2019 Tolaini Valdisanti

Price:$34

Style:

Savory | Bold

Rating:

Excellent
Type Red, Table, Dry
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Variety Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Farming Certified Organic 2019 Tolaini Valdisanti
Alcohol 14.5%
Drink Date 2024 – 2033
Published April 2024
2019 Tolaini Valdisanti
Rating: Excellent
Character

Very Good

Excellent

WOW
Fruit, Earth & Oak Aromas & Flavors Pleasing Fruit and/ or earth aromas and taste The varietal character of the grape really gets your attention Stops you in your tracks
Complexity On the nose and palate, multiple sensory elements across the fruit, earth & oak spectrum More elements are in play, at more sensory-stimulating levels; a sense of place Each time you smell, each time you taste, you sense new, deeper elements
Balance Harmonious; not dominated by one element, like jammy fruit or oak The harmony holds as intensity builds A full chorus or orchestra , all in tune
Finish Some duration, a pleasant reminder Duration up to 20 seconds Duration exceeds 20 seconds
Primary Flavors
  • Blackberry
  • Black Cherry
  • Licorice
  • Cinnamon
  • Leather
About this Wine

This is a beautiful wine and a knockout Super Tuscan at this price point. Cabernet Franc is the parent of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and along with them is among the main grapes used in French Bordeaux blends; it lends savory elements and a touch of higher acidic brightness to this dark-fruited, bold red wine. Give this wine some time to open up or consider decanting before drinking.

Hailing from the Chianti Classico wine region just northeast of Sienna, the wine is deep ruby in color with a rich nose of dark red cherries, cassis, and licorice with hints of pencil shavings and cinnamon. Dark fruits continue to unfold on the palate, and despite the wine’s rich fullness it stays balanced, delivering fine grippy tannins yet remains juicy through the extended finish. This wine is easy to drink on its own or will pair easily with foods including roasted, herbed meats and hearty pasta dishes.

The wine is certified organic from vines planted in 2000. Grapes are first sorted in the vineyard and then again at the winery where they are destemmed and whole berries are placed in French oak fermenters for 25 days. The wine then spends 16 months in new French oak barrels, six months of which are resting on fine lees. The wine is bottles unfiltered to preserve flavors.

Tolaini’s Valdisanti vineyard; photo courtesy of Tolaini.
About this Producer

Tolaini Estate is located in the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone, just outside Castelnuovo Berardenga, and the wines here are known for their power and intensity. At their best, they also offer elegance and longevity. Farming is certified organic and sustainable. Tolaini makes a range of wines, from single-vineyard Chianti Classico selections to Super Tuscan blends, and has developed innovative techniques in the vineyard and in the winery to achieve optimum results.

Tolaini Societa’ Agricola S.R.L., Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Italy; photo courtesy of Tolaini.

2021 Tensley Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard

Price:$49

Style:

Fruity | New World

Rating:

Excellent
Type Red, Table, Dry
Country U.S.
Region California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County, Colson Canyon
Variety Syrah
Farming Organic (not certified)
Alcohol 15%
Drink Date 2023 – 2045
Published January 2024
2021 Tensley Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard
Rating: Excellent
Character

Very Good

Excellent

WOW
Fruit, Earth & Oak Aromas & Flavors Pleasing Fruit and/ or earth aromas and taste The varietal character of the grape really gets your attention Stops you in your tracks
Complexity On the nose and palate, multiple sensory elements across the fruit, earth & oak spectrum More elements are in play, at more sensory-stimulating levels; a sense of place Each time you smell, each time you taste, you sense new, deeper elements
Balance Harmonious; not dominated by one element, like jammy fruit or oak The harmony holds as intensity builds A full chorus or orchestra , all in tune
Finish Some duration, a pleasant reminder Duration up to 20 seconds Duration exceeds 20 seconds
Primary Flavors
  • Cassis
  • Black Current
  • Rasberry
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Grilled Meat
  • Vanilla
Structure

Acid

Low
Medium
High

Body

Light
Medium
Full

Tannin

Low
Medium
High

Style

Old World
Contemporary
New World
About this Wine

A dense ruby-purple and highly aromatic, this wine has a deep, concentrated core of dark fruits, cracked pepper, smoked meat and a touch of vanilla on the finish. The palate is full-bodied with medium-grained tannins and builds to a long perfumed finish. Despite the concentration of dark fruits, the wine has a bracing line of acidity and maintains freshness throughout. This is a wine that can be enjoyed now for its lifted aromatics and primary fruit or aged for one or two decades to reveal its more earthy notes.

Tensley’s Colson Canyon Vineyard

Santa Barbara County is one of the most southerly cool-climate wine regions in the Northern Hemisphere, and Colson Canyon, at an elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level, experiences warm, windy days with very cool nights. This combination helps grapes mature fully and develop ripe flavors, all while maintaining natural acidity that brings freshness and balance. 2021, one of the coolest vintages in a decade, was near-idyllic, with dry conditions leading to concentration while a cool, clear fall offered long picking windows with ripe fruit and mature tannins. The Tensley Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard benefited in all ways from these conditions.

Joey Tensley, Owner, Winemaker

A young Joey Tensley was inspired to make wine at age 12 while on a tour of a French winery during a soccer tournament. He’s been making wine since the early 1990s and winning awards for his Syrahs since 2001.

Tasting rooms can be found in two locations: near the winery, in Los Olivos; and in Los Angeles, opened in 2023.

Down Under’s Deep Roots: A Journey Through Australia’s Old Vines

 

Dragan Radocaj, Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard, Eden Valley, Barossa; portions planted 1860

 

Introduction

When it comes to the world of wine, Australia stands tall among the vines. Its rich history, unique terroir, and the legacy of old vines contribute significantly to the country’s prominence in the global wine scene. With flavors as vibrant as the Outback sun, Australian wines are taking the spotlight among wine lovers. Let’s embark on a fascinating journey exploring Australia’s old wine vines, understanding their origins, the impact of phylloxera, the significance of vine age on wine quantity and quality, and the key wine production areas that still cherish and nourish these ancient vines and the glorious Australian wine heritage.

 

Australia’s Unique Place in the World of Wine

Australia’s wine industry has carved a unique niche in the world of wine, thanks to the country’s diverse climates and vast array of terroirs. From the cooler regions of Tasmania to the warm, sun-kissed vineyards of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, the country boasts a plethora of microclimates ideal for grape cultivation. This diversity allows for the cultivation of various grape varieties, showcasing a wide spectrum of flavors and styles in Australian wines.

 

History of Australia’s Old Vines and Impact of Phylloxera

Australia’s wine industry has evolved into a global force. However, wine grapes are not native to Australia. The history of Australia’s old vines dates back to the early days of European settlement – and the arrival of the First Fleet – in 1788. The 1830s and 1840s were a pivotal period of development, as several pioneers, most notably James Busby – known as “The Father of Australian Wine” – brought cuttings of European vines back to Australia. Many of Australia’s old vines can be traced back to Busby’s original cuttings.

 

The devastation caused by the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century significantly impacted Australia’s vineyards and Australian winemaking history. Phylloxera, a grapevine pest, ravaged vineyards across Europe and eventually made its way to Australia, causing widespread destruction. To combat this pest, vineyards had to be replanted using phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks. Thankfully, some of the Australian wine regions remained unaffected by the pest, preserving pockets of old vines that survived this catastrophic event.

 

Impact of Vine Age on Wine Production and Quality

The age of vines profoundly influences the quality and character of the wine produced. Older vines tend to have deeper root systems, accessing nutrients and minerals from deeper soil layers. This results in grapes with more complexity, intensity, and concentration of flavors. They also tend to develop greater resistance to stress from draught or excessive rains.

 

Furthermore, older vines tend to yield lower quantities of grapes but with higher quality, as they naturally regulate their production, leading to more balanced and nuanced wines. The resulting wines from old vines often exhibit depth, richness, and a unique expression of terroir that is difficult to replicate.

 

Kay Brothers, McLaren Vale Block 6 Shiraz, planted 1892

 

Definition of Old Vines

In the world of winemaking, the term “old vines” encompasses various classifications that can vary around the world. The terms used here are those defined by the Barossa Old Vine Charter.

 

Old vines:

This generally refers to vines that are over 35 years old. These vines have established deep root systems, bringing complexity and concentration to the grapes.

 

Survivor vines:

These vines are at least 70 years old and indicate the growers’ and wine makers’ commitment to maintaining these lower-yielding vines, valuing the quality and structure of the wines they produce.

 

Centenarian vines:

As the name suggests, centenarian vines are at least 100 years old. Planted generations ago, they survived phylloxera. These venerable vines, with thick, gnarly trunks, produce limited yields of intensely flavored grapes, resulting in deep, concentrated wines.

 

Ancestor vines:

These are the oldest of the old vines, typically over 125 years old. Ancestor vines are a testament to history, containing genetic material that helped populate many of today’s Australian vineyards. Often found in small treasured patches within vineyards, they are usually dry-grown and low-yielding, producing grapes with great flavor intensity. They are believed to be among the oldest-producing vines in the world. The wines made from them are incredibly rare and sought after.

 

Key Wine Production Areas With Old Vines

Barossa is home to both the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. The region has many fifth-, sixth-, and even seventh-generation grape-growing families. The Barossa Valley is home to some of the world’s oldest Shiraz, Mourvédre, and Grenache vines, some of which are over 100 years old, and is also home to what is believed to be the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard still in production. These vines produce deeply concentrated and bold wines. The neighboring Eden Valley is home to some of the world’s oldest Shiraz and Riesling vineyards.

 

Leading examples of Barossa Old-Vine Shiraz:

  • Henschke “Mount Edelstone” Eden Valley Shiraz (Centenarian vine)
  • Elderton “Command Single Vineyard” Barossa Valley Shiraz (Centenarian vine)
  • Château Tanunda “The Château” Barossa Shiraz (Centenarian vine)
  • Langmeil Winery “The Freedom 1843” Barossa Valley Shiraz (Ancestor vine)
  • Henschke “Hill of Grace” Eden Valley Shiraz (Ancestor vine)
  • Poonawatta Estate “The 1880” Eden Valley Shiraz (Ancestor vine)

 

Dragan Radocaj, Henschke Mount Edelstone Vineyard, Centenarian Shiraz vines, planted 1912

 

Leading Examples of Barossa Old-Vine Grenache:

  • Kalleske “Old Vine” Barossa Valley Grenache (Survivor vines)
  • Burge Family Winemakers Barossa Valley Garnacha (Grenache) (Survivor vines)
  • Teusner “Avatar”  Barossa Valley Grenache Mataro Shiraz (Survivor vines)
  • Cirillo Estate “1850 Ancestor Vine” Barossa Valley Grenache (Ancestor vines)

 

Leading Examples of Barossa Old-Vine Cabernet Sauvignon:

  • Penfolds Ancestor Vine Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon (Ancestor vines)

 

McLaren Vale is home to a variety of old vines, particularly Grenache and Shiraz, yielding wines with rich flavors and velvety textures. Some examples include:
 

  • Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz (Ancestor vines)
  • Richard Hamilton Shiraz Reserve Centurion (Centenarian vines)
  • Ox Hardy Upper Tintara Vineyard 1891 Ancestor Vines Shiraz (Ancestor vines)
  • Paxton EJ Shiraz (Ancestor vines)
  • D’Arenberg The Solipstic Snollygoster Single Vineyard Shiraz (Ancestor vines)

 

d’Arenberg Shiraz, planted 1898

 

Clare Valley:

Wine production in the Clare Valley dates back to 1852, when Jesuits from Austria established the Sevenhill Cellars. The Clare Valley is most famous for its Riesling vines, some of which are over a century old. These vines produce wines with remarkable purity, intensity, and aging potential. As is usual in Australia, there are some notable Old-Vine Shiraz vineyards too.

 

Leading examples of Clare Valley Old-Vine Riesling:

  • Jim Barry The Florita Riesling (Old vines)
  • Pikes “The Merle” Riesling (Old vines)

Leading Examples of Clare Valley Old-Vine Shiraz:

  • Wendouree Wines Shiraz (Ancestor vines)

 

The Hunter Valley:

The Hunter Valley is one of the oldest producing Australian wine regions, with vineyards dating back to the 1860s. It is notable for its old Semillon vines, first planted in the 1830s, which today produce distinctive, age-worthy white wines. It also has a significant area of old vine Shiraz still growing on its original Vitis vinifera rootstocks.

 

Leading Examples of Hunter Valley Old-Vine Shiraz:

  • Tyrrell’s Wines 4 Acres Shiraz (Ancestor vines)
  • Tyrrell’s Wines Old Patch1867  Shiraz (Ancestor vines)
  • Tyrrell’s Wines Johnno’s Shiraz (Centenarian vines)

 

Leading Examples of Hunter Valley Old-Vine Semillon:<;/p>

  • Tyrrell’s Wines Johnno’s Semillon (Centenarian vines)

 

Tyrrell’s Centenarian Old-Vine Semillon, planted 1923

 

Conclusion

Australia’s old wine vines are not merely a testament to the Australian wine heritage but also guardians of exceptional quality and unparalleled character in wines. The legacy of these vines, surviving through time and challenges, continues to shape Australia’s wine identity, offering oenophiles around the world an opportunity to savor the essence of history in each bottle.

 

As these venerable vines persist, they stand as living monuments, weaving a narrative of resilience and remarkable craftsmanship in winemaking. They represent the profound connection between the land, the vines, and the exquisite wines they produce. Explore these treasures of the past and revel in the unique flavors that only old vines can bestow — a true celebration of Australia’s winemaking heritage.

 

Mclaren Vale’s Living Icons

 

Walter On Wine (WOW) is a platform committed to unraveling the intricacies surrounding the world of wine. Check out our exclusive guides crafted to enhance every facet of your wine journey, tailored specifically for connoisseurs and passionate enthusiasts of fine wine.



2019 G.D. Vajra Barolo Ravera

Price:$99

Style:

Savory | Old World

Rating:

Excellent

Type Red, Table, Dry
Country Italy
Region Piedmont, Barolo, Novello, Ravera
Variety Nebbiolo
Farming Certified Organic, Sustainable
Alcohol 14%
Drink Date 2025 – 2045
Published January 2024

2019 G.D. Vajra Barolo Ravera

Rating: Excellent
Character

Very Good

Excellent

WOW
Fruit, Earth & Oak Aromas & Flavors Pleasing Fruit and/ or earth aromas and taste The varietal character of the grape really gets your attention Stops you in your tracks
Complexity On the nose and palate, multiple sensory elements across the fruit, earth & oak spectrum More elements are in play, at more sensory-stimulating levels; a sense of place Each time you smell, each time you taste, you sense new, deeper elements
Balance Harmonious; not dominated by one element, like jammy fruit or oak The harmony holds as intensity builds A full chorus or orchestra , all in tune
Finish Some duration, a pleasant reminder Duration up to 20 seconds Duration exceeds 20 seconds
Primary Flavors
  • Cherry
  • Rasberry
  • Alpine Mint
  • Orange Zest
Structure

Acid

Low
Medium
High

Body

Light
Medium
Full

Tannin

Low
Medium
High

Style

Old World
Contemporary
New World
About this Wine

A shimmering dark ruby color, this wine is captured by Giuseppe Vaira, who’s family produces this wine, describing it as “crisp like the sound of a Telecaster, straight and electric.” Intense red fruit aromas waft from the glass, backed by alpine mint and hints of citrus zest. On the palate, the wine offers a soft texture at first, then with time expands to deliver concentrated dark fruits, rose petals, crushed stone, and salinity, with very chiseled tannins trailing away on the palate. This wine is still young and tightly wound – it will reward another several years’ time in the bottle and age for at least a couple of decades. If you want to enjoy it sooner, decant and give it time to open up.

2019 was a textbook year in Barolo, marked by early bud break, late flowering, and a slow, progressive ripening of the grapes, leading to balanced phenolic ripening and great acidic spine. Great care goes into making this wine. The grapes are sorted manually three times at harvest: first, directly while still on the vine; second, as whole clusters on the sorting table; and finally, as single berries.

G.D. Vajra’s Ravera vineyard

G.D. Vajra makes many wines throughout the Langhe, many single-vineyard wines, and Ravera is considered their “feisty” Barolo, with a firm tannic structure. Ravera is broadly acknowledged as the most desirable vineyard in Comune di Novello, with a complex mix of Tortonian marls, sandstone, and clays from the Serravallian period, formed when an ancient seabed that collected runoff from the Alps was tossed vertically by tectonic action. Its elevation, within sight of the snow-capped Alps, brings cooler temperatures and diurnal shifts that preserve bracing acidity in the maturing grapes.

The family has been farming grapes in Barolo for almost 100 years and was one of the first in all of Piedmont to adopt organic farming techniques almost 50 years ago. Vineyards are nurtured and soil is preserved using grassing and spontaneous cover crops, with added effort focused on monitoring and improving biodiversity of flora and fauna in the vineyards, fields, and forests of their properties.

2019 Brunello di Montalcino

 

In any vintage, no matter how challenging, some winemakers will manage to make compelling wine. But there is no question that when Mother Nature gives a wine region perfect weather through the end of the harvest, all winemakers in the region will shine, and the best will make wines that are exceptional.

 

Perfect seasons are becoming more rare. Volatile weather patterns are challenging winemakers in most areas of the world. Alternating patterns of heavy rains, heat, and drought make for challenging conditions to deliver outstanding wines year after year.

 

The DOCG region of Brunello di Montalcino is no exception. 2015 and 2016 especially were very good years. 2017 and 2018 brought challenges. The 2019 vintage is turning out to be an exceptionally good year, very likely the equal of 2016. So if you like Brunello di Montalcino, this is highly important, because the 2019 Brunello di Montalcino wines are just now being released, beginning in January of 2024, four years after the vintage was first sent to barrel. Such is the aging requirement for Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. (The 2019 Riserva wines will be released one year later, beginning in January 2025 – 5 years following harvest.)

 

 

The hills of Montalcino, as seen from Altesino Winery

 

And here’s why you should start buying now: The years following 2019, from 2020 through last year’s 2023 harvest, were not exceptionally good. Combinations of high heat – the Sangiovese grape does not do well in high heat – or excessive rains were present in each year. So it will not be until 2029 that the 2024 vintage will come to market – assuming it is a good year!

 

Here’s a graphic view of the vintage-to-purchase window:

 

Vintage: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Quality: excellent fair fair excellent Hot Vintage Hot Vintage Hot Vintage Rains, Reduced Yields TBD
Release: Jan’21 Jan’22 Jan’23 Jan’24 Jan’25 Jan’26 Jan’27 Jan’28 Jan’29

2020 Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus

Price:$289

Style:

Silky | New World

Rating:

WOW!

Type Red, Table, Dry
Country Spain
Region Catalonia, Priorat
Variety Grenache, Syrah
Farming Certified Organic, Biodynamic
Alcohol 15.5%
Drink Date 2023 – 2045
Published January 2024

Rating: WOW
Character

Very Good

Excellent

WOW
Fruit, Earth & Oak Aromas & Flavors Pleasing Fruit and/ or earth aromas and taste The varietal character of the grape really gets your attention Stops you in your tracks
Complexity On the nose and palate, multiple sensory elements across the fruit, earth & oak spectrum More elements are in play, at more sensory-stimulating levels; a sense of place Each time you smell, each time you taste, you sense new, deeper elements
Balance Harmonious; not dominated by one element, like jammy fruit or oak The harmony holds as intensity builds A full chorus or orchestra , all in tune
Finish Some duration, a pleasant reminder Duration up to 20 seconds Duration exceeds 20 seconds
Primary Flavors
  • Cassis
  • Black Cherry
  • Black Plum
  • Blood Orange
Structure

Acid

Low
Medium
High

Body

Light
Medium
Full

Tannin

Low
Medium
High

Style

Old World
Contemporary
New World
About this Wine

A panoply of dark fruit aromas draw you deeply into the glass, with sweet bacon and orange peel deep on the nose. It’s easy to get lost in contemplation, as if the vines of this wine’s deep-driving roots are pulling you into the soul of Priorat. Take a sip, and the wine leaps onto your palate – muscular yet poised like Baryshnikov taking the stage at the Met, commanding, then remarkably covering every corner of the palate with deep layers of flavor before trailing off to a very long – and always perfectly poised – multilayered finish. The wine, though beautiful now, developed depth over the course of the tasting, suggesting it will benefit from a few years of aging – if you can wait. 

Clos i Terrasses Clos ErasmusAn older vine in Escales, Daphne Glorian’s first vineyard.

This is Grenache, with a “strong backbone” as it can only come from Priorat and its black schist “licorella” soils. Vineyard sources for Clos Erasmus are Escales, Aubages and Socarrats, each with its own soils and microclimate and contributing its own distinctive characteristics to the wine. Daphne Glorian is the winemaker, and such is her familiarity with her vineyards that she knows “give or take 5%” which grapes will go into the wine. Ester Nin manages viticulture. Grapes are hand harvested, with fermentation in a combination of oak vats, concrete egg and clay amphorae. Aging is 20 months in 228L French oak barrels (2/3 new) and clay amphorae. 

Clos i Terrasses Clos ErasmusClos Erasmus barrels resting in the cellar.

Daphne Glorian, the proprietor, was among the first wave of winemakers to come to Priorat in the 1980s with the vision of revitalizing the then-defunct wine region. New World wines were the rage, and winemakers here found fame with bold extracted wines and often the use of international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. Daphne has maintained her focus on Grenache, believing that it is the grape that finds its best and fullest expression in Priorat. As the style pendulum has swung from New World extraction to more contemporary balance, Daphne said she has shortened maceration times slightly over the years to enhance freshness. In the case of the 2020 Erasmus, she also blended a small lot that normally goes to the Laurel bottling, adding freshness as well as the note of orange blossom that marks this vintage. Three thousand and two hundred bottles were produced, 40% of them allocated to the U.S. This wine is, in every way, worth seeking out.

Clos i Terrasses Clos ErasmusWalter with Daphne Glorian at her home/tasting room in Gratallops.

Priorat is one of only two wine regions in Spain to qualify as DOCa (DOQ in Catalan), the highest qualification level accorded by Spanish wine regulation, along with Rioja DOCa. Though only an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean coast, Priorat is mountainous and remote, with a rich wine history beginning with the founding of the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei in 1194.

Clos i Terrasses Clos ErasmusCellars Scala Dei, Escaladei, Tarragona, Spain

Wine & Cheese: A Match Made in Sensory Heaven

Ah, the intoxicating aroma of a bold Cabernet Sauvignon swirling in your glass, its rich ruby hues catching the light. Then, the nutty, caramelized butterscotch notes of an aged Gouda. This, my friends, is the magic of wine and cheese pairing, a culinary symphony of flavors where two seemingly simple ingredients become an orchestral masterpiece of taste and texture.

But what makes this pairing so special? Why, over centuries, have cheese boards graced celebratory tables and intimate gatherings, always accompanied by a carefully chosen bottle? Let’s uncork the secrets and delve deeper into the art of pairing wine with cheese.

A Symphony of Flavors

Fat & Acid: A Tango of Balance

The fatty richness of cheese finds its perfect partner in the acidity of wine. The tannins in red wine cut through the creaminess, leaving your palate refreshed and ready for the next bite. Crisp white wines dance with the fat of softer cheeses, creating a light and playful interplay.

Sweet & Savory: A Harmonious Embrace

Imagine the bold bite of a sharp cheddar or blue cheese met by the gentle sweetness of a Sauternes dessert wine. Opposites attract in the world of pairing, with sweet wines taming the intensity of aged cheeses, while savory notes in wine enhance the fruitiness of younger cheeses. It’s a harmonious embrace that creates a perfect balance on the palate.

Texture & Aroma: A Multi-Sensory Experience

The smooth melt-in-your-mouth texture of Brie contrasts beautifully with the sharp acidity of Pinot Noir. There’s also an aromatic symphony with this pairing: An aged Brie and Pinot Noir can both provide funky aromas that intermingle harmoniously. Or try the honeyed notes of a goat cheese echoing the floral whispers of a Sauvignon Blanc. Each bite and each sniff is a new sensory adventure that elevates the tasting experience.

Classic Duos: A Guide for the Curious Palate

The Bold & the Beautiful

A robust Cabernet Sauvignon stands tall beside a vintage cheddar, their strong personalities meeting in a powerful dance of flavor. The wine’s tannins tame the cheese’s richness, while the cheese’s fat softens the wine’s intensity.

The Delicate Duo

A light, fruity Pinot Noir finds its soulmate in a creamy Brie. The wine’s acidity cuts through the cheese’s richness, while the cheese’s creaminess softens the wine’s tannins. It’s a gentle waltz of flavor, leaving your palate refreshed and wanting more.

Emilia-Romagna Classic: Parmigiano-Reggiano with Lambrusco

The nutty, salty notes of Parmigiano-Reggiano (Yes, it’s not just for grating! Try it on its own … a practice you find in northern Italy all the time!) harmonize flawlessly with the fruitiness and acidity of Lambrusco, creating a tantalizing balance on the palate. Combined with cured meats and some bread, this is a common lunch in this cheese’s namesake northern province of Italy, showcasing the regional art of wine pairing.

A Savory Pairing: Gouda with Merlot

The caramel undertones of Gouda find a perfect companion in the soft, velvety texture and plummy flavors of Merlot, creating a symphony of savory delights.

The Unexpected Twist

Blue cheese, with its pungent bite, might seem like a pairing pariah. But introduce it to a sweet Sauternes and watch the magic happen! The wine’s sweetness tames the cheese’s intensity, while the cheese’s richness enhances the wine’s complexity. It’s a revelation for adventurous palates.

Beyond the Rules: Embrace the Adventure

A great wine and cheese pairing is like a perfect duet, where the notes of one enhance the melody of the other, creating a harmonious experience that lingers on the palate.

While classic pairings offer a safe haven, remember, the true magic lies in exploration. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Pair a sparkling rosé with a creamy goat cheese, or a bold Zinfandel with a sharp cheddar. Trust your palate, let your curiosity guide you, and discover unexpected harmonies that redefine the art of pairing wine and cheese.

Parting Thoughts: Celebrating Culinary Harmony

Wine and cheese pairing is not just about rules and formulas; it’s about a journey of discovery – a celebration of sensory delight that brings people together. So, gather your friends, uncork a bottle, slice some cheese, and embark on your own culinary adventure. Remember, the perfect pairing is the one that makes you smile with every bite and every sip.

In the realm of gastronomy, few pleasures rival the sheer delight of a well-paired glass of wine with the perfect cheese. It’s a sensory escapade that brings people together, encouraging moments of conviviality and appreciation for the finer things in life.

Indulge and Explore

The beauty of wine and cheese pairing lies not only in the classics but also in the endless possibilities waiting to be discovered. Embrace experimentation, relish the journey, and savor the endless symphony of flavors that await your palate.

In conclusion, the enchantment of pairing wine with cheese resides in the synergy of flavors, textures, and aromas that unite to create an unforgettable sensory experience. So, embark on this delectable journey, explore new combinations, and revel in the magic of this timeless culinary art.

Walter On Wine (WOW) is a platform dedicated to finding a simpler, better path through the complexity of wine. Check out our exclusive guides designed to help you enjoy every sip of your wine experience, whether you are drinking, serving, or ordering while dining out. Walter One Wine is tailored specifically for aficionados and enthusiasts of fine wine alike.

Walter On Wine (WOW) is a platform dedicated to finding a simpler, better path through the complexity of wine. Check out our exclusive guides designed to help you enjoy every sip of your wine experience, whether you are drinking, serving, or ordering while dining out. Walter One Wine is tailored specifically for aficionados and enthusiasts of fine wine alike.

Cheers to a world of flavor, waiting to be explored!

2020 Fattoria Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano Riserva

Price:$27

Style:

Savory | New World

Rating:

Very Good

Type Red, Table, Dry
Country Italy
Region Tuscany, Morellino di Scansano
Variety Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol 14%
Drink Date 2023 – 2030
Published December 2023

Rating: Very Good
Character

Very Good

Excellent

WOW
Fruit, Earth & Oak Aromas & Flavors Pleasing Fruit and/ or earth aromas and taste The varietal character of the grape really gets your attention Stops you in your tracks
Complexity On the nose and palate, multiple sensory elements across the fruit, earth & oak spectrum More elements are in play, at more sensory-stimulating levels; a sense of place Each time you smell, each time you taste, you sense new, deeper elements
Balance Harmonious; not dominated by one element, like jammy fruit or oak The harmony holds as intensity builds A full chorus or orchestra , all in tune
Finish Some duration, a pleasant reminder Duration up to 20 seconds Duration exceeds 20 seconds
Primary Flavors
  • Jammy Black Fruits
  • Garrigue
  • Tobacco
  • Mint
  • Blood Orange
Structure

Acid

Low
Medium
High

Body

Light
Medium
Full

Tannin

Low
Medium
High

Style

Old World
Contemporary
New World
About this Wine

On the nose, this wine delivers deep notes of blackberry and blueberry jam, black currant, and Mediterranean herbs, along with notes of tobacco, blood orange and black pepper. On the palate, this wine has a medium-plus body with good freshness and fine integrated tannins. Citrus notes follow the deep fruit flavors on the extended palate. This is a great effort, delivering ripe fruits yet maintaining freshness from what was a hot vintage. This wine will pair well with food, especially more rustic meat or pasta dishes. 

DAOU Mountain and Vineyards

The Morellino di Scansano Riserva has been a consistent outperformer over the years, winning wide critical acclaim for the quality it delivers in an under-$30 price point. The winery owner, Elisabetta Geppetti, is recognized as a trailblazer in this area of coastal Tuscany, and her flagship wine, Saffredi, stands every bit the equal to many other great Super Tuscan wines.

Icons of Priorat

Priorat wine region
Clos Mogador, c. 1989

 

In 1979, René and Isabelle Barbier saw opportunity in a land once dominated by vines and renowned in European capitals for its world-class wine – by 1979, the vines and the land had been forsaken. It’s hard to comprehend the singularity of their vision.

 

The hills of Priorat are steep and covered in slippery schist that crumbles easily and makes for treacherous footing. Terraces (costers), each providing enough flat space for two or three rows of vines and more stable footing, have to be built. Building them is backbreaking work. Without them, men and animals (horses and mules – there’s no room for tractors) would lose their footing, destroying vines, grapes, and likely themselves.

 

And yet, René and Isabelle saw opportunity and settled near Gratallops, reinvigorating old Garnacha and Cariñena vines and planting new Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah vines. Others joined them, including Carles Pastrana in 1984, Josep Lluís Pérez in 1986, and Álvaro Palacios and Daphne Glorian in 1989, the year of the first harvest.

 

Today, Priorat once again stands as one of the premier wine-producing regions of the world. Leading producers, including Clos i Terrasses (Daphne Glorian), Álvaro Palacios, Família Nin-Ortiz, and René Barbier’s Clos Mogador consistently produce wines that earn high – and very often perfect – expert ratings.

 

Read more about Priorat as Walter explores the region in an upcoming article.

Monteverro: Hitting Stride on the Tuscan Coast

Hear the name “Tuscany” and most will think of Siena and the famous wine-producing regions around it along Italy’s central mountainous spine. Regions like Chianti, Montepulciano, or the world-renowned Brunello di Montalcino. But there’s been a revolution along the Tyrrhenian coast: Bolgheri was the epicenter of the revolution, with Sassicaia and Tignanello both released in 1971, introducing the world to Bordeaux blends called Super Tuscans. These wines can now rank among the most coveted in the world. Other aspiring winemakers took notice, and we explored some of the most notable in our article “Tuscan Coastal Wine Region.”

 

Monteverro vineyards, Maremma, Italy
Monteverro, Maremma, Italy

 

We recently revisited the coastal region south of Bolgheri, the Maremma, and visited a relative newcomer, Monteverro. The vineyards and winery lie within sight of the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the foot of the medieval town of Capalbio on the southern edge of Tuscany and just an hour and a half from Rome. This is still a largely agricultural area. Yet Monteverro represents an unbridled commitment to making excellent wine from this otherwise unproven area. The vineyards are meticulously prepared and maintained, and the winery is state of the art. Join Walter in the coming weeks as we visit Monteverro and taste through their current range of excellent wines as well as some library samples going back to the first vintage in 2008.

 

Barrique Cellar, Monteverro
Barrique Cellar, Monteverro