Cantina Frentana Cococciola ($14.99) Abruzzo From the producer: "Many arms and many minds have allowed Cantina Frentana to be what it is. What we now know as Banca dei vigneti (Vineyards bank) was created from many years of shared knowledge: it’s an extraordinary resource thanks to which the cellar directly manages part of the vineyards, using organic techniques, in view of converting the whole production to organic cultivation with the passing of time. It’s a concrete commitment in defence of the greatest heritage of a cooperative company: those precious vineyards at risk of being abandoned because of the lack of generational turnover within farming families. Preserving the territory and the landscape, offering an occupational perspective to young people who want to stay in the countryside, but have little land at their disposal: Banca dei vigneti supports all of these activities.
Production and wine making: A careful combination of the autochthonous Cococciola vine varieties, coming from selected vineyards on Frentana hills, allow us to obtain a slightly fizzy and scented wine. The winemaking is made by performing a controlled fermentation on early harvested grapes to better enhance the freshness and liveliness of this wine. Features of the wine: It is a rare autochthonous grape variety of the Frentana area in Abruzzo. Cococciola is cultivated using the Abruzzo pergola technique. The winemaking requires a soft pressing, fermentation and ageing on stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The color is pale straw yellow, with scents of white flowers, citrus and light spicy notes; on the palate it has a vibrant acidity and freshness, fruity notes with a delicate almond final aroma. It is a quaffable wine. To be served at 9-11°, highly recommended as aperitif wine and to start a lunch; it goes well with delicate fish dishes and fried vegetables."
From me: This summer you will see a number of new Italian whites in the shop, and this is the first to arrive. As you might know, love giving attention to indigenous (autochthonous) grapes, and this one is a standout. Try it if you like Pinot Grigio or if you like the Soave that I sell. It's a bit savory, but so drinkable!
Goretti L'Arringatore ($39.99) Umbria 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."
From me: 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. It's best if opened two hours before drinking.
1. Taste with as clean a palate as possible. Try to avoid smoking or chewing gum just beforehand. If you have just eaten, drink some water to clear the flavors of the meal.
2. Keep an open mind. Try new things! We all get into ruts when it comes to our palates, but the fun of a tasting is that you don't have to commit to the whole bottle. If you don't like what you've tasted, you can spit it out.
3. Spit or swallow--it's up to you! Just make sure you use the spittoon!
4. See, swirl, smell, sip, savor. Give attention to all aspects of the wine. Here are a couple of links that explain the process:
5. Have fun! Wine tasting has an air of elitism around it, but unnecessarily so. Your palate is your own-it's as individual as you are-and the most important part of appreciating good alcohol is knowing what you like and why you like it. You don't have to use fancy words or spend a lot of money on a bottle. As the kids say, you do you!