Vino’s December schedule continues, today featuring a special selection of rare wines plucked from our stellar cellar! Below are some classic bottlings from your favorite vintages by some of Italy’s most legendary winemakers. Find the perfect wine for your holiday table!
Viognier Cinerino 2006 Marziano Abbona
Though the Viognier grape is cultivated traditionally in the Rhône valley of France, recent DNA analysis of the grape has shown that it is a “white” cousin of Nebbiolo, the variety used to make Barolo and Barbaresco. Experimenter Marziano Abbona produces this Viognier from grapes grown in Dogliani. He named it after the elegant gray heron of Northern Italy, the airone cinerino meaning the “ashen heron” (from the Italian cenere or “ash”).
Valpolicella Superiore 2003 Dal Forno
One of Valpolicella’s true stars, Romano Dal Forno has taken a path few would venture. Meticulously-grown Corvina, Rondinella, Croatina and Oseleta are partially dried and vinified in a state-of-the-art cellar. The wine then spends 36 months in barriques and 12 months in bottle before its eagerly-anticipated release.
Le Muraglie Rosso 2003 Ezio Voyat
The fruit for Voyat’s Le Muraglie (“The Walls”) Chambave Rosso is sourced from an ancient cloistered growing site (barely five acres) where the winemaker uses promiscuous growing techniques (allowing naturally occurring foliage to grow among the vines) and minimal intervention in the cellar to create a light, bright red wine with extraordinary depth and structure and lingering secondary and tertiary berry aromas and flavors. Made from Petit Rouge, smaller amounts of Dolcetto, and Gros Vien (a rare grape that grows exclusively in Val d’Aosta), Voyat blends the wine to achieve a perfect balance of tannin, acidity, and alcohol.
I Quattro Mori 2001 Castel de Paolis
Few remember that following the great frost of 1709 (when nearly all the vines of Europe were decimated), Italian growers planted international grape varietals in the hope of conquering the world market with their wines. For more than 300 years, grapes like Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot have been cultivated on estates like the Castel de Paolis. This Syrah-based blend is aged in new and older oak barrels before bottling – a very modern wine that isn’t so modern after all.
Stoppa 2001 La Stoppa
Stoppa is the signature wine of the eponymous winery from Emilia-Romagna. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Colli Piacentini (the hills of Piacenza), this wine is an excellent example of what bio-dynamic farming and natural fermentation techniques can bring to a French grape variety. Elena Pantaleoni (a leading member of the natural wine movement in Italy) uses aggressive vineyard management and extremely low yields to make this top Italian Cabernet Sauvignon. Elena’s meticulous work in the vineyard shines through her minimalist approach in the cellar. Judicious use of barrique makes for a wine ready to drink now but also a bottling that will age gracefully for 10-15 years.
Barbera d’Asti Superiore Rulejà 2001 Castello di Montegrosso
The Montegrosso winery is steeped in history: documents show that its present owners, the Motta family, have been producing wine since 1794. The company itself takes its name from the feudal Castle of Montegrosso d’Asti, built in 1134 by order of the Marquis Bonifacio del Vasto, which dominates the hilly area around Asti in Piemonte. The Ruleja vineyard is located 9 kilometres east in the tiny town of Montaldo Scarampi. These two hectares are cultivated with old grapevines originally planted 60 years ago, and the combination of calcareous soil with sandy strata and high altitude is an ideal habitat for the Barbera grapes to thrive.
Barolo Rocche 2001 Vietti
When Luca Currado assumed winemaking responsibilities at Vietti he inherited one of Castiglione Falletto’s most respected wines. Since his father Alfredo began producing wine from the Rocche di Castiglione cru in 1961, the label has come to reflect excellence in the production of nebbiolo in the Langhe. At once subtle and powerful and with all of the tar and roses that one would expect in a singular Barolo from a fine vintage, Vietti’s Rocche remains essential.
Caluso Passito Sulé 2001 Orsolani
Often compared to the Greco grape variety found in Central and Southern Italy, Erbaluce is a white grape grown in the area surrounding the small comune of Caluso in Piemonte. The Erbaluce variety has been appreciated since Roman times for its ability to make a luscious, dried-grape passito, a tradition now continued by Orsolani.
Torbido! 2000 Cascina Ebreo
When German winemaker Peter Weimer presented the first vintage of Torbido! to the Barolo consortium, it refused to classify the wine as a DOC Barolo because he had not filtered the wine. Undaunted by the declassification, he named this now widely sought-after wine Torbido! or “turbid” (muddy), an allusion to the rich color imparted by the sediment in this wine. Like many artisanal producers, Weimer feels that by filtering and discarding the sediment, the resulting wine lacks much of its intrinsic character. The 2000 vintage in Piemonte is one of the most storied in recent memory: a warm summer and good weather throughout the growing season resulted in powerful Nebbiolo that is beginning to drink beautifully now but will also cellar well (10-15 years). This hand-crafted, declassified Barolo is sourced from vineyards covering just one hectare.
Barbaresco Bricco Faset 2000 La Spinona
La Spinona has long been a favorite at Vino because of its steadfast commitment to traditional-style wine-making. This wine will begin to reach its peak in 5 to 10 years: if you decide to open it now, be sure to decant for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving. The winery is named after the breed of Piemontese hunting dog pictured on the label: legend has it that the winemaker’s son was rescued from drowning by his faithful dog.
Barolo Brunate 2000 Bricco Rocche Ceretto
The Ceretto family produces Barolo from the Brunate cru at their Bricco Rocche cellar in Castiglione Falletto. Brunate, mostly in the commune of La Morra with a sliver in Barolo, is one of the great Barolo vineyards. Many of the zone’s most respected producers have property there including Francesco Rinaldi, Oddero, Vietti and Roberto Voerzio. Bricco Rocche is known for pure and powerful wines that don’t rely on a lot of elaborate technique in the vineyard or cellar. Their 2000 Brunate is youthful with ripe tannins and floral and earthy character that is common to La Morra.
Barolo Rocche di Falletto Riserva 2000 Bruno Giacosa
The great Bruno Giacosa took over his family’s estate 1971 and has been a leading figure in Langhe winemaking ever since. His Barabaresco and Barolo bottlings consistently set standards among quality-minded producers across the Nebbiolo spectrum. His ability to coax finesse from wines of profound depth and power while maintaining rigorous adherence to traditional principles has made him a legend. His Rocche di Falletto Riserva is a rare wine indeed. Grapes sourced from his Falletto property in Serralunga are vinified using a long maceration and extended ageing in large cask.
Pietraforte 1999 Carobbio
The small, family-owned Carobbio estate is located in the heart of Chianti Classico in the township of Panzano, the highest point in the appellation. Altitude is key here: for Carobbio and its neighborhoods, the cooler evening temperature is essential in creating potent, long-lived wines. Carobbio represents a nearly perfect equilibrium between modern and traditional winemaking and produces a balanced range of classic and “trophy” wines. The 1999 vintage of this 100% Cabernet will continue to age gracefully in bottle for another few years.
Barolo Riserva 1999 Monchiero
Grapes for this award-winning Barolo were grown in the highly-regarded Montanello cru just north of the Monchiero cellar in Castiglione Falletto. The Monchiero family has owned the land for generations and have come to understand the unique sub-zones from which the nebbiolo for this riserva was harvested. As with all of their Barolo, the ’99 riserva was vinified in steel and aged for 30 months in botti of Slavonian oak. This riserva from a very good vintage represents a rare value.
Barolo 1996 Oddero
Giacomo Oddero’s innovation and enterprise made him a pioneer in winemaking in the Langhe; today his daughters, Mariacristina and Mariavittoria ensure the family name maintains its role as a world-leader in the production of one of Italy’s most highly-revered and best-loved wines. Oddero’s Barolo is made from Nebbiolo sourced from two vineyards, Santa Maria Bricco Chiesa in La Morra and Bricco Fiasco in Castiglione Falleto. This wine, from the excellent 1996 vintage, is typical of Oddero’s best Barolo; traditionally-styled with more roses than tar and, as is the case with many wines from La Morra, plenty of ripe, supple tannin.
Torgiano Vigna Monticchio Rubesco Riserva 1990 Lungarotti
$98 (1.5 liter)
Rubesco Riserva, one of Umbria’s benchmark wines, is made by the illustrious Lungarotti in Torgiano, just south of Perugia. Sangiovese and Canaiolo are blended and, in this case, aged for ten years in oak and bottle before release. Vino has been in possession of these magnums since their release in 2001. If you want to taste mature Sangiovese from a great vintage at a great price don’t miss this opportunity.
Grato Grati 1988 Villa di Vertice
This Vecchia Annata or “old vintage” bottling by Villa di Vetrice is barrel-aged in large oak botti before its release. Wine ages best in large vessels: the secret behind this wine’s longevity is the large-barrel aging. This 100% Sangiovese (essentially a declassified Chianti Rufina) is rich on the nose and remarkably fresh in the mouth. If you like old wine, this juice will not disappoint you.
Barbaresco Riserva Montefico 1982 Produttori del Barbaresco
Produttori’s old cru wines had been stored in a cellar in the village of Barbaresco since they were released in the mid-eighties. The wines are showing well right now and should last at least another decade with the proper cellaring. 1982 was one of the best vintages ever in Piedmont, and Produttori’s first vintage of Montefico: today the wine is of particular interest because that well-known cru is no longer part of the Produttori program.
Barolo Riserva 1982 Borgogno
The Borgogno winery is unquestionably one of the Langhe’s oldest. Even though it was officially founded in 1848, it can trace its roots back to 1761, nearly 100 years before Italy’s independence. As a beacon of tradition, the winery continues to make a benchmark Barolo and has avoided the modernist style embraced by so many of its perhaps less wise peers. Much of the wine, like this 1982, is held in reserve and decanted, rebottled, and labeled by hand before its release. Throughout Europe, 1982 was hailed as one of the greatest vintages of the century. Today this wine – made from grapes grown almost a quarter of a century ago – is showing beautifully.
Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo 1978 Produttori del Barbaresco
This 1978 Riserva by Produttori del Barbaresco is one of the oldest and most prestigious wines in our inventory. Forming a triangle with the equally famous Asili and Pora vineyards, the south-facing Rio Sordo cru produces wines which are notable for their intensity, complexity, mature aromas and remarkable aging ability.
Remember, these wines are in limited quantities – get yours today while stocks last!
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