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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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A tasting note: 2009 Davide Spillare Bianco Rugoli Selezione Vecchie Vigne

You might remember my brief mention of Davide Spillare in my VinNatur 2011 – producers to keep on eye on, blog entry. Davide’s Azienda Agricola covers about 2 ha in  Gambellara, in the province of Vicenza.  Davide works naturally both in the vineyards and in the winery, being shown the way by his teacher and mentor, Angiolino Maule.  He works mainly with the indigenous Garganega grape, and ferments all of his wines spontaneously without any additions, except a little sulfur in his whites.

The Bianco Rugoli is made up of 90% Garganega (grown on volcanic soil) and 10% Trebbiano. After manual harvest and crush, maceration with the skins lasts 18-24 hours giving this wine it’s gorgeous glow. It is then pressed and transferred to used barriques  for about 10 months for fermentation. It then spends some time in steel and is bottled without fining or filtering with just a bit of sulfur.

 

Date tasted: May 17th, 20:00

Appearance:  honey-toned orange

Nose: slightly jammy orange peel with hints of brown honey. very clear high intensity fruit. Some hints of herbs like sage and thyme. There are some aromas that could only be described as roasted lamb w rosemary. Ripe golden gooseberries. alcohol shows on the nose. With 15 minutes in the glass, a smoky minerality begins to emerge blending nicely with the fruit. Showing also some hints of very ripe fruit, perhaps some grapes being overripe – in a good way.

Palate: spicy, fruity and dry on the palate with good acid and tingling alcohol, which begins to integrate as the wine warms. Very mild tannins with a slight bitter aftertaste. As time passes, the wine seems to become increasingly refreshing, even though the alcohol is my only lament, as it very slightly stings the tongue. Not enough to put the wine way out of balance, however. Young..

Glug Glug wine at it’s finest!! Drink up or keep a few years to allow the alcohol to fully integrate.

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Gambellara, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Veneto

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A tasting note: 2002 Le Due Terre Schioppettino Magnum

I have to admit that I feel right at home in Krakow, even though some would say that it has a lot to learn from it’s more wine-oriented bigger brother, Warsaw.

In fact, one reason that I feel right at home here in Krakow is because it reminds me so much of Bergen, Norway where I now work (and lived for 8 years). No, the architecture is not the same (at all), the people are certainly not similar and the weather back in Bergen is not even remotely close to the glorious weather (by comparison) we have here in Krakow.

What is so similar to me is that Bergen has always crouched in the shadow of the country’s capital, Oslo. Oslo is where anything wine happens. Fairs, events, dinners, winemaker visits and it’s home to the majority of Norwegian wine importers. There is always an inherent wine struggle in Bergen, and I feel that the Krakow-Warsaw scenario is much the same.

But things are looking up in Krakow as I find it much easier as time goes by to find wine that I can actually consume, so thank you!

Le Due Terre is a producer I know little about except that the producer is from Friuli in the North Eastern tip of Italy and that they produce low-intervention wines – the sort of wines I love to drink. I had tasted their wines on less than 5 occassions, so when we were presented with a magnum of Schioppettino («the little fire cracker» in Italian), we paid no notice to the 2002 vintage stamped on the front label. Schioppettino is a grape I have come to love due to it’s extreme freshness and peppary mouthfeel, so I was looking forward to this double-sized dose! Here’s my brief tasting note:

Date Tasted: March 3rd, 2012 20:30

Appearance: Still youthful with barely a hint of obseravable age

Nose: Again youthful. Barolo-esque with hints of forest leaves and sour cherries.

Palate: Elegant, focused, light and long. Inky. Bitter almonds. The very delicate green hints (perhaps a vintage trait) help to actually lift the wine giving it added freshness. With some time in the glass, my thoughts of Barolo drift away as the wine starts to resemle a wine from Cornas, with it’s elegant focus, light pepper hints and loads of acidity.

This is overall a very elegant and delightful wine with tons of drinkability, in fact I believe that the magnum disapperared within an hour.

*This post was written especially for Winicjatywa and translated to Polish language here

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, organic wine

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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 tasting note: 2007 Gabrio Bini Serragghia Rosso Fanino

The first time I met Gabrio Bini was….hold on….Facebook. Not a wine fair where most people meet wine makers. It was after I uploaded a photo of his Serragghia Bianco 2007 about a year or so ago and commented that the wine was interesting but thought the fruit was under ripe and green. A Moscato di Pantelleria vinified dry in amphora without any additives, including sulfur.  I remember really wanting to love this wine for many reasons, but I couldn’t get around that under ripe fruit.  Well, Gabrio saw this upload and my comment and made a comment himself “you should taste my younger vintages then!”. I was surprised. Instead of getting offended and trying to defend his wine, he rather said I should taste again – a more recent vintage.  Enough said.

We didn’t talk again for about 6 or so months,  when i received a message in my inbox, once again on Facebook. It was from Gabrio asking me where he should send this bottle for me to taste. I said, better yet, I will be in Italy in a few months, save the postage and send to my Italian address. He said he would do one better, he said he would meet me and hand deliver the bottle.  And so that’s the way it went.

We met and he not only had that bottle for me to taste, but 3 others (and multiples of each), one of which is the wine I am tasting here.

Some people may say that Gabrio is a bit of an eccentric, including myself.  He splits his time between Pantelleria, Milano and Paris and alongside him always is his wonderful artist wife Genevieve.  I could say that actually his wines are in fact as eccentric as Gabrio himself, starting with the label – which is the same for all of his wines, except slight variations in color. A large arrow pointing straight up with the name of the wine written sideways

Ths Rosso Fanino is made from organically grown Cataratto (45%), Pignatello (45%) and Moscato d’Alessandria (10%). Fermented and vinified in amphora where it remained on the skins for 6 months giving this wine a gorgeous pink-orange color.   This process was made completely hands off.  The wine was bottled without filtration of course in April the following year.  1500 bottles were produced, 500 of which were transformed into sparkling versions that remained on the lees until very recently.

The back label even goes so far as to list ingredients, analytical figures like volatile acidity, etc and states in capital letters “NON CONTIENE SOLFITI” – “doesn’t contain sulfur”. At less than 10mg total sulfur, you don’t have to write on the label that the wine contains sulfur, but he takes it one step further. Obviously somebody from high up didn’t like this, and he is no longer allowed to list the ingredients on his back labels.

 

Date Tasted:  November 19, 22:00

Appearance:  see for yourself – click on decanted wine image to enlarge

Nose:  In one word, Spring.  Earl grey and mint tea aromas along with red flowers, like roses. Rose hips, musk and hints of watermelon as well.  Slight balsamic scents round of the wine well, as do the delicate mineral aromas.

Palate:  Wow.  Tea-like again, delicate and fresh. Tannic, but not too.  Again the rose hips and mint tea, delicate red flowers and red berries with a refreshing quality about it that you don’t often find in wine. The wine was too drinkable, if there is such a thing.

If you want to taste the wines of Gabrio Bini, last i heard, Pierre Jancou was serving them at his new Parisian establishment, Vivant.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), Pantelleria, Sicilia

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A (quick) tasting note: 2009 Carussin Barbera d'Asti Lia Ví

Although the single vineyard Lia Ví 2010, (made without the addition of sulfur for the first time), is available now & super delicious, I decided to retaste the 2009 and provide you with a quick note.

November 10th, 20:38 -HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Appearance:  no development showing on this still young wine. A dark-ish garnet-red with bluish reflections.

Nose: Pure Barbera. Frutti di bosco (wild berries – mostly black, but some hints of red), hints of forest floor and black truffle.  Floral, mostly purple

Palate:  Great fruit attack with a minerality that gives the wine the feeling that it’s lightly sparkling, which it is not. Medium ripe acidity lending to the wine’s  juiciness, the juiciness you might get if you put a handful full of super ripe berries in your mouth.  Smooth, feminine tannins, just enough to make you reach for that semi-mature toma-Piemontese.  A slightly bitter,  semi-long finish.

I have stated before that I felt that Carussin creates bench-mark Barbera’s that everybody should be envious of. Not only the finished wine, but the grapes on the vine. This wine is alive and fun to drink.  A wine that can complement all parts of the meal, even white fish without pretentions. Enjoy…

Bruna’s babies

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Asti, biodynamic wine, Italy, Piemonte

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A tasting note: 2008 Porta del Vento Saharay

Azienda Agricola Marco Sferlazzo
Contrada Valdibella
90043 Camporeale, Sicilia
info@portadelvento.it
www.portadelvento.it

Certified organic Catarratto grapes grown with the help of biodynamic preparations at an altitude of about 600 meters above sea level. Grapes are harvested by hand and brought immediately to the winery where they are gently crushed and left to ferment spontaneously. The skins are left to macerate with the juices for about 30 days in open oak vats without temperature control and without the addition of sulfur. Punching down the cap is done by hand 3 times a day, followed by a soft pressing in a manual press.  Maturation in 2500 litter botti (oak barrels) for just under a year. Bottled without filtration and without the addition of sulfur, of course.

Date tasted (numerous times, but for this note):  Sunday September 11th, 2011 9:00pm

Appearance: Dark orange-amber with brownish reflexes (which increase with time in the glass). Shows a bit more age than the 3 years would indicate.

Nose:  spices, apricots, ginger, leafy, molasses and hints of volatility give this wine an interesting edge which keeps  you sniffing it for minutes and minutes before tasting it. Like many skin-macerated whites, this wine hints of sweetness which could lead the unsuspecting to expect a sweet wine on the palate. The last sniffs reminded me of Vin Santo (a sweet wine from Toscana made from dried grapes)

Palate:  I have tasted many skin-macerated whites and knew what to expect: a fruity, yet bone-dry wine. What I didn’t expect (and always surprises me with this wine) is the tannic structure. Owing to the long skin-contact and 10-12 months in oak barrels, this wine packs a tannic punch making it a perfect match for fatty foods such as Fois Gras, duck and some creamy cheeses.  I have also had success serving this with savory dishes like mushroom soup. Very spicy (cardomom, cinammon and ginger) with the usual yellow fruits like apricots and peaches. A semi-long and dry finish round out the wine nicely.

I like the wines of Porta del Vento and have tasted almost the entire product line. The prices are fair as well.  The Saharay I especially like because of it’s masculinity, a trait I don’t often find in skin-macerated whites making this wine more interesting to me. But I also have to point out a negative characteristic of the Porta del Vento wines I have tasted.  As far as I know, all the wines spend some time in oak and leave the mouth with this rather disturbing dryness. A dryness that can be attributed not only to the fruit, but to the oak.  Oak is certainly not dominant in their wines, in fact I would say that the oak is used judicially (it doesn’t “flavor” the wine).   I just prefer to have no oak in my wines letting the fruit shine through without any interruption, especially in wines that have such fresh fruit character, like the wines of Porta del Vento.  The other complaint I have is that these wines should be drunk up the night you open the bottle. Two or three days open and I find that the wines oxidize.

Back label detail - click on photo to enlarge

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Camporeale, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Sicilia

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A tasting note: L103 09 Carussin Il Carica L'Asino VdT

L103 09, what? This wine is a Vino da Tavola (VdT), table wine in English. And by laws governing wine labeling in Europe, they are not allowed to put the vintage on the label. So, one way to let us know just exactly when those grapes were picked, wine makers often use L (lot) numbers to help indicate vintage. In this case, 2009.

European governing wine laws also don’t allow wine makers to put the ingredients on the back label of their wine bottles; something that is found on all food items. People just take it for granted that wine is a natural product and that of course, the wines we are consuming contain grapes, and only grapes.  Many of us know that this is just not the case. There are many (even 100) additives used in every-day wine making; some natural, some not.

This why I chose to drink not only wines that I enjoy and love, but I chose to drink wines that are made with grapes, and most of the time, only grapes. Nothing added, nothing taken.

Carussin is one of my favorite producers in Piemonte, a region known for it’s age-worthy Barolo’s & Barbaresco’s, neither of which Carussin produces. They produce wines of simplicity, wines of great fruit character and wines of consistent quality, made with nothing  more than quality, biodynamically grown grapes (a bit of sulfur is used, and that’s it).  Their Barbera d’Asti Asinoi  is my favorite barbera, and I often use it as a benchmark to which I compare other barbera’s. In my opinion, very few other barbera’s stand up to the fruit quality of the Asinoi, and once the price is considered, it’s a difficult barbera to beat.

The wine I tasted for this tasting note is Carussin’s entry level wine, Il Carica L’Asino. In 2005, a small farmhouse was purchased in the Valle Asinari region by Bruna Ferro & Luigi Garberoglio.  Soon after, the family discovered the diversity of two small parcels of “Cortese Alto Monferrato” grapes which sparked their curiosity.  They investigated a bit further by speaking to the previous owner, a sprightly & kind lady aged 83 years.  She explains that her and her husband began to plant cuttings of  Il Carica L’Asino (load on the donkey) on his land in the Valle Asinari after discovering  from friends in Acqui Termi, the existence of  this ancient Ligurian vine.  This is a curious coincidence that links Bruna’s love for the Asino (donkey) and this ancient Ligurian variety.

The biodynamically-grown Cortese Alto Monferrato & Il Carica L’Asino grapes for this wine are usually harvested in the first two weeks of September by hand.  The grapes are crushed and left to spontaneously ferment on their own in stainless steel.  Nothing is added during the entire process except a bit of sulfur.  A light filtration before bottling, and there you have it!

 

Here is some nerdy information:

Grapes:  Carica L’Asino and Cortese Alto Monferrato
Alcohol: 12  %
Residual Sugar:  0,0  g/l
Total Acidity:  6,0  g/l
PH:  3,3  g/l
Volatile Acidity:  0,30  g/l
Total SO2:  30  mg/l

 

Date tasted:  May 25th, 2011 19:24 – melanzane (eggplant) alla parmigiana in the oven!

Appearance: medium intense yellow with green reflexes. No age showing

Nose: a youthful, vibrant, medium intense nose of sweet yellow plums, arctic cloud berries and hints of elderflower. Subtle notes of sweet lime on the back end

Palate: Fresh, crisp and very fruity. Yellow plums dominate with a delicate mineral touch to give the wine a (slight) touch of weight, while remaining light and playful. Bitter almond hints surround the fruit. Medium, ripe acidity that cleans the mouth well and helps the wine linger around just long enough to remind you just how balanced this wine is. Five minutes in the glass and one degree warmer, and I find very slight hints of yeast and bread, but only slight. The bitterness also intesnifies a tad, which in my opinion makes the wine more interesting. A very well balanced, although simple, wine with a moderate 12% of alcohol. Great for aperitif or with simple tomato based dishes – like my melanzane alla parmigiana!

 

19:40

Nose: hints of hay start to appear.

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Asti, biodynamic wine, Italy, Piemonte

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A tasting note: 2005 Franco Terpin Ribolla Gialla

Azienda Agricola Franco Terpin
Loc. Valerisce n°6/a
34170 – San Floriano del collio – Go
Tel +39 0481 884215
If you haven’t yet tasted the wines from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area of Italy, then perhaps you should.  Sitting in the furthermost North East Corner of Italy bordering Slovenia, this wine region has been getting a lot of attention lately. Is this because the majority of Italian skin-macerated whites (aka orange wines) hail from this region? Is it because the  region produces age-worthy, mineral wines that make you sit back and say “huh…what grape was this again?”?  Is it because this is the home of many natural wines, which also gets a lot of attention these days?  I would place a check-mark next to “all of the above” because these wines are serious.  And many are seriously good!

Most  of the producers (and grapes) in this area of Italy have names that the rest of Italy cannot pronounce. Take Vodopivec for example and the only grape they vinify, the Vitovoska. Even the wines made in this corner of Italy stray from the every-day wines that the average Italian recognizes and consumes. Yet, these are very much wines. These are living wines, often made only with grapes. Nothing added, nothing taken.

The wine for this tasting note was produced by Franco Terpin. A little easier to pronounce, yet far from typical.  Franco farms in a natural fashion without the  use of industrial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.  “The vine listens. The vine understands”, says Franco.  Franco says that the Ribolla Gialla (called Rebula in this area) is difficult to grow and he only vinifies it in exceptional vintages. Harvest is done by hand, fermentation  (initially in steel) is spontaneous thanks to the extended skin contact.  The wine is then transferred to oak where it spends about one year on the lees. It  is then transferred to stainless steel where it spends another year. Then it’s bottled without fining or filtering and is left to rest for yet another year before going for sale.  Approximately 2500 bottles produced.  This wine is not available in Norway or Poland.

Date tasted: Tuesday May 17th – Norwegian Independence day – 1845

Appearance: a slightly cloudy, orange-hued wine with a high intensity reflection. I just love the look of orange wines!

Nose: Oak  jumps out of the glass at first, with hints of reduction. Not a lot of fruit showing at this time. Mineral.  Some orange peel emerging, but the wine is still closed and not showing well yet. Some very slight, slight balsamic hints.

Palate: mineral, dry and surprisingly, the oak is less evident on the palate. The wine is quite intense on the palate and ends (many seconds after first entering the mouth) with a slight bitterness.  Medium-high acidity. Alcohol seems high, yet is well-integrated. The wood dries out the mouth very slightly, but not offensively . Very focused finish. Reminds of the peach iced-tea I just drank.  Super food wine i would imagine.

Wine is decanted………


Same night at  20:25:

Appearance hasn’t changed

Nose: More fruit has emerged. No sign of oak anymore. More herbs.

Palate: Still quite mineral. Oily. Orange peel. Pork fat, bacon. Alcohol is the only disturbance here, but the wine has been sitting in a decanter for almost two hours at room temp. Sits a long time on the palate. again, serious food wine. Fatty, oily. Texture is nice.

as we finished the last sips about an hour later, the wine had developed the sort of texture that helped the wine  just slip easily down the throat


 


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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A Tasting Note: Valli Unite Dolcetto Diogene 2009

What?! A cooperative making wines without the addition of Sulfur?! Is this possible? Yes it is!  The Valli Unite coop in Alessandria, Piemonte was formed over 30 years ago by three men who merged their vineyards and built stalls for their farm animals in order to use organic manure.  They saw organic farming as the way of the future, and from this was born the Valli Unite coop.

Today, they are a group of 25 people working together.  Their viticulture follows closely the belief that wine drinkers should drink  little, but well.  In their wine production, the aim is to let the wine remain as alive as possible so that it is the true reflection of the grape.  They use old cement vats to ferment their reds later transferring them to barrels.  This wine was bottled without filtration. No sulfur was used from the beginning of fermentation to time of bottling.  Here are my thoughts:

Date Tasted:  November 7th, 2010 20:42 (8:42pm) – decanted after 5 minutes

Appearance: Dark purple with light purple edges. Great color extraction and very young in appearance.

Nose: Dark berries, especially black berries with fresh red fruits in the background. «frutti di bosco» (forest berries). Slightly reductive… will decant… purple gooseberries and hints of barnyard and crushed, dried leafs. Smells like a freshly fermented wine.

Palate: slight fizz on the tongue, very slight. Frutti di bosco all the way with tremendous structure, medium (ripe) acidity and gripping tannins. Medium length finish (approx 20 seconds). A very structured wine that has lot’s of mouth feel. I don’t mean «velvety» –  rather chewy, rustic and a bit «rough». Well integrated 13.5% alcohol.   Not an elegant wine, but a very honest wine which begs for grilled sausage.

21:10 (9:10pm) almost half hour in decanter

Nose: The wine is much more floral (roses) now then before. The reductive notes have fallen to the background and are no longer as noticeable.

Palate: some sour red plums on the finish now. Tannins have stepped up a bit and now dominate a bit.

November 8th, 21:52 (9:52pm)

Nose: more fruit showing and less reduction. Tree bark.  Blackberries and raspberries. Also some black currants and purple gooseberries. Very slight hints of dark licorice and bitter almonds (like found in the pit of a peach)

Palate: Still has very grippy tannins, really feels like you are chewing on the pips of the freshly picked grapes. Pure fruit quality in my opinion. Mostly dark berries, but yet a fresh wine. Hints of licorice and dried leafs. Again, really strong character of pure grapes and the pips. Really more open then yesterday. A slightly bitter finish. Really enjoying this wine today – just like eating the grapes off the vine. Picture this – you walk into a vineyard and grab a handful, and I mean a handful, of healthy, ripe dolcetto grapes and just pop them in your mouth. This should give the idea of the how this wine is every time I take a sip. This is one unsulfured wines which I feel could benefit from some storage – let’s say a year or two?  And you know I love my wines young.

November 9th, 18:15 (6:15pm)

Nose: More earth and dark berries. Hints of lavender. Alcohol also more noticeable on the nose than it was in previous days.

Palate: A bit rounder today. Tannins  softened a bit. The finish is a bit more leafy. Just as fresh as the first day opened, but the tannins seem a bit more integrated today and the finish is more «almondy» now, which I love.  Alcohol still not noticeable on the palate, well integrated.

I drank the last glass and a half with a homemade burger topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions and avocado… gotta say that the wine was a bit too much for the burger, even with the cheese and onions. Although Dolcetto’s are often paired with «carne cruda» (or beef tartare) with the raw egg and the fixings in Piemonte, this dolcetto would be too much in my opinion. Try this wine with another Piemontese speciality,  fresh pasta with rabbit ragu. Or if you are in Norway, like I am, try with some duck confit. With the wild flavors of the duck, this wine should pair well.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Alessandria, Italy, natural wine (just about), Piemonte

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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.

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