As the Sun went down in the city, I was lucky enough to taste of the most delicious and totally unique wines from Romania. Yes, from Balla Géza Winery @ballageza16 in Romania. One white, one red. And no, vampires don’t jump out of the bottles! Thanks to this lady @orshi.kiss you’ll be drinking them soon as well. They’re both delicious, fun, and affordable. I’m hoping they land on your by the glass list and I’ll be right over to drink.
The white: 2016 Mustoasă de Măderat & The Red: 2015 Fetească Neagră
Web: Blue Danube Wine
GRAPE: Cabernet Franc REGION: Finger Lakes COUNTRY: USA AVE PRICE: $20
I have a soft spot for New York State wines. Could be the Finger Lakes, could be Long Island, or even Hudson River. Over the years I’ve had my share of @ravineswine. The 2015 Cab Franc is good, a bit round and balanced, albeit a bit safe and maybe a bit rigid. This is a wine that’s done the RIGHT thing in life. It’s gone to college and gotten a good job. Has a proper hair cut and pays it’s bills on time. It has dinner with it’s family and goes to bed early. I’ll drink it again one day I’m sure, but I wish it would relax and run wild through the vineyard. Sometimes a boy just wants to have fun.
WEB: Ravines Wine Cellars
GRAPE: Aglianico REGION: Campagnia COUNTRY: Italy AVE PRICE: $29
Before spending the evening with Drogone. I had a previous late night encounter with Cantina Giardino’s 2006 Nude. The Nude is confident and seductive. Deep purple in color and fragrant. It’s a bit slutty, yet pure. The Nude is President, which makes the 2012 Drogone the Secretary of Defense. Like the Nude, Drogone gives you depth, confidence, and provides palate security. This wine has a solid well defined lines. There is layer upon layer of flavor. Musky and a bit herbal. Some black fruit and charcoal. The vines are old as chaos. Grown on volcanic soils. And aged 4 years in chestnut barrels.
My favorite meal. This Aglinico’s acidic, tannic, and muscular structure calls for a bloody, well salted grilled piece of meat. Burn the meat. The saltiness and bitterness of the charred flesh combined with the bloody interior followed by a sip of Drogone with it’s slightly bitter finish is nothing short of ecstasy.
I love all the wines I’ve had from Cantina Giardino. Their wines feel pure. Well cared for from inception to graduation. They must be receiving a gentle and intelligent guidance to be so perfect.
WEB: Scuola di Vino
GRAPE: Schioppettino REGION: Friuli COUNTRY: Italy AVE PRICE: $55
A tiny sniff of this wine will not only brighten your day but also will send you deep into your memory bank. At leasts that’s what it did for me. I remember my great aunt greeting every single individual who walked into her restaurant with love. Her place was called Sergi’s Ice House and was located in Little Italy, Baltimore. Her father immigrated from Sicily at the turn of the Century. He arrived in Philadelphia and made his way to the Anthracite coal mines. I can’t begin to imagine the hell at these camps. The shit I like to complain about these days is cupcakes and daisies compared to that life. When telling his family about his experiences he told them that the coal mines, “It wasn’t for him”. He then moved on to Philadelphia and sold day old fruit out of a cart. One day his cart was hit by a vehicle and destroyed. The owner of the vehicle gave him some cash and he headed to Little Italy in Baltimore and started making cheese. The health authorities shut him down. So he then started a business delivering ice. That’s where my Aunt got the name for her restaurant, Sergi’s Ice House.
I remember how much love she showered every person who walked through the door. Her restaurant had a heart and a soul. She’d go from table to table in making sure everyone had what they wanted. I can still smell and taste of her salads, pasta, and last but not least, the pizza! And more than that I remember her strength, honesty, love, and amazing stories. She passed away on June 1, 2017 at the age of 99.
I found warm memories of family and love in Bressan’s 2011 Schioppettino. It’s charming and elegant. It’s philosophical. It’s beautiful and has a fragrance resonating of dried rose, pine, with a subtle herbaceousness. It would definitely be worn as a perfume. If wine-making is a dance with nature then drinking this wine should be like a slow dance with a lover. You’ll experience some dried rose, mint, spices, along with a delicateness of warm berries.
If you’re not down with decanting, you better drive this wine slow. An hour or two of air you’ll feel it penetrate every fiber of your body and soul. You’ll experience a velvety explosion of pleasure in your mouth. There is no spitting this juice. This wine is free jazz when it comes to expression. Although I do not know the winemaker personally, basing it on this wine alone, I have to believe he is man of great emotion and passion and possesses a special relationship to the land.
WEB: Scuola di Vino & Bressan
GRAPE: Blend REGION: San Diego County COUNTRY: USA AVE PRICE: N/A
Unlabeled bottles of wine are quite attractive, feel a bit dangerous, and taste better. That isn’t scientific, it’s just the way I feel. This bottle was the home vineyard project from the makers of Los Pilares @michaellospilares & @villamarta77 The grapes in this pretty juice were Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise, & Syrah. I had forgotten about this bottle. It had been sitting in a cool dark closet and it help up quite nicely. The juice was under a crown cap that wasn’t really on the bottle properly. But for whatever reasons held up wonderfully. Michael & Koleman have embarked on a great project planting a high elevation vineyard in the San Diego mountains. I’m excited about it and hope I’m around in the future to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Thank you both for sharing this lovely bottle of juice.
WEB: Los Pilares
GRAPE: Humagne REGION: Valais COUNTRY: Switzerland AVE PRICE: $46
I typically love Alpine wines. This an interesting wine. But on this day it wasn’t my favorite. This wine is made from a Swiss grape called Humagne Rouge (Cornalin). The grape is originally from Aosta Valley in Italy but now primarily grown in the Valais region of Switzerland.This particular wine is light in color, earthy, a bit rustic and has a solid structure. You can taste some cherry. You’ll get a touch herbal and peppery notes like in a Syrah, and at moments even reminded me ever so slightly of a well structured Pinot Noir.
WEB: Cave Caloz
GRAPE: Syrah REGION: Saint-Joseph COUNTRY: France AVE PRICE: $30
I was jonesing for a red yesterday after a long streak of mainly white, orange, and sparkling. It cooled down quite a bit last night making this a perfect re-introduction to reds. The Faury smells and taste of a beautiful spicy orgy of pepper, meats, and herbs. Considering how it’s dark and heavy in the glass but hits your mouth quite light. And all you tannin sissies can relax, they’re fine and will treat your mouth gently. It’s delicious. It has definitely put syrah back on my radar.
WEB: Domaine Faury