Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG 2011

Estate: The Fenocchio family has been producing wine from their land in the heart of the Bussia in Monforte d’Alba since 1894. In 1964, Giacomo Fenocchio took over for the estate with the goal of crafting the finest wines in Barolo, so he purchased prime parcels in some of the best crus in the Langhe. Today, Giacomo’s son Claudio heads the estate and continues his father’s tradition of crafting character driven wines. Considered as one of the next stars in Barolo, Claudio’s is known for his minimalist, non-internationalist approach. He makes 11 different wines from 14 hectares of vineyards. His wines are renowned for their “level of terroir clarity that is only found in the top echelon of producers”.

Winemaking: Following agricultural practices passed on for 5 generations, the estate is both organic and sustainable. Grapes are from a 1 hectare, hilly vineyard at 350 meters in elevation with sand, clay and calcareous marl soil. Vines are 20 years old. Traditional method of long maceration with natural fermentation, 40 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged 6 months in stainless steel tanks, 30 months in large capacity Slavonian oak casks (25-35 hl) and successive refinement in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Garnet with brick edges in colour with ever-revolving aromas of black cherry, candied violet, tar, roses, chocolate cherry tartufo and cherry pie. Layers of all the cherries [black red and a streak of sour] tarry earth, violet and orange peel framed by grippy tannins and fresh acidity. Licorice, crushed black peppercorn and earth line the lengthy finish. A bit of rustic charm to this Barolo, the complexity will only continue to increase with time. A lovely sip.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemaker: meat, game and mature cheeses age which are so typical of the local kitchen, also goes very well with all the rich dishes of international cuisine.

Enjoy at 17-18°C [62-64°F]

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Giacomo Fenocchio s.s.
14.5% Alcohol
$30[average price]
Enjoy now thru 2026

Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2015

Estate: Castello di Farnetella is located in the province of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. The name Farnetella derives from farnia, “the English oak”, which grows in great profusion at Farnetella. The Poggiali family [owners of the renowned Fèlsina estate] purchased the historic 432 hectare estate with its 56 hectares of vineyards in 1981.

Fèlsina is headed by Domenico and Giuseppe Poggiali along with Giovanni Poggiali, the oldest of Giuseppe’s three sons. Fattoria di Fèlsina is renowned as one of the greatest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, producing “one of the finest ranges of age worthy and complex Chianti bottlings in all of Italy”.

Philosophy: “A profound respect for the Tuscan traditions of yesterday.”

Winemaking: As with all of Fèlsina’s properties, the vineyards are farmed organically and sustainably, additionally, Castello di Farnetella is also practicing biodynamic methods. Grapes are hand harvested from vineyards with loam, sand, clay and chalky soils. Aged in large oak botti for 8-12 months, followed by 3 months in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Transparent ruby red in colour, with aromas of cherry, leather, black pepper, toasted oak along with a trace of floral. All the cherries [red, black and a streak of sour] layered over a pepper spice and earth core, framed by fresh acidity and dry tannins. Black cherry, tobacco and a wisp of spiced oak linger between each sip. Super versatile at the table, and a great value. [It was fantastic with roasted cauliflower, lentil stew with cheddar, thyme and ricotta.]

90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot
Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fèlsina S.P.A. Società Agricola Castelnuovo Berardenga
13% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now thru 2025

Rated 89 points by Wine Advocate

Château des Charmes Gamay Noir Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA 2015

Estate: Paul Bosc brought his young family to the Niagara on the Lake region of Canada in the 1960’s “with the idea that growing our own grapes was the best way to make fine wine”. Paul is a 5th generation French winegrower who holds degrees in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. Founded in 1978, Château des Charmes consists of 280 acres of vineyards in four locations all within the Niagara-on-the-Lake region.

Paul established himself as a pioneer in the region, from planting traditional French varietals to employing cutting edge techniques such as installing wind machines to protect the vines from the cold. Their extensive cellars are geothermal and do not require any heating or cooling, especially impressive considering how cold Canadian winters can be. In addition to being recognized for their progressive, groundbreaking work with traditional French grapes and methods, their wines have garnered accolades for their balance, finesse and quality. Paul Sr still has an active role in the vineyards, his son Paul Jr is President of the estate, and Paul Jr’s wife Michèle is the Director of Marketing.

Philosophy: “We are custodians of the land.” Crafting wines that are “food friendly and age worthy. We hope you will call them delicious”.

Winemaking: Committed from the very beginning to sustainable practices, the family is a charter member of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. Chemical treatments are never used, and sustainable methods such as hedge vine canopies, and under drainage are utilized. Naturally occurring yeasts are used for the majority of the wines. All by-products from the winemaking process [stems, skins, seeds] are returned to the vineyards as natural fertilizer. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Bright garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, earth and a floral trace. Cherry, red currant, pomegranate, hint of sour cherry and crushed rock minerality are framed by silky tannins and fresh acidity, finishing dry and fruity. Peppy and refreshing, super versatile at the table.

100% Gamay
Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled by Château des Charmes
13% Alcohol
$16 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now

 

Giacomo Fenocchio Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2016

Estate: The Fenocchio family has been producing wine from their land in the heart of the Bussia in Monforte d’Alba since 1894. In 1964, Giacomo Fenocchio took over for the estate with the goal of crafting the finest wines in Barolo, so he purchased prime parcels in some of the best crus in the Langhe. Today, Giacomo’s son Claudio heads the estate and continues his father’s tradition of crafting character driven wines. Considered as one of the next stars in Barolo, Claudio is known for his minimalist, non-internationalist approach. He makes 11 different wines from 14 hectares of vineyards. His wines are renowned for their “level of terroir clarity that is only found in the top echelon of producers”.

Winemaking: Following agricultural practices passed on for 5 generations, the estate is both organic and sustainable. Grapes are from 30 year old vines in a 1 hectare vineyard in front of the cantina in Bussia. Fermentation and maceration on the skins for 10 days, aged for six months in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, licorice, black pepper and smoky earth. Cherry, cranberry, blackberry, a streak of sour cherry, along with fresh acidity are highlighted by baking spices and subtle earth notes. The finish is dry and fruity, displaying the distinctive refreshing bitterness of the Dolcetto grape. Friendly and well balanced, fantastic with a wide variety of dishes.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Giacomo Fenocchio S.S.A.
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2019

Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator

Fontodi Syrah Colli Toscana Centrale IGT 2013

Estate: The Fontodi estate has been in the hands of the Manetti family since 1968. The family has been strongly connected to the Chianti region for centuries, producing Tuscany’s famous “terrecotte” tiles. Located in the stunningly beautiful hills of Panzano, the 130 hectare estate [70 of which are vineyards] is certified organic. Inspired by nature and sustainability, the estate is committed to maximizing “the internal resources of the estate, thereby reducing the need for any external input”.

Philosophy: “Respecting the environment means wines that are better, purer, and a truer expression of the grape and the territory.”

Winemaking: Grapes are hand harvested from the Case Via and Pecille estate vineyards, both with a south exposure. Fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts for 3 weeks, aged in Troncais and Allier barrels, 50% new for 12 months.

Tasting Notes: Inky violet in colour with intense dark fruit, gamey and meaty aromas. Layers of rich blueberry, blackberry and black pepper are framed by solid tannins and fresh acidity. Smoky earth and peppery spice linger between each plush sip. Powerful, muscular and with a bold alcohol content, yet maintains such an approachable, easy drinking character that the bottle empties rather swiftly.

100% Syrah
Colli Toscana Centrale IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Fontodi
15% Alcohol
€36 [Average price, I paid €48 in a restaurant in Florence.]
Enjoy now thru 2022