Selections for December 2017

A Spanish Coup

2010 VINSACRO ‘Dioro’ – Rioja, Spain

You have a lot of ways to buy your wine.  Certainly, the most romantic method involves being well-treated in the wine country itself – whether here or abroad – and loading up directly from the winery.  Then there’s the undeniable convenience of grocery stores, the bottom-feeding of Costco, and the impressively advertised programs of BevMo and – now – Total Wines.  Being included on your list of sources is obviously vital to our existence.  We know we provide the asset of humanity and our selection is also pretty hard to beat - and we are constantly working on our pricing; many a TWS “fringe player” has become more than that upon realizing how competitive we strive to be.

- But there’s only so much competing we can or will do.  Our selection necessarily includes some well-known names, but we’d rather be fairly exclusive with our set and thereby automatically “non-competitive.”  We’d like to be the only place where you can find this Vinsacro Dioro, a producer unknown to nearly all of you but important to me based on two visits I’ve enjoyed at the bodega.  “Dioro” is Vinsacro’s enticing yet sturdy reserve wine which garnered a 92 point rating from Robert Parker.  It  is meant to cost $40 in some markets far away from here.  We did a deal to do better for you.   

This producer bucks the trend by subjugating Tempranillo to #2 on the list of ingredients, which sometimes happens in the warmer “Baja” part of Rioja:  50% of this blend is committed to Garnacha (Grenache) along with supporting roles by Graciano, Mazuelo and (surprisingly for the region) Monastrell and Bobal.  French oak was the aging vessel type.   The rarity of this wine and its pricing:  Guaranteed by The Wine Steward!!


Another Hard-To-Finder

2015 MARCHETTI ‘Due Amici’ – Rosso Conero, Marche, Italy

Many of you have attended the Italian event presented each July by our friend Tom Kelly.  Tom’s company imports lots of great things - mostly from Italy - which are available year-round.  In addition to this well-stocked inventory is a batch of smaller-production surprises Small Vineyards admires and also imports.  Their quandary:  “To whom do we sell these less-convenient little batches?”  The answer comes in the form of a pre-arrival program.  This importer, based on Tom’s advocation, chooses The Wine Steward to be its sole East Bay provider of these fringe specialties.

. . . of which ‘Due Amici’ is the latest to roll off the boat and into TWS.  Here is a red based on Montepulciano, assisted by Sangiovese.  Those names have Tuscan connotations for many of you.  On that other, western side of the Apennine Mountains “Montepulciano” is a wine from a place by the same name.  Tuscan Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is actually made from Sangiovese.

Ah, but we’re not in Tuscany, but on the Adriatic Sea EAST of the mountains.  Here, “Montepulciano” is an actual grape variety just like Sangiovese – but different.  Montepulciano makes a more purple-colored wine.  Sangiovese comes in “red”.  Montepulciano’s way of making you hungry is with tannins (like Cabernet Sauvignon).  Sangiovese does it with acidity.  Putting the two together actually moderates the effects of each.  This is pretty darn friendly stuff as Italian wine goes; something some might actually drink on its own.  Pizza and richly-sauced pasta dishes would be great here, too.