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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Vrac Rosé Vin de Pays de Mediterranée IGP 2016

Brand: Vrac translates to “bulk” or “loose”, whilst ‘En Vrac’ translates to “bring your own bottle”. These phrases refer to the French practice of locals filling their own vessels with wine directly from the winery’s tanks. The producer intended to reflect that custom with VRAC, and crafted a simple, French countryside jug-style wine.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Pays des Maures and the Pays de la Mediterranée, in the heart of Provence, southeastern France. “The juice is bled from the macerating fruit (“saignée” in French) at the perfect moment to optimize the color and flavor from the skins, and is left to ferment in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures for a long, cool fermentation.”

Tasting Notes: Pale coral-pink in colour with summery aromas of strawberry, raspberry and clean minerals. Tasting similar to the aromas, light and airy strawberry and raspberry along with a quick shake of white pepper harmonize with a tangy acidity. Clean minerality and a hint of citrus comprise the dry, zippy finish. Friendly and gluggable, easy to pair with summer dishes, consistently one of my fave “drink all summer” Rosés.

60% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 10% Tibouren
Vin de Pays de Mediterranée IGP
France
Bottled by Sas Savatier Selection
12.5% Alcohol
$9 or $20 3L box [4 bottles]
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Boekenhoutskloof ‘The Wolftrap’ Red 2015

Estate: The Boekenhoutskloof estate was established in 1776 and is located in the corner of the Franschhoek Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa. Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree with its name meaning “ravine of the Boekenhout”. In 1993 new owners [a group of businessmen including wine distributer Vinimark owner Tim Rands] set about transforming the 20 hectares of vineyards with sustainable methods, along with new cellars and equipment.

With over 9,600 plant species, the estate lies within a world heritage site that contains one of most diverse plant kingdoms in the world. Due to the unique habitat, the estate focuses on restoration and preservation of the land, and actively participates in biodiversity and conservation initiatives. ‘The Wolftrap’ line [there is also a Rosè and white blend] was “created to remind us of the mysteries and legends of days gone by. The mountains are still alive with indigenous animals, including the majestic leopard. No evidence of wolves has ever been found though”.

Winemaking: The estate is certified sustainable. The grapes were sourced from low yielding vineyards in the Swartland, fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak before blending and bottling.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with engaging aromas of black pepper, smoky wisps, dark berry jam and gamey hints. Layers of blackberry and cherry with a kiss of vanilla wrap around a spicy core. The plush finish brings more spice with smoked black pepper, toasted oak, roasted herb hints and a touch of gamey earth. Bold and spicy, consistently a fantastic value.

67% Syrah, 31% Mourvédre, 2% Viognier
Western Cape
South Africa
Matured and bottled by Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek
14.5% Alcohol
$8
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La Maldita Garnacha Rioja 2015

Brand: Produced by one of the “oldest winemaking families in Rioja”, with the intention of inspiring “a resurgence of the Garnacha varietal in the Rioja region of showcasing that world-class Garnacha can still be produced there”. The name ‘La Maldita’ means cursed, and is what many winemakers in Rioja refer to Garnacha as. Thin, sensitive skin and low yields were one of the reasons that most Garnacha vineyards have been replanted with “less temperamental varieties”. Although historically the Garnacha used to represent “roughly half of the entire region under vine, today it accounts for less than 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja”.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from sustainably farmed, estate-owned, high elevation vineyards with gravel and alluvial silt “which help with drainage and contribute a hint of minerality to the wine”. The majority of the wine rested on its lees in stainless steel for a few months, whilst a small percentage was aged in small French and American oak barrels “for a hint of complexity”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of wild berries, black pepper and brambly shrubs. Flinty mineral driven, with fresh blackberry and tart cherry flavours. Crushed black peppercorn and fresh berries linger on the dry finish. Simple and pleasant, best with food, a cheerful, gluggable Garnacha.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Enjoy with everyday favorites such as pizza, pastas, burgers, and grilled vegetables.

100% Garnacha
Rioja
Spain
Produced and Bottled by Viñeds La Maldita
13.5% Alcohol
$9

Rated 89 points by the Wine Advocate

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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