2012 La Fiorita, Brunello di Montalcino, $66
Winery info: La Fiorita was established in 1992 by Roberto Cipresso, a rising star winemaker at the time, along with two of his friends. They began with barely one acre of vines and an annual production of just 1,000 bottles of Brunello. Over the years they acquired additional vineyard sites, chosen for their prime soil types and terroir, and planted them with select clones of Sangiovese. Cipresso was joined by current owner Natalie Oliveros in 2011.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese. Fermented in Slavonian oak casks and aged 24 months in French oak, six months in steel tanks, and 24 months in bottle before release.
Vineyard: Sourced from two distinct vineyards: the warm, south-facing Poggio al Sole, about 500 feet above sea level with a combination of light clay soil and mineral-rich, sandy red earth; and the cooler, drier, southeast-facing Pian Bossolino, about 1,200 feet above sea level with stony, schist soil.
Flavor Profile: Rich and concentrated, with aromas of red fruit and spice and savory, earthy flavors of dark berries and violets. The structure is firm, with balanced tannins and a lingering finish.
Availability: There are a few cases left of this wine.
Drinkability: Enjoy now, through 2025 or so.
Food Pairing: Excellent with grilled or roasted meats, hearty pork dishes, or Italian cured meats (affetati misti).
2018 Lucien Crochet, Sancerre, La Croix du Roy, $38
Winery info: Lucien Crochet is one of the top producers in the Sancerre region of France’s Loire Valley. The domain was created by marriage — combining the estate of André Crochet (Lucien’s father) with that of Lucien Picard (his father-in-law). Lucien has expanded the property over the years to its current size of 38 hectares where he now produces both white and red wines.
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, vinified in stainless steel and aged 10 to 12 months on lees.
Vineyard: Sourced from several parcels, including the lieu dit, Clos du Roy, with a combination of Oxfordian limestone clay (griottes) and Kimmeridgian limestone gravel (caillottes) soils, on slopes with east to southeast exposure. Farmed organically since 1989. The average vine age is 25 years.
Flavor Profile: La Croix du Roy is described as the fullest bodied and most masculine of Crochet’s Sancerres, yet it is also graceful and zesty, with lovely body and texture and a refreshing, stony minerality that evokes the essence of the terroir.
Availability: 70,000 bottles produced. There is still some of this vintage available.
Drinkability: Lovely now, or over the next three to five years.
Food Pairing: Freshwater fish, seafood or shellfish, perhaps prepared with citrus, tarragon, and butter, goat cheese (their local Crottin de Chavignol), or ham.