Marangona’s Alessandro Cutolo
Alessandro Cutolo kind of looks like a viking.
Aside from close proximity to a body of water (in this case, the Italian Lake Garda), however, the heavy-handed Old Norse warrior comparison fizzles out completely. Because at the crossing of the Veneto and Lombardia regions, Cutolo, as owner and winemaker of Lugana’s Marangona, crafts elegant, svelte whites without even a hint of the roughshod among them; thanks in part to what could only be described as a minimalist approach.
“I want to do as little as possible,” Cutolo told me during a recent media-trip visit, “to [express] my idea of the wine.”
This don’t-touch-it-in-fact-don’t-eben-look-at-it-you’ve-already-seen-enough approach starts in his calcareous-clay soil vineyard, where the grass is high (“it helps with disease”) and the treatments are few. “If it’s possible to have less [impact],” he remarked, “than why not?”
Cutolo owns 27 hectares of ten to fifty year-old vines in Lugana, most of them planted to the deceptively age-worthy Turbiana variety. The estate’s buildings date from the late 1600s, and his family farmed grapes, corn, and cattle here since the 1950s. He now produces about one hundred thousand bottles of (downright delectable) Lugana wine per year…
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And you thought that I’d forgotten about the monthly wine product sample round up here, didn’t you?
C’mon… admit it…
The handsome Barvivio lineup
This month, I’ve got two wine gadgets to mention, both of which are technically multi-purpose, and both of which are well worth a look. Unfortunately, only one of them is what I would consider an over-achiever for the price, but neither are going to sentence you to a fiscal future full of cat food eating in the dark.
First up is the Barvivo waiter’s friend style corkscrew. Some of you will recall that I mentioned this little well-made beauty about two years ago, and since receiving that product sample it has become my go-to, most-used corkscrew here at Chateau Dude. The Barvivo folks recently added new handle designs to their lineup, including ebony, a handful (see what I did there?) of resin options, and (my personal fave), Bai Ying wood. Thankfully, they didn’t mess with the overall design, quality, or (somewhat miraculously) the bizarrely low price. I still find it incredible that this thing is so dependable and yet will set you back only about $13. I’ve no idea how they manage that, and frankly, I’m not sure that I want to know how they manage that. And yes, the corkscrew is multipurpose, since it’s also technically a bottle opener…
And next, we have Corkcicle’s 25oz Canteen. At about $35, this isn’t cheap. But nothing about this effective canteen is cheap. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Corkcicle’s more famous wine chiller product, in that I love to hate the damned thing; I never, ever use it, and I keep it in the house only so that I can point it at people and say “Harrrrrryyyy Potterrrrrrr” in a frightening British accent. But it’s the opposite scenario with their canteen; I kind of love this thing. It’s solidly built, does a bang-up job of keeping its contents cold or hot (not just wine, of course – multipurpose, beeeeatches!) for what seems ridiculously long periods of time, and is just the right size for holding an entire bottle of wine. It’s not exactly cooler-friendly material, but then this thing basically is the cooler.
- 13 Ettore Sammarco Selva delle Monache Rosso Riserva Costa d'Amalfi Ravello (Campania): Esoteric? Maybe. Kicking ass? Definitely. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 10 Valdivieso Eclat Vigno (Maule Valley): Yet another example of why Carignan is the red with the most star power potential in Chile. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
- 15 Valdivieso Eclat Curiosity Chardonnay (Limari Valley): You'll be curious how t hey managed to get so much apricot & peach in there $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 14 Valdivieso Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (Maule Valley): Grounded in its tea-leaf earthiness, lofty in its fruity & floral perfumes. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Valdivieso Single Vineyard Carmenere (Cachapoal Valley): Sprinkle those dark cherries with oregano? Sure, why the heck not? $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 14 Talley Vineyards Stone Corral Vineyard Pinot Noir (Edna Valley): SLO that's taking no prisoners, & you won't mind being captured. $58 A- >>find this wine<<
- 16 Dutton Goldfield Shop Block Pinot Blanc (Green Valley of Russian River Valley): Like potato chips; go ahead & try to drink just 1. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 16 Martin Ray Sonoma County Chardonnay (Sonoma County): Tropical fruit and coconut kung fu to up-level your next picnic outing. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 13 RdV Vineyards Lost Mountain (Virginia): Dense, spicy, and serious, serious stuff; bring your decanter, & your big boy pants. $90 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Tenuta di Fessina Erse Etna Bianco (Sicily): Straw, almonds, and pear from the farm take a trip to where sea air is in the breeze. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
Ok… so… in my latest piece for MyNameIsBarbera.com, I compare Ruchè to Deadpool.
I know… it’s not Barbera (but it is from the land of Barbera, and many a Barbera producer also offer excellent Ruchè wines)… and, well… yeah, Deadpool. It’s so crazy that it just might work, right?
Look, Deadpool is quirky, unique, and not for everyone, though it’s a character that’s a damn sight more popular than anyone would’ve given credit for becoming. Ruchè is, IMHO, unique in nearly the same way (and this isn’t a totally random opinion, as I happen to know a thing or two about Ruchè, mi compadres).
Either that, or, as Deadpool would say, “you have failed me, brain!!!”
Anyway, head on over to MyNameIsBarbera.com for all of the madness.
RUCHÈ: A HERO TO LOVE (AND DRINK)