March 16, 2018
Alkoomi Frankland River Rosé, 2017 Australia
Alkoomi is a large property just outside the tiny town of Frankland River, in western Australia’s most isolated wine-growing region. It’s been in the same family since 1946, when it was originally purchased by Vic and Netta Lange as a mixed grain and livestock farm. Their son Merv took over the property when Vic retired, and in 1971, his wife Judy decided to plant one hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and a little bit of Shiraz and Malbec. The first vintage was in 1976; instead of selling off their grapes, they decided to build a winery and make the wine themselves. They completed the winery in time for the 1979 vintage, and Merv and Judy went on to become award winning ambassadors for the Frankland River emerging wine region. In 2010, their daughter Sandy took over the property, along with her husband Rod Hallet.
Alkoomi has worked to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years by installing solar panels, and upgrading their tank refrigeration system to make it more efficient. They have a ‘wall-to-wall’ grass policy, which uses clover and rye grass between rows and under vines. The plantings control weeds, encourage diverse soil microbiology, and improve water retention. Weed control in colder months is by grazing sheep.
This rosé is 100% estate grown Petit Verdot that was left on its lees for 4 weeks after fermentation. The tart, fresh, cranberry notes on the entry are tempered by a slight creamy texture mid-palate, then there’s strawberry, violets, and dried herbs to bring it all home. It would be an all-summer-long-sipper, if we could’ve gotten more than three cases. At under 15 bucks, it’s hard to say no to it.
Bethel Heights Oregon Pinot Gris 2015
This old-school property in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills has been a family operation since its founding in 1977. No time to write all the producer notes unfortunately, but here’s a link to the very thorough and descriptive website for background. This is a rich & fruity wine, with perfectly balanced acidity that offsets the intensity, and lends a buoyancy to the depth and creaminess. It’s a delicious mouthful.
Swick Rosé of Pinot Noir Pétillant Naturel 2017, Willamette Valley, OR
When writing today’s note, we realized that we tasted the 2016 of this exactly one year ago, so it’s a little bit of deja Swick all over again. We’re going to recycle a portion of last year’s note, because recycling is good, and sometimes we’re lazy:
This is Rhode Island, Joe Swick’s home away from home, so we probably don’t need to tell you the Swick story. But if you want it, here’s the short version: http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/wines/usa/joe-swick/#7
This wine is from grapes from nearly 20-year-old vines that are hand-harvested, then pressed as whole bunches. Indigenous yeast fermentation is for 3 weeks in 6—7 year old barrels. The wine was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar, and finished fermenting in the bottle with no filtration and no sulfur added. It was then hand-disgorged, recapped, and sent out into the world. The 2017 is just as vibrant, hazy, and delicious as the 2016. It, too, will be gone before we know it, and too soon.
Tanganelli Cibreo Rosso, Tuscany
These notes from the importer sum it all up perfectly: Hidden on the outskirts of Castiglion Fiorentino, in the eastern corner of Tuscany is the tiny farm of Marco Tanganelli. Marco is first and foremost an agriculturalist, garnering a regional reputation as the best source of advice when it comes to tending vines. Carlo Tanganelli, Marco’s father, established an agricultural nursery over 40 years ago in order to preserve and propagate the local grape, olive and orchard varieties. The Tanganelli family always made wine, mostly for themselves and locals but didn’t start to bottle and sell their wine until the late 90’s.
Today Marco farms some 5 hectares of very old trebbiano, malvasia and sangiovese vines, with some new plantings being made in the past few years on some high altitude terraces far above the village. Marco’s wines are made in the mold of the old-school Tuscan peasant style wines, yet they show the care and skill of a true craftsman. Natural fermentations, long elevage and zero or minimal sulfur are paramount methods of Tanganelli.
The two white wines, Anatrino and Anatraso both come from one very old vineyard that’s about 3 hectares in size. It is believed, both by Marco and the University of Siena, that these are the oldest parcels of trebbiano and malvasia in Tuscany; many vines are nearly 110 years old and the entire plot has never been touched by chemicals or pesticides…a rare find anywhere in Tuscany or Italy for that matter.
Cibreo is mostly Sangiovese and Merlot, and a little but of Syrah. It’s named after a restaurant, which takes its name from an iconic Tuscan dish made from rooster. It’s medium-bodied, food-friendly, and satisfying.