It’s February, y’all. We’ve Super Bowled and romanced, and celebrated MLK and dead presidents — busy month to have so few days. Have I told you my excellent idea about how everyone should celebrate their own special Valentine’s day – Six months from their anniversary? Spread out that Vday love around a little more? It will never catch on, of course, but even so one doesn’t need a Hallmark sanctioned holiday to make themselves or their dear ones feel special. This month’s club offerings tease at central TX spring with the blue and white flowers of Sicilian Zibbibo, and red and purple blossoms of Sardinian Monica, blush colored contact white from Slovennia, clean fun bubbles from nearby Veneto, cherries and warm breezes from way down south in Puglia with a stunner of a rose from a L’Oca favorite producer, and back up north in Tuscany with a Chianti so perfectly classic for classy company or a quiet night in. Our first two bottles were selected with this month’s pasta journey in mind – Italian offering to complement our culinary venture to Chang Mai! Six bottles for your foods and your moods, and maybe even a very tardy Valentine. Share with someone you love, or would like to – or George Washington, it was just his birthday, after all. 😉
Firriato ‘Jasmin’ 2021
Region: Sicily IT
Zibbibo means raisin in Arabic and was originally raised as a table grape, and then as the main feature of one of Sicily’s most esteemed dessert wines. Firriato offers a dry Zibibbo here – Straw yellow color with greenish shades. Flowery and elegant, citrus and macerated white peach enveloped by jasmine and blue flowers, and savory marine notes drifting from the sea. The Zibbibo is grown on the Borgo Guarini estate within a hillside terroir and the Baglio Soria estate, the conditions here, with the steep slopes and breezes off the Mediterranean, create temperature variations between day and night that encourage the wine’s wild perfume.
Firriato presents dry with bright peachy and blue florals, and will offer a classic pairing for aromatic, savory and even spicy notes associated with Thai style dishes – it will be a great compliment for the yellow curry in Chef Fiore’s Khao Soi.
Pala ‘Otreluna’ 2020
Region: Sardinia, IT
There are no studies on the Monica vine capable of identifying its exact origin. What is certain is that it was brought to Sardinia and planted in 1400 by the Camaldolese monks around their monasteries (Monica meaning roughly ‘Of the Monks’). Today Monica is a perfectly integrated son of Sardinia, the south-eastern part of the island and at home in the Pala family.
Oltreluna has the spirit and character of Sardinia where the vine lives and breathes, but retains a small and intriguing memory of its mysterious origin. Complex like the land that hosts it, a touch brooding in its slightly more concentrated expression of the florals and dark berries typical of the varietal — expressing the character of wild Sardinia with an extraordinary and elegant versatility.
Terre di Marca Organic Prosecco NV
Region: Veneto, IT
The family’s winery and vineyard are located near Treviso, between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea, a perfect area for the growth of organic grapes. Respect for the specialness and beauty of the land around them inspired Terre di Marca to explore organic production and has been doing so for the last ten years, and are journeying toward further and more sustainable practices still, all while building on to the half a century of tradition and winemaking history in their estate.
The prosecco offers an outstanding concentration for flavors for the style. Soft and creamy sparkling wine with delicate ripe fruits, still crisp with balancing acid
Region: Štajerska, Slovenia
Grape: Pinot Gris
Though the producers will refer to it as a dry white, this pinot gris has definitely spent time in contact with the grape’s purple blue skin, leading to a cool blush toned ‘orange’ wine. The bouquet is reminiscent of ripe pear, red apple, flowers, melon and tropical fruit. Pleasant acidity and minerality on the palate are followed by the discreet creamy aftertaste that is typical of wines matured on lees.
Kobal wines come from the Haloze appellation in Štajerska Slovenia. Since the Roman times, Haloze has been considered one of the top wine-growing sites in Central Europe. The soil of these steep slopes consists predominantly of marl, and the roots of vines that average 35 years old go deep into the ground to absorb minerality. Owner and winemaker, Bojan Kobal, is known as a scientist in his craft, producing singular wines, expressing the unique nature of the lands.
Masaria Li Veli Askos Rosato 2021
Region: Puglia, IT
Susumanuello means something about bringing a little donkey up a hill (susu=up up! like in terimisu, and manuello is donkey). This vintage of their rose is as delightful as the name of its cultivar — soft pink color, crystal and bright with elegant, persistent and aromatic notes of strawberry and cranberry on the nose. It is light in the mouth with waves of flavor along the palate.
‘Askos’ on LI Veli’s labels refers to their project dedicated to the selection and valorization of local heritage and native varietals. The wines are produced exclusively with grapes coming from particularly favorable areas in which the vine is trained following tradition. The symbol is an askos, a Greek “decanter” dating from the 1st century B.C.
Ricasoli Chianti ‘18
Region: Tuscany, IT
Grapes: 85% Sangiovese, plus supporting varietals
The gentle hills, valleys thick woodlands of oak and chestnut giving into olive groves and vineyards creates a continuous succession of colors and hues around the Brolio Castle, which is located within the town limits of Gaiole in Chianti. Since 1993, Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been guiding this central Tuscan company in innovative challenges. This has been done with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors who have made this territory great, Bettino Ricasoli first and foremost.
2018 was a complex harvest due to the climate trends, but thanks to good underground water supplies, the plants never suffered water stress and ripened regularly. The quality of the grapes were able to remain at the wine maker’s high standards for wine production. Ricasoli offers a classic representation with red licorice, dried strawberry, woodsy and almost slightly smoky aromas and pleasant persistent tannin.