Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sailing with Fabio

We've got Fabio Oberto in town for a few days, and I figured I'd take him sailing over the weekend to give him a taste of northern Wisconsin and Lake Superior. Turns out not only does Fabio grow incredible Barolo, but he might be a natural born sailor. Never seasick, completely at home on the boat, more than willing to lend a hand. Hope he can come back for a longer passage.

Below decks, we enjoyed a bottle of JJ Prum 2012 Kabinett, (Riesling is Fabio's favorite grape after Nebbiolo). The wine was stunning, if far too young. We then opened an Oberto 2004 Barolo DOCG from my cellar, which was deep, spicy, and very complex, almost perfect Barolo, but which is yet still too young. It was a more than acceptable pairing with grilled Lake Superior lake trout, caught that very day by local fishermen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2001 Chateau de Viella

Stunning, youthful, shockingly delicious. This 2001 Madiran from Chateau de Viella has another 15-20 years in it.

Available from WorldWide Cellars by first September, in very limited quantities.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Piaggia arriving this week!

Piaggia is a recognized leader in Carmignano, one of the oldest designated appellations in the world, which is a fact that will surprise some of you. Carmignano is named for the eponymous city of Carmignano, a mere dozen kilometers west of Florence. Long ago ruled by the Medici, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici took special pride in the area's wines, and in 1716 ruled that the wine-growing area, and the name Carmignano, should have special legal protected status, essentially creating one of the world's first appellations. 

Mauro Vannucci and his daughter Silvia are making stunning, serious wines that show true noble character and cellar-worthiness. Don't miss!! 

Piaggia vineyard, taken just a couple of weeks ago on visit with Tony Lemmo, of Cafe di Scala in Des Moines. Note the calcareous content in the soils that makes them appear practically white, and the traditional chestnut stakes. One can see Florence less than 15 km away from a different angle in this vineyard. 

The next vintage of Il Sasso is 2011, but the 2010 that is on the way has the potential to be a "classic" vintage. 

Tony contemplates the array of wines during our tasting: impressive!

Tony contemplates the enormous bistecca fiorentina that came out for lunch after our tasting at the winery. These steaks come from the famous white Tuscan chianina cattle, and are usually cooked over a wood fire. Needless to say, delicious. Needless to say, I was not able to finish (that steak was for one person). 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Long Island, Lake Superior

There is only the sand, the water, the wind, the waves: everything else.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Barone di Valforte

In Abruzzo, Montepulciano (the grape) is king. In the hands of Valforte, who have 20 hectares in the DOCG zone, Colline Teramane, the king's crown shines bright indeed. Pictured below, Guido Sorricchio shows Tony and I the new gemme, or flowering shoots. The growing season is off to a promising start. 

South facing vineyards in Città Sant'Angelo, where the cantina, and one part of vineyards of Barone di Valforte are located. The vineyards are about 3km from the Adriatic Sea. 

Guido shows off the new gemme, but also evident is the clay soil with an enormous calcareous but also ferrous content, which gives the soil a yellowish cast. 

Super-modern winemaking facilities include state of the art controls for all of the winery's stainless steel vats. 

Sun setting over Colline Teramane

After a hard day of winery visits, multiple plates of seafood at Osteria Della Loggia Di Bruno Mancinelli, in Alta Silvi...high in the hills. The meal was absolutely breathtaking.