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giovedì 24 maggio 2012

Castell' In Villa, in 17 vintages

Antonio Galloni stopped in the other day with 17 friends of his from Castell' in Villa.  Classic expressions of Sangiovese from Chianti Classico.  I showed up after the battle, but all of the wounded soldiers remained standing.  After tasting through them twice it was very obvious, the 1977 was far superior to the other 16 vintages, which went back to 1971 and up to the 2005.  The '77 Chianti Classico Riserva stood out from the rest with its deep forest notes, salty cheese, dark frutti di bosco liqueur and ever so harmonized tannins with an overall great mouthfeel and still youthful (for it's age) acidity.

Quickly researching the vintage online here is what the Wineanorak said about tasting the 1977 during his visit to Castell' In Villa with Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa, the current owner.

Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva 1977''This was a year with frost in April that led to naturally low yields. This was the first time they realized that yields were so important. Pure, smooth, ripe nose with some earthy hints. The palate is really pure, fresh and complex with lovely spiciness to the dark fruits. Brilliant stuff that is evolving beautifully. 95/100''

giovedì 10 maggio 2012

A lineup of Donkey and Goat in the Berkshires

''Our Chardonnay doesn't taste like pineapple, and it shouldn't.'' 
-Tracey Brandt, on their Chablis inspired Chardonnay.

Attempting to escape the madness and the fast pace of New York, I found myself on a very gloomy Wednesday, taking the Amtrak north to The Berkshires.  I had a few plans and a dinner for my fathers birthday, but didn't imagine I would run into Tracey Brandt from Donkey and Goat Winery.  My good wine pal Caitlin Harrison (who worked some days in their winery a few years back) invited me over to Great Barrington, Ma for a quick tasting with Tracey and Amanda Schark of Charles River Wine Co, who will be distributing the wines for Massachusetts.

Located in Berkeley California, Donkey and Goat Winery is owned and operated by Tracey and her husband Jared Brandt.  They produce french influenced natural wine that are some of the best California wines I have tasted, as far as my palate is concerned.

The 2010 Sluice Box was brilliant, a blend of 62% Marsanne, 25% Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc, and 18% Vermentino.  Thick, almost milky on the palate with notes of lemon peel and a beautiful easy drinking acidity.  They now have enough Vermentino planted to bottle it by itself and they are pondering a 50 case production varietal wine... I say YES!

The 2010 Chardonnay will be the last bottling from the Brosseau vineyard in Monterey, which was the south most source for their wines.  The limestone rich appellation was the original purpose for sourcing the grapes there, to produce a Chablis style Chardonnay.  This was one bad ass wine, the best part was that you still tasted California in the glass, but just not in a buttery, messy kind of way.  Luscious, a touch spicy and almost full body but with a zippy acidity as if a frenchman were trotting through the vineyards of Monterey.  Tracey said they have already found new Chardonnay vineyards that will be much more accommodating for future production.  

Above, is the Five Thirteen Chateauneuf-du-Pape style red blend.  They use five of the thirteen permitted grapes in Chateauneuf: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Cinsault, a perfect spring and summer grilling kinda wine.  Thanks Tracey and Caitlin, it was truly an amazing tasting and dinner chatting about wine and travels!

mercoledì 2 maggio 2012

a 1988 Sagrantino di Montefalco walks into Maialino

Nice to see these old Sagrantino's opened at Maialino last night during a wine dinner with the folks from Omni and Antonelli.  Besides the old wines drinking well it was great to see Alice making an appearance for the tasting.  The coolest part about the three wines above (1988, 1995, 2000) was tasting a vertical of three vintages at three different stages of their evolution.  That is to say, pre-peak, peak and past-peak.

The 1988 was funky, pencil lead like, dirty, thick, chunky, barnyard, the fruit had let go and it was obviously past its peak.  The 2000 was showing marvelous, still with big dominant tannins.  Could drink now with great pleasure but could age a few more years as well.  The 1995 Sagrantino was singing and right at its peak in my opinion. Some amazing liquorish and mint notes on the nose and palate, beautiful dark red fruits, good acidity and going the distance on the palate.  An unforgettable wine...

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