mercoledì 19 novembre 2014

Grosse Lage, Lieu Dit Lutte Raisonnèe

Weingut Clemens Busch
From Punderich in the Mosel; a small town in the north part of the river. The Gross lage vineyard in this village is named Marienburg and in this slope vineyard you find different slate color which divide the Marienburg vineyard in different aspect. This are Rothenpfad which are red slate, Felsterrasse grey and rocky vineyard,  Fahrlay and Fahrlay Terrassen are blue and stony slate, Falkenlay on grey schists slate soil.
Clemens Bush is a byodinamic producer with a great understanding of the slate soil of Mosel as Heymann Lowenstein from Winningen in the top north part of the river. Clemens make all the differents slate aspect of Marienburg and labeling separately. He macerated the whole bunch for 8/12 hours, than oxidize the must for 7 days with spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel which can go up for 3/4 months. Elevate on lees in old Fudree at least 10hl.
The 2010 for Rothenpfad section in Marienburg was peachy and lime, honey, slaty, steely with an undertone of kernel and mushroom; long palate with great tension.

Pierre Morey 
coming from a family in Burgundy which was for a long time metayers for Comte Lafon. In the early 1990 Pierre decide to set up a small Negociants business and also became a winemaker a Domaine Leflaive and in parallel got his domaine certified biodynamic from 1997. His main target is to get good healthy fruit in the cellar and work with minimal intervention and all his done by gravity. The barrel are 25% brand new.
Les Tesson are a small Lieu-dit in the north part of Mersault on top of Le Goutte D'Or premier cru and on the border of Les Grand Charron Lieu-dit well know by the young producer Vincent Dancer.
2008 Les Tesson was gold in color with apple character with limestone minerality buttery and tension acidity play a good parallel in the palate. Elegant, finesse and great structure you always find in a Mersault wine. 

#mineralwine #mosel #burgundy

giovedì 21 agosto 2014

Lammidia the new boys of Natural wine


Abruzzo a green region in the middle of Italy along the coast of Adriatic sea the cultivation of vine has been a long, long tradition::. Pliny the Elder mention Abruzzo a few times in his books just because was fashion; other intellectuals were talking about the most beautiful region of Italy.
However currently a new stars of vignerons is born:
Lammidia located in a small town up to 700 metre above sea level called "Villa Celiera". I have been in this town and seems like time has been stopped just after the second world war, lots of sheeps around and the main job is the cultivation of the land in many crops; outstanding!

Marco e Davide are the mind and the hands behind this fantastic project, Montepulciano and  Trebbiano or Procanico this is the way they like to call it. Experimental vineyards are planted with Pinot Noir and later they are thinking of something like Poulsard or Trosseau. These guys are really open mind they are not related with the ancient tradition of the folks around Italy. If they find a perfect land with particular soil they look for the right grapes even if before no one never planted in this land, I'm really looking forward to try in 5 years their Pinot Nero.
Davide e Marco talk and explain their wines.
Is a few years they train themselves experimenting with fermentation, aging and other techniques to get the right wine. For me they are at the perfect mature way. 
Now they are very clear, they know what they want, no tertiary hints on their wine by oak, only concrete tanks and some amphora, fiber glass and stainless steel. 
The wines are pure expression of their personality and bring out the soil mostly pebbles on the surface with great percentage of limestone and predominately by marl and clay.
Mineral, reductive and crunchy for me are the three adjectives to describe their wines.
The first wine they did was made here, now are containers used to move wine.

This guys has worked in Italy and France in many well known natural wine producers Jean Foillard,   Gian Marco Antonuzzi and many more… 

The visit finished with a night time drinking their wines and some other bottles and they prepared for us a beautiful pasta dishes made with Verrigni pasta and clams was superb.

martedì 22 luglio 2014

Frank Cornelissen and Etna.

Last week I went to visit the most underground producer of Etna; Mr. Cornelissen.

We met at the church of Passopisciaro in the afternoon, with us there were other couples from NY and Italy.
Soon we went in the new temporary winery build in two floor, on the ground floor there is the aging, upstair is use for the vinification. Frank dreaming in a proper winery in tree floor with an underground cellar with natural constant temperature, currently need use air-con to be able to monitor-ate the ambience. He reckon this new winery will be ready in 10 years.
As soon we came into the winery I notice a certain amazing hygiene, the cellar was super clean and while Frank show as and explain the steps of the vinification I understood how is important from him to keep the ambience quite sterilized.
Here there is only ambience yeast and nothing is added to the wines.
Plastic bucket in reasonable size are used for fermentation.
Thus the perfect material as Frank reckon for the aging is the fiberglass tanks; also Frank was know for the use of Amphora (clay pot) which Cornelissen vitrified to better keep the wine innocent, not to much oxygen exposed and the glass do not add any extra character at the wine. His wines are pure expression of the terroir and are really just a grape juice.
Frank his got some interesting passion of what he does. Hearing him talking it's an amazing experience, personally i reckon this reflect the wines.
During the visit while we were talking saw the Amphora wasn't perfectly clean and in a matter of second went to pick up a proper tool to spry and clean up. In this occasion told us his philosophy to make a good wine is to keep everything super clean to do not have spoiled bacteria affected the wines.
Stainless steel for him is a good material just for the passage of the wines, however he doesn't like it for the aging; is a good material to clean easily trough the process of vinification.
He love fiber glass it is for Cornellisen the best container to store the wine for the aging, doesn't add nothing to the grape juice while resting to become a good wine.
All his vineyard are on his map and carefully he explain everything about them aging of vines and soil profile was  quite amazing. The only single vineyard are the Magma wine which coming for a vineyards called Barbabecchi over a 1000 meter above sea level in Castiglione di Sicilia on Etna. Also are the oldest vines he got. A sanguine wine with a very complex layers of flavor, saltiness, noble tannin and fresh acidity.
Buried Amphora.
Susucaru his new wine, a Rose blend Mascalese and Minella a glou glou wine I loved it.

some shoot around Etna below:

Vines on Etna.
An old vine
Alive soil on Etna.
Pebbles are quite common on Etna, stony and clay with layer of Lava volcanic soil.
Thanks Frank Cornelissen to let visit and taste his wines, amazing experience.

martedì 1 luglio 2014

The real Montalcino

Montalcino a great town in Tuscany in the provence of Siena, people all over the world know this small village for their incredible wine made with Sangiovese actually a particular clone called Sangiovese Grosso; due to the fact of concentration of terpene and flavonoid and small black berries a bit different of the other type of Sangiovese.
Some producer made this wine travel in the old days all over the world and gave it a strong personality, Biondi Santi perhaps is the father of it.
On my small trip in Montalcino I did try to understand why it is so good, I visit many wineries and I choose them in regards to their way to work the soil and the attention on mother nature which belong to my philosophy of drinking.. I need to drink something which I can put a face of a person behind it, thus means company and big corporation even if their wines are amazing, they don't attract me. I always loved the growers and family businesses.
I'll not pretend to say what I tasted are the best of the denomination, but that's my research which drives me this way, of course there will be other nice growers but unfortunately I' m not aware. So your (others) advice are welcome to this post.
Brunello taking shape
A bit of tips on Montalcino:
Montalcino rises 560m above sea level between the valleys of rivers Ombrone, river Asso and river Orcia. On a surface about 24,000 hectare which only 15% is occupied by vineyards. To the south, Mount Amiata (an inactive volcano) rising 1740m higher looks over and protects the Brunello territory, protecting the Brunello from atmospheric phenomena such as cloudbursts and hailstorms. There are different sub regions which aren't actually recognized but these make the terroir driven. So in the centre of the denomination there is the town of Montalcino which is the north part of the area, making wine with more finesse, elegance and acid structure going towards Torrenieri. Heading south east you will find the area of Castelnuovo dell'Abate. Here the soil is fatty and the climate is hotter. Their wine tends to be a little bit fattier with great structure. However the vineyards on top of the hills in this area are mitigated by the river Ocia and the nearby volcano Mount Amiata. So in this case the highest position in this part gives as well elegance and finesse. To the south center and south west we find a small number of towns with vineyards around, which makes their wine more masculine, more tannin and more structure. They are Santangelo in Colle, Sant Angelo Scalo and Camigliano. Here the vineyards overlooking the sea 40 km away and thus the sea breeze influences the wine, with mineral context and sapidity (perception of saltiness). In all the denomination the soil is very diverse, thus in common there is this Galestro soil which is a type of rock you can find in small and big sizes and are compact clay, loam and marl (compacted over centuries). the climate is typical mediterranean ensuring a gradual and full growth of the grape bunches.
Mount Amiata from Castelnuovo dell'Abate.

Galestro soil
Santangelo in Colle we visited Fonterenza winery. Owned by two sisters, we were welcomed by Francesca she was very kind, warm and friendly. We tasted some wine from the barrels, different vintages and i loved it. They reflect their personality are elegance, feminine and mineral.
Long maceration between stainless and wood and they age rigorously in italian big barrels. Leave the wine with some balsamic and spice tertiary integrate with the fruit profile.

Fonterenza wines.

In Montalcino next door to the famous producer Biondi Santi there is this other small producer Pian Dell'Orino.  A couple from northern italy and germany working meticulously in biodynamic farming. Following step by step the holistic technique of the biodynamic philosophy. They experiment in the vineyard they prune they till plant by plant they choose the best by trying to have a dialogue with each vine plant. The vineyard architecture is in a circular shape for the harmony to allow mother nature to freely enter. Their Brunello are a type of burgundy style, very pinotesque color, sour red fruit intense galestro minerality.

Pian Dell'Orino wines
Castello Di Argiano in Sant'angelo Scalo I visited the Sesti family, an aristocratic english personality.   Elisa Sesti welcomed us and showed us their gem. More than 40 hectares but less than 10 hectares are dedicated to vines. To achieve a great bio diversity with different crops and to give a subliminal healthiness to the vines. Lunar faced and astrological philosophy influence the different range of wines. different capacity of barrels used for the production of Sangiovese. Sesti soil is rich of fossils and gives a very interesting mineral contact to their wine, a pure expression of Sangiovese.

@ SESTI winery

Mr Colleoni from Podere Sante Marie
A very small artisan in the centre of Montalcino. Here the attention of farming is one of ancient times where nature is left to do its own thing. He told us that a clean perfect swiss garden is not applied on his land, instead a wild view is his perfect garden. Colleoni vineyards are full of life! But they are not shaped as beautiness to the normal persons eye. His wines are eccentric but humble. Tasting from barrels of '11 to 2013 and he brought us through the degustation step by step, it was an outstanding experience to listen and absorb his words. An old fashion true olden time Brunello.
Climate, soil, exposition was the main topic.
Pinotesque, balsamic, length, spiciness and earthiness are the layer of this wine.

@ Colleoni Podere Sante Marie.

martedì 17 giugno 2014

Monforte D'Alba Bussia Dardi

A small vigneron in the center of Monforte make a really interesting barolo for the Dardi Cru in the big Lieu Dit Bussia just below Bussia Soprana; they are the Fantino Brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale.
Ancient vines planted on steep, southeastern slopes in a reasonable environmental friendly farming.
Their cellar is one of the gem in Monforte. A charming house with a cave underneath for fermenting and aging the wine with perfect natural temperature and constant humidity.

Alessandro and Gian Natale working the grapes to show the pureness of the fruit without build any unnecessary third aspect from wood aging; fermentation is taken through vats oak and stainless steel, aging are done in Barrique for a very short time and then aging in the classic big slavonian italian barrel.
We tasted different wines a beautiful Barbera d'Alba from 2010 clear and brilliant in color, lots nice red and blue fruit hints of spice, finesse and elegance with a typical easy drinking attitude.
Two Riserva of Barolo for the Cascina Dardi cru from 2006 and 08; time of aging in the riserva are very long 5 years before release in bottle.
Incredible complex, with different layer of aromatic flavor elegant and finesse are the sublime adjective to describe these wines.
I loved their hospitality and charming personality.
Also from the barrel we had some taste of the 2010 barolo sublime. To finish we had an exceptional glass of the Barolo chinato.
A great thank you to these two heroes of Monforte. 
Mr. Fantino talking with passion 

mercoledì 11 giugno 2014

Barolo tasting

A week in Barolo has been a magnificent experience, the people are warm, friendly and welcoming to show us their gem of product.
We stayed at the Giovanni Canonica place a great vigneron in the center of Barolo, a very cool place to enjoy the town of Barolo.

The first winery we visit was Giuseppe Rinaldi, we had an appointment at 11 am and on the dot we were there. Amazing house with extraordinary view of Le Coste cru 

outside of Rinaldi winery
We were led through the visit by one of the daughters of Mr. Rinaldi, Miss Carlotta a charming girl with lots of knowledge about her land and through the world. She did stage's in many places overseas in the southern hemisphere gaining experience and different points of view.

We taste the current vintage release 2010 and some barrel tasting, was an amazing experience. Rinaldi aging the different parcel in different container "called "tini" in italian"... after the vinification has been done, everything being the different parcel, is blended in the bottle.

2010 is a superb vintage in Barolo and Barbaresco. The Brunate, le Coste 2010 was superbly refined with masculine tannin and finesse in the palate lots of licorice and crushed violet quite balsamic with hints of minerality quite sandy and tuff stone. Palate dry nicely sensation with the tannin sweetness on the palate.

The 3 Tine which is the new name of the Cannubi, San Lorenzo e Ravera thus following the law change in Barolo from 2010 which the producer are not allowed to put more than one cru on the label. Rinaldi came up with this interesting name referring to the style of production because each cru aging in different Tino which is oak vats before blending.

Ruby red with a garnet rim with narrow oily legs, intense nose of fruity and floral aroma, dried mushroom, tobacco and underbrush. Fine mellow tannin and great personality.
The wines from the barrel are almost ready with some time they will be beautiful and charming, they are simply good.
The freisa was superbly nice.
Carlotta taking wine from barrel.
Thanks to Carlotta for the time spent with us, was amazing talking with her.

Rinaldi tasting cellar, my wife amazed by the wine collection.

 In the center of Barolo we also visit the Bartolo Mascarello winery another oldest traditional producer. Here the vinification of the different cru goes in the bottle are assembled directly after the harvest. There isn't a vinification by clos or vineyard separately.

Mascarello concrete tanks.
These concrete tanks vitrified inside are used for maceration only with pumping over juice and going for quite long apparently the 2010 has been one of the longest over 45 days.

We tasted different vintage of wine in Mascarello winery but the one surprise me was the 2010.
Out of control of how good it looks now:
Very vivid, bright ruby red with narrow arches and on the rim a shining orange. Nose intense, penetrating, vinous and fragrant, on the nose plum, banana with appealing hints of sandalwood with violet and licorice. Palate warm, full body very muscular and luscious. Lots of length will age forever. 

Tasting in the cellar Bartolo Mascarello.

The second day we booked the visit of Giovanni Canonica to try his Paiagallo cru next to the famous Cannubi vineyards. A very traditional producer with long maceration on skin.

Giovanni is a simple honest producer with great respect for the land and his wine. Talking with him was a completely unforgettable experience and taste his wine in the morning was a sublime tasting.
We did taste the 2010 in the glass the wine is lovely clear ruby red tending to garnet, with an orange rim. The nose was typical of red flowers (violet and roses), forest fruit, wild cherry and spice with a hint of white pepper, mineral sandy and rocks clay. The tannin filling the mouth with genuine flavor, rustic and elegant. A masterpiece.

The small cellar of Canonica.
Canonica told us he got a new small part of Ginzane Cavour another village for Barolo with old vines, I can't wait to taste this new label.
I really liked also staying at his place very nice room with a great view from the different windows in the small apartment, I recommend 
to everyone to try to book this place for a future holiday in Barolo. 

Old vines

Looking @Paiagallo through Canonica room.

giovedì 22 maggio 2014

Raw wine fair London

Last weekend I spent a few days in london for the Raw fair an artisan wine fair. There were more than 150 stands with wines from all over the world. The location was the Old Truman Brewery in Brick lane; very central and an awesome spot.
I did taste lots of wines and there are always great producers present there, the vibe at the fair was subliminal, friendly atmosphere with two very sunny days.
The organization was very efficient, between the stand there was enough room to chat with the growers  or the person/sommelier in charge.
However I'll tell in this post the wine I hadn't drunk before and thanks to the Raw I discover:
 From one appellation  I really like lately, always I spoke about in this blog is the Mount Etna in Sicily. In the fair I find this amazing artisan called Etnella. They are located in the north west part of the Volcano between the town of Presa, Linguaglossa and Passopiciaro at the altitude  of 600 to 1000 meter above sea level. 13 hectare in total which 4 are dedicated to vines and the rest are olive trees and orchards to respect the biodiversity of the living soil. 5000 bottles produced with the indigenous varieties as Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccino only trained in bush vines and quite old some even prefilloxera especially for their reserve called "Notti Stellate". Etna is known for the diurnal temperature range which make this wine a full body with great refreshing acid structure.
Notti stellati was ruby red with a bouquet of black pepper, cinnamon cassis and cherry under spirit very elegant on the palate.
The Rose (the photo at the top) was my preferred wine, sour cherry and plum with pinotesque color, savor dry with great minerality. An every day wine medium body very interesting.
Catherine and Gilles Verge in the Maconnais I always heard about this producer but this was my first time to try it, sorry to come so late I do apologies I missed something very important.
At the stand were showing 4 cuvee from different vintage from 06 to 09. They farming only 3 ha of vines between 54 and 126 years old and they do not add sulphites at all and they don't age their wines in wood instead spend 4 years in steel vats.
Their wines are pure expression of Chardonnay quite chalky and limestone minerality, electric and tight with some cheese and honey character along orchard fruit and incredible saltiness. The Virè Clessè was my favorite, which is in an AOC village in the Macon with great terroir driving.
Oregon in Willamette Valley I found this producer producing only Pinot Noir with low level of sulphite only 25 mg/l and using only old burgundy barrel. The cuvee present was Crowly Station from 2012 in a single spot or climate called Eola Amity Hills.
Some blue berries unripe and fresh clean strawberry with a hint of mushroom and forest floor character. Medium plus acid and great length. Good finish and awesome drinkability.
Russian River Valley in Sonoma County California. A guy called Derek make some very interesting wine with an Italian heritage and a degree in Enology in California, he found with this project his approach on natural wine farming after woking in a brewery. The name of the winery is very funny:
 Old World Winery: 
I then tried an orange pinot gris with some skin contact quite masculine style of this delicate grapes, great orange color phenolic component and amazing structure in the palate from 2010; lovely the third character candy orange zest, baked grapefruit with hints of iron with a metallic pleasant aftertaste.
One of their red called 1890 Block from 2011 is an unusual blend from Muscadelle, Abouriou, Zinfandel, Monduese noir, Trusseau Gris and Chasselas from vines planted in the 1890 by his italian family Martinelly.
Bright ruby color with sour red fruit, palate juice and full of energy, I loved this wine.
Behind Testalonga in Swartland in South Africa there is a vigneron called Craig Hawkins, a young winemaker who has worked in Portugal and Austria and makes 3 different type of wines in maceration with skin grapes with the Chenin Blanc and Muscatel also is the winemaker at Lammershoek another organic winery in the Swartland region.
He believes in the lees and skin to protect the wine during fermentation and enriches the final product.
On granitic soil the wines are pure expression of the new world chenin blanc with fine tannins which give an extra dimension to the wine.
Craig is the new guy of the orange wine something to be watched.
The Nouvelle Vague of Savennieres Damien Lareau, he practices byodinamic farming and he has been certified Ecocert since 2009.
The schist and slate soil of the region give brightness and charm to his wine with good balance between acidity and complexity. Talking with Damien he told me he try not tot push the harvest as sometime normal vigneron in the region do, he loves to have in his wine the perfect freshness of the Chenin Blanc with the fine and complex minerality only this small A.O.C. in the Loire valley. He's got vineyards between the two towns of Bouchemaine and Possonniere; also he's got some small parcels in Roche aux Moines. 
Les Genets was the cuvee I did really like, it's one of the more highest lieu-dit of the entire region around 85 meter above sea level on volcanic and schist soil only wild yeast on the fermentation. 18 months on lees in some new barrels and old; exotic fruit and honey, opulent and very mineral. Energetic and Superb.
Florian Looze and Cyril Alonso are the two guys behind the project Maison P.U.R. They are working their vineyards with the idea to respect the terroir with the absence of herbicide, pesticide, insecticide and any product of synthesis. They summarize their job with the description "Natural wines without inputs".
They make 4 wines in Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley, all 4 were present at the Raw fair. However for me the Cote du Py and the Regniè were wonderful.
Semi carbonic maceration, long fermentation up to 15 days to extract poliphenol and nutrients, the aging has been done in Concrete vats.
The Morgon "Cote du Py was full of cherry with peppery character quite rich, smooth with great balance.
The Regnie more feminine with nose of violet and white pepper, with a thin and nervous mouth.
Weingut Georgium in the most south region of Austria "Carinthia" near the border of Italy and Slovenian this winery working only with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
At the fair were present 3 wines two pinot noir and one chardonnay however one red was pinot vinified in white.
Very chalky and limestone soil in this region which give the wines finesse and elegance. Normally it is quite hard to find a good pinot in the old world always with the Burgundy in comparison; but these wines were a great discover for me.
Finesse and balance, electric and tight, mineral and freshness.
Poully Fume by Alexander Bain the man plough the vineyards with horse and to protect the vines sprays  tea, seaweed and others homoeopathy treatment. On silex soil with a shellfish bed the wines are super salty and very precise. A bit reductive, needs time to open, but after your patience the bottle pay you back with an infinity long lasting full of energy in the palate.
Only stainless steel and very low sulphur at the bottling.
After Dagenau, Bain is one of the man on Poully Fume.
 On monday I attended the master class about orange wine, was a great discussion between the producer and Isabelle Legeron MW which is the mind behind the fair.
The producer involved in the tasting and discussion were:
Sasa Rdikon of Radikon
Ernesto Cattel of Costadilà
Sepp Muster of Weingunt Maria & Sepp Muster
Stephane Bannwarth of Laurent Bannwarth
Craig Hawkins of Lammershock and Testalonga.
I did really like the discussion and the wines that were chosen to do that master class.
I guess now orange wines are very fashion around the planet through wine bar and restaurant, so there are very different points of view about these white wines made in red style, so with tannin and structure.
Just try it and have fun that is my conclusion.