I may have made a vital mistake with this wine... it was so good 5 years ago I decided to let all of my bottles age for the 5 years I suspected it'd take to really begin to come around. However, it was drinking so well five years ago that despite the fact that I thought it'd improve there really was no reason not to go hog wild with them. Anyway, onto the note of the second bottle of this that I've opened. On a pop and pour this was showing quite a bit of aged funky notes, but luckily most of this blew off after 30 minutes. The wine has now been in the glass an hour. Color is very dark, with a little haunting blood color to it. Aromas are lovely, showing some strong, deep fruit tones, but this is balanced nicely with heavy graphite and wet stone notes. The palate texture is quite elegant and soft, on the lighter end of the spectrum, but soft and pretty. The flavors are smooth and graceful showing blueberry notes, but this time a little older, with complete acidity and on the lighter end of tannins. Moderate to light acid on the finish, this is now showing more middle mature fruit tones that are muted in comparison to the expression five years ago. Tannins are present but integrated quite finely, and certainly not imposing or in the way as with the original bottle. The finish is actually quite less expressive than the first bottle was, almost feeling tired compared to that exuberant wine. This is most certainly a lovely wine today, just not near the example it was on release. I'll probably get into another bottle in the next year to confirm this sampling. If this bottle is representative I won't hesitate to begin regular consumption.
This wine, a "ringer", was tasted in what was to have been single-blind fashion at Vintage Wines, Ltd. (Veneto/Fruili-Venezia Guilia theme tasting). The bottle was kindly provided by John Pollack, and was serially tasted over a two-hour period. The robe is opaque ruby and the nose shows explosive aromas of ripe plums, earth, iron and cherries. Full-bodied on the palate, with low-to-medium acidity and big sweet tannins. The flavors are luscious and primarily those of ripe plums and tart cherries. The middle palate is full and the finish is very long and smooth. Simply beautiful! Drink now-12/20.
Yup... this wine rules. Popped and poured. In glass one hour. Nice, dark garnet color. Nose is beautiful Italy, showing graphite, chalk, soil, black raspberry, flint, a freshly built barn, and blueberry seeds (what, you've never de-seeded a blueberry?). Beautiful stuff. I could smell this for days. The beauty continues to the palate where this shows quite a bit of minerality, violets, dirt clod, bigger, vibrant fruits (blueberry, strawberry, maybe even some cranberry), with very nice integration of acid and tannin. The transition to the finish is sheer class, as a velvet drape envelops the palate leaving a mix of charcoal, red and blue fruits, minerals, some cracked pepper, and just lasts and lasts on the tongue... more than the flavors, this wine is about class with seamless beauty throughout. I think this will become a rock star in 10 years, but it is so gorgeous today it will be hard to keep my hands off the remaining bottles. The 6 I have is not enough...
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I apologize for so many offers today but I know these will despair in a heartbeat and many of you have asked for them over the past 3-6 months.
A few choice arrivals appeared this afternoon that are too limited to present on their own. All would have been major offers in their own right but quantities are too small (we only have 5-10 cases of each - please be patient with Niki here). This is a beautiful list of wines and all three deserve to be in the finest cellars. All are VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for their genre.
All have arrived - this is not a pre-arrival:
2007 Chateau de la Tuilerie "Eole" Blanc (Nimes) EXTREMELY LIMITED The Eole has a tremendous amount of hype behind it and the chatter may be justified - it is supposedly the Chapoutier Cuvee de l'Oree of the South for $35 instead of $150-200. Produced by Chantal Comte from Rolle, Clairette, Viognier and a mÄlange of traditional varietals, this wine has the highest of aspirations and it's been known to fool those with the most experienced palates. Based on the antique shape and dark color of the Bouloutar bottle alone (which is not only unusual for a white wine but rarely seen since the late 1800's), we are in for something that is not the norm. This is an explosive 2007 Rhone that will put many Hermitage blanc to shame. From what is considered a perfect growing season in the Nimes (for red and white varietals), cooling northern winds helped the white wines achieve an enviable acid/extract balance that Chantal Comte has harnessed in the Eole, her top achievement. I'm not sure I would go as far as l'Oree but they are certainly on to something that deserves much closer scrutiny. Named for Chantal's great uncle, who invented the flying machine in 1889 ahead of the Wright Brothers (the Eole), if you are into the most unusual and the rarest wines, here you go. 335 cases produced - only 10 cases for the entire US market (120 bottles - not kidding). Don't be confused by listings for the the Eole Rouge from Tuilerie, it is more available and not as good as the Blanc.
2005 Fattoria Cabanon "Corvitis" Riserva EXTREMELY LIMITED We've had so many re-order requests for this wine that I stopped saying "Maybe" and replaced it with "No". Last night we received the last of it - there is no additional wine to be had in Italy or the US. With that said, the Corvitis has taken on a life of its own since we offered it over the winter - look up whatever TN's you need to (even on our own Forum), but this wine has quickly established itself as one of the preeminent wines in all of Italy (and it remains completely unknown by the US critics). I'm not even going to reference my original offer - we could only obtain a few extra cases and those that have tasted it will stand in line for whatever they can get their hands on (including me). I will honor the original price even though we had to pay more (a lot more) than the first time.
2004 Vodopivec Vitovska (Friuli) EXTREMELY LIMITED Ditto for this wine, one that struck a chord the first time we offered it in the fall of 2008. I gave up trying to find a subsequent parcel but I finally found one a few weeks ago. If you are into Frank Cornelissen, Comte Peraldi and Movia, this is one of the most unique vinous concoctions that exists in the world and it fits in nicely among its eccentric stablemates:
I was first introduced to this wine in Milan last year where it was given as a gift to a long-time friend of mine who resides in the city (but is also the owner of one of Tuscany's most famous estates). He had been saving it for my arrival and (to be honest) I had never heard of it.
After tasting the wine and listening to the explanation of its creation, it was obvious that this was one of the finest and most important wines being produced in Italy. Exaggeration? No. Never heard of it? That's because they only produce 200-300 cases (only in exceptional years) and all of the proceeds go to foster the arts in Italy (i.e. - no exporter/importer is involved, thus no marketing, thus no need for scores, thus no publicity - all of this equals something of true rarity that gets by on the contents of the bottle and its philanthropy not by blowing smoke or hype).
Produced in the mostly unknown Oltrepo Pavese (a cousin district to the Langhe that straddles the border of Piedmont and Lombardy) from one of the oldest non-interventionist heritage's in Europe, this parcel of land has been farmed organically long before it was fashionable, since before WWI. Over nearly a century, Cabanon never bowed to the pressures of the chemical salesman (especially in the 1960s and 1970s) who came around with "wonder products" that would increase tonnage and allow more time off (if all the pests on the vines and living organisms in the soil were killed off, the farmer could take more time off with his/her family). That was a very tempting proposition for most workers of the land, and few could be faulted for taking the option - Cabanon never did so and the Corvitis is the result of 95 years of clean soil and old vines.
Elena Mercandelli is the proprietor, picker, winemaker, taster and head of Cabanon and the Corvitis Riserva. Her intentions for this wine were forward thinking from the start. It was coddled from bud-break to foster health and well-being by pressing the highest levels of natural resveratrol from the skin tannins as possible - all with a goal of donating the proceeds to the Italian Foundation for Masters of the Arts. With one fell swoop, she wished to improve the well-being of the consumer (with a heart-healthy wine) and of the society she lives in by improving the arts - now that's a wine-related philanthropist that deserves recognition for her vision.
Produced from the obscure indigenous varietals of Croatina, UVA Rara and Vespolina (with a small addition of Barbera - more in line with Braida quality not everyday quality), the Corvitis Riserva is an incredible wine experience. It drinks like a cross between a naturally produced, high-impact La Morra Barolo and Bricco dell'Uccellone - it is one of the finest Italian wines I've tasted in 2008 and 2009. If you want to slather your palate with some of the purest, juice-filled red fruit tones in the world (with gorgeous tannins), the Corvitis will transport you in a heartbeat to this landscape due north of Genoa. This wine allows one to actually taste what fresh, unadulterated, organic grapes are like in world-class wine form - It's persona changes back and forth over many hours and is a ride my friend and I were more than happy to take with rich Porcini risotto (the wine was even better the next day).
While Cabanon claims it is the highest rated organically produced wine in the history of Italian wine journalism (a lofty sentiment) I cannot find the source of that information (I don't think they would make that claim if it wasn't accurate)? I believe it was also listed in Gambero Rosso's "100 Greatest Italian Wines".
The Corvitis is very easy to support. It is exemplary in quality and it has a distinct reason for being. There are so many wines that have no purpose other than moving money around but this wine lives and breaths its soul with a purpose a mile wide (and that is not a GOTT comment = Garagiste Over The Top). It was only distributed to a few famous retailers in Italy (like Peck in Milan) and/or offered at the winery. We were also required to pay the full asking price (I felt it was out of line to ask for any discounts - that is not really the point).
For more information, this pretty much says it all: http://www.cabanon.it/eng/vini.asp?p=31
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for truth in the vinous pursuit of excellence and actual rarity as opposes to market "created" rarity (a la the First Growths).
ONE SHIPMENT ONLY for export - 600 bottles for export outside of Italy (300 bottles for US retail)
2005 Corvitis Riserva (Cabanon) (this isn't something you need to do comparison shopping for - that's not really the issue)