Selections for January 2017

Braise it, Baby!

2010 ATTILIO GHISOLFI – Maggiora, Barbera d’Alba, Piemonte, Italy

750 cases of this wine were made, meant to sell for at least $25 per bottle.  Inventory in the USA sat around unsold and we recently got the chance to buy all that remained for a lower wholesale cost allowing you a better rate.  All of that is kind of boring but a necessary reminder:  We are always chasing down flavorful value on your behalf.

What we have landed for you here is a 100% Barbera (the grape) grown in the single vineyard of Maggiora within the region of Piedmont in Italy’s northwest.  (Preheat your oven.)  If we’d shown you this very wine at full price two years ago you’d have witnessed more rosy florality and acidic nerve.  That’s a young Italian Barbera projection, but this time around we’re giving you something more “cellared” and developed.  (Pull out the cutting boards.)  The wine has become more meaty / chewy with time, and the vivacious acids have settled down to sauciness.  (Find the corkscrew.)  This club experience is all about what good wines can become – if they’re good!

We encourage you to cook for this wine experience, as already implied.  A forecast of heavy rain is preferred.  Temperatures below 45 degrees.  Clattering pots and pans.  Sizzling onions and garlic in olive oil in one pan.  Flour, salt, and pepper-dredged meat dropped into another for browning.  Mirepoix.  Parsnips.  Polenta.  A long, slow, aromatic braising . . . 

To the table, where you’ll pour this:  Savory scents of brown sauce and dried beef.  Dried cherries.  Dried rose petals.


It’s finally here

2014 JEAN LORON ‘Le Moulin’ – Chiroubles, Beaujolais, (Burgundy), France

We say “Burgundy” parenthetically since some writers include Beaujolais in that region while others do not.  Well, I would:  Beaujolais is a southern extension of that place geographically and stylistically, and my approach to this wine includes a Pinot Noir-style glass and an anticipation of delicacy and graceful profundity.  ‘Sounds like “Burgundy” to me!!

I tasted this wine in October and immediately declared it a wine club wine, hoping we’d see it before Thansgiving so you’d appropriately enjoy it with your turkey dinner.  Shipments from France were delayed and it has only now arrived – just in time for your January rotisserie chicken or sausage dinner!

The Beaujolais sub-region of Burgundy (sorry, naysayers!) has a tiered wine quality system somewhat like the Rhone Valley to the south.  The basic product is “Beaujolais,” with “Beaujolais-Villages” denoting a theoretical quality uptick.  Then there’s the better stuffe, identified by neighborhood (Cru) names.  There are ten such Crus in Beaujolais and I will now try my hand at remembering them all without consulting Wikipedia:

Cotes du Brouilly, Brouilly, St Amour, Julienas, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Regnie, Morgon, Moulin-au-Vent . . . Damn!  - I’m forgetting one, so to Wikipedia I go . . . Ah yes, the rarely-seen Chénas!  Why all these names?  Because each one of these little neighborhoods has the ability to project a slightly different image of the Gamay grape, depending on soil and exposure to the sun and so on.  A Beaujolais geek (I aspire to be one but have a long way to go) would want to perceive these regionally-distinct images.  So what’s different about Chiroubles?  It’s the highest in elevation and possesses granitic soils (as do several others).

From what I’ve seen, Beaujolais is just as much about quality of vintage, and producer as it is about place, and that’s why we don’t presume.  We TASTE, and we really liked THIS:  I love the significant body of this selection.  You can feel the granite construction or revel in the cherry fragrance or forget about the diagnosis and pull out that roast chicken from the oven and get to work.

Happy Thanksgiving??  Sure, I’m always thankful for you thoughtful wine clubbers!