It’s January — a month that often gets a bad rap for being kind of dull.
But have no fear, because a new month means we’re letting you know about our choosen wine selections and there’s nothing dull about that!
This month’s selections include:
- Boschis Francesco Grignolino
- Franck Besson Julienas Griottier
- Le Calcinaie Chianti Colli Senesi
- Giunta Malbec Nouveau
- Mauro Molino Barbera D’Alba
- Jane Ventura Vinyes Blanques
Boschis Francesco Grignolino
Varietal(s): 100% Grignolino
Tasting notes: Light, fresh, utterly delicious Grignolino. Super-ripe cherry and strawberry fruit at the core with hints of cranberry and licorice and a supple, grippy, finish.
About the winery: “If I had to name one superstar under the radar estate in Piedmont it might very well be Francesco Boschis. The wines are intense, delicious and reliably outstanding. Even better, because Boschis is based in Dogliani and works predominantly with Dolcetto, prices remain remarkably fair for this level of quality.” Antonio Galloni, November 2014
A family farm in the truest sense, the Francesco Boschis estate is run by Mario Boschis with the collaboration of his wife Simona and their two adult sons Paolo and Marco. They not only have some of the best high-altitude, old vines plantings of Dolcetto in the Dogliani appellation but also grow hazelnuts, as well as keep bees and cattle on their farm. They are a top Dogliani Dolcetto producer.
Vineyards are at an average of 550 meters above sea level, about 200-300 meters higher than those of Barolo and Barbaresco. Boschis soils are similar to those of Serralunga: calcareous clay, that, with these elevations, gives the wine a powerfully enhanced bouquet, as well as minerality and structure far beyond what you might expect from humble Dolcetto. Boschis’ old vines – some as old as 70 years—are all from a massal selection of Dolcetto from a prephylloxera vineyard of the late 1800s.
The first vintage under the Boschis labels was 1968, so 2018 marks 50 years of estate bottling for the family, even though they have been growing grapes in Dogliani since 1919! They have a total of 22 hectares, but only 10.4 are planted to vines.
The eye-catching labels of the wines are the work of Teresita Terreno, a local Langhe artist, and each gives hints about the wine’s nature: the strawberries on the spring-released Pianezzo refer to the wines early approachability. The San Martino has an autumnal scene, harmonious and languishing in the year’s remaining warmth—San Martino’s elegance and complexity are always on full display. Vigna Prey shows an austere hazy winter’s day frozen in snow—this is the most structured and powerful of the trio.
Winemaking techniques: Though the family works organically by definition, they are not certified. The EU labels their farming practices as sustainable. The grape is native to Piemonte and gets its name from the many seeds – to control all that seed tannin, Grignolino is always fermented gently and with little color extraction.
Exposure and altitude: Southern, 530 meters above sea level
Vines planted in: 1980 and 1985;
First vintage: 1974;
Vinification: Fermented in the skins from 4 to 5 days, on the stems for only the first 2 or 3 days;
Pairing tips: A great treat with holiday meals. The holidays are over, but keep celebrating and pair it with a beautifully crafted meal!
Franck Besson Julienas Griottier
Varietal(s): 100% Gamay
Tasting notes: Deep red garnetrobe with purple tints. A very aromatic bouquet displaying floral and cherry note. Nice concentration with a long finish and a mineral backbone. On the palate, cherry notes and floral aromas.
About the winery: A note from the importer: Iconoclastic vigneron Franck Besson believes in creating the right atmosphere in the cellar. The first thing you notice as you walk in the door are the rows of traditional pupitre that Franck uses to hand riddle much of his sparkling wine production. But then you see the many quotes about wine and drinking written on pieces of paper hanging from every available surface. These are broken up by photos of Franck’s favorite French comedians, movie stars, and local characters. Passing into the atmospherically lit barrel room where Franck ages his reds and his sparkling wines rest sur latte, you notice a detail absent from any other cave; dozens of Japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Franck says the cellar must be a calm, “zen” atmosphere for the health of the wine, and he practices Tai-Chi in his spare time.
Franck is one of the most unique winemakers in the Beaujolais. After he began working 4 ha of high elevation gamay vines near Jullié, which he inherited from his father-in-law, he recognized the quality of the terroir despite the fact that it was outside of the Cru designation. Franck’s stroke of brilliances was the idea of making methode Champenoise blanc de noir from this amazing gamay fruit. There isn’t another wine maker we know of in the world doing that! All of his vines are farmed organically and the fruit is entirely hand-harvested. In the cellar, the sparkling wines spend anywhere from 6 months to 3 years on lees before disgorgement. The Cru Julienas ‘Clos du Fief’ that Franck makes is aged for a year in 3-year-old barrels.
Despite Franck’s Zen demeanor, he is a boisterously fun guy with a definite air of mischief. As we were driving around Julienas touring his vines he had us stop in the village to visit the “old church.” Perhaps a chance to see the local seat of spirituality? Not at all! Though it is in the structure of the town’s old church, it turned out to be a hang-out for local characters who like to have a few glasses of Beaujolais in the early afternoon, shoot the breeze and photobomb our selfies. The walls here are covered in sarcastic cartoons about wine drinking and quite a bit of smutty humor inappropriate for the building’s former use. Like this old church, Franck’s wines perfectly represent the Beaujolais spirit; hard work and commitment, but also plenty of joy and enjoyment of the delicious things in life.
Franck Besson is an ex-history and biology professor who took over his father-in-law’s estate located in town of Julié in Beaujolais-Villages at the foothill of Cru Juliénas. Revolted by the poor image that was being associated with Beaujolais Villages wines, Franck Besson decided to innovate and produce Rosé and Blanc de Noir sparkling wines to prove the potential of Gamay grapes on the granitic slopes of Beaujolais. 100% organic and hand harvested his wines are nothing but a success; they will change your opinion of Gamay forever.
“The Gamay is a chameleon varietal allowing me as a winemaker to be able to juggle between audacity and tradition”.
Winemaking techniques: From two parcels in the plot ‘Le Côteau des Chanoriers’ comprising less than 1 ha at 310 meters elevation. 50 year old vines planted to grantic soils and farmed organically. Hand-harvested, carbonic maceration without sulfites, fermentation with natural yeasts. Aged 9-12 months on lees in vats. Le Griottier is a cherry tree growing La Griotte.
Farming: Organic Non-Certified
Harvest Method: Manual
Pairing tips: This is the moment for this wine – drink now! Great with red meat, pork, cheese.
Le Calchinaie Chianti Colli Senesi
Varietal(s): 100% Sangiovese
Tasting notes: The 2018 Chianti Colli Senesi is a fresh, vibrant red to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet tobacco, cedar, mint and anise overtones add aromatic nuance to a core of sweet red Sangiovese fruit. The purity of the flavors and the wine’s sheer deliciousness are both notable. Medium in body, perfumed and light on its feet, the 2018 is another winner from Simone Santini. This Chianti has fresh, happy aromas and flavors of plums, cherries, violets, rosemary, figs and more. It’s ripe, pure, energetic and utterly charming.
About the winery: Simone Santini enjoys nothing more than a good joke, though he is very serious about winemaking at his small estate, located near the famous town of San Gimignano. Le Calcinaie is one of San Gimignano’s youngest wineries. It was founded in 1987 by Santini and in less than no time he transformed it into one of the region’s best newcomers. He started with 6 hectares but has now grown to 12 hectares covered with vines. The vines have perfect exposure. Vineyards first planted in 1973.
Winemaking techniques: Certified Organic. Soil type: Calcareous and galestro marl in the zone of San Gimignano. Fermentation and maceration over 10 days. Aged 6 months in a combination of stainless steel and large oak casks. Farmed organically.
Pairing tips: Serve with pesto ravioli, pasta pomodoro, artisan pizza, cured meats, meat pâté and cheeses. Drink now through 2028.
Giunta Malbec Nouveau
A malbec nouveau?! Huh?? Yes, yes, it’s true. Because we all need to take life less seriously at times.
Varietal(s): 100% Malbec
Tasting notes: This Malbec is lighter in style, making it even more gulpable… we didn’t think that was possible. The juice is a royal, dark purple. The nose is wild and savory black olives picked off your fave pizza pie with sultry flavors of brambly fruit and wafts of smokiness. The palate is soft and plush with rich blackberries, plum, and spice. The finish is long and clean, making you clamor for the next sip!
Nose: smoky and fruity have a rendezvous with savory black olive.
Palate: like delicate blackberries and plums giving your mouth a crisp high five.
About the winery: First off, Malbec isn’t only from Argentina. And, originally, the delectable grape hails from France. Malbec has now made its way around the world and the crew behind Decibel Wines in New Zealand are doing some epic stuff with this variety. Decibel is dedicated to creating juice using classic techniques with minimal intervention. Located in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, Decibel takes a community approach to making wine, teaming up with other local growers in the area to ensure the final product is the best possible quality.
Winemaking techniques: Picked in early April the fruit was then destemmed and only lightly crushed to allow the skins to slowly breakdown during the fermentation. Wild fermentation lasted 13 days before the wine was then macerated on skins again for an additional 15 days and which also allowed for full malolactic fermentation to take place on skins. The wine was then pressed to tank and settled and again racked off its heavy sediment in early June. In late June the wine was evaluated and the decision was made to release this wine for the spring as a ‘Nouveau’ Wine
Pairing tips: Pair with a good movie, friends around a campfire, or a nice stew!
Mauro Molino Barbera D’alba
Varietal(s): 100% Barbera
Tasting notes: In the glass: fine bouquet with hints of berries and chocolate. A fresh wine offering good softness and persistence..
A very immediate Barbera, pleasant and fresh thanks to its good acidity and juicy fruit with an intense purplish red color. Nose is fine, fruity, ripe red fruit, mineral notes. Flavor is dry, full-bodied, quite supple, good persistence. Deep violet red color, fine and fruity bouquet with scents of ripe red berries and minerals. A fresh wine, mellow and persistent. Loaded with ripe and lush dark red fruits all balanced by good natural acidity.
“A fruity and easy Barbera with sliced plums, light orange peel and hints of hazelnuts. Medium-bodied, crisp and delicious. Drink now.”
About the winery: Mauro Molino, Matteo and Martinas father, founded the estate. In 1973 Mauro graduated from enology school in Alba, and then followed that with five years of winemaking experience in Emilia Romagna. In 1979 after his fathers passing, he returned home to the family farm in La Morra and began consulting for local wineries while building up his own estate. 1982 was the first vintage from the famed family parcel in Conca dell Annunziata, and the rest is history. In 2003 Matteo joined the company and became a familiar face to our staff, and then in 2009, Matteos sister also joined the gang. Today they manage approximately 12 hectares of vineyards, 50 dedicated to Nebbiolo for Barolo, and the rest mostly Barbera, and Dolcetto.
Winemaking techniques: This Barbera is raised entirely in stainless steel. Molino’s Barbera vineyards get the same strict viniculture as the Nebbiolo vines. Barbera typically isn’t a complex wine, but this is a great example of how delicious it can be.
From proprietary vineyards in Annunziata La Morra and Guarene. Maceration on the skins in temperature controlled steel tanks for 6 days, then alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in steel tanks.
Vineyard Management: Integrated insect and disease control is followed. Control treatments are carried out only when strictly necessary (an expert consults for the estate). Sulfur- and copper-based products are mainly used. A minimum number of insect-control treatments are applied and only with low-environmental-impact products. Natural cover crops (grass cover) are left in the rows between the vines. In autumn the soil on every other row between the vines is tilled. Only organic fertilizers are used. Very low doses of SO2 are added to the wines (the minimum to prevent oxidation). This estate practices sustainable viticulture.
Harvest time: late September, early October
Vinification: maceration in contact with the grape skins for a duration of 6 days, alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in steel tanks
Pairing tips: Ideal in combination with pasta, pizza, BBQ and spicy food. A wine suitable for every pairing.
Jane Ventura Vinyes Blanques
Varietal(s): Xarel·lo, Macabeu, Malvasia de Sitges, White Grenache
Tasting notes: A straw yellow colour. Aromas lychee, pineapple, grapefruit and fennel. In the mouth, crisp and light with mineral notes leading to a surprisingly long finish. Wide on the palate, intense, unctuous and very fresh. Very long aftertaste.
It is a wine with character and freshness as a guiding thread from the nose to the aftertaste.
About the winery: Jane Ventura is a family-run winery situated in the Catalonian region of Penedès near to the coast and just south of Barcelona. The estate was founded by Joseph Jane in 1914 and today the winery is run by 4th generation wine maker, Gerard Jane Ubeda who continues the family philosophy of treating the vines and the resulting wines as a way of life while utilising the unique natural environment of Lower Penedes where his two wineries – Mas Vilella and Finca Els Camps – are located. The vines are planted at altitude (700 metres above sea level) and this, combined with the influence of the Mediterranean Sea enables the grapes to preserve their acidity and freshness.
Maritime landscape of the Baix Penedès, the maritime Penedès. The boat and the floating barrels are reminiscent of the old port of Sant Salvador beach, active until 1935.
“Making wine is a way to show our generosity by being alive, it is our way of contributing to making the planet better.”
JANÉ VENTURA is a family winery with a tradition in the world of wine since 1914, in the Baix Penedès that began with Josep Jané, grandfather of Benjamí Jané Ventura.
The second generation: Albert Jané Jané. He became a large wine distributor and acquired the current Vendrell winery in 1954.
The third generation: Benjamin Jané Ventura. He started bottling wines in 1985 and in 1988 he started making cavas.
Fourth generation: Gerard Jané Úbeda. Oenologist, responsible for the elaboration of the current prestigious wines and cavas of Jané Ventura.
Winemaking techniques: The development of Jané Ventura Blanc Vinyes Blanques begins with a maceration, in which a greater aromatic potential of the wine is achieved. Subsequently, a crushing, a pressing, and a static racking is performed for 24 hours, ending with a fermentation in stainless steel.
Finally, Jané Ventura Blanc Vinyes Blanques is aged for three months in tanks with its lees.
Most of the grapes come from old vines.
Manual harvest and selection of grapes at the entrance of the winery. Cold film maceration. Static sludge from musts. Fermentation in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature (17ºC). Rest with fine mothers in tub for 4 months.
Pairing tips: Great with braised rabbit in a mustard sauce, tuna steak with onions and tomatoes or a warm scallop and mange tout salad.
Boiled seafood, Aperitif, Grilled seafood, Light starters, Baked white fish, Grilled white fish, Cod, Soupy rice, Soft cheese, Foie mi-cuit, Blue fish.