Inama ‘Vin Soave’ Soave Classico DOC 2016

Estate: Inama Azienda Agricola was founded in the 1950’s by Giuseppe Inama. He purchased small plots of vineyards in the heart of the Soave Classico region with a goal of compiling the best vineyard sites with old vine Garganega and restoring Soave’s reputation. Today, the 3rd generation of the family passionately produces classic Veneto wines from their 30 hectares of vineyards.

Philosophy: “We believe in everyday living and oenological minimalism, respecting the winemaking good practices that have lain the foundations of modern wine.”

Winemaking: The estate is organic, and minimalist intervention is observed in the vineyards and cellar. Grapes were hand harvested from 30 year old vines in basaltic lava soil. Fermented in stainless steel vats, followed by malolactic fermentation, then aged for 8 months in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with aromas of lemon, grapefruit and buttery toast. Apple, pineapple and lemon are spread over rich brioche notes. Bright acidity and a mineral core keep everything fresh, whilst lemon and a hint of ginger compliment the nutty finish. Easy drinking and easy to pair, a favourite summer sip.

100% Garganega
Soave Classico DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Inama Azienda Agricola
12% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2018

San Valero ‘Particular’ Garnacha Cariñena 2014

Winery: Located in the Cariñena region of northern Spain, the San Valero Cooperative was founded in 1944 [making it the oldest winery in Cariñena] by 60 growers who at the time were producing bulk wines. Today the cooperative consists of more than 700 members that cultivate 3500 hectares of vineyards located between the rivers Huerva and Jalón. They focus on producing high quality wines using modern technology.

Winemaking: Grapes are from vines more than 25 years old. Aged for at least 6 months in French oak.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of black cherry, plum, black pepper and a wisp of sweet smoky earth. Dense, dark fruits are dusted with crushed black peppercorn. Velvety tannins and a trace of menthol supplement the rich, plush texture. Baking chocolate and a drop of espresso compliment the fruity finish. Engaging and expressive, fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

100% Garnacha
Cariñena
Spain
Estate Bottled by Bodegas San Valero S. Coop
14% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now

Rated 85 points and a “Best Buy” by Wine Enthusiast

 

Sample submitted for review purpose.

Andrea Occhipinti ‘Alea Viva’ Lazio Rosso IGT 2014

Estate: Passionate, progressive winemaker Andrea Occhipinti purchased 4 hectares of vineyards planted in the 1990’s, on the north-western shores of Lake Bolsena, in the heart of Gradoli, after falling in love with the area. Located in central Italy, Lake Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe, and provides a unique microclimate in addition to the distinctive terroir. Whilst studying at the Agrarian University of Tuscia, he devoted his master thesis to the vineyards of Gradoli.

Philosophy: To preserve and promote the characteristics of the two native grape varieties of Gradoli: Aleatico and Red Grechetto, to “produce wines with the flavor of tradition and the effervescence of innovation”.

Winemaking: Grapes are farmed organically and hand harvested. Spontaneous fermentation with only native yeasts in small cement bins, without the use of chemical additives and oenological agents, except for a small amount of sulphite added just before bottling. Aged for 18 months in steel and cement barrels and at least 2 months in bottle.

Tasting Notes: Transparent red in colour with floral aromas [rose and violet] underscored by salty minerals and funky earth. Candied cherry, pomegranate, red grapefruit and rose petal are given a drizzle of salty caramel in the light to medium body. A wisp of smoky, earthy minerality compliments the dry, fruity finish. An amazing fusion of fruit/flowers/minerals, expressive and engaging, so light on its feet, each glass will empty quite swiftly.

100% Aleatico
Lazio Rosso IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by Andrea Occhipinti
12.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]
Bottle N° 4700

Stratus Vineyards ‘White’ Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA 2013

Estate: Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, Stratus Vineyards was the world’s first fully LEED-certified winery in the world in 2005. The 62 acres of vineyards “are divided into 44 distinct blocs. Each one, its own small ‘somewhereness’.” The soil consists of layers of mineral-rich earth, resting on a limestone foundation, resulting in a “clay-loam mosaic” of individual soil types. The sustainable estate grows 10 varieties of red grapes and 6 varieties of white. In 2009 Stratus enlisted famed winemaker/viticulturist Paul Hobbs “to bring additional international perspective to its operations”.

Philosophy: “The wine we grow is dependent on the health of the land on which it is grown. We farm our vineyard and guide our winemaking as though our children’s future depends on it. Each vintage bottled is a reflection of this ongoing commitment.”

Winemaking: Aged for 562 days in French oak, 20% new.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour, highly aromatic with honeysuckle, pineapple, green vegetation, caramel with a pinch of sea salt and petrol. Layers of apple, pineapple and peach glide atop bright acidity, orange and caramel shine on the nutty finish. Complex and engaging, I found this best on its own, as food tends to overpower the intriguing nuances of flavour.

Blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon & Viognier [I could not verify variatel percentages.]
Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled by Stratus Vineyards
13.8% Alcohol
$38 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2020

Marziano Abbona ‘San Luigi’ Dogliani DOCG 2013

Estate: Although officially founded in 1970, Marziano Abbona and his son Celso began the family estate in the first half of the 20th century. Located in the Langhe of northern Italy, Celso was one of the first winemakers in the Dogliani region to match up exposure, soil type and climate with varietals, particularly the Dolcetto grape, essentially establishing “cru” vineyards. He planted the now renowned Bricco Boriolo vineyard in Santa Lucia de Dogliani. The winery’s flagship wine comes from this vineyard and is named Papà Celso in honour of his achievements.

Upon Celso’s death in 1964, his sons Marziano and Enrico transformed the traditional family wine farm into an official winery, and purchased additional lands in the hills of Monforte d’Alba and Novello. Like their father, they sussed out the importance of that area to a particular grape, Nebbiolo, and were at the front of the race for Barolo production.

In 1999, Mara, Marziano’s daughter, entered the business. Following her in 2008 was her sister Chiara. Today, the vineyards stretch over 52 hectares [128 acres] in Dogliani, Monforte d’Alba and Novello, including some of the most renowned crus vineyards in the Langhe. The vineyards are “divided by land quality according to factors of microclimate, position, and geology”.

Philosophy: “We make traditional wines, and we’re not afraid to say so. We’re proud of our identity. Every wine that knows how to inspire must also know how to tell its story, its own history.”

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from the sustainably farmed, single estate vineyard of San Luigi. Soils are a mix of sandy loam and clay, with an average vine age of 38 years. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Aged for 6 months in steel tanks, then 1 month in the bottle at a constant temperature of 14 °C [57 °F] before release.

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with inviting aromas of fresh cherry, baking spice and a wisp of coffee. A savoury streak accents cherry, blackberry, black currant and a shake of crushed pink peppercorn. Well structured, with dry tannins backing smoky earth, leather and baking spice on the finish. Expressive, with a rustic edge, this is fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: A daily wine, easy to match, perfect with cheese. Serve between 16-18°C [60-64°F].

100% Dolcetto
Dogliani DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Abbona
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator