…spontaneously fermenting

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


VinNatur 2011 – producers to keep an eye on

Claude Bourguignon discussing soil life & microorganisims

Just got back from Zurich where I was cordially invited by Angiolino Maule of La Biancara. Not only does Maule make fantastic wines and value prices, he is also acting president of the VinNatur organization.   Day one was spent mostly attending a seminar with guest speakers such as Isabelle Legeron MW, Lydia & Claude Bourguignon, Federico Giotto, Terje Meling and Jonathan Nossiter (Mondovino). The day was interesting and long, but luckily concluded with an open tasting with 98 natural wine makers and their wines.

This is one of the reasons we attended the event, right?

All in all, there are not many tastings where so many amazing producers and wines can be found in one place. Overall the quality of the producers was high, especially in my opinion, the producers from Slovenia.  In any case, here is my quick rundown of the producers I felt showed promise, and were in my opinion the “ones to watch”

Davide Spillare showed real promise with Dolce Racrei Sparkling Passito

24-year old Davide Spillare from Gambellara, Italy (Veneto).  Worked under the guidance of Angiolino Maule, so it wasn’t surprising that his wines were not only good, but showed real depth and freshness without being “over the top” or overripe.  His whites (which I actually preferred) where made with very little sulfur added and his red was made completely without.  His Garganega-based sparkling pasito Dolce Racrei (which I have sold for about a year now at Jacob’s) is just delicious. Dried hay and fruit with a crisp acidic background and slightly smokey finish is perhaps one of the most interesting dessert wines I have tasted.

Next were the wines of Bodegas Bruno Ruiz (Toledo). These wines have been in Norway for a few  years now, but for every year they get better and better. The whites have a depth you don’t often find at the super-value price levels they are at. More and more of their wines are being made without the addition of sulfur indicating that their fruit quality has to be fantastically healthy. And their labeling is improving, or rather becoming more fun to look at..

The wines of Jean-Marc Espinasse of Domaine Rouge-Bleu from the Southern Rhône showed amazing fruit quality and depth. Yes, alcohol levels where high here, but still remained fresh. We tasted a very-old Grenache wine that was just so deep and delicious. He also splashed me an experimental, unlabeled Nerello Mascaslese that he was making on Mt. Etna. This also showed real promise, but a tad too much on the oak for my palate. Oh, and nice labels as well. these are actually what got me to his table to begin with

Dorado pictured here with Alice Feiring

Next were the wines of Marcial Dorado from Portugal.  I don’t have any wines from Portugal on my wine list. Not because there isn’t some quality wine in Portugal, but because I haven’t found any wines that I really like and that have the philosophy I search for in a wine producer. These wines were not only being made naturally, but again showed that real quality of fruit I expect in a wine, a living wine. Super-juicy, drinkable, low alcohol, deep and no oak. No oak in a wine is hard enough to find, but in Spain and Portugal even harder. The Alvarinho-based whites were especially interesting to me.

For me the highlight of the event was of course the wines of Frank Cornelissen whose wines never stop impressing me for their expressiveness. So deep and pure. I still have yet to taste wines like these. Love

Overall, the only criticism I had of VinNatur  is on the use of barriques by many producers.  There is still way too much barriques use for my palate and I wished that wine makers who prefer using oak, would use larger and older format wood so that their incredible fruit would shine through


Category: 1 WINE, natural wine (100% living wine), VinNatur 2011




Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. 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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