italy revised: skip the gabbagool

Beware of Imperial Wine

It's not over.  It's not nearly over.  Nope we're in deep winter now my friends and you know what we're gonna do about it?  Deal with drinking great wine.

The way we see it, even with freezing weather, tons of snow and broken down MBTA trains the wine must flow.  And tonight it flows in a big way. 

We've got six great new Italian wines in the lineup tonight, wines we have been anxiously waiting for to arrive.  From Emilia to Sicilia these producers and wines are breaking new/old ground, taking a deeper look at what it means to be 'real' Italian wine and revising their efforts both in the vineyard and winery.  The results are clear, these guys/gals are able to shed new light on things once thought of as only 'simple', all while preserving, rather redefining local traditions and quality levels. 

We know it's freezing out but we've been planning this exiting tasting all week, so don't miss out.  This is our unofficial kickoff to an amazing week of Italian wine, culminating with the
Amarone Abbondanza next Thursday, 2/12! 

Denny Bini, Levante 90, Malvasia dell'Emilia Frizzante $20
Slightly effervescent, bottle fermented, orange-ish, aromatic, dry malvasia from the Fizz Belt of Italy?  Need we say more?  Denny Bini is a very small scale, cult followed producer in Emilia-Romagna.  His wines are a reference point for the locals there and they are finally available (in very limited quantities) here in the US.  A great new addition to our pet-nat section.

Cascina Val del Prete, Arneis 'Luet', Roero, Piedmont $23
I've got a love/hate relationship with arneis.  A lot of people totally love it but all too often I find them overly aromatic, overly sweet and overly alcoholic...hmmm.  In my experience there arneis is often not good enough to bother with or it's very good but you have to pay a lot for it.  This one is different.  It has all the beautiful citrus/citron/pithy elements I actually do love about the grape in a balanced, fluid and composed stature...oh, and it's the right price too.  A lovely winter white wine to be sure.
Guccione 'C' (catarratto), Monreale, Sicily $45
Guccione 'P' (perricone), Monreale, Sicily $45
Francesco Guccione has a story to tell, and it ain't pretty.  His tiny estate in northwestern Sicily, just outside of Palermo, had a big vision; Francesco and his brother wanted to reignite interest in grapes native to their area, work completely naturally and essentially be quiet farmers.  It all went down hill when Francesco's brother was killed in a freak car accident and then the family's land was seized in an anti-mafia court case that of course dragged on for years.  It's been about 4 years since they made wine, but Francesco is back in a big way.  Tonight we pour two wines from this tiny winery.  This is the bianco, a catarratto with a little bit of skin contact, aged in stainless steel and bottled with no additives.  The second is his red, made of perricone, a vibrant, slightly rustic grape that we have come to really love.  Both of these wines can now stand proudly in the realm of the great rebirth of Sicilian wine (think Occhipinti, COC, Cornelissen, Lamoresca...).

Caves COOP Donnas, Valle d'Aosta $25
We love mountain wines, you know this.  Perhaps it's the energy they tend to have, the mountains seem to impart an element of elegance, freshness and delicacy that wines from lower altitudes can't quite grasp.  Donnas is a tiny village just north of its more famous neighbor, Carema.  It's the first village you see as you drive into the Valle d'Aosta corridor.  Steep terraced wines with nebbiolo and other local red grapes cling to the granite.  This wine is not new to the shop but it is a new vintage (2010) and it's excellent.  Stock up!

Colombera & Garella, Coste della Sesia, Alto-Piemonte $25
Alto-Piemonte is about 100kms north of the classic Langhe wine zone.  After phylloxera and WWII this region was essentially abandoned, few producers remain to this day.  A couple industrialist came along in the 60's and 70's and made commercial wine up here (Bramaterra, Boca, Lessona, Gattinara, etc) but real wine has been lacking for more then a generation.  New blood, a new perspective and a new set of ideals are reshaping this area, and it's very exciting to see (taste).  Up here it's not about high altitude, rather it's about being nestled right up under the towering Alps (Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn).  The soils are ancient, decomposed, red volcanic porphyry, which imparts a grace, spice and elegance to the nebbiolo based wines from the area.  This is essentially a younger vine, less aged Bramaterra and we couldn't be more excited to debut it.

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