We tried a few wines at SteveCostigan's last night:
1. Idlewild Cortese LostHillsRanch/MendoCnty (12.1%) 2019: Light gold color; rather stony/chalky/earthy classic Cortese some floral/Cortese/apple/quince lightly spicy lovely fragrant nose; bit soft some tangy/metallic some stony/chalky bit metallic/steely very light floral/Cortese/quince flavor; med.long bit soft some chalky/mineral/stony/perfumed talc lightly floral/Cortese finish; no signs of VM/skin-contact character that I can pick up; a wine that I suspect will put on weight & be a lot better in a yr or two; quite a pleasant expression of Cortese. $35.00
2. Casale del Giglio Bellone Bianco IGT: Lazio (13.5%; CavatappiImprts/Seattle; www.CasaleDelGiglio.It) Paolo Tiefenthaler/Aprilla 2019: Light yellow/gold color; lovely fragrant/perfumed floral/R-like/pineapple/mango slight spicy/cardamon very slight earthy beautifully fragrant nose; lightly tart/tangy/metallic very floral/R-like/pineapple light earthy/chalky bit spicy/cardamon bright/vibrant beautiful flavor; very long/lingering bright/perfumed somewhat rich very floral/R-like/pineapple finish; a beautifully perfumed/fragrant white that resembles some an Austrian R or GV; much more character than you usually find in Lazio whites. $28.00 (vSC)
3. Cavatappi Maddalena Nebbiolo RedWillowVnyd/ColumbiaVlly/WA (14.5%) Peter Dow/WallaWalla 2017: Med.light color; very classic Nebb/floral/lilacs/violets slight tarry/pungent/truffly somewhat complex bit earthy lovely Nebb nose; some tart/tangy bit tannic rather floral/Nebb/lilacs/violets lightly pungent/tarry/road tar/truffles some complex flavor w/ modest tangy tannins; very long/lingering classic Nebb/floral/lilacs/violets bit earthy/truffly slight pungent/road tar fairly textured some complex finish w/ modest bitey tannins; a very classic example of Nebb but not as tannic/hard/fierce as most B/B; a lovely expression of Nebb; a steal at $15.00 (vSC)
4. Two Vintners Zin StonetreeVnyd/WahlukeSlope (16.5%; 700 cs) Maltby/WA 2018: Very dark color; quite strong blackberry/Zin/ripe/boysenberry rather alcoholic/fumey bit toasty/oak nose; rather soft/high-pH fairly rich/lush some alcoholic/fumey strong blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/very ripe bit spicy light earthy some toasty/oak flavor w/ modest ripe tannins; long rather alcoholic/fumey very ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin rather alcoholic/fumey finish w/ some ripe tannins; reminds a lot of very ripe Paso Zins but not as jammy, a bit of the old Rosenblum SamselReserve Zins; a pretty tasty Zin but a bit on the overripe side. $28.00 (vSC)
5. V.Sattui Reserve Merlot NapaVlly (Reserve Stock; #0821-of 1380 btls; 14.9%) St.Helena 2014: Very dark/near black color; rather ripe/Cab-like/blackcurranty/chocolaty rather toasty/oak fairly intense some fragrant nose; soft intense blackcurranty/Cab-like/cassis strong toasty/oak slight earthy very strong Merlot/plummy flavor w/ modest ripe tannins; very long strong cassis/blackcurranty/plummy/Merlot fairly toasty/oak rather soft/lush/textured finish w/ light ripe tannins; a bit on the soft/unstructured side but huge rich Merlot/plummy fruit. Sarah's mystery wine gifted her by a friend.
6. Darby Mourvedre ColumbiaVlly (14.9%) Woodinville 2012: Very dark/near black color w/ no bricking; some earthy/loamy very strong plummy/Mourv/blackberry/licorice quite perfumed some toasty/oak lovely big fruit nose; soft some earthy/loamy strong Mourv/plummy/blackberry/boysenberry/licorice/chocolaty some toasty/oak flavor w/ some soft tannins; very long/lingering very strong plummy/Mourv/blackberry/licorice/bit chocolaty some earthy/loamy finish w/ modest soft/ripe tannins; not showing much complexity/evolution you'd expect of a 9 yr old Mourv; reminds some of Evanghelo Mourv but a bit more structured; still can go another 5 yrs or so. $(vSC)
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Idlewild: I've loved the past Idlewild Cortese from the FoxHillVnyd. The rows are East/West, so the grapes on the south-facing side receive more sunlight & develop more phenolics. He harvests the south-facing grapes separately and makes a ViniMacerati/skin-contact wine. The less-ripe north-facing grapes are then harvested and made direct-to-press. A blend is then made of the two wines.
This wine, IMHO, has been a world-class Cortese. Yet distinctly different from the Piemonte Corteses. The slight phenolic/VM character that you don't find in Piemontese version makes for a very interesting wine and one that ages into something quite interesting.
Sam says that the LostHills Cortese is made by the same technique. But, because of the differing sun exposure from FoxHill, a less-dominate sun side, the wine shows no VM character that I could pick up. It, to me, showed a much stronger resemblance to Piemontese Cortese. But it is quite a pretty expression of Cortese that I suspect will get a lot better. This btl we had last night was right off the boat, so it may have been suffering from the trip out.
2. Bellone: This is an ancient grape variety cultivated in Lazio near the village of Rome. It is allegedly the grape used by Pliny the Elder in his Falerium wine. Alas, I've lost my TN's on his wines. The grape is usually found in blends and not often made as a varietal.
This was my first experience w/ Bellone. I was pretty much blown away by the wine. Much more perfume & fragrance than you usually find from Lazio.
Berardino Santarelli has planted a lot of non-traditional varieties in the area & I'd love to try more of his wines. ​
3. Steve got two of these wines from FullPull in Seattle. Their blurb:
Originally Posted By: "FullPull"
2019 Casale del Giglio Bellone - $24.99 (TPU $13.99)

One logistical note to start: unfortunately, our allocation is down 11% from last year. Given how popular this wine was previously, please get your allocations in by Sunday night, we’ll be allocating first thing Monday morning, and it’s unlikely there will be any available after that.

Now, let’s get ourselves oriented. Maps always help. Here is Casale del Giglio’s location. As you can see, it’s about 30 miles south of Rome, and a 10-minute drive to the Mediterranean seaside. It’s perfectly situated between the sea to the west and the Apennine mountains to the east.

Unlike most regions in Italy, the area where Giglio set up shop did not have a deep winemaking tradition when the winery was launched in 1967 by Berardino Santarelli. Because of that, the Italian wine authorities were comfortable authorizing Berardino’s son Antonio to begin a large-scale research project in 1985, whereby they planted more than 50 different experimental varieties. Several international varieties turned out to do quite well in this region—Syrah and Petit Verdot among the reds, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Petit Manseng among the whites—and the winery burnished its reputation with those wines (its flagship wine is a blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot).

Once the winery had established itself and its little corner of Lazio as capable of producing high quality wines, it began exploring the indigenous varieties of Lazio, and that’s when things really get interesting. Because we can taste Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc from many different parts of the world, but Bellone? Bellone was born and raised in Lazio.

How long has Bellone been around these parts? Well, Pliny The Elder referenced it in his writings. That probably tells us enough. It thrives in the warm climate, sandy soils, and relentless sea breeze of this region. This particular bottling comes from some of the estate’s more recent plantings, but also from ungrafted Bellone vineyards up to 60 years old. After harvest, it gets a little extra skin contact, and is then pressed into a mix of neutral barrels and stainless steel.

I just love wines like this, born and raised by the sea, infused with ocean-breeze notes on the nose and saline minerality on the palate. I can close my eyes and picture a warm, windy summer afternoon on the beach; waves rolling in, sand everywhere, gulls flying overhead, their eyes affixed on our fried seafood. All that saline is balanced by round, orchard fruit, streaks of citrus, and a savory nuttiness, both on the nose and palate. The whole package is complex and attractive. And wow, the mid-weight texture (13.5% listed alc) paired with all that citrus acidity is quite beguiling. A bottle of Bellone calls for fried seafood indeed, preferably eaten in view of some body of water, but I think it would be equally brilliant with roasted chicken, crab and fresh pasta, ricotta toasts with fava beans, and my favorite party trick, a pile of high-heat roasted jarred artichokes with aioli.

Full Pull Cavatappi
Hello friends. One of our favorite under-the-radar wineries is closing up shop on a wine we've offered numerous times over the years, and as a result, we were offered significant price drops on any of their three final vintages. Having tasted the trio, there was one clear winner:

2017 Cavatappi Nebbiolo Maddalena Red Willow Vineyard - $29.99 (TPU $14.99)
In the 1980s, Peter Dow was the chef/owner of Cafe Juanita, a Kirkland restaurant featuring the cuisine of Northern Italy. After visiting the region himself, Peter was inspired by the number of restaurants in the Piedmont that were making their own house wine, and so he set about developing a winery in the cellar of his restaurant. Because there were so few Italian varieties planted in Washington at the time, Peter also had to develop partnerships with growers to put those vines into the ground.

So it was, that on a February day in 1984 that Peter described as “colder than [REDACTED],” he and Mike Sauer drank a bottle of Barolo and then proceeded to bury it under the acre of land at Red Willow Vineyard that would become Peter’s Nebbiolo block. The burial was a good-luck ritual designed to woo the spirits of the Piedmont, and considering that the vineyard block is still in production 30-plus years later, it just may have worked.

In its early years, Cavatappi sold all its wine through Cafe Juanita, but over time, they began allocating small portions of the wine for sales purposes. Most of that went to restaurants, as chefs and sommeliers quickly recognized that Peter was making wine intended for drinking with food. By 2000, Peter had sold Cafe Juanita (it remains a beloved restaurant), but Cavatappi has lived on for many years since (in recent years with Precept as managing partners), with most of its production still landing on restaurant wine lists.

Our first Cavatappi offer came on December 4, 2009, less than two months after launching Full Pull. Our first Maddalena offer followed soon thereafter (the 2004 vintage, on March 3, 2010). We have a long history with this winery, and I suspect that’s why they offered us the pick of the Nebbiolo litter.

This 2017 pours beautifully into the glass. Right away it *looks* like Nebbiolo: pale in density, like a Pinot Noir, but somewhere between ruby and garnet. It is arresting aromatically, with rose petals and crunchy leaves complicating a core of black cherry fruit. What I dig about the palate is that it possesses Nebbiolo’s signature structural elements (bright blood-orange acidity, robust leafy tannins) paired to delicious, approachable new-world fruit (14.5% listed alc). The tannins pick up momentum during the back half, rolling into a long, rustic, toothsome finish. It feels very true to this wine’s restaurant/food-oriented origins. On that front, I looked to Holly Smith’s current takeout menu for Café Juanita for pairing inspiration, and this would pair beautifully with her Chanterelle Ricotta Ravioli, Borlotti Bean Ragout, or Pork Sugo on Polenta. Yum.


3. Cavatappi: This is primarily a wine importing operation under the Precept Wines brand. It was originally the brand name for the Nebbiolo that Peter Dow made for his CafeJuanita restaurant in Kirkland. When I first tasted his Nebb way back when, I made an appt to visit Peter in his cellar in the basement of the restaurant. I believe Peter is still alive but no longer owns tthe CafeJuanita restaurant and focuses on making his Nebb. When we've served his Nebb in the NEB events, it has always been one of the standouts.


Edited by TomHill (09-22-2021 14:40:19)