Dylan here! I remember vividly the day Italy beat Germany in the 2006 World Cup semi-final in an exhausting, nail-biting match that seemed to drag on for days. The tournament took place in Germany and I had been watching all the lead-up games with friends, family, and an enthusiastic German population. However, it all came crashing down that fateful night in the 120th minute of a game to remember.
While you might think such an event would scar Italy forever in my eyes, I have managed to get over it. Truthfully, it is hard to ignore the sporting prowess of players like Andrea Pirlo, whose style of playing was much like a great Italian wine: elegant, expressive, and smooth. Also, it did help that in 2014, Germany came out on top and won the whole tournament. The two Italian wines we selected for this week have also helped me forget that dreadful night in 2006.
As a side note, Simon said he's forgiven me for writing about football this week. (I'm happy we has able to swallow his Rugby-loving pride to make way for the better sport ;))
Our white this week comes to us from the volcanic hillsides of Montefredane in Campania, south of Naples. This is a fascinating landscape that offers ideal conditions for vines to grow and thrive. The warm Mediterranean sun promotes healthy ripening, while the higher altitude means cooler nights, slowing ripening down and retaining vital acidity. Balance is key here, and it shows in the wines. This is a family operation dating back many generations, and the current winemaker, Raffaele Troisi, is upholding the family’s values, working with a focus on native grapes and terroir. Their Fiano di Avellino 2020 is just delicious. It has a fresh, bright nose full of apples, pear, and floral notes with great acidity and a round, full palate that is balanced just right. Pairing this with a lovely taleggio cheese is just heavenly.
For our red wine we go up to Tuscany, where in the commune of Radda in Chianti, winemaker Diego Finocchi farms his 12 acres of land by hand. This is a true one man operation. The estate works organically and in tandem with the surrounding forests and land. ‘Erta’ translates as ‘steep’, referring to the slanted slopes of Radda. This area is truly a paradise for winemakers, as vines are forced to send down deep roots in search for vital nutrients, while the angle of the vineyards allows for plentiful access to sunlight. The resulting wines are highly concentrated, and have an elegance and complexity that only the best Sangiovese from Chianti can showcase. This wine has it all, with deep notes of bramble, wild blackberry, ripe plums, leather and black tea. A balanced, expressive wine that will go beautifully with anything from pork sausages, to seared steak, to triple cream brie cheeses.
And finally for our ‘cellar selection’, although to be importantly noted our cellar selections do not require cellaring to drink. They merely have all the components needed for potential aging to occur.
This is a fresh, crisp, yet layered, Chardonnay from Chablis in northern Burgundy. Founded by brothers Romain and Damien Bouchard in 2016, the l’Enclos estate is still young. And yet, the family has very deep roots in the area, having farmed and provided grapes to other estates for generations. The two brothers deem themselves ‘perfectionists’ and work with patience and attention to every detail of the winemaking process. They work organically on the exceptional vineyards of Vau de Vay, which are known for a lack of topsoil leading to a leaner, but very rich wine. Their 2019 Vau de Vay Chablis is an incredibly complex wine from this cool Premier Cru plot of land where vines were planted by their grandfather back in 1979. Much like a good game of football this wine builds in intensity and unfolds beautifully in the glass with time, so we recommend decanting it 30 minutes prior to drinking to really let it open up.