L’opera des Vins ‘les années folles’ Vin de France 2015

Winery: A native of the Loire Valley, Jean-Pierre Robinot began crafting wine in 2002, prior to that he owned a natural wine bar in Paris and was the co-founder of the renowned independent wine publication: “Le Rouge et Le Blanc”. He has 10 hectares of vineyards in Jasnieres and Coteaux du Loire, and also purchases grapes from friends and neighbors that share the same winemaking philosophy and principles. His wines are known for their clarity of fruit, complexity and true expression of terroir.

Winemaking: All vineyards are farmed organically. Zero chemicals or additives of any kind are used. Only indigenous yeasts are used, sulphur is not added at all, no filtering or refining. Wines are not released until Robinot believes they are ready to drink.

Tasting Notes: Golden amber in colour with heady aromas of sea spray, seashells, honey, apricot and a trace of graham cracker. Delicate apricot, pear, peach and a shake of cinnamon are glossed by citrus acidity. Consistent, fine bubbles carry thru to the very end, chalky minerality and a squeeze of tangerine linger between each sip. Engaging, refreshing with an elegant edge, this is spectacular on its own, or with interesting foods. [I enjoyed it on its own, then with raw provolone and homemade bread and salty butter.]

Blend of Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis
Vin de France
France
Bottled by L’opera des Vins, Jean-Pierre Robinot
12% Alcohol
$32
Enjoy now thru 2019

Casebianche ‘Il Fric’ Rosato Paestum IGP 2016

Estate: Seeking a better quality life, Elisabetta Luorio and her husband Pasquale left their careers in architecture in Naples to return to Elisabetta’s family’s farm, Azienda Agricola Casebianche. The estate is located in the famed “Magna Grecia” coastal region of southern Italy that was settled by the Greeks in 800 BC. The 14 hectare property [of which 5.5 hectares are vineyard] is just inland from Agropoli in Campania, southwestern Italy. The area’s winemaking roots go all the way back to those ancient Greeks; grape cultivation and wine drinking are a predominant theme in the artifacts discovered in the region.

Passionate about non-interventionist winemaking, Elisabetta and Pasquale follow organic and biodynamic methods. In addition to the vines, there are also olive and fig trees, along with citrus groves. For an in depth look at the estate, check out their bio page on their importer’s site, Giannoni Selections.

Winemaking: Grapes are from the 1 hectare Dellemore vineyard with clay and limestone soils. Hand harvested, and gravity fed, a 6 hour maceration before skin removal gives the wine its intense colour. Bottled and re-fermented in the bottle by adding grape must to create its sparkling quality. No sugars, yeasts, or sulfites are added, not disgorged. Certified organic.

Tasting Notes: Copper-red in colour with aromas of fresh summer strawberry, wild flowers and a thump of Brothers Johnson funk. Chalky mineral driven, with fresh strawberry and raspberry gliding about light, frizzante bubbles. Finishing clean and fruity. Engaging, expressive, funky and refreshing, this was fantastic on its own, and with vegetable tartare and smoky polenta.

Winemaker’s Note: It is recommended to invert the bottle before opening in order to reintegrate the lees.

100% Aglianico
Paestum IGP
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Casebianche
12% Alcohol
€14 [I paid around €20 in a restaurant in Florence.]
Enjoy now

La Collina ‘Lunaris Secco’ Malvasia dell’Emilia IGT 2016

Winery: Located in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, Cooperative Agricola La Collina was founded in 1975 by 12 passionate young men “with ambitious visions aimed for something entirely new”. Organic and biodynamic principles have always been strictly followed throughout the entire farm. [including free-range animals, grains and vegetables; that they have a shop where they sell their produce, wines, honeys, breads, cheese and other products they make.] Enea Burani, one of the founders who leads the cooperative is renowned for his work with biodynamics in the region, along with his humanitarian accomplishments.

Winemaking: Certified organic and biodynamic. Grapes are from vines planted in 1984, in limestone and sand soil. Fermented in stainless steel with natural yeasts. One of the winery’s best sellers, ‘Lunaris Secco’ is their “answer to the cheap prosecco’s that are made industrially and are without taste and character!”

Tasting Notes: Gold in colour with aromas of orange blossom, apple and a hint of buttery brioche. Lively and fresh, with red apple, toast, and peppy bubbles. Honey and a squeeze of lemon on the dry, fruity finish. Crisp and easy drinking, yet with a creamy undercurrent, this is fantastic on its own or with unique flavours. [It was fantastic with an assortment of Italian cheeses.]

100% Malvasia di Candia
Emilia IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by I.C.R.F 2165/RE IT
11% Alcohol
$19 [average price]
Enjoy now

Love the crystalline sediment!

Cheers to Lambrusco: Toasting the Holidays with Medici Ermete

A different and unique alternative to Prosecco, Cava and other sparkling wines, Lambrusco has a wide range of personalities. It can have bracing acidity, grippy tannins, be savory and sweet [separately or at the same time]. At its core, the best Lambrusco are fruity and dry. These varying characteristics make it super easy to pair with a wide variety of dishes and enjoying on its own. For entertaining purposes, it’s perfect, because there is a Lambrusco for just about every palette.

I had the great pleasure of meeting 4th generation winemaker Alberto Medici, of Medici Ermete, one of the oldest Lambrusco producing families in Emilia-Romagna. He is a pioneering force in Lambrusco, not only crafting award-winning wines, but also the first to create a single vineyard, vintage Lambrusco.

Here are 4 fantastic character driven Lambrusco; tart and sassy, fresh and fruity, elegant and refined, sweet and refreshing. All 4 will brighten your festive spirit and holiday tidings! Cheers!

Medici Ermete ‘I Quercioli’ Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC NV
A blend of Salamino Lambrusco and Marani Lambrusco. Bright acidity maintains the fresh snap of sweet fruits [think raspberry, blackberry and cranberry]. Floral hints and fizz add to the cheerful character. Super refreshing, lovely on its own, or with a wide variety of food, from pizza to desserts.
8.5% Alcohol
$10 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘I Quercioli’ Secco Reggiano Lambrusco DOC NV
A blend of Salamino Lambrusco and Marani Lambrusco [Alberto explained the Marani brings the balancing acidity] from vines in clay soils. Wonderfully tart blackberry and raspberry with rose petal accents and a lively, concentrated fizziness. Dry and refreshing, fantastically easy drinking.
11% Alcohol
$15 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘Solo’ Reggiano Rosso DOC 2016
Grapes come from the acclaimed Tenuta I Quercioli vineyards with clay soil. Wild berries are the star, complimented by an herbaceous streak, fine bubbles and a dry mineral finish. Fantastic on its own and incredibly versatile at the table [from pumpkin dishes to cheesy pastas to cured meats].
51% Ancellota, 49% Lambrusco Salamino.
11.5% Alcohol
$16 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘Concerto’ Reggiano Lambrusco DOC 2016
Concerto is the first single vineyard vintage Lambrusco produced. Grapes are from the prestigious Tenuta La Rampata vineyard. Close to the river, the clay soil has many little stones. The juice is kept in contact with the skins for a full 6 days. Fresh strawberry, raspberry and cherry are framed by dry tannins, bright acidity, elegant bubbles and clean minerality. Finishing dry and fruity. That pioneering, progressive spirit is reflected in each well balanced, engaging, fizzy sip.
100% Salamino Lambrusco
11.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.

 

Medici Ermete: Pioneers of the New Lambrusco

4th generation winemaker Alberto Medici.

Estate: Located between the Via Emilia and the first of the hills in the Enza valley of Emilia-Romagna, the heart of northern Italy, Medici Ermete is one of the oldest producers of Lambrusco.  With a goal of “making the most of the family vineyards”, Remigio Medici founded the estate in the late 19th century. Today, the 75 hectare estate is headed by the 4th generation of the Medici family, Alberto Medici, along with his cousin, Pierluigi, and his sister, Alessandra. Pioneering high quality Lambrusco for over 120 years, Medici Ermete is the first winery in the region to craft single vineyard wines. Additionally, vineyard yields are kept at 40% below DOC mandates, and only natural fermentation [Charmat Method] is used.

Philosophy: To be “in complete harmony with nature and the environment” thereby “creating a close link between the individual vineyards and the wines produced”.

I had the great pleasure of a guided tasting thru the Medici Ermete wines with Alberto Medici at the recent 6th Annual Kobrand Tour d’Italia. Friendly, gracious and knowledgeable, he is a tremendous advocate for an often misunderstood wine.

The following wines should be enjoyed within 2 years of the vintage, and have a recommended serving temperature of 57-59°F [13-15°C].

Medici Ermete ‘I Quercioli’ Secco Reggiano Lambrusco DOC NV
A blend of Salamino Lambrusco and Marani Lambrusco [Alberto explained the Marani brings the balancing acidity] from vines in clay soils. Wonderfully tart fruit with floral accents and a lively fizziness. Dry and refreshing, fantastically easy drinking.
11% Alcohol
$15 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘Solo’ Reggiano Rosso DOC 2016
Grapes come from the acclaimed Tenuta I Qurecioli vineyards with clay soil. Wild berries are the star, complimented by fine bubbles and a dry mineral finish. Fantastic on its own and incredibly versatile at the table [from pumpkin dishes to cheesy pastas to cured meats].
51% Ancellota, 49% Lambrusco Salamino.
11.5% Alcohol
$16 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘Concerto’ Reggiano Lambrusco DOC 2016
Concerto is the first single vineyard vintage Lambrusco produced. Grapes are from the prestigious Tenuta La Rampata vineyard. Close to the river, the clay soil has many little stones. The juice is kept in contact with the skins for a full 6 days. Fresh strawberry, raspberry and cherry are framed by dry tannins, bright acidity, fine bubbles and clean minerality. Finishing dry and fruity. That pioneering, progressive spirit is reflected in each well balanced, engaging, fizzy sip.
100% Salamino Lambrusco
11.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]

Medici Ermete ‘I Quercioli’ Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC NV
A blend of Salamino Lambrusco and Marani Lambrusco. Bright acidity maintains the fresh snap of sweet red fruits. Floral hints and fizz add to the cheerful character. Lovely on its own, or with a wide variety of food, from pizza to desserts. [After a day of tasting 50+ wines, this is the glass I chose to end the day on. I can’t reiterate its refreshing, fun character enough.]
8.5% Alcohol
$10 [average price]

 

Media event sponsored by Kobrand