March 2023 | Enthusiast Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Ambra 2018 Carmignano
Fattoria Ambra has belonged to the Romei Rigoli family since 1870. The estate is located near the Ombrone river and the Villa Medicea of Poggio a Caiano. It is named after the poem “Ambra”, written in the 15th century by Lorenzo Il Magnifico. The vineyards are part of a 20 hectare estate in the hills of Montalbiolo, Elzana, Santa Cristina in Pilli and Montefortini, four of the most important Crus of Carmignano. DOCG Carmignano is bottled as “Riserva Le Vigne Alte di Montalbiolo”, “Riserva Elzana”, “Vigna di Montefortini” and “Vigna di Santa Cristina in Pilli”. The blend is mostly Sangiovese together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Canaiolo Nero, Colorino, Merlot and Syrah. A young version of Carmignano, “Barco Reale”, and a rosè wine, “Vin Ruspo,” complete their range of wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, previously called “Uva Francesca” (“French Grapes”), has been grown in Carmignano since 1700 when it was introduced by the Medici family. In Italy the name of Carmignano has been synonymous with fine wine since the 13th century and so great was its reputation that Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decreed in 1716 that the appellation be strictly controlled. The borders of the ancient appellation remain identical to this day, making it one of the smallest DOCG areas in Italy.
These wines are crowd-pleasing tweeners that sit between new wave generosity and a rustic characteristic. On the pop the wine has aromas of vibrant alpine blueberry, blackberry, and currants. A playful back-tone of sarsaparilla brings forth generosity and approachability in it’s youth while upfront, the texture is soft and the acid is integrated. Given more time, the nose brings forth notes of cinnamon, herbal oils, and bright acid. On day two, the wine becomes more oxidized, the fruit tones turn into fleshy fruit (less alpine driven), and the tannins completely integrate. Overall, I prefer this wine right upon opening, but the integrity remains regardless. Drink now – 2028, serve at cellar temperature in all-purpose stemware, and serve alongside pancetta bucatini, lasagna, or anything Italian and lovely because you deserve that life.
Ryme 2021 Sagrantino Siletto Vineyard
From Ryme Cellars
The Siletto Family vineyard is located in the Cienaga Valley of San Benito county. The valley is split down the middle by the San Andreas fault and sits 30 miles east of the Monterrey Bay. The Siletto vineyards are a varied mix of exposures and elevations of mostly gravelly loam from weathered sandstone. The have planted an exciting mix of rare varieties here. The Sagrantino was fully destemmed and naturally fermented in open-top fermenters and amphora. The wine was pressed off and aged in neutral oak barrels for 9 months. The Sagrantino begs for a slight chill and is a wonderful transition wine from summer to fall. Full of bing cherry and earth with a refreshing juicy finish, this wine is sure to delight.
This expression of Sagrantino – a grape variety that is typically associated with Italy – is bottled here as a beautiful single varietal nostalgic of Italy cross California cross Loire gamay. On the pop, the boquet is herbal with notes of pomegranates, rose petals, potpourri, and violets. Alongside these more serious tones come a nerdy candy-like playfulness with cherry leather and currants. As you let the wine open the more textured tones of graphite and walnut skins and bring a welcome savory component. On day two, the wine sinks more into the earthy, Italian side of Sag – think tamarind, mushrooms, and cooked plums. The wine is great regardless, but I like the dynamics a couple hours after being opened. Drink now – 2030/2, serve in all-purpose stemware at cellar temperature, and enjoy alongside pork-based pasta dishes, mushroom pizza, and cured meats.
Cecchini Marco 2020 Verduzzo “Macerato”
The first skin-contact white wine in the wine clubs – hooray! Skin-contact white wines – sometimes referred to as orange wines – are white grapes that have spent some time (ranging from hours to days to weeks +) on their skins, which contributes complexity and (oftentimes) structure. Verduzzo (Friulano) as a cultivar is well represented here with captivating notes of starfruit, marzipan, honey, orange blossom water, and jasmine/lipton tea. Verduzzo is a low acid, thick-skinned white varietal which is well represented in the structure of the wine. The palate is soft, oily, and has a spice that is texture driven on day one. On day two the wine retains the overall composition well and is largely unchanged. This wine reminds me of the famous white wines of Provence at a fraction of the price. Drink now – 2025/6, serve in all-purpose stemware just above refrigeration temperatures, and drink alongside soy/chorizo tacos, Korean BBQ, crudo with jalapenos, or anything spicy!