Saturday, July 23, 2011

This Month's Wine Club

Our wine club has been getting more and more members, and garnering greater and greater interest. Each month we do our best to keep it interesting and to use the club to educate and shed some light on the often misunderstood and misused term terroir. Or in other words our aim is to elucidate the impact that specific places within specific regions have on the flavor profile of what we call Slow Wine (the wine equivalent of Slow Food) and the magic that happens when real wines are paired well with real food. 

Many of the wines featured in the club are limited and some are exclusive to us. Below is a description of the wines in this month's assortment. If you're interested in joining, or in buying a gift membership, email us @ or ring the store @ 718-596.7643.  

View from Silivio's cellar

This month we have the pleasure of offering you three delicious wines from Piemonte, Italia.

We were already huge fans of Silvio Giamello old-school Nebbiolos and were excited to have the opportunity to visit him at his small estate last year. We had no idea that he also made a white wine until we spotted a few cases of it on the floor of his cellar and asked to try it.

Like most families in the Langhe, the Giamellos started out with a diverse farm that included small parcels of vines, grain, forest, and pastures where their animals grazed. The bulk of the grape harvest was sold off, but the family made enough wine for their own consumption. This system continued for three generations until the 1950s, when farm life became less profitable and many families left the area to find factory work in the cities. Brothers Luigi and Ercole Giamello stayed but launched a trucking company to supplement their income—the first motorized transportation service in the area—and in their absence their mother took care of the daily vineyard work, wisely replanting much of their land to vines. When the economy improved in the ‘70s, Luigi was able to return to the domaine full-time, focusing more on wine production and eventually passing the reins to his son and daughter-in-law, Silvio Giamello and Marina Camia. This fourth generation continues to make wine the only way they can imagine: all vineyard work is natural and chemical-free, and the vinification techniques are purely traditional.

Silvio’s white wine from a favorite lesser-known varietal indigenous to Piedmont, Favorita, is related to the grape Vermentino. We recently received a small allotment of this wine which is made from vines planted in clay with lime-rich marl on a plot of just .005 hectares (.0123 acres)! We are lucky indeed to have some to share with you. This wine is crisp, with lemon-lime zest, that’s great as an aperitivo or with a Piemontese starter like fava bean and goat cheese salad.

La Ghibellina was founded in 2000 by Alberto and Marina Ghibellini, who practice organic agriculture and specialize in the production of high-quality wines that emphasize the typical character of the region. Monterotondo is in the Gavi DOCG—just past the Ligurian border in Piemonte. To get there you can zoom up the highway, in and out of the tunnels through the Apennines, in a great feat of Italian engineering. Or, more leisurely, take the back roads that wind up and over the Apennines to the calcareous hills of Monterotondo.
Alberto and Marina, a husband-and-wife team, believe it is important to understand the texture of Gavi. How it is in bocca, or literally "in the mouth."  They believe that too many producers are trying to extract fruity flavors on the nose from the non-aromatic Cortese grape (the grape of Gavi di Gavi). Marina insists that "it's in the mouth where the dynamic part of the Cortese grape is found; where it really creates an interesting texture." If you've ever been tempted to rattle off lots of nose descriptors without a word about how the wines felt in the mouth, this Gavi won't play your game.
The soil conditions at La Ghibellina, the ideal exposure to sunlight, and the climate, is particularly adapted to the cultivation of Cortese, benefiting from sea breezes that blow in from the nearby Mediterranean coast, making the conditions ideal for the production of wines with a firm and recognizable character.
This wine is aged in stainless steel vats with stirring of the lees for 4 months. It has a hint of crème fraiche texture from the lees stirring along with lemon, chamomile, and hints of sambuca flower. If your dish takes a squeeze of lemon at the end, it’ll sing with this wine.

Long before it became fashionable, Kermit Lynch was the first to champion the benefits of unfined and unfiltered wines, which offer a purer expression of fruit and an unadulterated reflection of terroir. Kermit’s conviction has been so strong over the years that he has persuaded even the most hard-headed winemakers to test his theories.

The Kermit Lynch blended Monferrato Rosso cuvée began in a simple trattoria. Dixon Brooke (Kermit’s right-hand man) and Kermit were on their way to Alba when they stopped for lunch. They were served a pitcher of Arneis that pleasantly surprised them and got the address of the producer. When they visited, they tasted several cuvées of Monferrato Rosso before blending and creating this one.

This wine has a smooth earthiness and genuine regional typicity, but also is versatile in pairing with a wide variety of dishes. Grown in sand and limestone soil, the 2010 blend is composed of 55% Barbera, 20% Bonarda, 15% Freisa, and 10% Dolcetto. Kermit says it reminds him of the Piedmontese wines of old.

If these wines pique your interest, click here to sign up for our club at the $25, $50, or $100 level and we'll get you started.

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