NEW FACES AT MARC DE GRAZIA SELECTIONS - WINES
Barolo DOCG Ginestra 2008 – Azienda Vitivinicola Paolo Conterno
The Ginestra vineyard is a historical cru as already at the end of the nineteenth century it was considered a zone where Barolo of “superior” excellence was made. Please find a description of the wine sent to us by the Paolo Conterno estate:
“…Our Barolo Ginestra wants to be the classic expression of this cru, historically been recognized as one of the best vineyards in the whole of the Barolo area of production thanks to the perfect composition of the soil, which makes the Nebbiolo vines produce quality grapes, and thanks to the large portion of the hill facing south. 2008 will be remembered as one of the most classical vintages, as there were several rainfalls in spring and summer - often lacking in the last decade - well distributed during the two seasons. The shoots started to grow late in the springtime, we then had warm weather during the last days of ripening, until the end of October. We recall that our 2008 harvest ended on exactly the 31st of that month as it was typical – up to the 1990s - to end the harvest in early November. Therefore, it was cold at night right before the harvest, and the wide day-night temperature range was an optimal condition for the perfect ripening of the clusters. The result is a wine that we can enjoy after just one year of finishing in the bottle, even though these bottles could rest in the cellar for years and constantly improve. Gradually, with time, balsamic hints of menthol will leave some place to complex aromas of tar and liquorice so that we will be able to pair this wine not only with classic beef dishes, but also with Piedmontese premium dishes containing white truffles. Last but not least, other similar vintages of this wine proved to maintain freshness and fruitiness even after a long time in the bottle, which makes it one of our favourites…..”
Barolo DOCG Gattera 2009 – Azienda Agricola Alessandro Veglio
The beautiful Gattera vineyard (in La Morra) is another historical cru, easy to identify as it is dominated by a cedar of Lebanon planted at the end of the 1800s. This Barolo is made from the higher and better exposed part of this cru near this famous cedar and it is made from the oldest vines, which are 60 years old. The vinification is different from the one of the Barolo “base”: cold maceration with the skins for 36 hours in order to make the fermentation and consequently the extraction process longer (it lasts for 18-20 days). The wine is then left to decant for 4-5 days. The malo-lactic fermentation takes place in wood (in order to extract and stabilise the colour) with bâtonnage on the lees (in order to give the wine structure). Ageing takes place in barriques (50% new). The use of wood is very careful so to enhance the good qualities of the wines. Alessandro Veglio’s aim is to make pleasant and drinkable wines is clearly reached in this elegant Barolo. Drink it with game, roasts or seasoned cheese.
Colli di Luni Vermentino DOC Pianacce 2012- Azienda Agricola Giacomelli
Pianacce (which is is the name of the plot on the cadastre maps) is the highest vineyard of the estate, its altitude being 250 meters above sea level. The vineyard is located at the back of the commune of Castelnuovo Magra (in the province of La Spezia). The border between Liguria and Tuscany runs right through the vineyard so that a part of it is actually in Tuscany. The vineyard is terraced and it faces north. This is a very positive for Vermentino as the cold air coming from the nearby Alpi Apuane (a mountain range in northern Tuscany) at night favours the acidity (which is usually not very high in this varietal). The blend is 100% Vermentino.
After harvest and pressing of the clusters, the must rests on the skins for 24 hours at a low temperature (10-11 degrees Celsius). When the alcoholic fermentation starts, the must is racked off the skins and the wine then rests on the lees till December with bâtonnages every 15 days. Bottling takes place the following April.
The nose is reminiscent of the Mediterranean underbrush and of aromatic herbs (the vineyard is surrounded by woodland). This wine is elegant in the mouth, it is flavourful and with a good acidity which makes it extremely pleasant to drink. Match it with simple fish dishes (without sauces), shellfish, raw fish, very delicate pasta and rice dishes (it is ideal with the classical Ligurian pasta with pesto sauce). Pianacce should be served at a low temperature, 8-10 degrees Celsius, so to enhance the acidity.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008 – Azienda Agraria Le Chiuse di Sotto - Gianni Brunelli
According to Laura Vacca Brunelli, owner and manager of the estate, each wine is the expression of the the vintage: of the rainfalls, of the temperature, of the care and hard work in the vineyards (manual work at Le Chiuse di Sotto amounts to 500 hours per hectare, which is quite impressive!). The vine training system is cordon spur which naturally lowers the grape yield, makes the vines produce larger clusters and favours concentration. Although in 2008 springtime was quite rainy till June, the weather then became warm and dry favouring extraction of aromatics and of fruit. The weather was good during the whole harvest. This Brunello stems from vineyards planted in 1997 in Podernovone and standing at 350 meters above sea level and from vineyards planted in 1989 in Canalicchio at 200 meters above sea level. This wine is already very pleasant and drinkable, it is fruity, elegant with red currant notes, the structure is slightly more supple in comparison to previous vintages. Laura, who also manages “Osteria le Logge” (a very well known restaurant in Siena), recommends to drink this Brunello with a classical “bistecca alla Fiorentina”, braised red meat dishes with a medium structure, with a roast free-range chicken, with duck or with guinea fowl. The excellent acidity will clean your mouth!
Chianti Classico DOCG 2010 – Fattoria Casa Sola
The blend of this wine is 90% Sangiovese and 10% of Canaiolo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact the aim of Matteo Gambaro (manager and oenologist of the estate) is to make a Sangiovese base wine with a touch of freshness given by Canaiolo and a touch of colour given by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This Chianti Classico ages in large oak casks in order to enhance the primary aromatics with a very slight influence from the wood. 2010 is a vintage of great elegance and consequently the work in the cellar was organised so to maintain a very “intriguing” bouquet and so to obtain a “fun”, fresh and pleasant wine. The fruit is refined and elegant on the nose, in the mouth this wine shows concentrated notes of small fruit and slightly balsamic notes of Mediterranean underbrush. The tannins are supple and well integrated.
The vineyards stand at 330 meters above sea level in the area of Barberino Val d’Elsa right in the heart of the Chianti Classico, the soil is medium texture tending to clayey, the vine training system is guyot and cordon spur. Sustainable viticulture is followed.
Matteo recommends to drink this wine with a pasta dish with a rich sauce, such as “pappardelle al cinghiale” (flat pasta with wild boar sauce) or with stuffed vegetables Ligurian style (tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and onions stuffed with pureed potatoes, eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, marjoram, nut meg and oregano – truly delicious!).
Chianti Classico DOCG Vaggiolata 2010 – Azienda Agricola Monterotondo
This wine is named after the slope facing south of the estate (Poggio Vaggiolata). The altitude (530-570 meters above sea level), the soil which is loose and “poor” and the exposure are the ideal conditions for Sangiovese and for the other indigenous varietals (Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera) which make up the blend of this interesting and quite unique Chianti Classico. Bear in mind that the estate has been pursuing organic viticulture for 13 years (it is certified since 2003) and that, starting from the 2009 vintage and according to the new EU regulations, also this wine (and not only viticulture as set down by the previous regulations) is certified organic. Saverio Basagni, the owner and manager of Monterotondo, firmly believes that the quality of the wine depends exclusively from the quality of the grapes it is made from. In fact the vineyards are carefully tended: specific plants are sown on the aisles between the rows of vines, the grape yield per vine is kept at just 1-1.2 kilograms. In the cellar only Slavonian oak barrels and casks are used and the capacity is never below 5 hectolitres. Saverio prefers Slavonian to French oak as it is less “aromatic” and does not cover the fruit in the wine. Only the indigenous yeasts present on the grape berry skins are responsible for fermentation and only, very little, SO2 is added to the wine. The 2010 Chianti Classico Vaggiolata was not filtered before bottling. Saverio defines it as “full-blooded” and many journalists have found it a unique Chianti Classico, more similar to a Brunello or to a Barolo and its character is extremely tied to the terroir. Try Vaggiolata with “bollito misto” (mixed boiled meat), with “stracotto” (beef stew), with very seasoned cheese or with Parmigiano Reggiano that has been aged for 30 months: its tannins and its excellent acidity will counteract the fat.
Penisola Sorrentina Gragnano DOC Terra del Gragnano 2011 – Vini Iovine
This wine is made from vineyards standing in the Sorrento Peninsula and in the Gragnano subzone. This zone has a very particular microclimate: it is high, the altitude is 400 meters above sea level, it is a natural conch protected by the sea breezes and the Faito mountain creates a wide day-night temperature range which favours aromatics and fruitiness in the wines. The soil is volcanic and phylloxera cannot survive here, consequently the vines are ungrafted. The wines of this area are ancient: they were very much appreciated by the Romans who had many country villas where wine was made and also shipped to other locations in Italy and in the following centuries the popes used to drink these wines especially in the summer.
The blend is Aglianico and Piedirosso with approximately 10% Sciascinoso (that favours the second fermentation). The wine referments in the bottle and it is released in April following the harvest. This sparkling and fruity red is a perfect match for pizza, vegetable dishes and even for fish dishes.
Faro DOC San Placido 2010 – Istituto Agrario “P. Cuppari”
The ancient Greek population of the Phari colonized this area and it seems that “Faro” wine is named after them. Viticulture and wine making goes back as far as the Mycenean period (XIV b.C.!!) in this area of Sicily. The Romans also appreciated the wines from Messina very much. At the end of the 1900s these wines were exported to France after the French vineyards were destroyed by phylloxera. At the end of the 1800s there were 45,000 hectares of vineyards in the province of Messina, at present the vineyards extend for just 900 hectares.
The Faro San Placido - a blend of Nerello Mascalese, Nocera (an indigenous varietal), Nerello Cappuccio, Nero d’Avola and Sangiovese – is a very particular wine, as all the phases of production in the vineyard and in the cellar are followed by the students of the “P. Cuppari” agricultural school. The vinification is supervised by the oenologist Nicola Centonze. Furthermore, all the earnings from this wine return to the institute to finance its courses, to buy equipment and to finance this project. The wine matures for 12 months in French oak barriques and tonneaux. The nose is rich and intense, with red berries and Mediterranean spices notes. In the mouth it is well structured, persistent and slightly sapid. Try it with red and white meat dishes, game, with swordfish or with “Pesce stocco alla ghiotta”, a typical dish of Messina which is stockfish and potatoes cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, celery, onions, capers and olives.
For more detailed information please visit the sections of our website dedicated to each producer.