It’s Getting Dark, Very Dark

17 Nov

Stick a steak knife in me, I’m done. As a goth vegetarian vampire who needs somewhere to put her anger I yearn for reasons slay something, anything, so long as it doesn’t have a heartbeat or a central nervous system. Hence these cruciferous slabs.

I made fun of the cauliflower as substitute-for-everything trend. Especially when one evening, all I wanted was a head of cauliflower to gobble whole, dipped in hot sauce as I do. And the store had no whole cauliflower, only containers of pre-pulverized cauliflower rice. Ugh. And I glanced askance at the cauliflower steak trend. Until, at a couple of dinners where I had no control (as happens to us hapless wine people) over what my meal would be, I was served cauliflower steaks. And they were FANTASTIC.

Still, why bring cauliflower steak home? I thought of it as an affair best left to work dinners and such. A dish to have out.

But then! Beyond the excuse to stab things and eat cauliflower, I had gotten a wine that looked goth AF and was named Very Dark Red, and OMG some steak knives. These Laguiole steak knives were goth as the wine, so I put some Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails on, cranked the oven, murdered a cauliflower, and made a night of it, pairing the knives and wine with the dish.

PS knife pairings? Here for it.

My findings?

THE WINE: Sheid Family VDR (Very Dark Red) 2020

THE STEAK: slabs of cauliflower sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a touch of coriander, roasted in the oven, based on this recipe.

The two together?? Purrrrrr. I mentioned that in addition to being a goth, I am also part cat, no? This may be the best pairing I’ve ever devised on my own in the wild.

I appreciated that the wine is made of two very big petites: Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. It’s a toasty and roasty nose, full of grilled plums and stewed prunes, black pepper and green peppercorn. It smells thick, if that makes sense.

Rich on the palate with blackcurrant cordial, stewed black cherry and more plummy prune-y goodness, but also some herbal freshness, even a hint at menthol? Along with charred green peppers and smoke. It is QUITE tasty. The tannins are plump and juicy, which is one of my favorite ways for tannins to be. it finishes vanilla and smoke possibly like goth’s favorite pillow.

Meow.

Try it yourself. Also TikTok deemed a video of me eating my cauliflower with a steak knife as inappropriate and danger so let me say, use a fork, chopsticks or your fingers. But feel free to carve with a knife. Bring on the steak! The cauliflower steak.

Walla Walla Woman Winemaker Wine x Tempranillo Day

10 Nov

Ooooh love a winery with a cheeky name, plus a history that also tastes fabulous and hey! is made by a woman.

In the last few years, my hope for women in the wine industry has grown greatly. In Los Angeles I’m surrounded by amazing women who are bosses at whatever they do in the industry and Get Respect. Despite having felt the need to pen this article about my experiences as a woman in wine, I felt like times they were a-changing. I crave those female-led enterprises.

And then of course I went to a big Pennfold’s tasting on the arm of a male friend, and every single new person we talked to (male and female) was eager to get his attention (he’s the beverage director for a restaurant group) and I got condescending smiles–like they didn’t even think I possibly could be a wine person. Maybe they thought I was the wife? Which I’m not, and even if I was that wouldn’t rule out me being in the industry. Incidentally, his wife is a one of the best tasters I know even thought she doesn’t work in wine. Anyway.

Later that night at another venue, we met the aforementioned super taster he’s lucky enough to be married to, at Wally’s, which employs women…and oh my oh my CAN IT EVER be the breeding ground for toxic vinous masculinity. The three of us were being blind-tasted by our section’s somm (also a friend of my male friend) and I called it a Chablis (aka Chardonnay from Burgundy), and said several times it seemed really reduced, and he ignored the shit out of me. Then mansplained that it was Puligny-Montrachet (ALSO Chardonnay from Burgundy) and that it was “reductive” as if I didn’t at least get the grape and region at large correct. Maybe technically reduced was the wrong way to say it was reductive?

But pretty sure he literally didn’t register that I existed the whole time. So.

GRRRRR.

Anyway. Let’s lighten this up and get to today’s gem: No Girls, which is all about the ladies, and makes this stellar Tempranillo. They have a woman winemaker by the name of Elizabeth Bourcier. The winery got its name for the building the owner bought in Walla Walla which had once been a bordello. At the top of the staircase “NO GIRLS” had been spray painted in the 1960’s, perhaps signifying women finding their power outside the hands of men…at any rate all I can tell you is they make good wine. I had the Grenache on my podcast awhile back, and I saved this bottle for…

OH HEY! It’s Tempranillo Day. Yay again.

Beyond mentioning it is tasty AF FTW here are some tasting notes yay yet again.

No Girls Tempranillo 2018

Deeply hued and murky. Smells of auburn fruit leather and damp earth, plus baking spices, from cloves to nutmeg, with a finish (can a smell have a finish? I say it can) that is saline. Dry dry dry as can be. The silkiest medium tannins you could hope to find partnered with a full but silk-tastic body. Still with prunes/dates/mud palate but augmented by even more potpourri and a certain tartness, like sour cherries that have been dried and rehydrated. yup. And the finish is…Montenegro amaro? Crazy. In my mind it conjured a mincemeat pie that had undergone just a soupçon of smoking, if I am being honest and I am.

I want to wear this wine by a fireside. And also? Fuck the patriarchy.

Yay.

Unprepared Pairing

23 Oct

I don’t drink Malbec. That much. Maybe that’s because it feels so much like a food wine to me, and I don’t eat.

Jk I’m an actor in Los Angeles. I eat sometimes. Especially when it’s free.

I won’t tiptoe around it. Last week, I was on a movie set and saw that craft services (aka “crafty” aka where to get snacks between meals and everyone’s favorite place on set) had…UNCRUSTABLES. That frozen aisle pbj sandwich on-the-go. So I tucked one of the pb and grape jelly ones into my bag for later. Because as I said I eat sometimes, but not on set.

At home, I had it with a glass of Trapiche Malbec and deduced that a) Uncrustables is a perfect food and b) it is THE perfect pairing with a rich Malbec and c) a good Malbec is even better with food.

You guysssss–you know how good peanut butter and jelly is? Somehow Uncrustables has the right proportions, but also is cute, with the fun of the crimped edge that gives you a little extra bread pull in some bites. I don’t know how they do it but damn, it is just right.

The grape-y and nutty and wheat trifecta is complemented by the richness of the Malbec, whose velvet tannins do a little dance with the fatty peanut butter. And the sweetness of the grapes in the jelly are mitigated by the dryness of the grapes in the wine and ALL of that happens at the same time. It’s a gorgeous thuple.

I suppose some people look to wine writing for fanciness, but here I am to advise on frozen pbj pairings. Or maybe I should take up more food posts again–to be fair my last post was devoted to cheese so I would like to think I am doing the good Lordess’ work. And now for your tasting notes!

The Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2020 was made to celebrate Trapiche’s 100 year anniversary. The nose is sweet. I know, I know, a smell can’t be sweet, but it smells of sweet fruit and a soupçon of tobacco. The body is full and tannins velvety. The oak is talkative, and the fruit (red and black, plums and raspberries) follows, then comes creamy vanilla extract-style vanilla. But there is a pep in this Malbec’s step. A flood of blackberry juice mid-palate. A bit of crunchy earth and cedar grip that comes in at the end, so that’s super funsies. A bit of spice and another hit of juice-laden red plums comes at the ens.

This wine is a lot. If you like a big New World red you’ll like it. If you like brawny meat I think you’d like it with that? From what I remember of meat? It also would do well with stuffed red peppers methinks. And it is AWESOME with a grape jelly Uncrustable.

As I write this, I am on a different set, and while crafty did have dark chocolate Milanos and multiple flavors of Nature Valley granola bars (amongst other things), a crafty with Uncrustables has set my bar high for crafty. The Trapiche has inspired me. Onwards artists!

Cheese, All the Cheese (except maybe goat)

8 Oct

I was a precocious cheese-lover. So I’ve been told by my mom. I was maybe two? Four?

Twas a time before I have memories, not that I’m the best at memories now, but I at least manage a few. The so-told scenario?

The adults had a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano (or some such shaving cheese) out for their….their salads? Something like that; Iike I said I have no memory of this. And little piglet that I was, as the evening went on, I kept going back and slicing off hunks of it–so says my mom. Obviously it must have been delicious.

I’ve always had fantastic taste. Hopefully it makes up for my memory.

As for the adults that let me have my way with lactose, I have questions–was I handling a knife? That seems not chill, but given the age but my parents let me stay out til 3am with the upper schoolers when I was 13, maybe their blade-chill was premature too. And why didn’t they put the cheese up? Were they so impressed with my gourmand senses that they let me have at it? There IS something fun about watching people discover new tastes.

Who knows? And I don’t care to ask.

It’s been a long while since my toddler cheese munching ways. And I am still in love.

I dream of being the cheese expert version of sommelier. I am not yet a fromager, however, so I preface all this by saying I am a cheese enthusiast, always eager to learn, always to be happy what I got wrong. So take all my cheese notes with a pinch of lactose.

Oh right so I’m reviewing a few cheeses that were sent to me, outside what I usually buy. The cheeses I buy most often are mozzerella, sharp cheddar, parmesan, and brie. Lest you were interested. Especially those dorky Babybel rounds of mozzerella. I like peeling ’em and eating them and also melting them or whatever but that’s not we are all here for today.

Today for you I have a Camembert, an Emmantal, and a Roquefort. The first two I’d pair with a buttery Chardonnay. Or a lean one. They would be Chard-friendly cheeses. Either way they are definitely white wine cheeses. The Roquefort is more ruby port material. Or if used as a verrrrry minimal component in a salad one could pair it with with a fun Pouilly-Fumé. Cheese is versatile, my friends.

Onwards, lactose lovers. these are my latest three discoveries. Pretty sure “cheese discovery corner” is going to be a recurring bit on this blog.

CAMEMBERT

It’s a cow’s milk cheese, shaped into small wheels and aged several weeks. Holy heck it is deliciously buttery, with a hint of grass. Quite mellow, really. The texture, out of the fridge, is pliable without going into goo. Ever so slightly cashew nutty. Mellow and yes nutty and a hint earthy, but the lactose ballasts all.

EMMENTAL

Also cow’s milk! From Switzerland. It looks like a “Swiss” cheese ( which it IS, technically) with very large holes. Firm, and tastes like Swiss cheese as Audrey Hepburn–elegant, really, not overwhelming, instead enduring in taste. It’s hard to typify, but it is like–browned butter? hints of nutmeg maybe? It’s SO good.

ROQUEFORT

Blue cheese can be…alarming. I love it, to be sure, but I can’t eat gobs of it–it’s the salt of cheese. Use as seasoning, not the main event. Roquefort is dank and salty. The blue veins come from Penicillium Roqueforti being injecting into the cheese. So rich. So much. Umami-y? I honestly am at a loss for more vocal for blue cheese. It tastes blue cheesy I don’t even know.

END OF STORY

Cheese is life.

Seriously Good Grigio

27 Sep

There are wines that Wine People dismiss. And when I say Wine People, dare I say wine snobs? I do dare, and confess I might be one just-a-little-bit. And I am guilty of overlooking today’s grape. Is it because I’ve noticed it is the go-to white wine for a lot of my friends who aren’t Wine People/Snobs? Maybe. Well, the more I think of it, the more I realize that that’s a silly reason to dismiss a wine–if it brings people happiness, maybe I should pay attention.

I’ll stop the preliminary banter. The wine I am speaking of is Pinot Grigio. There are SERIOUSLY good Pinot Grigio wines out there, especially once you learn you can get one of higher quality–more complexity, more balance, more beauty– by looking to a Pinot Grigio from a specific appellation.

The appellation in question today is the DOC Delle Venezie, which was created in 2016 to draw out the best of Pinot Grigio from the Triveneto, aka Tre Venezia. The Delle Venezie DOC includes a few different regions: the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia (never can I ever remember this region’s in full–somebody take my Diploma from me) and Trentino, all located in Northeast Italy.

I actually was just in one of those regions, the Veneto, in June, chilling out, the way wine people do, sucking down quite a bit of Pinot Grigio, from sunup to sundown, on the shores of Lake Garda. As one does. So Pinot Grigio was on my radar as something to rekindle my relationship with. And then I was lucky enough to be sent a couple of bottles of it from the DOC Delle Venezie, which solidified my feelings that I’d been neglecting the grape for too long.

A little terminology tutorial: DOC stands for “Denominazione d’Origine Controllata”, and is meant to ensure that if you drink a wine labeled as such-and-such DOC, that you know where it came from, what grapes it was made from, how it was made, and so on. But most of all, you can be assured that the quality of the bev in the bottle will be what you expect, what you wanted, in some situations what you NEEDED, and that you will not be disappointed because it’s a friggin’ DOC. And DOCs have STANDARDS.

DOC Delle Venezie is a standard bearer for the quality Pinot Grigio.

There are a bunch of reasons why three different regions (which in reality are not so far from each other) can lend one named denomination to the grape. In terms of climate, they all benefit from the protection of the Alps to the north. And then there are multiple rivers that flow through them. So there’s coolness to moderate sun which yayyyyy (if you are an acid-lover like me) usually means the wine will sport refreshing acidity. Flowing water also often means the terroir will be well-ventilated. Temperatures (especially when on hills) will vary from night to day leading to a long ripening span(yay ripe fruit) and acidity levels that never say die.

Now that you know a little more about the region, here’s a smidge more about the grape; let’s call it Pinot Grigio basics: The skin of the grape has a grey-pink tinge, leading to the wines having a coppery color, and in fact when more skin contact is allowed Pinot Grigio can be look like a rosé or sometimes even orange wine. Typical aromas include citrus, stone and orchard fruit. The acid tends to be elevated (see: porch pounder), and other fave pinot-tastic flavors include a certain beery-y nature as well as hints of peanuts. and sometimes flowers.

Within the Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC one can be assured that yields are limited–an important part of quality control, as overcropped grapes=diminished quality. And in this DOC the wines actually undergo a tasting to make sure each bottling stands up to the regional standards. I myself tasted a couple of examples from the region and both made me happy to have Pinot Grigio in my glass.

NATALE VERGA PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE DOC

Tart n tangy! A lot of peach yogurt vibes and traditionally PG all day–bruised fruits, peanut shells and stale beer (in a good way, trust me). Look, here is the thing: Classic Pinot Grigio is like a baseball game beyond those last two tasting notes. It has peaks and lulls and you’ll come back for more.

ALLEGRINI CORTE GIARA PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE 2020

Lighter and fresher and fun. More citrus-y and less lees’y although there was a hint of shells and lactic quality to it, if that makes sense. But most of all, the acidity was clean and clear and I was drinking it with girlfriends on a hot hot day and we couldn’t get enough.

TAKE HOME MISSIVE

Learn how to find the good. Drink the good. Do good. Be you. And if you are a Pinot Grigio lover, this post was for you.

This post was sponsored.

Growling for Autumn Rosé

14 Sep

When I think growlers, I think sports. When I think sports, I think Autumn. Yes, there are sports year round, but autumn is the most thrilling time for baseball fans. Which I am. Go Cardinals. And if the Cardinals are out I’ll root for the Dodgers. Go Dodgers with parameters!

Back to thinking growler. I DON’T think of wine. I DON’T think rosé. But juxtapositions can be delightful, as this is.

A growler of rosé wine perfect for autumn and sports.

Oh right what am I talking about? It’s Ru’s Farm Growler 2021. Why is it autumn-y? Fall-ish? Harvest-y at largest-ly?

I want to skip through the streets slinging this growler of pink booze and feeling ready for new love.

I mean I am always ready for new love unless I am in love but such delicacies currently elude me so here we are.

It’s 65% Cinsault/35% Grenache. Poor Cinsault is too oft overlooked. I LOVE Grenache, but what’s up Cinsault? I like you too. I feel like you are HERE, and a mainstay of many a rosé blend. Keep it up.

The thing with this rosé is that it smells refreshing. Like the cool air, laced with drying leaves and winds of it’s-a-new-school-year change. Autumn is the crisp time of year. But also a time for rich foods to integrate their way into your plate–crisp and stewed spiced apples both have a place in autumn.

And this is a rich AND crisp wine–maybe more summers flavors. I get roses, cherries, strawberries and such. But also hints of white pepper (which is also a little floral) and a lick of cloves and whiff of citrus hinting at winter glories ahead, but not yet. Oh right I was saying it is rich as far as rosés go; it has a deeper salmon color and a body with weight. But it also ends with grace. The flavors don’t disappear. Or change. They just strut away and maybe just before they disappear there are jazz hands. Saluting both femininity and grace AND sports. It’s a home run. In a growler. Of rosé.

A Rhône of Many Colors

6 Sep

Don’t make me pick a favorite wine. What I desire in my glass depends on a good deal of factors ranging from mood (goth nights call for red red wine) to weather (freezing days desire ice cold vodka martinis, don’t at me), to what I’m eating (French fries need sparkling rosé), to what my budget is, to what my drinking companion likes, and so on.

All that being said Tavel is a Favorite. If not THE favorite.

All THAT being said, I’m a huge proponent of the wines of the Rhône Valley. Beyond THAT (damn I need to get better at cutting to the chase) people tend to celebrate the reds of the Rhône, but there are some really delightful whites and rosés out of the area that you should at least have coffee with.

The Rhône Valley can be a bit confusing–there are big differences between the all the various appellations within it. What I’m gonna leave you with is that most Côtes du Rhône wines are from the Southern Rhône. And if it is a Côtes du Rhône Villages wine, that’s like you subscribed to Hulu without commercials–level up!

Oh! And then some Côtes du Rhône Villages can add the name of their actual village to it, such as the Séguret rosé you can read my review to at the end. I haven’t come up with a perfect streaming channel metaphor for that, but it’s like you don’t even share a login with anyone.

Join me in an indulgence of these wines. I want to drink them in situ someday, but taking them with me on Los Angeles adventures will have to do for now.

I took one of the whites to the Hollywood Bowl, where John Williams was conducting. He does this yearly, and all of us Star Wars nuts show up, many with light sabers (a goal of mine for next year) and people are always like “this may be his last year” but he told me, I mean us, I mean the Hollywood Bowl audience, that he may be 90, but he is doing this show til he’s 100. Beyond Star Wars themes these shows (this was my second, why do I not have a light saber yet) remind one of how many epic soundtracks he composed–Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, E.T., Jaws, Harry Potter…it goes on.

Crud I was writing about wine. Let me say that a rich and ripe juicy Marsanne based blend goes VERY well with sunsets and music:

Clos Bellane Côtes du Rhône Villages Blanc Valréas 2019

65% Marsanne/30% Viognier/ 5% Roussanne and yummm it is rich. When I first smelled it I thought “dried golden raisins” which is silly as raisins are always dried. It’s like when I recently heard someone reference “fresh prunes” like….plums right? Anyway. That’s what I though. Tastes like unsweet golden syrup and honeysuckle and tangerines too. It’s silky and mouth coating but has a salinity that keeps it going–even in the crazy heat (it was around 100 degrees that day) it was somehow a refresher.

ONWARDS

The grape known as Roussanne and I dear to each other (or at least Roussanne tolerates me) right? I barely tolerate myself, but Roussanne is always there for me.

Chateau du Trignon Côtes du Rhône 2021

100% Roussanne. Beguiling golden color, beguiling golden nose. Smells of apricots and beaches and blooms. Crisp at the same time as honeyed on the tongue with that certain dank incense zing. But then the finish is cooling, somehow, while up top the honey and marmalade notes would almost make you think of sweetness the finish is nearly herbal. DEEEEEELITEFUL.

AND NOW FOR A ROSÉ BECAUSE ROSÉ FOREVER

Domaine de Mourchon Loubié Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Rosé 2021

60% Grenache/40% Syrah-mineral and floral fun. So very light, if pale rosé is your jam, you are this wine’s jelly. All rose hips and river stones and I see the color ultramarine blue when I drink it. As time goes by you may notice herbal and peppery elements. A rosé that yes, you can swill ice cold and feel sophisticated but give it a little air and let it live a touch less cold than freezing and all sorts of fun elements will make their case.

COOL STORY

I don’t know why I titled this segment “cool story” but I needed a closer. Part of the cool story is that I had another Rhône rosé, but I used it in my jalapeño rosé experiments (that blog entry to come soon!) but then I was sad that I did because I liked that rosé better on it’s own. So shouts out to Château du Morgues du Grès Fleur d’Eglantine Rosé, you’re delicious, I swear I didn’t omit you because your name is so long (obvi because I just typed it), and I’m sorry I wasted half of you on jalapeño experiments and I swear I didn’t drink ALL of the rest of it straight out of the bottle.

I think the biggest take-home from this tasting lineup is that I want more whites and rosés of the Southern Rhône in my life. Obvi, I had my Tavel obsession already. And my ardent affair with the Roussanne grape. But when it came to wines labeled as Côtes du Rhône, there’s a generous spot for them in my life. Probably yours too. Branching out is good. It doesn’t mean I’ve forsaken my loves. But when it comes to wine I am definitely polyamorous.

Pod on

7 Aug

Oh hi hey! If you want to hear my voice (I am theatre trained but I don’t know how valuable projection is on podcasts tho) the latest The Wine Situation is up here!

It’s ultra-Champagne focused. I nerd out with fellow WSET Diploma graduate Christopher Ruhland wrote a great book called “Press for Champagne” for people of all wine…levels? seriousness? Anyway it’s solid and entertaining information about Champagne and also made me wish I had a Champagne budget as I seriously have Champagne tastes.

Hey there’s time. I believe.

Take a listen, yes?

I also have more tasting goodness to tell of and you know, then text me (y’all have my number I’m a 3am answerer) or if you are scared (I get it) Instagram me and tell me what you think. Of the episode. Of me.

Of Champagne. The juice we all need more of.

Rosé Gold

20 Jul

I had a helluva time getting the shots for this. Beyond struggling with the dress in which sideboob is inevitable.

Beyond my lack of gold (jewelry or clothing) to bring in that element to the shoot.

Beyond the fact that dammit I couldn’t get my hair to behave–I was struggling to catch a vibe.

Then it occurred to me maybe I should be focusing on the pretty wine, not my pretty-adjacent self.

But nah fuck it. This wine is named with a color that defined millenials, a generation that made the selfies A Thing. Self indulgent selfies it was!

And how. I made eyes with this wine all night long and feel like we really were connecting before it occurred to me I should try it.

The wine I was courting was Rose Gold Côtes du Provence Rosé. I feel like this wine gives a party-forward attitude, but I also feel like it borders on being a Serious Rosé. As in it has body. It has complexity.

It is quite the blend: 42.5 % Grenache, 11.7% Syrah, 27.2% Cinsault, .8% Tibouren, 6.7% Mourvèdre, 6.8% Carignan, 1.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Rolle, .4% Ugni Blanc, and .3% Clairette. I hope all that adds up to 100%, I haven’t done the math.

It’s so super fresh! But also plush! There’s an element of lees aging that really boosts the body. And when I drink it and close my eyes I see ultramarine blue-green. I adore.

Coral in color. Sniffing it-wise on top of red and yellow AND white stone fruit (i.e. so much fun florals) I also got blood orange and SCADS of minerals. Yes to yellow and white peach and raspberry sea-salt nose. Dry but unctuous (as unctuous as rosés go) body.

Palate echoes nose with a…so some wines feel concise. Cutting. They make their impression. Not this one. This one invites expansion. You may not make new discoveries or you will, pending your attention span.

All over, would I hand this wine a rose (um The Bachelor (which I’ve never watched) reference) yeah I WOULD. Is it a rose-worthy rose?

YES!

So gold. so Rosé. So Super. And selfie worthy which for some wine writers may be the most important thing but for me it’s the icing on the cake. Or should I say the filter on the selfie. Which is which.

Calabrian Calibration

12 Jul

To the land let the grape (and training, and rootstock, and winemaking, and more) be suited. I recently got a tasting of an assortment of Calabrian wines made by Librandi, and from what I learned, this winery is a studious one, putting their glasses on, pulling their hair up, living in sensible dark sweaters and black skirts and combat boots–whoa my studious vision dream of this winery as a human became a goth librarian but you get where I’m going–they get deep into researching the native grapes and diving into micro-terroirs. Considering history. Considering land. As one does.

Their resulting wines, I do believe, reflect the studies. AKA they are balanced wines. This straight-laced goth librarian who maybe isn’t gonna rip her bun out and tear her sweater off and fishnets–more like she may get caught with her hair down, and she’s not going wild, but you see her brains are part of her beauty…holy shit have I watched too many rom-coms and is this metaphor even relevant?

Anyway.

The wines I tasted deserved a place at the table, which, given my experience with Calabria (putting it out there I was in the Veneto recently I would LOVE to make it to the south of Italy universe do you hear me) was a discovery.

Like, how had I not retained some memory of what comes out of Calabria? I honestly had so little experience with the region. I had surely read about it studying for my WSET Diploma…but it’s hard to retain all the details I cram in my brain-damaged brain for those exams. So I went to the small map of Italy on my wall where I’d annotated regions I hadn’t devoted an entire map of their own to.

I’ve been slacking. Calabria had no notes. Nor any single region maps of their own, whereas regions like Piemonte and the Veneto got annotated on the Italy map and with maps all their own. Shame.

Kiddos this is my review of Librandi. I can’t say yet that it stands for Calabria as a whole but it’s what I get from them. Of whom I’m overwhelmingly on the positive side of.

First, a few particulars .

Calabria is the toe and arch of the Italy if like pretty much anyone, Italy looks like a boot to you. It’s more of a 19th century boot than a goth boot or do the two overlap? It matters not. It’s southern Italy.

There are seas on either side Tyrrhenian and Ionian. Cirò is the main DOC.

It looks like it is giving Sicily the boot, which I would never do–I love Sicilian wine–but what do I know, maybe it is giving Sicily a love kick. I don’t judge landforms’ lifestyles.

There were grapes of the region I DO NOT know. Gaglioppo, Maglioppo, Mantonico and Greco Bianco. I must be honest I drank the bottle of Greco Bianco with a gentleman friend and we loved it so much we crushed it without me taking scholarly notes but I feel like the passion that courses through Italian wine would be okay with that. But I made sure to be scholarly with the next bottle made from a native grape!

Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore DOC 2019 100% Gaglioppo, a grape whose acquaintance I would like to make more of. The aromatics barrel out of the glass ripe black raspberries, regular blackberries, a smidge of cola–or is that tea?–and also spice, like if cloves and chervil had a love-child. It is bright, with medium gently nubbly tannins and a smidge of roses and lilacs and friendly dirt to it. It finishes with fresh fruit and, oddly enough, a touch of leather. Quite a pleasant ride.

And then there were the fun fun times with “International” varieties I do know.

Librandi Critone Calabria Bianco IGT 2021 Yayyyy Chardonnay (90%)/Sauvignon Blanc (10%) blend. Grown on limestone and clay loam. Super lemony and wet stone-washed stone (is that a thing?) nose. On the palate still stony, still sunny, more of a Meyer lemon curd vibe–it’s got a richness while remaining chiffon pie lightness.

And lastly the wines that blended local with international. A boot to fit all feet. So to speak. I should stop pushing this boot metaphor. Combat or not.

Librandi Tenuta Arcidiaconano Gravello Calabria ICT 2019 The balance of it all. Toasty. Not super complex. But ripe and rich bueberry centric and still ripe not too much ripe. Honestly if blind-tasted I would think it was a well-behave red blend, Cabernet-based, perhaps from, I dunno, Washington? All black currant to the max, hints of herbs and cigar box and tobacco fun. But not overly. Fresh over all.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I’m excited. In particular by the Greco Bianco and Gaglioppo wines as I don’t know those grapes well. But the quality was high across the board with Librandi. I need to get to southern Italy and taste it, boots on the ground.

Oh that was unintentional boot referencing but my subconscious is strong. Goth on. Try Calabria.