January 2, 2008

Italian Wine Tasting, Small Vineyards, Dec. 19th, 2007

Small Vineyards Imports
Italian Wine Tasting
Featuring winemaker, Lorenzo Gatteschi
Wednesday, Dec. 19th
5:30 - 8:00pm
Remember, this is not a seminar. You may come at any time between 5:30 and 8:00pm.

We've carried Lorenzo's wines since the Spring and we've had him here before.....but, this is a shot to taste some wines BRAND-NEW to Maine! Wines that are made in extremely small amounts.

Small Vineyards is an importer that specializes in Italian wines. They only import Italian wines and they only work with small producers who own their own farms and wineries. Most of these wineries produce less than 8,000 cases in total each year.

One of the winemakers, Lorenzo Gatteschi, will be here. His family makes wine in Tuscany - both Chianti Classico Riserva and a Super Tuscan. Lorenzo is also the "public face" of Small Vineyards in the USA - he travels around and talks about the wines and tastes people on them. He's both passionate and knows his wines! Lorenzo is 38-years old and he's the first generation to leave this family town and work much of the year away from it.

The Wines!

Trevisol Prosecco $17.99 - Paolo Trevisol is the winemaker at this 4th or 5th generation Prosecco producer. He's dramatically reduced production so that he only produces the best wine! Aromas of flowers, minerals and peaches. Flavors of peaches and soft minerals. Much lighter of a sparkling wine than Champagne (not doughy or yeasty). Stainless steel fermentation. Sees no oak. Bottle aged for 9 months. 2,500 cases made. Food pairing - Perfect wine to start a party!

Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castello di Jesi 2006 $13.99 - This is one of the best Mediterranean whites under $15 I've ever tasted! Wonderful citrus and mineral flavors and aromas. This also has notes of green apples and tropical fruits. Vibrant acidity and loads of minerality throughout the wine. Picks up a little nuttiness (almonds?) on the finish. Long, crisp finish! Maurizio Marchetti is the winemaker - he's a passionate artist when it comes to wine and painting. His wife is a top-notch cardiologist, so Maurizio likes to say that she brings home the "pancetta" (bacon), which frees him to make wine and paint! In reality, Maurizio's great, great-grandfather was a highly successful spice trader years ago, buying all the land that Maurizio uses to farm. The good news is Maurizio feels little-to-no financial pressure when it comes to his wines - so, he only uses the best grapes (most years he gets no more than 1/2 a bottle from a single vine). From "first-run" juice. The grapes are not "crushed" for this wine - the juice runs freely. 250-year-old estate. Bottled in the classic "amphora" shape that Verdicchio has made famous (oddly, this packaging is a modern invention). 2,100 cases made. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, swordfish, etc. Great with poultry. Drinks well on its own, but this is really a food wine!

Tre Donne Roero Arneis 2006 (Piedmont, Italy) $19.99 - "Il Barolo Bianco!" The White Barolo. Tre Donne means "Three Women" - the winery is run by three sisters (there's a funny story here - their father, Alessandro, did not think women could successfully run a winery - they've proven him wrong!). Arneis is a rare grape that almost disappeared 30 years ago. Nice weight and texture to this wine! It's full and rich! Aromas & flavors of flowers, freshly mown grass and ripe pears. Much of the flavor is driven by this cool wet minerality halfway through. Well balanced acidity. Stainless steel fermentation. 2,500 cases made. Food pairing - Great as an aperitif or cocktail wine. Perfect with cold salads, especially seafood or chicken salad. Has enough depth to hold up to salamis and other typical Italian antipasta foods.


Terre del Marchesato

Located near the famous Tuscan town of Bolgheri - GROUND ZERO for famous Super Tuscans such as Sassicaia (if you can even find Sassicaia, it's over $100 - often a lot over!) This estate borders the famed Sassicaia estate - in fact, just after World War II, after leaving the Marche looking for land less ravaged by the war, Emilio Fuselli bought 10 hectares of land from the Marquis Incisa della Rocchetta who would go on to found Sassicaia! No one at the time knew how valuable and esteemed this land would become!

Maurizio named their first wine after Emilio - "Emilio Primo." Until 3 years ago, this winery never bottled their wine - they sold it to local restaurants who came in buy wine in small casks. They farm sustainably - to the point that they grow and produce their own food.

Maurizio worked at another legendary Super Tuscan producer - Antinori Guado al Tasso for 10 years. Then he quit and rebuilt the cellar at his own estate.

Terre del Marchesato 2005 (Tuscany, Italy) $28.99 - If you've ever wanted to try a legendary Super Tuscan, but the Sassicaia prices have scared you off, try this! This has the "sweet tannins" typical of this wine and the Super Tuscans from Bolgheri - "sweet tannins" have nothing to do with sweetness and more to do with the soft mouthfeel of the wine. Aromas and flavors of dark fruit, cooked fruit, plums and more. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah. 2,500 cases made. Aged in 2nd and 3rd use French oak barrels. Food pairing - Great with game. Most any meat dishes and big mushroom dishes!


Alessandro Bocci is the winemaker/owner at Perazzeta. It's located in the Montecucco area of Maremma (south of Montalcino in Tuscany near the coast). 7 hectares of vineyards. Alessandro loves where he works and farms and makes wine. Most of the year, he's a nearly a one-man outfit working the vineyards and olive trees alone - with the help of 15 friends and family at harvest, he makes great wine and olive oil. Alessandro says he throws away twice as many grapes as he ferments!

Perazzeta Rita Sangiovese 2005 (Tuscany, Italy) $21.99 - Some of Italy's biggest and boldest wines come this this part of Tuscany! 100% Sangiovese. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak barriques for 12 months. Bottle aged for 6 months. Named Rita because those are the names of both his wife and his mother! 800 cases made. Food pairing - most any meat dishes and big mushroom dishes!

Perazzeta Syrah 2005 (Tuscany, Italy) $44.99 - 100% Syrah. This is a big, bold rich wine! Never more than 100 cases made in a year. The grapes are hand-sorted multiple times to find only the best grapes. Fermented in open barriques for 15 days and hand-punched down. Aged in oak barriques for 12 months. Bottle aged for 12 months. 80 (that's eighty!) cases made.

Podere Ciona (Proprieta Gatteschi)

Lorenzo will autograph any bottles you want signed!

Lorenzo Gattschi makes 800 cases of wine a year. They farm 4 hectares of vines on their property, Podere Ciona. They make 2 wines - a Chianti Classico Riserva (which is BRAND NEW in Maine) and a "Super Tuscan" - this would really be a Chianti Classico, but the vines are too young! Their vineyards are among the highest elevations in Chianti Classico in the hills of Montegrossi near Gaiole.

Podere Ciona Sangioves Montegrossoli 2004 (Tuscany, Italy) $16.99 - we first tasted this at a small tasting with Lorenzo in September. The wine just arrived in Maine this month! This is a wonderful wine and a great value. Food pairing - meats, roasts, mushrooms, pasta dishes.

Podere Ciona Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 (Tuscany, Italy) $29.99 - This is an AWESOME Chianti Classico Reserva. This tiny, MICRO-producer makes excellent wine! Aromas and flavors of dark fruit (black cherries), pepper and a little vanilla from the French oak barrels. 350 cases made. Aged 12 months in French oak - both new and old barrels. Aged 10 months in the bottle. Food pairing - meats, roasts, mushrooms, pasta dishes..

I was at a tasting with Lorenzo in May & September. He puts on a good show. He speaks English extremely well - with a great Italian accent! He knows his stuff and he loves sharing his wines and the wines in the Small Vineyards portfolio with others!

Small Vineyards' philosophy is a simple one - and it is one we wholeheartedly embrace! The best wines come from producers who care deeply about the wine and the vineyards. They employ a cork-to-cork method (they are involved with the wine from before it goes into the bottle and until you open it - hence Tappo a Tappo (cork-to-cork).

These wines are brought to Maine by Mariner Beverages! Several of these wines are BRAND NEW to MAINE (ALL of the REDS are!)!