December 2021 | Enthusiast Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Malat 2019 Ried Hohlgraben Gruner Veltliner
From the Importer
It is never easy to fill the shoes of a powerful and polarizing figure, like Gerald Malat. Gerald’s tall, handsome and forever smiling son, is doing just that. In fact, the shoe size seems to have gotten even bigger under Michael’s direction. The previous level has been elevating under Michael’s eagle-like eyes which have set him on his upward climb. There is something extraordinary and unique about the expression of these vineyards under Michael’s direction. Even the entry-level wines find absolute deliciousness and express enough intellect to enamor us wine geeks. There is a range of yellow fruits and spiciness that walks you through a stone fruit grove and into a baker’s shop first thing in the morning. These wines seem to be born with a natural gravitation towards the highest level and each vintage seems to trump the previous one. The limit of the quality this estate is churning out has not yet been established.
The longevity on the wine is remarkable, showing well into day three. The fruit for this wine comes from wind-blown glacial material that gives rise to perfumed, delicate lemon oils, light golden apple, and a kiss of very distant neutral oak to round out a silk-like acidity. Later in the evening the wine starts to show waving tropical tones of pineapple, orgeat, and saffron in a manner that seems to eb from the back of your palate to the front. The wine finishes with honey crystallized on sourdough, pollen, and ripping salinity as time goes on. Overall, I prefer this wine 5-8 hours after opening. For food pairings I suggest polenta, sauteed chanterelles, or savory quiche. Drink now – 2030.
Madonna delle Grazie 2015 Bauccio Aglianico
From The Source Imports
Terroir: A sub-parcel of the Liscone vineyard, the soil here is exclusively black volcanic clay and volcanic elements with a soft volcanic tuff layer about 60-70cm below the surface. Tuff is a combination of sand compacted with pyroclastic material, and each volcanic region and subzone has its own combination of minerals and bedrock structure. By comparison to the wine bottled as Liscone, the topsoil inside this same vineyard has little to no tuff in its black volcanic clay topsoil. It takes another week or so to ripen fully despite being next to all the vines for the Liscone wine due to the soil depth and the creek nearby. It is usually picked in the last week of October.
Vinification: All the grapes are destemmed and crushed before its natural fermentation that lasts between 25-34 days, depending on the tannin level of the vintage. Extractions are made daily, with more in the beginning than the end, and the peak temperatures range between 30-35°C which is a consequence of the higher sugar level, which is higher here than the Liscone wine which maxes around 28-32°C. The higher temperatures and the longer maceration extract more tannins from the seeds, but with the longer time on skins and seeds the tannins reach a point where they begin to polymerize and become softer before the aging process. Malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in the spring and sulfites are added after that.
Aging: Once the grapes are pressed, they are settled in stainless steel tank for 7-10 days then racked off the gross less and back into stainless for 2 years. After stainless aging, they are put in 500-liter French oak barrels with 80% of them new for 3-4 years! Interestingly, after this lengthy time in wood its presence within the wine becomes notably absent by the time it is bottled. After its aging in wood, it is racked back into stainless steel for at least six months before bottling. Eventually they will incorporate more time in old foudre (25hl) as well. The wine is lightly filtered but not fined.
On the pop the wine is smokey, dried thyme, and dried lavender. There are reductive tones of rubber tires, wet asphalt alongside marionberry and thyme oils. This wine is built like a brickhouse and yet still so wound-up upon opening, so give it time to open. After 15+ minutes the nose opens to potpourri, purple flowers, and an almost candle like generosity. The tannins are fine and chalk like and fade to a palate of cedar, plum leather, currants and rosemary. On day two the wine integrates with the reduction and is expressing as mushroom and wet earth with eucalyptus and pencil shavings. The tannins have integrated well, and the wine is showing very well today. I imagine this wine would show well into day three, though I doubt it will make it that far. For food pairings we want something savory and fatty to bring out the quiet fruit profile of the wine – think beef wellington or shepherd’s pie. The drinking window here is broad – drink now until 2036, serve in an all-purpose glass, and serve at cellar temperature.
Desire Petit Cremant du Jura Brut
Baby champagne, hooray! Or it drinks like it. This Cremant du Jura is 100% Chardonnay from the Arbois region of Jura, France. The nose is so tight with notes of lemon oil, white flowers, and Thai lime flowers alongside pineapple candies. The palate has tons of minerality in the form of sourdough starter, salted green apple skins, and sea salt and the notes linger on for days…The acid is prevalent, but certainly not abrasive and the flavors evolve to saffron and cumin given some air, temperature, and time. Drink just above refrigeration, serve alongside light appetizers, and drink now – 2026.