THURSDAY NIGHT TASTING 6-8PM: ITALIAN STALLIONS
We’ve been thinking of Italy a lot lately. It has more genetic diversity in terms of wine grapes than any other country by a LOT. And of course there’s what we call “the Italy factor”. We never seem to have enough of these wines on hand (at home) because they go so well with food we always drink them right away. Perhaps you have more self-control. But probably not. So you need a bottle or two. So tonight our old friend Spencer Harrington(!) will be behind the Lions Club Bar, pouring a few of our faves.
G.D. Vajra is located in Piedmont in Northwest Italy. The winery sits at the highest elevation in the commune of Barolo, in a village called Vergne. The Vajra family has farmed Bricco delle Viole, the highest cru in Comune di Barolo, since the 1880s. Today, the Vajra family continues the vineyard research focusing on the influence of soil and climate change. “Wines that do not need to talk out loud or flex their muscles. We ask them to touch the hearts of all.” – G.D. Vajra
G.D. Vajra, N.S. Della Neve Extra Brut Rosé NV
A champagne-method rosé nature of 50% Nebbiolo, 50% Pinot Noir. Nostra Signora Della Neve is a rosé de saignée. The juice stays in contact with the skins at low temperatures for just a few hours. In the spring following to the harvest begins the second fermentation, followed by a rest on the lees of around 48-60 months. Vajra is trail-blazing the rediscovery of Chiaretto di Nebbiolo and the wines of the 17th century – long before Barolo was created – through “N.S. della Neve” and “Claré JC”, a partial whole-cluster fermentation of pure Nebbiolo. The high elevation vineyards particular to Vajra provide the high acidity needed for this fantastic sparkler. Organic. $40
Vajra Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2016
Wild and brambly, this deep purple beauty is brooding and layered, with red and black forest berries, and a note of plum as well. The tannins are supple but quite present and the finish is quite long. A vibrant wine for sure, with many layers to discover. Attention to detail and a real appreciation of nature are hallmarks at Vajra and it continues to show in the wines. Anyone who thinks this grape can’t be complex needs to try this – seriously deep-end Barbera. Organic. $35
The Estate Coltibuono in Chianti Classico is considered to be one of the most representative wines of the appellation. The “abbey of good harvest” is at least a thousand years old according to the Marchio Storico and the monks of Coltibuono, the Vallombrosan may have been the first to cultivate Sangiovese in Tuscany. The monastery was active from 1000 C.E. to around 1800 C.E. when Napoleon annexed most church property in Tuscany. Some he gave away to friends or as political favors, some he sold. Thus, there were two owners between the time of the annexation and the abbey’s purchase by the Stucchi’s ancestors in 1841. It is now a hotel and you can stay there!
Badia a Coltibuono, Chianti Classico 2016
This wine is the result of natural production methods using organically-grown Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes from the estate vineyards. Grapes are hand-harvested and sorted, fermentations are done with indigenous yeasts, and after 3 weeks of maceration on the skins, the wine is moved to French and Austrian oak casks to age for 12 months. This wine is incredibly well-balanced, tightly knit with supple tannins, mineral notes, and a mouth cleansing fresh acidity. Emanuela Stucchi and her siblings are seventh generation stewards of the property. The philosophical approach is to maintain both the integrity of Sangiovese and the unique terroir of Chianti Classico through organic farming practices, clonal diversity, restrained use of new oak barrels and the shunning of dominant varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Organic. $24