Coming up with your top 5 favourite grapes is similar to picking your top 5 Bruce Springsteen songs. It’s a daunting task. However, I feel fairly confident in saying that Schiava is defiantly in my top 5, and I can make a very solid case for Ruché as well. Like knowing you have Spirit in the Night in the top 5, and well equipped to explain why Does this Stop at 82nd Street? might be up there too.
Of course these two grapes are extraordinarily difficult to find outside of Italy, so imagine my absolute delight being able to enjoy them back to back with a fantastic dinner! Thank you, Otto Enoteca!
Kellerei Kaltern Pfarrhof Kalterersee Classico Superiore 2014
Winery: Kellerei Kaltern winery is located around Lake Kaltern in Alto Adige, northern Italy. With a motto of “Where wine is one of the family”, it consists of over 300 hectares of vineyards farmed by 440 members. The winery was officaily established in 1992, when 2 cellars Bauernkellerei [or Farmer’s Cellar, founded in 1906] and Jubiläumskellerei [or Jubilee Cellar, founded in 1908] merged. Kellerei Kaltern is known for crafting accessible wines with a distinctive mineral backbone.
Winemaking: The ‘Pfarrhof’ label is part of the ‘Cru’ Collection; “the crowning glory of meticulously careful viticulture, soil in thrilling harmony with the variety and faithful winemaking. Wines that respect the character certain plots can impart in an absolutely distinctive manner.” Grapes were sourced from selected old vine vineyards with southern exposure, with “heat absorbing, loamy, chalky gravel” soils.
Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of wild strawberry and cherry. Bright, tart cranberry, raspberry and strawberry flavours are given a shake of crushed pink peppercorn in the light to medium body. Silky tannins, tingly acidity and a trace of bitter almond provide an energizing harmony, whilst tart fruit carries thru to the clean finish.
Winery Pairing Recommendations: Ideal as an aperitif, an accompaniment to appetizers, or to typical Tyrolean fare such as speck and sausage, but also to lighter meats and mild cheeses.
95% Schiava, 5% Lagrein
Kalterersee Classico Superiore DOC
Produced & Bottled by Kellerei Kaltern
$18 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2017
La Miraja Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG 2014
Estate: Headed by 7th generation viticulturist Eugenio Gatti, La Miraja is ensconced in the original 11th century castle of Castagnole Monferrato. The armory of the castle was retrofitted as a wine cellar in the 1400’s and is still used by Gatti today. Many regard Castagnole Monferrato as the birthplace of Ruché, and rather fittingly, Eugenio Gatti has the oldest vineyard of Ruché grapes in existence. Production of Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato is incredibly limited, and it is only very recently that it has reached beyond the local environs.
Tasting Notes: Transparent red-violet in colour, extraordinarily fragrant, with revolving/evolving aromas [wildflowers, cherry, raisin, herbs, black pepper, earthy woods, & a hint of biodynamic funk]. Delectable smoky cherry, red currant and wild berries are dusted with a shake of black pepper, joining tingly acidity and an herbaceous streak in the medium body. Velvety, soft tannins meld into spice and murmurs of funky earth on the plush finish. Charismatic, distinctive, each glass finishes with a lithe swiftness.
Castagnole Monferrato DOCG
Bottled by Azienda Agricola La Miraja
$25 [average price]