Ignaz Niedrist Schiava Classico Südtirol Kalterersee Auslese DOC 2015

Estate: The Ignaz Niedrist winery is located in the heart of the wine growing area of Oltradige in the Rungg district of Cornaiano in Alto Adige [or South Tyrol] in northern Italy. Establshed by Josef Niedrist, the family has been making wine for over 170 years. After the area came under Italian rule following WWI, there were some difficult times for the family, as there were with so many small family wineries in Italy leading up to WWII. In 1989, Josef’s great grandchildren revitialised the winery and vineyards, increasing both the size and number of variatels planted. Today the next generation [Maria, Franz and Johannes Niedrist] are learning the family’s craft.

Philosophy: “We work in a spirit of gratitude to further develop what generations before us created, while preserving the scope for future generations to take their decisions, too. Careful, harmonized work on the vines and care of the soil, controlled yields and first-class sites are the main pillars in our drive for quality. Great importance must be attached to the best possible match between grape variety and terroir. We are at pains to combine our instinct for the world of nature, the wealth of knowledge built up by our forebears and the findings of modern viticulture.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from hilltop vineyards located at 450-500 meteres above sea level. The soil is shallow and gravelly, with a high stone content [porphyry, granite, gneiss], allowing the soil to be easily warmed. Fermented in “open-top oak vats for about two weeks; the young wine ages in oak vats on fine lees for 6 months”.

Tasting Notes: Bright red with pink edges in colour. Very aromatic, with candied cherry, raspberry, white pepper, floral and a savory wisp. Fresh, light strawberry, raspberry and cherry are given a quick shake of crushed pink peppercorn. Smooth tannins highlight berry fruit and spice on the dry finish. Vibrant and energetic, this is fantastic on its own or with a varity of fresh dishes. [It was fantastic with Ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms with red pepper passato and marinated crab crostini with red pepper aioli.]

Enjoy young and with a slight chill.

95% Schiava, 5% “complementary varieties (Negrara, Rossara, etc.)”
Südtirol Kalterersee Auslese DOC
Italy
Bottled by Ignaz Niedrist
13% Alcohol
$23 [average price]
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Fault Line Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

Brand: Fault Line takes its name from an earthquake of an estimated 7.5 magnitude that shook the Marlborough region in 1848. The earthquake left behind a fault line of at least 105 km [65 miles] in the Awatere Valley, where many of the grapes for the Fault Line brand are grown.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from sustainably vineyards in lower Wairau, Rapaura and the Brancott Valley, all in the Marlborough region. Cool fermented in stainless steel “to retain freshness and zing”.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in color with summertime aromas of fresh peach, pineapple, lime zest and tomato leaf. Tasting delightfully similar to the aromas with peach, pineapple and lemon accented by bright acidity and tomato leaf hints, lemon zest and apricot linger on the energizing finish. Immediately recognizable as the classic Marlborough style, this is a refreshing, tropical sip for a hot summer day.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winemaker: Fresh seafood, summer salads.

100% Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough
New Zealand
Produced & Bottled by Marlborough Valley Wines Ltd.
13% Alcohol
$12 [average price]
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Sample provided for review purpose.

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]
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Santa Julia ‘Tintillo’ Mendoza 2016

I love chilled red wines. A fantastic alternative [or addition] to rosé and white wines; light, fruity reds are incredibly refreshing for summer sipping, and a perfect pairing with anything coming off the grill.

Estate: The Zuccardi family has been making wine in Mendoza since 1963, when Alberto Zuccardi planted his first vines. Now in his 90’s, Alberto is known as a pioneering force in both Mendoza and the Uco Valley. [Click here to read the Decanter article detailing his innovations.] Today, the multiple estate vineyards and winery are headed by Alberto’s son, José, along with José’s eldest son, Sebastián, and daughter, Julia [the 3rd generation].The Santa Julia Winery was established in the 1990’s in honor of Julia, as she is José’s only daughter. The family is committed to achieving the highest quality wines through sustainable practices, working to protect the environment and develop the community. Expanding to the Uco Valley, the family opened Valle de Uco Winery last year, where winemakers focus on research and development, while studying the variables that influence wines throughout the Uco Valley.

Philosophy: “To be natural, environmentally friendly and grow in harmony with the community of which we are part.”

Winemaking: All the vineyards are farmed organic [with the majority certified] and sustainable.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with radiating aromas of fresh cherry, strawberry and wildflowers accented by a herbaceous streak. Juicy cherry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry flavours are backed by earth and herbaceous elements, along with fresh acidity. A trace of dark chocolate lingers on the fruity, dry finish. Fantastically easy drinking and refreshing, a delightfully tasty summer sip.

Enjoy chilled between 46 – 56°F [7-13°C].

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Pairs perfectly with barbecue, grilled fish, mild cheeses and a sunny day.

50% Malbec, 50% Bonarda
Mendoza
Argentina
Estate Grown & Bottled by Bodega Santa Julia
13% Alcohol
$12.99 [SRP]
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Sample submitted for review purpose.

Fontanafredda ‘Già’ Rosso Langhe DOC 2015

Estate: The winemaking history of Fontanafredda was established in 1878 by Emanuele Guerrieri, Count of Mirafiore, son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Sardinia and Rosa Vercellana [or La Bela Rusin], a “commoner” that the king had fallen in love with. The 54 hectare estate was given to Rosa Vercellana by the king in 1858. Emanuele Guerrieri devoted his life to crafting wine. Located in the heart of the Langhe, today the estate is renowned for its captivating Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

In addition to its Michelin Star restaurant and truffle forest, the 122 hectare estate proudly includes a “bio-nature reserve” that provides a green balance. Integrated farming is practiced in the vineyards, all rain water is recycled, no chemical fertilizers are used and the presence of sulphites is limited. The bottle is made from 85% recycled glass, the label is recycled paper printed with vegetable based ink, the cork is 100% recyclable and made from sugar biopolymers.

The estate is open to the public every day of the year. “About 20 families of cellarmen, vine dressers and office staff live in our village, all employees of the Estate who are part of the village’s daily life, just like in the 19th century.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from hillside vineyards 250-300 meters above sea level, with marly soil packed with lime and sand. Bottled only a few months after picking, following a brief [2-3 month] stay in stainless steel vats. Meant to be enjoyed young, best served at cellar temperature [15°C/59°F].

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with inviting aromas of cherry pie and soft baking spices. Simple and pleasant, with a shake of pepper over concentrated red and black cherry flavours and bright acidity. Tart fruit and bitter almond join smooth tannins on the dry finish. A fantastic value and versatile companion at the table.

Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Langhe DOC
Italy
Bottled by C.E.M.F S.r.l.
13.5% Alcohol
$13 [1 liter]
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