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The 2012 Adalia Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG comes from vines planted at 350 meters above sea level to calcareous soils. The wine is composed of 40% Corvina, 40% Corvina Grossa, and 20% Rondinella. The vineyards are trellised, following the regionally specific system of pergola trentina. Grapes are selected and picked by hand in the first part of October, before naturally drying in a room known as a fruttaio, specifically designed to create the best environment for the grapes to lose moisture. In February, after 4 months in the fruttaio, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed. Natural fermentation begins in oak casks and lasts for a month before malo spontaneously occurs. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels before release.
The 2016 Ruvaln Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG from Adalia comes from vines 400 meters above sea level, planted to calcareous soils. The vines are planted in in the double pergola trentina trellising system, which gives the leaves the best exposure to the sun's rays, while keeping the grapes cool under a shady canopy. The Ruvaln is made up of 40% Corvina, 40% Corvina Grossa, and 20% Rondinella. The grapes are selected by hand in the first part of October and let to naturally dry for 3 months. At the beginning of February, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed. Spontaneous fermentation begins in stainless steel, followed by malo. In the cellar, the wine ages in barrel for 24 months before release.
A while ago, my fiance filled me in on an interesting fact. Many of the grapes that go into the red wines of the Valpolicella DOC are named after the birds that eat them. Corvina is based on "corvo," which means "crow." Rondinella is based on "rondine," which means "swallow." The Adalia 2018 Laute is 35% Corvina, 35% Corvina Grossa, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara. The grapes are trellised in the regionally traditional pergola trentina system, allowing the leaves of the vines to catch optimum sunlight, while the grapes are shaded underneath their canopy. Fruit is picked by hand at the end of September, destemeed, and gently pressed. Fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel. The wine sees one week on the skins before malo. Aged in stainless before bottling. On the nose, the Laute shows red cherry, stripped tree bark, clove and pepper. The palate has juicy cherry and plum, coffee, and with cool green herbs. The mouthfeel is fresh, lush with it's fruit, and soft with it's tannin. David Hatzopoulos
The Adalia 2018 Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore Balt comes from a blend of the regions traditional red grapes. Composed of 35% Corvina, 35% Corvina Grossa, 20% Rondinella and 10% Molinara from vineyards planted to calcareous soils at 300 meters above sea level. Like all of the Adalia wines, the vines are set up in the double pergola trentina system, allowing the leaves to obtain as much sunlight as possible, while shielding the fruit below the canopy. The grapes are picked by hand in the second half of October, before being destemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation begins with native yeasts in stainless steel. Maceration on the skins lasts for approximately one week. At the end of February, the wine is then "passed over" the skins of the dried Amarone grapes for 7-10 days. Aging is done in oak barrels for 18 months, where secondary fermentation finishes before bottling. On the nose, the wine has plummy dark fruit, with cherries and herbs. There is a hint of raisin. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with cherry and earth on the palate. David Hatzopoulos
Beginning with Auosnia's pied de cuve, new grapes are added and kept to ferment for 15 days on the skins before wine is pressed off. This is the same procedure for Ausonia's more fundamental Apollo bottling. However, in this case, aging is done in amphora. One vessel is 8 hectolitres and one is a smaller 2 hectolitres. This lasts 12 months before the wine is bottled unfiltered and aged 6 more months in bottle. The color is black in the center with purple edges. Compared with Ausonia's standard Apollo, this wine shows much less fruit. It is more reserved. The wine's nose is soft, with notes of iron, tobacco, soy sauce, raw almonds and walnuts, and dried, savory red cherry. The palate has black cherry and a mix of warm herbs. In structure, the wine displays a soft texture of well-integrated tannins and medium acidity. David Hatzopoulos
From guyot trained Montepulciano vines planted to clay and limestone soils. Picked by hand in the first half of October. Primary fermentation begins with skin contact for 15 days in stainless steel tanks before malo. Wine is bottled unfiltered. Against my white notebook paper, the wine has a core of very dark purple, with a lighter shade around the rim. The nose is a blast, packed full of an array of fruits and earth. Fragrant aromas of summer peach, strawberry, and cherry create a lush base for more subtle accents of sun-dried tomato and loamy, cool earth. On the palate, there is plummy dark fruit and red cherry, with a touch of dark mineral zest. The wine is tannic, a touch more so than I anticipated, with good grip balanced by medium acidity. If you're looking for a new house red, this bottle from Ausonia could very well be your answer. Lots of flavor, structured but drinkable, and under $20. David Hatzopoulos
This is one of my favorite Rosatos which I look forward to every year. It's from Faro in Sicily - north of Etna, in fact almost at the very north-east tip of Sicily, in a spectacular vineyard above the sea. Because it's the same grapes as Etna (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, + the local Noccera) you get some of the same sensations, but Faro has much sandier soils, and the wine is more fruit-forward, strong on cranberry and raspberry. Fairly dark in color, this is incredibly adaptable with food - no shy, watery Provencal wannabe, but with real depth, even at 11.5% alcohol, so easy drinking, with gravitas. Jamie Wolff
Grapes are grown in San Vito, Sardinia, to soils of crumbling granite and red-tinted quartz. Fruit from these 10 year old vines is harvested in mid-September. Native fermentation is done in 1950s cement tanks. Wine ages in the same tanks for 5 months before being bottled unfiltered. If you enjoy Grignolino from the Piedmont, this bottle would be great for you.
Bardolino is just north of Valpolicella, and shares the same three grapes (Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella) as those wines. The “Nogara” is mostly Corvina, with some Rondinella; despite the fact that Corvina is the more structured grape, the Nogara is a lively and fresh expression in which it’s hard to perceive the relationship between Bardolino and Amarone. The color is quite light (a dark Rosato in some other quarters), and cranberry and strawberry fruit dominate, underpinned by lime peel and chalk – refreshing chilled, easy to drink at 12.5 alcohol, guaranteed to hit the spot on a hot day, and absolutely delicious. Jamie Wolff
The Rosa dei Casaretti is lighter in color than many Italian Rosatos, but the wine has some real depth. Aromatically charming, with strawberry dominating, and leafy herbal notes and a hint of grapefruit peel balancing the ripe fruit. The wine is light and very fresh; we drank it at home with a summer risotto of shell peas, sugar snap peas, and pecorino – it was a great match. Jamie Wolff
This hearty and herbaceous wine comes from Fongoli's younger vines in the Montefalco DOC of Umbria. The estate's vineyards are certified organic and tended with biodynamic practices. The 2017 is 60% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 15% Merlot, and 10% Montepulciano. All grapes are harvested at their particular moments of ripeness before being vinified separately. Natural fermentation happens in stainless steel tanks, including a 10 day maceration period. The wines are blended into one, then put in old Slavonian oak for 18 months. At bottling, the wine is unfiltered, unfined, and unsulfured. The nose on this wine had me dreaming of falafel. Aromas of red olive, parsley and cool, mashed chickpeas were more pronounced than the scent of crisp red cherry. Flavors on the palate were invigorating, with black cherry, mint, parsley and sun-dried tomato. There was a particularly lovely flavor of crushed black and white sesame seeds that existed only on the wine's formidable, lengthy finish. Moderate tannin and pleasant acidity sets a wonderful foundation for a complex and layered, though drinkable, red. Can't beat it at the price-point... and once you've tasted it, you'll wish you bought more. David Hatzopoulos
Sagrantino is one of the most tannic grapes I’ve tasted – it makes Nebbiolo look like Beaujolais, and it gives Aglianco from Taurasi (another tannic beast) stiff competition. A tasting of more than a couple of Sagrantinos can be a punishing affair, and while I wouldn’t say no, it’s been a while since I attempted a survey. At that point only Bea and Fongoli stood out; for one thing, most of the others had been over-oaked, a really unnecessary and unpleasant addition to a robust wine like Sagrantino. Bea makes great wine, and you can buy the 2015 – the current release - for $90+; if you’ve enjoyed the Bea Sagrantino you will definitely like Fongoli – and we have a limited quantity of the 2012 available for $38.99 (less 10% for any 12 bottles of wine) – every year of age is a good thing for these wines. The Fongoli Sagrantino is fermented in cement, and aged in old 500L Slavonian oak for 3 years; bottled unfined and unfiltered (with very low added SO2) it’s then given at least 3 more years in bottle. It’s quite a beauty of a beast – and actually hitting a nice balance and tannic resolution, with warm plummy fruit and rich, velvety mid-palate. A wine to decant, for sure, and fantastic with some of those grilled meats or other barbecue you are thinking about – ‘tis the season. Jamie Wolff
Foradori first produced Lezer in 2017 as an experiment as an alternative to their more serious red wines; it was a big hit and is now much anticipated – and in short supply. You will find that your glass is hard to put down – it’s easy drinking, but shows still some complexity, with juicy cranberry, pomegranate, and softer ripe fruits, and is great chilled – perfect for summer. Jamie Wolff
A blend of Aglianico and Piedirosso grown in volcanic soils in the hills of northwestern Campania, Fattoria Galardi's Terra di Lavora (land of labor) is a intended to be a vin de garde. The wines seldom express overt fruit and tend towards the savory and mineral. Quite dark in the glass-nearly black-and still youthful appearing despite its age. Aromatically it is somewhat reticent, wild blackberry, smoke, plums, violets, graphite, loam, anise, and saddle leather reveal themselves with vigorous decanting. Initially on the palate the tannins are ripe, but still very much present. Over time more dark fruits emerge, leaning toward hedge fruits, along with savory sense of earthiness. There is a great deal of mineral complexity coiled within. The finish is quite long and savory. We'd decant for a few hours and serve with lamb ragu or dry-aged beef now or cellar for another 10-15 years for a detailed expression of the volcanic terroir to emerge. JCM
A wine made by 6 different winemakers from all over Italy. The group rescued a vineyard with 40 year old vines in the region of Marsala, Sicily. The site is mostly planted with a rare red grape (resembling Carignan) named Parpato, with a fraction of vines dedicated to the more well-known white grape, Cataratto. This wine was made in 2019... but not 2020 - so grab it while it is here! Fruit taken from bush vines in late August. Ratio is 95% Parpato and 5% Cataratto. Part was pressed in whole cluster and removed from the skins before vinification. The other portion was left on the skins for a day. Fermentation and aging, done on the lees for 6 months, takes place in stainless steel. Bottled with no fining and no filtering. Color is deep and dark in the glass, with lovely spiced fruit and redcurrant aromas on the nose. Should pair perfectly with grilled meats or hearty vegetarian dishes, salads with grains, and the like.
Il Fortunato aced it with their Rosato Spumante; another lively sparkler produced from organic vineyards with only a minimal addition of sulfur. The nose is playful with a mix of bright berry fruits and fresh red cherries cut by tart apple skins. On the palate, a delicate mousse lifts the wine showing some weight, great acidity, and just touch of sugar. Absolutely lovely! Pair with charcuterie, simple pasta, or simply drink on its own. Andy Paynter
The nose on La Visciola's 2015 Priore Superiore brings a warm wood shop to mind. Fresh resin, smoke, pine and candle wax. Additionally, there are airier aromas of dark flowers, clove, mint, and even a hint of something savory, like paprika. The palate is generous, with low acidity and a plush softness structured by imposing tannin. Displayed are flavors of deep red cherry fruit, pine, birch, and turned earth. The color of the wine is rustic, balancing between it's dark red core and clear mahogany edges. One of the most soothing Cesanese wines I've tasted, combining power with a certain mature, tempered character. Drinking great right now. David Hatzopoulos
The 2017 Vignali from La Visciola has a deep red core, with earthy red edges. Freshly picked cherries and strawberries, red plum, dark flowers, loamy earth, and a hint of smoke and aromatic herbs combine on the wine's pronounced nose. The palate has a distinct flavor of roasted coffee, along with a depth of cherry and plum. A beautiful wine that doesn't lack strength, high in acidity with medium tannin. David Hatzopoulos
On Sale - was $69.99!
Bauccio is a special selection of 50+ year old vines in the Liscone vineyard. After fermentation in open-topped wood, the wine is matured in large tonneau; the wood seems to integrate seamlessly. The 2013 has a dark purple robe. Violets, leather, cassis, black fruits and leather mingle on the nose. The palate is muscular and ripe and it’s quite a mouthful: black brambly fruit and plum stone, a bit of game, obsidian stone, and cracked pepper. Rich, but deft, this has firm, but fine-grained tannins and a bit of mineral smoke on the after aromas. This is still young and probably in need of a year or two more in the cellar, but delicious and quite satisfying with a lamb ragu with mezze maniche, chilis, mint, and pecorino with enough freshness to make the mouth water in anticipation of the next sip and bite. A fine Aglianico Del Vulture that veers more towards elegant than rustic, while still capturing the wild character of the DOC. Fine stuff and treat with richer dishes. John McIlwain
Liscone is an old Contrada, or farm; Paulo says that the fruit for the Liscone bottling comes from younger vines — only 30 years old... After about 2 weeks in open-top fermenters, the wine goes in old tonneau. It's intense — smokey, very mineral. Savory, with ripe tannin, this isn't a fruit-driven wine, but a really sophisticated expression of the Vulture. The wine is certainly drinkable now, but this is a fine candidate for mid-term aging.
2017 was a much riper vintage than 2016, and this wine shows it. Francesco added a tiny bit of sulfur just at bottling. The nose opens with notes of plum, a hint of prune, dark forest fruit, stewed raspberry and blackberry, dried cherry, grape jam (a high quality one), baking spice, nutmeg, and a hint of forest undergrowth. The palate is juicy, still with a lot of energy and acidity to retain balance. Though lacking some of the subtlety and fascination of the 2016 vintage at the moment, it may be best to hold for a year or two, as I feel this will be a wonderful wine with some time to settle. That being said, there is no harm in opening it now, and indeed at a recent tasting some folks preferred the more forward aspects of the 2017. Oskar Kostecki
2017 was not an easy vintage for producers on Etna. Extreme heat and no rain posed a huge threat to production. With yields down, many consumers were worried about the quality of the vintage. Masseria del Pino's I Nove Fratelli 2017 is one of the most expressive bottles of Etna Rosso that I've ever tasted. Complete with a mix of fresh and candied red fruits, green herbs and fresh volcanic soil, this is a dynamic bottle in aroma and taste. It doesn't lack structure either, though it is leaner and fresher than the 2016 vintage. It goes to show you how wonderful farming and great winemaking can turn a scary vintage into a real success. Bravo to Federica and Cesare for delivering such a fantastic bottle of wine, despite the hardship. David Hatzopoulos
Sisma bottles come from a single vineyard in the crater of the Monte Rosso cone at the base of Mount Etna. The 2016 vintage conditions were excellent; it had the appropriate amount of sun and rain, all at the right times. This led to perfect fruit maturation. The nose offers wild fruit (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry) with pepper and spice. The palate offers flavors of plum (and plum peel), Provençal herbs, and pepper. There is a plush tannic framework – engaging but far from mouth-drying. David Hatzopoulos
The Sisma by Monterosso is structured, with bright acidity. The 2017 vintage was hot compared to the 2016. Earthy aromas of smoke, iron, and crushed black stones mix with dark cherry and cassis on the nose. On the palate, the flavors are framed by ripe, firm tannins, with bursts of earthy red plum and blackberry/raspberry fruit. This is an assertive Nerello Mascalese, especially in contrast with the gentler character of the 2016. A few years in the cellar should allow the flavors and structure to integrate. David Hatzopoulos
In addition to farming their two hectares, the Monterosso team sources organically-farmed Nerello Mascalese for their Volcano bottling. The 2017 vintage was hot and had very little rain, resulting in an extremely small harvest. Grapes were picked two weeks earlier to ensure freshness. The wine is bold and robust. The fruit on the nose is dark (blackberry, cherry), with a hint of amaro-like aromas and smoky earth. The palate has a character of bitter and herbaceous red/black fruit and savory cured meats. David Hatzopoulos
What an awesome vintage for one of our staples here at Chambers Street. The wine is always delicious, but the 2018 might be the best I've had so far. My notes for the wine's bouquet reads: "smokey, dark roses, tar, and savory cherry." It is almost startling how complex the nose is upon first whiff. The palate has classic red berries, with a little spice and fresh herbs. The structure is bright, with only a hint of pleasant tannin and some lovely acidity. David Hatzopoulos
Rossese is the grape, Dolceacqua the place, just a few miles from the French border, and close to the sea. And (naturally, since nothing about grapes is simple) Rossese is a genetic match for the French grape Tibouren, known to me for some terrific rose and red (the Clos Cibonne, for example) in Provence. Dolceacqua is considered the best source for Rossese, and the wine should be fairly light, and definitely fresh in character. The Pisano shows lovely bright tart fruit – cranberry, and cherry, along with clay, and fresh herbs; it will take to being served cool; it’s a red for a warm day. We celebrated the early spring weather last week with the first outing to the backyard grill: salmon, zucchini, and Rossese – it was a hit. Jamie Wolff
The Allegracore bottling from Romeo del Castello is 100% Nerello Mascalese from the younger part of their vineyard, planted in 2004. The wine is fermented in 5000L stainless vats for 20 days. The wine ages for a year afterwards, also in stainless. An elegant and approachable Etna Rosso, it has been a Chambers Street favorite since the 2009 vintage! The nose on the 2018 is a fresh bouquet of pitted, ripe dark cherries and plums and violets. Attractive green aromas balance the flowers and fruit with swaths of spring grass and ferns. The juicy palate is full of cherry, raspberry and plum - all bolstered by an enticing minerality of dark stones. The finish is long, ending the wine on notes of dried red fruits and herbs. As stated above, we always love this wine, but the 2018 is a knock-out. You'll want this bottle during summer meals outside. David Hatzopoulos
Vittorio Savino, owner of Fenicotteri, joined Foti’s small association of producers called i Vigneri (some of whose wines from Mt. Etna we always have on our shelves). I Vigneri offers unparalleled expertise in every aspect of viticulture and production (including the services of Ciccio, the group’s mule). Foti’s work at Gulfi, and his knowledge derived from the vines in Pachino must have been very valuable when trying to restore a vineyard that’s virtually on the shore of the lagoon. The farming is impeccable (only copper and sulfur and sheep manure are used on the bush-trained vines) but it’s the location that brings an incredibly compelling mineral and saline lift to the wine. Called Fenicotteri (flamingo, in Italian) after the migratory flamingoes who visit the lagoon next to the vineyard. JW Firmly medium-bodied, the 2015 shows beautiful notes of black cherry, blackberries, black currant, raspberry jam, a hint of leather, cut hay, cocoa, coffee grinds, with hints of black pepper and a black olive brininess. Well integrated and soft, but quite present tannins and medium acidity. Wonderful complexity which just keeps unfolding the longer the wine is open. There is a certain plushness, without anything extravagant. This wine is very compelling all the way through the bottle. Oskar Kostecki
This is the second vintage of Terraquila Falconero Zero that I've been able to taste. Less earthy funk than the 2017, but full of the same dried fruits and herbal tonic essence. The wine is made from organically grown Lambrusco Grasparossa and Malbo Gentile. It is fermented on the skins for 6-7 days and rests on the lees for 15 months before being discorged. On the nose, there are dark flowers, raisins, dried cherries and blueberries. On the palate, the wine has flavors of crushed dark stones, plum peel, a touch of licorice, quinine and clove, all rounded out with savory black cherry. What I like most about the Falconero Zero is that it has a blanket of dense, firm bubbles initially, but when the carbonation softens, a wonderful mouthfeel follows. Its as dry as dry can be, fitting perfectly with the wine's slight bitterness. Paired with homemade caponata and a marathon of Michael Douglas movies... a Sunday that'll be hard to beat. David Hatzopoulos
In Emilia-Romagna, Terraquila creates red méthode ancestrale sparklings from organic Lambrusco Grasparossa. The wine goes through a cold maceration with the skins. It is aged for 15 months on the lees and is released without disgorgement. The color of the Falcorubens is a dense red. Aromatically, the wine offers roasted coffee and dark forest fruit, with a touch of barnyard and earth. Similarly, the palate is full of burly flavors like smoke, plum, raw herbs, and espresso. The structure is soft with a touch of tannin. A lovely wine to sip, a great bubbly for the cooler weather. David Hatzopoulos
On Sale - was $79.99!
On Sale - was $79.99!
From high altitude Nerello Mascalese, vines ranging from 60 to 100 years of age. Typically there is a small amount of Nerello Cappuccio and Grenache included in the cuvee. The grapes are destemmed and put in Georgian qvevris (sizes between 1500 and 800 litres) that are buried on the estate.