2007 Vignalta, Cabernet Riserva, $65
Winery Info: Vignalta was founded in 1980 by Lucio Gomiero in Colli Euganei, a group of hills of volcanic origin on the Venetian plain of northern Italy.
Lucio had always loved the red wines of Bordeaux. As his vineyards were located at roughly the same latitude as Bordeaux, those varieties proved to thrive in his vineyards as well and Lucio set out to produce his own wines from Bordeaux grapes. In the process, he became instrumental in putting this region on the international map for growing Cabernet and Merlot. He produces his Cabernet Riserva only in top vintages, with a goal of expressing the best potential of his terroir.
Grapes: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, from vines averaging 50 years in age. Aged 24 months in French oak tonneaux followed by at least four years in bottle.
Vineyards: From their estate vineyards on the south facing slopes of the Colli Euganei hills, with a mix of volcanic and chalky limestone soils.
Flavor Profile: A classic Veneto Cabernet, with good structure and intensity, yet very balanced and elegant. It is less overtly fruity than a New World Cabernet, instead showing the maturity and complexity of the older vines. With notes of pepper and well developed tannins.
Availability: They produced about 8,000 bottles. There is still more of this vintage available.
Drinking Window: With 15 years of age it’s ready to enjoy anytime over the next five years.
Food Pairing: A natural for red meat dishes. Our rep found it a perfect match for five-spice roasted duck breast with cherry reduction and grilled radicchio. (Fun fact: Lucio Gomiero was the person who first introduced radicchio to the U.S.)
2017 Montenidoli, Carato, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, $35
Winery Info: In 1965 Elisabetta Fagiuoli and Sergio Muratoni purchased an abandoned property on the hill of Montenidoli, a beautiful site overlooking San Gimignano in the heart of Tuscany. They spent years restoring the land and have farmed organically from the very beginning. In her winemaking, Elisabetta adheres to family traditions. She uses only indigenous varieties including this Vernaccia, Tuscany’s only white DOCG wine. Her “Carato” is inspired by the white Burgundies she tasted in her youth which informed her white wine making approach. It is fermented and aged in new and used barriques and, like all of her whites, sees some skin contact. Elisabetta has turned part of the property into a retreat that brings elderly and young people from different perspectives and cultures together to share ideas and be immersed in nature. The non-profit foundation is named “Sergio the Patriarch.”
Grapes: 100% Vernaccia. Aged 12 months on the lees in French barrique, and 24 months in bottle.
Vineyard: Sourced from the stoniest parcels of their estate vineyards, with calcareous soil and ancient marine sediment filled with fossils and clay, perfect for producing great white wines.
Flavor Profile: A very complex, rich, and aromatic wine, with notes of citrus, white peach, apricots, and toasted hazelnuts. It has beautiful texture, balanced by a nice freshness, and the oak aging adds further layers of complexity.
Availability: There are still a few cases of this wine left.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now, or over the next year or two
Food Pairing: Grilled or barbecued pork with apricots, or with pasta dishes, antipasti, or hard cheeses.