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Cru Krewe – March 2016

By March 24, 2016Cru Krewe

Welcome to the exciting world of Italian wines.  Unlike France or the US, Italy cultivates vines virtually everywhere on the peninsula – from the Alps in the north to Sicily in the south (which is closer to Africa than France!)   Italy’s mountainous geography, especially the Apennine mountains which form a backbone of the peninsula, explains the ubiquity of vines and viticulture.  Grapes love nutrient-poor soils.  High-elevation vineyards create freshness and complexity through slow-ripening and extreme diurnal variations in temperature.  This created tremendous diversity – Italy has over 400 indigenous grape varieties!

The names we all know are synonymous with fine wine the world over: Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti.  This month, we are introducing new regions and producers that represent the best of what Italy has to offer outside of those classics.  These wines are quintessential Cru Cellars: family-owned and operated, everything done by hand, organic farm practices when possible, and a strong sense of place (tipicità).

Cantine del Notaio l’Atto Aglianico del Vulture 2013

Gerardo Giuratrabocchetti founded the winery in 1998 in memory of his grandfather and in honor of his father, a notary, on a centuries’ old family farm.  L’Atto is a pure expression of Aglianico (called the ‘Barolo of the South’ for its intensity and age worthiness) from the tufo and limestone-rich soils of the Vulture volcano in Basilicata. The wine opens with cherry, blackberry, and cassis over dusty mineral notes of pencil shavings and flint that hint at its volcanic upbringing. The winemaking is absolutely pristine and focused.



Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2014

Vernaccia originates in the sandstone soils surrounding the town of Siena in Tuscany and the famous towers of San Gimignano.  Mormoraia is a 100-hectare family farm that grows grapes, olives, and a multitude of vegetables.  Farming here is 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} organic.  The wine is rich and tangy – offering citrus & melon with hints of fresh herbs & almonds on the finish.



Avignonesi Cantaloro Toscana IGT

This estate originates in Montepulciano (southeastern Tuscany) and the wines are based on Sangiovese (the grape that makes Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino) known locally as Prugnolo Gentile.  This version combines Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot to create a classic ‘Super Tuscan’ blend that emphasizes full-bodied cherry & plummy fruits with easy-drinking freshness.




Oxford Companion to Wine

Wine Spectator


Wine Advocate

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