Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012

Estate: A historic winery in Montalcino, Tenute Silvio Nardi’s was founded by Silvio Nardi in 1950 when he purchased the Casale del Bosco estate. Tenute Silvio Nardi’s three estates, Casale del Bosco, Manachiara and Bibbiano, are made up of 36 podere, or individual vineyard plots, located to the east and west of the town of Montalcino, at elevations ranging from about 800 to 1300 feet. The estate is renowned for its “finely rendered Brunellos that highlight the specific terroir of the plots where they are grown”. Since 1990, Silvio Nardi’s daughter, Emilia Nardi, has been at the helm, continuing and advancing the family’s positon as a distinguished leader in Brunello, along with being recognized as one of the most respected women in the wine world.

Winemaking: Grapes are hand harvested from hilly vineyards with northwest/southeast exposure at 350 meters in elevation. Vines are an average of 20 years in age, with jasper and shale soil. Only the best 70% of the grapes are selected to make the wine. Aged for 12 months in new and used oak barriques, followed by 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels, then bottled aged for a minimum of 6 months.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour, exceptionally aromatic with violet, dusty earth, leather, cherry, raspberry, sweet pine forest and white pepper aromas. Cherry, leather, tobacco, earth, black pepper, clove and a floral trace are layered over silky tannins and good acidity, fusing seamless to the lengthy finish of dark fruit, spice and earth. Elegant, refined and complex, an engaging Brunello to enjoy for many years to come.

Pairing Suggestions from Emilia Nardi: Juicy steaks, rich fishes like sturgeon or grouper or rich pasta dishes.

100% Sangiovese
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Tenute Silvio Nardi S.S.
14% Alcohol
$47 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2035

Rated 92 points by Wine Spectator
Rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast
Rated 91 points by Decanter

 

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Chateau Maris ‘La Touge’ Minervois La Livinière 2015

Estate: Named the “The Biodynamic Apostles of the Languedoc” by Wine Spectator, Chateau Maris is located at the eastern edge of the village of La Livinière at the foot of the Montagne Noire Mountains, in the Languedoc region of southern France. With a goal of “creating “grand cru-level” wines from La Livinière in the Minervois appellation, winemaker Robert Eden took over the estate in 1996. Eden converted the entire estate to biodynamic farming after trying different methods to revitalize the soils that had been rendered unusable due to the previous owner’s overuse of chemicals. Over the years his green approach and biodynamic processes have gained much recognition. He has built “the world’s first hemp cellar” that functions carbon neutrally. The hemp bricks not only capture carbon dioxide, but also maintain temperature and humidity so that heating or cooling is not needed.

Winemaking: Certified Biodynamic by Biodyvin. Grapes are sourced from vineyards with “hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils”. Only natural compost from the free roaming cattle is used as fertilizer. Fermented with natural yeasts, aged 16 months in a mix of concrete eggs and tank, unfined and unfiltered. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Both the bottle and label are from recycled sources.

Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with inviting strawberry, black cherry, pepper spice and meaty aromas. Pepper spice driven, with layers of black currant, cherry, strawberry and smoky earth supported by fresh acidity and silky tannins. Baking chocolate and fruit linger on the plush, dry finish. Sumptuous, yet agile, fantastic on its own or with hearty and/or spicy dishes.

70% Syrah, 30% Grenache
Minervois La Livinière
France
Bottled for Domaine des Comtes Méditerranéens by F-11160-315
14.5% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2019

Rated 93 points by Robert Parker

Carlos Serres ‘Old Vines’ Tempranillo Rioja 2015

Estate: A pioneer in Rioja, Carlos [Charles] Serres left Bordeaux and founded one of the first wineries in the Haro area of Rioja in 1896. Fleeing phylloxera, Serres, an already famous French wine consultant, “found in Haro the perfect terroir to make Bordeaux style wines, with a climate and terrain which reminded him of the best terroirs in Bordeaux”. Merging French winemaking techniques with the Rioja terroir, Serres’ visionary approach focused on international export and was a phenomenal success. Forever changing the way wine was understood in the area, he remains “one of the key personalities in Rioja’s winemaking history”. Family owned and operated, with 150 acres of vineyards with an average vine age of over 30 years, it stands out as one of the few estates in the Rioja region that has been producing wine for over 100 years.

Winemaking: Hand harvested grapes are sourced from old vines that are 50+ years in age. Aged for 5 months in oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of red berries, pencil lead and a trace of earthy funk. Pomegranate, cherry, red currant, blackberry and plum are complimented by silky tannins and fresh acidity. Peppery spice, tobacco and fruit span the dry, lengthy finish. Easy drinking and easy to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

Paring Suggestions from the Winery: A great match for grilled vegetables, creamy rice dishes, pastas, white meats and soft or lightly aged cheeses.

100% Tempranillo
Rioja DOC
Spain
Bottled at the Property by Bodegas Carlos Serres S.L.
13% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2019

Rated 92 points by James Suckling

 

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2013

Estate: The Cottini family has been passionate about land and wine since 1925, when Carlo Cottini founded the family estate. Today, his great grandchildren, Michele and Mattia, are carrying on the family’s tradition of respecting the land and crafting the best wine possible. Monte Zovo takes its name from the hill on which it is located, encircled by the vineyards, in both the Bardolino and Amarone della Valpolicella regions of Veneto, northern Italy. There are over 100 hectares of vineyards, along with 25 hectares of woodland.

The estate is currently in its second of the required 3 years for organic certification. They are already certified “bio-diversity friendly”. The modern winery makes 100% of its energy needed for winemaking from a biomass feeder fed by grape and vine compost.

Winemaking: Grapes are from the estate’s renowned Roccolo vineyard. The 45 hectare vineyard is at an elevation of 500 meters, making it one of the highest altitude vineyards in the Amarone DOCG. The limestone soil sits atop a substratum rich in clay, which contributes to the wines distinctive fresh character. Grapes remain in the drying facility for 120 days, during which time they lose 30% of their weight and develop concentrated sugars. The grapes are destemmed and pressed in January. Fermented for 20-24 days at controlled temperature [20-24 C]. Aged for 18 months in 60 liter and 150 liter oak barrels, the blended wine is then aged 6 months in large casks, followed by 12 months in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with lush aromas of cherry, strawberry, mocha and spice. Decadent layers of dark fruit, chocolate and espresso, along with a mercurial herbaceous element are framed by silky tannins and fresh acidity. Black cherry, black pepper, and vanilla linger endlessly between each sumptuous sip. Intense, dynamic and agile, a spectacular expression of Amarone.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Risotto, braised meat, red meat, game, aged cheese, or simply a wine to meditate over.

Blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola Monte Zovo
16% Alcohol
$37 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2033

Sample submitted for editorial consideration.

Château La Croix Saint Pierre Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2009

Estate: Purchased by the Carreau family in 1832, cousins Sébastien and Nicolas Carreau are the 7th generation of the family to manage the 79 acres of vines at the estate. The name of the château originates from an ancient cross dedicated to Saint Peter, which can still be seen in the vineyards today.

Winemaking: The Carreau family is committed to environmentally responsible and sustainable methods. “Grateful for the quality of the soils given by their forefathers, Sébastien & Nicolas firmly fight for the protection of the environment, in order to pass it on to the next generations.” Grapes are from vineyards with clay and limestone soils.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour, with dried cherry, fennel, leather, old paper and dusty floral aromas. Silky layers of cherry, smoky cedar, leather, tobacco and black pepper are supported by supple tannins and good acidity. Vanilla, red fruit and dark chocolate infuse the plush, dry finish. A splendid, refined sip and fantastic value.

70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec
Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
France
Estate Bottled
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2019