Finally, it’s Spring! Celebrate the beginning of a new season with our March Wine Club!
This month’s selections include:
- Sikele Nero D’Avola
- Gricos Aglianico di Grifalco
- Napo’s Umbrian Red
- Idiot’s Grace Whimsy Red
- Franck Decrenisse Coteaux du Lyonnaise
- Kila Cava
SIKELE NERO D’AVOLA
Varietal(s): 100% Nero d’Avola
Tasting notes: This wine definitely has tobacco and volcanic ash happening. The fruit is dark, dark, dark. But still so fresh. Black cherry, red currant, and wild herbs lend vibrancy to the earthier tones in this wine.
About the winery: Marilina and Federica Paterno helm the 60-hectare estate after taking over for their father, Angelo, who purchased the southeastern Sicilian land in 2000, calling it one of the best viticultural sites he had ever seen. Angelo was a winemaker at two other well known Sicilain estates for 25 years prior to this, and still helps in the cellar. His daughters’ collective vision now drives the winery. The sisters work primarily with native Sicilian grapes, and they’re greatly influenced by local winemaker and natural wine ingenue Frank Cornelissen. Beyond organic certification, the estate is built on polyculture, which promotes ecosystem sustainability, and their wines contain little to no additives and minimal sulfur. The really interesting thing about any Sicilian wine is the influence of Mount Etna because it’s such a unique terroir. The volcanic soils make for the island’s hallmark rustic, mineral-driven wines.
Winemaking techniques: From limestone soil, organically farmed, hand harvested, fermentation with indigenous yeasts. In the cellar, fruit and freshness are preserved with the use of large concrete tanks for fermentation and elevage. Aged 8 months in concrete, 3 months in bottle, unfiltered, unfined, and minimal SO2 at bottling.
Pairing tips: Pair this versatile wine with everything from pork tenderloin, to runny cheese or a BLT. Or stick to the usual: cook some pasta (we have a few good options), and pretend you’re in Sicily.
GRICOS AGLIANICO DI GRIFALCO
Varietal(s): 100% Aglianico
Tasting notes: Meaty and substantial, yet shows plentiful crisp red fruit, mineral and floral aromas. Pepper is speckled throughout and backed by undergrowth. Vinified in a forward, drinkable style but still an ample, very flavorful red wine with a deep plummy color.
About the winery: Aglianico is the best known ‘big red’ grape in southern Italy, and there are two places where it grows particularly well, Taurasi in Campania and Monte Vulture in Basilicata. The areas are less than two hours from each other, both are volcanic in geology, and both produce magnificent red wines, amongst the most age-worthy in Italy (or anywhere else, for that matter). Grifalco is an excellent producer of Aglianico del Vulture owned by the Piccin family, who were originally wine producers in Tuscany but decided that southern Italy, Basilicata in particular, was more promising. One of the challenges in making Aglianico del Vulture is making sure that these big reds don’t become bitter, and Fabrizio Piccin has done an excellent job of taming the tannins without making the wines glossy or over-oaked fruit bombs. Vulture is indisputably one of the best appellations in southern Italy, and this wine will change your perspective (whatever it may be!) on Aglianico.
Winemaking techniques: Gricos is sourced from four different vineyards, all younger vines. Certified organic farming, 10 days maceration, fermentation in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, 6 months in a mix of 50 hL barrel and barrique, followed by 6 months in stainless steel and 4 months in bottle. Filtered with 5 micron paper (Vegan).
Pairing tips: An everyday barbecue wine. Drink with beef, lamb, cheeses, charred veggies… or substantial pasta dishes.
NAPO’S UMBRIAN RED
Varietal(s): Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot
Tasting notes: Right away there’s a vivid fresh ripe cherry and raspberry on the nose that offers a warmth that will remind you of hearty dinners and cozy restaurants with exposed brick. Dried red fruits and flowers also start to appear with time. Pay attention to the hint of wood smoke and roasted meat on the finish. There’s a lot of rich red fruit up front, but then that turns into a rustic spicy mid palate that transitions to wood smoke and dry tannin. This is a hearty red wine that’s great for people that like rustic classic Italian reds. If you’re sensing a fruitier finish, allow it to open up a bit as it will offer an elevated experience.
About the winery: The Napolini family has been growing grapes on the sunny hills south of Montefalco for centuries. Umbria is located south of Tuscany and is a warmer region more removed from the ocean. The slopes face the east, benefiting from warm morning sun and a gentle afternoon cooling.
Winemaking techniques: Their farming and vinification practices, while not certified, are all in line with natural winemaking. Copper is used in the vineyard only when necessary and native yeasts begin the fermentation process. Wines are typically unfined and unfiltered and sulphur is only used in small amounts at bottling.
Pairing tips: Pizza or braised meat… need we say more?
IDIOT’S GRACE WHIMSY RED
Varietal(s): Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aglianico
Tasting notes: Interesting aromas of raspberries, black and green olives with a touch of funk. Black tea, bark and chocolate notes sneak in with a hit of cooked popcorn kernels (from an air popper to be clear). Black raspberries on the palate, joined by cooked popcorn kernels and chocolate. Solid acidity supports crunchy tannins that are mouth-watering. Black tea notes join up on the back of the mid-palate into the long finish.
Dark cherry, meaty tastes pop out first. Ripe dark cherry and floral notes on the nose. Pepper, fruit sweet a tad. Wood, light minerals sulfur and salt. Solid body.
About the winery: Idiot’s Grace is a small-production, family-owned organic estate winery located in one of America’s most fascinating appellations, the Columbia Gorge AVA. Led by Vineyardist/Cellarmaster Brian McCormick, their small team believes in stewardship of the land in their vineyards, which are located on both the Oregon (Mosier) and Washington (Lyle) banks of the Columbia River – all within a National Scenic Area. Since 2003 they’ve established a number of vineyard plots overlooking the Columbia River from both the Washington and Oregon sides, which they tend with affection, imagination, and humility.
Winemaking techniques: The wines are wild-fermented and un-posturing; their ambition is to reveal the originality of this dramatic growing region. As “minimalists” they strive to produce wines that 1) accurately reflect each vintage, 2) are true expressions of each grape variety, and 3) that are true to their respective vineyard sites. Idiot’s Grace employs oak sparingly and seeks “freshness” by avoiding over-extraction. Their wines are typically lower in alcohol because we can harvest before sugars reach unnecessarily high levels. All of these efforts combine to produce “bright” and refreshing wines designed to complement the food at your table. They seek to honor the “old-world” traditions of winemaking. The varying array of each year’s offerings reflects the circumstances of each vintage and their restless pursuit of suitability between grape and place.
Pairing tips: While it’s delicious by itself, its definitely a great food red. Your lamb & pasta in a red sauce or BBQ spareribs will be happy. Can you tell we’re craving pasta?
FRANCK DÉCRENISSE COTEAUX DU LYONNAISE
Varietal(s): 100% Gamay
Tasting notes: Fruity, savory and expressive, this bright and youthful wine offers aromas of red berries such as cherry. Fruit compote and light herbs continue on the palate with lingering, gentle depth.
About the winery: Located in the Monts d’Or, just north of Lyon, this estate is a leader in the rebirth of the Coteaux Du Lyonnais appellation. Franck Décrenisse took over from his parents in 1995 and currently exploits 37 acres of which 5 are planted with very old vines (some are one hundred years old). Diversity has been achieved in the search for quality to finally obtain wines which are regularly awarded at the highest level of the appellation. Supported by his solid technical training, this young vine grower knows how to produce each cuvee according to its particularities and the parcel it comes from. Franck Decrenisse is always about attention to detail and it pays off here.
Winemaking techniques: Sandy soils, organic practices, native yeasts, and 6 months in concrete.
Pairing tips: Great with cheeses, cold meats and vegetable stews.
Varietal(s): 40% Xarel·lo 40% Macabeu 20% Parellada
Tasting notes: This medium gold-colored effort offers a juicy bouquet of cooked green apple, citrus, and white flowers that carries to a vibrant, juicy Cava. Ripe orchard/pit fruit aromas are complemented by subtle herb and candied orange zest nuances. Hints of biscuit. Broad and spicy on the palate, displaying pear nectar and honey flavors and a touch of fennel. Closes smooth and fleshy, with good cling and echoing spiciness.
About the winery: Marques de Gelida is owned by six family growers that have roots in the Penedes area since the 1600’s. Located in the northeast zone of Penedes, locally know as Penedes Alta, the vineyards are among the highest in the D.O. Mostly planted to Xarel-Lo Parellada and Macabeo, there are additional plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with the oldest plots being 84 years old. The entire estate is dry farmed. The climate here is mostly Mediterranean, but with sub climates in the mountains that are more continental.
Winemaking techniques: The grapes are sourced from the best vineyards for each variety. Macabeo from Can Simón estate, Xarel•lo from Can Prats, in Sant Llorenç d’Hortons and Parellada from Can Castany, in Gelida, all limestone soils of a sandy texture. Marques de Gelida produces free run juice and first soft pressing of the grapes, before fermenting in stainless steel at controlled temperatures, and then employing Methode Champanoise. The finished product is aged 2.5 years in bottle before release.
Pairing tips: Need a good reason to eat fried chicken? This is it. Or fine, your spring spaghetti squash too. This easily approachable bubbly and would do well in any setting.