In 1920, in the aftermath of the First World War, an Italian farmer planted Friulano vines not far from his country’s tenuous border with what had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the war, and is now Slovenia. New vines take a few years to begin producing viable grapes and hopefully this farmer got to enjoy the fruits of his labor. What we get to relish in 2020 thanks to him and now Lorenzo Mocchiutti of Vignai da Duline, is a subtle, but sublime bianco made from these grapes a century after their planting. The jury is still out on all of the ways in which old vines impact the wine they produce, but a recent staff tasting of over a dozen such bottlings proved that these magical bottles likely represent the apex of these vines’ capabilities. To start, two things are certain. First, the older the vine, the deeper its roots have dug into the soil. This means that the vine has access to a greater reservoir of water, which in turn means that it is more resilient in the face of climatic stress. Between a young vine and an older vine, the latter will be less affected by drought or intense heat, and remain capable of producing outstanding, balanced wine even in a vintage with unbalanced weather conditions. Second, ancient vines produce fewer grapes with more concentrated juice and sturdier skins. The skins also help to combat climatic stress, while the greater concentration leads to more complexity and character in the juice. Lower yields, however, mean that vignerons make—and we import—smaller quantities of the given wine. Precisely how the plant’s increased access to deeper layers of soil translates into more soulful nectar in your glass is harder to quantify, but one senses a greater presence of terroir, minerality, and earthiness in wines that come from older vines. Every bottle in our tasting seemed complete, with irresistible textures and layers of complexity, even more so than had they come from the same grape varieties produced by younger vines. The selection below is comprised of wines in which either a significant portion or the entirety of the grapes come from vines planted before 1950, with some going as far back as 150 years. We invite you to discover for yourself wines from these rare and ancient vines, and to taste these parts of French and Italian history.
Now through February 29, use code ANCIENT15 to take 15% wines in the collection below!
Between a young vine and an older vine, the latter will be less affected by drought or intense heat, and remain capable of producing outstanding, balanced wine even in a vintage with unbalanced weather conditions.
Here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant we don’t believe in selling anything mediocre, and we would certainly not put our name on a wine we didn’t believe in. So our values are just that, wines that are full of value and quality.
Frédéric and Daniel Brunier are the fourth generation of their family to farm the land of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent decades, they have brought their intricate knowledge of the various terroirs of the southern Rhône to new heights through the expansion of the holdings. Their properties represent a vast variation of soil types, climatic conditions, and grape varieties.
Of the wines of the northern Rhône, Kermit wrote in Adventures on the Wine Route, “The best combine a reminder of the sunny Mediterranean with the more self-conscious, intellectual appeal of the great Burgundies farther north, which is not a bad combination.”
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa