Wine region / Country
Vigneti Massa Sentieri 2016 (2 bottles)
Casa d'Ambra Ischia Biancolella Frassitelli 2017 (2 bottles)
Calabretta Nerello Mascalese Vecchie Vigne 2007 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £88.56
Club Discount Price: £74.52
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Red. Vigneti Massa Wines without GI, Italy Uva autoctona a bacca rossa
Bottle: £7.77 club members / £9.48 non-members
The calcareous soils are the ideal scenario for those fifty-year-old vineyards from which Sentieri is admirably drawn out by Walter Massa. This Barbera is clean and without excess, without too many compromises with fatness and structure, which ferments spontaneously and rests only in steel. Naturally, it is bottled with very little sulphur, thus confirming the fact that territoriality does not clash with genuineness.
Immediately pleasant to the palate, Sentieri is a splendid intense ruby red colour, with violet innervations typical of the vine. On the nose there are scents of fruity notes of cherry and delicate floral hints, albeit counteracted by spicy echoes, which is a sign of a progression in time that potentially can be discovered. On the palate, it is at once juicy, full, gentle, but also dynamic, snappy and refreshing, with a sapidity that further harmonises this complex gustatory apparatus.
Persistent and tasty, Sentieri is a Barbera for the whole meal, ideal with even slightly well-seasoned spicy cheeses, with full starters, up to simple meat seconds.
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White. Casa d'Ambra Ischia, Italy Biancolella
Bottle: £12.05 club members / £14.99 non-members
Andrea D'Ambra, visionary oenologist inspired by Luigi Veronelli, created here the temple of Biancolella, a native vine that owes to this company an actual codification of the rank of great grapes. The four hectares of Frassitelli are located overhanging the sea at an altitude of about 600-700 metres: these characteristics undoubtedly qualify the viticulture of Casa d'Ambra as heroic. Here too, as in the Cinque Terre, a wire carriage is a fundamental ally of the grape harvest, and here too, the apparently Mediterranean viticulture is incredibly mountainous. The soils, which cannot fail to be noticed among the rocky outcrops that rise from the steep terraces, are of a green tuff typical of this area of the island. A very draining tufa that slowly returns the collected water and that once upon a time was dug by the farmers to obtain tanks and small houses, today gives the wines a sensational minerality and guaranteed longevity.
Ischia is, of course, one of the thousand volcanic areas of Italian wine, in direct continuity with the wonderful skyline of the Campi Flegrei. Here, however, it is Biancolella who is the master, and to produce, with Frassitelli, a wine of sensational complexity. Vinified since 1985, Frassitelli has a straw-yellow colour with golden reflections. On the nose it opens with a complex bouquet of aromatic herbs, rosemary, thyme, loquat, white currant and broom, followed by saline and iodine notes. On the palate it is greedily flavourful, with a round but slender body and a long honey finish. Excellent served with appetizers and first fish courses, such as linguini with scampi.
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Red. Calabretta Sicilia, Italy Nerello Mascalese
Bottle: £17.44 club members / £19.81 non-members
Vecchie Vigne is a Nerello Mascales, the child, in fact, of these plants, that are so used to the harsh conditions of the volcano that they represent, almost in magical symbiosis, the most direct and sincere quintessence. Production, which is artisanal and very limited yields, meets the criteria of minimum intervention in the cellar too, where, after spontaneous fermentation and very useful malolactic, this wine of great verticality and hardness becomes extraordinarily elegant.
Usually put on the market almost ten years after the harvest, the colour is a delicate ruby red which seduces the nose with ethereal hints of graphite and peat, blueberry, undergrowth and red spices, with inevitable touches of sulphur and flint, to then bloom into a palate of rare and austere elegance and very deep minerality. It’s powerful but not overflowing on the palate, decisive but very fine, straightforward in its salinity, allusive and cordial in its gentle tannin. Persistent like few others and long-lived like the greatest reds, it is sublime paired with spicy grilled meats, braised vegetables and seasoned and blue cheeses.
Cheeses with herbs
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