September 2023 | Terroir Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
ArPePe 2020 Rosso di Valtellina
ArPePe has arguably defined Valtellina Nebbiolo; if you can’t decide between Barolo and Burgundy, this wine is exactly what you are looking for. Arturo Pelizzatti Perego came to Valtellina with a vision to elevate the terroir and amplify the culture (and we think he did a damn good job). These wines are unicorns among Italian wines - think ethereal, heady, and beautiful depictions of dancing rose petals and a neighborhood cigar shop.
Right off the pop, this wine provides an almost invasive bouquet of mandarin orange oils, clove, cardamom, and tobacco wrapper; even the first smell is intoxicating, let alone the entirety of the wine. On day two the wine becomes more supple and forward with tones of white cherries, sandalwood, and cedar. This wine feels like silk and flows over your palate like a slow creek – dancing throughout and intentionally finding every crevasse of your sensory. For food pairings I might suggest risotto with pancetta, grilled figs stuffed with hard cheeses, and too much bresaola. Drink now – 2035, serve in large bowl stemware, and serve at cellar temperature.
Pradio 2019 Pacio Branco
Xabi is Galician through and through; the man loves fútbol, family, food, and wine. The Ribiera Sacra region of Galicia (Spain) is no stranger to a challenging climate, with high humidity, sporadic rain that seems to fall at the least opportune times, and slopes at all angles and exposition. The region can either make or break a farmer, and Xabi’s drive to strive is evident in the wines.
The 2019 Pacio Branco is a blend of all three varietals that Xabi works with; Dona Branca, Godello, and Loureira. The Loureira and the Godello bring the vibrant acidity in the wine and the Dona Branca brings mid-palate and depth. On the nose are warm low-tone aromatics of sunflowers, beeswax, corn, and pollen. There’s another dimension to the wine that is whimsical and tropical, almost like guava juice on a warm beach. Structurally, the wine has dominant acid that crashes into you when you first sip it, but then the wine flows like a spring into opulent lees character. On day two the wine is Buddha’s hand oil, Asian pear, and the palate has a more cohesive feeling. All around, I feel the wine shows best after being open for a couple hours, or after being decanted. For food pairings, I would follow the adage of, “What grows together goes together”; think octopus (pulpo), pork sausages (androlla), or sardines. Drink now – 2030/32, serve just above refrigeration temperature, and serve in all-purpose stemware.
Château Falfas “Le Chevalier” 2016 Côtes de Bourg
It’s still wildly unclear to me why the entire world doesn’t adore the Côtes de Bourg region of Bordeaux. While the most famous regions in Bordeaux (read: Médoc, Margaux, Pomerol, so-on and so-forth…) have claimed fame and fortune, we missed this little nook on the most Atlantic corner of the right bank – the Côtes de Bourg. While Bordeaux (and everyone) struggles with the changing and warming climate, the Côtes de Bourg snuggles tightly to the Gironde river and is cooled by the ocean breeze. This allows Château Falfas to make wine with little intervention, bring in pristine fruit, and make old-school style Bordeaux with the ability to still farm organically and biodynamically.
The “Le Chevalier” cuvee is the top tier cuvee of the estate comprised of 80% Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from approximately 75-year-old vines. Right off the pop this wine is warm and savory with notes of nori, black and white pepper, leather, and an almost molasses fruit profile (is that even possible?). The structure is gripping initially, with balanced acidity and firm body that is nostalgic of young Barolo. The palate is stemmy and herbal like sage, thyme, and dry forest floor. On day two, the wine is certainly more integrated, the palate is softer, and the fruit is less present. This wine is here for the long haul and would benefit from either time in your cellar or being decanted in its youth. For food pairings you might consider rare steak, shepherd’s pie, truffle pizza, or grilled portabella mushrooms. Drink 2025 – 2036, serve in all-purpose stemware, and enjoy at cellar temperature.