Slow Wine 2016 was a fun wine tasting at the Highline Ballroom on February 3rd. The location was wall to wall retailers, producers, educators, distributors, journalists, and sommeliers and others in the wine trade and industry. The Slow Wine Guide 2016 is the way to distinguish between exceptional quality Italian wines whose viticulture is bio-dynamic, sustainable, and traditionally made with no chemicalized products. These wines have taken off, and I am happy to be on the cusp of trends watching these fabulous Slow Wines “come into their own.”
At the tasting, I had the opportunity to try wonderful wines from three different wine growing regions of Italy: Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Piedmonte. The Piedmonte wines I will be covering in another article. The ones I am focusing on here are from Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
Cantina della Volta is in the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna, specifically in Bomporto-Modena, a “fulcrum of river trade” between Modena and the Adriatic. This winery has its roots in the 1920s with the knowledge and experience of four generations of winemakers the latest, Christian Bellei. There are 22 acres under cultivation. Bellei’s attention was drawn in by wine loving friends and collaborators to reconfigure the winemaking of his father and ancestors to establish a wine project together. This led to the refurbishing of their winery building and modernizing the process for their sparkling wines. Bellei and his collaborators wanted to give “continuity to the production of wines of the Modena area using the classic method, widely used in France, better known as the Champenoise method.” With this method, the fermentation is natural and is allowed to happen in the bottle. After much research in France and tweaking of the Champenoise method on the grapes pressed in their own cellar of Bomporto, lovely sparkling wines came into being.
One can taste the quality and attention to detail in the Cantina della Volta’s sparkling wines across their entire range. The grapes are the lambrusco di Sorbara grown in the Secchia River alluvial plain, in the heart of the Emilia Romagna region. They are harvested by hand in the fall: the varieties of sparkling wines within a week of each other (last week of September, first week of October). I tried the Lambrusco Di Modena M. Cl Rose 2011 and 2009. The 2011 is unfiltered and cloudy rose as an innovative look of something new; it is refreshing and sumptuous with notes of berry and a clean, striking finish. The 2009 vintage had obvious layers, is stylish and elegant with a lively, lingering palate, strawberry notes and zesty dry finish. The Lambrusco di Sorbara Rimosso 2014, too, is cloudy. On the nose one scents the fruity perfumes. On the palate there is a mixed bouquet of wild cherry, refreshing fruit with a subtle, softness at the end. All three wines are incredibly elegant and very drinkable on the occasion of get-togethers with appetizers or aperitifs. And they make good dessert wines as well.
By contrast the Badia a Coltibuono winery in Gaiole in the Chianti region of Tuscany features wines of a different color and timber. The Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico wines are full- bodied, ruby reds, rich and profound probably some of the finest of the Chianti denomination. They are a perfect accompaniment for delicious dining on pasta dishes, roasts, or game and would go fabulously well with sharp cheeses, prosciutto and other salumi. These are exceptional Chiantis and the wines converted me from a disinterested, last resort Chianti drinker to an avid fan.
I tried the Chianti Cl. Ris. 2011 which is drinkable, almost succulent, with an elegant, light, lasting finish (aged 2 years in Austrian oak). The Chianti Cl. 2013 is round, clean, deep, and fresh with spicy, berry notes on the palate. These wines were constructed from a blend of sangiovese, canaiolo, colorino, and ciligiolo grapes (Tuscan varietals), grown in the ancient vineyard of the estate, part of the “organic district” of Gaiole in Chianti. The estate is also a Bed and Breakfast refurbished in an ancient 1000-year-old monastery that sports beautiful grounds, garden and fabulous restaurant, is highly rated on Trip Advisor.
The third wine, Chianti Cl. Cultus Boni Ris. 2011 has an even richer blend of sangiovese, ciliegiolo, colorino, mammolo, foglia, tonda, malvasia nera, sanforte and pugnitello, ancient cultivated grape varietals only found in Tuscany. This wine is aged in smaller oaks. The Boni Ris. 2011 is an organic clean wine, like all of the Coltibuono wines. It has a smooth mouth feel, earthy taste of berries and spices, fragrant nose, and exceptional finish with little acidity and practically no hint of tannins. All these wines are a WOW!
I can imagine drinking the Cantina della Volta wines for starters with an aperitif and having Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti and Roberto Stucchi’s (they are brother and sister…I met the gracious and friendly Emanuela), Badia a Coltibuono’s wonderful wines with a home made pasta dish followed with delicious short ribs. I wouldn’t eat for a few days after that, but I would enjoy every moment of savoring the wines with the appetizers and hearty food.
Cantina della Volta wines are found at their website link, and also through their NYC importer Garry Madden of GEM Wine. Badia a Coltibuono can be found at their website link and through their importer Della Terra Winery Direct/UVE Enterprises. For more information on these and other Slow Wines 2016 check out their guide which is available as an App on iTunes.