Monthly Archives: June 2017

2011 Brunello Riserva Renieri 93 points on Wine Spectator!

504221b8-27e8-4479-8d08-7b9824542028Fresh and pure, boasting cherry, strawberry, floral and leather aromas and flavors. There is a sense on elegance and firm, well-integrated tannins. Fine length. Best from 2018 through 2028.
2,000 cases made.

Sebastiano Sanna

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Cheese 2017 focuses on raw milk cheeses and naturalness

 

Cheese 2017, the international event organized by Slow Food and the City of Bra dedicated to high-quality and artisanal dairy products, will be held in Bra (Italy) from September 15-18 2017.

The event, which celebrates its twentieth birthday this year, has gradually built an international network of cheesemakers, shepherds, cheesemongers and affineurs, the people who come together every two years here to present their products, meet the public, debate the challenges they have to face and address critical new issues in the dairy world.

The last edition of Cheese, held in 2015, saw the participation of more than 270,000 visitors, 30% of whom from overseas, and more than 300 exhibitors from 23 countries.

Cheese 2017 puts raw milk cheeses at the center of the debate. For the first time ever, this year the Italian and International Market features only cow’s, ewe’s and goat’s cheeses made with raw milk. This is a big step forward that raises the bar of quality even higher. Raw milk cheeses, in fact, epitomize an immense heritage of biodiversity—of pastures, of animal breeds, of different kinds of milk, of skills and traditions. They embody values in stark contrast with the sterilization and homogenization of mass-produced food.

What’s more, this year Cheese aims to launch a veritable raw milk movement and to plan its future actions. In many countries, raw milk is prohibited or restricted, meaning that producers aren’t free to make traditional raw milk cheeses and consumers aren’t free to choose for themselves. The battle in defense of raw milk, carried forward by Slow Food since the earliest editions of Cheese, has achieved significant results and the network of small-scale producers has spread to countries as far away as South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. However, there is still a long way to go.

Of close on 600 international Presidia, as many as 95 are dedicated to cheese. At Cheese, visitors will be able to find out more about many Slow Food Presidia, such as Raw Milk Stichelton from the UK, Mountain Pasture Sbrinz from Switzerland and Boeren Leyden Traditioneel, a new Presidium recently launched in the Netherlands.

The guest of honor this year will be the USA, where Slow Food launched its now historic American Raw Milk Cheeses Presidium.

Another of the main themes of Cheese 2017 is naturalness (hence the use or otherwise of industrial enzymes in cheese), with a dedicated area featuring not only cheese itself, but also naturally cured meats produced without the use of nitrites, nitrates and other preservatives, natural wines made with selected yeasts and without sulfites, traditional spontaneously fermented Belgian Lambic beer and sourdough bread.

Natural cheese means cheese made without industrial enzymes. Today, the majority of dairies no longer process milk by hand, wood is often banned and the milk flows from steel tube to steel tube in a perfectly sterilized environment that inhibits the growth of bacterial flora. All of which translates into a huge loss of biodiversity.

Some cheesemakers purchase ready-to-use enzymes to add to milk and start the coagulation process, their aim being to achieve a safer, more consistent product with fewer defects. The multinationals that produce and package starter cultures are making a fortune with this convenient shortcut, which eliminates flaws but standardizes taste. For years Slow Food has been encouraging cheesemakers not to use starter cultures—or, at least, to avoid buying them in—but to produce them in their own dairies (just as sourdough bread bakers and vinegar producer do), thus maintaining native bacterial flora and the sensory identity of the finished cheese.

The program for Cheese 2017 includes 35 Taste Workshops, guided tastings to allow visitors to discover the world of dairy biodiversity and more besides; Dinner Dates, opportunities to meet some of the finest Italian and international chefs and enjoy their special dishes; and conferences on issues involving animal welfare, global warming, nutrition and health.

VINNATUR: PRODUCERS ELIMINATE PESTICIDES

 

Analysis on 80 samples of VinNatur wines confirm the complete absence of pesticides. In the meantime, pilot projects on biodiversity continue.

A great result has been recently reached by VinNatur. None of the 80 samples analysed in order to check wine quality contained traces of pesticides, thus confirming that VinNatur offers consumers real guarantees and not simply declarations. First, research was carried out to identify 188 different pesticides and none of these were found, thereby guaranteeing the wines’ authenticity and coherence with VinNatur’s principles.

VinNatur represents 187 producers from 9 countries and has made this guarantee a point of honour for wine lovers. Angiolino Maule, President of VinNatur, explains: “We wanted to go beyond a simple self-certification. It is important that VinNatur wine consumers will drink wines which have been officially certified by external laboratories”.

All the producers who have joined VinNatur association in the last 5 years have been checked. Sulphur analysis reveal that 35 samples were below 50 mg/l as stated by the Guideline Procedure and 45 samples contained even less less than 10 mg/l (the limit for organic wines in Europe is 150 mg/l for white wines and 100 mg/l for red wines).

It is the first time all samples analysed reveal negative test results. In 2016 on 150 samples analysed, 4 (3 Italian and 1 French) contained pesticides. For us it is a very important outcome. It confirms that we are moving in the right direction. It is not our final goal but it is certainly an important stage in the growth process we are doing as VinNatur association. We are focusing on how to replace copper and sulphur with vegetable extracts that help the vine building up resistance. But our most major project is on biodiversity”.

The biodiversity project supervised by agronomist Stefano Zaninotti from Vitenova – Vine Wellness in collaboration with biologist Irene Franco Fernandez, botanist Cristiano Francescato and entomologist Costanza Uboni, has involved 17 wineries for this year. Data deriving from surveys on soil, flora and fauna will allow to develop an appropriate scientific model enabling wineries to understand which are the most suitable plants that can be used for preserving soil microbiological fertility and helping vines develop properly. This will lead to a higher resistance of the vine itself, further reducing human intervention and getting closer to VinNatur aim: a healthy viticulture as naturally-driven as possible.

Association of Natural Wine Producers – VinNatur
VinNatur was established in 2006 in order to reunite small producers of natural wines, both Italian and European, and provide them with a proper tool for promotion and growth. The Association aims at promoting natural wines from a commercial point of view and at the same time developing specific knowledge of natural viticulture and natural wine making amongst both producers themselves and consumers.

Natural wine” is the name given to a product derived from a healthy agriculture which rejects the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical soil and foliar fertilizers. Great attention is given to soil and soil natural balance. VinNatur is carrying out researches in order to get rid of copper and sulphur, traditionally used for treating vines diseases, and replace them with natural extracts which help the vine building up resistance. Natural approach is not limited to the vineyard, but extends also to the cellar. Selected yeasts are not allowed, neither are additives (of any kind) or invasive techniques which do not respect the raw material. The aim is that of reducing and, if possible, eliminating the use of sulphur dioxide, whose side effects on human health are well known worldwide. This is possible thanks to a constant improvement of spontaneous fermentation, with indigenous yeasts, which are already available in nature and which give a distinctive value to wine as far as personality and uniqueness. Over the years, VinNatur has steeply increased the number of associates, from 65 wineries up to present-day 187 members belonging to nine different countries: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. 

Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance to Be Started in Iceland

 

The Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in Iceland is joining Slow Food’s large network of chefs committed to cooking and promoting products from the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Slow Food Presidia and other communities of local producers. The Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance project already has hundreds of members in eighteenth countries (Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, the Netherlands, Uganda, United Kingdom and Russia), making Iceland the nineteenth country to join the Alliance.

Dominique Plédel Jónsson, President of Slow Food in Reykjavik: “Iceland has been a live laboratory for a strong survival of cultural heritage in food products and preparation. At the same time gastronomy was not an issue in a country where survival was an everyday fight against natural conditions – the first generations had to be inventive since no salt was available, nor wood fire hence ovens, plants and herbs were scarcely found and not to be relied upon.

In the 20th century chefs started to connect to Europe and America and picked up traditions and technics from other countries. After going through a period of experiences with all kind of influences and starting to compete at international challenges, the chefs rediscovered their own heritage, beginning with the exceptional raw materials to be found on the island, mainly fish and lamb to start. The discovering of these local raw materials led very quickly to new recipes. For example, the safeguarding of the Icelandic Sheep, a breed on the Ark of Taste, is actually motivating chefs in different restaurants here to use lamb on their menu and promote it.”

Gísli Matthías Auðunsson, Chefs’ Alliance member at “Slippurinn” in Vestmannaeyjar, is working with the 15 products on board on Slow Food Ark of Taste, starting from classical recipes and transforming them to the taste of modern consumers. His motto is “I want to make Icelanders proud of their food traditions”.

The chefs who have joined the Alliance in Iceland so far are:

Ari Thorsteinsson, Humarhöfnin, Höfn

Gísli Matthias Audunsson, Slippurinn, Vestmannaeyjar

Hinrik Carl Ellertsen, Hverfisgata 12, Reykjavik

Hrafnkell Sigridarson, Mat Bar, Reykjavik

Leifur Kolbeinsson, Marshall Restaurant, Reykjavik

Lucas Keller, The Cookoo‘s Nest, Reykjavik

Maria Gisladottir, Nýhöfn, Höfn

Ólafur Agústsson, Kex Hostel, Reykjavik

Sveinn Kjartansson, Bordstofan Ehf, Reykjavik

Thorir Bergsson, Bergsson Mathús, Reykjavik

CLAYVER, THE INTELLIGENT WINE POT LANDS IN US

Suitable for both vinification and ageing, Clayver has surprised more than a few.
With a 2017 growth rate of +78%, the porcelain stoneware pot is ready to conquer US wine producers

Created in 2014, Clayver has made a big hit in the market. After having conquered producers such as Veuve-Clicquot and Tarlant with impressive results during comparative ageing trials, Clayver lands in US where it will be used for wine and even cosmetic products.

Clayver is an innovative stoneware round egg conceived for fermentation, vinification and wine ageing. Inspired by clay amphoras, Clayver inventors wanted to go beyond as far as mechanical resistance and impermeability. What makes a difference with traditional amphoras is shape and material.

Along with being aesthetically enjoyable, the round shape allows to keep the grape cap moist during fermentation, helping colour extraction. Convective movements contribute in reshuffling fine lees, thus improving wine structure and ageing potential. Wall thickness guarantees thermal inertia and a uniform, three-dimensional oxygen exchange concerning the smallest possible surface area. Stoneware is a resistant, isolating and easy to sterilize material, in addition to being safe when handling food Clayver is certified for use in foodstuffs.

Maison Veuve-Clicquot and Tarlant who is using it for ageing its Chardonnay, Château Les Carmes HautBrion and Château de Beaucastel, Guido Berlucchi, Livio Felluga, Le Macchiole are but a few names of producers who have been pleasantly surprised by results reached during comparative ageing trials and are now using Clayver.

Clayver has now 150 customers all over the world, with a +37% growth rate in the numbers of customers and a +78% in the amount of pieces ordered from 2016. It is now available in 2 different sizes: 250 and 400 litres.

If wine is Clayver intended use, it is not the only one. Cosmetics companies too have become interested in Clayver for the production of natural body and face lotions. Clayver in particular will be used for the maceration process being an inert material and therefore preventing any loss of matter from the container.

The Essence of Ornellaia 2014

The desire to nurture the Estate’s exceptional qualities has shaped Ornellaia’s philosophy since the beginning. Ornellaia is a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot and the faithful expression of unique terroir developed in harmony with nature.

 

For Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s Estate Director and Winemaker, the 2014 vintage exhibits the character of ‘L’Essenza,’ or the Essence. “When one is confronted with a challenging growing season, to make a great wine, one has to focus on simply extracting that year’s very essence. And, in fact, the 2014 year unexpectedly turned into a pleasant surprise, since the heavy rains and low temperatures during the ripening stages were followed by a September and October which brought us exemplary weather conditions; the result was a somewhat later harvest, which delivered optimally vibrant fruit with crisp acidities. We complemented that result with meticulous hand-picking, whose objective was to select only the most sound, healthy clusters. What one notices immediately about the 2014 vintage is the high quality of the tannins: elegant and silk-smooth, with no rough edges at all.

2014 will be remembered in Tuscany for the summer that never was and as one of the most unusual. A warm and rainy winter was followed by a mild and dry spring, a distinctively average July and a cold and rainy August. All of this created difficult conditions for the ripening of the grapes. September and October, however, brought perfect conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, offering excellent conditions for ripening, particularly for Merlot. While we had an incredible amount of extra work to do in the vineyard, the combination of the Estate’s varied subsoils, the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and our own detailed knowledge of the terroir all played distinctively in our favour. Ornellaia underlines the fundamental difference in terroir between the coast and the central Tuscan vineyards.”

In technical words, about the climate of 2014, in our area we had a warm and wet winter was followed by a mild and dry spring which allowed a normal vegetative growth with a punctual and regular flowering. The weather in July was perfect, August however was rainy and cold, creating very difficult conditions for ripening, and greatly increasing the risk of diseases. The meticulous work in the vineyard, with leaf stripping and treatments during the entire month of August enabled us to maintain the good health of our vines, allowing them to develop free of disease during September and October. These two months conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, gave us excellent conditions for ripening. During the harvest, it was crucial to select the grape bunches carefully, both in the vineyard – where in some plots we did up to three harvest passages – and on the selection table, so to fill the tanks only with perfectly healthy and fully ripe grapes. 2014 was one of the longest and most delayed harvests at Ornellaia, with the first Merlot harvested the 6th of September, and a large part of the historical vineyards – including some Merlot – harvested in October. The 2014 harvest, that ended on the 22nd of October, was the latest ever.

As always, the grapes were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softly crushed. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

 

Harvest in the moonlight, presented by Miolo cellar

 

The Miolo winery announces the launch of the 2017 harvest of one of its most unusual wines: the Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Colheita Noturna, made from grapes harvested in the cool dawns of the promising region of Campanha, in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).

 The poetic process of elaboration counted on a new technology of nocturnal mechanized harvest, implemented in Brazil in 2016 by the Miolo group, that launched, in the occasion, the first national wine coming from grapes harvested at night mechanically. All the procedures were accompanied by a team of the group, who made an inversion of schedules to dedicate themselves to the elaboration of the new Reserva Sauvignon Blanc.

 “We hide the curls of sunlight during the maturation so that in the moonlight we can harvest. The grapes come fresh to the winery for the beginning of the elaboration, which allows to preserve the aromas and to bring new characteristics to the fruit and, consequently, to the wine “, explains the oenologist and superintendent of the brand, Adriano Miolo.

He notes that the main differential of the process is the influence of low temperatures at night. The colder period preserves the green colors of the must, influencing not only the taste and aroma of the wine, but also its coloration.

“At dawn, the grape is chilled and has a different aromatic preservation from the fruit harvested during the day at high temperatures. We control the temperature of the Sauvignon Blanc still on the vine, allowing to highlight and explore some of its potentialities, in addition to maintaining its natural acidity, “details Adriano.

 Crystalline and young, the label is the expression of the romanticism of the harvest under the light of the moon. Elaborated “ice”,  should be consumed: the ideal temperature to enjoy the new Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is 8 ° C. Besides being ideal as an appetizer, it is the perfect companion for salads, fish, white meats, pastas, pizzas and cheeses. As it is a white wine with pronounced acid freshness, it harmonizes with light and medium-bodied foods. By contrast, it goes well with fatty foods and with tenderness to sweetness.

Sebastiano Sanna

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