Casaloste Chianti Classico DOCG 2011

casaloste2011

Estate: Founded in 1994, by Giovanni Battista d’Orsi, along with his wife Emilia, Casaloste is located in the Greve region of Chianti Classico in Tuscany. Casaloste, together with the other Wine producers of Unione Viticoltori di Panzano has strongly supported and financed The Experimental Station for Sustainable Viticulture (Stazione Sperimentale per la Viticoltura Sostenibile- SPEVIS). The institution aims to find environmentally friendly solutions for winemakers. Not only certified organic [since 1994], the estate also operates “off the grid”. They produce all of their energy needs thru its solar photovoltaic system and biothermal renewable plant fuels.

Winemaking: Aged in French oak barrels of 25 and 35 liters and in barriques “for a period of about 12 months”.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, earth and soft spice. Soft and velvety, with cherry and strawberry over layers of white pepper, leather and earth. Plush tannins, fruit and soft spice linger between each sip. A lovely, classical balance of fruit/spice/earth/leather notes Chianti Classico is renowned for.

90% Sangiovese, 10%Merlot
Chianti Classico DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Giovanni Battista d’Orsi
14% Alcohol
$16
Enjoy now thru 2018

Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2014

piodolcetto

Estate: Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, Pio Cesare has been producing wine consecutively through 5 generations and for over 135 years. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the estate consists of 70 hectares [173 acres] of vineyards. The estate is headed by Pio Boffa, Cesare Pio’s great-grandson, his daughter, Federica Rosy, along with his nephew and cousin.

The estate has vineyards in different locations; 32 hectares in Barolo, 27 hectares in Barbaresco and 10 hectares in other regions, including Alba. These vineyard sites were specifically selected as an expression of the family’s philosophy of crafting wines. Since its establishment, the family has a “strong belief in blending the different characteristics of each vineyard and region in order to produce wines that represent the styles of each appellation terroir as a whole, instead of individual sites. This was the classic method of producing Barolo, Barbaresco and the other classic wines at the end of the 19th century and it still remains our Family’s philosophy, today and in the future.” In addition to his dedication to preserving the individuality of each terroir, Pio is also a pioneer in bringing the Barbera grape to the forefront of Italian winemaking.

Their cellar is one of the few ancient cellars that are still in operation. Located in the historical center of the town of Alba, the cellar was built in the late 1700’s, and is delimited and surrounded by ancient Roman walls that date all the way back to 50 BC. The cellar actually occupies 4 different levels, one of which is lower then the Tanaro River. This unique phenomenon is intrinsic to the character of the wines the family has crafted over the many years: “The naturally constant temperatures and appropriate humidity of our cellars have been crucial for the style and quality of our wines over the years.”

I was very fortunate to meet Pio last year. Gregarious and expressive as his wines, with the belief that upon meeting you, you are considered family and always welcomed at his home and winery.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from estate vineyards in Treiso “along with very selected vineyards of “historical suppliers” who have been growing their grapes for our Family for generations. The growers have been working with Pio Cesare for generations and work according to their direction and with strict quality controls.” Vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Transparent red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, white pepper, herbs and a hint of summer earth. An herbaceous streak runs thru tart cherry and raspberry flavours. Bitter almond along with a hint of dark chocolate are given a shake of white pepper on the fantastically dry finish. Silky tannins envelop each sip; the engaging synergy of fruit/spice/savoury elements keeps you reaching for more.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Pio Cesare
12.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]
Enjoy now

Ampeleia ‘Unlitro’ Costa Toscana IGT 2015

unlitro

Estate: Located in the rugged hills of Maremma, near the Tuscan coast in Italy, Ampeleia is the passion project of 3 friends; pioneering winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini. [For a detailed account of Elisabetta Foradori’s lifelong work in Trentino, the biodynamic approach, initiatives taken to preserve indigenous plants and wildlife, and the more ethereal, nuances of winemaking, please explore the Foradori website here]. Unlitro is the estate’s 3rd wine; “one litre of Ampeleia is an expression of Ampeleia’s vitality and subtly delicate nature”.

Philosophy: Listening to the land and “creating a deep awareness” of a sense of place. Harmony with nature allows Elisabetta “to express the beauty of the land in her wines”.

Winemaking: All vineyards are farmed biodynamically. As little as possible human intervention in the winery, with only indigenous yeasts used. Grapes were sourced from the estate’s youngest vineyards. Aged for 6 months in cement tanks.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of wild berries, pink peppercorn and a flash of funk. Vivid cherry, strawberry and blackberry are backed by pepper spice and dusty earth. Black pepper, strawberry and rhubarb comprise the lengthy finish. Engaging and easy drinking with a beatnik edge, well worth seeking out!

Blend of Alicante [Grenache], Carignan and Alicante Bouschet
Costa Toscana IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by Societa Agricola Ampeleia
12.5% Alcohol
$20
Enjoy now thru 2018

Sardus Pater ‘Insula’ Monica di Sardegna DOC 2013

insula

Winery: Cantine Sardus Pater is located on the island of Sant ‘Antioco, off the southwestern coast of Sardinia. It was founded in 1949 and began producing wines in 1955. Today the cooperative has 200 members and 300 hectares of vineyards, the majority of which contain vines over 50 years in age. Although other grapes are grown, such as Vermentino and Monica, Carignano is the main focus of the winery.

Winemaking: Although not currently certified, organic methods are used in both the vineyard and winery, with an emphasis placed on as little intervention as possible.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of dusty earth, carnation, cherry and a flash of funk. Rustic and pepper spice driven, with cherry, plum and savoury hints enveloped in spice. Mild acidity and smooth tannins harmonize with black cherry and crushed pink peppercorn on the pleasantly dry finish. Straightforward and fantastic with everyday dishes like pasta, pizza and anything with barbeque sauce.

100% Monica
Monica di Sardegna DOC
Sardinia
Italy
Estate Bottled by Cantine Sardus Pater
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now

Rainoldi ‘Sassella’ Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2011

sassella

Estate: The Rainoldi estate was founded in 1925 by Aldo Rainoldi and is located in northern Lombardy, an area noted for its Nebbiolo cultivation. The “current Aldo” heads the 9 hectare family estate today, using sustainable methods in order to encourage and protect “the ecosystem balance of the vineyard, and consequently, the health and longevity of the plants.” The estate has become renowned for crafting wines “with strong personalities”.

Winemaking: The vineyards are located on intensely steep slopes [350-600m above sea level] with shallow, loose soils and an average vine age of over 60 years. In addition to receiving full sun, there is an extreme range in day to night temperatures, “which allows to have healthier grape bunches and more aromatic wines”. Integrated production and sustainable methods are used; in fact the only time pesticides are used at all is in extreme cases to combat “Flavescence Dorée, a serious disease transmitted by vine leafhoppers”.

Grapes for Sassella are sourced from vineyards rich in iron soils. Aged in Slavonian oak barrels “for about 20 months”, then 9 months in the bottle before release.

Tasting Notes: Nearly transparent garnet in colour with inviting aromas of rose, tarry earth, cherry and a wisp of eucalyptus. Tasting similar to the aromas, with cherry and strawberry overlaying the earthy, tar core. Silky smooth tannins compliment crushed white peppercorn, dried rose petal, fruit and earth on the lengthy finish. Fantastically engaging, light and airy yet packed with rich dense flavours, great on its own but also a wonderful pair with hearty dishes.

Pairing Suggestions From the Winery: It is specially recommended for red meat, but it can be perfectly combined with hearty first courses and semi-mature cheeses.
Serve at 16-18°C [61-64°F]

100% Nebbiolo
Valtellina Superiore
Italy
Estate Bottled by Aldo Rainoldi
13% Alcohol
$17
Enjoy now thru 2017
*Only 666 cases made