Montepeloso- Wines of Suvereto

Suvereto, one of the warmer micro-climates on the Tuscan coast just south of Bolgheri, is an area that is relatively new to many. Despite its long winemaking and farming history going back as far as 1000 AD, the Suvereto DOC was only officially recognized in 2000. Set in the fertile Val di Cornia, clay soils and proximity to the sea give an intensity to the flavors, producing ripe and direct wines typically made from Cabernet, Merlot, and the local Sangiovese.
 

In 1998, Fabio Chiarelotto purchased the Montepeloso estate. Though the vineyard was already well-renowned, Chiarelotto saw the potential of the site and chose to take the necessary steps to make the vineyard even better. Retraining, pruning, and even re-grafting many vines, Fabio was committed to perfection, pulling up thousands of low quality vines and replacing them with varietals more suited to the windy warmth of Suvereto. 
 
Chiarelotto admits that it’s “easy to produce concentrated wines in such a hot climate but it’s much harder to achieve elegance and finesse.” Experimenting with blending every vintage, Montepeloso wines are made with many of the common varieties found in Tuscany. The Gabbro is composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Nardo, Eneo and A Quo include many local and rare varietals such as Montepulciano(an indigenous Italian grape), Alicante Bouschet(a dark-red grape cultivated from Grenache and Petit Bouschet), and Marselan(a Southern France varietal cultivated from Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache). With these blends, offered here today, Chairelotto has found a mix of varieties that he feels express the spirit of Suvereto and Montepeloso.
 
Montepeloso A Quo Suvereto Toscana 2011 ($24.95) $17.70 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “Once again, Montepeloso’s entry-level A Quo is fabulous. I expected to find a rich, powerful wine given the year, instead the 2011 A Quo is fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. Hints of raspberry jam, rose petals and sweet spices literally jump from the glass. The 2011 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is a terrific showing from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($44.95) $33 special

Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2008 Eneo literally sparkles on the palate with vibrant red fruit, freshly cut flowers and spices. It shows remarkable tension and delineation all the way through to the resonant finish. This is a striking wine in every way. Floral notes reappear on the finish, along with iron, smoke and ferrous notes, all of which add considerable complexity. This is a dazzling effort from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto. It is composed of 40% Montepulciano, 35% Sangiovese, 15% Marselan and 10% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($49.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 95 points ”The 2009 Eneo is impressive for its sensual personality and overall finesse. Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice, tobacco and flowers all come together beautifully in the glass as this refined, elegant wine shows off its pedigree. Layers of flavor build to the textured, suave finish. This Sangiovese-based red has maintained considerable freshness and vibrancy. Sweet floral and spiced notes linger on the understated finish. The blend is 45% Sangiovese, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Marselan and 5% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points ”One of the great wines of this vintage, the 2010 Eneo is dazzling. Subtle hints of earthiness, new leather, smoke, bacon fat, tobacco and savory herbs meld into a core of expressive dark red/black fruit. Nuanced and delicate, yet immensely powerful, the 2010 Eneo has it all. The 2010 keeps getting better and better in the glass. I imagine it will be spectacular in another few years. Actually, it already is. Eneo is the largest production of Montepeloso’s three top reds, which will make it easier to find. Readers will not want to miss the superb wine. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the core of Eneo, while dollops of Alicante and Marsellan round out the blend.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($179.95) $139 special 
Wine Advocate 94 points ”The 2009 Gabbro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is impeccable and refined from start to finish. This isn’t a vintage built on structure, as has been the case in the recent past, but rather a wine that impresses for its silky tannins, expressive aromatics, and overall finesse. The 2009 is quite feminine and gracious in style, but there is plenty of underlying tannin and fruit. In exchange, the 2009 should drink well earlier than some of the other, more important vintages that precede it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($199.95) $149 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Gabbro, Montepeloso’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is all about texture. Today the flavors are completely unevolved, instead it is the wine’s towering presence and sheer personality that stand out most. With time in the glass hints of melted road tar, graphite, smoke and incense gradually being to emerge. An exotic melange of savory herb nuances melt into veins of salinity frame the finish. Readers will have to be patient with the 2010, but it is a jewel of a wine.”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($139.95) $109 special
Wine Advocate 96 points ”The 2008 Nardo explodes on the palate with wild dark cherries, spices, licorice, cassis and leather. Dark and powerful, yet supremely elegant, the Nardo impresses for its exceptional balance and purity. The fruit literally wraps around the palate in a stunning, radiant expression of pure class. Sweet mentholated and floral notes add the final layers of depth and complexity in this superb wine (45% Montepulciano, 45% Sangiovese, 10% Marselan). Anticipated maturity: 2015- 2028”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($149.95) $119 special 
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A wine that conquers all the senses, the 2010 is also massively structured. Still, the potential I sensed from barrel is all there in the glass. Rich, dark and powerful, the 2010 Nardo is one of the more intense wines in the range and is likely to require considerable patience. Dark red/black fruit, melted road tar, tobacco, licorice, cloves and cracked pepper linger on the potent, brooding finish. The Eneo is distinguished in the range for its firm, nervous tannin. Give the 2010 another few years in bottle, then drink to age 20, perhaps beyond. Nardo is 50% Montepulciano, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Marsellan.”
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Alvaro Palacios and Descendientes de J Palacios

Alvaro Palacios is not exactly a new face in the wine scene  – he has helped revolutionise the Spanish wine industry by making rich, complex wines from Priorat and is considered, along with Peter Sisseck of Pingus, to be one of the most important winemakers of Spain’s modern era.

One of nine children from the esteemed Rioja winemaking family Bodegas Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios interned in Bordeaux at the side of Christian Moueix, the celebrated winemaker of Pomerol château Pétrus. He credits his tenure under Moueix for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him “the importance of great wines.” Upon his return to Spain he decided against getting involved in the family business and instead pursued his own ventures. Strongly drawn to the ancient, abandoned vineyards of Priorat, Alvaro acquired his first vineyard in 1990. Located 60 miles from Barcelona, Priorat had been one of Spain’s important pre-Phylloxera wine regions, planted predominantly with Garnacha, with Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot producing a smaller percentage. Known for its minerally black soil and the powerful wines produced from this terroir, Alvaro believed  he could make a wine that would truly express the unique area.  He was right. His first wine there, 1995 L’Ermita, is what orginally gained him recognition as one of the world’s most inspired and dedicated winemakers.

His success in Priorat inspired Alvaro to search again for something new, this time putting his faith in the potential of Bierzo and the area’s primary varietal Mencia.  In 1998, Alvaro and his nephew Ricardo Perez, who had just finished studying in Bordeaux, opened the doors to Descendientes de Palacios. Purchasing old vine Mencia vineyards, Alvaro and Ricardo hope to bring new life to Bierzo in the same way Alvaro did in Priorat. The winery is dedicated to Alvaro’s father, and Ricardo’s grandfather, who passed away in early 2000, once again drawing inspiration from their families’ long history in Spanish winemaking. 

The wines we have available from the Palacios group include almost everything available, those labeled Descendientes de J Palacios are from Bierzo and wines labeled Alvaro Palacios are from Priorat.

 

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat ($21.95) $15.70 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Bright purple. Aromas and flavors of ripe red berries, cola and spicecake, with a deeper note of licorice emerging with air. Lush and seamless, with very good finishing breadth and spicy persistence. Shows plenty of upfront appeal but this wine has the concentration and balance to reward at least mid-term aging.”

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2008 ($74.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Deep ruby. Rich, complex aromas of raspberry, Asian spices, smoky minerals and violet. Focused and precise but also lush and sappy, with a texture of liquid silk and strong minerality adding to its intense red and dark berry flavors. Finishes impressively long, with resonating minerality and very suave tannins.”

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2010 ($69.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Bright violet color. Suave, highly perfumed nose offers fresh raspberry, minerals, candied flowers and Asian spices. Sappy and minerally, offering intense, spice-accented red fruit and floral pastille flavors with superb clarity. Wonderfully supple in texture, with outstanding finishing persistence and only a hint of sweet tannins.”

Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses VV 2008 ($39.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “A sexy, highly perfumed bouquet displays scents of candied raspberry, cherry cola, licorice and potpourri, supported by a strong mineral undertone. Juicy, penetrating red and dark berry flavors stain the palate and repeat the licorice note. Dusty tannins add grip and focus to a long, mineral-dominated finish.”

Alvaro Palacios Priorat Gratallops 2010 ($49.95) $39 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Dark ruby. Aromas of cherry, cassis, cocoa, Asian spices and underbrush, lifted by a strong mineral quality. Juicy, sappy and nicely concentrated, with very good density to its flavors of blackcurrant, bitter cherry and candied rose. A lively, sexy wine that finishes with strong mineral bite and impressive length.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Petalos 2010 ($24.95) $16 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(all mencia, as is the case for all of these wines, which are aged briefly in new French oak and then in older barrels before bottling): Dark ruby. Ripe red- and blackcurrant aromas are complicated by anise, cola and sexy oak spices. Soft dark berry preserve flavors gain minerality and firmness with air. Zesty cherry skin and mineral notes carry through a long, gently tannic finish.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Corullon 2010 ($49.95) $37 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Bright violet color. Pungent, youthful aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola and candied violet, with a mineral topnote. Offers an array of sappy red and dark fruit flavors, with spicecake and anise nuances building with air. Silky tannins give shape and grip to a long, penetrating finish.”

Descendientes de J Palacios La Lamas 2009 ($119.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Vivid ruby. Alluringly perfumed nose combines blackberry, cherry-cola, violet, anise and a pungent mineral note. Sweet and lively in the mouth, offering juicy red and dark berry flavors underscored by intense minerality. The sweet, floral-accented finish features a strong mineral quality and fine-grained tannins and clings with impressive tenacity.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Las Lamas 2010 ($119.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Deep, bright-hued ruby. Powerful, spice-accented aromas of red berry liqueur, cherry pit, rose oil and incense, with a bright mineral topnote. Sappy, penetrating raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show impressive energy and punch, picking up floral pastille and spicecake nuances with air. Finishes chewy and very long, with slow-building tannins and insistent floral and spice notes.”

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Cantina Del Pino Barbaresco

 

 “From the time I was a young boy I worked year round in these vineyards and I understand that without superior grapes you can’t make superior wine. I know how lucky I am. “

– Renato Vacca -winemaker/owner Cantina del Pino

 

 

Who wouldn’t want to drink Barbaresco from the first vineyard to ever make the wine? Though Cantina Del Pino has only been producing since 1997, the Vacca family, and their vineyard, have been a part of Italian winemaking for over 100 years. Domizio Cavazzo established the vineyard in 1894, becoming one of the first winemakers to produce Nebbiolo under the name Barbaresco. An advocate for Langhe farmers, Cavazzo’s vineyard was well known, recognizable by the large Mediterranean pine tree he planted on the day his first son was born. In 1912, the Vaccas took over the estate and have been there four generations, becoming known for world class wines from their historic vineyard. They use the pine tree as inspiration for their label, giving the vineyard the name Cantina Del Pino, or ‘winery of the pine’. Like Wine Advocate will tell you, year after year “Cantina del Pino is a great source for top-notch wines from Barbaresco.” 

 

Available Now:

Cantina Del Pino Langhe Freisa 2011 ($17.95) $14 special

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2006 ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2006 Barbaresco is simply beautiful. Sweet perfumed cherries, flowers and spices emerge from this mid-weight, firm Barbaresco. The wine offers exceptional elegance and class, with delicate Pinot-like notes that linger on the finish. Today the tannins come across as decidedly youthful, so a few years of cellaring seems wise. This is an exceptional 2006 Barbaresco. The Barbaresco is made from parcels in Ovello, Albesani and Starderi. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2008 ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2008 Barbaresco comes across as quite elegant and Burgundian in this vintage. Sweet dark cherries, spices, mint and crushed flowers are some of the notes that take shape in the glass in this, bright, focused Barbaresco. The 2008 possesses terrific energy and polish from start to finish. This is a beautifully balanced wine from Cantina del Pino. The 2008 was made 50% from an east facing parcel of Ovello in the Morassino district. The other 50% of the fruit was sourced from the west-facing part of Ovello, plus Vacca’s smaller holdings in Starderi, Gallina and Albesani. How’s that for a superb quartet of vineyards? Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2009 ($39.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2009 Barbaresco wraps around the palate with soft, caressing fruit. This juicy, up-front Barbaresco is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. Renato Vacca has succeeded in giving his Barbaresco considerable finesse without losing the essential Nebbiolo tannins and overall structure. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. Proprietor Renato Vacca continues to show he has the magic touch. I would be thrilled to drink any of these magnificent wines. Vacca has decided to release his 2009 single-vineyard Barbareschi before the 2008s, as he feels those wines need another year in bottle. I hope readers take the time to check out these fabulous wines. Along with Sottimano, Gaja, Pelissero and a handful of others, Cantina del Pino is one of the very few estates in Barbaresco where every single wine is fabulous”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Albesani 2009 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “The picture of harmony, this red exudes cherry and floral aromas, with plenty of berry, tobacco and balsamic flavors. Balanced and firm, with a lingering aftertaste of spice and mineral. Accessible now, yet will improve. Best from 2014 through 2025″

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2006 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2006 Barbaresco Ovello, from one of the village’s cooler microclimates, is lighter in color and also a touch more ethereal than the decidedly virile Albesani. Dried flowers, cherries, mint and minerals are just some of the nuances that are woven into the fabric of this finessed, elegant Barbaresco. The Ovello gains considerable volume in the glass, showing exceptional balance and tons of class, but it remains a slightly feminine Ovello with less of the sheer power found in the finest years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026. “

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2009 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The estate’s 2009 Barbaresco Ovello is gorgeous, even if some of the vineyard signatures are obscured by the year. In exchange, though, the 2009 will drink well relatively young. Rich, fleshy and seductive for a wine of this site, the 2009 possesses terrific balance and plenty of harmony. Juicy red berries, flowers, mint and crushed rocks are layered into the expressive, broad-shouldered finish. This is going to be a fascinating wine to follow. Barbareschi from Ovello are notoriously slow out of the gates, and while that doesn’t appear to be the case here, it is also plausible that the wine is only showing a fraction of its ultimate potential. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.”

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Dal Forno Valpolicella

In many wine areas throughout the world, there are a handful of individuals or families who make “the” wine for their particular region – winemakers who define the style of that kind of wine. When it comes to Valpolicella, the Dal Forno family does just that. For more than 30 years, Dal Forno has been producing deeply concentrated Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto. Romano Dal Forno , the current winemaker/owner, took over the farm in 1983. Risking everything, he invested a large amount in 1990 to update the winery and refine Dal Forno’s process. The extremely bold flavor of the Valpolicella Superiore is a great example of Dal Forno’s commitment to perfection and their respect for traditional winemaking. Their Valpolicella Superiore is just short of an Amarone, made entirely with fruit that has been dried, though for less time than that legally required for Amarone. A key to the Dal Forno style seems to be an incredibly low yield from their vineyard, each bottle of Valpolicella taking six vines worth of fruit to produce!

In Stock Now from Dal Forno: 

Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2005 $99 special

Wine Advocate 95 points “Dal Forno should really change the name of his 2005 Valpolicella Superiore. It is really an Amarone for all practical intents and purposes, as it is made entirely from fruit that has been dried, albeit for less time than that legally required for Amarone. Firm, sturdy tannins frame blackberries, blueberries, violets and new leather in the 2005 Valpolicella. This is an especially structured, shut-down wine, even within the context of Dal Forno. The wine’s gorgeous inner perfume and sheer depth suggest that all that is required is patience. With time in the glass the tannins soften just enough to get a glimpse of what is in store for those who can wait a few years. Bittersweet chocolate, graphite and tar are layered into the authoritative finish. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”

Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2006 $269 special

Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Dal Forno delivers one of the world’s most impossibly rich and concentrated red wines. Using grapes sourced from the high-density Monte Lodoletta vineyard, this inky, dark expression oozes with syrupy tones of maraschino, dark chocolate fudge, cinnamon spice, crushed clove and barbecue smoke. In keeping with the wine’s legendary reputation for long aging potential, the tannins are rock solid at the moment.”

Dal Forno Vigna Sere 2004 375ml $149 special

Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2004 Vigna Sere is the perfect conclusion to a vintage that will go down as one of Dal Forno’s most magical. Sweet, silky tannins support layers of super-refined, elegant fruit in this magical sweet red. Mocha, espresso, new leather, raspberry jam and spices emerge with time in the glass, but this is really a wine that shows off textural finesse more than anything else. I have tasted this wine many times since it was in barrel and later in bottle. It has never been anything less than spellbinding. It is one of the most magical sweet dessert wines I have ever tasted. At eight years of age the 2004 remains a an infant. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”

 

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Cuvee Du Vatican- Rhone Wines

The Diffonty family, makers of Cuvee du Vatican, go back as far as 1673, when they began as farmers. Felician Diffonty named the domain Cuvee du Vatican in 1958, with blessings from the pope. Since then the family has played a large role in the community, Félician was the mayor of Chateauneuf du Pape from 1965-1995 and Jean Marc Diffonty, the 4th generation and current owner of the domain, was made president of the Young Winemakers of Châteauneuf du Pape in 1996. Jean-Marc continues the family business today with wife Karine, they have dedicated themselves to the further development of the domain. In 1998, they created the Reserve Sixtine, named after the Sistine Chapel, made from the oldest of their vines and seen as an expression of the land and the Diffonty tradition.

Cuvee du Vatican wines Available Now:

Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 ($59.95) $29 special             Wine Spectator 93 points “This is dark and reticent for now, but also pure and loaded with a big core of plum and blackberry fruit, mocha, graphite, licorice and fig cake notes. The long, velvety finish just sails along, with latent grip in reserve. Best from 2009 through 2028″

                                   This is the lowest listed price in the USA                                                                                                                       The average listed price is $53 / bottle

Cuvee du Vatican Chateauneuf du Pape 2010 ($44.95) $36 special                                                           Wine Spectator 92 points  “Very fleshy and succulent, with dark fig and linzer torte flavors that show anise and blackberry hints. Amble toasted spice and singed alder notes fill in on the finish, and this has a lovely silky feel despite its weight. Best from 2014 through 2026.” 

Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape 2010 ($69.95) $59 special                     Robert Parker 93-95 points “In need of 4-5 years of cellaring, the infantile 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Sixtine is a behemoth. Made from a blend similar to the 2009′s, the 2010 exhibits an opaque purple color in addition to a beautiful nose of melted licorice, blackberries, cassis, smoky barbecue embers, underbrush and soil overtones. Rich and full-bodied with a multilayered mouthfeel, this impressive, pure, well-built Chateauneuf will require patience. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035.”

Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape 2011 ($69.95) $49 special                     Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points  “Bright purple.  Intensely perfumed red and dark berry aromas are complicated by subtle smoke and floral qualities.  Sweet raspberry and blackberry preserve flavors show impressive depth and pick up a licorice nuance with air.  Closes on an attractively sweet note, with excellent clarity and lingering smokiness.” 

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Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello

The Frescobaldis are a prominent Florentine noble family that have been involved in the history of Tuscany since the Middle Ages. The family’s start in wine production is documented at the beginning of the year 1300, their wines being served at the tables of the Papal Court and the English Court of Henry VIII. From the beginning, the family has demanded that their wines be of quality and that they reflect the uniqueness of their terroirs. The estate of Castelgiocondo is one of the first four to begin producing Brunello di Montalcino in 1800, and its historic importance is represented on the label of Castelgiocondo by the figure of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, commander of the troops of Siena who in 1323 led the attack on the Montemassi castle; an historic moment that coincided with the initiation of the Frescobaldi family’s centuries-old adventure in the world of wine. The Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo results from severe selection of vineyard sites, with carefully selected soils, exposure and altitude. A wine recognized all over the world for its value and consistent quality, year after year, the 2006 vintage is no exception representing, as Wine Enthusiast states, “the new face of Montalcino with its plump, well-extracted and modern style. The wine is packed with soft black cherry, chocolate and coffee aromas and shows a smooth, long-lasting finish. “

Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2006 ($69.95) $47.50 special 

95 Points James Suckling “Frescobaldi’s Brunello always delivers great quality in just about any vintage. Gorgeous nose of ripe berries and slice plums with an almost peach undertone. Full bodied, with a solid core of gorgeously clean and clear dark fruits. Dense and integrated tannins on the finish. So long and fascinating. Best after 2013″ 

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