Our fall in-shop tastings have been a blast!
This week, we just can’t get enough of a good thing! Our special Tuesday tasting with Piemonte producer Fausto Cellario and SelectioNaturel was a smashing success! But many of our Friday regulars were sad to miss this line-up, so we’re bringing it back tonight. Unfortunately, we can’t come close to Fausto’s charm and personal experience with the wines, but we’ll do our best. We may even break out a fake Italian accent, if that helps.
Fausto & Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru` on the western outskirts of the Langhe, in Piedmont, Italy. They only work with local, indigenous grapes & uphold local winemaking traditions both in the vineyard & the cellar. They have 30 hectares spread across 5 different vineyard sites, including some in Novello, Monforte, and Dogliani; they are considered to be Dolcetto specialists. Work here is organic & all the fermentations take place with indigenous yeasts. Sulfur is only added in tiny quantities at bottling, if necessary.
2014 Cellario Langhe Favorita
Favorita is an old white grape variety indigenous to Langhe & Roero. It is genetically identical to Pigato and Vermentino from Liguria. The grape does well in poor, sandy soils and makes for fresh, floral and fruity wines, sometimes with a touch of saltiness. The 2014 is a bit fuller and fruitier than the 2013, and is it possible we like it even more? Yes it is.
2014 Cellario Langhe Dolcetto
Cellario Dolcetto is fresh, bright & juicy, with pure, vibrant fruit, like plums and cherries. This is a wine for pizza, pasta & casual meals, but this happy little red could easily find a place on your holiday table. It has just the right balance of juiciness and acidity to be the foil to fatty fall/winter fare.
2014 Cellario Barbera Frizzante
This is the 2nd Barbera Frizzante we get to have in our shop, and we couldn’t be happier. Hey, we’re a place that stacks Grignolino – we got this! This dry, effervescent little red is a Lambrusco lovers dream; the light sparkling is the result of a refermentation in the bottle. If you want to look like you know what you’re doing, drink it chilled out of a mason jar, like Piedmontese old-timers and hipsters do.
2013 Barbera “Sabinot”
Barbera was once known as ‘the people’s wine’ of Piedmont, because of its versatility and its abundant production. It can make anything from light and spritzy wine (see above) to deep, dark, brooding wines, that need years of cellaring before they’re ready to drink. The grape ripens relatively late, but maintains high levels of refreshing acidity.
Sabinot is the name of an old plot of Barbera vines in Dogliani, and it’s here that they get the grapes for this wine. This is a little more serious than Cellario’s Dolcetto; it’s deeper, the flavors more concentrated, the tannins a bit more pronounced. It’s still plummy, and fruit-driven, but it’s like the older brother who’s seen some stuff, whereas the Dolcetto is still all wide-eyed and innocent. We love them both.
Come watch episodes of The Mind of a Chef featuring David Chang, and nosh on handmade cheeses, saucisson, hen-of-the-woods terrine, buckwheat donuts and more, prepared by the Man, the Myth…the Mulligan! Chris Mulligan. You know him well from The Proper Binge; an Afternoon with Julia Child. Now come see what Chang inspires!
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2013 Il Saliceto “Falistra” Lambrusco di Sorbara
This is an unusual Lambrusco produced by Gian Paolo Isabella (most well-known as a decorated Muay Thai champion) and his brother-in-law Marcello. They founded this 4 hectare estate in 2005, in the tiny village of Campogalliano, on the outskirts of Modena (Emilia-Romagna region). They are dedicated to working with traditional local grapes such as Lambrusco di Sorbara and Salamino, but they also work with the less common Malbo Gentile, from which they make an oaked, savory wine, capable of aging for up to a decade. All farming here is done organically and the Lambrusco’s are produced via natural vinification and re-fermentations in bottle.
Falistra means spark, and that is an apt description of this wine. Any notion of Lambrusco being sweet should be thrown out the window. This is dry, lively and super-pale-pink. It’s unfiltered, so it pours cloudy, which just makes it that much prettier. The fruit here is delicate, and the overall impression is of tart minerality and slightly rustic earthiness. This is a great wine to wet the appetite or to pair with plates of antipasto.
2013 Guild Columbia Valley White Wine, Oregon
The Columbia Valley AVA lies mostly in Washington state, with a tiny slice of it in Oregon. Guild is “a cooperative of four Portland, Oregon vintners producing wines of exceptional value for the masses”. The Guild cooperative is tiny, just 4 winemakers:John Grochau, Grochau Cellars; Vincent Fritzsche, Vincent Wine Company; Anne Hubatch, Helioterra Wines; Patrick “X”, Hammer & Tongs. Guild white is a blend of Pinot Gris (60%), Sauvignon Blanc (25%), and Riesling (15%). Production is just 750 cases, so the aforementioned “masses” must be rather small, when you think about it. But no matter, this wine is crisp and loaded with citrus upfront, from lemon to grapefruit. The Pinot Gris fleshes is out and gives the wine weight. The Riesling adds zingy acidity and the Sauvignon Blanc brings the tropical fruit.All in all this is a satisfying, versatile, very food friendly wine.
2012 Cellario Langhe Dolcetto
Fausto & Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru` on the western outskirts of the Langhe. They only work with local, indigenous grapes & uphold local winemaking traditions both in the vineyard & the cellar. Work here is organic & all the fermentations take place with indigenous yeasts. Sulfur is only added in tiny quantities at bottling, if necessary.
Cellario is fresh, bright & juicy, with pure, vibrant fruit, like plums and cherries. Pizza, pasta & casual meals are the perfect pair for this happy little wine.
2012 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup “Tour de Pierre”
The Ravailles brothers (Xavier, Pierre, and Jean-Marc) are descendants of a family that has been in Pic Saint Loup, in Languedoc-Roussillon, for over 1,000 years. The hermitage dates from the Middle Ages, as the former home of the bishops of Maguelone. The three brothers planted vines here in 1992; until then, the region was mostly known for sheep farming and cheese production. They have been practicing biodynamic farming since 1999 and were certified organic in 2012.
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mouvedre. It’s briny and stony, with precise fruit and crackling acidity. Think black olives and fresh raspberries ground up with a rock and a dash of salt and you have something approaching this red. It’s wild, memorable, and a little bit addictive.