2016 La Fiorita, Brunello di Montalcino, $71
Winery Info: La Fiorita was established in 1992 in Montalcino, Tuscany by Roberto Cipresso, a rising star winemaker.
He and his partners began with barely one acre of vines and an annual production of just 1,000 bottles of Brunello. But over the years they acquired other outstanding vineyard sites, selected for their exceptional soil types and terroir, and planted them with selected clones of Sangiovese. In 2011 Natalie Olivaras became a part owner in the estate. Since becoming full owner in 2014, she has acquired further vineyards, achieved full organic certification, and upgraded the winemaking and cellaring facility, taking the winery to new heights.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese, aged 24 months in French oak and four months in steel tanks before bottling, followed by 18 months in bottle before release.
Vineyard: Sourced from three distinct vineyards: the warm, south-facing Poggio al Sole, about 700 feet above sea level with a combination of chalk soil with clay and stones; the cooler, drier, southeast-facing Pian Bossolino, about 1,100 feet above sea level with stony, schist soil; and Giardinello, also south-facing, at about 900 feet with sandstone soil.
Flavor Profile: The blending of fruit from three distinct vineyards brings amazing complexity and character to this Brunello. Now with a nice bit of bottle age, it is showing beautiful notes of cherries, red currant, and spice, with savory earthy undertones. It is rich and concentrated with great structure, firm but supple tannins, and a long finish.
Availability: This vintage is still in relatively decent supply.
Drinking Window: You could enjoy this wine now, with a bit of decanting, or up to 2030.
Food Pairing: Great with grilled or roasted meats, gnocchi with pomodoro sauce, or veal chops with porcini sauce.
2020 Camin Larredya, “La Part Davant” Jurançon Sec, $27
Winery Info: This wine comes from the Jurançon region in southwest France, near the town of Pau. It is exclusively a white wine region, and the wines produced can be sweet or dry, although dry Jurançon wines didn’t receive their own AOC status until 1975 and require the word “sec” to be added to the label. Camin Larredya is run by Jean-Marc Grussaute and his mother Jany, who took over after her husband’s untimely death in 1983. Together they have transformed their small hillside property into a highly regarded Jurançon estate. Jean-Marc uses indigenous yeasts and minimal added sulfites.
Grapes: 50% Gros Manseng, 35% Petit Manseng, and 15% Petit Corbu, all local grapes to the region. Aged on the lees around six months, mostly in large foudres plus some smaller barrels.
Vineyards: Steep, south-facing, terraced vineyards, planted 50 years ago by Jean-Marc’s father on silica-clay soil. Farmed organically since 2007 and certified biodynamic.
Flavor Profile: Elegant and aromatic, with notes of white stone fruit and a touch of nuttiness. The rich fruit flavors are balanced by a nice touch of citrus and fresh, clean acidity. It has lovely texture and a long, minerally finish.
Availability: This wine is somewhat limited going forward.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now or over the next few years.
Food Pairing: On its own or with cured meats, roast chicken, or any seafood, such as pan-fried scallops, lobster with lemon, grilled fish, or oysters.