We’re opening up these lovely wines this evening, stop in for a sip!
2013 Cellario Langhe Favorita
From Selection Naturel’s website: Fausto and Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru` on the western outskirts of the Langhe. The family only believes in working with local, indigenous Piemontese grape varieties and fiercely defends local winemaking traditions both in the vineyard work and the cellar practices. The Cellario vineyard holdings cover some 30 ha between 5 different vineyard sites covering the southern Langhe. With holdings in Novello and Monforte, the Dogliani plot is arguably the family’s most prestigious land and I would consider them Dolcetto specialists. Vineyard work is organic (soon to be certified) and all the fermentations take place with indigenous yeasts. Sulfur is only added in tiny quantities at bottling if necessary (a practice not common with a winery in this mid-size range).
Favorita is an indigenous grape of Langhe that is genetically the same as Vermentino di Sardegna and Liguria. It thrives in the poor, sandy soils of Langhe. This wine is fresh and aromatic with a bouquet of flowers, hay & rosewater. It’s light & dry and makes a lovely aperitif or seafood pairing. Try it with sushi, ceviche, and white fish in delicate sauces.
2013 Birichino Malvasia Bianca, Monterey, CA
Malvasia is a white grape that is planted, to one degree or another, in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Croatia. There’s a tiny amount planted in California, which Randall Grahm showcased in his ‘Ca del Solo Malvasia Bianca’, of the early 2000s. Alex Krause and John Locke of Birichino cite Randall Grahm as one winemaker who has influenced them over their journey in the wine world. They founded Birichino in 2008, the name chosen for no other reason than that it would appear at the top of alphabetical lists and that it means naughty in Italian. There’s nothing wrong with those reasons! Alex and John have a combined 40 years making wine in California, France, & Italy. They source from a number of “carefully farmed, family-owed, own-rooted 19th and early 20th century vineyards (and a few from the late disco era) planted by and large in more moderate, marine-influenced climates”. They prefer minimal intervention, native yeasts, stainless steel or neutral barrels, and little to no filtration. Their aim is “to make delicious wines that give pleasure, revitalize, and revive”. They’ve succeeded.
This Malvasia evokes roses and talc, muscat and honeydew. It’s exotically aromatic, (the winemakers describe it as the tropical flower frangipani) and racy. It was kept on the lees and stirred every few weeks for an additional 3 months for added texture and dimension before bottling. The result is a focused wine with great length and complexity that’ll keep you coming back for more.
2010 Milenio Dão
2012 Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil “Cuvée Alouettes”
The name of this estate in the Loire Valley means “the place where the larks sing”. The vineyards, situated just across the river from Chinon and all planted to Cabernet Franc, have been in the same family for seven generations. The Boucards make some of the most age-worthy wines in the region, but the Cuvée Alouettes is meant for earlier consumption.
Alouettes comes from an 8 hectare vineyard with low-yielding vines ranging from 33-47 years old. This wine, like many cab francs, smells of violets & pencil shavings on the nose, and tends toward savory fruit, fall leaves & sweet tobacco. It’s fresh, soft & delicious.