We’re in the prime time of the year as the days keep getting longer and hopefully sunnier! Cheers to taking advantage of these gorgeous spring nights!
This month’s selections include:
- LA MIRAJA GRIGNOLINO
- RIVERA PRIMITIVO
- SALCHETO CHIANTI
- L’ABRUNET DE FRISACH NEGRE
- BRIAUDIERE MUSCADET
- PIQUEMAL CÔTES DU ROUSILLON
LA MIRAJA GRIGNOLINO
Pale ruby red with pink & garnet hues reveals beautiful floral aromatic notes of rose hip, violet, and geranium. Delicate, bright red fruit dominated by bing cherry mingles with fresh mushroom.
On the palate, it is light with pleasantly balanced acidity, rhubarb, strawberry, and a hint of white pepper with a clean finish.An underlying vein of stony minerality lends both texture and levity to this delightful bottling.
Grignolino was the favored red wine of the Savoy aristocracy in the thirteenth century, prized for its light color and elegant mouthfeel. In the latter half of the 1800s, these wines often matched or exceeded the price of Barolo bottlings. The grape name likely derived from the word “grigné,” which is the local dialect for the pips, or grape seeds. Grignolino is rare among its fellow wine grape cultivars in that it has multiple pips per berry. In addition, the thin, delicate skins of the berry pose a challenge for winemakers aspiring to pull as much color from the skins as possible while avoiding the extraction of oftentimes harsh, green tannins from the pips. Accomplishing this oenological hat trick can result in brilliantly aromatic and brightly acidic expressions of Grignolino.
The estate of La Miraja is nestled within the original castle of Castagnole Monferrato, constructed in the 11th century and retrofitted to serve as a cellar in the 1400s. In this armory-turned-cellar, Eugenio Gatti turns out Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, and his fabled Ruché. A seventh-generation viticulturist, Eugenio personally tends to the oldest vineyard of Ruché in Castagnole Monferrato, the original birthplace of Ruché. It is here that Eugenio Gatti devotes his life’s work to producing 840 transcendent cases of wine each year.
Estate fruit from vineyards situated around 280 meters above sea level with calcareous-red clay soils. Many vines were planted in 1960, others more recently. Hand-harvested fruit is destemmed and then crushed by basket press into stainless-steel tanks, where it remains in contact with the skins for 7 days while native fermentation occurs. Following spontaneous malolactic fermentation, the wine rests in cement vessels for several months prior to release.
A great red for fried seafood appetizers, poached salmon, simple risotto with fresh herbs, and the classic Piedmontese dish called vitello tonnato. Typically chilled before serving, this red wine makes for a delicious “winter rosé.”
Dense purple-red colour with a crisp edge showcases a rich fruit bouquet with impressions of jammy wild blackberry and raspberry. Drinks medium bodied but with a complex palate full of deep fruit. Intense, fruity, and smooth, this wine is remarkably supple.
The de Corato family roots go deep into the agriculture of Puglia. Here, in the countryside of Andria, Sebastiano de Corato founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940s, inspired by a vision of realising, and bringing to the world’s attention, the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area. Widespread recognition quickly followed and since then Rivera has become the benchmark of Puglia quality wine production and the force driving its rebirth, thanks also to innovations in both vineyards and winemaking introduced since the early 1980s by his son Carlo. Today, with the involvement of the third generation of the family represented by Carlo’s sons Sebastiano and Marco, Rivera continues with pride and renewed commitment the production of wines that eloquently express the intense yet elegant character of this land and its native grape varieties.
The winery’s winemaking philosophy is rigorously applied to every step of the process: vineyard management, grape harvest, winemaking, maturation and bottling; the most up-to-date viticultural and oenological practices are married to the deepest respect for natural processes, with all activities focused on achieving environmental and economic sustainability and on continuous improvement in quality. While Primitivo has quickly become the most appreciated Apulian grape variety in the world’s markets due to it’s rich and fruity character, Rivera’s modern winemaking results in a fresh and pleasant take on this varietal.
A very versatile wine that can be enjoyed by itself or matching pastas, autumn soups and meat dishes.
85% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Mammolo, 5% Merlot
This easy drinking, everyday wine has a rich, deep red hue. A bright, fruit-filled style Chianti, boasting black cherry, plum and light earth notes. It’s medium-bodied with medium tannins and notes of cranberry, cherry, and cooked fruit.
Salcheto Toscana is named for a stream which runs from the town of Montepulciano through a valley full of willows (“salco” means “willow tree” in the ancient Tuscan language). This stream is the boundary of Salcheto Toscana’s organic and biodynamic estate, rooted in the historic district of Vino Nobile in the southeast of the Siena province of Tuscany.
Thirty years have passed since Salcheto was born as a viticultural reality, transforming itself from a multicultural farm to a high quality and innovative wine house. Since 1997 under the guidance of Michele Manelli, the company has dedicated a new image to this thirty-year anniversary that reflects its path and the companies it has achieved: local wines and Sangiovese increasingly based on drinkability and aromatic precision, with vinifications entirely without sulphites and indigenous yeasts, an “off-grid” cellar, a model of environmental efficiency and technological innovations; a reference company in integrated environmental management.
The 2020 vintage was simply as complicated as its time: late frosts, humid spring, summer with peaks of extreme heat and hail, with a rainy season finale. But stubbornness and experience have brought us wines that are nevertheless generous and balanced.
Salcheto Toscana is committed to environmental sustainability. They publish a yearly sustainability report within their company and use a third-party certification system to help them watch three indicators: carbon footprint, water footprint, and biodiversity index. They operate an energy-independent cellaring system, work according to European Organic protocols, self-produce fertilizers using compost, reclaim 100% of their wastewater, and divert over 98% of their waste from a traditional landfill system. They still use the “salco” willow tree in their logo as a symbol of their commitment to sustainability. The new graphic design is also a new bottle, the Bordolese Toscanella, whose elegant shapes recall the ancient history of Tuscan wine but which is also the lightest and most ecological bottle available on the market.
Try this food-friendly wine with tomato sauces or steak. I usually think of Chianti as a must have with food, but this baby can be your Tuesday night chill night wine also!
L’ABRUNET DE FRISACH NEGRE
60% Garnacha Fina & 40% Cariñena
Cherry garnet color with violet edges showing its youth. The nose is initially spicy, floral, dairy and ripe, round fruit with mineral notes. On the palate it is fresh, balanced by a good acidity, sensations of fresh fruit, with a final where the mineral sensations return. A broad, fresh and one of those wines you don’t get tired of drinking.
Francesc Ferre’s family has been farming grapes organically in Corbera d’Ebre for over 200 years, but only just began making wine in 2009 with then 21 year-old Francesc at the helm, fresh out of school. It looks as if a giant pulled a ripcord from the earth to create the mountains on either side of their mediterranean valley, flanked by a forest to the east and a modern phalanx of windmills on its blustery western ridge. Corbera’s combination of hot, dry days in the Mediterranean sun, evening marinada onshore wind, and cool nights at Corbera’s high elevation allows grapes to maintain their acidity in otherwise arid conditions and makes it an ideal place to grow fresh, vivacious garnatxa.
“Our family farming dates back to over 200 years of heritage, working day by day in the vineyards that bear fruit to produce our wines. Our ancestors bequeathed this land laden future without being aware of it’s potential. The sweat of their work and their love for farming feeds the roots of our history. Celler Frisach Winery was born in the farming world, that makes us have our own different point of view. Our idea involves grapes experimenting, discovering new ways while respecting our roots always, respecting our origins. Freedom. We appreciate maintaining consistency with our values. Our task is simply valuing the land we work and this requires eco-friendly and organic farming. Always anchored in Terra Alta, as “vernatxa” is (Grenache). We are like a tree, the roots, and branches, one bound to clay and stones, another dreamer air like leaves and brocade.”
“The wines of Francesc Ferre are a lovesong to Terra Alta… dynamic, youthful, rural, naked, and happy.” -Joseph Roca, Somellier
Pair with autumn salads, grilled veggies, and stews.
100% Melon de Bourgogne
Clear colour with yellow-green tints show white flowers on the nose of rose, acacia and honeysuckle. This taut, mineral-textured wine offers considerable acidity paralleled with ripe apple flavors. Its balance and freshness are impressive, giving the wine purity, intensity, and persistence. A very good example of a great Muscadet with a pleasant attack, length in mouth with a typical mineral finish.
Domaine de Briaudiere is an organic farm with old vine Melon de Bourgogne in the heart of Loire Valley, France. Just south of Nantes, this Muscadet is from Sevre et Maine, a vineyard named after two rivers flowing through the vineyards. Sur Lie means aged on the less, this wine is then aged in stainless steel.
As a member of Terra Vitis, which advocates sustainable viticulture in France, we maintain a limited production (short pruning, low yield) and we operate a rigorous selection to provide our clients with authentic wines that reflect and express our terroir. Since 2019 we have the choice of going organic with the AB certification.
Best served with fish in sauce, white meat, goat cheese, oysters. Try with a caesar salad sprinkled with Rosey Harissa.
PIQUEMAL CÔTES DU ROUSILLON
Grenache – Syrah- Carignan
Crimson red in color with slight violet hues, the nose hits with fruity notes of brambly blackberries backed by aromas of spice and pepper. A hint of licorice comes through on the palate that offers a supple body with silky tannins.
Located in the heart of Roussillon, Domaine Piquemal covers 48 ha of hillsides in the Agly Valley, on the foothills of Corbières. Passionate about wine, like his two grandfathers, Pierre contributed to the establishment of the Domaine and actively began restructuring the vineyard in the 1970s: regrouping of plots and preservation of old qualitative vines.
Since the early 20th century, the Piquemal family has been farming grapes in the heart of southwestern France’s Roussillon—known best by locals as the “Canigou,”or Northern Catalonia. Nestled in the foothills of the Corbières Mountains, in the heart of wild Cathar country, their estate covers 46 hectares of vineyard land and two hectares of olive groves on the slopes of the Agly River Valley. The domaine has been run by the same family since its early beginnings, with each generation contributing its own improvements and innovations. The current head of the family, Pierre Piquemal, began to help his grandfather in the vines at the age of 15. Passionate about wine, like his two grandfathers, Pierre contributed to the establishment of the Domaine and actively began restructuring the vineyard in the 1970s: regrouping of plots and preservation of old qualitative vines. In 1983, he and his family launched the first bottling under their own label, and today, Domaine de Piquemal continues to be a family affair. Pierre’s daughter, Marie-Pierre, now runs the winery alongside her father.
In this part of Roussillon, a mosaic of terroirs contributes to the intensity of the wine: schist, marls, gneiss, granite, and limestone all lay the patchwork of the vineyards of Domaine Piquemal, changing the colors of the earth one vineyard to the next, from red to black to white. The Piquemal family restructured the vineyards in the 1970s to regroup plots and preserve the older vines, allowing them to experiment with different blends of noble grape varietals while still remaining within the confines of the Côtes du Roussillon AOC. Year-round sunshine and limited rainfall lend power to the reds, while also allowing for the exceptional ripeness needed for their cuvees of vin doux naturels, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes Ambré. They farm their land sustainably, plow the soils and perform a green harvest to keep yields low at an average of 30 hl/ha. The winery produces up to 15 different wines each year. This diversification has come about in large part because of the Piquemal family’s interest in showcasing the wide variety of terroirs found in Roussillon. Hand picked, native yeast.
Pair with stews, grilled red meat, chicken casseroles, lasagna, and fermented cheeses.