Tasting Group 75 Selections for September

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2013 Tami Frappato Sicily, Italy

100% Frappato. One might be misled by the phrase “Everyday Wine” printed on the cartons that hold the Tami line of wines. This bottle really punches above its weight. Winemaker Arianna Occhipinti is part of the new generation responsible for driving Sicily to the top of everyone’s list of what’s now important in Italian wine. She oversees this terrific project on behalf of a group of friends including her boyfriend who runs Tami, a quirky store in Siracusa. Frapatto, one of a handful of indigenous Sicilian varieties, has thicker skins than its deeper, more imposing pairing partner Nero D’Avola, yet it makes a surprisingly feminine wine. Enjoy its straightforward, fresh, fruity red-fruit driven flavors with antipasti, pasta, pizza & grilled meats.

Arianna Occhipinti: “The Tami project was an idea that came to me a few years ago, and that was to prove that it’s possible to make good, simple, natural wine in Sicily. Tami is something I’ve started with some friends who own vineyards in Contrada, a district close to mine. The goal was to take good grapes and make a simple, every day wine.”

2012 Waldgries St. Magdalener Classico Alto Adige, Italy

92% Schiava/8% Lagrein – red varieties that are common to Northern Italy. A dollop of Lagrein is added to bring color and structure to the racy Schiava, but don’t take this for a lightweight. This beauty is spicy, floral and elegant and takes on weight and a lovely plush character with a little air. Without question its style evokes the red wines of Northern Burgundy – at a fraction of the price. The Waldgries estate is north of Bolzano within the tiny appellation of St. Magdalener and produces only 4000 cases per year from a tiny 5 hectares.

“The wines show almost unparalleled character, stylistic definition and above all territoriality… Waldgries wines are always elegant and balanced throughout, with great personality.” –Gambero Rosso 2010

2013 Hendry Ranch Albariño Napa, California

100% Albariño, a fragrant, floral, high-acid variety rarely seen outside of Spain’s Galicia. The Hendry family has been farming the same 114-acre vineyard in Northwestern Napa since 1939. The latitude in the valley experiences substantial marine influence, and allows the Hendrys to grow 10 different varietals including Primitivo & Petit Verdot. There has been a recent movement in California to break out of the Chardonnay-Cabernet-Merlot mold and explore other varieties & the Hendrys were pioneers, planting their Albariño blocks way back in 2003. This wine offers up ripe and gorgeously floral aromas. Firm acidity, with flavors of green apple and Meyer lemon on the palate. A pretty, tangy, fresh wine, great as an apéritif or first-course wine. Only 594 cases produced.

Tasting Group 150 Selections for August

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2005 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Abruzzo, Italy

100% Montepulciano. Emidio Pepe is a singular producer creating amazingly complex age worthy reds and whites in a region of mass produced, overly engineered versions of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The family has been producing wines here since the end of the 19th Century & the winemaking has remained unchanged philosophically since Emidio Pepe took over the estate in 1964. Noooo, this is not your local Trattoria’s Montepulciano by the glass… The story here is really the extraordinary wine-making. Grapes are sourced from certified biodynamic vineyards, fermented and aged 18-24 months in cement tanks. The wines are then bottled unfined and unfiltered, without added SO2. Before release, the wines are decanted by hand into new bottles, and then labeled. The wine is aged for seven years in the cellar before release. So you know it’s been carefully tended and safe all these years. Just 2500 cases produced of this vintage. Super old-school Italian, so be sure to prepare a meal worthy of it.

Wine Spectator 93 pts: Fine-grained tannins frame this supple red, with
flavors of plum sauce, black cherry and red licorice, accented by savory notes
of sous-bois, mushroom and spice box. Drink now through 2020.

2005 Pierre Andre Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Cazetiers, 1er Cru
Burgundy, France

100% Pinot Noir. 2005 was a marvelous year in Burgundy and here is a rare opportunity to have a Premier Cru wine just entering its prime drinking window without doing any of the waiting! Although technically Pierre Andre’s operations are based in Corton, the acclaimed domaine produces wines from Chablis, the Cote d’Or and even Beaujolais, with holdings of more than 370 acres in total. Today, Pierre André has become synonymous with an endless quest to produce the ultimate wine from each individual parcel and a symbol for the very best of Burgundy. The large commune of Gevrey-Chaambertin sits in the Côte de Nuits and produces wines that are known for their deep color and structure, considered to be masculine in style. There are 20 Premier Cru sites and Les Cazetiers is among the very finest, producing intense, rich, robust wines.