Winter 2019 Crux6 Quarterly Reds
I got busy in Italy this past summer and came up with some real gems, including wines from two brand new wineries to our portfolio. But for good measure there a couple old French friends that have been invited to the table to. Here's this quarter's red wine lineup:
Contrada di Sorano Nebbiolo 2016, $21
Hands down this is our smallest winery. Not just from a production standpoint, but from one of physical space. Once five of us were inside there was no further moving around. We all stood in place, spun in circles, took it all in, and then retreated outside, under an umbrella, and sat down to the most delightful visit and wine tasting I can recall in a long time. Wine after wine was filled with bright happy life. Sometimes during a tasting you just know. Well, at this moment we all knew.
Paolo and Cristina, up until now, have sold very little of their wine. They began their project in 2014 and were promptly greeted with a zero vintage, a catastrophic start that featured cold and rain, and they sold their entire crop without processing or bottling a single drip. The following year was better and they began making their first tiny bottlings--200 of this, 400 of that. The minuscule quantities are hard to fathom. Especially because this was their new livelihood.
This Nebbiolo d'Alba was for all intents and purposes a baby Barolo. I hope really enjoy this truly small produciton wine--available only to you--right here, right now.
Crissante Alessandria Barbera d'Alba 2017, $18
The Alessandria family owns vineyards surrounding the frazione (hamlet) of Santa Maria and just below the pretty hilltop village of La Morra, a well-known address for Barolo lovers. There are a total of 6 hectares spread among 5 different parcels, all creating distinctly wonderful and delicious wines.
Alberto makes this Barbera in stainless steel tanks, and hopes to have you enjoy a pure, juicy, but also pretty and complex red wine. We'll enjoy many Barolo from this young winemaker over the years, but for now let's slurp some of his purely delicious Barbera.
Les Hautes Noelles He-Ho Rouge 2018, $16
Domaine Les Hautes Noëlles is a family property founded in 1930 in the village of St Leger les Vignes. A manuscript referred to vines being grown in the village as early as 1180. St Leger les Vignes is a small town located about 15 kilometres south-west of Nantes and is part of Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu, the earliest Nantes vineyard appellation.
He-ho Rouge is a playful Val de Loire red wine that blends co-fermented Grolleau and Gamay with traditionally fermented Cabernet Franc. Its a wine I really wanted to hate, but couldn't. Normally, red wines from this part of the Loire are green, weedy, high acid and screechingly austere. But here I found fruit, warmth, and juiciness.
La Paroisse Cote Roannaise Coup de Coeur 2018, $17
The Domaine de la Paroisse is a 7 hectare vinyeard and farm in the hills to the west of the city of Roanne. Local winemakers say, "Ici, commence la Loire." Here is where the Loire begins. Indeed it does. With far more famous vineyard areas farther downstream (Sancerre, Vouvray, Chinon), it is here, a few hundred kilometers from its headwaters, that we find the Loire's first vineyards.
This "love at first sight" bottling is as pure and smart as Gamay gets--succulent, juicy, and quaffable. A house favorite in our parts.
La Casaccia Freisa Monferrato 'Vigna Monfiorenza' 2017, $17
Twenty years ago Giovanni Rava and his wife Elena Bassignana acquired an 18th centuryvabandoned villa named La Casaccia (almost literally translated as "that shitty little house") and gradually restored the main building and brought back into production the impressive subterranean cellar excavated into the local volcanic rock. The cellar was soon equipped with a line of stainless steel tanks and a bottling unit, and the vineyard converted to organic farming.
Freisa is one of the minor, but important grapes of the Piedmont. In fact, its a way of spotting the locals in the restaurants and trattorias of the area. They're the ones drinking wines like Freisa and Grignolino while tourists toil away with $100+ bottles of Barbaresco and Barolo. Look for a lively, light, fruit-forward Italian red here with loads of red, scrumptious fruit.
Alemat Croatina Brunaldo 2014, $18
I think Savio Dominici might be selling himself short. His own winery, called Alemat (a Piemontese slang for "You're CRAZY!"), is pretty darn impressive in its own right. Only 10 years into his wine career, Savio is turning out an exceptional product. His Barbera are powerful and dark wines, filled with richness and structure. But, they also has a silky, fine tannin component that makes them at once complex, but yet again, thoroughly quaffable.
BRUNALDO is again a combination of two Italian names, BRUNO and ALDO. They are two producers of very good Barbaresco wines, respectively in Treiso and Neive, in the heart of Langhe. When Savio started to visit wine cellars to taste good wines, they were the first two where he went. They became very good friends and his passion for the wine world started in their cellars.
The colour is deep ruby with violet shades. The nose is wide and complex, spiced at the beginning then it becomes softer and enveloping with scent of red fruits, plum, cherry, red currant and cassis. Some can feel black tea and slight earthy aromas. The blend is given by the light vanilla note with light roasting scents, just noticeable. The taste is full and intense, with long persistence, texture is important and dense and the palate perceives its density and roundness, important and round to the touch. Tasty. Aftertaste brings back spicy scent and sweet sensations of ripe fruit.
I hope you enjoy this quarter's lovely mix of French and Italian reds.