2016 Vouvray “Le Portail”Champalou
France | Loire
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Across Europe, the summer of 2017 was a hot one. By August, the heat wave, which reached 109 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions, had earned an appropriate name: Lucifer. This Barbera, made by the humble but masterful Fantino brothers, bears marks of that dry heat. Unlike in cooler years, when the wine is luscious and exuberant, the 2017 Barbera d’Alba Superiore has a strong tannin and the fruit is feral, suggesting you have found Italy’s Bandol rouge. Notes of cherries, strawberries, iron, and balsamic vinegar are tightly coiled in a soulful, untamed package. Because the Fantinos are so talented, the wine has finesse despite the heat of the vintage. The acidity is as mouthwatering as ever, the alcohol level remains balanced, and the fruit is preserved. Barbera’s bright acidity makes it a champion at table. Open it alongside a wide range of cuisines, from hearty pastas to grilled meats and roasted vegetables. Try it with a chanterelle risotto for a match made in heaven—Lucifer not allowed!
|Producer:||A. & G. Fantino|
|Winemaker:||Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino|
|Aging:||Fermented and aged in stainless steel tank for 18 months, aged in bottle for 3 months before release|
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171
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