Friday, Dec. 23rd
Monte Carniga – Sengialta – Campagnola
A family winery spearheaded by Guido Rizzotto, now mostly in the hands of his two children: Laura (on the business side) and Luca (the current winemaker).
100% Garganega from densely planted vines at 500 feet above sea level. What they have to say about themselves: We say no to chemicals and grow our vineyards and olive trees according to the principles of organic viticulture with every agricultural practice being an expression of our deep respect for nature and harmony with our ecosystem. That’s why we started beekeeping with enthusiasm. Our happy bees prove that protecting biodiversity is possible and a duty we take on with pleasure.
Balestri Valda Soave is a perfect starter; it’s light and pretty, with loads of refreshing minerality and delicate fruit.
What’s Franciacorta? Here’s what Walter Speller (Italian correspondent for Jancis Robinson.com) has to say: Franciacorta — important wine region in the hills immediately east of Brescia, with a relatively short history of producing traditional method sparkling wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with some Pinot Bianco. Its name is a corruption of the medieval Francae Curtes, Curtes meaning communes and Francae meaning ‘exempt of taxes’, referring to the region’s privileged position at the time…
Franciacorta modelled itself closely on Champagne, while the local consorzio adopted an admirable code of self-regulation for the sparkling wines with production regulations at least as strict as those for the wine’s French model: a minimum vine density of 3,300 vines per ha; tendone and geneva double curtain training systems forbidden; a maximum yield of 65 hl/ha; and fractional pressing. The wines must undergo lees ageing for a minimum of 18 months for non-vintage wines, 30 months for vintage-dated wines, and 60 months for wines labelled Riserva. The Sáten designation refers to a blanc de blancs that has spent at least 24 months on the lees.
Mirabella was established with 11 hectares of land by Teresio Schiavi in 1979; in 1980 two partners joined him and it became a 15 hectare co-op. They now hold more than 40 hectares and refer to themselves as an “agricultural society”. They are certified sustainable and draw 100% of their energy from renewable sources.
Tre Monti Campo di Mezzo 2015, Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore
We’ve been fans of Tre Monti Winery for a long time now, going back to when we first met winemaker Vittorio Navacchia six or so years ago. He believes in minimal intervention from the vine to the cellar. Certified organic since 2014, Tre Monti is in the process of transitioning to biodynamic farming. Only estate-grown grapes from their 50 hectares are vinified here. Pebbly, sandy, clay soils give the wines mineral depth and complexity.
This Sangiovese comes from younger vines and is fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and glass lined cement. It’s dark and spicy, with palate pleasing notes of sour cherry and violets.
G.D. Vajra Barbera D’Alba 2013, Piedmont Italy
G.D. Vajra was officially established in 1972 (named after Aldo’s father, Giuseppe Domenico) but the family roots in the region go back over two centuries. Aldo Vajra has been making wine here since the late 60s. Today the estate is close to 60 hectares, 10 of which are planted to Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Farming is organic, grapes are hand-harvested, and aging is done in traditional Slavonian casks.
This Barbera spent 14-16 months in cask. It’s rich and dark, with notes of dark plum, violets and tobacco.