Southern Italian Six-Pack

Above: Giampaolo Venica has become a good friend. When we’re not talking about wine, we talk about Pasolini and his legacy in Friuli (where Giampaolo and his family live). His Terre di Balbia is 100% Magliocco raised in Calabria (how about that, wine geeks?), one of my favorite wines of 2011. See notes below. I’ve just confirmed that he and I are going to be hosting a dinner at Sotto in Los Angeles on Weds. June 22.

SOUTHERN ITALIAN SIX-PACK

Villa Matilde 2009 Falanghina
Benanti 2008 Etna Bianco Bianco di Caselle
Benanti 2007 Etna Rosso Rosso di Verzella
Gulfi 2009 Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Terre di Balbia 2009 Balbium Rosso
Pietracupa 2007 Quirico

$121 (plus tax, shipping, and handling if applicable)

Free delivery for San Diego residents.
Pick up available for Los Angeles Residents.

TO ORDER, SEND ME AN EMAIL BY CLICKING HERE.

This year has already been “my year in Southern Italian wine”: in February, I visited Puglia for the first time; I authored a Southern Italian wine list for my friends at Sotto in Los Angeles; next month I’m leading and seminar and tasting of Southern Italian wines at the Atlanta Food & Wine festival; and in early June I’m heading back to Puglia to sit as a judge in a native grape variety competition. (I’ll be working the floor at Sotto, btw, Weds.-Thurs., May 4-5, so please come by and taste with me and let me pour you some wine!)

Southern Italian wine is SEXY: there are more interesting wines coming out of Southern Italy than ever before, the fine wine world is buzzing about the caliber and quality of the wines to be produced there (if one more person compares Mt. Etna to Burgundy, I’m gonna heave!), and Southern Italian wines continue to represent the greatest value for fine wine in the world today (there is no doubt in my mind about this).

All of the wines in the current offering (except for the Benanti) are currently featured on the list at Sotto (at the restaurant, we try to carry only one label from each producer and so in Benanti’s case, it’s one of the winery’s top bottlings of 100% Nerello Mascaelese). Please see my notes below and I know that when you taste these wines, you will be blown away — as I am — by their originality, their food-friendliness and downright deliciousness, and the incredible value (about $20 average bottle cost).

Villa Matilde 2009 Falanghina

Acidity! (Let me say it one more time) ACIDITY! This wine has the zing and the pop that Tracie P and I look for in wines that we drink at home. Falanghina has been cultivated in Campania since antiquity (a favorite of the 1st century Romans, btw) and this clean, bright wine is very true to its variety. White stone fruit, bright acidity… I love it and could drink it every day.

Benanti 2008 Etna Bianco Bianco di Caselle

I first tasted the wines of Benanti from Mt. Etna (Sicily) about 6 years ago in New York. Today, Mt. Etna has become one of the sexiest places on earth for fine wine. Benanti’s wines are all about elegance, focus, and clarity… This is a 100% Carricante (white) grown on the high slopes of Mt. Etna (some of the highest growing zones in Europe), where the volcanic soils impart an incredibly delicious minerality — I would even say saltiness — to the wines.

Above: One of my favorite posts over at the blog this year was “My Olive Bread Gas Station Epiphany,” which took place in Puglia.

Benanti 2007 Etna Rosso Rosso di Verzella

A 100% Nerello Mascalese. Again, look for wonderful minerality here, extreme focus and elegance, and one of the best red wines I’ve tasted in 2011.

Gulfi 2009 Cerasuolo di Vittoria

This wine is the staff favorite and top seller at Sotto. A blend of Nero d’Avola (which imparts tannic structure) and Frappato (which balances the former with red and berry fruit flavors), there is no better way to describe this wine than YUMMY! It’s got that wonderful lightness of body and just enough tannin to make it my favorite red wine to pair with seafood (one of the reasons it’s so popular at Sotto). Cerasuolo di Vittoria is made in the township of Vittoria in the province of Ragusa in the southeast of Sicily.

Terre di Balbia 2009 Balbium Rosso

This wine is made from 100% Magliocco on the Calabrian estate where the Venica family raises its olive oil. This is perhaps the most original and striking wine I’ve tasted in 2011. Gently tannic and with generous fruit, this wine has a mouthfeel and weight to it that you need to experience to full wrap your mind around it. It has a wonderful chewiness and a brightness that delightfully surprised me. As with the family’s Friulian estate, Giampaolo’s wines are all about freshness and clean fruit. Here earth and fruit come together in a way that I know will surprise and thrill you. We do it by the glass at Sotto and we can’t keep it in stock!

Pietracupa 2007 Quirico

This is a 100% Aglianico from Avellino — the town of Paternopoli to be exact, from the San Quirico neighborhood (hence the name, after the 4th century Christian martyr Quiricus). I didn’t want this six-pack to get too expensive but I wanted to make sure there was an Aglianico in it and this wine is another staff favorite at Sotto. It’s vinified in a lighter style, with shorter maceration time, thus making it less tannic than the winery’s Taurasi (one of the greatest expressions of Aglianico). I love the approachability and the freshness of this wine and it’s my go-to pairing for the heavier meat dishes at the restaurant. Great stuff… I know you will love it as much as I do!

SOUTHERN ITALIAN SIX-PACK

Villa Matilde 2009 Falanghina
Benanti 2008 Etna Bianco Bianco di Caselle
Benanti 2007 Etna Rosso Rosso di Verzella
Gulfi 2009 Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Terre di Balbia 2009 Balbium Rosso
Pietracupa 2007 Quirico

$121 (plus tax, shipping, and handling if applicable)

Free delivery for San Diego residents.
Pick up available for Los Angeles Residents.

TO ORDER, SEND ME AN EMAIL BY CLICKING HERE.

2 Comments

Filed under Six Pack

2 responses to “Southern Italian Six-Pack

  1. Nice 6 pack, Jeremy. I drool over the Benanti and Gulfi wines in particular.

    It irks me no end that Southern Italian wines get so little respect here. Often the reviews are grudging and condescending, and retail buyers especially are too often content to follow the points herd.

    This is God’s work 😉 !

    • Benanti and Gulfi are amazing. There are so many fantastic wines that are eclipsed in the U.S. by Tuscany and Piedmont. Thanks for the kind words man! Un abbraccio J

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