2016 Vouvray “Le Portail”Champalou
France | Loire
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by Anthony Lynch
Next time you feel inspired to try a simple new recipe, cook down some onions, garlic, and tomatoes (canned is fine) in olive oil. Add capers and pitted olives to the mix, then sprinkle in some dried herbs like oregano and thyme. A pinch of hot chili flakes will not hurt, if desired. Spoon the sauce over grilled swordfish or tuna, or add it to the pasta of your choice.
You have just created the perfect pairing for Portelli’s Calabrese. Hailing from Vittoria, in southern Sicily, this red is the ideal foil to savory, flavorful Mediterranean-inspired fare. Calabrese, also known as Nero d’Avola, has a remarkable capacity to retain acidity in a decidedly baking climate, allowing Portelli’s 2017 to coat the palate with sumptuous notes of black cherry and blackberry all while staying light on its feet, revealing a radiant brightness to contrast the succulent dark fruit. At table, these qualities are paramount.
Alessandro Portelli no longer filters his wines, preserving a fleshy, pulpy texture that lingers on the taste buds. This is not a massive Nero d’Avola—at thirteen percent alcohol, it is elegant, and does not overpower simple, casual meals. Your rapidly assembled Mediterranean feasts are certain to reach new levels.
In the southeastern corner of Sicily, west of Modica and Ragusa, the town of Vittoria is the home of Sicily's sole DOCG (Italy's strictest form of wine certification), known as Cersuolo di Vittoria. Cerasuolo is an enlightened blend of Frappato and Nero d'Avola, and the two grapes when blended melt into each other in a harmonious symphony of flavor and texture. I fell in love with the wine and its medium-bodied, sensual, seductive personality. Then I discovered the Portelli family, Salvatore and his son Alessandro, and have been duly impressed with their mastery of these fine examples of southern Sicilian charm. Their wines are fresh, and joyful to drink, all while being faithful representatives of their native land. Welcome to a new KLWM standard.
La Marca di San Michele Italy | Marche | Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
La Marca Italy | Marche | Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
Let the brett nerds retire into protective bubbles, and whenever they thirst for wine it can be passed in to them through a sterile filter. Those of us on the outside can continue to enjoy complex, natural, living wines.
Inspiring Thirst, page 236
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