Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Harvest Update - Az.Ag. Cirelli - Day One


Here I am with  some notes from day 1.

Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

June and july were terribly dry but fortunately I carefully green harvested this year leaving leaves enough to shade the grapes and prevent any extreme warm during the day.

Also, Sunday a benefical rain came together with a cold wind from the north which both helped to calm the temperature down.

Cirelli basket press creating a starter cuvee
Today it was Trebbiano: 15 quintals of hand selected and harvested grapes for creating the piede de cuve.

18 BABO, nice and fresh acidity, good tannin maturation. From 15 quintals of grapes we had 10 quintals or must which is now decanting for 24 hours. The fermentation will start naturally and we are going to use these 10 quintals to start the fermentation of the rest of the trebbiano musts.

Soon with other updates.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A little rain in Montalcino goes a long way to saving the harvest . . .

SAN POLINO 8/26/12

Happy vines! Happy us!!!

It rained this morning after three months of drought: 90+ days of intense heat, sun  and baked earth followed by restless hot, hot nights. The drought was taking its toll on the vines and we could see signs that they were suffering as they struggled to find water as regulation states that we are not allowed to irrigate  We knew that with less than half a day’s rain our vines would survive and carry  our grapes to the maturation we need to make an exceptional Brunello.

And this morning the weather finally broke.

By 10 am clouds were glowering in the south west and a storm was gathering; then with claps of thunder, lightening, a wind blew up and it arrived.

At first the odd enormous splashing drop and we thought: “Oh, no, it’s passed us by”. Then the clouds opened, pelting down huge and very wet. Beautiful.

We hurriedly closed doors and windows and I rushed outside to take photos, unfortunately with only my Blackberry to hand. The hens sheltered under the lilac trees, the dogs ran wild and I got soaked within seconds. The vines dripped, dripped, dripped and we knew that the harvest was being saved.

A wonderful sight and a very happy Sunday morning.

Two hours later and the sun is back, the cicadas are chirping. We’re doing some wine tastings for an imminent bottling.

We’re deciding where to go this afternoon, it being Sunday. I opt for the sea and a late afternoon swim whereas my husband wants to visit my brother on the mountain and go to a local town fair to listen to the music and watch the fireworks.

The vines will be happy whichever we choose.

Katia - San Polino

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our wine group tasting wines from Monday night . . .

1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, 2009 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnerre,   2010 Sancerre Les Monts Damnés, François Cotat, Chavignol, 2001 Domaine Marcel Deiss "Gruenspiel" Premier Cru White Blend, Bergheim, 2011 Holly's Garden "Pagan" Pinot Noir Whitlands

1. Clear and bright with pale gold core out to a water white rim - almost touch of gold. Clean with bright aromas with pear and salty minerally rocks. Dry with medium plus acidity, slight oxidation in the nose and a slightly off dry finish.  Lots of alcohol. And slightly corky. Mushroomy.  Sauvignon St Bris?
2010 Sancerre Monts Damnes from Francois Cotat - Not my favorite wine in the tasting as I thought it was slightly corked and if it wasn't corked then it was just tasting bad.  And certainly not typical. No one in the group got that it was Sauvignon from Sancerre and I think I may have been the closest with St.Bris but I wasn't confident enough to shout it out.

2. Clear and bright with pale gold core out to a watery rim. Clean with grassy notes high in the nose and vanilla. Dry with flavors of lemon and baked apple with medium plus acidity and a long finish.   Bourgogne Blanc or Chablis from 2010.
2009 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnerre - Very classic Chardonnay in the nose with some oak but I definitely didn't think it was a $150 wine.  My bad.

3. Clear and bright with deep core of dark gold. Clean with developed aromas of apricots and candied orange and jasmine. Off dry with medium acidity, lychee and rose petals.  Excellent long finish. Slightly petillant in the mouth.  Wehlener sonnenhur Riesling spatlese or auslese Riesling or pinot gris?
2001 Domaine Marcel Deiss Gruenspiel Premier Cru, Bergheim(Riesling, Gewurz, pinot noir!) - No one could have gotten this wine right.  It was slightly sweet and we all kept throwing out adjetives describing one wine or another but because it was such a blend, we were totally confused.  Sweet but not too sweet, good acid, but not too much acid.  Nose of GW but mouth of Riesling? I was confused and so was everyone else.

4. Clear and bright with pale ruby orange core out to a orange watery rim. Clean with aged aromas of seeder and loamy undergrowth and older oak. Dry with medium plus to high tannins and cranberry and orange peek and some cedar.  Excellent acidity and a long finish. 1980's Barolo and maybe older?  Soft but hard.
1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - this one was nailed by a group member as a "banker" or a wine that is so iconic that you need to get it immediately.  Maybe not the vintage or the producer, but definitely region.  I thought it was older than it was but definitely thought it was from a traditional producer and would probably have said Mascarello given the choice.  A true and perfect expression of nebbiolo that could go for another 20 years, easy.

5. Clear with deep ruby core out to a watery orange rim. Clean with old watery loamy under brushy smell with salty spicy cedar boxy and dark, dark fruit with a little pepper spice. Lots of alcohol and an older, long finish. Syrah from Rhône?   Maybe older Chateauneuf?
1998 Chateaneuf du Pape  Les Caillou Andre Brunel - another taster nailed this wine and I was with him but couldn't call it for sure.

6. Cloudy and slightly ruby. Dirty, soy, mercaptins, tomato, and geranium.  Boy, that sucked!
2011 Holly's Pagan Victoria Pinot Noir - there was something flawed about this wine but no one could agree what it was but strangely, some stuck up for the wine as being "natural".  I almost lost my mind!  I have "natural" wines in my portfolio, whether made with organically grown grapes or with biodynamic practices in the vineyard and cellar, and I am sorry, but if this is "natural" then I don't want it.  Ever.  I cannot convey how distinctly horrible this wine was and if it is supposed to be this way, then that is the reason why people don't drink "natural" wines and why we as an industry have trouble getting some people to enjoy wine on a daily basis.  If this is "natural" we would be killing all of our customers or at least driving them far, far away.  But that said, I think it was just poor winemaking . . . and mistakes happen to everyone.

So overall, I thought the tasting was a success and I look forward to the next one with great anticipation.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pre-Harvest G.D. Vajra walking in the vineyards

Ready or not ready?  Looks like lots of variation in the bunches.

Aldo and Giuseppe Vaira

Riesling or Moscato

Aldo Vaira

Sinio- Roddino e Novello

Giuseppe, looking very Roman.

Aldo checking the grapes out.

Giuseppe working hard to get up those steep slopes.

What do you think?  Dolcetto?

Son and father, Aldo.

Just about ready.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 Garlic Harvest at Agricola Cirelli

As I am sure I have let you know many times, Agricola Cirelli does not only make wine. They grow garlic, figs, wheat, geese and olives.  It is one thing after another from now until the end of the year.  Strangely enough, or maybe not so strange, but Francesco doesn't even eat garlic as it doesn't sit well with his stomach.  So proud to be representing Agricola Cirelli.

Raw garlic: così è dopo la raccolta e l’esiccamento di circa 10 giorni 
This is how it is after the harvest and drying for around 10 days.
Per un prodotto eccellente occorre pulire e selezionare l’aglio migliore!
For an excellent product, you need to clean and select the best garlic!
Dopo la pulizia, le teste dell’aglio vengono immesse nella macchina “calibratrice” che serve a dividere le teste dell’aglio a seconda della loro dimensione.
After the cleaning, the heads of garlic are put into the calibrating machine that serves to divide the heads of garlic by their size.
The final result: nearly 100 quintals (100kg) of beautiful, organic garlic.

Si festeggia la fine della raccolta! Michela con i nostri cari collaboratori
Celebrating the end of harvest.  Michela, Francesco's new wife, with their dear collaborators.

Lunch with Francesca Vaira at Terroni DTLA . . . best lunch ever!

Francesca Vaira  2010 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library  2006 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library 2014 Luigi Ba...