Here was yet another get together of “Young Sommeliers”–to taste wines, in this case from the Mediterranean basin, BLIND. Again, not to identify anything except if it is a “good” wine or not…..how much would one pay for it….AND finally, what kinds of foods would you recommend for each.
In addition, the offerings of this category available locally have been noticeably getting less & less. Yes, getting quite restrictive. So, here was a chance to share one’s stash. Here we go!
The first wine– 2016 Marquliani Sciaccarellu Rosé–is one of our favorite pink wines in the world! We are always amazed at how effortlessly light, airy, ethereal, minerally it really is. 90% is the indigenous Sciaccarellu grape variety with 10% Syrah blended in, all grown in Costa Serena–on the east side of Corsica. Direct pressed. Importer Kermit Lynch says it best–“Drinking her rosé is like drinking a cloud. There’s an absolute weightlessness to it. Nothing is left on the palate but perfume.” Our friend Keith, in comparison, brought 2015 Ameztoi Txakolina Rosé “Rubentis”–a very delicious, thirstquenching frothy Spanish pink-ster. Thank you, Keith. The 2015 is a blend of the indigenous 50% Hondarribi Beltza & 50% Hondarribi Zuri grape varieties. While the wine is not as fresh, zesty & alive as having it there, it still is wonderfully delicious, uplifting & gulpable. Keith asked me why I poured this wine after the much finer, more complex Marquiliani. Because the Tzxakolina was lower in alcohol at 10.5 versus 12.5.
We poured the 2015 Gregoletto Verdiso “Colli Trevigiani” next as a reminder of the Italian white wines of old–dry, straw mat/goza smells, stoney, light to medium in body with a distinct bitter almond finish. Today, the indigenous Verdiso grape variety is not seen too much any more on its own. It is mainly relegated to a blender, which adds backbone & to shore up the middle to Prosecco bottlings. Gregoletto is quite renown for his sui lieviti (on the lees) Prosecco bottlings (which appear clouded, somewhat murky) AND also for championing the Verdiso grape variety. (Incidently, I just discovered that Gregoletto was once named “FIVI Winemaker of the Year”. quite the honor).
The 2015 Ciu Ciu Pecorino “Merlettaie” is a very masculine, brazen, virile, strong willed, macho white wine produced from the indigenous Pecorino grape variety which in this case is grown on the sun baked, bare & steep slopes of the Piceno Apennines. The intent for this flight was to show tasters white wines which have mojo as opposed to those from cooler, higher altitude vineyards up in the north, which can be much more minerally, ethereal & lighter in weight. We followed that with the 2013 Clos Ste Magdeleine Cassis “Bel-Arme”. Clos Ste Magdeleine is without a doubt one of the real iconic wine estates of southern France. Its stellar white wine masterpiece, Cassis, will be forever the definitive pairing with regional Provencal bouillabaisse. A few year back they started producing this deluxe cuvee–“Bel Arme”–65% Marsanne, 15% Clairette, 15% Ugni Blanc, 5% Bourboulenc–from the vines planted on the terraced slope, below the Cap Canaille. The wine is fermented in concrete, sees malolactic & aged on its lees in concrete Thank you Keith for sharing. As VINO regulars well know, I am always on the look out for really “good” aromatic white wines. They are just really hard to come by. Our latest query is the 2014 Riofavara Moscato di Noto “Mizzica”–a fully dry, masculine, rugged white wine from the southern tip of Sicily & its chalk-limestone soils. We have been checking out this wine for a bit, but have yet to pull the trigger.
The next wine–2014 Occhipinti Terre Sicilano “SP68”–60% Moscato di Alexandria, 40% Albanello, grown in red sand, chalk, limestone at nearly 1000 feet elevation. Wild yeast fermented & aged for 6 months in concrete. This is currently one of the most happening white wines out of Italy & Arianna Occhipinti is truly hotter than hot. I liked the wine, especially its savoriness & am really glad we had the chance to try it. Once was enough. The 2015 Sigalas Assyrtiko is a VERY masculine, hearty, sun drenched, savory white wine from the Greek island of Santorini. If I closed my eyes, I would think this is actually a red wine because of its viscosity & abundant tannins. I often wonder when tasting this wine if Assyrtiko, the name of the grape variety, was derived from the word assertive, because assertive, it really is! The 2014 Coenobium is a very unique wine–a blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Verdicchio–produced by consultant winemaker, Giampiero Bea. These “orange” styled wines are NOT for everyone by any means. This wine, however, has a huge following among the avant guard sommelier community in the big cities across the country. Most other people, however, would not know what to make of its “oxidative quality that blankets layers of minerals, faint nuttiness & acidity“. (I would add a real savoriness). Definitely an acquired taste. For me, just too much.