Current six-pack offering: Do Bianchi Summer

This is Do Bianchi’s second 6-pack offering. San Diego residents can either pick up their wine or have it delivered free of charge. I’ll FedEx the wine to everyone else.

Above: Patrizia and Dora of Sanguineto (Montepulciano). See below…

The response to the last email was great: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT WITH THIS NASCENT PROJECT!!! And please feel free to forward this to anyone you like!

Do Bianchi Summer Offering — great for barbecue and summer sipping

TO ORDER, JUST SEND ME AN EMAIL BY CLICKING HERE.

6 wines for summer — $156.00 plus tax, shipping, and handling

Lini Lambrusco Rosso “Labrusca” Non Vintage
Lini Lambrusco Rosé “Cerasa” Non Vintage
Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano 2004
Sanguineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004
Michel Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage “Petite Ruche” Blanc 2007
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes-du-Rhône “La Redonne” Blanc 2007

Lini Lambrusco Rosso “Labrusca” Non Vintage
Lini Lambrusco Rosé “Cerasa” Non Vintage

Emilia Romagna, Italy

If you read Do Bianchi (and/or have tasted wine with me at any time over the last 2 years), you know that Alicia Lini and Lini Lambrusco have played a big part in my life. I discovered these wines back in 2007 when my then boss, Nicola Marzovilla, sent me and colleague Jim Hutchinson to Italy as a bonus for a banner year at his restaurants and wine shop in NYC (I was his marketing director). Dissatisfied with the Lambrusco available in the U.S., we were determined to find a great wine to bring here. On a fateful evening in Pieve di Cento (near Bologna) on a cold February night, Jim, Dindo and Puddu (two of my best friends in Italy), and I dined at Ristorante Buriani and I grilled Gilberto Buriani about what he thought were the best Lambruscos being produced. He gave me five names and over the next two days, Jim and I tasted all the wines. But it was the effervescent Alicia (who, since that time, has become a dear friend), who won us over with a champagne-method Lambrusco: a hand-crafted Lambrusco made like Champagne, double-fermented in bottle. Anyone who put that much love into Lambrusco, I thought, had the right stuff to make great Lambrusco for the U.S. and the wines were FANTASTIC. During my years as a student in Italy, I spent a lot of time in Emilia Romagna where Lambrusco is a sine qua non of any culinary experience. I know me some Lambrusco and these wines are dear to my heart because I had a hand in introducing them to the U.S.

They are low in alcohol, with natural fruit flavors, and very fresh on the nose and on the palate (Lini bottles the wine destined for the U.S. only when an order is placed by the importer, my old boss). The red is deliciously meaty, with grapey flavors and a gentle fizziness that makes it my FAVORITE barbecue wine (would go great with Uncle Tim’s Memphis style pork ribs). The rosé is more elegant, with some tannic structure: it is made from what I believe is the most noble of Lambrusco clones, Sorbara (named after the village). I love both of these wines and Tracie B and I often start our meal at Jaynes Gastropub with a glass of Lini (and I poured Lini at Jayne and Jon’s wedding where I officiated!).

Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano 2004
Sanguineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004

Tuscany, Italy

The wines made by Dora and Patrizia in Montepulciano are another case of wines I cannot live without. A wine colleague of mine in Los Angeles turned me on to their wines last year — he knows I like my wine natural and stinky — and when I traveled to Italy in September, I called them up out of the blue and they were gracious enough to let me come out to the winery and taste with them. They live together and make wine on the humble estate that Dora inherited from her father in the village of Sanguineto in the easternmost part of the Montepulciano appellation. These are humble, truly salt-of-the-earth folks and there is a lot of love between them and a lot of love in the wines they make. The process is entirely natural: they grow grapes, they press them, and then they let them ferment (alcoholic and malolactic fermentation) in inert cement vats and age in tartrate-lined wooden casks with no intervention whatsoever. The resulting wines — in my opinion — are among the best expressions of Vino Nobile made today (even though they have no marketing machine, beyond my humble email list, behind them and their wines). In both the Rosso di Montepulciano (made from younger vines) and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Dora and Patrizia use only indigenous Tuscan grape varieties: Sangiovese Grosso (known as Prugnolo Gentile in Montepulciano), Canaiolo, and Mammolo. As many Montepulciano producers are beginning to “Merlotize” their wines (if you read Do Bianchi, you may have seen some of my posts and my translations of Franco’s posts asking Tuscan winemakers to “just say no to Merlot”), Dora and Patrizia are among the last few Mohicans standing, making awesome, terroir-driven, truly natural wines. When I visited them last year and photographed them, Dora looked lovingly at Patrizia and said, “this is the first time anyone has ever taken a picture of us together.” I felt honored. When Tracie B saw the post I did on them, she commented: “if Willie Nelson had a sister, it would be Dora.” I love the ladies and I love their wines.

The classic and traditional pairing for these wines is grilled meat, ideally grilled Porterhouse steak, served blood rare — al sangue. These are my top picks for well-priced expressions of awesome Sangiovese to pair with grills this summer. I just can’t tell you how much I dig their wine: natural red fruit and plum flavors matched by bright acidity and balanced tannin. Perfect for steak.

I recently posted on Sanguineto in the 31 Days of Natural wine here.

You can see the pictures I took of them there. I bet you can tell which was the one that Dora liked so much!

Michel Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage “Petite Ruche” Blanc 2007
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes-du-Rhône “La Redonne” Blanc 2007

Rhône Valley, France

I wanted to round off the Summer Offering with a couple of affordable white wines by two iconic French winemakers whose wines I have loved over the years.

Michele Chapoutier stunned the world of French winemaking in the 1990s when he decided to convert his family’s world-famous estate in the Northern Rhône Valley to biodynamic farming — when only a handful of small, artisanal French winemakers were doing biodynamic farming in the Loire valley. This bottling of 100% Marsanne is light in body, fresh on the nose, and has warm fruit in the mouth. It’s a fantastic aperitif white and is PERFECT to go with shellfish — like the freshly steamed clams Tracie B and I had at the Bay Park Fish Company in San Diego a few weeks ago. Steamed clams and mussels, grilled seafood, any type of marinated seafood (like ceviche), and even lighter grilled fish will go GREAT with this wine. I have had the great fortune to taste older vintages of Chapoutier’s legendary white bottlings from the Rhône (most memorably from the famous Hermitage vineyard). There’s no way I could afford to if it weren’t for the generosity of a few wine collectors I know. This is one of Michel’s more easy-going white wines but it still retains the class, style, and passion for winemaking that he holds dear. After all, you can’t drink 1991 Hermitage white every day. Seriously, this is a great easy-drinking white wines for your summer of 2009.

Jean-Luc Colombo is another one of France’s iconic winemakers, known for his marriage of natural grape-growing techniques and terroir-driven philosophy with contemporary, cutting-edge winemaking technology. This is another example of a fresh, light, clean and naturally fruity wine from the Northern Rhône — this time from Viognier grapes (about 70%) and Roussane (about 30%), another excellent pairing for summer shellfish and other seafood. A lot of Viognier (including that made in France and California) is done in a big, oaky “unctuous” style. Those wines can be amazing and are intended for long-term (and I mean LONG) aging (at least the French wines). This expression is intended for drinking now, with a good balance of freshness, fruit, and bright acidity. Note that the alcohol content is about 13%: a perfect food-friendly white for the lighter meals of summer time. Grilled or fried calamari would be my DREAM pairing.

TO ORDER, JUST SEND ME AN EMAIL BY CLICKING HERE.

Please come taste with me at Jaynes Gastropub’s first-annual San Diego Natural Wine Summit Sunday August 9

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