November 2018

2013 Castellani Fattoria di Travalda Toscana IGT

Basics: Bordeaux blend from… Italy?? Yup, it’s a Supertuscan

Style: Ripe, full bodied, spicy

Notes: Red berries, cinnamon, toasted coffee and mocha, with dark purple floral notes and smooth tannins

Why this wine matches you:This Old World (European) wine exhibits the bold characteristics and discernible finish that we set out to find. Castellani’s Fattoria di Travalda will be a fun experiment, as it is inherently more tannic than Malbec and less fruit forward than the Shiraz listed below. It is a Supertuscan, essentially a declassified Italian wine. It does not reach (or try to reach) DOC or DOCG status, but settles for an IGT designation instead. This isn’t a signal of lower quality; it simply means that producers have more creative control in what they use in their blends. This region generally calls for a Sangiovese - heavy mix, but here we find the Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petite Verdot - all that’s missing is Malbec), but in a wine that’s distinctly Italian due to its red notes and softened edges. I thought this would be cool way to branch into new things while staying attached to the old. Plus, the wine maker’s a surfer, so you know he’s cool! (PS: Notice the black and white label. This was made for you.) **NOTE: this will need to decant for 20-30 minutes before drinking.**

Pairs well with: red meat, cabbage/bean/onion soup (ribollita), duck breast with cherries

$19.00 from Wine Access or Winelala can order it for you!

Le Clos du Caillou Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique

Basics: GSC (Grenache/Syrah/Carignan) blend from the Rhone Valley, France

Style: Full, intense; spicy and herbal

Notes: Ripe dark fruit, purple flowers, black licorice, and baking spices with silky tannins

Why this wine matches you: We are really branching out in a cool way, thanks to the availability of this. Normally, Rhone Valley wines are GSM’s - Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre, but here we have a GSC - Carignan is a dark and brooding grape with an interesting history in southern France. It will impart blueberry and black plum notes to compliment the pepper of the Syrah and the violets and herbs of the Grenache in this blend. French oak barrels give lifted spice and silky tannins, allowing for a nice contrast of brown sugar and cinnamon to underwrite the fruit juiciness. It finishes cleanly away due to balanced acid, and ends on savory and mineral notes, demonstrating a really cool journey that began as dark fruit. This wine embodies the bold, forward style to which you respond since it is made from old vines that result in concentrated juice, and drinks more like a Chatauneuf de Pape than the more generalized Côtes du Rhone that it is. **NOTE: this will need to decant for 20-30 minutes before drinking.**

Pairs well with: beef stews and casseroles, grilled meat

$27.00 from Wine Access or Winelala can order it for you!

2016 Leconfield Shiraz McLaren Vale 2016

Basics: Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia

Style: Bold and intense

Notes: Ripe black fruit, spice, chocolate, and silky tannins

Why this wine matches you: A review I saw of this wine from October 2017 said to have it with a piece of red meat ‘as rare as you dare’. The winemaker points to the intensity of black fruits and spice and literally uses the word ‘focused’. We do not often talk about vintage variation when we speak of Australia (since we largely think of it as ‘always sunny’), but McLaren Vale had a particularly dry 2016, which resulted in grapes so ripe that they were harvested at night in order to preserve freshness. Don’t get worried that this is too much of a beast, though. Like you, it’s a powerhouse, but it’s pretty: this Shiraz spent 16 months in French oak, 21% of which was in new barrels, 41% of which was in two-year-old barrels, and 28% of which were three-year-old barrels. Careful attention as such to the wine making resulted in silky, integrated tannins to support the long, fruity, spicy finish. **NOTE: this will need to decant for 20-30 minutes before drinking.**

Pairs well with: red, grilled meats with black pepper, stew, lamb, and cheddar cheese

$20.00 from Wine Access or Winelala can order it for you!

2014 Latour Marsannay Blanc AC Cote-D' Or

Basics: Chardonnay (!!) from Burgundy

Style: Bright and full bodied and bright with a smooth finish

Notes: Tropical fruit and nuts with notes of jasmine tea, minerals, and white flowers

Why this wine matches you: Well, it doesn’t, because you primarily drink red, but this is a good start if you are branching out. This wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation, which lends a creaminess and weight to it, and was aged in medium toasted French barrels to give it texture and spice. It is extremely well done and is worlds away from a zesty, straightforward, light or bland white wine. 2014 was one of the region’s best rated vintages, so we have all the right elements, including a finish that is highlighted by the winemaker as ‘nice’, meaning persistent with the fruit and spice notes. Compare it to those Napa Chards we were sampling and see the difference in elegance. I’m hoping that you’ll find that this is a red-wine drinker’s white wine.

Pairs well with: cured meats, herbed poultry or california-style chicken/avocado/bacon sandwich, and drinks well on its own!

$25.00 at Wine Access or Winelala can order it for you!

Noelle AllenComment