If you drive from Verona to Lake Garda you shall pass the Valpolicella Classico zone. Likewise, if you go east to Venice, you will pass the venerable Soave Classico area. Smacked in the middle between these two areas is the lesser established Valpolicella DOC; in 2001 Graziano founded his red wine adventure here in Morandina.
Graziano describes his philosophy “…the production of food is a gastronomic act. To be a source of food pleasure, the food must be good, but also pure and correct: it must be the result of sustainable agriculture that respects the environment and workers’ dignity. When we buy food, we choose also an agricultural model. This is a fundamental issue that determines the future of the planet: its survival or its destruction.”
“A long search for the perfect vineyard brought Graziano to the higher marl slopes of the Valle di Mezzane. Sitting on white soils deriving from chalky rock, ancient clay and marine sand, La Morandina is located on 500 mt altitude on rubble and schist that envelop the vine from the trunks to the roots as they burrow down in their search for water. The grape yield is obviously very low giving more body to the wines. This was Graziano’s aim when he decided to adopt organic agriculture that doesn’t interfere with the natural balances that have been established over time. The high levels of chalk and surface marl are the main elements needed to obtain wines that are very fine and elegant with good freshness, medium body and low ph. making them perfect for long aging and easy drinking.”
The local grape varieties contribute unique characteristics to the final wine: Corvina gives spiciness and cherry aromas, Corvinone gives glycerine and vibrant freshness, Rondinella adds delicate fruit and light floral aromas whilst Oseleta provides colour and robust tannins. The grapes are dried in a fruttaio (drying room) from 20-30 days then vinified. Maturation in 20hl casks for 18 months.
This vintage can be described “Graphite minerality, and some earthy notes plus a hint of Christmas in this, with orange peel tang, cloves and lovely semi-dried figs and prunes. A big rich wine with great length, but elegant nonetheless.“
Below you will find the list of names we work with. They will be happy to receive your visit. Names Listed in alphabetical order, thai baht is the value of each value.
Gilles Chabbert with his brother Eric had the ambition to place each of their wine in the top of their class. They managed this well, but there are others of course, yet none achieve the fine value Domaine Aires Hautes is known for in Minervois.
The brothers believe in sustainable viticulture, but couldn’t be bothered to register for organic certification. This has now changed with the 2016 vintage, and they offer two entry level white wines and a couple lighter Minervois reds. The top cuvee will in the future certified as well.
Clos d’Escandil would lead any ranking for bang for the buck. Here you have a world class wine at a fraction of a price, which other appellations would command. Old vine Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, aged for 18 months in oak barrels from Burgundy. The fruit is sweet, the texture velvety, and wine very smooth. We would not be as impressed, if it weren’t for the beautiful balance and fine acidity on the palate.
A fine red wine from the South, that evokes late summer feelings. Please try!
As a consumer, we immediately learn about the greatness of French wines even before we touch a bottle. Quite immediately the prestigious Chateaux of Bordeaux with it’s 1855 classification and pricing pyramid with astronomical auction prices come alive in our minds. We begin to chase vintage ratings, thinking only the most praised and possibly tannic wines are worth to consider.
We opt for a different approach and try to choose a wine first by selecting the producer and not the vintage (by the way, what you would do in Burgundy). A conscientious and skilled winemaker will work like a chef and make the most of the ingredients (vintage). Often the lowly rated harvest might become a fine every day bottle, while you patiently check the bottle in your cellar regularly, asking yourself is it time yet?
Then much later in your buying career. You start to hunt for jewels that hardly anyone knows about. These, like Domaine de Viaud with a chest full of mature jewels, are often introduced by wine bars and independent restaurants. Unlike many Bordelais’ colleagues, the Bialle family do not solely work with negotiants; they also manage their estate similar to a domaine in Burgundy with an eye on viticulture (Note: not to be confused with Chateau de Viaud that happens to be in Lalande as well) making a wine style that is based on finesse, earthiness, and soulful aromatics that one can expect from a old school and mature claret.
For some wine lovers, this wine may perhaps lack intensity, but this is exactly what the sandy and gravelly soil in the Lalande can offer, and also why we get so excited about classical Bordeaux wines at a proper degree of alcohol around 13%.
The Viaud 2000 is 95% Merlot, with some Cabernet Franc, aged in 1/4 new wood. The wine is ready to drink, with no decant. We recommend using the two prong wine opener, as some cork are dry.
Now if you enjoy this style, we can also recommend the finer Cuvee Speciale from 1996 that has a higher acidity level; in stock.
In 2000 the three current owners, all siblings, decided to revive the estate and re-establish Tenuta Olim Bauda as one of Piedmont’s top producers. The estate is well known for making Barbera in varying styles including the most recent DOCG called Nizza. The vineyards are located in five different Municipalities, each of which has a different type of soil. The soils in the area usually consist of clayey-sandy marl of marine origin, with a fair amount of lime. The percentages of the main components change in every vineyard and there can be more or less sandy veins or chalk veins even on the same hill.
The nebbiolo d’alba has become somewhat of a rarity these days, since many growers in the roero region use either roero docg or langhe nebbiolo doc. The ageing requirement of a nebbiolo d’alba is a minimum 12 month. Its important to know that a declassified barolo or barbaresco is never a nebbiolo d’alba. These are likely labelled as langhe nebbiolo doc with no ageing requirement.
This love-hate relationship for this grape is humorously described by Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly “Imagine getting kicked in the face by a ballerina. Nebbiolo has this exact same kind of elegant brutality. One the one hand, it’s elegant. Nebbiolo is best drank from a Pinot-shaped glass so that its delicate aromas of roses, raspberry coulis (“koo-lee”), and anise waft into your nose. On the other hand, it’s brutal. When tasted, Nebbiolo has so much astringency and mouth-drying tannins that your eyes start watering.It’s a visceral experience. You’ll either love it or hate it. Naturally, we love it.”
The siblings follow sustainable farming, prohibiting the use of herbicides. In the cellar, this wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in matured in large french oak barrels. The resulting wine is ruby red, ample and complex. Pop one open with sausages, duck, or pork. It’s higher acidity work well with tomato-based sauces. A slice of pizza from one of the more famous pizza joints in town will also work! Check out Pizza Mazzie or Masillia.
When we began searching for a Central Otago Pinot Noir six years ago, the label of Two Paddocks immediately struck us, but it was the very restrained and classical style that was love at first sight. Even Francophiles might be tempted to try what Lisa Perotti-Brown, Master of Wine, calls “a very natural, almost leafy style of Pinot Noir”.
The fact that Hollywood actor Sam Neill is behind one of the most recognized names from Central Otago helps of course, but it is their philosophy in the vineyard which resonates most. Sam says his viticulturist Mike Wing is the most important person in the estate and the two have been busy searching for new plots, with the last purchase in Bannockburn, at the end of Felton Road, an area in stature similar to Vosne Romanee in the Cote de Nuits. This vineyard now produces fruit for the Estate blend, and also the limited reserve named “Fusilier”, referring to Sam’s grandfather, who was a Wine Merchant and Soldier.
Sam explains the estate is “committed to an organic and holistic farming model that we believe produces the very best expression of our sites and intrinsically cares for our soils, our animals and our people.” Vintage to vintage they continue to move ahead of the pack. Today we propose the winery’s main wine, please enjoy and let us know!
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir Estate 2016, Central Otago
“A blend of the Bannockburn, Earnscleugh and Gibbston vineyards. This leads with ripe sweet cherry-berry fruit aromas ahead of a spicy and meaty background. Plenty of youthful appeal. The palate is succulent and packed with vibrant flesh, attractive red cherry fruit and plenty of lithe, juicy tannins.” James Suckling 92 points
Acclaimed winemaker Virginia Wilcox of Vasse Felix assesses “Most great Cabernet in the world is grown with a maritime influence, close to the sea where you have that breeze. But Margaret River also has a Mediterranean climate where we have that warm dry summer and a beautiful long dry season. We’re not under pressure to harvest our grapes early because of rain, because of disease, because of rot; all the things that winemakers are under pressure to harvest for. The beautiful sea breeze is what buys us weeks of ripening. It keeps the berries in tact and means they come in as a perfect round berry without any shrivel, without any issues, so you end up with a beautiful soft tannin ripened until the end of the season where the tannin profile is perfect”. Hence experts and collectors rank Western Australia’s Cabernet Sauvignon among the top echelon with Bordeaux, Napa, Bolgheri, Maipo Valley and even maybe Waiheke Island.
Larry Cherubino first cut his teeth with Houghton in the corporate environment, before embarking on his own. The region of Frankland is where is heart is, about 300km inland from the coast, a lesser known region, allowing for a darker inkier wine than famous Margaret River. From the small beginnings this dynamo amassed over 120 hectares and makes an abundance of wine styles and ranges. One can say he is one of the most acclaimed winemakers in Australia today.
It is not by chance that his wines rank with the best in value and top prizes. According to the The Sydney Morning Herald “The ratings don’t lie… 20 of his 27 wines tasted for Halliday’s 2016 Wine Companion received the ‘value’ symbol, signifying wines of extremely high value for their price, while 12 were rated between 95 and 98 points. Extraordinary.”
His Pedestal range intends to offer upfront fruit, set in nice frame with some wood and soft tannin. Despite being one of the greatest values out of Western Australia, you can cellar this wine up to ten years.
We urge you to enjoy it with your next steak – grilled or smoked; a classical Cabernet Merlot with telltale perfume of blackcurrant, aroma of cedar, chocolate and bay leaf.
94 Points – James Halliday’s Wine Companion
The Southwest of France is a treasure trove for some of the most interesting wines. Often made by producers who have to work harder than elsewhere, the difficult to remember appellations and varietals offer great value for everyday drinking.
The Jurançon region, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, is a tiny 13 square kilometers with only 1,200 hectares under vine. Farmers here plant mainly Petit and Gros Manseng, of which close to 70% is sweet wine.
In its sweet form the Petit Manseng is a force at the dining table. Intense with sappy acidity, its fruit profile ranges from orange peel, apricot, pineapple, to passion fruit and even ginger. A late harvest wine like Cuvee Jean has about 72 grams per liter; but then there are also more unctuous bottlings made from shriveled grapes (passerillage).
This versatile wine will pair well with any salty like an ewe cheese, duck liver with sweet compote, or dessert with tropical fruits found in Thailand including pineapple and passion fruit. On a hot day, just sip on it alone.
“This late harvest wine shows both intense acidity and intense richness. Honey, perfumed lemon and ripe apple notes come together.” Wine Enthusiast 91p
The Languedoc region is vast, and we tend to forget the pockets of cooler climes such as Limoux, a region whose bottled-fermented sparkling precedes even fine Champagne.
It appears that viticulteurs here have been silently working one some fine Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines that are sold all over France, but almost unheard of in the export markets. Etienne Fort, an organic grower with vistas of the Pyrenees, is the type of friend Thomas Pico could rely on helping him get out of the dire situation in 2016.
Typical to the Pico style, the key element in his Limoux rendition is balance and a sensuous palate feel. This is a far cry from the ubiquitous Chardonnay, which wine lovers created ABC for (Anything But Chardonnay, but mind you, even this acronym is less heard of today.)
“Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion and having the phrase ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ in mind, but the aromas are all lemon zest and stone fruits. You don’t get that layer of seashell and mineral tone that comes from Chablis famous Kimmeridgian limestone soils, but the cool windswept region of Limoux does provide a bright acidity that one wouldn’t expect from the Languedoc. Lots of roundness on the palate from minimal filtration, and the absence of oak allow the bright character to show through as vigorously as possible. While this isn’t a wine to make you forget about Chablis, it definitely shows a Chablis maker’s hand was used to craft it, and will help to scratch the itches due to come up over the next few years when wines of this price and quality will be so hard to find.” Wine Warehouse Inc.