Thanks for joining us with our holiday wine case! We've chosen wines that will pair well with different celebrations this season and that can also be given as gifts (and some can be aged and saved for later). As always, we want to showcase the breadth and variety of Italian wines, so there will be some varietals you recognize and others that will be unfamiliar. We hope you enjoy them all and can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Winery: Grillo Iole

Region: Friuli-Venezia-Giulia  

Production Area: Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC

Annual Production: 45,000 bottles

Why We Chose It: 

Anna Muzzolini's father started the winery in 1970 with a small plot of land, just enough to make wine for friends and family. They began with one hectare (2.47 acres) and now have nine (22.2 acres).

In 1999 Anna left her career as a researcher in Ferrara (she has a PhD in biology) to take over the winery. It was a life-quality choice for herself and her family.

Now, the third generation is getting ready to take over. Anna's son, Mattia, joins her in the field and in the cellar. Since 2003 they've also operated an agriturismo in a villa from the the '700s.

Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is a region known for white wines, but for our cooler-weather case we wanted to focus on reds. 70% of the wines planted in the region are red varietals, and there are several autochthonous  red varieties.

Right now they produce wine from 11 different grape varieties, including some international ones. Slowly, they are shifting to only growing autochthonous grapes, including some that have been brought back from the brink of extinction. 

 

Grillo Winery 2020

 

Tasting Notes

[fa icon="plus"] 2017 Schioppettino Prepotto DOC Friuli Colli Orientali

Grape: 100% Schioppettino

Region: Friuli Colli Orientali

Serving Temperature: 16° C / 17° C (60.8° F / 62.5° F)

Pairings:  This is a versatile wine that can go with the whole meal, from appetizer to dessert. We are recommending it for Thanksgiving. Also pairs well with merengue, chocolate, smoked salmon, avocado, smoky foods.

Drink by: Drink now or hold for up to 12 years. It will reach its peak in the next three to five years.

Notes: Aged two years in tonneax (a 500 liter barrel) made of French oak.

2017 wasn’t perfect for many reds in the region, but this grape being autochthonous it was well-adapted to the unpredictable weather and thrived with the rain and intermittent sun.

Appearance: Similar in appearance to Pinot Noir. Brilliant, not so dark.

Nose: Intense on the nose; it immediately opens on spicy aromas of cloves and pepper, which almost immediately give way to elegant aromas of violet, and then give way to fruity notes.

The black pepper presence is a characteristic of the grape. It comes from the chemical compound rotundone, which is found in this grape at five time the levels of other grapes with pepper notes (like Shiraz).

Taste: Elegant wine with mild tannins. Acidity, quite fresh. Balanced. Easy to drink, but not simple. 

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

[fa icon="plus"] 2016 Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso DOC Friuli Colli Orientali

Grape: 100% Refosco dal Peduncolo

Region: Friuli Colli Orientali

Serving Temperature: 18° C (64.4° F)

Pairings: Red meat, game, barbecue.

Drink by: Drink now or hold for up to 15 years.

Notes: Most common autochthonous red grape in Friuli. Most important red in the whole region.

This is a powerful wine, the opposite of the elegance of Schioppettino.

Strong maturation on the vine. This is important to temper the harsh tannins.

Appearance: Dark, like ink.

Nose: Spicy, licorice, berries.

Taste: Rustic. More intense taste than smell. It’s powerful with a strong mouthfeel. Warmth.  Tannins are strong but this wine is not so astringent.

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

Grillo Tasting

 

Winery: Marchiori

Region: Veneto

Production Area: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 

Annual Production: 60,000 bottles

Why We Chose It: Premium Prosecco Producers with a Vision

Over the past few decades Prosecco has skyrocketed to international fame, becoming (by some counts) the world’s most popular sparkling wine. Everyone knows Prosecco.

But most people have little or no idea what it really is.

The Marchiori family is situated in the undisturbed pristine municipality of Farra di Soligo in the region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, where they have been cultivating grapes since the 1950s.

In 2002, brothers Umberto and Giuseppe Marchiori decided to produce wines under the family’s name with a single mission - to become the first family winery from the Prosecco region to craft wines of the highest-quality based on identity, digestibility, longevity and sustainability. Their focus and hard work has paid off to produce Prosecco that combines both tradition and cutting-edge techniques. Unlike the neutral and flat Prosecco that most people drink, Marchiori’s Prosecco has flavor, fine bubbles of smooth texture, and consists of a blend of different grapes for complexity. 

 

“Compared to a general scenario where Prosecco has been turned into a commodity, we aim to respect the bond between wine and terroir, so we also employ and enhance minor varieties that have always been present in our territory.” -Umberto Marchiori

 

Prosecco bike riding

 

From the minute we stepped into the winery for the first time earlier this year, we knew it was special. The care and dedication that the Marchiori family has put into making top-quality is immediately evident. They've brought back several ancient grapes that were used for making Prosecco, they harvest everything by hand and according to the cycles of the moon and use wild yeast. A visit to the cellar and tasting room is unlike any other. They go into detail about the land, the soil, the process and their philosophy of making wine. You'll leave with a better understanding of the wine, the land and the process. We hope that after you taste their wine that you'll have a newfound appreciation and respect for quality Prosecco.

 

Prosecco Marchiori 2020

 

Click here to download info on the five varietals of grapes that go into their Prosecco.

Tasting Notes:

[fa icon="plus"] 2019 Rocciamadre Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG “5 Varietà”

Grape: 85% Glera Tonda, 2% Glera Lunga, 3% Bianchetta, 5% Verdiso, 5% Perera

Region: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Serving Temperature: 6° C (42.8° F)

Pairings: It pairs well with vegetarian, creative or traditional Italian dishes,
vegetables, fish and cheeses. 

Drink by: Drink now or hold for another year.

Notes: 6 g / l of residual sugar. Perfect accompaniment to memorable moments and conversation. Excellent bespoke and fragrant sparkling wine with a strong identity, straightforward and easy to drink.

Grapes sorted on a table, soft pressed and must division is performed and then fermentation on skins is started.

Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature, use of native selected yeasts, two transfers at the end of the cycle, and low temperature aging.

Blending during the first waning moon of the new year.

2nd fermentation Valdobbiadene method; wines spend 50 days in autoclave.

Appearance: Bright, well defined, dense foam and fine bubbles.

Nose: Intriguing fresh wisteria and crunchy pear, mild pink grapefruit and mint; then generous ripe fruit, pollen, dandelion and herbs with undertones of roasted barley.

Taste: Very pleasant mineral, fresh and very fine notes; clean white fruit and spice, dry finish.

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

[fa icon="plus"] 2018 Integrale Valdobbiadene Prosecco Frizzante DOCG “5 Varietà”

Grape: 85% Glera Tonda, 1% Glera Lunga, 4% Bianchetta, 4% Verdiso, 6% Perera

Region: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Serving Temperature: 10° C (50° F)

Pairings: Goes well with light and delicate dishes. Also good for aperitivo.

Drink by: Drink now or hold for another year.

Notes: Without sugar and unfiltered. Attention when pouring, as there will be sediment in the bottle.

All grapes are sorted on a table; cold on-skin maceration and then fermentation on skins is started.

Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature using selected native yeasts and aging in acacia.

Bottling during the third waning moon of the new year.

Appearance: Straw yellow with tiny, thin bubbles.

Nose: Flowery fragrances of camomile, rose and dandelion with flowery notes of pear and rennet apples.

Taste: Dry and succulent, flavorful and thirst quenching.

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

Prosecco Marchiori 2020 tasting

 

Winery: Sasso di Sole

Region: Tuscany

Production Area: Montalcino

Annual Production: 50,000 bottles

 

 

Why We Chose It: 

Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy's finest and most important wines (often put in the same category as Barolo and Barbaresco), and the 2015 vintage (which was just released in 2020) is one of the most exceptional vintages in recent memory. We wanted to include two bottles in our holiday case so you can give them as gifts or keep them in your cellar to save for a special occasion (than can be aged for up to 20 years). Additionally, what is interesting about the 2015 vintage is that while it will definitely get better with age, it can also be enjoyed now.

There are many small, family-run producers in the Brunello production area, including Sasso di Sole. What set them apart for us this year (in addition to their commitment to quality and their highly-rated wine) was what they did during the lockdown in Italy at the beginning of the pandemic emergency. They quickly pivoted to domestic, online sales and pledged that for every six bottles of wine that they sold they would donate the equivalent of one bottle of Brunello to support the health system. 

 

Sasso di Sole 2020 final

 

Tasting Notes

[fa icon="plus"] 2015 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grosso

Region: Montalcino

Serving Temperature: 18° C (64.4° F)

Pairings: Wild meat, stewed meat, dark chocolate, aged cheese.

Drink by: It can be aged up to 20 years. It will reach its peak in the next three to five years.

Notes: Produced from the finest Sangiovese grapes manual harvested from vineyards that grow at an altitude of 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level. The soil is rich in marine fossils, with a fair amount of clay and silt. Harvested the last week of September. The wine is aged in 50 hl Slavonian oak barrels for several months, following the oldest tradition of the area.

Take your time with this wine, meditate on it, drink slowly with complex food.

Appearance: Intense ruby red with garnet reflections.

Nose: Intense, persistent, fine, flowery, fruity, spicy.

Taste: Dry, warm, soft, quite fresh, quite tannic, sapid, with body, balanced, intense, persistent, fine.

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

[fa icon="plus"] 2018 Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Grape: 100% Sangiovese Grosso

Region: Montalcino

Serving Temperature: 18° C (64.4° F)

Pairings: Ragu (meat sauce), white and red grilled meat, Italian cold cuts, medium-aged cheese.

Drink by: It can be aged up to 10 years. It will reach its peak in the next two or three years.

Notes: From grapes grown at 280-320 meters (919-1050 feet) above sea level. Harvested the third week of September.

Appearance: Intense ruby red.

Nose: Intense, persistent, fine, flowery, fruity.

Taste: Dry, warm, soft, quite fresh, quite tannic, sapid, with body, intense, persistent, fine.

Click here to download pdf of the tasting notes.

Wine tasting rosso brunello Sasso di Sole