As usual, I was absolutely delighted to attend another tasting at Otto Enoteca in NYC a couple of Saturdays past. Directed by Sommelier Dan Pucci, it was a lively, informative tasting featuring 6 distinctive wines crafted by winemakers using only natural, organic and biodynamic methods. Each wine expressed a sense of place and had a story to tell; from the creamy honey and almonds of the Il Lebbio Tropie Vernaccia Di San Gimignano to the unusual and wonderful Bricco Maiolica Dolcetto Diano d’Alba, all were friendly and engaging!
Brandini Arnies Langhe 2012
The Agricola Brandini estate is located on top of a hill in La Morra, in the province of Cuneo, in Piedmonte. The 9 hectare estate is certified organic, and all processes of winemaking are carried out in a natural manner, such as no fining or filtration are done, and only native yeasts are used. The grapes [Arneis translates to “little rascal” as it is very difficult to grow] were sourced from vines ranging in age from 5 to 50 years.
Fermented in stainless with enticing aromas of apple, pineapple, honey and hints of salty cracker. Lush floral flavours of jasmine and orange blossom joined smoky honey elements; clean minerals and a crisp acidity balanced each delicate sip. Fantastically easy drinking and refreshing, each summery sip beckons for more.
Bottled by IT CN 6380 S. Vittoria d’Alba for Brandini SRL La Morra
Il Lebbio Tropìe Vernaccia Di San Gimignano 2011
Il Lebbio is a family estate located in San Gimignano, in the province of Siena in Tuscany and is owned by the Niccolini family. The estate takes its name from a small indigenous plant that grows wild on the land.
Fascinating and uncommon, with aromas of almonds, white flowers and honey. A creamy body of lemon, anise and honey flavours was balanced by a bright acidity and bitter almond finish. This is a memorable glass and a wonderful companion to soft, gamey cheeses.
Estate Bottled by AZ. AGR. Il Lebbio Dei Filli Niccolini
Crealto Marcaleone Grignolino Del Monferrato Casalese 2010
Societa Agricola Crealto is located in Monferrato, in northern Piedmont and is the creation of two sommeliers from Genoa, Eleonora Costa and Luigi Armanino. Their love of indigenous Piedmontese grapes led them to purchase 4.5 hectares of vineyards from “The master of Grignolino”, Carlo Quarello. The estate is certified organic, and they practice biodynamic methods along with hand harvesting, minimal use of sulphur, and the use of only natural yeasts. The grapes were sourced from a 2 hectare vineyard with 50 year old vines.
Brick cranberry in colour with aromas of cherry and an earthy barnyard funk. Grippy sandpaper tannins joined cherry, earth, and smoky meaty elements. This is a complex, character driven glass that is a refreshing accompaniment to rich dishes.
Grignolino Del Monferrato Casalese
Estate Bottled by Societá Agricola Crealto S.S.
Bricco Maiolica Dolcetto Diano d’Alba 2012
Bricco Maioloca is a family owned estate located in the Dolcetto region in northwestern Italy and is headed by 4th generation winemaker Beppe Accomo and his wife Claudia Castgella. Although the estate is not certified organic, they never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and all of their wines are crafted using hand harvested, estate grown grapes. Diano d’Alba is a new Dolcetto DOCG zone established in 2010, currently it consists of 300 hectares of vineyards.
Earthy forest elements are the backbone of this unique, distinctive Dolcetto. Blackberry, smoked meat and crushed black peppercorn make this absolutely essential to seek out.
Estate Bottled by Beppe Accomo AZ. AGR Bricco Maiolica
Fonternza Lupette Toscana IGT 2009
Fonternza is a 40 hectare estate located in the southern part of the Montalcino region in Tuscany. Twin sisters Margherita and Francesca Padovani founded the estate in 1999. They practice biodynamic farming methods, use only natural yeasts in fermentation and do not filter or refine. Their wines have become renowned for expressing the “heart and soul” of the land.
A friendly mix of cherry, funky earth and spicy pink peppercorn, this is a rustic, refreshing glass that will bring a fun, lively presence to any meal.
Vercesi Del Castellazzo Clà Barbera 2011
The Vercesi del Castellazzo estate has belonged to the Vercesi family since 1808. Today, the 4th and 5th generations of the winemaking family head the 20 hectare estate [18 hectares are vineyards]. Since 1995, organic farming methods have been used, only native yeasts are used in fermentation, and sulphur is not added during vinification.
Another wonderfully unconventional expression of a well-known varietal, and a special cuvee made from vine over 15 years old, with flavours of blackberry, cherry and sandalwood giving way to a savoury finish of pine, black pepper and sweet balsamic. Intense and well balanced, this is a passionate glass that keeps you reaching for more.
Provincia di Pavia
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Vercesi Del Castellazzo
* Although not from Piedmont or Tuscany, this Lombardy bottle was an extra pour by the Sommelier.]
[All prices are the average online price.]