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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Muga- Wines from Rioja

“Today, Muga is making some of the finest wines in Rioja and is an exemplary Rioja winery. Muga wines are both classical and new wave in style. It sources grapes from its own vineyards and from more than 50 neighboring growers. Muga’s wines are fruit rich, beautifully balanced, nuanced, and a pleasure to drink. Noteworthy are the Prado Enea Gran Reserva, Torre Muga and Aro, wines that typify Muga’s commitment to producing new wave but authentic Rioja wines.”
- The International Wine Review

The history of Muga is one of tradition, family, and, last but certainly not least, oak. Isaac Muga Martinez and his wife Auro moved to the Rioja Alta region in 1932. They hoped to open their own bodega, large enough to rival the established wineries already in the area. Though Isaac did not live to fulfill this dream, his three children have made it a reality. In 1971, they built the large Muga bodega, complete with a tower and coopery, where all of Muga’s oak barrels and casks are made. Oak is essential to the Muga tradition, whether it be tubs, casks, beams or pillars. They use oak throughout their process, and are meticulous about the effects the oak will have on the wine from beginning to end. These traditions are the reason that Muga has a reputation for high quality, classic Rioja wines. This 2008 vintage is no exception, the only red wine done by Muga that year, it contains a selection of fruit usually reserved for special bottlings, offering an affordable chance to taste the best of Muga’s style.

Our Muga Selections Available:

Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco 2011 ($14.95) $11.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points - “(90% viura and 10% malvasia; fermented in new French oak and aged for three months on its fine lees):  Pale gold.  Suave, floral-accented aromas of candied orchard fruits, orange zest, white flowers and brioche.  Pliant and broad on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering gently sweet pear and citrus fruit flavors and a touch of vanilla.  Finishes sappy and very long, with lingering spiciness and a hint of anise.  This wine delivers outstanding value.”
 
Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2008 ($29.95) $21.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points -”(70% tempranillo, 20% garnacha, 7% mazuelo and 3% graciano, fermented in oak vats and raised in oak barrels for 24 months):  Vivid ruby.  Heady, exotic aromas of candied dark berries, vanilla, cola and dark chocolate, with a slow-building floral quality. The palate offers sweet cherry-vanilla and licorice flavors, along with notes of rose pastille and bitter chocolate.  Finishes sweet and long, with silky tannins adding shape and gentle grip.  This is the only red wine that Muga bottled this vintage so all of the Prado Enea fruit went in here.”
 
Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Seleccion Especiale 2006 ($39.95) $33.00 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points -”(70% tempranillo, 20% garnacha and the rest mazuelo and graciano):  Saturated ruby.  Pungent cherry and dark berry aromas, with spice and floral nuances adding complexity.  Sweet and concentrated, but with excellent cut and vivacity to its dark fruit flavors.  Builds and deepens toward the back, finishing with a sappy floral quality and resonating spiciness.  Offers very good richness of flavor with no excess fat.”
 
Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Eneo 2004 MAGNUM ($129.95) $99.00 special
Wine Advocate 94 points / Stephen Tanzer 94 points - “(80% tempranillo, with garnacha, mazuelo and graciano): Dark ruby. An intensely perfumed nose displays cherry-cola, cassis, licorice and woodsmoke, with a sexy floral quality and very good focus. Juicy, penetrating dark fruit flavors are given spine by tangy acidity and pick up bitter chocolate and spicecake nuances with air. Supple tannins add shape to the very long, sappy, smoke-accented finish. This is still a baby.”
 
Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Eneo 2005 ($69.95) $49.00 special
Wine Advocate 95 points - “The 2005 Prado Enea Gran Reserva spends 36-months in oak, nine months in new oak after which it is racked into American oak that is “semi-new” (i.e. a new barrel that is “broken in” with a wine beforehand). It has an unashamedly opulent bouquet of primal, ripe, boysenberry, mulberry, dark chocolate and crushed violets that blossom with aeration. The palate is full-bodied with crisp acidity cutting through the pure blackberry and cassis fruit. It has wonderful focus and intensity, though the finish demonstrates convincing composure. This is an outstanding Gran Reserva whose silky texture will instantly win you over. Drink 2013-2030+”
 
Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga 2006 ($79.95) $59.00 special
Wine Spectator 94 points - “Toast and cola notes frame rich plum and fig flavors in this concentrated red, which is bright and polished, though there’s depth under the muscular tannins. Impressive in the modern style. Best from 2011 through 2021.” 75% tempranillo, 15% mazuelo and 10% graciano.
 
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Domaine de Vaccelli


 
 
Domaine de Vaccelli

 
In 1962, Roger Courrèges started Domaine de Taccelli when he came from Algeria to the Taravu Valley in the southwestern Corsican appelation of Ajacci. Following his father’s death in 1974, Alain Courrèges took over the estate and his son Gérard, who has four years of wine studies behind him, has been vinifying the Vaccelli wines since 2000. When Alain took over from Roger, he restructured the winery to focus on native Corsican varieties, replanting the vineyards with primarily Sciaccerellu and Vermentinu. The vines, twenty percent of which are over 50 years old, are planted on southeast-facing hillsides of decomposed granite, the primary soil type in the AOC Ajaccio area. Alain and Gerard embrace the Corsican landscape and make their wine to showcase the granite soil. Though not certified, the vineyards have been farmed organically since 2008, with vinification and aging done primarily in stainless steel and concrete vessels. Their underground cellar is literally carved out of the same granite where the vines grow. The wines are unfined, and,with the exception of their whites, unfiltered.
 

 
Vaccelli Juste Ciel Rosé 2012 ($19.95) $16 specialGrenache and Carignan blend
Vaccelli Juste Ciel Rouge 2010 ($19.95) $16 special-Grenache and Carignan blend
Vaccelli Unu Rosé Ajaccio 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special-100% Sciaccarellu
Vaccelli Unu Rouge Ajaccio 2010 ($27.95) $21.90 special -Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu, Grenache, Carignan
Vaccelli Roger Courreges Blanc Ajaccio 2011 ($34.95) $29 special-100% Vermentinu
Vaccelli Roger Courreges Rouge Ajaccio 2009 ($34.95) $29 special-Sciaccarellu, Grenache, Niellucciu
Vaccelli Granit Rosé Ajaccio 2012 ($31.95) $28 special-Old vine selection of 97% Sciaccarellu, 3% Vermentinu
Vaccelli Granit Blanc Ajaccio 2011 ($59.95) $49 special-Old vine selection of 100% Vermentinu
Vaccelli Granit Rouge Ajaccio 2010 ($59.95) $49 special-Old vine parcel Sciaccarellu, Grenache, Niellucciu
 
 

Grapes of Corsica: 

A Corsican vineyard may have any of 30 indigenous varieties like Aleatico, Barbarossa, Elégante, Biancu Gentile, Genovese, Riminese, and might also grow imported varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan, Ugni Blanc or Muscat à Petits Grains, but there are three noble, insular varieties – the Sciaccarellu, the Niellucciu and the Vermentinu – that are the basis of all Corsican appellation wines. We focus on these below.
 
Sciaccarellu- Native to Corsica, Sciaccarellu does exceptionally well in the granitic soil found around Ajaccio and Sartène. The name is from a Corsican adjective meaning, literally, ’crispy-crunchy between the teeth’ and, indeed, this grape does have a tough skin. Sciaccarellu wines are close in appearance and aroma to Pinot Noir (it’s considered to be a sommelier’s trap). The colour tends to be pale and unstable, and it’s difficult to find a 100% Sciaccarellu wine. They have a meaty palate and peppery taste, a wide spectrum of aromas (almonds, red fruits, leather, and the scent of the Corsican scrubland maquis that covers much of the island), as well as powdery tannins through to the finish. The grape is difficult to grow, as it is susceptible to mildew. In addition to reds, it is used to make a rosé wine that is pale, onion-skin pink in colour and with strong, herbal-scented aromas of the maquis.

Niellucciu- More commonly grown in the limestone soil of northern Corsica – primarily in the Patrimonio appellation, Niellucciu is believed to be a sibling of Tuscany’s Sangiovese grape, but any similarity is in the DNA, rather than in character. Nieullucciu is to the northern part of the island what Sciaccarellu is to the south: a well-adapted vine that is capable of producing wines of great finesse and structure. In the south, it’s mostly blended with Sciaccarellu to add colour and additional complexity. Because it buds early and ripens late, Niellucciu is susceptible to late spring frosts and harvest rot.
 
Vermentinu-Also known in Corsica as Malvoisie de Corse, Vermentinu is a late-ripening grape that is the ultimate Mediterranean variety. It originated in Spain or Madeira, or perhaps Portugal, and it is now widely planted in Corsica, Sardinia (as Vermentino), and all along the Mediterranean coastline from Tuscany, through Liguria and into southern France (known as Rolle). It can yield wines of outstanding personality, with pronounced perfume, balanced by a substantial alcohol level and good body.

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