October 2022 – Let’s get Spooky
In Italy All Saints’ Day has many names, such as All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, and Feast of All Saints. The tradition of All Saints’ Day extends beyond Italy and it was historically thought to have originated sometime in the 7th to 9th century. Part of the row of holidays and remembrances spanning the end of October to the beginning of November each fall. Halloween, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead.
As for Halloween costumes, I’ve always tended toward the high concept (let’s be honest, last minute). costumes that always required a little explanation: The assistant to a scientist who got “accidentally” shrank in a terrible accident. “Jenny,” the one with those eyes and that body and that phone number (8675309); or the most classically straightforward, a jack o’lantern tank top, a t-shirt Sharpied with the phrase “I”m with Dracula” and an arrow…
For this creeping season, the wines selected should speak (spook?) for themselves – fun well expressed wines that show the season in their look, their vibe, and a sense of our finally turning a little bit actually Fall around here. You’ll find some familiar and some less so in our offerings this month – The ripe fruits and balanced acid of Primitivo, a bright and well structured Chardonnay from Mexico, a rose toned Lambrusco with haunting appeal and more. Consider these wines another bag of treats (no tricks) to tuck into this All Hallows.
Poggio Anima “Lilith” Primitivo Salento, ’17
Region: Puglia, IT
Grape: 100% Primitivo
Poggio Anima is a joint venture between one of Tuscany’s rising stars, Riccardo Campinoti of Le Ragnaie in Montalcino and his U.S.A. importer Ronnie Sanders of Vine Street Imports. In the project they use their existing connections to produce wines that convey a place and a grape. Primitivo hails from a vineyard in the Puglian heel dividing the Adriatic & Ionian seas. Here the proximity to the sea is everything with the winds acting as an air conditioner maintaining cooler afternoon highs than areas to the north. Lushly bright with red and purple fruits, smoke, cassis, and dusky tannins and just enough acid to keep it light on its feet.
The Spooky: Lilith was the first wife of Adam, turned to a demon when she would not submit to his advances. The orange and black color scheme is a bonus. Drink it between bouts of trick or treaters at your door – ignore the creeping feeling you’ve been here before, not like here, but actually right here, handing this mini Twix to this plastic faced Spiderman. Don’t look in the eyes, go back to the Monster Mash.
Famiglia Carafoli, Nicchia, Cantina di Sorbara L’Onesta Dry Lambrusco NV
Region: Emilia Romangna
Grapes: 70% Lambrusco di Sorbara / 30% Lambrusco Salamino
Cantina Fratelli Carafoli was founded in Ravarino, a small village in Modena by Mauro Carafoli in 1919. Now Carafoli is thriving under the third generation with advancements in technology, methods and viticulture. In 1965 they invested in 20 hectares of property where the sorbara now grows in its porous soils. L’Oenesta offers a sparkling dry almost rose style lambrusco, with a characteristic bouquet of violets and a dry but gentle finish, light and crisp. Made in the charmat method, with secondary fermentation taking place in large tanks, the fine bubbles fizz expectantly.
The Spooky: The image on the label is not there for just looks, this is the great grandmother of the winemakers, and some say she still haunts the winery, and maybe these bottles today, and sometimes the someones who drink the bottles, don’t look over your shoulder, no reason to look, she’d just be like really blurry anyway.
Monte Xanic Calixa Chardonnay ’21
Region: Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Grape: 100% Chardonnay
Monte Xanic is heralded as the first boutique winery in Mexico, established in 1988 and played a major role in a trend towards grape farmers making wine from their own grapes rather than raising grapes for sale. The 2021 brings Calixa into a new and crisp contemporary style, without leaving behind lessons of old wisdom — sustainable farming methods, aging in steel, harvesting all their white grapes by hand at night in order to maintain maximum freshness and acidity. The chardonnay presents a brilliant luminous straw yellow hinting at green and gold, offering bright overtones of peach, green apple, and understated but ripe pineapple with an unctuous and lasting finish.
The Spooky: Less spooky and more a nod to Mexico’s Day of the Dead Traditions as well as an excuse to highlight an excellent wine coming out of Mexico’s growing and vibrant wine scenes. Keep an eye out (or the roaming wraith of regret will getcha, fooooomooooo)!
Cantine del Lupo Barbera ’18
Region: Piedmont, IT
Grape: 100% Barbera
When wishing each other good luck, Italians will say “In bocca al lupo”, which translates to “In the mouth of the wolf.” Cantine del Lupo is a lucky find, a uniquely expressive and layered barbera, bursting with woodsy blackberry, brambly green herbs, and a touch of fresh clean soil – With subtle and silky but well placed tannin to balance the warm fruit.
The Spooky: There is a wolf on the label. There is a hungry looking wolf on the label. You can ask a wolf for luck, but maybe this one is not that one – watch for him in the shadows, stalking, howling at the moon, eyes golding in the slight light.
Ceretto Vignaioli di Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti ‘20
Region: Piedmont, IT
Grapes: 100% Moscoto
For three generations, members of the Ceretto family have transformed the fruit of the Langhe’s vineyards into wines that speak of the regions identity. The famed Italian gastronome and intellectual Luigi Veronelli wrote, “The land, the land, the land, the land, always, the land.” This philosophy is central to the Ceretto family. The Ceretto family has always been committed to producing the most expressive and authentic wines their land can yield.
This Moscato d’Asti is straw yellow in color with a characteristic nose of sweet melons, orange blossoms, jasmine, and honeysuckle – on the palate it reads as sweet melon, pear, and floral flavors balanced by refreshing acidity. It’s a well balanced delight, with nice mineral note in its structure. Sometimes a little sweet is just fine.
The Spooky: Look at it. The eye. So much of this is about watching, isn’t it? What does it see? Does it see you? Is there anything spookier than truly being seen?
Academia Brut Prosecco NV
Region: Veneto, IT
Grapes: 100% Glera
In homage to the Accademia degli Acquavitai (Academy of Spirit Distillers) a prestigious Venetian trade school that existed from 1618 to 1806, renowned for teaching the art and craft of winemaking and distillation. This classic and charming prosecco is made with glera grapes (the ancestral name for the grapes that make prosecco). Accademia is fresh, light and pleasantly lively, with a good balance in its body and acid, making it elegant and refined.
The Spooky: Academia puts out themed colored bottles. This one looks like a pumpkin. Dare you to carve it. Or save the bottle, use it to hold a candle in your window, that long, long tapered one you found on your porch Halloween last, some kid must have left it there? Have you ever seen a tapered candle quite so long, and that smell, something familiar, something you can’t put your finger on, what is it? Light it, do candles usually glow that color? Wait for midnight.
Banfi Chianti Superiore ’20
Region: Tuscany, IT
Grape: 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and Colorino
Banfi was founded in 1978 thanks to the will of the Italian-American brothers, John and Harry Mariani. From the beginning, the goal of the two brothers was to create a state-of-the-art winery combined with the most advanced science in the vineyards for the production of premium wines
Uniting the entire Poggio alle Mura estate, including the historical medieval castle which became the symbol of Banfi. The Chianti Superiore was aged five months in large oak barriques, and that lighter contact rounds the wine gracefully. Twizzler-like cherry and red fruit notes with touches of black pepper and spice, and a nicely balanced tannin.
The Spooky: Tuscany is the home to a rich tradition of All Saints Day observances, drink to that! Also the lady on the label, her eyes, are they moving? Are they watching you as you pick up the bottle, as you set it back down? Those eyes, those eyes… Also that ferret? In her lap, watch your dreams… You know that ferret will be.