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January 2022 Wine of the Month

January 26, 2022

January 2022 Wine of the Month

What is the story behind the wine in your glass? Many wine lovers never get to witness the process involved in winemaking, and underestimate the immense work that is involved in crafting a fine wine. In some regions, grapes are grown on such steep mountains that pickers must be attached to a harness. Other regions experience extreme heat and violently strong winds, all making viticulture that much more difficult. But perhaps the most extreme grape-growing regions are those that have vines planted near active volcanos. Growing grapes amidst spewing lava is not an easy feat, and can result in personal injury or loss of crop. You may recall the recent eruption on La Palma in the Canary Islands in 2021; about one quarter of the vineyards on the island were damaged. Mt. Etna in Sicily erupted for the first time in 51 years in September of 2021, and there are approximately 2600 acres of vineyards planted in the DOC. Luckily, some wine regions have vines grown on sites where there used to be an active volcano in times past. In these regions, winemakers can enjoy harnessing the complexity that comes with volcanic soils, without any of the repercussions that come with planting vines where there is a constant threat of volcanic eruption. Both of the wines featured in this month’s club selection are grown on sites of ancient volcanoes, where the soil still has a volcanic influence.

While the concept of tasting “minerality” in wine is not yet backed by science, most winemakers and wine experts attest to soil type imparting a particular character upon the resulting wine. Volcanic soils are a prime example of a distinct character that derives directly from the soil below the vines. Our red wine this month is from Lazio, Italy, from an ancient volcanic site in the Lepini mountains. The volcanic influence is clear in the flinty/smoked meat notes that can be found in the wine. Our white is from Somló, Hungary, where the vines grow on the slopes of a volcanic butte. The volcanic soils impart a hint of smokiness and saltiness addition to the fruit present in the wine. Volcanic wines seem to be becoming more and more popular in the wine industry, and it is easy to see why. The wines offer a clear and intriguing display of terroir, and transport us back in time to the ancient volcanoes of history’s past!

We hope you enjoy these terroir-driven wines. We’ll let you settle the minerality debate yourself, can you pick out any volcanic notes from influence in these wines?

Cheers,

The PlumpJack Wine Team

 

Marco Carpineti Capolemole Bio IGT 2018

Region / Country of Origin:

Lazio, Italy

About the winemaker: Marco Carpineti’s winery represents a reference point for healthy and eco-sustainable wine culture far beyond the borders of the region. Located on the slopes of the Lepini Mountains in the historic town of Cori, a few kilometers from Rome and 400 meters above sea level, Marco has been at the helm since 1986, and he introduced organic farming methods because of their desire to create truly healthy products. No herbicides or chemical fertilizers have been used in over 25 years.

About the Winemaking: The vines come from Cori, at 400 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Lepini mountains, 50 kilometers south of Rome. Marco Carpineti is organic certified. This wine is composed of Nero Buono di Cori, Montepulciano, and Cesanese. The grapes are harvested in Sept./Oct. After soft pressure, the juice ferments for about 15 days at controlled temperature. It is then aged for 24 months in barriques.

Tasting Notes:  The robustness of Montepulciano, the originality of the Nero Buono di Cori and, in a small percentage, the elegance of the Cesanese, contribute to forming the Capolemole Rosso. Intense garnet red color with violet reflections. Ample bouquet of soft rosemary and heady notes of red berries and jam and laces of purple fruit. Menthol rosemary freshness on the palate with an iron backbone to it. Bold tannins with fruit flavor profile on the soft side.

Winemaker: Marco Carpineti

Price:  $24 bottle/$259.20 case

Suggested Food Pairing:

Ideal with beef

charcuterie

pasta dishes with meat sauce

veal and poultry

 

Somlói Apátsági Juhfark 2019

Region / Country of Origin: Somló, Hungary

About the Winemaker: The Apátsági estate and cellar were originally owned by the Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey. After WWII, the land was expropriated and redistributed during Communism. It was brought back to life and replanted in 2001 with 5 people including the grandson of the last winemaker before the war. Zoltán’s grandparents were also winemakers on the hill.

About the winemaking: The line that runs through all of their wines is picking for extreme ripeness, or what many in other regions would even call late harvest: if not for the incredibly high natural acidity these wines would be overly sweet and flabby. Grapes are hand-picked and then spontaneously fermented in 600-2000 liter oak barrels. Wines are then aged in the same vessels for at least a year and then bottled unfiltered. SO2 only added at bottling. Certified organic

Tasting Notes: This wine shows a remarkable balancing act between acidity and residual sugar that’s typical of the Apátsági wines. Previous vintages needed 10 g/l residual sugar, but this year they needed about half of that, despite having more or less the same acidity. The alcohol certainly reflects this in a technical way, but the 14.5% is nowhere to be found on the palate. On first sip, you’ll find orchard and tropical fruit, hints of lychee, honey and oak. Exceptionally rich with notable residual sugar yet vigorous acidity.

Winemaker: Zoltán Balogh

Price: $26 bottle/ $280.80 case

Suggested Food Pairing:

Thai cuisine

Salmon Tartare

Hungarian dishes

French soft cheeses

 




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