Estate: Mirko Meneghello and Stefania Negro are the driving force behind La Mondianese. The 15 hectare estate is located in the hills of Montemagno in Piedmont, northwestern Italy. They restored the original farmhouse on the property and built a modern cellar. They passionately cultivate indigenous varieties; Grignolino and Barbera in addition to the ever-elusive Ruché. [Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato is one of the lowest production, single varietal wines in Italy.]
Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards with marine sedimentary layers and calcareous loam in texture. Vinified in stainless steel tanks.
Tasting Notes: Brick-garnet in colour with aromas of wildflowers, cherry, dusty earth along with an herbaceous streak. Bright cherry, red currant and pomegranate dusted with white pepper envelop a savoury core. Flint minerals and black cherry tantalizing linger between each sip. Intriguing, refreshing and so easy drinking, well worth seeking out this hard to find grape.
Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Cheese and herb and early stuffed egg pasta dishes like agnolotti. It adapts to red meat and roasts. It also goes well with white meat in structured or spicy dishes, such as curry or mustard.
Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato
Produced and Bottled by La Mondianese
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 revitalized 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: Grapes are sourced from vineyards with “hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils”. Only natural yeasts are used, unfined, unfiltered. Aged 16 months in egg shaped concrete tanks and regular tanks.
Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of sweet dark fruit, subtle spice and caramel. Well structured with an elegant edge to the wild berries and chocolate flavours abounding in the full, soft body. Silky tannins, herbs and black pepper linger between each sip. So easy drinking, do watch out, as the higher alcohol content is nowhere to be found in all the silky-soft goodness.
Syrah & Grenache blend [I was unable to verify varietal percentage, other then that Syrah is the dominate grape]
Minervois La Livinère
Bottled for Domaine des Comtes Méditerranéens by F-11160-315
Enjoy now thru 2018
Rated 91 points by The Wine Advocate
Estate: Descending from more than 7 generations of wine growers, Michele Chiarlo began producing wine in 1956 with a philosophy of only using indigenous grapes. He was a pioneering force in establishing a market for the fine wines of Piedmont. Always an innovator, he was one of the first producers to use methods such as limiting yields and decreasing maceration time in order to create a soft, more traditional style of Barolo. With 148 estate acres and an additional 50 acres, he has achieved ownership of the most acclaimed and prestigious vineyards in Piedmont, from Barbera to Barolo to Barbaresco. Still very active in the estate, Michele’s son Stefano now overseas all of the winemaking and continues the estate’s title as one of the leaders in Barolo and Barbera wines. There are offerings for every price point and appetite, from $10 to $200.
Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards in the southern area of the Asti province, especially in the hills around Nizza Monferrato. Aged in large French oak casks for 8 months.
Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with a hint of sage, dusty earth and floral aromas. An herbaceous streak illuminates tart blackberry and cherry flavours. Silky tannins and clean minerals gloss the clean, fruit finish. Tart, but balanced, this a fantastic expression of food friendly, versatile Barbera.
Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Pairs well with a wide range of dishes: chicken scallopini with sage and wild mushrooms, farfalle pasta with pork sausage and broccoli rabe and grilled or roasted red meats.
Barbera d’Asti Superiore
Bottled by Michele Chiarlo
Rated 88 points by Wine Enthusiast
Brand: Zestos wines are the product of Manuel Martinez, a 3rd generation winemaker whose family has been producing wine in Madrid for centuries. He owns Viños Jeromin, an organically farmed bodega that crafts wine from 3 different districts within the Madrid DO.
Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from high elevation vineyards of San Martin Valdeiglesias, just northwest of Madrid. Located at 574 m [1,883 ft] in elevation, with granite and sand soil, the vines were planted from 1960 to 1970. The San Martin area is known for producing “the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain”. Vinified and aged “in cement and stainless steel tanks to emphasize the purity of flavor and the youthful, fresh character of the Garnacha grape”.
Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of candied flowers, strawberry, cherry, a hint of pink peppercorn and earth. Super fruity with cherry, plum, blackberry and black cherry dusted with black pepper. A streak of anise and mint compliment the bright fruit flavours. Minerals, along with returning black pepper and cherry comprise the dry, supple finish. Easy drinking, versatile and a fantastic value.
Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: “Put it next to any casual foods you care to: pizza, Panini sandwiches, pulled pork sliders, fajitas, cheese quesadillas, and pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. This is an “easy quaffer” wine, as well. If you don’t have any aged manchego or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese handy, just pour some in your glass and enjoy!”
Vinos de Madrid
Bottled by N.R.E. 2B/40.527-M for CÍA de Vinos del Atlántico
Estate: Founded in 1994, by Giovanni Battista d’Orsi, along with his wife Emilia, Casaloste is located in the Greve region of Chianti Classico in Tuscany. Casaloste, together with the other Wine producers of Unione Viticoltori di Panzano has strongly supported and financed The Experimental Station for Sustainable Viticulture (Stazione Sperimentale per la Viticoltura Sostenibile- SPEVIS). The institution aims to find environmentally friendly solutions for winemakers. Not only certified organic [since 1994], the estate also operates “off the grid”. They produce all of their energy needs thru its solar photovoltaic system and biothermal renewable plant fuels.
Winemaking: Aged in French oak barrels of 25 and 35 liters and in barriques “for a period of about 12 months”.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, earth and soft spice. Soft and velvety, with cherry and strawberry over layers of white pepper, leather and earth. Plush tannins, fruit and soft spice linger between each sip. A lovely, classical balance of fruit/spice/earth/leather notes Chianti Classico is renowned for.
90% Sangiovese, 10%Merlot
Chianti Classico DOCG
Estate Bottled by Giovanni Battista d’Orsi
Enjoy now thru 2018