Case of 6 bottles.
While the outside thermometer does seem to support it yet, Spring has actually officially arrived and the temperature is, or should be rising. This is when we start thinking about outdoor grilling, lighter foods, growth, and renewal.
With this in mind, we have selected six wines (one bottle of each wine) for our first mixed case of Spring. Some of the selections have appeared before, in other mixed packs, but they are new vintages. And for those of you open to new wines, we are introducing a couple of really cool "natural" wines, as well as a unique and mysterious red from Spain.
These are from independent wineries where care is taken from vineyard to grape to bottle. The wines are also available to purchase by-the-case through this Web site.
Wine #1 Agusti Torelló Mata, 2018 Cava Brut Reserva (Penedès, Spain)
To be honest, there's really never a bad season for drinking sparkling wine. But there's something about Spring, that makes it all the better
And sparkling wine from Spain, called Cava, is an even better choice. Cava is made following the same rules as champagne, but at a really affordable price.
This fully-sparkling wine is made from a blend of 36% Macabeo, 28% Xarel-lo, and 37% Parellada grapes, hand-picked from ~35 year old certified organic vineyards in the area of Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, south of Barcelona.
Each variety is vinified separately, using indigenous yeasts. Second fermentation - the one that creates the bubbles - took place in the bottle (like champagne), in underground cellars (also like champagne), with a minimum of 36 months aging on the lees. Bottles are disgorged (where they get rid of the spent yeast cells) individually, and only when required for market to ensure optimum condition of the finished wine.
Bottled (Brut) with approximately 6.0g/L residual sugar. Alcohol 11.5%/vol. It's important to note that this wine is certified organic and vegan.
Our Tasting Note: Pale straw colour, with very fine bubbles that evolve slowly in the glass. Aromas and flavours of green apple, citrus (tangerine and lime), stone fruits (peach and nectarine), and subtle leesy/bready notes. Balanced (sugar-acidity) and rich, with a smooth and elegant, long, finish.
Pairing Suggestions: Delightful on its own, it will accompany appetizers, salads, Sushi, first courses of white meats, seafood, or fish, and fruit desserts. It will also complete most Easter dishes.
Wine #2 Château Plaisance, 2020 Cruchinet (Fronton, France)
This is the first of the two "natural" wines in the case, meaning a wine where essentially nothing is added or taken away during the production process. The vines are also farmed organically, in this case using horse-power - the real kind - and not tractors. Plaisance vineyards are in the Fronton DOP of France, which is south of Bordeaux.
Cruchinet is a dry, white, gastronomic wine made from 100% Chenin grapes, that demonstrates the great potential for white wines in Vacquiers (the commune where you find Fronton.) Chenin is more typical of the Loire in France, but from this region it is quite extraordinary.
In order to respect the typicity of the terroir (the land where the vines grow) and grape variety, only the natural yeasts present on the grape skins at harvest are used. Following a slow pressing at low pressure, fermentation is in stainless steel tanks, equipped with thermal control. Ageing is on the fine lees for approximately 6 months, in a combination of stainless steel tanks (40%), sandstone (grés) amphora (30%), and demi-muids (which are small casks). Alc./vol.: 14%.
Tasting note: Intense straw yellow colour. Intense, aromas and flavours of melon, apricot, orange and lime citrus, ripe apples, and quince jam. Medium- to full-bodied, dry, fresh acidity, well balanced, with a touch of bitterness on the long finish. Like quality Chenin, this wine will age, so try and hold back a bottle or two for a couple of years.
Pairings: This is truly a wine for food - enjoy with grilled white meat dishes, roast chicken, cassoulet, river fish, seafood, earthy vegetarian dishes, and pressed cheese. Again, no problem pairing this wine with ham or turkey.
Wine #3 Olivastri Tommaso, 2020 Santa Clara Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC (Abruzzo, Italy)
Now over to Italy, where wine and food always go together. And because these vineyards look out over the historic Trabocchi Coast (look it up - you are going to want to visit once you see the photos), this wine just screams seafood.
Made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes, hand-harvested from low-yield vineyards on the Marcantonio estate planted 127 metres a.s.l.. Overlooking the Adriatic Sea to the east, and protected by the Majella mountain to the west, these vineyards ripen under the dry sun of the Costa dei Trabocchi. This allows for rich mineral aromatics and complex structure to develop naturally in the grapes.
Traditional white wine vinification - following crushing and destemming, the grapes are kept chilled for 18 hours at 6 celsius to preserve fresh aromatics. A soft pressing follows, and fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for two months, and rests in bottle for two more months.
Our tasting note: Bright, straw-yellow colour, with rich aromas and flavours of white-pulp fruits - peach and apricot - with notes of dried herbs and white flowers. Dry, light- to medium-bodied, with fresh acidity and a persistent finish.
Food matches: As we said, pair with seafood, Sushi, and grilled/baked fish. It also works with egg dishes, white meats, vegetarian dishes, and fresh cheeses. And an easy wine to drink on its own - you might want to add an extra case to your order.
Wine #4 Poggio Stenti, 2017 Tribulo Montecucco Rosso (Tuscany, Italy)
We love to call this wine "bottled sunshine". After maturing throughout the summer under the bright Tuscan sun, the grapes are hand-harvested in October when they have reached ideal sugar levels.
Made from 100% Sangiovese, the grapes are gently de-stemmed/crushed and fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks for 15 days, with skin contact to allow for good polyphenolic extraction. Maceration is managed with daily pump-overs and lasts 25 days. After racking, malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks.
The wine ages for about 18 months in (new) French-oak 20HL barrels, to develop a more complex bouquet and soft structure. Plant-based agents are used for fining (so suitable for vegan diets), and the wine remains for a minimum six months in bottle before release. Alc./vol. 14%; R.S. < 1.0gr/L (very dry).
Tasting Note: Deep ruby colour, with garnet notes. Aromas of dark, ripe cherry, plum, and blueberry, with notes of dark chocolate and sweet spices (vanilla). Round, silky, and structured with a long, persistent finish and great depth. Serving temperature ~18º celsius.
Menu Matches: Perfect for grilling season, Tribulo will complement full-bodied dishes, grilled meats - hamburgers to game to steak - and pasta with rich, meat-based sauces. But with the right earthy vegetarian dishes, this wine will deliver.
Wine #5 González Bastias, 2020 Pais en Tinaja (Maule, Chile)
Made from 100% País (pronounced pie-yees) grapes, handpicked from ancient vines grown on the banks of the Maule River. The vines are on original rootstock, head/goblet trained, and receive no irrigation. The vineyards are organic and free from all pesticides and herbicides.
Crushing/de-stemming is by hand using a "Zarada de Coligùe" (horizontal bamboo sticks), and fermentation is in open fermenters using native yeasts. Manual punch downs and no pressing after the fermentation is complete (only free-run juice). This is what is referred to as a "natural" wine.
The wine is aged for 12 months in an ancient - over 300 years old - clay amphora. The wine is bottled by hand, with no filtration. Just over 6000 bottles produced. 13.9% alc./vol; .075 gr/L total SO4; 1.44 gr/L RS.
Our tasting note: Bright, medium deep ruby colour. Aromas and flavours of plums, wild raspberry, and blueberry with slight floral notes. Balanced acidity, medium-bodied, and a long finish.
Menu matches: A very versatile red, that pairs with many different types of sauces - spicy, sweet, sour etc. - on meats, earthier vegetables, and poultry. I think you'll find it also very easy to drink on its own.
Wine #6 Finca Losada, 2017 Altos de Losada, La Senda del Diablo (Bierzo, Spain)
A mysterious wine made from 100% Garnacha Tintorera from old vines (70+ years old) from a single, tiny (3.5ha) vineyard site close to the winery. Garnacha Tintorera is a synonym for Alicante Bouschet, a crossing of Grenache (Garnacha) and Petit Bouschet created in the late 1800s, in France, by Henri Bouschet. Traditionally used to tint more dilute southern French wines; it belongs to a rare class of teinturier grapes in which the flesh of the grape is also red (did you know the pulp of most red wine grapes is clear, and the colour of the wine comes primarily from the skins?)
Traditional red wine production, with only a light pressing. Alcoholic fermentation, using natural yeast, takes place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks - with regular pump-overs - while malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel. The wine is aged for 12 months in first-passage, 500-litre French oak barrels and in clay Amphorae. Fining with a gelatin-based agent; bottled unfiltered. Very limited production (~700 bottles made). 14.5% alc./vol.
Our tasting note: Deep, inky/ruby colour. Aromas and flavours of ripe black fruits - wild raspberry, blackberry, cherry, plum - with evolving notes of dark chocolate, truffle, and anise. Rich and full, with firm tannins, balanced acidity, and an intense/elegant finish.
Menu matches: Typically this wine would pair with classic meat dishes, including lamb, veal, and grilled steak, but it is very balanced and has good acidity and should work with many earthier-style vegetarian dishes. Perhaps a bit overpowering for turkey and other white meats. If there's a chocolate dessert in the works, save some wine to try with it.