ITALIAN & CALI BIG-HITTERS THIS SECOND SATURDAY
San Salvatore "Vetere" Rosato Paestum IGP 2017 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN
Country: ITALY / Region: CAMPANIA / Appellation: PAESTUM IGP / Varietal(s): AGLIANICO --- BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN -- Ever wanted to meet the graceful, elegant side of aglianico? The "Vetere" rosato from San Salvatore is this in spades. San Salvatore is located in the midst of the Cilento National Park, near Paestum, in the Campania region of southern Italy. Deeply committed to preserving the delicate balance of the land, San Salvatore takes a special interest in cultivating the vineyards without synthetic products or genetically modified organisms and uses biological processes and biodynamic preparations like horn dung (sourced from water buffaloes that live on the property) that favor the natural fertility of the ground and the production of humus. In fact, all of their fertilizers are created in-house using natural methods. The fruit is harvested, gently pressed, then fermented in stainless steel tanks, yielding a wine with a brilliant pearl-pink color and tart berry and citrus aromas for days. Crisp in the mouth, with bright acidity and a mineral core, this wine is begging for a Caprese salad, or simply a fresh ball of mozzarella drizzled with olive oil with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Venica & Venica Sauvignon Collio DOC Ronco del Cerò 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: ITALY / Region: FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA / Appellation: COLLIO DOC / Varietal(s): SAUVIGNON BLANC --- Venica & Venica has been producing wine in the Collio, tucked in the alpine foothills of Friuli since 1930. Steeped in the vinegrowing and winemaking traditions of their grandfather Daniele, third-generation brother winemakers Gianni and Giorgio Venica are committed to biodiversity and environmental stewardship in everything they do. Vineyard practices are certified biodynamic, so all work is based on balancing of energies of the earth, plants, and the cosmos. Practically speaking, this means applying preparations of various natural teas made from fermented plants, manure, and other earth-friendly matter. The wines speak directly of the Venica family's dedication to the land -- incredible precision, complexity, and length of this sauvignon blanc bottling that will make you reconsider every Sancerre you ever drank. After harvest, the grapes are crushed and left to macerate on the skins for about 20 hours, which provides more aromatic complexity. Once pressed, 10% of the grape must ferments in large oak botti and is aged on the lees for 6 months, while the remaining juice is fermented in stainless steel. The wine is finally bottled corresponding with full moons between the end of March and May. Peppery and peachy, this sauvignon blanc is texturally splendid with rounded, persistent acidity. Absolute winner with a chicken dinner (fried, baked, or Hainanese!), or pair with oven-roasted whole fish (branzino/sea bream/porgy) over a bed of sweet onions, parsley, mint, and tomato.
Stolpman Vineyards "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: SANTA BARBARA COUNTY / Varietal(s): SYRAH+PETIT VERDOT --- Stolpman Vineyards is considered the founding vineyard of the Ballard Canyon AVA (American Viticultural Area, akin to the French AOC system), which was granted official status 3 years ago. Over a dozen wineries have joined the AVA and all have decided to focus on syrah, based on Stolpman's results in varietal experimentation. "Para Maria (de Los Tecolotes)" ("For Maria of the Owls") is a 50/50 partnership with Stolpman Vineyards' vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano and his wife Maria, their forewoman. 2016 is the third vintage of Para Maria, and incorporates some fruit from other vineyards that Ruben farms. A blend of 85% syrah and 15% petit verdot, 28% of the blend underwent whole-cluster carbonic fermentation in sealed stainless steel, adding a joyful freshness. The syrah adds depth and darker fruit flavors, while the petit verdot contributes juiciness and rich texture. Dense, voluptuous purple fruit dominates the nose with delicate touches of violet, red plum, and sage a bit further back. Luxuriously textured, this cuvée unveils layer after layer on the palate, finishing with bright red pomegranate flavors. This delicious, dark-fruited, densely colored syrah retains a liveliness that will beautifully accent warm weather fare such as lamb burgers or grilled eggplant.
Clos Saron Carignan "The Pleasant Peasant" California 2014 - BIODYNAMICALLY GROWN/LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: CALIFORNIA / Appellation: CALIFORNIA/ Varietal(s): CARIGNAN --- Established in 1999, Clos Saron is owned and farmed by partners Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice. Gideon cut his chops at Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, known for its pioneering work in biodynamic viticulture in a relatively unknown region in the California wine world (the Sierra Foothills, about 70 miles north of Sacramento). This is not the region for lifestyle vintners, but the radical winemakers who take a low-intervention approach to their craft. The Sierra Foothills, at higher elevation, is known for its cooler micro climate, and this is perfect for Gideon who prefers this cooler side of California where his grapes achieve ripeness at lower sugar levels. This preference guides his sourcing of grapes from other vineyards. The "Pleasant Peasant" is one example of this, coming from 115 year old carignan vines in Lodi. Beautiful character, concentration, and focus come from these old vines, which have thrived for over a century on the decomposed granite soils washed down from the Sierra Foothills. A nose of rich, freshly-turned earth, baking spice, and dark fruit offers a delightful introduction to the flavors that follow. Medium-bodied, brambly black and purple fruit, hints of dill, crushed herbs, and nutmeg all dance around each other on a palate that provides plenty of freshness and a light dusting on earthy tannins on the finish.