Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cirelli Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo - the perfect summer sipper . . . .

Cirelli Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo

The Cirelli Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2012 is tasting great right now.  Lots of cherry fruit and acidity and a little bit of that salty terroir thing going on, too.  It is also a critter wine, notice the beautiful butterfly, which I am sure is recognizable to all as the sign of freedom and transformation (okay, I am reaching here . . .) but whatever.  The wine is good.

The grapes for this wine were grown specifically to be direct press rose` and that has some advantages.  Lower alcohol and higher acidity would be the most obvious.  And now that the weather is getting really hot, and our rose` season is finally upon us, this is a great wine for those hot days.

Monday, August 26, 2013

New arrivals of G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba 2011 and Barolo Chinato . . .

The 2011 Dolcetto d'Alba from G.D. Vajra is in stock and tasting great.  From a really warm vintage, even though the stated alcohol is 12.5%, I would definitely say that this wine punches like it is heavier.  That ripeness of the vintage I don't feel in the mouth as much as in the nose, where the wine is unusually spicy, almost like it had seen some oak, but as I know this isn't the case, extremely exotic.  Clove and licorice seed come to mind.  But of course the wine retains that great acidity and sweet fruit of Dolcetto.

The new Barolo Chinato from G.D. Vajra is also in stock and if you haven't ever had a great Barolo Chinato, this is it.  Fashioned in homage to the Capellano Barolo Chinato, great friends of The Vajra's, this Barolo Chinato is a stripped down version, made from only 16 different herbs and spices using the Barolo Albe in any given vintage as the base.  The label depicts the herbs and spices in the wine.  Of course, the most prominent of the botanicals is quinine bark (which is "china" in Italian and, hence, the source of the drink’s name, Chinato).  Quinine is a natural anti-malarial compound and has been used for centuries to protect against that disease.  Quinine is the tonic in tonic water, just FYI.

For our purposes, the G.D. Vajra Barolo Chinato is a perfect digestivo to calm the stomach after a big meal and it is also most widely used as the amaro in cocktails.  My favorite cocktails using the G.D. Vajra is still one whipped up by Erik Adkins of Heaven's Dog  a few years ago.  Or you can add it to any Negroni recipe to make it extra spicy.

The Italian Fog

2 oz Millers Gin
1/2 oz G.D. Vajra Barolo Chinato
1/2 oz Apricot eau de Vie
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup

served shaken, not stirred

The Barolo Chinato can be ordered by the bottle and it comes in 750 ml.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chateau La Canorgue Cotes du Luberon 1994 - still going strong after all these years.

Chateau La Canorgue Cotes du Luberon 1994

So as the the two followers of this blog know, along with importing Italian wines, I have the honor of selling the wines from France and Spain of Beaune Imports.  At the end of the year, the owner of Beaune Imports, Michael Sullivan, gives each salesperson a mixed case of older vintages from the portfolio.  It is usually some assortment of twenty year old Burgundy, that you would expect to age well, and some other lesser wines of around the same vintage that you wouldn't expect to age well . . . but strangely, many do.  What a fine surprise is always is to have 20 year old Sancerre that sings like it did in its youth!

Last night for our usual wine group I pulled from my gift case of older Beaune Imports wines and we struck gold!  It was my favorite wine of the tasting and most people loved it.  The 1994 Chateau La Canorgue Cotes du Luberon.

Clear and bright with pale ruby core to an orange rim.  Truffle and licorice and boysenberry in the nose.  A little barnyardy but not distractingly so.  Lots of mint and bloody meat in the mouth.  A nice long finish.  Pure finesse but with a little bit of tannin and spice to keep things lively.  Just great.

Certified Organic for many years, this wine is around 30% Grenache and 70% Syrah and would have retailed back in 1997 for somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 a bottle.  It is a steal for triple the price.

The 2010 vintage is current and drinking really well at 3 years of age, but as we can all attest from our tasting last night, a little more age in the bottle will do it just fine.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2012 Favaro Erbaluce di Caluso Le Chiusure . . . the best yet?

Made from the vineyard right in front of the winery, it is the flagship of the winery.  Tre Bicchiere two years in a row, it has now become the star that other Erbaluce makers follow in hopes of reaching the same heights.

In 2012, you can feel the vintage more than in 2011.  While 2011 was slightly hot and the flavors muddled, the 2012 is crisp and intense, the aromas of gooseberries and hay jumping from the glass.  In the mouth it is zesty and firm and lingers instead of fading away, inviting another sip.

Just arrived on our shores it will be in short supply.  So seek it out.

Friday, August 2, 2013

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...