Spring is still a long way off. It’s the perfect time of the year to warm yourself with a glass or two of the deepest, darkest, richest red wines that you can find.
Discover the wine of your dreams on Thursday February 25 at 6:30 as Stellina sponsors a WINTER WARMER WINE TASTING. Five blockbuster reds blended from eight grape varieties, grown and vinified in five different countries.
Old World meets New World as we compare the inky-dark NERO D’AVOLA from Sicily with a spicy OLD VINE ZINFANDEL from Lodi in California. Then we travel below the Equator to sample an enigmatic MALBEC from Argentina, a two-fisted CABERNET-CARMENERE blend from Chile, and finally a knockout SHIRAZ-CABERNET SAUVIGNON-CABERNET FRANC-MERLOT combo from Australia!
All of the wines being poured have won multiple awards and have scored 88 to 93 points in recent tasting events. We’ll serve them, as always, with complementary antipasti and expert commentary from an industry representative.
Price for the wine tasting is $29 per person, including all wine and food. Reservations are required. Call 617-924-9475 or go to our reservation page.
BELOW ARE MORE DETAILS ON THE WINES BEING POURED, INCLUDING TASTING NOTES AND LINKS TO THEIR WEBSITES:
FEUDI DEL PISCIOTTO “NERO D’AVOLA”
Nero d’Avola is the grape variety that best represents Sicily’s winemaking identity. Obtained from grapes scrupulously chosen from the estate finest selection, it expresses an absolute purity, extraordinary elegance and a great aging potential.
Feudi del Pisciotto has the new vineyards (33 hectares planted since 2002) situated at about 250 meters of altitude and 6 km from the sea as the crow flies. It benefits therefore from both altitude’s sea breezes, and the sea itself, a great compensator of temperature.
Owner: Paolo Panerai
Winemaker: Alessandro Cellai
Type: Red wine
Varietals: Nero d’Avola
Vineyard Location: Niscemi
Orientation: South East
Elevation: 270 m a.s.l.
Vines Planted: 2002
Trellising: Spurred cordon
Soil: Medium texture, slightly sandy and calcareous
Maceration for 30 days with frequent pumpings over, fermentation in stainless steel vats at a temperature of 78°F for ten days
French oak barriques for 12 months, 6 months of bottle refinement
Color: Deep ruby red
Bouquet: Complex and intense nose with notes of red fruit, currants, blueberries and cherries, together with dark spicy and toasty sensations coming from the aging in oak
Flavor: Rich, structured and velvety sip with a polished aftertaste of fruit and sweet spice
KLINKER BRICK OLD VINE ZINFANDEL “OLD GHOST”
THE BIRTH OF THE OLD GHOST
For the past eight vintages, this wine has come from 90 plus-year-old vineyard blocks that produce minuscule yields that are less than one ton per acre. With each vintage this wine has presented major challenges to the winemaker. The following is a discussion of the challenges during the inaugural vintage of 2003.
“The 2003 Old Ghost has to be one of the most difficult wines this seasoned winemaker has ever encountered! Truly reflective of a recalcitrant old personality, he was unwilling to cooperate with modern technology and superior winemaking techniques. Walking the vineyard on October 1, tasting the grapes, and seeing the paucity of fruit on the vines, I had the ominous feeling that this was not going to be an easy wine to make. But I also believed that if I could just get it “into the bottle”; it would be a truly spectacular wine. Picking the grapes was difficult and once in the winery, these 28 Brix grapes started fighting the equipment…tough skins and small clusters made just moving the crushed fruit into the tank challenging. Nearly 30 days later, the cantankerous wine was still stubbornly refusing to finish, so a plan was developed to deal with the issue. Four days later, we pressed the Old Ghost off the skins, whether finished or not, hoping that a little fresh air might motivate him to get going. The wine was stuck at 1.5% sugar. While this helped a little, (the wine moved slightly down to 1% by December 10), he refused to budge beyond that point. I promptly added a hi-tech vitamin concoction called “superfood” and some super yeast and warmed the old buzzard up to entice him to the finish line. But there was NO COOPERATION… Summer came and as outside temperatures started to climb, I was optimistic. But this wine’s stubbornness prevailed and there was NO MOVEMENT. So, July 30, I “pulled the trigger” and gave him a big dose of SO2, moved him into barrels and figured we’d deal with him next summer. True to personality, defying time, temperature, and logic, the cantankerous Old Spirit “gave-up-the-ghost” around Christmas and finished dry in the cold, dark cellar, without any encouragement or manipulation on my part. By the spring of 2005, I could taste and see what the fight was about…deep blackberry and plum aromas were combining with the vanilla and toast of the barrels to deliver soft, supple tannins and overwhelming complexity. The sheer volume of flavors would guarantee longevity in the bottle. There wasn’t much fight left in the Old Ghost by the time he was bottled in the summer of 2005, however, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see if some of that cantankerous old spirit flows into those that drink this wine. You’ve been warned…”
– Barry Gnekow
The truth of the matter is that each year this fruit has given us our share of challenges in the cellar. Perhaps it is the tiny yields that cause the wine to “get stuck” attempting to achieve complete fermentation. The Old Ghost has a mind of its own and behaves accordingly in the cellar. The good news is that each vintage has produced an extraordinary wine, full of character and complexity. Whether it is an ethereal elixir or a poltergeist potion, the limit on the Old Ghost is 12 bottles per customer.
The first time I tasted the barrel sample of this wine I was astounded at its complexity and depth of flavor. Asking what the plan was for the wine, Steve mentioned that half had already been blended in Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel. Having had the pleasure of representing a number of benchmark zinfandel producers, I was certain that this was one of the best I had ever tasted. Its unique quality was worthy of a special bottling. Having the vision for an understated, ethereal white label with an image of a blind embossed old vine, the Old Ghost was born – Lynne Whyte Barnard
Link to their website: http://www.klinkerbrickwinery.com/
EL ENEMIGO “MALBEC”
Alejandro Vigil, and a historian, Adrianna Catena who share a love of wine and reach back in time to capture the era when European immigrants first settled in Argentina. These settlers sought to make wines as fine, and finer, than those of their old homeland. By 1936, Malbec and Petit Verdot were the most widely planted fine varietals in Argentina, their blend considered the ultimate in refinement and aging potential.
El Enemigo translates as The Enemy. Nodding to the fact that at the end of any journey, most remember only one battle — the one fought within (the original enemy). It is this battle that defines us, and the wines of El Enemigo are a tribute to those internal battles that make us who we are, brought to fruition by a winemaker,
El Enemigo is produced at Piedemonte al Sur, located in southern foothills of Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. The facility is named for the unique aspect of Mendoza’s high-altitude winemaking region nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
Alejandro Vigil is a soil expert, a winemaker and an animal lover. He is the Chief Winemaker at Bodega Catena Zapata and the former head of the soil division at Argentina’s Wine Institute. Among his many pets, he keeps a cow to produce milk for donation to the local school children.
Adrianna Catena is the daughter of Nicolás Catena. She is a graduate student in Early Modern Spanish history at the University of Oxford, UK. Her dream is to continue the family legacy of winemaking, while pursuing a passion for history and writing from a cottage surrounded by vineyards in the Argentine Andes.
El Enemigo Malbec – This Malbec shows a deep red color with violet hues. On the nose the Malbec has floral scents of violets and lavender, along with the freshness of its natural acidity.
The Petit Verdot lends the aromas of the ripe black berry fruits, with a palate offering vanilla and toasted flavours. In the mouth it is sweet, silky and big – a wine of a good balance and strong tannins.
FROM THE WINE ENTHUSIAST:
93 POINTS! EDITOR’S CHOICE!
With an opaque purple tint and super-concentrated aromas of blackberry and violet petals, this is an in-your-face Malbec that pulls no punches. “The Enemy,” (which is really your friend), pushes blackberry, licorice, chocolate and floral flavors on a frame that expands as it airs out. Drink now through 2019.
Link to their website: http://enemigowines.com/
HARAS de PIRQUE CABERNET-CARMENERE “ALBIS”
Albis represents the merger of two passionate producers of fine wine, family Matte from Chile together with the Antinori family from Italy. The compromise reflects this fascinating and intriguing assemblage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère that are cultivated at the foot of the cordillera de Los Andes. Wine of great personality and elegance, that represents the Union of two cultures.
40% Cabernet Sauvignon,
37% Carménère 13% Cabernet Franc,
Haras de Pirque own vineyards, Maipo Valley. Grapes
were hand picked end of April. The parcels selected for
the Character line undergo intense hand management
throughout the year to produce grapes of high quality.
Low yields coupled with removal of leaves at the bunch
area and continual canopy management produce optimal
fruit flavor grapes. Average yield 6,5 ton/ha.
Individual vineyard parcels were fermented separately and
pumped over regularly for soft and elegant tannin
extraction. After the wines are pressed off skins, they are
racked into barrel for undergoing malolactic fermentation.
After 14 months in new French oak and one year old
barrels, the wine is bottled without fining or filtration.
Total Acidity 3,44 g/l
PH 3,58 – Residual Sugar 2,2 g/l
Deep purple color. Aromatic in the nose, natural herbs and
spiciness dominating the fresh flavor of this wine. Typical
notes of Upper Maipo valley distinguish this blend,
tobacco, earthiness and mineral notes.
Complex, elegant and long lasting in the palate.
Wine Spectator – “Crushed black cherry and blackberry mix with earthy tobacco, smoke and licorice notes. Full-bodied, with medium tannins and a long, smoky finish.
94 points – Best Red Blend – Descorchados Wine Guide, 2008, Chile
92 points- Wine & Spirits magazine
90 points- Wine Spectator
Link to their website: http://www.harasdepirque.com/vina/historia?lang=en
HENSCHKE “KEYNETON EUPHONIUM”
“….explodes from the nose with lifted cherry, blackberry and mulberry notes over suggestions of licorice, sandalwood, bay leaves and cedar.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com, June 2015
TASTING NOTES: Deep crimson in color with an intense nose of ripe mulberry, plum, blue and black berry fruits and anise that gives way to underlying floral violet notes and hints of cassis, sage and pepper spice. The beautifully balanced palate shows layers of sweet, concentrated fruit and texture, with fine-grained tannins for a long and elegant finish.
Keyneton Euphonium 2012
65% shiraz, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot and 5% cabernet franc grown in the
Barossa (Eden Valley and Barossa Valley).
Harvest Date: 2 March-20 April | Alcohol: 14% | pH: 3.5 | Acidity: 6.69g/L
Matured in 15% new and 85% seasoned (90% French and 10% American) oak hogsheads for
18 months prior to blending and bottling.
The Barossa hills village of Keyneton, pioneered by pastoralist Joseph Keynes in 1842, was
a musical and cultural focus for the early settlers, and was home to the Henschke Family
Brass Band and the Henschke winery. The Henschke Family Band was founded in 1888 by
Paul Gotthard Henschke and later led by third-generation Paul Alfred Henschke, and
featured wonderful wind instruments such as a B flat euphonium, cornet and E flat clarinet.
The B flat euphonium, a large brass wind instrument, was made by the famous Zimmermann
factory in Leipzig, Germany, in the late 19th century. The instruments were imported by
musical entrepreneur, Carl Engel of Adelaide in the late 1900s and have been lovingly
restored and remain in the Henschke family.
The La Niña pattern weakened during the lead-up to the 2012 vintage, resulting in below
average winter and spring rainfall. July was the driest since the major drought of 2003.
Spring was mild with few frost events. However, flowering and fruit set were affected by wet
drizzly weather in mid to late November, leading to only average yields. Summer was also
surprisingly mild with below average temperatures from southerlies off the ocean in January
and only two short heat events at New Year and the end of February. This provided for
slow ripening which allowed for intense fruit flavors, high color figures, high acidity and
mature tannins. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall
events in late January and late February, which tied in well with the natural physiology of the
dry-grown vines (i.e. keeping leaves active at veraison and ripening). Temperatures were mild
during harvest through March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long
window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties.
Standout varieties were riesling, showing delightful aromatics, purity, intensity, excellent
acidity and length of flavor; and shiraz, showing great purity and spice, color, intensity
and strikingly mature tannins. Yields were average with exceptional overall quality.
Deep crimson in color. An intense nose of ripe mulberry, plum, blue and black berry fruits
and anise gives way to underlying floral violet notes and hints of cassis, sage and pepper spice.
The beautifully balanced palate shows layers of sweet, concentrated fruit and texture, with fine
-grained tannins for a long and elegant finish.
Link to website: http://henschke.com.au/keyneton-euphonium.html