2012 Biondi, Cisterna Fuori, $60
Winery info: Located in Sicily, on the slopes of Mount Etna where Ciro Bondi’s family has owned vineyards since 1800. Ciro, an architect by training, set out to restore the family’s winery and vineyards in the late 1990s. Today, along with his wife Stephanie, he is producing the wines he has always wanted to make from some of his family’s original vineyards, including the stunning Cisterna Fuori.
Grapes: 80% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio, both indigenous grapes in the region.
Vineyard: Their Cisterna Fuori vineyard which has been in the family for generations. The vines are planted on iron rich soil on the steep slope of an old crater. At 2300 feet in elevation, there are large diurnal temperature shifts, and the grapes ripen fully, while maintaining excellent acidity.
Flavor Profile: You can almost smell the volcanic soil in this wine. It has enticing savory, spicy notes, ripe red and black fruit flavors, and hints of underbrush. Powerful, yet graceful, with some firm tannins.
Availability: The distributor still has several cases of this wine in stock.
Drinkability: Drink within the next year or two while it is still fresh. If you enjoy the secondary flavors that can develop in Etna wines (notes of leather, iron, and tobacco), you could let it age a bit longer.
Food Pairing: Great with poultry, pork, beef, or tomato sauce dishes. Or any Sicilian fare.
2010 Pyramid Valley, Growers’ Collection, Savagnin Rose, $29.75
Winery info: Founded in North Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2000 by Mike and Claudia Elze Weersing. Mike studied oenology and viticulture in Burgundy and worked in Burgundy (with both Hubert de Montille and Nocolas Potel), Alsace, and the Mosel (with Ernst Loosen). He has also worked in Oregon with Russ Raney at Evesham Wood. The winery is certified biodynamic. Their Home Collection wines are sourced from their own vineyards. Their Growers’ Collection wines come from “extraordinary vineyards of trusted friends.”
Grapes: 100% Savagnin Rose, the non-musqué (non-perfumed) parent of Gewürztraminer.
Vineyard: From a single block in the Twin Valleys Vineyard in Marlborough
Flavor Profile: Though a non-perfumed offshoot of Gewürztraminer, it is rich and aromatic, but very focused, with fine floral notes and hints of spice. A very elegant wine.
Availability: 410 cases produced. The distributor still has a tiny bit left.
Drinkability: This one is ready to drink now and will be best if enjoyed over the next year or so.
Food Pairing: Pan-fried scallops, fondue or raclette, or perhaps a leek soup.