Selections for August 2017

Recklessness Restrained

2016 VIGNAIOLI MORELLINO SCANSANO ‘Scantianum’ VIOGNIER – Toscana, Italy

We’re pretty cautious about showing you Viognier.  Removed from its Northern Rhone birthplace it often reacts with a tantrum of reckless perfume and a tiringly overweight texture courtesy of a flammable alcohol level.  However, when we find one which features all the GOOD parts of the grape we proudly display it.  Here is one of those.

This was found by Small Vineyards, the importer represented to us by Tom Kelly.  He would be familiar to many of you based on at least five summertime appearances for all-Italian wine presentations.  Tom’s company calls us “special” by giving us semi-exclusivity with a batch of smaller-production offerings, twice each year.  We taste a dozen or so of these with Tom and submit our orders.  Only what we and a few other privileged shops like ourselves ask for gets loaded onto a container in Italy.  Weeks later, it arrives on our shores and makes a beeline to TWS.

Italian Viognier?  Who’s heard of it?  Who wants it?  Upon tasting this particular pre-arrival offering we knew YOU hadn’t heard of it, but respecting your receptiveness for NEW and GOOD we committed to it for your club. 

This comes from the more coastal part of Tuscany.  The small producer grows his Viognier in talc and limestone, affording the wine a mineral energy.   That’s vital for Viognier:  Without the rock effect we might be confronting more flaccid fruit, but no:  Viognier’s “fruit cocktail” scents and flavors come along with a good dose of VERVE.

If you like crab, you’ll LOVE it with this!     

Your first Furmint?

2016 SERPENS TOKAJ ‘Dry’ - Hungary

Why not bundle a Furmint with even more eccentrically-named esoteric varieties HarsIevelu and Sargmuskotaly and get it over with?!  Yep, here’s a blend of all three.  Don’t freak out:  Rejoice in the fact that the long-neglected offerings of Eastern Europe are finally getting to us, albeit at a slow, lurching pace.

“Tokaj” is actually the name of the wine region from which this dry wine and its super-sweet, nearly immortal counterparts come.  For all of our years here we have concentrated on bringing you the latter Hungarian wine type:  The dessert versions.  That’s how some of you have become familiar with Tokaj or “Tokay,” one of the world’s most amazing sweet wines.  Stories abound regarding Hungary’s reply to Sauternes, replete with Russian Czars sending guarded convoys to convey the precious cargo farther east.  . . . and the crazy way the wine was made (drippings off a stone table?)   . . . and how the Soviet Bloc period nearly decimated the entire industry . . . we should elaborate, but the publication deadline looms!

Certainly, this DRY wine is a great motivation for learning more - because it is delicious. 

The color is vaguely pale.  The scents straighten every unclipped hair in your nostrils to the rigid position of attention.  On the palate, laser beam acidity binds together fruit flavors recalling barely-ripe fresh pineapple and lime rind.  After the wine is gulped, the mouth remains haunted with this generous yet precise fruit effect.  One begins to imagine grilled shrimp - and fish tacos.  Pork roast?  One wonders, “Where has Hungarian wine been all my life??” 

We tasted this three months ago.  It is finally here.  We hope you love this white wine experience!