Tag Archives: natural wine rhode Island

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM – 8PM

August 4th, 2017

All Vini Conestabile Della Staffa

Notes condensed from the SelectioNaturel site: An arranged marriage in the 1700s brought together the Conestabile and Della Staffa families. The Conestabile family originated in Orvieto, the southwestern corner of Umbria, just north of Rome; the Della Staffa family dates back to antiquity and is from Perugia, close to the winery. The two noble families were interested in consolidating property and influence in what was a very poor region. In the 1800s, the property totaled over 700 hectares of agricultural land, with 100 hectares under vine. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Conestabile della Staffa was the most important winery in the area, producing 10,000 hectoliters of wine per vintage. Remnants of this winemaking history can be seen in the castle located at the top of the hill in the village of Monte Melino. Danilo Marcucci makes the wine here, on the property he shares with his wife Alessandra.

Quoting SelectioNaturel: In the 1920’s the hamlet of Monte Melino was home to over 20 small families, each relatives of the Counts of the Conestabile della Staffa. Danilo’s wife, Alessandra is the descendant (great granddaughter) of one of these Counts. The village essentially was a self-sufficient commune/fiefdom at that point. Work and profit sharing among the families was divided equally in all sectors of the farming; raising cows, growing and drying tobacco, making wool & silk, a cobbler, a school, a metalworker, and of course olive oil and wine.

In the post-World War era wine production dramatically decreased due to the reduced workforce for farming as people moved into the cities. The last produced vintage from the old cantina was in 1956. From 1956 until 2015 no wine was produced on the property, instead the grapes were sold off to the local co-op for this entire period.

Today Conestabile della Staffa is literally being reborn, re-envisioned by the work of Danilo Marcucci. It’s an undertaking of epic proportions. Over 12 hectares of vines, many of which have been in disrepair for over a decade, but were planted in the early 1970’s. Luckily the land was never touched by chemicals.

The wines are made in the most natural way, adhering to methods that Danilo has learned over the course of 20+ years of winemaking and farming experience from some of Italy’s great ‘masters’ (Lino Maga, Eduardo Valentini, Cappellano, Vittorio Mattioli and others).  Native grapes (grechetto, trebbiano, ciliegiolo sangiovese, Gamay del Trasimeno, canaiolo, sagrantino) are the backbone of the property, a truly inspirational project with a bright future. No yeast, no chemical corrections, no sulfur. “No technology”, as Danilo would say.

The wines we’re tasting:

Brioso Rosato Frizzante: Sangiovese rosé. Direct press. Partial primary fermentation in stainless steel before early bottling and refermentation in bottle. Not disgorged. No sulfur. Crown cap finish.

Conestabile Bianco: Trebbiano and malvasia. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass and/or stainless steel. No sulfur.

Conestabile Rosato: Cabernet franc. Direct press, ‘fior di mosto’. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass. No sulfur.

Conestabile Rosso: Sangiovese. De-stemmed, 4 day maceration on the skins before pressing and aging in fiberglass. No sulfur.

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Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

brut-0Sept. 16, 2016

Domaine Grosbot Barbara Brut 0 2011, Saint Pourçain

Domaine Grosbot-Barbara is 6.5 hectares in the center of France, in Alliers, a region known for the prized oak trees used in barrel production. The history of the vineyards in this area date back to before the Romans, when the Phoenicians settled here and planted vines. The heyday of the region was in the 13th and 14th centuries when the wines of St. Pourçain were highly esteemed and favored by Popes, royalty and aristocracy alike. This domaine practices “Lutte Raisonnée” farming and refrains from the use of synthetic treatments unless the vines are under great duress, and then only the minimal amount would be used.

Brut 0 is 100% Gamay, left on the lees for four years – and like the name plainly states, it is zero dosage. This is a wine that lovers of fizzies and fine Champagne will really dig; it’s precise, it’s got depth, a beautiful leesy quality, a bit of red-fruit à la Gamay, and very approachable price tag.

More Teutonic! We just can’t get enough:
Teutonic Wine Co. David Hill Vineyard Silvaner, 2015

Teutonic focuses on single vineyard, single varietal wines that are dry farmed and made in a precise, Germanic style.

The Teutonic MO is old vines, cold climate, high elevation, dry farmed, old wood and wild yeast. Or, as they put it: old and cold, high and dry, wood and wild. They are inspired by the wines of Mosel, Germany, where they also happen to make wine, and they import wine from the region as well. Proprietors Olga and Barnaby Tuttle found a tiny amount of 40 year old Silvaner vines in Willamette Valley’s David Hill Vineyard. The combination of old vines and dry farming means that vines go super deep into the earth in search of nutrients, and therefore absorb layers of terroir-driven flavors. The resulting wine is more about minerality than fruit, with a touch of fresh apple and spice. It might be too soon to think Thanksgiving, but any of the Teutonic wines would be so at home on a table full of turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Let’s hope there’s some left! Silvaner production is fewer than 100 cases.

Berger Zweigelt 2013, Austria

This is a 14 hectare father/son estate, half of which consists of south-facing loess terraces. Vines are planted to 50% Grüner Veltliner, 10% Riesling, 10% Welschriesling, 20% Zweigelt, 10% other varieties.

All the wines here are vinified in stainless steel, and with cultured yeasts to get slow fermentations that preserves CO2 and fresh, fruity and clean flavors. This zweigelt is a go to. Bright, juicy, versatile and a liter!

Azienda Monteversa Versacinto Rosso 2012, Veneto

versacintoFilippo Voltazza runs his small family vineyard in the Euganean Hills, just west of Venice. Vineyards here are packed into terraced rows, at heights up to 600 meters.

Versacinto Rosso is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, grapes that are indigenous enough, since Napoleon brought the varieties to the region roughly 200 years ago. Filippo’s family used to sell their grapes to local wineries, to be used in their best bottlings, until they took back all their vines in 2006. Now their 17 hectares face in all four directions to maximize exposure. The vines are densely planted to 4,000 per hectare on chalky-clay volcanic soil. Farming is organic, harvesting is by hand, and all the wine is fermented and aged in cement, then bottled unfiltered and unfined.

This is a lovely wine; mineral driven, dark fruit, a touch herbal, balanced and elegant.