Romagnoli ‘Il Rosso di Casa Romagnoli’ Marche IGT 2015

Estate: The Romagnoli Winery is a small family estate established in 1857 and located in the Marches region between Tuscany and Umbria along the Adriatic Coast. Passionate about producing traditional wines that express the fruit profile of each individual grape varietal, they utilize traditional farming methods on their 11 hectares of vineyards, along with modern methods such as thermoregulation tank control. Three generations of the family work together, taking of the entire production from vine to bottle.

Philosophy: Their philosophy is one of “respecting the great characteristics of the grapes” and can be seen in the family’s motto “Piccoli Produttori – GRAND VINI” [Small Producers-BIG WINES].

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards with clay and sand soil. Aged in steel barrels. Crafted from a classic Marches blend, this “house wine” is meant to be an everyday red.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with cheerful aromas of wild berries and soft baking spices. Blackberry, cherry, tobacco leaf and a hint of warm summer earth are accented by light tannins, black cherry and smoky spice comprise the plush finish. Rustic, easy drinking and a fantastic pairing with pizza and all sorts of pastas. A spectacular value.

Blend of Lacrima, Montepulciano and Sangiovese [I was unable to verify variatel percentages.]
Marche IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Renato Romagnoli & C.
14% Alcohol
$7
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Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2014

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: Dark garnet in colour with inviting aromas of cherry, woods, dusty earth and a hint of funk. A classic expression of Chianti, with silky layers of cherry, leather, tobacco and earth. A refreshing herbaceous streak highlights food friendly acidity and dry tannins. Sour cherry and a trace of cured meat comprise the dry finish. A phenomenal value that pairs wonderfully with a wide variety of dishes.

92% Sangiovese, 8% Merlot
Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fèlsina SPA
12.5% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now thru 2019

Tasca d’Almerita ‘Regaleali Le Rose’ Terre Siciliane IGT 2016

Estate: The Tasca d’Almerita family of estates consists of the Regaleali, Capofaro, and Whitaker estates. The Tasca family has farmed the Regaleali estate since 1837. Today the 8th generation of the family, Count Lucio Tasca, oversees all of the nearly 600 hectares of vineyards along with his sons, Giuseppe and Alberto. The family is committed to sustainability; they are behind the ‘SOStain’ programme, an organization that guides companies towards increasing their sustainability. The name of the wine reflects the “thousands of roses, brought in from all over the world”, that flourish throughout the Regaleali estate.

Philosophy: Passionate about eco-sustainability, the Regaleali estate is nearly completely self-sufficient; all of their food is grown on the estate and they are working toward a carbon neutral rating. Their goal of achieving eco-sustainability “is a self-regulated, pro-active scheme to reach our goals through positive actions both in the short term and in the mid-to-long term” that they achieve using “science, technology and organization”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from the Santa Rosa vineyard at the Regaleali estate from vines planted in 1986. “Fermented in stainless steel tanks and partially macerated with the skins of Nero D’Avola.” Aged for 3 months in stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Copper pink in colour with aromas of strawberry, cherry and clean minerals. Tasting similar to the aromas, with red fruits and minerals culminating in citrus zest notes on the dry finish. Fresh and fruity with a zippy finish, this is a gluggable Rosé to enjoy all summer long.

100% Nerello Mascalese
Terre Siciliane IGT
Italy
Bottled by Conte Tasca d’Almerita SOC. AGR. a R.L.
13% Alcohol
$11
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At the End, the Bottle Must be Empty: A Glass of Chianti and a Chat with Caterina Gargari of Pieve De’ Pitti

Organized by the Consorzio del Chianti, I was delighted to attend Chianti Lovers Anteprima Chianti 2017 held at Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy on February 12th. The ‘antiprima’ tasting featured 2015 barrel samples from more then 100 producers, along with older vintages and Vin Santo. I thoroughly enjoyed attending Chianti Lovers Tasting in 2015 in New York City, and was enthusiastic to be able to attend in Florence. It was an engaging, informative tasting in which I was able to catch up with some of my favourite winemakers, along with meeting new wines and friends.

Pieve De’ Pitti is a family estate headed by Caterina Gargari and is located in Tuscany, in the heart of the Alta Valdera, in the convergence point of the valley. The name Pieve de’ Pitti comes from the Florentine Pitti who owned the estate until the end of the 17th century and from the parish chapel of St. John of Pava, that was built on the ruins of an ancient Etruscan church.

The family estate consists of 198 hectares of woods and olive groves, along with 16 hectares that are hilly vineyards with sand/clay/fossil rich soil. It is this distinctive soil, coupled with “sea winds which come from across the hills of Miemo and Castellina”, that give their “grapes a mineral and savoury flavour”. Committed to the philosophy that “great wine is made in the vineyard” the estate uses sustainable and organic methods, along with minimal intervention in both the vineyards and cellar.

‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore is the estate’s first label and is based on a classic family blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia grapes, traditionally crafted from the oldest vineyards in the estate [planted by Caterina’s grandfather in the 1960’s]. Caterina preserves this tradition and puts her own mark on it by using Sangiovese grapes from vineyards planted in 2001.

Gracious, friendly and knowledgeable, I always look forward to speaking with Caterina and discovering how her latest harvest was and the taste her striking wines. The 2015 summer in Italy was very hot, thankfully the clay soils at Pieve De’ Pitti kept the vine roots cool along with providing fresh water reserves, rescuing them from drought and withering. The heat gave way to frequent storms with lots of rain in august. The somewhat extreme combination has brought forth one of their best vintages.

Soil composition is such a huge component to understanding and appreciating the character of a wine. I always try to include it in my reviews, as it assists it conveying a sense of place. Caterina displayed the soil the vines grow in next to the wines, a fantastic visual aid in comprehending the role soil plays. When you see the density of the clay soil, you understand how it was able to hold water and cool the roots even in hot, dry weather.

Below are the 3 wines I had the pleasure of tasting with Caterina:

Pieve De’ Pitti ‘Poggio alla Volpe’ Chianti Superiore DOCG 2015

Winemaking: Sourced from grapes grown in clay soil, this will be bottled in a couple of years; it will spend 2 years in cement.

Tasting Notes: Intense fruit and spice with a cheerful agility. A splash of coffee lingers with the light tannins and dry mineral finish. Engaging, well balanced and already fun to drink.

Pieve De’ Pitti ‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore DOCG 2013

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards with two different soils [pictured above]: One is the classic mix of sand rich in shells, typical of Tuscany in general. The second is richer in minerals, a little bit light, with many white stones from the river. Cerretello is aged in cement to allow the terroir and grapes to be the highlight of each sip. Caterina stated that 2013 is her most elegant vintage, the wine is “very feminine in the nose, flowery more then the usual fruitiness”, the tannins are present yet gentle.

Tasting Notes: Abundant floral aromas with a trace of cherry lead into wonderfully balanced, silky fruit and floral notes. A clean mineral streak peeks thru soft spices, earth and leather. Gentle tannins highlight the bit of saltiness on the dry mineral finish. Nearly gossamer in character, an incredibly refined sip.

Pieve De’ Pitti Vinsanto del Chianti DOC 2008

Winemaking: Trebbiano & San Colombano grapes were harvested early in the season, in early September. Then they dry on racks for 4-5 months in a special room, the Vinsantaia. After hand pressing the juice is put in chestnut and cherry barrels, where it remains for at least 5 years.

Tasting Notes: Silky smooth, with deep, sunny flavours of apricot, nectarine, honey and candied orange zest. A savoury streak and bright acidity along with clean minerals on the dry finish keep each sip fresh and balanced.

The elegant, friendly, accessible wines are a reflection of Caterina and her passionate commitment to crafting great wines that are a pleasure to drink. “Pieve de’ Pitti wines are made to be enjoyed with good friends and good food. And at the end, the bottle must be empty.”

 

 

Media event sponsored by Consorzio del Chianti.

Produttori di Govone Barbera d’Alba DOC 2015

Winery: Produttori di Govone is a community of grape growers founded in 1957 by Giovanni Dalmasso with a mission to unify and create great wines. Today the cooperative consists of 250 members and 270 hectares. Blending tradition with modernity, they are pursuing organic viticulture; currently they have 5 hectares that are farmed organically.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with engaging aromas of dark berries, pink pepper and a trace of sandalwood. Ripe red berries are given a drizzle of caramel and balanced by bright acidity and soft tannins. Finishing dry and spicy, keeping you reaching for more. Straightforward and a versatile companion at the table.

Pairing Suggestion from Astor Wines: Enjoy this with cured meats, cheeses, briny olives, tomato sauce, sweet Italian sausage and arugula.

100% Barbera
Barbera d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Produttori di Govone
14% Alcohol
$9
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