Cab-Francophile (An Arcanum Retrospective In Tuscany)

Vinted on September 21, 2016 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

It takes some serious chutzpah to pour your super-Tuscan red, sans hesitation, alongside Le Macchiole Paleo, Ornellaia, and Sassicai.

Arcanum faun

Now, you might expect that kind of faccia tosta from the Italians, but in this case it came from Frenchman veteran vigneron Pierre Seillan who, alonf with winemaker Lawrence Cronin and vineyard manager Michele Pezzicoli, produces the Cabernet Franc-dominated Arcanum at Tuscany’s Tenuta di Arceno (I visited as part of a media jaunt earlier this Summer).

Tenuta di Arceno is part of the Jackson Family megapolis of wine brands, for which former Loire and Bordeaux winemaker Seillan also oversees Château Lassègue in Saint-Émilion and Anakota in California. The gorgeous, Etruscan-history-tinged estate, nestled in the San Gusmé area, was purchased in the early 1980s, and now has about 230 acres (among 2500 total) dedicated to the vine.

Pierre Seillan

Pierre Seillan

Seillan’s faccia tosta isn’t just for show; the guy is happy to make bold pronouncements about his wines, because at this point he has notched enough winegrowing experience that the of-course-that’s-how-it-would-be timbre of his words are bolstered by an unspoken sense of and-I-know-this-because-I’ve-lived-it-twenty-times-already. “The future of this region,” he noted, “is to show the potential of the wines in ten, fifteen, twenty years.”

To wit: Arcanum was birthed in 2002, a difficult vintage for Tuscany. “Cabernet Franc showed its elegance,” Seillan said of the vintage; “we had a revelation in Cabernet Franc!” Based on the result, Sellian and his team decided to replant and re-graft even more Cabernet Franc on the estate, some utilizing 20+ year old rootstock. Sellian told me that he now wants to bring Château Ausone‘s team here, to “scare them a little bit…”

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 19, 2016

Vinted on September 19, 2016 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 10 Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso (Toscana): Runway model levels of long-legged, confident sexiness trapped inside a 750ml glass bottle. $100 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Martin Ray Coast Grade Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains): "You know what live & direct means? It means live & direct!" $42 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Happy to lay itself out & comfortably lounge around across your tongue $52 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Senda Verde Godello (Bierzo): Finding it hard to make up its conflicted mind about growing up chalky, or growing up refreshing. $12 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Domaine Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Aligote (Burgundy): Will make you want to take an all-day fishing trip with it in a warm locale. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Domaine Beausejour Les Grenettes Sauvignon Blanc (Touraine): Refreshingly simple, simply refreshing, &, well, that's all she wrote. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Thomas Pico Domaine Pattes Loup Butteaux Chablis Premier Cru (Chablis): This racy wolf had me howling – when the bottle emptied. $42 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Gustave Lorentz Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim (Alsace): Complex, subtle, & w/ length that alone is worth the admission. $61 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering (Alsace): This Saering is downright searing, in a good way; don't attempt without food. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Alcance Bravura (Valle del Maipo): Courage is a good title for this fearlessly bold, nutty, dark-fruited lion of a Cabernet. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
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“Fire The Accountants” (Inama Recent Releases)

Inama Foscarino

What do you do at harvest time if you are part of a family wine business, but are highly allergic to pollen?

If you’re Alessio Inama, son of Azienda Agricola Inama‘s Stefano Inama, you hoof it to the major wine markets, and take media types like me out to dinner so that we can taste your wines. Which is how I got to meet Alessio at Philly’s excellent Fishtown-area haunt Root last week.

Alessio describes his father as “a crazy man,” and certainly he has a rep in the wine world for possessing the quintessentially Italian trait of bucking convention (which is second only to the quintessentially Italian trait of adhering almost blindly to tradition). This is fortunate for anyone who loves eclectic northern Italian white wines, as Inama is now well-known as producing the thinking person’s Soave. Alessio quoted his father as saying “the first step to making a great wine… is to fire the accountant.” It’s hard not to like such a character (unless you’re his accountant). Especially when he also makes Carmenere (more on that in a minute).

Back in the 70s, Soave had its heyday, being one of the most recognizable Italian wine regions, if not its most famous white wine regional brand. As in all such things, insipidness and market hangover ensued, and by the 1990s Soave wasn’t much considered as the world turned to Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay (though Soave remained popular in its home country). It was during the heyday in the`70s that Alessio’s grandfather, Giuseppe, began buying up small, lava basalt hillside lots in the Soave Classico region (today they own about 30 hectares).

Today, Soave is a bit of a bell curve. At one end, you have insipid, forgettable quaffers; in the middle, a large production of capable, often very good, almost always refreshing sippers best enjoyed in the warmest months; on the tail end, a small number of producers who push the region’s Garganega grape to its physiological – and philosophical -limits…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 12, 2016

Vinted on September 12, 2016 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 77 H.M Borges Bual Vintage Madeira (Madeira): Whiskey shots and stogie puffs; and you'd better like them big, bold, and bombastic. $265 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Roco Gravel Road Pinot Noir (Oregon): Pacific NW earthy charm, dressed up in fairly dark fruit, and very dark toasty-wood spices.$30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Tommasi Prosecco Tenuta Filodora (Prosecco): A surprise; like, a Playboy Playmate jumping out of your fake birthday cake surprise. $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Elyse Winery Howell Mountain Zinfandel (Napa Valley): Perky, peppery, persistent;and while not profound, it is proudly delicious. $33 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Ernest The Farmer Green Valley Ranch Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast): What he's farming are white flowers & some damned fresh lemons. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Albert Mann Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum (Alsace): Jasmine, honey, blood orange peel, slate, dancing, then dropping the mics. $41 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Josmeyer Riesling Grand Cru Brand (Alsace): A young, egg-from-an-endagered-species kind of white. Handle gingerly, & patiently. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Paul Blanck Schlossberg Riesling Grand Cru (Alsace): Even at this price tag, almost a bargain of a flinty, exotic-fruited wonder. $33 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Domaine Roger Lassarat Saint-Veran Cuvee Plaisir (Maconnais): Well, now! My goodness! Aren't you just the perkiest little thing! $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Alcance Vigno Old Vines Carignan (Maule Valley): Maybe a touch too modern of a coating, but that core is deliciously authentic. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
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