La Farra ‘Rive di Farra di Soligo Millesimato’ Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG

Estate: The La Farra estate was established in 1997 by brothers Innocente and Guido Nardi, following in the footsteps of their family’s long winemaking history. Located in in Farra di Soligo, in the heart of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, the 20 hectares of vineyards also stretch into the municipalities of Pieve di Soligo, Follina and San Pietro di Feletto. [The Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG zone has long been celebrated for the quality of its grapes and its steep, hillside vineyards. For more details about this acclaimed region, click here.]

Winemaking: Hand harvested and crafted from a “Cru” of grapes from vineyards with “limey soils” in the high hills of Farra di Soligo. Charmat method [or tank fermentation].

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with delicate aromas of apple, honey and delicate white flowers. Yellow apple, apricot and a touch of honey fuses with an abundance of dense fine bubbles. The distinctive, vivid almond on the dry finish is the star. Fantastic on its own, or with light dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Excellent aperitif, also an ideal end to the meal [especially with fruit pastries].

100% Glera
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola La Farra
11% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now

 

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

Brut & Extra Dry: Exploring the Styles of Prosecco

There are many different styles of Prosecco, all within a budget friendly price point. From spumante [sparkling] to still, from brut to dry, it’s an incredibly versatile wine. It’s interesting to explore the subtle [and not so subtle] differences between Brut [up to 12g of residual sugar per litre] and Extra Dry [12-17g of residual sugar per litre]. Below are fantastic examples of the two.

Le Colture ‘Fagher’ Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV

Estate: The Le Colture family has a winemaking history in Valdobbiadene that extends back over 500 years, to the 1500’s. The estate has a total of 40 hectares of vineyards that are spread across 16 farm properties in the Valdobbiadene, Conegliano and Montello areas. This allows for “the creation of wines with ultra-distinctive personalities that reflect the specific characteristics innate in the soils and weather conditions of very uncommon terroirs”.

Philosophy: “From generation to generation, the harmony of a solid, efficient team.”

Winemaking: Charmat method at a controlled temperature.

Tasting Notes: Super pale gold in colour with delicate aromas of lemon zest, brioche and crushed rock minerals. Clean minerals, lemon and almond glide atop fine, dense bubbles which carry thru the finish. A wisp of fresh bread and citrus zest elongate the nutty, bone dry finish. Elegant and clean with a savory edge, lovely on its own or with light dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Intended to be drunk throughout the entire meal, pairs well with vegetable antipasti, seafood pasta dishes.

100% Glera
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Italy
Produced by Azienda Agricola Le Colture
11.5% Alcohol
$15 [average price]
Enjoy now

Frassinelli ‘Rive di Manzana Millesimato’ Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2015

Estate: Located in Mareno di Piave, between the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene and the Piave river, the Frassinelli family has been making wine since since 1966. The estate’s 13 hectares of vineyards stretch across 3 appellations; Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, Venezia DOC, Prosecco DOC.

Philosophy: “Our responsibility is to respect the territory. Our passion is to understand it.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from the Rive di Manzana “Cru”, located in the heart of Prosecco.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour with aromas of apple, lemon, wildflowers, honey and a touch of minerality. Tasting similar to the aromas with apple and lemon drizzled in honey gliding over light, meandering bubbles. Hints of baked apple and brioche compliment the dry, crisp finish. Sunshine in a glass!

100% Glera
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Italy
Produced by Azienda Agricola Frassinelli
11.5% Alcohol
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2018

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.

Elio Sandri Barolo Riserva DOCG 2005

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Estate: Founded by Giovanni Sandri in 1965, Giovanni was born into a family of farmers from which he learned the art of grape growing and winemaking. In 1965 he purchased Cascina Disa and began crafting his Barolos. Today the estate is headed by Elio and Daniela Sandri, along with their children Luna and Riccardo. Located in the Langhe hills of Monforte d’Alba, the estate consist of 7 hectares of vineyards, with the oldest vines dating back to 1937, the newest 2001. With an emphasis on ecological balance and preservation, in 1999 they purchased a neighboring forest, in order “to balance the impact of human activity with the territory”. As with many other Barolo estates, they also produce Dolcetto and Barbera wines.

Winemaking: Organic, natural processes [along with some biodynamic principles] and minimum interventions are followed in the both the vineyard and cellar. Overall the vineyards consist of marine soils of calcareous clay; grapes for the Riserva are sourced from “the best land where the marl comes to the surface”. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts followed by “5 years in large old slovonian oak barrels and bottle”. Bottling done only during the waning moon.

For a more in depth look at Elio Sandri, his wines and vineyards, please click here for Gregory Dal Piaz’s fantastic article on his visit to Cascina Disa.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet with brick edges in colour, with aromas of tar and rose. Agile and engaging, with that divine pairing of tar and rose flavours encased in red berry fruit and velvety tannins. Classic, elegant, powerful, everything I want in Barolo.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Superb for hearty meat dishes, truffles, game and strong Piemontese cheese.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola Elio Sandri
14% Alcohol
€50 restaurant wine list in Florence Italy [I could not find any other listed price.]
Enjoy now thru 2022

Podere Giardino ‘Suoli Cataldi’ Rosé Reggiano Lambrusco DOP 2014

 

Estate: Since the end of the 19th century, the Crotti family have been farming Podere Giardino, located in a “small hamlet alongside the historic Via Emilia in the direction of Modena” in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. At that time, the estate was headed by Donnino Crotti and was primarily for raising cows to produce the famed Parmigiano Reggiano cheese of the region. In 2001 his grandchildren, Paolo, Marco and Federica Crotti took over the estate from their parents and began combining family tradition along with modern technology to produce Lambrusco on a larger scale. They are devoted to organic farming, for both vines and cows [certified since 2003] and production methods “that respects human well-being and defends environmental biodiversity, it is a model of sustainable development aimed at protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of the soil and the resources of local communities”.

Philosophy: Carrying the family’s traditions into the future, they are committed to “the respect of the natural rhythms imposed by nature and our constant effort to recover the authentic tastes and fragrances of the products of our land: these are our values, the ones that allow us to respect the certified biological method”.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards located in the High Plains of Reggio Emilia with sandy soils called ‘Cataldi’.

Tasting Notes: Light ruby red in colour with aromas of red fruits and earth. Super fruity, with all the cherries [red, sour and black] along with fresh raspberry, pomegranate and a trace of earth. Lip smacking acidity and light fizz keep you coming back for more. Fantastic and fun on its own or with a wide variety of dishes, especially cheese based.

Enjoy at 10-12°C [50-54F°]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Traditional foods from Emilia Romagna, such as Reggiano Parmesan cheese, fried dumplings and ham.

100% Marani [Lambrusco]
Reggiano Lambrusco DOP
Italy
Produced by Azienda Agricola Podere Giardino, Bottled by ICQRF 2019/RE
11% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now