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26 February 2017 - 4 March 2017

Peppucci l'Altro io

The Peppucci family stumbled on the abandoned Benedictine Monastery of S Antimo in the town of Todi in the early 80's when they were looking for a place to settle and raise children.  They fell in love with the medieval buildings and embarked on a years long project of restoring them.  The vineyards and monastery are on a ridge overlooking the town from about 400 M of elevation.  

Altro Io is a new project the family has taken on.  This is 85% Sagrantino; one of the most tannic grapes known.  Sagrantino is very highly regarded because of it's thick skins and low yields which produce very powerful and age worthy wines.  The problem is that most people don't want to wait 10 years for a wine to be drinkable.  So the Altro Io is the Peppucci's attempt to make a Sagrantino in their own way to be a little bit more accessible.  The small addition of Cabernet Sauvignon helps round it out plus extensive aging in wood and in bottle.  At 8 years old this wine has had some serious time to come together and mellow, and it shows! 

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Vintage: 2009

Grapes: 85% Sagrantino and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aroma: the deep dark woods.  This smells like an old oak tree.  There's wood smoke as well as some serious dried cherries.  I can also smell a bit of roasted poblano pepper to the Peppucci.  It's seriously a dark and spicy smelling red wine.    With the wood smoke, seared meat, dried cherries, and roasted peppers it just smells like the things I would want to have around during a snow storm.

Pallet: Sagrantino has a reputation for power and inaccessibility.  The l'Altro io has the power certainly, but it's pretty drinkable now.  The wine is deep, dark, chewy, and layered, but the tannins aren't aggressive.   There are tannins that close the wine out, but they're balanced by the rich dark fruit and supporting acidity that keep the wine from being too soft.  This is a pretty excellent expression of Sagrantino that's powerful and very satisfyingly deep and lush.

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the Altro Io is priced at about $30 retail


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.