November 2021 | Terroir Wine Cubby Caileen Brison
Brovia 2020 Roero Arneis
The sole white wine of the estate is produced in the Roero district from an 0.80 hectare plot in Vezza d’Alba. The soil is essentially sandy in composition and sits at 340 meters altitude on south-facing slopes. The vineyard was planted in 1980. Harvest (manual) normally occurs in mid-September. The grapes are briefly macerated and the fermentation occurs at controlled temperatures (around 15 degrees Celsius) for two to three weeks. The wine rests in stainless steel until the early spring months of the following year and is usually released to the market, after several months of bottle aging, in late summer/early fall. Approximately 4500 bottles are produced annually, 3000 of which are shipped to the USA.
This wine is vibrant, young, and ready to party – you could open this wine the morning of an event and put it in the fridge to calm it down should you wish. On the pop there are white floral tones with a background of lime oils, both of which are textbook notes for Arneis. After time the wine opens up to lemongrass alongside pineapple, guava, preserved lemon and a long, pie crust palate. The wine body has tons of salinity and therefore I recommend drinking this alongside some food to temper the presence of intense salinity. As the wine continues to evolve (over days!) you’ll start to sense white rose petals, pollen, and sage oil. For pairings, this would be a great wine for a hard cheese and olive rich appetizer bord – think pecorino, niçoise olives, and grilled peppers. Drink now – 2031 and serve in an AP glass at ~ 45°F (slightly warmer than refrigeration).
Guido Porro Barolo 2016
From Kermit Lynch
Reviews and notes on Guido Porro regularly refer to him as “under the radar”: the wines he makes are worthy of a stellar reputation, but he is too easygoing and unassuming to worry about whether the general wine-drinking public recognizes his name. He rarely bothers to send samples to wine writers. Guido is the fourth generation at an estate that has always been passed from father to son, and although fifth-generation Fabio hasn’t reached middle school, he is already showing a keen curiosity in the family business. The Porros continue to work just as their predecessors did—the only major change over the last few decades has been the decision to bottle at the estate instead of selling the wine in demijohns or barrels—and they like to keep things simple and down to earth. The door is always open, and Guido’s wife Giovanna never looks quite as happy as when she’s serving enormous platters of classic local dishes to a full table of guests.
The limestone-heavy soils of Serralunga d’Alba are known for providing the most long-lived and full-bodied Barolos. Porro’s vineyards are located here in the Lazzarito cru, a gorgeous amphitheatre that faces south-southwest and offers the grapes full sun exposure and protection from the wind. The sub-zones of Lazzairasco and Santa Caterina are both monopoli and share the same soil; however, different exposition and altitude bring distinct traits to each wine. Lazzairasco, a very hot site home to Guido’s oldest Nebbiolo, gives a more powerful, masculine wine, while the cooler, breezier Santa Caterina brings out the delicacy and elegance of Nebbiolo. Even Porro’s Barbera, a grape that is usually planted in lesser vineyards, enjoys a privileged place in Santa Caterina. Guido sticks to traditional methods in the vineyards and cellar, and he never gets in the way of the grapes’ natural expression.
On the pop this wine has relatively generous bright to medium red fruit tones – think cherry and green fig flesh. Despite a note worthy fruit profile, the wine really shines with the secondary tones that feel almost like a potpourri blue and purple tonality. As time continues in the glass and bottle, the wine becomes more flint and leather and sinks deeper into that blue/purple tonality with cracked black pepper against a floating white floral aroma. From a structural perspective the wine is approachable (for a Barolo) with a good amount of tannic grip that calms over time or in a decanter and the acid levels are moderate, creating for an enjoyable glass experience. The wine on day two is a calmed down version of day one with softer structure and more earth and floral tones. Overall, I prefer the wine on day two, but this is not uncommon for younger Barolo. For food pairings, it really depends on when you’re drinking this wine. If you’re opening this wine between 2021 and 2024 I would suggest leaning towards cuisine higher in protein content, but as time continues, I encourage you to work more fat into your dishes. I wouldn’t serve anything too overbearing from an aromatic perspective, but a roast would be a great dish here or even seared duck breast. Drink 2021 (admittedly young) to 2036+.
Alessandria Barolo Chinato
From North Berkeley
Since the mid-19th century, the Alessandria family has called Verduno, at the northern edge of the Barolo zone, home. Then, Verduno was the center of Barolo winemaking—here families first crafted dry Nebbiolo wines in the style we know today. Because of this, the village was internationally recognized as the face of Barolo. Today Verduno is experiencing a renaissance, and it is the “brothers” Alessandria who are guiding the wines of Verduno back to the heights they once held. What Verduno gives is exactly what we crave in our Barolo wines: complexity without heaviness, structure with finesse. “Fratelli Alessandria is one of Piedmont’s under-the-radar jewels,” says Antonio Galloni.
WINERY: Societa’ Agricola Fratelli Alessandria
WINEMAKERS: Alessandro and Vittore Alessandria
ESTABLISHED: 1870 REGION: ITALY • Piedmont • Verduno
APPELLATION: (base wine) Barolo DOCG BLEND: 100% Nebbiolo, plus herbs and spices
VINEYARDS: A selection of fruit from estate vines in Verduno AGE OF VINES: 25 years, on average
WINEMAKING: Neutral grain spirits are infused with some 35 different herbs and spices, including quinine bark, cinnamon, liquorice, vanilla, ginger, cloves, anise and rhubarb. This mixture is added to a base wine of Barolo, sweetened, and then aged in oak barrels for at least one year.
Chinato is a wonderful beverage from sipping in isolation to mixing in cocktails to using as an aperitif – in short, it’s perfect for holidays where we maybe overindulge a bit…
This Chinato has classic spice notes that express as clove and cardamom with a viscosity on the front palate that rapidly changes to a lingering dry palate of dried violets and lavender. The bouquet opens and evolves into something you could almost collapse into – suede, leather, green olives, currants and quince paste are a few things that come to mind. Drink now – 2040, keep in fridge after opening, consume within 3 weeks of opening.