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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)

2 comments



A tasting note: 2006 Tiberio Nocens

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Tiberio
Loc. Gropina – Fraz. Penna, 116/A
(Terranuova Bracciolini)
Italia
+39 338 4604806
www.tiberiowine.com

Date tasted: September 9th, 2009 18:30 (6:30pm)

The Nocens  is Tiberio’s top wine and is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo in equal parts.  The grapes are farmed organically and are grown in Chianti D.O.C vineyards. Grapes are harvested by hand.   The wine is designated “Rosso dei Colli della Toscana Centrale (I.G.T)”

2009-09-09_1890The Nocens  is made in the “Antico Metodo Governo all’ Uso Toscano“.  A pre-harvest selection of 10% of the top grapes are harvested by hand and placed in a well-ventilated room to let them finish maturing (and drying) for about 15 days, time enough to finish the rest of the harvest. The rest of the grapes are also harvested by hand and fermented spontaneously using indigenous yeast and without the use of enzymes.  Once the fermentation is completed, the pre-harvest “Antico Metodo Governo all’ Uso Toscano” grapes that were set aside are added to the wine and a second fermentation commences (think “Ripasso” from the Veneto here). The wine is then aged for 12 months in 225-liter French Barriques. The wine is bottled without filtration

Appearance: Clean. Medium dark red with hints of blue. Medium to medium low intensity.

Nose: Clean.  Medium intense nose of dark cherries and wild black currants with hints of cedar and eucalyptus. Medium complex wine with  well-integrated oak on the back end.

Palate: Clean.  Good fruit on the front end. Sour cherries, black currants and blackberries. Good structure and good acidity carrying the wine to a medium-long finish with medium tannins.  Oak is well-integrated, but noticeable lending to the tannic structure of this wine.  Very well integrated alcohol at 13,5%

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Overall impressions: This is a well-made wine with good structure, balance and clean fruit which should be a pretty good wine to match with food.  I am thinking a grilled steak, or grilled vegetables would be a nice complement to this wine. This being said, the oak is too dominant for my palate, but I feel that many people will enjoy this wine. It sits nicely between a modern-made wine and one made traditionally.  In my opinion, this wine can be stored for a few more years, but I don’t think that it will improve so I would drink it now.

I have tasted other Tiberio wines and find his fruit to be clean, precise and on the feminine side (especially his Sangiovese, my favorite of his wines) and I feel that his wines would be better represented if they weren’t stored in oak. For those of you who share my feelings on this, rumor has it that he is playing with some un-oaked versions of his wines as I write this and perhaps I will have the opportunity some day soon to taste as stainless steel version of his Sangiovese.

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Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, organic wine, Terranuova Bracciolini, Toscana

2 comments



Clos Roche Blanche Part I – A Producer Profile

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Catherine Roussel et Didier Barrouillet
19 Route de Montrichard
41110 Mareuil-sur-Cher

The Clos Roche Blanche Domaine is located  in the Touraine appellation of the Loire Valley in France.  Located almost in the middle of France (see map just below), the Loire Valley is a very large wine region with over 70 appellations stretching from the Atlantic in the far West, to the famous appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé  in the far East. It is the largest white wine region in France, but it also produces great reds which are unfortunately often overlooked.

france-map

The principal white grapes of the Loire Valley are:

  • Melon de Bourgogne – used in making the light & fresh Muscadet wines in the far west
  • Chenin Blanc – found in the dry wines of Vouvray and the sweet wines of  Quarts de Chaume
  • Sauvignon Blanc – in the racy wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the East

The principal red grapes of the Loire Valley are:

  • Gamay – found towards the West primarily in Anjou and towards the East in Touraine
  • Cabernet Franc – found in the earthy red wines of Anjou, Saumur, Chinon, Touraine and Bourgueil and some rosé wines as well
  • Pineau d’Aunis – obscure and scarcely seen, yet making a comeback in the fruity red wines of Anjou and the Coteaux du Loire and the less seen Rosé wines of  Touraine (such as the one tasted from Clos Roche Blanche)
  • Côt – also known as Malbec seen mainly in Touraine
  • Pinot Noir – found mostly in the East in the red wines of Reuilly and Sancerre

loire_map

Domaine Clos Roche Blanche has 18 hectares in the Touraine A.O.C.   The Domaine was created at the end of the 19th Century and is situated on the slopes of the valley of the Cher River, and has remained in the family ever since. Catherine Roussel took over the estate from her father in 1975 and was joined later by Didier Barrouillet who tends the vineyards and makes the wine. Both are enthusiastic proponents of non-interventionist wine making.  After the 2009 harvest, they will lease out some of their vineyards to a young female wine grower, reducing their holdings to just 10 hectares.

The poor soil is mainly composed of clay with flint and hard sandstone (grès), over a calcareous sub soil.  The wine cellar was carved out in the tuffeau in the same period; the extracted stones were then used to build the living house that overlooks the valley of Cher.

The house and chai - photo courtesy of Bertrand Celce @ wineterroirs.com

The house and chai - photo courtesy of Bertrand Celce @ wineterroirs.com

the door to the cellar and chai under hill - photo courtesy of Bertrand Celce @ wineterroirs.com

the door to the cellar and chai under hill - photo courtesy of Bertrand Celce @ wineterroirs.com

The balance between old vines (one 0,5 ha parcel planted with Côt  is more than 100 years old I’m told) and young vines, short pruning and low yields, assures a production of high quality, which they always look to improve.  The have been certified organic (Ecocert) since 1992. No plowing, they use grass and wild flowers between ranks.

The vinification is partly in the cellar, and partly in a cave carved out of the rock (see photo above) close to the vineyards, this helps them to deal with the harvest (done by hand, of course) without much of a delay.  Only indigenous yeasts, no chaptalisation, no use of enzymes or other additives, only a modest use of sulfur when racking the wine (they use CO2 when they bottle) and no filtration. No oak barriques are used, only steel and large format  used barrels for the Cuvée Côt.  This is quite close to my definition of totally natural.

The main production is the Sauvignon Blanc (40% – which ironically I could not get a hold of) and the Gamay (20%), the Côt and the Cabernets – Franc and Sauvignon, the Pineau d’Aunis and Chardonnnay make up the last 40%.

I will be publishing a follow-up to this Clos Roche Blanche producer profile in the next few days with my tasting notes of the Cuvée Pineau d’Aunis Rosé, Cuvée Gamay, Cuvée Pif and Cuvée Côt. The bottles were opened at the same time and tasted over the course of many days.  I often find that wines made more naturally improve tremendously after some days being open.

For more information on the Clos Roche Blanche Domain, visit:

Louis/Dressner Selections

Wine Terroirs

Jim’s Loire

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, natural wine (just about)

2 comments



A tasting note: 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Amphora

2009-06-02_620091680Date tasted:  June 2nd, 2009 15:00 (3pm)

In the hills and mountains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in North Eastern Italy, there are a group of winemakers that wish to make wine like they did centuries ago.  They farm organically and believe very firmly in the principles of natural wine making.  Ancient methods of cultivation are employed and the white wines are treated to extended maceration periods on the skins, producing “orange” wines.   Indigenous yeasts are used without the use of temperature control.  Fermentation takes place naturally and spontaneously.  In some cases, this takes place outdoors in large terracotta Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers’  Valter and Paolo’s winery is about 20 minutes north of Trieste, near the Slovenian border.  The brothers own a nursery and are plant and flower experts.  They have been making wine since 1995.  Up until the 2005 vintage, they have always used big Botti, now they are also using Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers usually bottle two different wines from the Vitovska grape.  The Vitovska grape is a vine with a greenish-gold berry that has always been cultivated in area of Trieste.  The name of the vine is undoubtedly of Slovenian origin, and was often called Vitovska Garganija.   The top bottling is the Solo, comprised of the top selection of grapes from older vines.  The second bottling is their second selection.

2005 was a challenging vintage with an overabundance of rain, therefore only one (hand) harvest was made. The Solo cuvée was not produced.  After harvesting, approximately 70% of the grapes were then fermented in Botti, the remaining 30% in Amphorae.  The wine was macerated with the skins for around 70 days.  Only indigenous yeast, no filtration, no treatments.  The botti were sprayed with about 10mg/liter of sulfur about 2 weeks before the harvest to “sterilize”.  The Amphorae were not sprayed.

There were two bottlings for the declassified 2005 vintage.  The wine fermented and aged in Amphorae has an orange stripe on the label.  The wine fermented and aged in Botti has a green stripe on the label.  This bottle was the Amphorae version.  Price in Norwegian Kroner is 320 ($50)

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Appearance: Apricot, amber color. Clean. Medium plus intensity.

Nose: Spice, Cinnamon. Kumquat, Umami and orange peel.  Very intense and complex nose.  Keeps you going back to the glass to smell and smell again.  Also leaves the impression that this wine could be very fruity or even sweet.

Palate: Medium tannins and extremely focused fruit.  Orange peel and touches of spice.  Medium plus, mature acidity with a smooth, long and elegant finish.  Bone dry.  Really complex with some minerality on the finish.  Best enjoyed at closer to room temperature.  Goes very well with mature goat cheese.  I have also found success pairing this wine with pork belly in an Asian inspired sauce.

Although extremely enjoyable now in it’s youth, the wine’s concentration indicates to me the potential to lay down in the cellar for 5-8 years; perhaps more.

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Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine

2 comments



A tasting note: 2006 Domaine Griottes P'tite Gâteri

2009-06-02_620091684Date tasted:  June 2nd, 3rd & 5th, 2009

Located in the Anjou region of the Loire Valley in France, the Domaine Griottes is a natural wine maker making very interesting wines.

This wine is a Vin de Table, or Table wine,  made with 40% Pineau d’Aunis, 30% Grouillot and 30% Gamay.  The Pineau d’Aunis grape was more widely planted in the Loire in the past but has been largely ripped out to make more room for commercial grapes.  Dating back to medieval times,  this individual variety bears small black grapes.

The grapes for this wine are picked entirely by hand.  The maceration period is between 60-70 days in fiberglass.  No treatments, no sulfur, no filtration nor fining.  Only indigenous yeast – spontaneous fermentation.  This wine was bottled around August of 2007 and is totally without any additives.  It’s totally natural.

2009-06-02_620091685First tasting (June 2, 2009 15:00):

Appearance: Light Color. Dark pink rose pedal, light red. See through like a Pinot Noir. In a blind tasting, the Pinot Noir would be the first grape I would think of.

Nose: Incense, white pepper, black tea, musk, cherry and raspberries. With some air, hints of blackberries also emerged.  Very complex for a light & fresh wine with only 11% alcohol. Hints of saddle or baseball mitt and hints of licorice also emerging.

Palate: Light and fresh with medium plus acidity.  Medium fruit tannins with precise, focused fruit shining through. Red plums and plum pits.  Long, fruity finish with persistent well-integrated tannins.  The alcohol is extremely well integrated.

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Second tasting (June 3, 2009 23:56):

Appearance: Only slightly darker, but not much color change noticeable.

Nose: Less of the exotic spices, more dark plums and hints of blackberry. Seems a bit more closed tonight then it did yesterday afternoon..With more glass swirling, more of the pepper and licorice emerged again.

Palate: Tannins are firmer than yesterday, but still only at a medium minus to medium level.. Some roasted meat aromas and rosemary. Dark plums.  Acidity still medium to medium plus.   Some hints of pepper, smoke and minerals in the background.

Compared to yesterday, less aromatic and spicy on the nose.  Not as exotic.  A bit more focused and serious.  Good concentration while still remaining light and fresh with a 30 second finish.  The alcohol is a bit more noticeable than yesterday.. Will retaste tomorrow.

Third tasting (June 5, 2009 00:49):

Nose: Again, less exotic and less “spicy”.  More perfumed and floral.  Dark plums and morel cherries.  Hints of red fruit and anise.  A bit nutty.

Palate: Superb concentration with hints of hazelnuts.  A bit darker fruit, plums and some blackberries, with supporting red fruit like raspberries.  Mild plus tannins. Medium acidity.  Quite elegant and long with a smoky aftertaste.  Surprisingly structured and still drinking well.  A bit more serious than yesterday with very well integrated alcohol.  Drinking very well today.

Open for almost 3 days and stored in the cellar at around 16°C, and still beautiful, in fact perhaps better than when I opened.  Who says you need to add sulfur to wine to keep it once opened.  In my opinion, natural wine is alive and with a little air and some days exposed to oxygen, the wine fully comes alive and expresses itself.  In contrast, conventional wines made from grapes with pesticides and then manipulated in the winery, are dead and once opened and exposed to oxygen, only decline…

I will continue to focus on wines made naturally and I will hopefully also eventually have the will power to keep a bottle open for a longer period.  Please stay tuned.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Anjou, France, Loire, natural wine (100% living wine)

4 comments



A tasting note: 2007 Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Bianco 4

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Date tasted:  June 2nd, 2009 15:00(3pm)

Frank Cornelissen owns about 12 ha on Mt. Etna in Sicily. He’s a non-interventionist who says “Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be.”

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Frank & Alberto at the top of 'Rampante', the pre-phylloxera vineyard at 1010m altitude located above Solicchiata on Mt Etna after the devasting forest fire of 3 full days & nights.

On a postcard I recently received, he goes on to say  “To produce a bottle of genuine, natural wine, the recipe is simple:  take large quantities of dedication, determination, intuition and coherence.  To these ingredients throw in a strong dose of masochism in order to physically and emotionally survive the difficulties and downsides of this ‘Art of Wine’.  Finally, enjoy a glass (or more) of this wine, before sending the rest around the world to good homes.”

Of all the “natural” wines I have tasted, Frank’s are always the most interesting.  I am not saying that his wines are the most well-made of the natural wines I have tasted, but his are always the most engergetic.  And, definitely the most natural tasting compared to his counterparts.  From the very rustic labeling, to the almost opaque  wines that are very obviously not filtered nor fined.

This “orange” wine is no exception.  Made from the local (white grapes) Grecanico Dorato, Coda di Volpe, Carricante and Cattaratto grapes, this orange wine is barely see through.  This cloudy wine is so packed full of sediment that I swore I could see chunks of grapes floating towards the bottom of the bottle.  Of course this is a “slight” exaggeration, but it sure made me happy knowing that this wine was made from something (grapes) that was growing wild in the vineyards, and nothing else.   His wines are the most natural of the natural wines I have tasted, and this wine was no exception.  His wines have a certain “energy” about them which is hard to put in words, but they make you feel good.

The grapes for this wine come from various vineyards on Mount Etna owned and cared for by Frank.  Frank harvests the approximate 13ha/hl of grapes totally by hand.  The bunches of grapes are put into a destemmer and crushed, not pressed at this time.  This machine is more of a crusher than a destemmer as it hardly removes any of the stems at all.

The must is then placed into plastic containers in his backyard (no temperature control here) which are then covered with a tent-like plastic material to keep the rain out.  Of course only indigenous yeast here.  The wine is left to spontaneously ferment and macerate with the skins for about 4 months giving the wine it’s apricot-hued glow.  The wine is then pressed into Amphorae with the help of gravity and then bottled.  Absolutely nothing else is added to this wine. Nothing.  Not even SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide).  The wine is not fined nor filtered before being bottled and this is evident.  Since Frank bottle’s his wine without filtration, the last wines bottled have more sediment than the first ones.

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First tasting 1500 (3pm):

Appearance: A very cloudy, unfiltered appearance.  Loads of sediment which are very visible to the naked eye.  In the glass, the wine has an apricot juice hue with a medium intensity.  It is hard to analyze intensity with an unfiltered wine of this type (wine with high intensity glows can indicate a high level of intensity and vice versa).

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Nose: Apricots with hints of minerals and loads of farmyard (those of you familiar with red Burgundy know what I am talking about).  The distinctive (for me) Cornelissen pickle juice.  Dry hay and flowers.

Palate: Wild just like the other Cornelissen wines.  Typical.  A little tingle at the front of the tongue initially from the slight residual CO2, which quickly burns off with a little swirling of the glass.  Medium minus tannins.  High acidity, but not harsh, just mouth watering and mature.  Pickles and smoke.  Kumquats.  Essence of apricots and peaches, but not sweet.    Bone dry with around 2g/liter of residual sugar according to my palate.

Second tasting 1809 (609pm):

Nose: Much more pickles and farmyard.  Less distinct apricots.  The apricot aromas I do get are of unripe apricots.

Palate: Medium minus tannins.  Rosemary, sweet yellow fruit at the back end, apricots.  Finish is long and persistent with mild tannins, great acid and smokey flavors.  The wine sits and sits.

Interesting to note that although the wine was dry, it paired well with sweeter dishes.  It worked well with my honey and lemon marinated chicken.  It was also working surprising well with my Mexican Cactus Fruit.. Strange….

I’m always fascinated with the fact that the few bottles of natural wine that I manage to keep open a few days seem to only improve.

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Please check out my video wine tasting of Frank Cornelissen’s Rosso del Contadino! Click below and forgive the quality:

Wine Tasting with Vinosseur – 2007 Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 5 from vinosseur on Vimeo.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, 31 Days of Natural Wine, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Frank Cornelissen - Mt. Etna (Sicila), Italy, Italy, Mt Etna, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Sicilia

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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