December Wine Notes

December 2023  — It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like….

Beginning to look a lot like…. what now? Writing today on a lovely seventy something mid-December day. Christmas is a week away, no mater what central Texas seasons have to say. Here at L’Oca, we’re gearing up for our Feast of the Seven Fishes dinners — and here’s a toast to you and your and all y’all’s holiday and not so holiday traditions. Wines this month lean into the celebratory season. We’re leading with nimble flexible reds that will play nice with salt cod or roast beast. Gentle bubbles hinting at cranberry and spice — a rare appearance of Cabernet Sauvignon, and and Sicilian Insolia blend rounded out with chardonnay– to share with the family and pretend it’s cold outside. Share the warm vibes of the season, pour a glass for your favorite Ghost of What’s to Come, reindeer, elf, or grinch — and see you again on the other side of all the holly jolly:)  

Pullus Haložan Red

Region: Štajerska, Slovenia
Grapes: Blaufränkisch, Gamay, Zweigelt

The Halozan red is a field blend typical of the region in Slovenia — leaning into the Štajerska’s terrain of  steep-slopes  and narrow, wind-rich hill valleys and sandy soils pocketed with marlstone (hardened mineral masses comprised of clay and silt, resulting works of ancient algae and glaciers).  Juicy and bright with notes of dark forest berries and hints of warm spices, maybe even a touch of fresh tobacco. Try it with just  a touch of chill. The blend is different every year, but this vintage is shining and ready to mingle with holiday fare. Be it Chef’s baccala croquettes, pork tamales,  or maybe a lighter cut of roast beast. 

Col di Luna ‘Flora’ Brut

Region: Veneto, IT
Grapes: 100% Raboso

Col di Luna produces sparkling wines at the foot of the Dolomites — the stunningly steep and rocky Italian mountain range connecting to the Alps. The farming is organic in gravelly limestone rich soils. Col di Luna springs from deep tradition — the Cosmo family moved from Venice and out toward the mountains in the 1780’s. 

The ‘Flora’ Rosato is made from Raboso Piave  — raboso may take its name for a word in the local dialect for “angry” because of the harsh tannin and high acid the grapes can produce, or more likely from a local river. The wine sees 12 hours macerating on skins, and fermentation is finished in tanks. The wine is zippy — presenting with cranberry sauce and brambly fruits with hints of pine and holiday spice. A festive aperitivo, or pairing for some of your lighter dishes. 

I Pastini ‘Antico’ 2021

Region: Puglia, IT
Grapes: 60% Verdeca, 35% Bianco d’Alessano, 5% Minutolo

Puglia, historic birthplace of Italian wine, has had a bad rep for brawny, dense, and high alcohol reds. The last several years, many producers have bucked this expectation. I Pástini is a small, family-run winery in the Valle d’Itria — they grow their grapes on the same limestone plateau where their ancestors planted olives (which, millenia old! are still co-planted on the property) . With the ‘Antico’ here, I Pastini presents a delicate and crisp white from native and rare local varietals. The minutolo lends an aromatic quality on top of the breeszy vibes of lemon, straw, and fresh picked herbs. Easy drinking, people pleasing, lovely on its own or pair with cheese like Asiago or  even asparagus. 

Palazzo Vechio Toscana

Region: Tuscany, IT
  100% Cabernet Sauvignon

On a hilltop in the very best winemaking part of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (not far from the storied Avignonesi winery), sits Palazzo Vecchio, surrounded on all sides by vineyards that radiate out from the winery. The palazzo itself has existed since the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s, when the estate was acquired by Count Riccardo Zorzi that the winemaking focus intensified. Cabs tend toward big wines, and you won’t be disappointed here — the Palazzo offers something leaning toward something deep and robust–but keeps touch of mineral structure and acid that keep it surprisingly nimble. Enjoy with heartier fare, or by the fire, or looped video of a fire….

Crotin “San Patelu”

Region: Piedmont, IT
Grapes: 100% Grignolino

 Crotin translates to “little cellar” in Piemonte dialect. Here the family run winery offers a clean and well put together example of the indigenous Grignolino. The grape’s name means “many pips” or seeds which hint at its tendency toward highly tannic wines — here though the tannins are lively and well integrated, the wine offers bright and fresh red fruits, and sits almost translucently in the glass. Food friendly & diggable (we’re pouring by the glass at L’Oca currently).  Crotin has a devotion to the indigenous varieties of the region, and new projects work to rescue grapes that have nearly died out. Each vineyard possesses a unique, fascinating geological profile, producing organic since 2018. 

Cusumano ‘Angimbé’

Region: Sicly, IT
Grapes: Insolia 70%, Chardonnay 30%.

The Cusumanos are one of a handful of Sicilian families who put Sicilian winemaking on the map by crafting wines that reflect local viticultural traditions but also have immense international appeal. Founded in 2001, the Cusumano winery group includes more than 500 hectares planted to vine across Sicily,  they have had a major effect on the island’s winemaking styles by focusing on both native and international grape varieties. They have also been pioneers in producing fine white wine from a region of Italy known primarily for red wine production. Entirely family-owned and operated, the Cusumano family’s wineries employ cutting-edge technology that allow them to produce a wide range of wines, from classic to modern. Also the glass cork wine closures are fun too;)

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Hospitality Charges

20% Pre-Tax service charge

is added to all checks to ensure our employees a thriving base wage, provide paid sick leave and health benefits.  Additional gratuity is not required but is appreciated and is distributed to the entire staff.

2.85% Credit Card Convenience

We charge 2.85% on credit cards to help offset processing costs.  This amount is not more than what we pay in fees.  We do not surcharge on debit cards, gift cards or cash payments.

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