ALL RED WINE CLUB

NOVEMBER 2020

WINE #1: SOTTIMANO ‘MATÉ’ BRACHETTO

Nieve, Piedmont, Italy 2018
Organic

BRACHETTO [brah-ket-toe]

Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG is one of the more delightful sweet wines in Italy, neighboring the more famous Moscato d’Asti (which I generally find less alluring, by comparison.) In this format it is light in alcohol, soft in bubbles and high in visceral exuberance from those engaged in a glass of it. Here, however, in the rarest of examples of Brachetto as a dry red wine I find that things go up a notch into rollicking euphoria.

Don’t let this particular wine and it’s eccentric character fool you, the Sottimano family is one of the most celebrated producers in Barbaresco. Their approach is a blend of classic technique, minimal intervention but with modern sensibilities. The results are seriously amazing and some of my longtime favorite Barbarescos. They capture every bit of the terroir driven nuance one could expect out of their Cru sites and showcase some of the more soulful ageworthy Nebbiolos around. If that’s your thing, and of course it should be… seek them out.

Rose petals, summer ripe raspberries and more rose petals. Swirl, sniff, repeat. Intoxicating. Now, it’s entirely possible that something this floral on the nose may be off putting to some (how dare you) but I am confident the burst of almost Burgundian tart cherries and the ground pepper will help you come to terms with all that. Better still, as much as this wine is incredibly thought provoking and downright enjoyable on its own, it’s also an incredibly versatile food wine as well. Throw something rich and fatty at it and you’ll be amazed where it will take you. The acidity is strong with this one. 

Why no mention of the grape here? It’s truly that rare for Brachetto to be a dry red wine as opposed to a sweet pink sparkler. That would simply make things even more confusing. There is not even a basic classification to provide a hint as to what’s inside, simply the vineyard name ‘Maté’. Our little secret. Shh.

WINE #2: LA QUERCIA RISERVA MONTEPULCIANO

Morro d’Oro, Abruzzo, Italy 2016

MONTEPULCIANO

[MOHN-teh-pool-CHEE’AH-noh]

The powerhouse grape that is perhaps too prolific for its own good. Montepulciano grows so successfully in the Abruzzo climate that for generations much of the farming has been focused on volume first, quantity over quality. Many great Abruzzese producers, as well as in neighboring Adriatic regions Marche and Molise, now experiment with their own combinations of clonal selection and unique vineyard management techniques. At the very least they’ve proven there is no single correct path to success. Montepulciano has proven it can handle strength and extraction just as it can show finesse and elegance; it can be made to be enjoyed young as much as it can age beautifully.  

The Quercia farm project is a communal effort started 20 years ago by four friends in the wine industry. Elisabetta, Antonio, Fabio and Luca worked together in the 1980s for a large production winery, and each brought their own set of skills along when they decided to go into business together. They took over a small winery cellar called La Quercia along with its 30 acres of vineyards and olive groves located on a windy hillside above the Adriatic Sea in the Morro d’Oro province of Teramo. The vines are mainly dedicated to the king of Abruzzo – Montepulciano – with smaller plantings of Montonico, Trebbiano, Passerina, and Pecorino. The fertile clay soils of this “golden” area are well regarded here, and the bountiful organic farm also produces their own salami, bread, vegetables, olive oil, and cheeses. The name “La Quercia” is Italian for oak tree, a symbol they feel connotes the beauty, strength, longevity and majesty of the vines, and the character that they strive for in their wines. The Montepulciano is kept at very low yields in order to extract the deepest expression of the grape, and the wine is aged for several years for more concentration.

Inky teeth-staining purple goodness grapeness! As concentrated as Cabernet, as fruity as an old vine Zin, and as jam-packed with blackberry eucalyptus as a Shiraz, this is definitely a shebang of a mouthful! The full-bodied fleshy texture is all boysenberry fruit and raw demerara sugar, with aromatic juniper berry and a sprinkling of celery salt acidity. Powerful precision with all that oversized fruit character is wrapped up neatly with a velvety cocoa powder tannin bow. 

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was one of Italy’s first DOCs established in 1968, and the Riserva designation is only used for wines aged more than two years in cellar.

WINE #3: DOMAINE DES MARRANS 'CORCELETTE' MORGON 2018

WELCOME TO CRU BEAUJOLAIS! 

A wondrous place where our Joie de Vivre meets our Raison d’Etre (he then buys her a bottle of Morgon and they proceed to play a heated game of Cribbage.) We’re talking about this one classification of wine with a brand name more synonymous with cheap and chuggable. It is one grape variety, that for many, is portrayed as pedestrian at best. About a tiny southern step-brother of a King, divided into a unique set of even smaller identities that inspire a select few in comparison it’s neighboring appellations. And at the same time we’re talking about a wine that has long been the hidden favorite of just about every true student of wine. It’s certainly no longer the best kept secret of Somms that it used to be but we can rest assured, and very thankful, that it won’t be fully corrupted any time soon either.

This Gamay from the famous climate and 1 of 2 ‘Grand Cru’ sup regions in Morgon, Corcelette,  is a solid example of the power and finesse that 2018 is showing. Ripe fruit but far from clumsy. Showcases plenty of carbonic high toned pop but lacks nothing in structure either. Granite infused pencil shavings and deep with black cherries and slight black licorice.

WINE #4: DOMAINE DU PAVILLON DE CHAVANNES ‘CUVÉE DES AMBASSADES’ CÔTE DE BROUILLY 2018

WELCOME TO CRU BEAUJOLAIS! 

A wondrous place where our Joie de Vivre meets our Raison d’Etre (he then buys her a bottle of Morgon and they proceed to play a heated game of Cribbage.) We’re talking about this one classification of wine with a brand name more synonymous with cheap and chuggable. It is one grape variety, that for many, is portrayed as pedestrian at best. About a tiny southern step-brother of a King, divided into a unique set of even smaller identities that inspire a select few in comparison it’s neighboring appellations. And at the same time we’re talking about a wine that has long been the hidden favorite of just about every true student of wine. It’s certainly no longer the best kept secret of Somms that it used to be but we can rest assured, and very thankful, that it won’t be fully corrupted any time soon either.

Côte de Brouilly is the smallest of the Beaujolais Crus, with only 1.3 square miles of vineyards, it’s known for producing wines of focus, energy and drive. Mont Brouilly rises to a height of 1,587 feet all by its lonesome, an old volcanic thumb sticking out of a plain. Allow yourself a slight giggle when you first get your nose in this wine as there’s an old school nervy wisdom in the glass. There’s a much darker fruit profile of plums and tart cherries lurking beneath some more complex aromatic layers. Green peppercorns, watermelon rind, and Grape Nerds.