I don’t think I have ever started off a post with this way, but there is a first time for everything – Wow. I drank my last sip of Salinia “Twenty Five Reasons” almost a week ago and I am still thinking about it!
Kevin Kelley is the winemaker behind Salinia’s “Twenty Five Reasons”. It is a skin-fermented (14 days) Sauvignon Blanc from organically farmed vines in Mendocino County. All parts of the grape, including stems, were used. As with all Pet Nats, the secondary fermentation occurred naturally in the bottle. The wine is both unfined and unfiltered.
In the glass, Twenty Five Reasons is golden and very cloudy. The aromas of the wine are intriguing and unravel with time. The coolest part about this wine is how it constantly evolves in your mouth and with air. Before too much air, the wine features tastes of minerals, apples, and white peaches. With a little time, the palate delivers an invigorating, grapefruit filled punch. As the fruit notes begin to fade, the flavors transcend once again, leaving you with a dry, yeasty finish.
This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting wines I have had in a while. If I were you, I would find a bottle so you can experience the dynamic potential of California wines. (12% alcohol, $22.99)
Petillant Naturel…have you heard of it or tasted it? Petillant Naturel (or Pét-Nat, as it is often casually referred to), is a sparkling wine made in a completely different style than that of Champagne and other common sparkling wines. The wines are bottled during primary fermentation, capturing the naturally released carbon dioxide. The process produces bubbles organically, without the addition of outside sugars. This age-old winemaking style has been making a comeback over the last several years.
This week I am going to highlight a couple of excellent Pét-Nats that I have fallen in love with. The wines, which vary in taste profile, are quirky, unusual, and hard to stop thinking about long after the bottles are gone. Stayed tuned for tasting notes and tips on where to find these delicious wines!
Fattoria Casabianca is an estate winery located in Tuscany that spans over 1500 acres. The property hosts beautiful vineyards along with well-appointed farmhouses that are available as vacation rentals. Fattoria Casabianca focuses on popular Italian varieties as well as lesser-known grapes from the region. The grapes are farmed organically and the wines are well-made and approachable.
I recently had the chance to taste through some of Fattoria Casabianca’s recent releases and really enjoyed the diversity of the wines. I don’t know how readily available they are in the US but I definitely recommend exploring the wines if you come across them. The wines seem to be available in Europe for under the equivalent of $20 (other than the 2008 Belsedere), so they definitely offer a great value!
2013 Fattoria Casabianca Roscato
A lovely Rosé of Sangiovese that features soft, refreshing notes of strawberries and red currants. Balanced acidity with a great mouthfeel. One of my favorite wines of the tasting! (13% alcohol)
2013 Fattoria Casabianca Cleo Toscana
This blend of 75% Vermentino and 25% Viognier offers bright citrus flavors along with notes of pear and jasmine. Crisp, vibrant, and really enjoyable! Paired incredibly well with a shrimp scampi recipe that we served alongside the wine. (13.5% alcohol)
2011 Fattoria Casabianca Loccareto Canaiolo
This was my first experience with 100% Colorino, a grape that is primarily used in blends. Tastes of raspberry and cassis are surrounded by nuances of oak and spice. Easy to drink and food-friendly. (14% alcohol)
2013 Fattoria Casabianca Colli Senesi Chianti
The 2013 vintage is made with 80% Sangiovese and a blend of 20% Cabernet, Canaiolo, and Colorino. The wine offers tastes of red cherry and cranberry along with notes of red currants and spice. Soft tannins and balanced acidity. A great wine to pair with hearty Italian pasta dishes! (14% alcohol)
Colli Senesi Chianti Riserva is a harmonious blend 85% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Canaiolo, and 5% Colorino. Cherry, blackberry, cranberry, and dark currants mingle with hints of vanilla and leather. Well-integrated tannins and a lengthy finish. This wine will likely improve with a bit more time in the bottle. (14.5% alcohol)
This 100% Sangiovese is the most well-structured wine of the lineup. Flavors of cherry, licorice, and leather are met with prominent tastes of oak and vanilla. A little too oaked for my palate but still a nicely made wine. Pair with meaty dishes. (14% alcohol)
If you are looking for a great value to kick of the New Year, look no farther than Fattoria San Lorenzo Il Casolare Rosso. This blend of 50% Montepulciano and 50% Sangiovese is a declassified Rosso Piceno, which helps keep the price point low. The vineyards, located in the Marche region of Italy, are farmed biodynamically and organically and there is minimal intervention in Fattoria San Lorenzo’s winemaking process.
Il Casolare Rosso offers fruity notes that are juicy and not jammy. There are also notes of herbs and spice along with a pure finish. Balanced and food-friendly. I have tasted a lot of values over the years and I think this wine earns a spot in my top 10! Such a fantastic wine for the price! (12.5% alcohol, $12)