Tim’s latest Italian recommendations are a must-try so I feel I should pass them on to you. First is the impeccable 2015 Robert Princic, Gradis’Ciutta, Friulano, Collio. It is lively with the right amount of fruit, weight, and grip. In other words it is both flavorful and pleasing in the mouth. Little did I know that the 2011 Loredan Gasparini, Venegazzu Della Casa, Colli is important in the history of Italian wine. This vintage is the latest in the series of Bordeaux blends which began with the 1951 vintage. Thus Loredan Gasparini made the first Italian Bordeaux blend. This bottle is developing mature notes but the core of the fruit and structural components still exist. There is a sense of tightness and resolve so drink it after double-decanting or better yet in a few years from now. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Robert Princic, Gradis’Ciutta, Friulano, Collio – $19
Imported by Vineyard Brands. This wine is 100% Friulano that was fermented and aged in stainless steel. Alcohol 13.5%. There is a lively start of white fruit and nuts which is delivered in a round character. There are stone notes through the middle, a dry finish with a touch of grip, and a fresh aftertaste. Well articulated. *** Now – 2018.
2011 Loredan Gasparini, Venegazzu Della Casa, Colli – $22
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec that was aged 18 months in Slavonian oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There are focused, round and dense flavors of blue and black fruit couple with initial bottled aged notes. This maturity is more ethereal adding complexity throughout. An herbaceous note at the start moves on to lively, dry spices in the middle, and a suggestion of powdery, ripeness in the finish. With air the wine becomes more incensed and takes on a polished wood note. ***(*) Now – 2027.
This bottle of 2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands flat out surprised me. On the first night it is certainly light bodied, a bit thin on flavor, and somewhat frail. Though there is enough earthiness and tightness that I recorked the bottle. Over the course of the second night the wine transformed. Jenn succinctly described it as a wine of pepper on the nose and potpourri in the mouth. There is more though, it is a gentle wine that develops a moderate amount of body, appropriate ripeness, and never loses a sense of its volcanic origins. It is actually quite good and I would not be surprised if it is drinking really well by the end of the year. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands – $20
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines. This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose smells of black and white pepper with some dried floral notes. In the mouth this light bodied wine begins with red fruit flavors, a little cranberry, with some ethereal ripeness by the finish. With extended air it develops more weight by the middle with a rather substantial amount of tartness, minerality, and ripe texture. More importantly the old-school potpourri flavor weave its way from start to finish. ***(*) Now – 2022.
As happy as I am to continue drinking the 2014 Fornacina, Rosso di Montalcino I thought it best to get Tim’s advice on other wines from the region. He first recommended the affordable 2013 Tenuta Vitanza, Le Paturnie, Rosso di Montalcino. This is a firm wine of black fruit that mixes in pleasing herbal notes. It could stand a few years of development to open up perhaps becoming elegant and focused. The 2012 Le Ragnaie, Rosso di Montalcino is a step up in quality and price. The deep nose will excite you and the lively flavors will only add to the positive impression. I highly recommend you drink a few bottles over the next several years. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Tenuta Vitanza, Le Paturnie, Rosso di Montalcino – $17
Imported by Tenth Harvest. This wine is 100% Sangiovese fermented in stainless steel then raised for six months in Slavonian oak. Alcohol 13.5%. This is a firm wine that remains focused with air. There is black fruit with dry herbal notes, polished wood, and an ethereal ripe finish. It remains tight with watering acidity. **(*) 2019-2024.
2012 Le Ragnaie, Rosso di Montalcino – $26
Imported by Vine Street Imports. This wine is 100% Sangiovese fermented in concrete then aged for 24 months in Slavonian oak. Alcohol 14%. The nose is deep and a touch pungent. The red and blue fruit quickly takes on polished wood notes before the brighter, red middle. There is fine acidity and grip in the end. With air this becomes a lively wine with controlled ripe fruit, a dry and bright middle, stone accented finish, and wood tannin aftertaste. Delicate floral notes even come out. This has strong development potential over the short-term. *** Now – 2026.
Domaine Palon is a small estate located in Gigondas. From 17 acres in Gigondas and 12 acres in Vacqueyras the family has produced wine for four generations. However, it was not until 2003 that the wine was first bottled under the family name. The 2015 Domaine Palon, Vacqueyras is a strong value. It is one of those wines enjoyable in its vigorous, powerful youth yet should develop and open up over the next few years. With the cold weather in our forecast I would stock up on a few bottles this weekend. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Domaine Palon, Vacqueyras – $20
Imported by Misa Imports. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. Alcohol 14.5%. This is a black fruited, floral and mineral wine with a very focused core of ripe fruit. It ripples with power and though it evolves with air to become a tasty wine of youthful vigor the balanced acidity and textured tannins will see it develop over the next couple of years. ***(*) Now – 2027.
There is no doubt that the 2014 Domaine Vincent Paris, les Cotes, Saint-Joseph is young and in need of age. If you must try a bottle this winter then drink off a small glass, recork the bottle, then try it the next day. Now the granite soil will come through, supporting the fruit. More importantly, the acidity and texture, which are superb at this stage, will pull you back for another glass or two. I recommend you stash away a few bottles. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Domaine Vincent Paris, les Cotes, Saint-Joseph – $25
Imported by Potomac Selections. This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from vineyards on granite soils north of Cornas. The vines are 10 to 20 years old with fruit fermented in both barrel and tank then aged for 12 months in oak. Alcohol 12.5%. One the second day there is an almost electric start of beautiful, textured citrus pith below citrus flavors mix into black fruit. There is an underlying chalky element. At this young stage, the wine keeps circling you back to the awesome texture. ***(*) 2019 – 2027.
The 2015 Thierry Germain, Saumur Champigny and 2015 Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon are fun to taste together for they are different expressions of the Cabernet Franc grape. Since I last tasted the Germain in the fall, it has opened up in flavor as well as shed weight and roundness. This is a light, ethereal wine that manages to move in flavor from red to black fruit. The wine reminded Jenn of a rose which I think is the best, single word description of this wine. The Baudry offers a bit more strength as well as lively zip from acidity and attractive texture as if extract were floating about. It is a bit dry and structured making me think it will drink better in the fall. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Thierry Germain, Saumur Champigny – $20
Imported by Elite Wines Imports. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 25+ year old vines, fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for seven months in tank. Alcohol 13%. There are herbaceous aromas supported by bright red fruit. In the mouth this wine is lighter in body with cranberry and strawberry flavors, and watering acidity. The light body conveys delicate flavors, which are ethereal and gently ripe, as they move from red to black fruit flavors. It picks up floral notes with air. **(*) Now – 2019.
2015 Bernard Baudry, Les Granges, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from young vines that is both fermented and aged for 7-10 months in cement tanks. Alcohol 12%. The nose reveals finely textured herbaceous aromas. The dry, linear entry of black fruit has strength picking up good zip in the mid palate. With air this becomes an inky and herbaceous wine with a cool ripeness and texture from extract in the end. **(*) Now – 2019.
The 2014 Lionel Faury, Saint-Joseph will satisfy you on the second night for it is simple and closed on the first. It eventually reveals floral berries on the nose and an almost bracing start of red fruit and acidity. The structural components exist to support development over a few years at which point it should be an elegant, pure wine. It is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Lionel Faury, Saint-Joseph – $27
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is 100% Syrah that was aged for 12 months in 10% new and 90% used oak. Alcohol 13%. The nose offers floral, aromas of tangy berries and cherries. In the mouth is an almost puckering start of red fruit and watering acidity. The wine has moderate weight with a supportive structure that comes out in the middle. It wraps up with a slightly smoky hint in the red and black fruited finish. ***(*) 2018 – 2025.