Fine Wine Source Wine
Basking in the balmy Adriatic-cooled microclimate of the Salento peninsula in Puglia, on Italy’s heel, Agricole Vallone is a large multi-tasking agricultural concern with 170 hectares of vines interspersed with other crops; mostly olive trees, artichokes, and vegetables. It was founded in 1934, but like others at the time, sold grapes to the local co-operative. It was only in the late 1990s that it began bottling its own wines, but it quickly made its name with its flagship wine Graticciaia, a partially barrel-aged red made largely from negromaro grapes dried on mats (graticci) in the autumn sunshine. Designated IGT Salento, this is a very special wine with powerful, concentrated flavors that ages beautifully. The Vallone family started the winery in the 1930s, and many years before then they were Puglian bankers. Now, Francesco Vallone is running the business. He is a tall, usually immaculately dressed, always polite, and very driven Italian, who spends a vast amount of his time doing business in Milan. Francesco only took over the business recently following the tragic and premature death of his father (it had previously been run for many years by his two aunts, Vittoria and Maria Teresa Vallone). The family still owns a grand building in the heart of the beautiful southern Italian city of Lecce, where the company’s office is located, as well as where the family lives. The ‘building’ is actually a 400 year old castle that was used as a fortress to protect the locals from the Crusaders as well as to produce olive oil and wines. Francisco plans to restore and transform the castle into a resort with private rooms, where guests can enjoy facilities such as private swimming pools, private dining rooms, private cooking facilities, and an exclusive spa.
The IGT, DOC and DOCG acronyms are designations used for the Italian wine appellation system (similar to the French AOP system, from which most countries have modeled their industries). Each individual designation has specific rules controlling the various factors of winegrowing: what grapes are allowed, grapes to yield per hectare (@2.5 acres), geographic borders, alcohol levels, ageing, etc. These strict regulations ensure that certified growers have a safeguard on the quality and the authenticity of their products. Indicazione di Geografica Tipica, or Indication of Typical Geography (IGT), is the 1st level of designation for Italian wines. With this designation, winegrowers do not have to follow the specific growing and winemaking rules as they do with the DOC & G, and thus have more creative freedom. You can find beautiful IGT wines all across Italy; however, the only rule is that the wines must originate in the stated region.
100% Primitivo (Very closely related to Zinfandel, likely originated from Croatian Crljenak. A Primitivo wine is rumored to be the wine served at The Last Supper).
Notes of blueberry, blackberry, violets and leather on the nose lead into earthy-sweet plum and ripe fig flavors, with luscious depth and a plush juicy finish.
PIZZA!!! Basically anything tomato based; spaghetti bolognese, chicken parmigiana, veal parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, chicken cacciatore, earthy vegetables, and dry firm cheeses.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
A great Italian wine from Puglia in the boot of Italy. Loaded with dark fruit and layers of complexity; best served with veal, pork, or tomato based dishes!
Fine Wine Source Wine
Klinker Brick Winery:
The folks at Klinker Brick Winery believe that great wine begins with suitable climate and soil; both of which are found in Lodi. Sandy loam coupled with the hot and cold temperature exchange that graces Lodi from day to night creates the perfect environment to cultivate warm weather varietals like Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A certain level of skill, attention to detail, and harvest accuracy is a requirement for the vintner as well. What once began as a grape growing community from the early 1900’s until the late 1980’s, Lodi is now a thriving wine-producing region adorned with dozens of wineries, including Klinker Brick. Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.With roots in Germany, Russia and later the Dakotas, the family settled in Lodi, first producing watermelons. Recognizing that the soil and climate were ideal for growing grapes, they began to plant varieties that included Zinfandel, Tokay, Carignane, and Alicante. For over one hundred years, the family has cultivated the land with the aim of producing top quality fruit. Zinfandel was one of the first grape varieties to be planted in the Lodi appellation, although it had also been established in other parts of California. The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old. Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.
Part of the extended Felten Family includes their winemaking consultant, Barry Gnekow, who was responsible for crafting the wines from the inaugural vintage. Barry, a Davis graduate with over 25 years of experience of winemaking, has a unique ability to bring the best of the vineyard into the cellar, year after year, assisting in producing wines of distinction for Klinker Brick. Joseph Smith joined Klinker Brick in 2008 after starting his career in the nineties as an apprentice with Gnekow Family Wines. From there he worked under Barry at Hahn and also Michael David as a cellar master and ultimately our full time winemaker. Joseph has been producing wines of exceptional quality for Klinker Brick.
38% Grenache/30% Carignane/24% Syrah/8% Mourvedre. Harvested in August of 2017
Old World style meets New World Fruit. Pleasant flavors of ripe strawberries, grapefruit and subtle watermelon coupled with a dry composition, gently caress the palate. The finish is incredibly clean with light, bright acidity.
Light salads, light pasta, and rice dishes; especially good with seafood, raw and lightly cooked shellfish, and grilled fish and goats’ cheeses. If you are looking for a good BBQ pairing, try it with a Turkey Burger topped with Avocado and Manchego Cheese (Google: ‘Perfect Turkey Burgers Food Network’ for a great recipe!!!); perfect for hot weather drinking!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
Rich and full flavored…not a wimpy rose here! Long on the palate, a perfect summer and early fall sipper, and great with anything on the BBQ!