a mineral background. Some pleasant dried fruit aromas as well.  Medium tannins, medium to medium plus acidity carrying the wine to a long, very fresh finish.  Very fresh and very drinkable.  This has always been one of my favorite wines of Bressan..  Excellent with lamb!

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part III – 2004 Pinot Grigio

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, cost with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, clinic associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, search forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area:  1.41 HA
  • Planting year:  1990
  • # of vines/HA:  4630
  • Sun exposition:  Southern, with rows oriented NORTHWEST-SOUTH
  • Harvest:  Physiologically correct, by hand

Wine making: Grapes are de-stalked and soft-pressed, with cold decanting of the must and the total elimination of the entire part decanted.  20-25 days cold fermentation. Subsequent slow fermentation of the fine lees in stainless steel tanks; then aging for 12-15 months before bottling.  Bottles are placed in groups of 500 in large chests that are then stored in temperature controlled warehouses for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.20 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: “Ramato” – Copper-like color, but perhaps a bit lighter than the Verduzzo Fruilano with a tad more brownish tinge.  Medium plus intense glow.

Nose: Less intense than the Verduzzo Fruilano and more “feminine”. Fresh apricots and orange peel. Hints of star anise and mineral. Medium complex

Palate: Medium intense wine with orange citrus, hints of apricot, star anise and mineral.  Well-integrated alcohol, very fresh and drinkable. Very mild tannins, medium plus acidity with a long, mineral, fresh finish. One of the best Pinot Grigio’s I have ever tasted, if not the best.

Drinking very well now, but can be stored up to 5 years in my opinion. Another winner from Bressan…

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part II- 2006 Verduzzo Friulano

In Part I of the Bressan producer profile, I discussed in depth the philosophy of Fulvio Bressan.  Now I will present some of his wines which I had the opportunity to taste.  Bressan is an artisan wine producer making wine in extremely small quantities, between 0-50,000 bottles per year.  They specialize in the production of indigenous grape varieties, including the wine being tasted for this tasting note.

The Verduzzo (Friulano) grape is indigenous to Friuli, but can also be found in the Veneto.  According to Fulvio, it is very rare to find dry versions of the wine made from this grape (only 2 or 3 other producers in Friuli  make it dry).  The Verduzzo grapes is unusual in that it has high tannins like you might find in a red wine. Therefore, if the grape is harvested too early, the tannins can be quite bitter and harsh, and therefore wine makers began adding sugar to the wine to make it sweet, thus masking the bitterness of the tannins. In Fulvio’s opinion (and in mine as well), a sweet wine will not be balanced when made in this way.  Fulvio instead picks his grapes at the optimal ripeness (because he is patient), and vinifies the wine as a dry wine.

The first thing you notice when pulling the cork out of the bottle is the quality of the cork itself. Fulvio swears by the quality of his corks and says that if you ever get a corked bottle, simply return the cork and he will refund you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part I- A Producer Profile

BRESSAN mastri vinai
Via Conti Zoppini, 35
34070 FARRA D’ISONZO (Gorizia)
Italy
Tel. +39 – 0481 – 888131
Fax +39 – 0481 – 889824
E – mail: bressanwines@tin.it
www.bressanwines.com
www.bressanwines.it

I haven’t done too many “producer profiles” so far, and I suppose that’s because I really have to believe in the philosophy of the producer before I feel compelled to write about them. Then, I really have to like the wines. I may have a favorite bottle, but overall, I tend to enjoy all of the wines the producer makes. Usually the wines will have a certain signature that says they all belong to a certain family – in this case we’re talking about the philosophy and wines of Mastri Vinai Bressan, and that signature is one of  passion and patience. Patience enough to release a wine that, although is certainly age worthy, is actually ready to drink upon release. And this is why I have selected to write about Bressan.

The Bressan family owns about 20 hectares in the Friuili-Venezia Giulia appellation in North-Eastern Italy on the border to Slovenia.  The first thing that struck me about this producer was of course the wines.  Indigenous varieties that one does not taste every day, such as the Schioppettino, Pignol and Verduzzo Friulano. The second thing that struck me was the vintage of some of these wines which went back as far as 1999 (the latest release of the Pignol, for instance). The third thing that struck me was the philosophy of this producer. A philosophy very much in line with what I feel a wine producer’s philosophy should be. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Natural Wine Makers in France – Part II – Jean-Pierre Robinot

 

(I am sorry for the quality of the photo’s in this post. Since I am not a photographer, I should really apologize at the beginning of every post, but the photos in this post are especially low quality – blamed on the settings being incorrect on my “wonderful” camera phone. Oh, and although this post seems long, it’s mostly full of pictures to entertain you) Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Events, Jean-Pierre Robinot - Loire Valley, France, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Makers in France

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About

About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

Get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com