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Sustainability in All Things: It Makes Better Wine!

Villa la Corti
Image: Villa Le Corti

This week, sustainability is on the mind of the world as we wait and see what the outcome of the COP Global Climate Summit will mean for our future. This is something very close to my heart as we make decisions that will impact our children and generations to come. In fact, next week I’m going to be speaking on a panel at COP on the topic of sustainability in the wine world, and what other industries can learn from our example.

At Wine Friends, we choose to work with winemakers who are committed to natural farming methods that flow in harmony with nature, not against it. It's not only the right thing for the planet, but it is also reflected in the quality of the wines. At Rose and Arrow Estate in Oregon where I am a partner, we are employing a wide variety of practices that bring us closer to a partnership with nature, which, while in the short term take more effort, result in stunning wines that express the authenticity of the place they are from.

Our wine picks this week are from the Villa Le Corti winery, which has been owned by the Corsini family since the 1300’s. It sits near Florence in northern Chianti, where the cooler climate brings out elegance and grace in the wines. Their son Filippo, who sadly passed away in a tragic accident, inspired the family to not just move to organic farming, but to look to other cutting edge natural practices, both in farming and winemaking. Their wines have a freshness and vitality about them that, for me, is the illustration of what's possible when you allow the earth to tell its story through the grapes.

Villa Le Corti's Chianti Classico 2018, Cortevecchia 2016, Don Tomasso Gran Selezione 2018
L to R: Villa Le Corti's Chianti Classico 2018, Cortevecchia 2016, Don Tomasso Gran Selezione 2018

Villa Le Corti Chianti Classico 2018 ($26) is a fresh and wonderful wine with great balance. It has an enchanting nose of red currents carried on a sea breeze and frolics into the mouth with lots of ripe juicy blackberries, too. This delightful Chianti would be perfect with a simple thin crust pizza with fresh burrata, sun dried tomatoes and torn basil. Drinking tip: If you have a choice, drink this in a large-bowled Burgundy glass for the best experience.

Villa Le Corti Cortevecchia 2016 ($34) is a sensuous wine with lovely texture and fruit. A little richer than the Classico, it has mushrooms, ripe plums, and red currants on the nose. These are underpinned by a subtle hint of leather, which comes through once you take a sip. Its wonderful poise reflects the gravelly clay and limestone soils in the vineyards. We loved it with fresh pasta and ragù of pork and beef braised in at least a 1/2 bottle of red wine.

Villa Le Corti Don Tommaso Gran Selezione 2018 ($54) The finale of the trio, this blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot envelops your senses like a well- loved leather armchair. It is like a pet buffalo that is powerful and brooding, yet loves being scratched between the ears. Indeed, it has almost a gamey nose with hints of black truffle. Exceptionally balanced acids add a freshness that keeps the wine from stampeding you. Have with a steak (medium rare please!) with truffle butter melting on top.

Incredible Olive Oil ($25) Aside from wine, the family have also been making olive oil for the same 700 years, and are rather good at it. In fact, it is the house olive oil at the famed Chez Panisse restaurant. Let us know if you'd like to add a bottle to your order.

On a side note, while Chianti is a very traditional area, there is a new generation of winemakers embracing new ways of working with our planet and make wine, and I believe Chianti is going to be a very exciting wine region to watch over the next 20 years.

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