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Watch Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World, tastes “Capo di Stato” 2008, legendary wine from historic Venetian estate Loredan Gasparini – Venegazzù.
Located due North of Venice, the historic estate of Venegazzù produces one of the most famous red wine in Italy: Capo di Stato.
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#01 Germano Ettore
Sergio Germano completed six years of winemaking study at the School of Enology in Alba. He then worked as a winemaker at Fontanafredda for a few years before returning to the family estate in 1993.
The history of his family estate stretches back to 1856 in the heart of Serralunga in a piece of prized cru called “Cerretta.” They made some wine but were growers first, selling grapes to other producers until 4th generation proprietor, Sergio took over the reins in 1985. Since the early 1990s, the family has focused solely on estate-bottling from its 10 hectares, including single-vineyard Barolos from the Cerretta, Prapò, and Lazzarito crus (all of which are in Serralunga). Sergio’s latest acquisition is Vigna Rionda – one of the most sought after cru in the entire Barolo appellation.
Not so long ago, the debate on “traditional vs modern” style Barolo put wine lovers in two opposing camps. Traditional means long maceration of nebbiolo grapes on its skin up to a month or two, aged in big oak cask re-used many times over and this translate to fiercely tannic wines which takes many years of bottle age for tannins to smoothen out. Light in colour and earthy in aromatic profile. When done right, it makes a memorable impact (think Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva 1961). Then in the 80s’ there emerge some producers wishing to produce Barolo which are more accessible and “cleaner” by shortening maceration time, discarding green berries from bunches leaving only ripe ones (green harvesting), aging in newer and smaller French oak barriques resulting in more fruity, dark coloured and full bodied Barolo.
Sergio’s deep humility expresses a deference to the vineyard that shows itself in the finished wines. His wines are unique and thoughtful expressions of their varietal and soil. Some of the wines are 100% traditional, made with long macerations and big barrels, and some are made with medium-sized barrels or barriques, but they all express the best of these local grape varieties. His scientific understanding of winemaking in an appellation with historic traditional and while still respecting the traditions makes him many wine-lover’s ideal winemaker. His Barolo will never be “sweet” nor international style. I would call Sergio’s Barolos a perfect melding of modern and traditional. First off, they are clean (some old-school Barolos are funky in a way that isn’t ‘terroir’; these are off flavors imparted by dirty old barrels or unsanitary winemaking). Some of the single-vineyard bottlings are aged in smaller barrels, but across the lineup, the oak is applied judiciously. All told, you might say these wines represent an evolution across the whole of Barolo, in which the ‘middle road’ has become the one most taken.
#02 Corte Mainente
Davide’s wines caught our attention whilst on a buying trip organised by the Soave Consortio. After tasting more than a hundred types, his wines stood out for clarity, freshness, focus, clean and longevity. A style which is now the popular choice amongst informed wine-lovers all around the world. The Mainente brothers, Marco and Davide, were brought by their winemaker father. The elder Marco is a soil expert while Davide is the winemaker. Davide studied enology in Italy and New Zealand and now both of them manages their family estate Corte Mainente, after Davide’s short two year stint as winemaker for prolific Soave producer Fattorini. His family own 12 hectares of vines, both near the town (the Cengelle vineyard) and in the Classico hillside cru sites such as Pigno and Tenda. His wines are winning rave reviews in Italy and here (Jancis Robinson described his 2017 Cengelle on jancisrobinson.com as “Chock-full of fine fruit. Racy and so refreshing and charming!”). While top growers such Pieropan and Inama is such a delight, Davide’s wines at Corte Mainente is challenging these luminaries.
#03 Cantina Terlano
It’s hard to go wrong with anything that comes out of Terlano’s cellars. The classic line (wines in Alsatian-shaped bottles) offer tremendous value, while the single-vineyard wines and the selections are some of the most unique whites being made in Italy today. There is not too much else to say, except that these wines are terrific across the board and highly recommended.
What is left to say about Terlano ? That it is a world-class estate ? Too obvious. That the wines have enormous personality ? Of course. That the range is full of great values ? Evident. During a recent visit I also tasted a number of older wines, culminating with the extraordinary trio of the 1959 and 1955 Pinot Bianco Vorberg followed by the 1969 Terlaner, which is and will probably remain the single greatest Italian white wine I have ever tasted. Numbers are superfluous. While these older wines are virtually impossible to find, readers will have better luck with the late-release Rarita series, which are generally aged one year in cask and as much as ten additional years in tank prior to being bottled. A few weeks ago I shared a bottle of Terlano’s 1955 Pinot Bianco with a group of collectors at a charity dinner. Not just any collectors. I mean the type of winelovers who regularly open bottles most of us dream of tasting once in a lifetime. They were blown away. None of them had ever tasted a white that old, much less an Italian white with serious bottle age. THIS IS TERLANO. One of the few wineries in the world capable of making not just great wines, but emotional wines – Antonio Galloni, May 2013#04 Grifalco
Fabrizio and Cecilia Piccin decided to take on a fresh challenge and headed south to the volcanic slopes of Monte Vulture in Basilicata, after more than 20 years of working in Tuscany (Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano). Grifalco is a wine born in the soil, deep and concentrated, tarry and with a deep mineral vein. Considered the finest red variety of southern Italy, Aglianico yields robust and complex wine with a dense ruby red colour. The soils are rich in volcanic minerals and the 18 hectare estate is divided into 4 vineyards with vines varying in age from 15 to 40 years in age. The granite slopes of Mt Vulture are the source for Grifalco. Their wines are generous and elegant with black fruits and tarry aromas and a mineral rich palate made complex by blending in 20% of wine which is aged in French oak barrique. Firm but ripe tannins and a refined acidity extend the silky concentration of cherry and herbs on the finish.#05 Champagne Laherte Freres
1. Organic and bio-dynamic
2. Family estate since 1889
3. One of the only few in Champagne to still use old traditional wooden press to in order to achieve a level of finesse in the wines otherwise not possible.
4. Style : Fresh, fruity and finesse. You will feel the “energy” of the wine in your mouth
These Champagnes reinforce my strongly held view that Aurélien Laherte is one of the most talented vignerons of his generation in Champagne. The range this year is truly stellar. Some of the highlights include the Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs (2015 this year), a wine I often buy for my own cellar, the 2014 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères, which is new, and the (2014) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée Les Baudiers. Readers who have not tasted these Champagnes owe it to themselves do so. Aurélien Laherte is young, passionate and humble. It is only a matter of time before he is recognized as one of Champagne’s elite vignerons. As for the wines, they are spectacular. From Champagne – The Season’s New Releases (Nov 2018) by Antonio Galloni. Based in Chavot, south of Epernay, in a sector known as the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay, Champagne Laherte has been under the direction of Aurélien Laherte who took over in 2005. Aurelien crafts his wines by vinifying individual plots separately and ferments about 80% of his ‘base’ wines in old Burgundy wooden barrels of various sizes, which does not impart much of a oaky note but instead lends the wine with harmonious and earthy complexity. Their Champagnes are of little or no dosage (sugar addition), to allow the wines to show the purest expression of their terroir. Champage Laherte has become one of the most progressive and dynamic “rising stars” in the appellation, producing a series of small production, cru / single vintage cuvees (around 3,000 bottles) from some of their most prized organically farmed vineyards.#06 Champagne Legras Haas
1. Grand Cru Chouilly Blanc de Blanc – exceptional value
2. An overachiever in the classic style of champagne
3. Style : Clean, fresh, fruity, elegant.
4. The attractive appeal their wine label matches the high quality wine inside the bottle, which is quite often NOT the case in the world of Champagne
Legras & Haas in Chouilly was founded in 1991 by François Legras, heir to a long line of winegrowers, and his wife, Brigitte Haas. The estate is now managed by Rémi, Olivier and Jérôme, their three sons, taking care of the vines, wine techniques and commercial development respectively. All are involved in the blend and tasting process in order to perfect the blend of the future cuvées. The estate is now well reputed for riqour, constancy and excellence. The Legras & Haas family owns 37 hectares, majority of which are located in Chouilly, an exceptional Grand Cru vineyard on the Cote des Blancs, famous for the quality of its Chardonnays. But in its quest for perfection and enrichment of its range, the Legras & Haas family has also developed its vineyard in Vitryat soil and Les Riceys. “Our style is the result of a sum of little things belonging to us. We perpetuate precise gestures. This special attention accorded to details is our trademark.” Rémi Legras explains..
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Our owner’s recommendations for your pleasure readings and extravagant indulgence. Coming soon. Watch this Space!
Ca' del Bosco
Cantin Lorenz Martini
Casanova di Neri
Castello dei Rampolla
Castello di Bossi
Castello di Monsanto
Castello di Nieve
Castello di Terriccio
Castello di Verrazzano
Castello di Volpaia
Champagne Laherte Freres
Champagne Legras et Haas
Citille di Sopra
Di Majo Norante
Donna Olimpia 1898
Due Santi di Zonta
Fattoria dei Barbi
Fattoria di Piazzano
Feudi di San Gregorio
Isole E Olena
La Ca Nova
Le Vigne di Zamò
Loredan Gasparini Venegazzu
Marchesi di Barolo
Marchesi di Gresy
Moet & Chandon
Parrocco di Neive
Podere IL Carnasciale
Pojer & Sandri
Porta del Vento
Produttori del Barbaresco
San Giusto a Rentennano
Sella & Mosca
Serafini & Vidotto
Tenuta di Trinoro
Tenuta San Guido
Terre di Giurfo
Vie di Romans