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February 2017

Podere Saliceto BiFri

Gianpaolo Isabella and his brother in law Marcello founded Podere Saliceto in the Labmbrusco producing area outside Modena in 2005 after GianPaolo's successful Muay Thai career.  They have about 10 acres that they farm naturally and focus on the local varieties of Lambrusco di Sorbara and Salamino.  This frizzante petillant naturel white is made from a blend of Trebbiano and Sauvignon Blanc.  The fermentations are all done with native yeast in the bottles.

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Aroma: The Bi Fri smells gorgeous! Particularly in winter the over powering aromas of clementines and fresh peaches make it hard not to down the whole bottle. All those aromas of fruit from the Bi Fri smell very fresh and clean, like spring flowers. I don't think I would guess from the aroma that it's a Pet Nat; there isn't really much in the way of aromas of yeast. Along with the clementine and fresh peach there's also sweet apple and golden raisins; it's a great aroma!

Palate: Fresh and zingy!  There's very nice white peach kind of fruit and excellent tasty acidity, but what I really love is this sneaky minerality on the mid palate. There's a really tasty salty quality that sneaks up on you. The acidity and fruit hide the saltiness so you don't really pick it out, but it's there and it makes the Bi Fri so much more dynamic and lip smacking good!

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The BiFri is priced just under $20 per bottle.  


Paterna Pugni Rosso

Societa Agricola Cooperativa Paterna was founded as essentially a commune farm back in the early 80's by a group of friends that wanted to get out of Florence as it became more of a tourist destination.  Today the farm is about 15 hectares with 8 of those dedicated to vineyard.  Currently 3 families live on the farm and still work with several of the original owners to manage the farming.  Arrezo is a sub zone of Chianti located around the city of Arrezo to the south east of Florence.  Paterna is in the hills where the land starts rising up towards the Appenines so these are some of the cooler and windier vineyards of the whole Chianti DOCG.  The Pugni Rosso is made primarily from a semi extinct grape called Pugnitello.  Pugnitello has been grown in Tuscany forever but it's low yielding, thick skinned, and rather late ripening.  The wine it yields is often so dense and powerful that it needs extended aging; not the best thing if you're a poor farmer trying to make ends meet each year!  So Pugnitello has gone out of fashion and persists in just a few corners and old plots around Tuscany.  Paterna only makes something like 100 cases of this each year.

Paterna has worked completely naturally since their inception.  This is organically farmed, wild yeast fermented, and almost no sulfur added.

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Varietal: Pugnitello

Aroma: The aroma of the Pugni Rosso puts you on notice right off that this is a not simple quaffable wine you can just throw back.  I smell graphite, licorice, currant, and blackberry; this is a very dark and focused smelling wine.  I have no frame of reference for Pugnitello but it smells like broken slate in a way, like if you just smashed a big piece with a sledge hammer...in the dark...in the rain.  The dark fruit and spicy earthy aromas make me think of powerful Syrah.  Or maybe Petit Verdot.

Palate: There's rough rustic grip and grit to the wine right straight on through the palate, but there's also very dark juicy fruit that balances that out.  It's a structured linear wine with serious power.  I'd love to taste this in 4 or 5 years.  The more I drink it, it does kind of remind me of Petit Verdot.  There's some dark smoky flavors in the mid-palate and the finish has delicious hints of bittersweet chocolate!

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If you can find any it will most likely be priced in the mid $30's.