I want to draw your attention to one of the great wines of Italy, considered to be at the same level of recognition and collectability as Masseto and Messorio, Sassicaia and Solaia. The wine is D’Alceo, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petite Verdot, from Castello dei Rampolla.
Castello dei Rampolla, owned by the Di Napoli family since 1739, is managed today by the brother and sister team Maurizia and Luca. They have farmed the entire estate biodynamically since 1994. The vines for D’Alceo were planted in 1993 and are bush trained, with very low yields.
Luca says that with this D’Alceo he attempts “powerful balance”, and that pretty succinctly sums it up. The 2009 is drop-dead gorgeous, with remarkable purity of fruit and a mouthfeel that has to be experienced to be believed.
There is a lovely floral/violet note surrounding the black cherry and plum fruit, with accents of mint, licorice and Italian herbs. As I said, it is on the palate where the wine really sings, and the finish seems to last forever.
We were able to source a special allocation of the 2009 vintage to offer at an attractive and competitive price, exclusively for DouxVin subscribers. With ten years of age the wine is showing all of the depth and breadth you would expect and is just entering its window of drinkability.
-Peter Neptune, Master Sommelier
Pricing $495/3-Pack - tax and delivery included
This is a wine that can be consumed now and for the next 20 years. It would be a welcome, and in my opinion, necessary, addition to any serious wine cellar.
This wine is a revelation. I tasted it last week at a Tuscan wine dinner that I presented, and, while I have had past vintages of the wine, this was the first time that I tasted the 2017. I first visited the estate around 12 years ago. Owned for centuries by the Venerosi Pesciolini family, Tenuta Ghizzano is a beautiful 350 hectare property near the coast of Tuscany devoted to farming cereals, olives, and grapevines. The entire estate is certified Organic and the grapes are grown Biodynamically. The 2017 Bianco is a blend of Vermentino, Trebbiano, and Malvasia. The Trebbiano and Malvasia saw a brief maceration on the skins, drawing out a lovely golden color. The nose is super expressive of almond blossom, golden apple, pear, and dried herbs. It is on the palate that this wine really shines. The mouthfeel is simply gorgeous, with a full, generous texture that envelops the palate. It is both refined and expressive, with tree fruit flavors framed by dried honey and almond. This is a stunning white wine of purity and depth that belies its price point. Buy by the case at this price!
-Peter Neptune, Master Sommelier
My pick this week is a wonderful Pinot Noir from the Brittan Vineyard, located in the McMinnville AVA of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Brittan vineyard is comprised of roughly 28 acres of hillside vineyard on fractured basalt soils. The Gestalt block is a tiny section of southwest-facing vines that bear the brunt of the wind that comes in from the Van Duzer Corridor, resulting in small, concentrated berries, and a yield of only 1 ton per acre. I tasted this wine for the first time last week and it was a revelation. A medium ruby in color, the wine has expressive aromas of black raspberry and plum, with truffle, dried sage and anise. It is on the palate that this Pinot Noir really expresses itself, with deep fruit and a distinct volcanic minerality, enveloped by a gorgeous, velvet mouthfeel and very fine-grained tannins. This is at once intellectual and sensual. A truly outstanding wine that is drinking perfectly now and will cellar for up to 10 years. Only 370 cases produced. Congratulations to winemaker Robert Brittan for this great effort.
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is, without question, the premier growing area in the United States for the noble Riesling grape. Forge Cellars' first vintage was in 2011, and they have amassed a litany of positive press since then, making the Top 100 List of Wine Spectator last year with their Riesling Classique (Winemaker Louis Barruol had the distinction of landing two wines in the Top 100 – the Forge Riesling at #31 and his Ch. de St. Cosme Gigondas at #5!)
Forge Cellars is made up of three like-minded and passionate friends with a common goal: to grow grapes and handcraft wines of interest and value that perfectly balance minerality, aromatics and fruit to reflect the exceptional Finger Lakes terroir. Each vintage is viewed as an opportunity to express the region — to reflect its soils, its cool climate and hillside lake terroirs.
Forge Cellars represents everything I and DouxVin love about wine – family owned estates, meticulous winegrowing and winemaking; organic farming and every single aspect is performed by hand – harvesting, sorting, pressing…everything.
The winery produces three Dry Rieslings. The Classique is their most important wine, and speaks of the terroir of East Seneca Lake, the style of Forge and the pure expression of each vintage. The Single Vineyard wine is a selection of a specific barrel lot where the vintage and the vineyard come together to express something special. The Les Allies is the result of meticulous barrel selection, where individual wines have evolved under natural, slow fermentation to reveal a unique personality and character.
2016 Forge Cellars Riesling Classique: bright medium gold. Lime zest, peach and fresh pear aromas segue to beautifully crisp, clean palate that focuses on ripe lime and mandarin flavors. This is indeed dry, with a refreshing minerality and lots of back-end depth. An outstanding Riesling that would pair well with Asian flavors and smoked salmon or trout.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Sawmill Creek Vineyard: only 100 cases produced of this terroir-driven wine. Medium gold, this has notes of dried honey and hazelnuts, with apricot and lime on the palate. Again, absolutely dry, with a rich mouthfeel framing steely minerality. This would pair well with fish dishes like trout or swordfish.
2015 Forge Cellars Riesling Les Allies: bright gold, with yellow highlights. This has notes of golden apple and tangerine, with an nice almond blossom overtone. This is brilliantly focused, with lime and tangerine flavors and a hint of nectarine. Again, bone dry, and that racy minerality lasts throughout the long finish.
These wines are stunning examples of Dry Riesling made with meticulous care. They are eminently drinkable today and will reward 3-5 years of cellaring, where their complexity and depth will emerge even further.