Friday Feature- New Arrivals from Elio Grasso

Hello and Happy Friday!

 

We are getting ready for another Routier, this time a little Mediterranean Madness!

 

For those of you who don’t have any idea of what we’re talking about, every Friday at Perman Wine selections we host an informal tasting called Routier.

 

Stop in any time between 5 and 8 pm, taste a flight of three wines accompanied by a small “snack” of cheese, almonds and crackers, all for $25.  We explore a different theme every single Friday.

 

Hope you can make tonight’s Routier!

 

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This weeks Friday Feature highlights the newest releases from one of Italy’s most important producers, Elio Grasso.

 

Those of you who know Craig well, understand his passion for all things Piedmont.  The holy grail of food and wine, located in Northwest Italy is home to its most famous appellation Barolo.

 

Barolo is Italy’s version of Burgundy.  Not because the flavor profiles are similar, but rather because of the amazing terroir of Barolo, where single vineyards are often highlighted, and where the commune from where the grapes come from play a huge role in its diversity.

 

Barolo is also known for wines that age over a decade or more, rewarding those patient enough to wait with transcendent aromas.  In fact it is our belief that the greatest wines of Barolo are more of a “sure bet” to age gracefully than any other wine region in the world.

 

Lastly, we wanted to point out that you don’t have to drop a lot of cash to enjoy the wines of Piedmont.  Dolcetto, Barbera, and even the Nebbiolo grape used in Barolo can be had for not a lot of money.

 

The following wines of Elio Grasso are special.  In fact the wines of Grasso are so good these days that they outclass those of Giacomo Conterno, the legend of the commune of Monforte d’Alba.  We expect a little hate mail from that statement, but it’s true!

 

Collectors will want to note that the Barolo “Chiniera” is one of the greatest bottles we have tasted from the 2008 vintage.

 

The 2006 Riserva “Runcot” is already a legendary wine, meant for the tables of the most ardent fans of great Barolo.

 

Act fast, because these wines won’t be around for long!

 

Have a great weekend,

Craig & Sheb

 

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New arrivals from Elio Grasso

W1

2011 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d’Alba “Dei Grassi”

Consistently one of the top 10 Dolcetto coming from Piedmont in terms of value and sheer drinkability!

As with all of Grasso’s wines, the fruit comes from Monforte d’Alba and a South facing parcel called “Dei Grassi.”  The average age of the vines are a healthy 30 years.  The wine is fermented and rested in stainless steel tanks.

“A wine of remarkable elegance and polish, the 2011 Dolcetto d’Alba Dei Grassi caresses the palate with layers of soft fruit, floral aromas and phenomenal length. This isn’t a huge wine, but rather is endowed with superb elegance. Hints of tar, smoke and game wrap around the brilliant finish. I don’t think I have ever tasted a more refined and Burgundian Dolcetto than this. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016. 90 Points, Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate.”

  

$16.99 BTL. / $203.88 CASE

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W2

2010 Elio Grasso Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Martina”

 

It’s true that Barbera can be a simple quaffing wine.  Over the last 15 years or so, top producers such as Vietti and Grasso have proven that Barbera can achieve great complexity, and transcend the grape speaking more towards the soil it comes from.

There is no doubt that the vineyards producing grapes for these super-Barbera such as “Vigna Martina” could instead be planted with Nebbiolo, and thus produce more money for the estate.  Instead Grasso steadfastly produces a Barbera from vines close to his Gavarini vineyard, and treats it as if it were his finest Nebbiolo.

Fermentation for “Vigna Martina” takes places in stainless steel, while aging takes place in half new, half one-year-old French oak barrels.

The 2010 Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Martina” may be the finest Barbera Gianluca Grasso has ever produced.  Rich and broad with notes of red licorice along with plum, cocoa and flowers.  It finishes very long with just a hint of tannins, and bright acidity.  The combination of freshness and richness make this very special.

You can drink this now, or over the next 7 years.  It is a terrific value for this level of Barbera!

 

$30.99 BTL. / $371.88 CASE

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W3

2011 Elio Grasso Langhe Nebbiolo “Gavarini”

 

Before anyone ever gets to drink a great bottle of Barolo, they should be forced to drink a Langhe Nebbiolo such as this.

 

To get a true sense of the varietal, then it is really important to taste it in its stripped down version.

 

Here is a wine, made entirely from Nebbiolo, 15 year-old South facing vines.  Fermentation, malolactic and resting are all done in stainless steel tank.

 

A wonderfully aromatic wine with notes of raspberry, licorice and flowers.  This combines freshness with a light dusting of tannin on the long finish.

 

It is an outstanding value for a Langhe Nebbiolo, and will pair well with a classic dish of the region such as Beef Braised in Barolo.  Except save the Barolo and use this in the stew.

 

$21.99 BTL. / $263.88 CASE

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W4

2008 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini “Vigna Chiniera”

 

How do you know a wine is truly special?

 

A little over a year ago, Gianluca Grasso came to Chicago bringing with him a sample of his 2008 Barolo Gavarini “Vigna Chiniera,” as well as his famed Riserva called “Rüncot.”

 

The tasting left an impression.  These wines had an extra dimension that you only see in the greatest vintages.

 

And so the wait began, as the wines wouldn’t come available for another few months.

 

A good bit of time had passed and I started wondering when the wines were going to arrive?  I soon found out the bad news that the family partnership with its local distributor had ended.

 

NEEDING to source this wine for my customers, I sent Gianluca Grasso an email to find out if there was a way.  He informed me at the time that they would have a new distributor, and he was nice enough to hold back a few cases of these highly sought after wines for Perman Wine and some other key accounts in Chicago.

 

Let me make this clear, the Grasso wines sell out every year.  I’ve been to the winery, there is nothing left after a vintage goes on sale.  Add to that the high accolades that the wines receive each and every year, and you are looking at some very highly sought after wines.

 

What makes this particular wine so special is that it comes from the Gavarini vineyard which surrounds the Grasso farmhouse in Monforte d’Alba.  This is a historic vineyard, long known to produce some of the finest Barolo in the region.  Its sandy soil with a limestone base provide very aromatic wines, with great balance and structure.

 

The “Vigna Chiniera” is fermented and malolactic is completed in stainless steel tanks.  It is aged for two years in 25-hectoliter Slavonian oak barrels.

 

So here is the deal Barolo fans – act fast on this wine as it is truly world class and one of the best 2008’s that I’ve tasted.

 

Here is a glowing review from the Wine Advocate.

 

“The 2008 Barolo Gavarini Vigna Chiniera is flat-out great. Sweet roses, spices, mint, flowers and red berries are some of the notes that emerge from this profound, utterly moving Barolo. The 2008 possesses dazzling inner perfume, endless layers of bright red fruit and stunning overall balance. Fine, silky tannins frame the extraordinarily elegant finish. This is a fabulous wine from Gianluca Grasso and his family. Chalky notes frame an energetic, brilliant finish sprinkled with shades of the 1989. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2033. 97+ Points, Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate.”

 

$72.99 BTL. / ONLY 48 BOTTLES AVAILABLE – THIS WILL SELL OUT QUICKLY

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 W5

2006 Elio Grasso Barolo Riserva “Rüncot”

 

Make no mistake about it, produced only in the best years, “Rüncot” is one of the greatest Riserva Baroli available.

 

Producers in the Barolo region produced what is called a “Riserva” Barolo in the best vintages.  The designation means that it has been aged longer, two years in the case of Elio Grasso.  Since a Riserva is meant for the long haul, producers will use a vineyard best suited to long aging in both barrel and bottle.

 

In the case of Elio Grasso this means the “sweet spot” of the Gavarini Cru, a 1.8 hectare parcel that along with that limestone base that you see in “Chiniera” also includes some clay.

 

It yields a very powerful style of Barolo.  Typically I enjoy Barolo at all stages, and with decanting, many, including the “Chiniera,” show well.  In the case of a great Riserva such as this, there is no doubt that it should go straight to one’s cellar.

 

The vinification of “Rüncot” starts out like the other single-vineyard Baroli, in stainless steel tank.  Instead of larger Slavonian oak, Grasso prefers to age “Rüncot” in French 225-liter barrique.  I’m always critical of “over-oaked” wines, but in no way does this wine ever feel so.  Having experienced older bottles, this is clearly the right choice for this massive Barolo.

 

2006 was an extraordinary vintage, and this is a must for the most serious collectors of Barolo.

 

As a side note, while it is difficult to call anything $128 a Barolo, when it compares to other Riserva Barolo, this is a value.  When you compare it to the other greatest wines of Italy and the world such as a Grand Cru Burgundy or First Growth Bordeaux, you will start to understand that it is a value for its pedigree.

 

“The 2006 Barolo Riserva Runcot is a huge, structured wine bursting at the seams with fruit. The French oak (100% new) is beautifully integrated. Today the wine is understandably quite reticent but its pedigree is hard to miss. Flowers, licorice and minerals linger on the finish. The 2006 Runcot needs time, most likely lots of it. Let me just say I can’t wait to taste this powerhouse once it has had more time in bottle. It is a dazzling effort. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031. 96+ Points, Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate.”

 

$127.99 BTL. / $767.94 SIX-PACK CASE – VERY LIMITED

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