Fans of Nebbiolo should be excited by this entry in our feature; the DOCG of Gattinara produces fragrant and compelling renditions of this beloved variety.
Gattinara is located about 60 miles due north of Asti. The soils and topography are much different here than those found in Barolo and Barbaresco. Gattinara is much closer to Switzerland and the soils are higher in acidity and the climate very much influenced by this village’s proximity to the Alps. Mountainous, and imposing the vineyards are steeply terraced and somewhat difficult to work. There is no “easy button” here. The vines are maintained and harvested by hand, this made even harder by the clamorous rocks on which you must tread to get to the vines, called “osso” in the local dialect, which translates to bone.
The Antoniolo Family has been working these difficult slopes since 1949 and work with 14 hectares. The resulting wines are firm and powerful, yet also have a delicate fresh quality with the kind of beguiling rose petal/dried cherry aromatics that only Nebbiolo can provide. Even though this has a few years on it we would still recommend a vigorous decant. And go ahead and make that beef stew you’ve been waiting to make all winter- here, finally, is the right wine!
$26.00 BTL/$312.00 CASE OF 12
NORMALLY $35.00+/ BOTTLE
2013 Cruse Wine Co Syrah “Charles Heintz” Sonoma Coast, CA
Michael Cruse is firmly entrenched in the “new California wine” movement; young and innovative and trying to make interesting, drinkable wines that are outside the “100 point Cabernet” box.
Charles Heintz is one of the more celebrated vineyards in the true Sonoma Coast; 900 feet above sea level and famous for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Syrah. This is definitely a cool, coastal climate, and the view from the vineyard are breathtaking- a panoramic expanse of the Pacific Ocean at one of its most feral points.
The fruit for this bottling was partially de-stemmed and left on the skins for 14 days. Punchdowns were all done manually (actually by foot) after which it was lightly pressed and left to age in used french oak barrels.
What’s nice about this Syrah is that, while ripe and fleshy, it still manages to exhibit all the smoke, green olive, purple flowers and other tertiary notes that are often most associated with Syrah from the Northern Rhone Valley.
$29.00/BTL.-$348.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Tiago Teles “Gilda” Vinho Tinto- Bairrada, Portugal
Tiago Teles, the person, and the wines represent something different in the world of Portuguese wines.
Tiago started his winery in 2012. A passionate wine lover like us, he had previously spent some years as a wine critic. He realized along his journey that he wanted to produce wine. Just like a Chef tells a tale of food through his/her palate, the wine would be in a style that he would want to reach for on a daily basis, drinking alongside good food and in the company of family or friends.
What makes Tiago different is that instead of being from a place, growing up there, and dedicating himself to something that was typical of that place, he had an idea of what his wines would taste like and searched for that place and opportunity to make it.
Bairrada was the chosen region, its Atlantic influence and range of grape varietals lent itself perfectly in his quest. Fortunately for Tiago, he was able to access great fruit, and then have the ability to make the wine in a state of the art wine winery.
He philosophy in the cellar is something we here at Perman Wine greatly believe in. Explained here by Tiago:
“In the Cellar we opted for techniques and materials that do not distort the wine, vinifications respecting the grape, conducted with indigenous yeasts, no enzymes, acidification, filtering or clarification.
We accept the differences, keeping the curiosity and mind open to new methods. We try to be meticulous in the different actions. We do co-fermentation of the blends up to 6000 litres, with gentle mechanical steps, without pumping, aiming for greater harmony and cohesion of the blend. The wine rests for at least 6 months in used oak barrels.”
“Gilda” is a wine that blends a high proportion of Merlot alongside of Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão. If you put this in a blind tasting it would be difficult to not call it Right Bank Bordeaux, although the mid-palate lends itself to a richer style, and the Portuguese varietals add some spice notes unique to Bairrada and Portugal.
We love the aromatics on this wine, with notes of green peppercorn, plum, and mineral. This is a wine of freshness, and at 12.5% alcohol it glides across your palate. We even recommend bringing down the temperature of the wine to around 58 degrees.
It is such a versatile wine, perfect to not overpower a beautiful steak or lamb loin. Yet also good for a chicken fricassée. It is an excellent value!
$17.00 BTL. / $204.00 SIX-PACK CASE
2012 Lagar de Darei Branco “Private Selection,” Dão, Portugal
Coming home from my last trip to Portugal in July, I couldn’t stop thinking about the wines of Casa de Darei.
Not only were these wines that I personally loved drinking, I knew at the time that they were going to be incredibly well-liked by our customers.
The Dão region is spectacular in both its scenery and its ability to produce world-class wines. Located in Northern Portugal, in the center part of the country it is notably protected on all sides by mountains. The Atlantic influence does not reach the Dão, nor does the continental climate. Although not a huge region, there are dramatic differences in terroir.
Darei is a place, a tiny village, where Carlos Ruivo, proprietor of Casa de Darei lives and works the vines. There goal of authentic, handmade wines is realized in the four different wines they produce.
We have decided to feature first an incredible white wine, one that I could drink virtually every day, the 2012 “Private Selection” White. While it has become somewhat trendy in the Dão to produce wines solely of Encruzado, Darei still does what has almost always has occurred, blend white varietals. This wine is a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Cerceal, Bical, Verdelho, and Arinto. These are native grapes, each playing a role in the complexity of this wine.
After grape selection and crushing, the fermentation takes place in both wood and concrete. It also sees just 2 months of aging in oak casks.
This is a wine I could smell all day! Notes of orange, pineapple and lemon peel leap from the glass. Texturally similar to a White Burgundy, it coats the palate with dried citrus, tropical and spice notes. It has richness, while at the same time great freshness and length.
It is a wonderful accompaniment to many types of seafood, but I would recommend cooking something very simple, such as a simple prepared piece of sea bass or prawns cooked on the plancha.
If this was a White Burgundy it would be $50, but instead, it’s an incredible Portuguese value! Do not miss this!
$19.00 BTL. / $114.00 SIX-PACK CASE
2012 Graci Etna Rosso-Sicily, Italy
We have written before, with great admiration about Alberto Graci. He is a dynamic and talented winemaker, who focuses on native grapes and traditional winemaking. His mantra? “The land decides, not us”.
Consequently, when we start thinking of Graci, we are perpetually astounded that viticulture is even possible on Mount Etna, and that it is possible for grapes to find the nutrients they need in the steep lava beds of this still active volcano. Nerello Mascalese is the name of the variety that flourishes here, a thin-skinned relative of Sangiovese and Gaglioppo that takes on a unique identity in the pumice-y soils here.
Graci’s Nerello is provocative wine; heady with the sweet fragrance of macerated pie cherries that contrasts with a backbone of earth, mushroom and mineral. It’s a fascinating wine, complex, delicious, and meditative.
This wine pairs well with a variety of foods. Sicilian cuisine is informed by many years of conquest and colonization, and as a result there are many influences uncommon to the mainland. Vegetarian and middle eastern dishes are enhanced greatly by a bottle or two of this at the table.
$20.00/BTL.-$240.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Rabasse-Charavin Côtes du Rhône Blanc “Laure”-Southern Rhône Valley, France
We’ve written with great regularity about this producer on past newsletters, so we are not going to bore you again with all the details. But ask yourself this: When is the last time you had a great bottle of white wine made from Rhône varietals? We find that this category is often clogged with awkward wines that seem to dissipate much too quickly, into a vaporous cloud of disappointment. Not this one.
The “Laure” bottling is composed of Clairette & Roussanne, keenly textured and imbued with lovely orchard fruit to accompany its savory herb, tinged edges. The winery recommends drinking with all manner of seafood, but the wine is firm and structured enough to work with white fleshed meat as well. To us, that sounds like the opposite of a vaporous cloud of disappointment, more like a rainbow of happiness to grace your dinner table.
$15.00/BTL-$180.00/CASE OF 12