In Trento we had a 20 minute break from wine while en route to Furlani...1st and last Spritz of the trip.
Just back from my recent whirlwind trip around the Italian peninsula we find ourselves already looking at Easter weekend....wasn't it just New Years?
For those who think that my annual voyage to Italy is 'vacation', I dare you to come with me...in just under 13 days we covered over 3800kms, visited nearly 20 producers and did it all while fulled on many forms of pork, strong espresso and zero-sulfur wines. Sounds great, until you do it. Again, it's not vacation, but this trip serves as a moment to reflect, be in the vines, in the cellars with the winemaker, at table talking about the future, the past....it gives me complete inspiration and also wears me down to the bone. Such a great time though.
So, back in the flow of the shop, and yes, it's time to dive into an Easter (or whatever you want to celebrate) feast. The neighborhood always bustles around the holidays and Easter seems to bring the best out of everyone. The espresso flows freely and the ricotta pies are still warm down the street...and what do we have to offer?...some serious Italian wines!
Admittedly Spring hasn't quite sprung as of yet. But we must believe! Tonight's lineup will take some inspiration from my recent trip but above all be an amazing set of wines perfect for a family meal. Inspired by Spring, yet still fully aware that cloudy, 45 degree days are here to stay...Join us, you won't be disappointed tonight!
The Buona Pasqua Lineup:
Matteo Furlani, Bianco Alpino, Trentino $25
Matteo Furlani is a funny guy. One of those tall, narrow, blue eyed Italians you think might be a soft spoken mountain man. In part he is just that. On the other hand his dream is to one day drive his Ducati across the US in 3 days. He cracks a sly joke with a mischevious glimmer in his eye, then pops open a crazy mountain wine made of grapes no-one every heard of. His tiny plots are scattered around the high altitude Valsugana deep in the Dolomites. This is a brisk, high toned white wine. Acid lovers rejoice. Aromatic wine lovers rejoice, just a little but not too much.
Montemelino, Bianco da Tavola, Umbria $18
Margret Cantarelli was in great form when I saw her last week. She and her husband Guido (an 80 something year old Italian jokester) continue to make some of the most simple and characterful country wines in northern Umbria. This is a great little white wine, the perfect counter point to the Furlani; rounder, more herbal and nutty with a waxy, salty finish...we had it with artichokes and it was great.
Vigneti Saetti, Rosato Frizzante dell'Emilia, Emilia-Romagna $20
Luciano Saetti is one my my all time favorite lambrusco producers. For the past 20 years he has been perfecting bottle refermentation and capturing the best of what the Sorbara variety can do. While I don't personally import Saetti's wines I have a tremendous love and respect for them. Being a guy who loves all things Frizzante this is one of the masters. I got to taste with Saetti and his daughter briefly at VinItaly (the seventh circle of hell if you ask me) and it was great. We are pumped to have this rosato lambrusco just in time for spring!
Az. Agr. Guglierame, Sciac-tra`, Ormeasco di Pornassio, Liguria $30
Agostino Guglierame and his brother Rafaele have been bottling their tiny production of wine since 1958. When I told other Italian's where I had been for some visits I mentioned Pornassio...they had no clue where it was. That's likely because it is a tiny village of 110 people, nearly abandoned by the younger generation, nestled high in the Maritime Alps just 10km from France. These wines are relics, pieces of history and at the same time completely contemporary. To describe this 'rosato' is a mistake, you simply must try it to understand. Better yet, go visit Guglierame, if you can find it on a map.
Cascina 'Tavijn, Ruche` del Castaglione Monferrato, Piedmont $26
Nadia Verrua is just plain great. Her wines display the energy and inspiration of a young woman winemaker trying to craft genuine Piemontese oddities from her family's simple territory. Ruche` is a grape you either have never heard of (that's okay) or one that you flock to and seek out whenever you can. The variety is a wildly aromatic red grape, lots of potential fruit, spice and plush ripeness are key to it's success. When done right, and in my experience this is the best one made, it's a really enjoyable wine...it's like a watercolor of wine, all pastel and perfect for Spring. Very Limited!
Collecapretta, il Forestiero, Terzo la Pieve, Umbria $65
We had to pull out all the stops. Last week you may have noticed one or two new releases from Collecapretta just arrived...well, the much loved il Forestiero is back, and we're opening it up! From two rows of illegal planted sagrantino this wine is a stark juxtaposition to that of Bea's (one of my all time personal favorite wines). The Mattioli version of sagrantino is much more ephemeral and immediate, yet every bit as profound and capable of aging (though it doesn't need to be aged). This comes from a stark divide in philosophies that separate the Mattioli's from the Bea's. Where the Bea's extract their potent sagrantino on the skins for some 40-65 days, the Mattioli's macerate for only 8-10 days, believing that the sagrantino grape already has enough tannins, why extract more? Where the Bea's age for years in oak, sulfuring the wine throughout, the Mattioli's never use oak, opting for cement and resin containers and they never use any sulfur. Where the Bea's produce some 20,000 bottles of sagrantino from some 20 hectares, the Mattioli's make 426 bottles from 2 rows of vines. I love both, but il Forestiero is a must have.
Poderi Cellario, Moscato, Piemonte $20
After all that deep thought on sagrantino, how about some proper Easter brunch wine. Moscato at it's best. Simple, fizzy, gently sweet. I don't trust people that don't like moscato.
Upcoming Winemaker Events
Next Friday, April 10th 5-8pm
Juliette Chenu of Domaine Chenu visits from our favorite Savigny-les-Beaune family in Burgundy! It will be her first time to Boston and we will pour her much loved wines and show her what a Bottega tasting is all about!
Friday, April 17th 5-8pm
Weingut Meinklang will join us from Austria. These guys make some of our (and your) favorite Austrian and Hungarian wines. A fun lineup is in the works so plan on being here!