Friday, September 26, 2014

#WineStudio Session XVII – Rinascimento Rising with Italian Wine

For three weeks in September PROTOCOL Wine Studio featured Justin Gallen, owner Rinascimento Wine Company, an importer of Italian wines. We learned about Justin during the first #winestudio session as well as Eric Guy's podcast interview of Justin here. The second and third week's we continued to learn about Justin as well as sampling a few of his imports.

Many of the wines I work with are farmed either organically or biodynamically and are naturally fermented using only native yeasts, but that doesn’t mean they are automatically good; the wines are good because of the blood, sweat and tears that are shed by the producers working with nature to make something great.”

The first wine was the 2013 Agricola Cirelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, 100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo produced by Francesco Cirelli. Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo is the newest DOC in Abruzzo and the grapes are harvested on a vineyard site that is "8 km from the ocean in an environment that is truly devoted to sustainable farming. They are experimenting with geese breeding, figs, olive trees and, of course, a 2.5 h of vineyards. Organic certified by IMC".  The wine itself has an interesting profile, actually two profiles. Chilled it reminds of a tart sour cherry wine with strong acids; warmer a strawberry creamsicle.

The second wine was the 2010 Musto Carmelitano Aglianico del Vulture DOC "Serra Del Prete". Musto Carmelitano is a family winery run by Miss Elisabetta Musto Carmelitano and the grapes for this wine were harvested from their Serra del Prete vineyard. Forget about oak in the already tannic Aglianic, this wine was aged 6 months in steel. The wine is smokey, with dark black fruit, leather and strong, strong tannins.

Week three consisted of two wines from G.D. Vajra, an estate located in Vergne - the highest village of Barolo. The vineyards were first planted in 1972 by Giuseppe Domenico and are currently owned by Milena and Aldo Vaira who both have worked the estate since the early 1970s. In the cellar, "Vajra wines are traditionally driven with longer macerations and use primarily Slavonian casks for aging". Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera are the grapes of choice and we started with the later in the 2011 G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba DOC. This wine starts with a tart cherry chocolate-tobacco aroma, followed by a silky smooth black fruit flavor, and finishes with nice acids. This was probably my favorite of the entire collection.  The second wine was the 2009 G. D. Vajra Barolo DOCG “Albe” - pure Nebbiolo, pure Barolo di Barolo - and a bad ass wine. The grapes are sourced from three different vineyards situated at three distinct altitudes.  This one needed to sit for three days until it softened into a jammy plum and dirt with slowly mellowing tannins.

Cheers to #winestudio, PROTOCOL Wine Studio, and  Rinascimento Wine Company.

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