2015 Vintage in Burgundy? Hmm.

After tasting through quite a few 2015s from all over Burgundy I have to report it was a difficult vintage....for me. Other folks seemed to love it. But then I'm almost always showing up with a different take, like on the 2005 vintage. Praised by others, avoided by me.

 

 

DSC02257

Jean Claude Rateau early in the 2015 vintage

But while I still believe that you stick by your favorites year after year, this is the vintage to  stick to who you know or listen to those you trust.

The snapshot was this: Hail was no stranger to the area and it heartbreakingly hit Chablis late in September, but spared most other spots.  In general it was a very warm summer (check out the 15-16 degrees of ETOH in southern Burgundy, aka Beaujolais). Little rain meant very thick skins, meant more skin than juice. In addition, depending on picking time, many wines had relatively low pHs.

All of this was evidenced in in a blind tasting put together for me in Beaune by the BIVB. This was a great opportunity because I got to taste outside of my norm. In that assortment of 102 wines  I was confronted by quite a few that seemed acidified and rough. I came away with a mouthful of tannin that was unusually harsh for the delicate grape, pinot.

Some typical descriptors from my scribbles? Orange juice, klutzy, rude, tarry--without charm, paint by numbers, weird oak juice, caramel finish. For the whites? Plenty of peach juice. White wines can be lovely though many seemed short. 

And so those who handle the grapes as gently as possible, use full cluster (or at least a good bit), work more with infusion than extraction are the winners here. It's a short list but more will be coming. Producer picks for me so far include those of: 

Alice et Olivier deMoor 

Dominique Gruhier

Giles Ballorin

Jane et Sylvain

Sylvain Pataille

Claire Naudin

Domaine Lafarge

Chanterêves (extremely elegant)

Chandon de Briailles

Maison Harbor (look for La Justice)

Jean Claude Rateau

Dominique Derain

Pierre Fenals

Julien Altabar

Fred Cossard

Jane Eyre (Corton Reynards & Côtes de Nuits Village)

 

Chile, Fires, País and Pinochet

In this month's Feiring Line, the natural wine newsletter you'll want to read about rebirth of the real wines of Chile and how a plot to reforest has created havoc on the wine industry and the natural richness of the country. 

 

 

This screenshot

 

 

For more on the issue of the land, you'll want to read Luis Gutiérrez reporting in ... yup... The Wine Advocate

 

                                      And this

 

 

 

The 4

 

 

Subscribe!

 

Days of Porotos Granados

 

Screenshot_2017-03-05-16-55-01                                                                   cranberry beans and aji

 

 Back in January I visited Chile and the Secano Interior lands with dry farmed old vines and great history. The info is plunked into this April's issue of TFL, devoted to the campesinos making pipeños don't know what that is? Well, sign up and find out. But there were outtakes to my story and a summer dish of beans and beauty was one of them  

During the stay I was treated to several homemade versions of a soup or a stew that was a staple, Porotos Granados. Delicious.

You'll see it everywhere. It's like the jonjoli of Georgia -- you can't have a meal or gathering without seeing it on the table. It's so welcoming with big sheets of sliced corn from a local variety that is as thick as a giants forearm. Beautiful sure but the taste is uncommonly intense for the simplicity of the ingredients. 

One of the first I sampled was at an impromptu picnic in Roberto Henriquez's vineyard-- from extremely talented hands.

IMG_0684

 

IMG_0717                                                                                            To the left is the chef, Felipe Macera. The right, the talented winemaker  Marcelo Retamal. 

 

Another soupish stew came to my bowl through Manuel Moraga's charming life partner,  the flaming-haired Paola Marini, who kindly sent me this recipe. 

 
Paola's Portos Granados
 
We use a fresh summer bean, that is planted for this meal named Juanita or Pajarito the mostly known , planted in farms and small  vegetable gardens  to cook this traditional plate at Summer time. 
 
 
 
 
+ 1/2 kilo summer fresh beans (cranberry beans)
 
+4 medium sweet corn kernels  ... 3 grated of the cob  and  1 cut off the cob to get a milky solution ... 
 
 
+a squirt  of milk
 
+1 liter and 1/2 water
 
+Onions  chopped in small cubes
  
Olive oil
 
+Thyme   (Chascudo in Chilean)
 
+Aji  Cacho de Cabra (this is a small fresh hot picked pepper)
fresh from the stem
 
+Small pinch of ground black pepper
 
+Ground red pepper
 
+ Salt
 
 
Heat the olive oil and add the  onions ,black pepper, ground red pepper ...the whole  fresh hot aji split open but whole and about 15 sprigs of thyme.
 
Put in the beans stir for a minute and add the corn and the liter of cold water. Once it boils, you might want to add a bit more of water and boil softly for a liquid finish  .. add the squirt of milk.
 
It should take about 3/4 of a hour until beans are ready .
 
 
That's it.
 
Note: I have seen red squash or pumpkin added or the thyme replaced with basil, or some cumin seed. Put the squash in with the beans. And remember, just add enough water to cover. 

 
IMG_0796
 
Paola kind of cheats at lunch by making a pesto to go with her porotos. Well, she is Italian, after all.

 

 

Embrace the "Snobs." Don’t Drink Cheap(ened) Wine

The Joys of Processed Wine and  Ignore the SnobsDrink the Cheap, Delicious Wine was the two-titled opinion piece from writer Bianca Bosker. It appeared in last week’s New York Times. It didn’t strike a nerve but it did press buttons. “The story shouldn’t have been titled cheap wine, it should have been cheap shots,” wrote Vermont winemaker Deirdre Heekin. 

 I’m not sure those who reacted to the click-bait of it all were being fair. Any thinking person who read Bosker's conclusion (or the titles), would guess the writer was clearly out of her mind. But while I would have rather believed that explanation, I expect something else had to be going on.

For me the Op-Ed’s problems were elsewhere; credibility and believability. Or as the Times magazine cover suggests, "Is truth dead?" In that Times piece was a deep bait and switch that you would only know if you read the Bosker book. Which I did.

 

17458362_10156335774599815_1372883418593662729_n

Photo grabbed from Marko Kovac's facebook page. I've no idea where he found it. 

 

The Cork Dork--which reveals more about Bosker's ambition and competitive nature than any love for or knowledge of wine--energetically chronicles her journey towards the first certified level of the Master Sommelier exam.

This is more like running the Turkey Trot than the Boston Marathon, but through the study one should pick up some tips.  However, being considered a pro or an expert does not come along with that first pin. I suppose this is why there are so many misleading and wrong statements in her essay such as "learning to savor the delicate aromas of aged Barolos from organic growers in Piedmont." That's a weird one? How old? This was one of the worst farmed areas for ages. Organic except for the very few is a rare thing.

Then there's,  “I spent long days studying the farming practices that distinguish the Grand Crus of Burgundy.” 

Farming practices do not separate the Grand from the Village, geology and micro-climate do. There’s a bunch of other stuff I can take on in the essay. While this might seem like small potatoes, it does makes me question her wine knowledge and grasp of the market. But what really confounded me was her flip from her book to a flop of a different conclusion in the Times.

Here’s the deal: The Op-Ed was a condensed version of one of her book's chapters entitled, Quality Control. In that chapter she discusses wine additives and the way marketing team can shape a wine.

The essay oddly reads as if she were on a Treasury press junket. I don’t know whether she was or not, but one understands that she drank and liked Treasury's Kool-Aid. There she was, tasting the wines after a certain natural wine bashing and then  she drops this bomb;

These maligned bottles have a place. The time has come to learn to love unnatural wines.”

Honest opinion here: Treasury and others of their ilk should run and grab this concept for a press release. It’s perfectly transparent. Its message? “So what if we load up wines with process and additives? We make wines of pleasure.”

So in the Times she says processed wines are great.

In her book when at the same big table tasting yeasted, chipped, mega-purpled, reverse-osmosed, acidified, enzymed, Velcorined wines, she seems to have had a very different experience.

They reminded me of blueberry smoothies with a shot of vodka and Hershey's syrup stirred in. But I was trying to keep an open mind. Price is a spice, I reminded myself, and don’t be such a snob. Truth be told, I didn't want to finish them. There was nothing new that revealed itself after the second sip.

 

In the memoir she couldn’t drink the wines.

In the essay she embraced them.

Okay. Fess up. Which one is it? And what would prompt the author to so drastically change her opinion from book to post. In the age of press manipulation, the whole situation left me uncomfortable, and that the Times printed it, took her seriously was part of it. 

Eric Asimov recently wrote a fabulous column, wine is food. Bravo. Absolutely. Fresh orange juice or concentrate? Fresh strawberry or artificial flavor. Genetically modified tomatoes or a syrupy, black acidic one. Wine from grapes or from 60+ additives. Which one do you want to drink? The answer seems is self-evident. To paraphrase Aubert de Villaine, “Do I have to prove that the sun rises?”

To most of us who take wine and food seriously, wines of pleasure are not  concocted grape beverages from ground that I wouldn’t want to walk on let alone eat from. What gives pleasure is deliciousness from great winemakers who can work soils responsibly and give the grapevine an unadorned and unspoofed voice. 

If this piece that would land on April Fool’s Day I would have gotten it. But it didn’t. But frankly, any writer who confesses, as she has, to have a weakness for old champagne --which is a game only the well-heeled can play-- comes off as someone sipping out of her coupe and saying let them drink cake, or rather Layer Cake.  

’15/’05 Burgundy. What’s the hype?

"Extraordinary," said Decanter. "Best vintage since 2010," said Forbes. Tim Atkin was a little more subdued, "a very good to great vintage for reds." But, Janicis Robinson went further, "Seriously impressive," she wrote. 

If you read about Burgundy you know that there's a  gushing about the vintage 2015.

 

Images

 I have a history of being odd man out. I don't know why I see the world differently, it could be a curse, but I do.

I loved the tannic 1998. I loved 2006. I found the weird vintages of  2007 (difficult and rot plagued) and  2011 particularly charming.

And as far as the famed 2005? Jancis Robinson wrote. "In general all the wines are charming, truly succulent and they faithfully express their origins. Can one ask for more?" Alan Meadows had proclaimed it, "One of the great Burgundy vintages of this century for Pinot Noir,"  but for me? Not so much. Not at release and not ten years on.

I have no idea why my colleagues gushed about it. But in politics and vintages are controversial, even if from our vantage points the truth seems obvious. For myself, I can add it to the incredibly difficult (for me and my wine glass) 2003 and 2009 vintage. It was confounding to me how this could have been acclaimed. Yet, unlike the '03 and '09, '05 still hasn't budged. It reminds me of one of these melons that arrive in the market that go from unripe to rotten. I know, that's harsh. I'm not saying they're rotten, but they just don't yield. And I am afraid that when and if they finally loosen their seams, they'll die before they live.

So, why? 2005 was also a very solar vintage. And solar in Burgundy, when that's all you get, makes for the kind of wine that is the opposite of the kind of nuance we want when we go to this hallowed strip of the Cote d'Or.  I remember in June of 2005, meeting with Philippe Pacalet. Now, he's not a vigneron but as we went to taste in his cellar he voiced his fears. "The sun, it's too much for the vines," he said. He was mostly correct. 

Those who worked the vineyard in both '05 and '15 as if they were in a cloudy, cool vintage... failed. Those who worked by rote:  leaf-pullings, fruit dropping, over hedging, extraction and destemming made, to me, charmless wines. In vintages like that stem inclusion and/or whole cluster--with a few exceptions--seemed to help the wines. It's like putting on a hat for shade.

As I hinted, even ten-years on, I was still contemplating the vintage when confronted with over 100 examples to taste.  

I thought, now's the time I will understand. Out of those 100 only a handful pleased me, and more reds than whites. They were from both Beaune and the Nuits. The sun didn't cause sun-stroke in the wines. I found complexity and a depth.Where the great majority--from very well-considered estates-- so many others were stunted by the tannin-- not the structure--these had a window open and vibrancy. Certainly not a vintage light on its feet, but I felt the best of the vintage, had the sun, sure, the tannins were unapologetic, sure, but instead of the opaque, there was the transparency I look for in my Burgundy.

Who were they? 

de Montille, Mugnier, Lafarge, Dujac, Berthaud, D'Arlot, Chandon de Briailles, Rousseau, Jérôme Galeyrand, a little wine from Epineuil, from Dominique Gruhier. For the whites? Roulot was a standout as was Bonneau du Martray.                                            

Here are some of the survivors....

IMG_4887    Mugnier

                            Tally

Lafar      BerthRoulot




                                              Roulot2

 

And here you go.

So now we're at 2015?

Superb? Meh.

As a vintage? Difficult.

Some great wines of pleasure? Without a doubt.

Who and how? Stay tuned-- coming to The Feiring Line soon. Subscribe

 

when Hugh Johnson talks about natural wine

When the wine writer emeritus Hugh Johnson told Washington Post wine writer David McIntyre that "orange" wines were a sideshow and a waste of time fur raised on Facebook and Twitter. He went on to say, "Making good wine is hardly modern technology, it’s just experience and common sense. And hygiene!"

IMG_9350

He's right about the part on making good wine, of course. But the sharp that stuck in the throats of wine drinkers who have come to love skin-contact wines (full disclosure, I did write a love poem to Georgian wine, home to skin-contact) was that this wonderful writer, (thoughtful enough to write me a fan letter after The Battle for Wine and Love came out. I was completely honored.) the very same one who wrote The History of Wine, failed to realize that orange wine was nothing new but a revival of all things old, and made by common sense and without a doubt, hygiene.

Yes, Mr. Johnson, today, we do know how to make a really good wine and many times--though not always--the ancients had something to teach us way more than the modern laboratory does. Cleanliness of course is key. All agreed.

Back in something like 2006 the first skin contacts started to arrive on our shores. Many weren't successful. Some had dried, starched fruit and aggressive tannins. But over the past decade as the skins were more understood as a way to make wine without addition, when the use of clay for fermentation spread (grape juice takes to clay as butter takes to toast), and winemakers learned to do less, great "orange" wines have proliferated. Not because they were a style, but because they had a purpose. They have developed a juiciness that combine the refreshment of white with the satisfaction of red. Many are in this category. Some are raised in wood like Radikon, La Stoppa and La Garagista, but others raised in clay like Vodopevic, Pheasants Tears and Iago.  

The disappointment here was not that Mr. Johnson didn't like orange wines. He gets to. But from this scholar and historian, we all expected a more thoughtful and researched statement and opinion.

Now we have another piece from him, in Decanter, where he seemed to suggest that natural wines were the wine equivalent of the Paleo Diet. In it he posed the question; 'Is "natural" a self-justifying word to cover any sort of accident?'

I think it's time for Mr. Johnson to take a break from garden writing for a minute to reconsider his words. Give us the courtesy of a more well-researched response instead of falling down the tweet drain --the second son of the blog--where unsupported feelings have become the norm. There are plenty of wines that are made like a military bed, tightened so extremely that an accident surely has happened. And yet it finds its way into a bottle. This statement is a little aggressive.

Then he dances with a lovely line that could have had some truth to it. "Wines like unmade beds are the In Thing." 

But what exactly does he mean?  What is his unmade bed and how tight does he like his sheets? Hospital corners? A little rumpled just enough to remember the night of passion?  Give us a little there, there. 

I kind of liked his unmade bed analogy.  Today, there are indeed too many wines, "like unmade beds." These to me are unfinished, quick to the bottle before the flavors and aromas have evolved to stability. Many are being supported mostly by newcomers to wine who find these wines fresh. This is a state of infatuation that can stay with the drinker for I'd say, up to ten years. And to some sommeliers who are following trends it could be an 'In Thing.' And my sympathies are with him if he has fallen victim to such a wine director. But there is life beyond the bottled wine still in progress, and surely he's had these --because they are some of today's most celebrated wines, but failed to identify them.

However, when he suggests the word natural is a coverup tactic, is he actually suggesting that  Burgundy, Bordeaux, Brunello, Barolo, made according to the spec sheet, still with ridiculous amounts of very bad and sour wood taint, too much acrid So2 addition, tannin addition and sloppy acidification, not to say anything about chemical agriculture, are superior? Do those get pass? Or is it that Mr. Johnson knows how to avoid those wines yet does not yet know how to navigate the world of natural?  In that case he should subscribe to my newsletter. 

The most stupefying sentiment, however, was tucked into his penultimate graf. 

The sales pitch for natural wine usually tells you that conventional wines contain a lot of non-grape juice gunk. Fish guts: horror. Egg whites: poison. Sulphites: allergens. Colouring: dishonest. Sugar: cheating.

There seems to be a high ground – is it moral, ethical, fashionable, hygienic? – shared by ‘naturalists’ and vegans. Then again, if you read the list of preservatives and allergens on any supermarket packet, you may want to give up eating altogether.

Mr. Johnson fails to acknowledge the 72+ which sail beyond chaptalization and fining... and coloring? Really Mr. J, do you want your claret colored? And by the way, who is giving this so-called sales pitch?  He also ---and surely he knows better--understands that most of todays wines are not made by commonsense and vintage, but by marketer and machine. And I don't know about you, but I don't eat processed food with anything artificial in it.

Look: Most of us have come to natural wine because the other seems dead. Lifeless. Natural wine, made with grape alone from healthy soil---the good ones, and there are many--make us happy.

Many of us choose our food the way we choose our wine and choose our wine the way we choose our food. Meaning any list of ingredients that I don't want to ingest, whether in cookies or in wine, I don't. Real food alone. Yes. Grape alone. A little So2 perhaps. Minimum intervention. Yes.

These wines mesh with our philosophy AND excite our senses. This is not the 'in thing,' this is not a fad. This is the future.

However, buried in the ill-edited piece is the nut of the piece: change natural wine to alternative wine.

Hmm...would that be like alternative fact?

Nope. That won't work. To those of us who only drink natural and natural enough, there's nothing alternative about it. Those wines? They're the real thing.

 

Imgres

 

The Wine Trends of 2017

 What are the wine trends for 2017? I am looking to these top ten.

  

IMG_4856

 

1) Natural wine noise settles down

The non-stop stories about this new  natural wine will finally slow down as the world realizes this is not fad, but just a return to sensibility. In the end, what good wine is will get redefined and we can get back to the business at hand, drinking.

2) More conventional winemakers will actively seek to crash into the natural wine world

Gatekeepers like Isabelle Légeron, and The Feiring Line will prove essential to keep the interlopers at bay. This means you, who cross-flow filter your wines and grow with systemics and can't quite understand why your wines are not considered natural when there are such fine marketing opportunities you could take advantage of, if only they'd let you in. Just when I thought it was getting easier, the role of wine cop will be more intense.

3) Wine writers, critics and tasters will speak up (about mouse taint and other wine flaws)

Some of our most beloved winemakers wine's been thus afflicted with mouse taint. This is the kombuchu-like, gassy retronasal smell that messes with a wine's finish.

Over the years there has been a collusion of protection, much like when a good friend has bad breath; i noted, moved away from but rarely mentioned. In 2017--at least when talking of wine--this avoidance will stop. The discussion will be broached, and discussion is essential. Skilled winemakers are stymied, why does this happen. I even experienced it on the not hard core natural, Terroir al Limit  rosé.  Is it about wine in the bottle too quickly? Is it about something going screwy in malo? Too warm in the winery?  Is it true that a little S02 squelches the problem or that give it some time it will resolve? (I had a three-part series on this issue over at TFLN) New drinkers will understand that this isn't merely a sign of it's natural so it's good, but that it is can be indeed be a sign of natural yet is a most unpleasant problem. 

4) The new collector will start putting out the bucks for natural Burgundy

The well-heeled collector was used to going bargain hunting in the Loire for slumming but stayed conservative when buying Burgundy. But that price barrier will be breached in 2017. This isi when outlier Burgundy gets respect. Collectors will spread their reach from Fred Mugnier to let's say, Jean Yves Bizot. They will not only stock up on Jean Marc Roulot but they'll stock Pierre Fenals. As this new drinker armed with credit cards and an increasing curiosity, develops tasting chops and is ready to explore the holy terroir and will finally pay the three-digit price tag for it. 

5) Reconsidering the vats 

As winemakers look for the most stable and least interfering container for fermentation, stainless will continue to lose as will oak. Interest in cement and especially clay grow into preferred  essential fermentation vessels. What is unclear is what the oak industry do to fight back.

6) What we will drink

More Georgian, Slovakian/Moravian wine, natural Chiléan and Austrian will be the big splash. Grapes that will rise this year? Look out for aligoté a grape that is superb but for years disrespected, makes a comeback. The Pet' Nat craze will saturate the market one more year before pulling back. Rosé stays strong. 

7) Biggest Burgundy story?

Survival. With 2016 being one of the most devastating with frost and hail decimating crops and offering yet another miniscule vintage, winemakers are doing what they need to do. Look to gamay from the Loire and syrah from the Rhone and even carignan from the southwest being made in the Côte d' Or in 2016.  And that means more from one of France's most sublime hi-rent district as Burgundy goes shopping for grapes elsewhere.

297101 

8) The world goes to pot

Last year when on a panel at the Grape Symposium on market disruption, the great Gilian Handelman pointed to pot as the biggest industry disrupter. We will see the beginnings of her soothsaying this year. Marijuana will impact on a certain sector of wine consumption, at the supermarket level. 

9) A backlash on the vin de soifiness of carbonic maceration

While there will always be a place for the wines that are easy to drink without food, a respect, admiration and demand will be on the rise for wines with backbone and spine, as well as those who commit to allowing wine to take its time. 

10) Cider and other wild fermentations

Wines that come from other sources than grape will make a break for the wine list. This means you, mead and autumn olive.  

What's the big wine takeaway? In 2017, wine boundaries break down. There's an increase of interest in the exciting, no matter where they come from. 

Best Wine Moments in 2016 (p.1)

I received an email from a friend who is ex-patrioted who said he was bored with wine, and he hopes to get it back. Sometimes when making a living at what we're good at, whether importing or writing, it can indeed kill the love. I too have been in this position, really? Another tasting note? Another story? How can I fire up the enthusiasm. Especially when working in a local fast food place is a better living than capitalizing on my two decades of experience playing pairing words and wine. 

But looking over the year at stories that I loved writing, about people worth writing about their soil, and tasting the rare wine that wasn't just drink-worthy but transformational, or ones that merely just give pleasure, and the people and the conversations..I think can indeed restore the love, and I am feeling it these days. The love.Yet when I look over the memories, sure I could pull the bottle shots, but mostly they were wine moments. I could tell you the wines, and the bottles are scattered throughout, but this year, I'm going with the pictorial.

So here's to my struggling, enervated colleagues. I hope these help inspire, and if I failed to give the stories, there's room in your own imagination to make them happen. 

Happy New Year to all, may there be miracles...  Alice  

 

The year started out with Pierre & Catherine's 30th anniversary birthday bash

DSC03128 

 

                  Pierre does his party trick. DSC03136

Last January I landed in Angers, went immediately to tastings and that night Pascaline and I went to a fabulous party at the Breton's to celebrate their 30 years making exquisite wine. It was packed. 

DSC03138                       DSC03142
Some of the very memorable guests...Fred Cossard, Jean Foillard, and David Lillie

DSC03211

 Xavier Caillard, expressive, magical wines. Here is telling us of his battle with with vine virus esca and its tedious fix. 

 

DSC03280

Meeting the remarkable Hacquet sisters. 

 

                                                                                                                                                  

                                                 BasculeLunch with Eric Texier and Pascaline at de la Bascule  (we drank Yohan Lardy)

 

IMG_7257          IMG_7290  the judging dream team, wine without walls

 

                                                        DSC03488book signing!

 

 

 


IMG_7349   A lunch in Vittoria with the Occhipintis, Arianna and her uncle Guisto

 

 

IMG_7463

Salvo Foti on Etna

IMG_7488

Faro Giuseppina, a great Etna discovery

and then there's Eduardo's wine

             IMG_7585

 

IMG_7294 

 

 

A beautiful Rosso from Etna's basalt

 

And the beautiful mess at Calabretto.. IMG_7597



in the morning we were in the sun, on the volcano, by night fall we were in Trentino. And in the morning after a restful night we took the gospel from Elisabetta Foradori. 

 

IMG_7647

                                                                                                IMG_7651

End Part 1

Inclusive and affordable wines for Thanksgiving 2016

For no good reason at all---except that I flunk self-promotion, the wines I send out monthly to The Feiring Line Wine Society are cloaked in secrecy.  I've a right mind to change that and giving the mono-chrome political climate, it seems correct that I break the silence with Thanksgiving.

This year the message is poignant;  resist the mono-varietal supremacy and go for the blend. A melange of grapes in a bottle make plenty of sense. These can be perfectly wonderful melting pot way of celebrating the diversity that makes America great, even though some---like the current president elect---see nothing to praise.

All are in featured in my annual Econoplus issue---great wines under $18

All organic or biodynamic. All with low So2 (none here have zero). 

 

 

  Imgres

2014 Podere Giardino Lambrusco “Suoli Cataldi"

Where: Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Grapes:  Mostly lambrusco marani, lambrusco salamino, and lambrusco oliva. 10% is divided between ancellotta and malbo gentile. 

 Here I give you one winner from the 2016 Wine Without Walls award that I presided over at VinItaly. It's an example of how Emilia's wines are singing excitement. A red lambrusco. This specific one comes from a 1.5ha plot with a sandy clay soils locally called ‘Cataldi.’ It's firm, earthy,  refreshing, blending the the bubble with tannin in an exciting way. Classic pairing is prosciuitti and all things cured and piggy, but think larger--or smaller, depending on how big a turkey you're dealing with.

 

Edelz

NV Leon Boesch Edelzwicker

Where: Alsace, France

Grape: sylvaner, pinot blanc, pinot gris, muscat

A full liter for a good price makes this fun wine even more of an event. It's NV but based on the 2013 vintage. Absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving, whether a host gift or plunked on your own table.  Why? Edelzwicker is a category in Alsace for blends, and what is Thanksgiving other than a blend of humans from all over. Celebrate that with a  bottled field blend. As far as the vigneron?  I'm in love with everything Boesch. Raised in old foudres, balanced, peach and peach pit, with a good dose of grapefruit acidity that makes you reach for more. 

 

Vin-mai-2016-030

Grange Tiphaine Ad Libatum 2015

Where: Touraine-Amboise, Loire Valley,France

Grape: cot, gamay, cabernet franc

Damien Delecheneau's entry level wine has become way more serious when he stopped doing carbo. This is now reborn as a  beautiful wine from organic vines between 15-45 years grown in limestone soils. Raised in tank, with no wood involvement we have purity, structure, velvet, bones, dusty fruit underneath it all. 

   

IMG_9613

2013 Cellers de Can Suriol Azimut Negre

From: Penedes, Spain

Grapes 40% ull de llebre (tempranillo), 20% garnatxa, 20% monastrell, 10% syrah, 10% samsó (carignan)

 Suriol is among those pioneering natural in the Penedes so forgive the terrible packaging. What lies beneath is and adult wine worthy of the crowd, or the Friday after the holiday when you want casual. This actually over delivers. S It's velvety, mentholated cherry and a good dollop of acid. 

 

 

The blend of grapes, an ancient tradition. Never forget it.