Cantine Monfort Blanc de Sers Brut Nature ($21.99)
From the producer:
"New entry in Monfort winery, Blanc de Sers Brut Nature is a sparkling wine produced in according to Metodo Classico method: nine months on the lees obtained from the grapes Valderbara, Vernaza and Nosiola cultivated on the terraced hills of Serso and Viarago. The optimal altitude between 550 and 700 meters a.s.l., the particular acidity of these grapes and their delicate aroma combined with the right period of ageing on the lees provide a quality creamy sparkling with a fresh and enchanting bouquet. Brut nature, zero dosage or pas dosé, the choice of our sparkling wine master to make in the flûte what grapes and terroir have to say.
Colour: pale yellow.
Bouquet: white flowers and a hint of green apple enhanced by a touch of hay.
Perlage: enhances the flavor and length.
Excellent as an aperitif, it goes very well with light appetizers, with dishes based on fresh water fish and seafood, soup and mushrooms."
I carry several wines from Cantine Monfort because they are doing a great job of making high quality wines from lesser known, indigenous grapes. This sparkling wine is elegant and delicious, and is a nice step up from Prosecco. Perfect for a toast on New Year's Eve!
Querciavalle Chianti Classico Riserva ($24.99)
From the producer:
"Since the year of the wine estate establishment in 1954, the Riserva Querciavalle has always been considered as one of the most representative wine of the Losi family’s production. Appreciated also by the most demanding customers for its excellent quality, this wine represents the real authentic expression of Chianti Classico appellation.
Wine making: Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature lower than 27° for about 15-20 days, which is the average suitable time for extraction from the skin of colour, polyphenols, tannins and other typical features of Chianti Classico. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine is placed in cement-vitrified tanks for the second fermentation, until the malic acid gets totally exhausted. Only at this moment, the wine will be ready for ageing in wood Aging: 24-30 months in 53 hl Slavonian oak casks Refining: an additional rest in bottles for 3-6 months before merchandising further enhances Chianti Classico aromas and flavours.
Bottles produced: 15,000
Colour: brilliant deep ruby red, tending to garnet with aging
Bouquet: intense, fine and charming, recalling ripen fruit, berries and vanilla;
Flavour: warm and harmonious; elegant noble tannins, dry, complex and with long-lasting finish
Serving Suggestions: T-bone steak, lamb, wild boar and wild game"
The first time I tasted this wine, I didn't have strong feelings about it. Chianti is not my favorite, so I struggle a little with choosing which to sell in the shop. The second time I tried it, I was lucky enough to be dining with Francesco and Valeria Losi (daughter of the winemaking family and head of international sales). Over several courses we tried all of the brand's wines, and when I had the Chianti Riserva paired with food (specifically pork osso bucco), it was a revelation. It's no secret that a great pairing will bring out the best of the food and the wine, but this Chianti really demands to be enjoyed with a meal. You can appreciate it on its own, but a hearty, fatty, rich dish will really let it shine.
Bodegas Bleda Pino Doncel 12 Meses ($22.99)
From the producer:
"Made with a selection of Monastrell and Syrah grapes from our vineyards, this wine is aged at least twelve months in select French and American oak barrels. It has great aromatic intensity, complex on the nose and balanced on the palate. It is fruity and fresh, with mature tannins that give it volume and richness, as well as a long finish. A wine that always leaves you wanting more!
Monastrell (red-wine grapes with small, tightly bunched clusters) is the variety that best adapts to the conditions in Jumilla, as it needs a warm climate to ripen properly and tolerates the lack of rain very well. It ripens very well, given the ease with which both sunlight and air can penetrate its scarce foliage. The many hours of sunlight and abrupt temperature changes, with hot summer days and cool nights plus intensely cold winters with temperatures often dropping below freezing at night, give the Monastrell grapes a high concentration of essential components, allowing us to make powerful, deeply coloured wines with great structure and aromatic complexity.
Monastrell vines are not irrigated and require large swaths of land, as it is a low-yield grape that is harvested by hand in a “back-breaking” process.
Monastrell, in general, doesn’t need phytosanitary treatment, as it is highly resistant to cryptogams. The dry, arid climate of the region also helps in this regard. So, we can grow the grapes organically without any of the much-feared infestations vines are prone to in damper areas.
Color: deep cherry. Aroma: Sweet spice, ripe fruit. In mouth: Complex, ripe tannins, long finish."
If you are a California Cab or Old Vine Zin drinker, try this wine. It's big and bold, smooth on the palate, rich, and long-lasting. This wine is more elegant than others that I've had from the area, perhaps due to the addition of the Syrah, which gives it some backbones and keeps it from being a fruit bomb.
Goretti L'Arringatore ($41.99)
From the producer:
"60% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo
MATURATION: about 14/16 months in barrique
REFINING: about 12/14 months in bottle
AGEING POTENTIAL: 10 or more years depending on the vintage
COLOUR: intense ruby red with violet hues
BOUQUET: complex and very intense, with notes of mature, exotic fruit and honey
TASTE: aromatic, elegant with fine notes, long and lingering
SERVE WITH: roast and grilled meats, excellent with mature cheeses and pasta dishes with tomato sauce."
This just landed at the shop, and I'm very excited to have another Umbrian wine to offer. L'Arringatore is bold and rich, though not really full-bodied. There's quite a bit of dark fruit balanced by firm tannins. I think a California Cab drinker will be especially drawn to this.
Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino 2007 ($69.99)
From the producer:
"A life and a passion devoted to agriculture …A life that has its roots in a strong and generous territory, the territory of Montalcino.
…A life that the Fattoi family has always dedicated with absolute self-denial, enthusiasm and professionalism, to the production of wine and olive oil that have made Montalcino famous world-wide.
Ageing: 4 years total, 2 in oak casks and tonneauxBottle ageing: 4 months at least
Average yearly production: 20.000 bottles of 0,750 lt.
The wine is visibly limpid, brilliant, an intense ruby red color, with reflections of garnet.
intense, persistent, full and ethereal, revealing the aromas of spices, forest floor, small red fruit and rich perfumed roses.
The wine is elegant, harmonious, with long aromatic persistence, balanced tannins and well rounded, with a dry and persistent finish
18° C. It is advisable to uncork the bottle at least 2 — 3 hours before serving. The wine benefits from being decanted in order to aerate the wine. Serve in crystal balloon glasses.
Recommended food accompaniment:
Red meats, game, mushroom and truffle dishes, aged cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Tuscan Pecorino. An excellent wine for meditation."
The pricing on this wine reflects that it is a 2007 (a very good vintage for Montalcino), but at the same time, the age and quality make this a fair bargain. This wine is approachable now, but will drink well over the next five years, though I am partial to opening now and enjoying it! Elegant, soft tannins prevail, but there is enough structure here to balance the dark red fruit and mild baking spices. A subtle earthiness underlies the fruit. This is a beautiful wine.