A Taste of TWC - Reds
Case of 6 bottles.
We realize there's always a risk buying a full case of wine without tasting it first. We feel that way too, and so to ease that tension we've put together a couple of mixed cases of different wines from many of the producers we work with - from France, Italy, and Spain.
This pack (one bottle of each wine) is all reds, and we've also put one together for white, sparkling, and rosé wines. And if you enjoy them, and we hope you do, these wine are also available to purchase by-the-case through this Web site.
Wine #1 Domaine Plaisance Penavayre, 2021 Negret Pounjot, (Fronton, France)
If you have ever attended one of our wine events, this wine probably represents best what we mean when we talk about wines from the Old World being about tradition and place. Vineyard workers would typically drink this style of wine with their lunch due the lower alcohol content - so "tradition."
It is made from 100% Négrette grapes, however Marc (the winemaker and owner) uses an ancient version of the grape called Negret. Pounjut means “pointy,” and refers to the shape of the grape. Marc discovered this version in the vineyards, and he is now the only person in the world working with it, so it is a perfect example of the concept of "place."
Production is also quite traditional, with a very short maceration (~5 days) in order to preserve the fruit characteristics of the variety, but not too much colour. Fermentation takes place in open-air vats, using only natural yeasts present on the skin of the grapes at the time of the harvest to respect the typicity of the grape. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alc./vol.: 11.5%.. Certified organic.
Our Tasting Note: Bright ruby/purple colour. Fresh aromas and flavours of red fruits (raspberry) and plum with slight spicy notes. Light- to medium-bodied, dry, fresh acidity, well balanced, with a long, clean finish. Try it slightly chilled.
Pairings: It's really lovely on its own, or with appetizers, burgers, pizza, and vegetarian dishes. Or if you happen to find yourself in a vineyard at lunchtime, bring this wine along.
Wine #2 Degani, 2020 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso Cicilio DOC (Veneto, Italy)
We've been working with Aldo Degani almost since when we started TWC Imports. I think he was the third or fourth producer we visited in on our trip to Italy in 2001. While we were cleaning up our filing system over the holidays we noticed that the first vintage of Cicilio - pronounced che-chee-leo - that we ordered was from the 1999 vintage. So we're pretty confident that when you try this wine you'll understand why we have stayed with this producer all this time.
Cicilio is a blend of 40% Corvina, 30% Rondinella grapes, 25% Corvinone, plus 10% “Other” (Molinara), made using the traditional Ripasso method. Ripasso literally means “passed over again” and is a technique whereby the unpressed skins used for Amarone della Valpolicella are added to fermented Valpolicella thus adding more body to the wine and giving it fuller, richer, dried fruit aromas and flavours.
Cicilio is also a Superiore wine, and means the wine is slightly higher in alcohol and has been aged longer than regular Valpolicella.
The grapes are softly crushed while removing the stalks. The must macerates for 12 days, with manual punching down the cap at regular intervals (20 minutes, 3 times daily). Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is stored in stainless steel tanks until February when it is poured over the lees of the Amarone grapes, and left in contact with the lees for 15 days at a temperature of 15° C. The wine is then transferred to small French-oak barrels for 24 months, before bottling. 14% alc.vol.; RS 11g/L..
Our Tasting note: Deep ruby colour, with rich fruit – dark cherry, and plum – aromas and flavours and spicy, mocha notes, balancing acidity and integrated tannins. Dry, medium-bodied, and balanced, with a long finish.
Pairings: Recommended with red meat dishes (roasted, grilled or braised), meat-based pasta dishes, and a good pairing with salumi and aged cheese.
Wine #3 Marte + Maté, 2020 El Holgazán (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
The winery is the newest addition to our portfolio. It was started in 2008 by Marta Castrillo and César Maté, and introduced to us by Sara and León who bring us the Latido wines. What we like about the project is that Marta and César wanted to differentiate themselves from the over 300 wineries in the region by focussing on three guiding principles that we also hold dear: Location, Biodiversity, and Minimal Intervention.
The vineyards are located in the northernmost reaches of the Ribera del Duero DO, at an altitude above 900m (the average altitude in R.D. is 800m). They practice ecological viticulture, by promoting the life of microorganisms that live in the soil. Soil compaction is avoided (horse-drawn implements instead of tractors), as is the use of biocides or chemical fertilizers. While the average yield for R.D. is 5,400 kg/Ha, the maximum yield at Bodegas Marta Maté is 3,500 kg/Ha.
Working mainly with Tinto Fino grapes (aka Tempranillo), that are hand-harvested and collected in traditional 12kg baskets, the aim is to preserve the physical qualities and expression of the grapes and the vineyards they come from. As grapes enter the winery they are carefully sorted and only those that reach optimal quality pass. The crushed grapes flow by gravity into conical tanks to concentrate the natural flavours of the grapes. Fermentation uses indigenous yeasts, and with a very low and controlled addition of sulphur dioxide (<50 mg/L). Malolactic fermentation and maturation takes place in 225 litre, French-oak barrique, 600 litre, American-oak barrels, as well as large 2,300 litre oak casks, in an underground cellar, where the temperature is easily controlled and stable.
“El Holgazán” (means the layabout) is made from 100% Tinto Fino grapes, hand-harvested from a special plot of ~25 year old vines, planted at ~900 metres on clay/limestone soils. The juice is kept on the skins for about 8 days, then after fermentation is complete (using indigenous yeasts) the wine is aged for ~7 months in 300L French oak barrels and then 6 months in concrete tanks. Approximately 25,500 bottles produced.
Our Tasting Note: Deep cherry, with purple tinges. Intense aromas and flavours of red and black fruits - cherry, blackberry, raspberry - with notes of liquorice, toffee, and vanilla spice. Medium-bodied, with pleasing tannins and a long fresh/sweet finish. 14% alc./vol.
Pairings: A wine for food, and works well with meat dishes (grilled), tapas (Iberian ham), and rice dishes with poultry, or even seafood.
Wine #4 Fattoria La Lecciaia, 2018 Rosso di Toscana Igt (Montalcino, Italy)
This is the #1 selling wine in our portfolio. Partly because we have been working with La Lecciaia since we started our Agency, but mainly because it is a really good wine, at a phenomenal price. And we'll let you in on a little secret, it is made from the same variety of grape (Sangiovese Grosso) as the famous Brunello di Montalcino DOCG wine that typically sells for 5-6 times the price of RdT.
Traditional red wine fermentation, with some time in large oak barrels (botti). The Sangiovese for this wine was taken out of the ageing track for Brunello at about 2 years after harvest, however it does exhibit some of the characteristics of extended-aged Sangiovese. Alc./vol. 13.5%.
Our Tasting Note: Ruby garnet red in colour. Aromas of dark cherries, plum, Mocha, and spices. Medium-bodied, and lively on the palate. Smooth tannins and a long finish.
Pairings: Complements fuller-bodied foods, and works well with “earthier” ingredients such as mushrooms. A good match for steak, braised meat dishes, and game. But this is also a lovely wine to try on its own, waiting for the 2018 Brunello to be released in a couple of years...
Wine #5 Bodegas Tajinaste, 2021 Tinto Tradicional DOP, (Canary Islands, Spain)
One of the most amazing trips we've ever taken as TWC Imports was to visit Tajinaste, in the Canary islands in 2019. When our pilot pointed out Mount Tiede - the highest peak in Spain - peaking out of the clouds covering Tenerife just as we were about to land, we knew we were in for something special. And we were, and it was unlike anything we had experienced before - vineyards growing 600-800 meters up the steep slopes of a volcano, just below the cloud-line that protects the grapes from literally burning under the intense, tropical sun. And right out in the Atlantic, where the next thing you hit going west are the Americas.
We had learned about the wines from the Canary Islands the year before during a visit to New York City. It was really our first experience with them, and almost every wine we tried as a revelation. So we had to check out the Canaries ourselves, so that we could truly understand what the excitement about this region was all about. And now we proudly represent the wines of Bodegas Tajinaste, and wanted to include one of the wines in this offer.
Tinto is dry red wine from 100% Listán negro (pronounced lee-STAN neh-gro) grown on hillside vineyards at a height of 600 metres above sea level. These are old vines - 40% are planted using the multiple braided cordon system, and the remainder on trellis’s - and the grapes are hand harvested at ideal ripeness. The grapes are cold macerated for 4 days prior to fermentation (total maceration is 12 days), and both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place in stainless steel tanks. About a third of the wine is aged for two months in American oak barrels. Alc./vol. 13%
Our Tasting Note: Youthful, bright cherry colour, with violet hues. Highly aromatic, reminiscent of fresh fruits - blueberry, cherry, and plum - with peppery/smoky notes. Smooth, with balancing acidity, medium tannins, dry, and a clean finish.
Pairings: In Tenerife, we had this wine with grilled octopus, and even some fuller-style seafood. Charcuterie, veal, grilled pork, pizza, and burgers are perhaps more practical pairings, as well medium/hard cheeses, but if you could grill some tuna I'd give it a try.
Wine #6 Olivastri Tommaso 2017 "La Grondaia" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC (Abrruzo, Italy)
There is a special place in our hearts for the Olivastri family and the vineyards they work together in Abruzzo, in the heart of the historic Costa dei Trabocchi, south of Pescara. The winery began in 2000, when Tommaso decided to put to fruition the passion and knowledge he learned from the two generations of wine-growers who preceded him. Tomasso now has the opportunity to share his knowledge and passion with his three daughters who are active in all aspects of production and marketing.
They own 15 hectares of vineyards between the hills and the sea, close to the town of San Vito Chietino. The area provides a complex combination of soils and microclimates that give rise to grapes and wines of unique identity and high quality. The family follows closely the full production cycle from vineyards to bottle, the concept that “good wine is made in the vineyard” guides all decisions. Vinified grapes are the result of patient care and careful research, and cultivation respects methods and times of nature. In the cellar, further care is taken to enhance the identity of each grape variety and to produce genuine wines that express what nature provides and respects the traditions of Abruzzo wines.
If you get the chance to visit their area, please let us know so that we can arrange a visit. That way you too will realize how lovely this family is, how hard they work, and how incredible their wines are. In the meantime, enjoy "La Grondaia", or the other sampler pack we have on offer with two of the other wines we currently have in stock.
"La Grondaia" is made from 100% Montepulciano grapes, hand-harvested in late October from the Marcantonio estate planted overlooking the Adriatic Sea. These vineyards are planted in calcareous-clay soil and ripen under the dry sun of the hills. Combined, this allows for rich mineral aromatics and complex structure to develop naturally in the grapes.
Traditional red wine vinification - following crushing and destemming, the grapes are kept on the skins for 15-20 days to extract colour and flavour. A soft pressing follows, and fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for 36 months, and rests in bottle for six more months.
Our tasting note: Deep ruby red colour with purple tinges. Complex aromas and flavours of cherry and plum with spicy notes of pepper, licorice, and dried herbs. Dry, medium- to full-bodied, balanced tannins, good acidity, and an elegant finish.
Pairings: Pair with grilled/roast meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork), pasta with ragù, spicy/earthy vegetarian dishes, and aged cheeses. Tommaso has a lovely hand-made Arrosticini grill, and we don't recall ever having lamb so tender as what he offered up one evening.