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

Domaine de la Patience ‘From the Tank’ Rosé 2016

Brand: ‘From the Tank’ is a collaboration between Jenny & François Selections and various small, natural artisan winemakers that focus on expressing their terroir. Jenny & François Selections is a New York based wine distributor founded in 2000. They feature small vineyard wines and “winemakers who work like artisans, crafting a different wine each year. They do not impose a preconceived taste on their wines, but look to be surprised by what nature gives”. The concept ‘From the Tank’ hails from traditional wine culture in France, “of going to the local winery with a big empty jug to fill up with easy-drinking juice”.

Philosophy: “High quality natural wine at a very low price that’s good for the planet too!”

Estate: ‘From the Tank’ Rosé was made exclusively for Jenny & François Selections by Domaine de la Patience, located in the Costières de Nîmes in southeastern France. The family estate takes its name from “La Patience”, a wild aromatic herb that makes its home in the vineyards. Christophe Aguilar farms the 60 hectares of vines, the very same soil that his grandfather respectfully farmed 50 years ago.

Winemaking: The vineyards are certified organic. Grapes were sourced from 20+ year old Syrah vines and 40 year old Grenache vines, then aged in concrete vats with minimum sulfur added.

Tasting Notes: Light coral pink in colour with aromas of strawberry, watermelon and a hint of tropical coconut and banana. Tasting similar to the aromas, with strawberry and mango glazing traces of banana and coconut. Fresh acidity, a streak of minerality and zippy citrus zest on the crisp, dry finish. A fantastic summer sip, a steal at $20!

80% Grenache, 20% Syrah
Vin de Pays du Pont du Gard
France
[Bottling information not available]
12-14% Alcohol
$20 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Enjoy now

Les Vignerons D’Estézargues ‘Cuvée des Galets’ Côtes du Rhône 2015

Winery: Les Vignerons D’Estézargues is a co-operative winery of 10 different growers in the small town of Estézargues, just west of Avignon. Founded in 1965, they became a pioneer for quality and individuality in their wines when in 1995 they began to vinify their wines separately and to make single cuvées from their best plots.

Winemaking: With nearly 1000 acres of vineyards, they are now one of the most modern and progressive co-ops in the Southern Rhône, with a focus on sustainable agriculture, low yields and small batch vinification. Believing in as little intervention as possible, they do not add external yeast, sugar, or enzymes in their production process. Sulphur is only added in minimal amounts during bottling, and their wines are neither refined nor filtered.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with enticing aromas of wild berry pie and earthy spice. Fresh wild strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and a drop of red currant are smeared over an earthy core and supported by grippy tannins. Black pepper and berry fruit return on the plush finish. Hearty and rustic, a fantastic value and versatile companion at the table.

Predominately Grenache with Carignon [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Côtes du Rhône
France
Bottled by Les Vignerons D’Estézargues
14% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now

A Glass of Chianti Colli Senesi with Daniele Rosti of Campochiarenti

I was introduced to Daniele Rosti and his expressive wines by John Fodera via the wonderful world of Twitter. When John saw my tweets from the Chianti Lovers event in Florence, he advised that I go to the Campochiarenti table and meet his good friend, winemaker Daniele Rosti. Elegent and refined, just like his wines, it was a delight to speak with Daniele about his family estate. For all of those interested in the day-to-day trials and rewards of cultivating grapes, his Twitter account, @campochiarenti is a must follow.

The knowledgable and friendly Daniele Rosti of Campochiarenti.

Estate: Located in the Chianti Colli Senesi region in the Tuscan hills, the Campochiarenti estate traces its history back to the end of the 10th century when the church of Saint Nicholas along with its monastery was built. About a thousand years the later, the Rosti family purchased the 50 hectare [123 acre] estate and revitalized the vineyards and buildings. Today 14 hectares [34 acres] of the estate are organically farmed vineyards, with vines between 10 and 40 years in age. Chianti Colli Senesi and Vernaccia di San Gimignano are the main wines produced by the estate, so it follows that Sangiovese and Vernaccia di San Gimignano are the main grapes grown. However, there are quite a range of other varietals cultivated, such as Ancellotta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malvasia Nera, Merlot, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero and Pinot Grigio, which allows Daniele to create terroir driven wines outside of the typical framework of the region.

Philosophy: “Quality grows in the vineyard.”

Winemaking: The Chianti Colli Senesi wines are a blend of 85% Sangiovese along with a blend of 15% of grapes that are a “typical variety of Tuscany” [Caniolo Collina, Colorino, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Mammolo, Foglia Tonda]. Traditional fermentation in concrete tanks with long maceration on the skins, aged 9 months in large oak barrels in addition to a minimum of 4 months in the bottle.

Campochiarenti Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2015
Although young, this already has a complex, espressive character. Silky layers of red fruit, earth and anise, culminating in the distinctive salt and pepper spice, dry finish. Complex yet so versatile, this can pair with just about every dish.
14% Alcohol
€12.50 [From the Campochiarenti website, not currently available in the US.]

Campochiarenti Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2011
Genteel and refined, with cherry, blackberry, plum, tobacco and a hint of floral. The distinctive salty spice of the estate’s terroir lingers between each sip. Soft tannins provide the backbone, whilst it is a powerful wine, it is elegant. At 6 years old, the colour is still ruby red and the fruit level is very high, Daniele says that this has yet to reach its peak, and will continue drinking well 5-10 years more.
14% Alcohol
€16.30 [From the Campochiarenti website, not currently available in the US.]

Media event sponsored by Consorzio del Chianti.

Les Chardons Gamay Touraine 2014

Estate: The Chardon domaine is located along the banks of the Cher River in Couffy, in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. Husband and wife team Sophie and Thierry Chardon cultivate 115 acres of vineyards, with an average vine age of 25 years. Raised on a vineyard in Touraine, Thierry’s family made wine for many generations, until his father was forced to sell the vineyard. Years later, Thierry and Sophie moved their family back to Touraine and purchased a domaine.

Winemaking: Certified organic since the late 2000’s, the believe in minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. “Our wines emerge from grapes cultivated without chemical products, in respect of our environment.”

Tasting Notes: Transparent in red-violet in colour, with aromas of strawberry, resin and earthy funk. Strawberry, raspberry, along with sour cherry wrap around a floral core and are accented by sandalwood, white pepper, a dash of funk and a streak of granite minerality. Black cherry and a trace of tart wild berries linger between each sip. Smooth tannins and food friendly acidity compliment this fantastic, unique expression of Gamay.

100% Gamay
Touraine
France
Estate Bottled
12.5% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now