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Alana L

Alana L

Tinella

Cascina Galarin Tinella Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore 2018

Castagnole Delle Lanze, Piedmont, Barbera D'asti D.O.C.G., Italy
6 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 90/100

From the Southern Piedmont region (between Langhe and Monferrato) Cascina Galarin grows wine from typical Piedmontese varietals such as Barbera, Moscato, Nebbiolo and Freisa, and although they are recently (2016) certified organic, their winemaking history dates back to the 1700’s (1781 to be precise). The deep roots from these old (over 50 years) vines for Tinella Barbera d’Asti offer increased uptake of minerals from the soil, their age naturally producing low yields which are further reduced by rigorous grape selection. The winery chooses to let nature to reign and does not normally practice ‘green harvesting’ (and follows an age-old tradition of bottling only during the days that the moon is waning!). And the story behind the winery name and label? The wineries cellar, which is still used today, was handmade by the winemakers’ ancestors in 1781 and bears a carving of a rooster on its solid wood front door. ‘Galarin’, meaning ‘rooster’ in Piedmontese dialect, become the name and logo of the winery, as well as the family nickname. The winery has been a family tradition for over 200 years, and today sons Marco and Giovanni work alongside their father, oenologist Giuseppe Carosso in winemaking that aims to bring the terroir to the glass by practicing all organic methods, focusing on nature and the environment, maintaining their vineyards without the use of any herbicides or pesticides and encouraging the development of different types of grasses and plants among the vineyard rows and hazelnut groves. Here the Cascina Galarin Tinella Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore 2018 is a beautiful, complex, and powerful expression of Barbera. Made with 95% Barbera and 5% Freisa, the grapes are lightly destemmed, 15 days of fermentation in steel vats with frequent pumping over followed by a further 15 days with the skins before being transferred into barrels for its malolactic fermentation and aged 2 years in small oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered (during the waning moon). Dark ruby red in colour, its aromas are fruit forward when first poured (a bit too cool from the cellar) with raspberry, blackberry and dark cherry but then evolves to leather, gingerbread and earth as it warms. With a full-bodied palate of fruit, pepper, spice, and dark chocolate; it has crisp, present acidity, rich, firm but balanced tannins (more than you would expect for Barbera) and a long finish. It’s smooth, balanced, and complex. It’s the reason Barbera d’Asti is gaining both in reputation and price and no longer considered a second fiddle to Barbera d’Alba. It has the structure to age, but it’s beautiful now. Lamb, grilled meats, duck confit and game would all pear beautifully with this stunning example of Barbera. David’s first product line was theirs, chosen for the unwavering focus on quality, winemaking approach, and consistent delivery of premium wines. Through his agency, David Francis Wine, David carries a small, but beautifully curated and original selection of wines from Italy, Spain, Moldova and Quebec. He’s chosen each one for a reason and is more than happy to share the stories behind each as well as why they made it into his offering! I was lucky enough to meet him recently and to taste through a selection of wines that reflect what he does with his young (2 years) agency: have a limited, different, high quality selection of wines at price points ranging from $15 - $45. Cheers!

IGP Campania

Tenuta del Porconero IGP Campania Aglianico 2018

Campania I.G.P., Italy
8 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 88/100

Campania… Just writing this word brings me back to a part of the world that I adore. The people, the food, the wine, the spectacular Amalfi Coast, the Cilento park, the ruins of Paestum and Pompei, the chaotic beauty of Naples… It is near the ruins of Paestum that the Pagano family has been making premium wines since 1988 at Azienda Agricola San Salvatore where they practice entirely organic and biodynamic viniculture in a terroir with optimal soil and climatic conditions, using a photovoltaic system that allows them to minimize the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, avoiding mono-culture by ensuring that more than three quarters of their estate is covered in olive groves, woods and orchards, and where… A herd of 450 buffaloes live on the land and roam amongst the vines, where, in addition to the famed mozzarella di Bufala, they supply the necessary fertilizers for the vineyards, fruit orchards and olive trees! The Pagano’s wines are renowned for their clarity and purity without losing authenticity and typicity. Tenuta del Porconero is the Pagano family’s new series of modern, entry level wines from native Cilento wine varieties growing in the vineyards between Stio and Giungano in a hilly-mountainous terroir rich in minerals. Made with 100% Aglianico, hand harvested, softly crushed, and fermented in steel tanks, this wine is full of freshness from the influences of the nearby sea. Deep red, with aromas of ripe black fruit (cherry and blackberry), spice, black pepper, savory game notes, and a bit of smoke and warm earth; the palate is juicy and full-bodied, with good acidity and continues the black ripe fruit, savory notes and ‘spicy’ character with pepper at the end. Full bodied, with a punch of (balanced, smooth) tannins and character, and a nice lingering finish. Would pair beautifully with red meat on the grill, hard cheeses and Italian sausage. And for the story behind the name and label? Porconero, meaning ‘black pig’, is so named after an ancient Cilentan proverb ‘puorc nir’, core chin’: ‘black pig, heart big’. David met the winemakers initially at the Dusseldorf Prowein Conference in 2019 and later that same year again at Vinitaly. Impressed by the quality of the wines, winemaking philosophy and practices, and feeling that wines from Campania were underrepresented in Quebec he chose to feature them in his portfolio (a decision proven right by his clientele as they are among his most sold wines). David carries a small, but beautifully curated and original selection of wines from Italy, Spain, Moldova and Quebec. He’s chosen each one for a reason and is more than happy to share the stories behind each as well as why they made it into his offering! I was lucky enough to meet him recently and to taste through a selection of wines that reflect what he does with his young (2 years) agency: have a limited, different, high quality selection of wines at price points ranging from $15 - $45. Cheers!

9 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 91/100

Etna… Seems fitting to open a bottle of wine from the area surrounding this volcano that went into its 17th eruption early yesterday morning (for the 17th time since the beginning of its recent volcanic activity on February 16th)! Tenute Mannino di Plachi, with its three estates located in Sicily, has a history dating back to 1800 when Baron Franz Mannino began to export typical Sicilian products, such as wine and oranges, to Europe and North America. At Podere di Pietra Marina, located at 550 meters on the north side of Mount Etna, they cultivate the red grape vines (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio) for their Etna DOC Rosso; at Tenuta del Gelso, they cultivate vegetables, olives and citrus fruits, and it is at the Sciarelle estate, on the side of Etna that they produce this stunning Etna DOC Bianco from Carricante and Catarratto grapes cultivated in the municipalities of Viagrande and Castiglione di Sicilia. Made with two indigenous varietals, 80% Carricante (a vine native to the volcanic Etna region) and 20% Catarratto, it’s a bright golden straw color with a very light green tint. On the nose it has citrus, freshly bloomed flowers, warm straw, herbs and a definite warm saline quality. The palate shows fresh, crisp acidity and follows with fruit (citrus again, but also ripe pear), honey, brioche, a touch of smoke and a beautiful long finish. It’s elegant, complex, saline, mineral, soft, buttery and fresh all at once (a result of the vines growing in Etna’s sandy soils – on the northern side of Etna at 550 meters altitude in Castiglione di Sicilia and on the eastern side of Etna at 400 meters above sea level in Viagrande - and benefitting from large temperature fluctuations between day and night as well as the gentle winemaking practices with hand-harvesting, the grapes being softly and slowly pressed at cool temperatures and fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperatures (14-15° C) before spending a few months on the lees. It’s a perfect balance between flavor and freshness, softness and complexity, and with the volcanic soils rich in trace elements adding lovely mineral notes. A ‘food wine’ that would pair beautifully with creamy fish dishes, grilled chicken, or any manner of antipasti. Absolutely beautiful. Available through David Francis Wine (www.dfwine.ca) (It’s at Vinitaly 2019 that David met the winemakers from Tenute Mannino di Plachi, followed by a visit to their vineyards. Impressed by the vineyard’s premium location on the slopes of Mount Etna and the clear, uncompromising focus on the quality of their wines, he felt that they stood out and chose to feature them in his selection. David carries a small, but beautifully curated and original selection of wines from Italy, Spain, Moldova and Quebec. He’s chosen each one for a reason and is more than happy to share the stories behind each as well as why they made it into his offering! I was lucky enough to meet him recently and to taste through a selection of wines that reflect what he does with his young (2 years) agency: have a limited, different, high quality selection of wines at price points ranging from $15 - $45. Cheers!

Gérard Bertrand Clos D'ora La Livinière Minervois 2017

Minervois-La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
24 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 95/100

Clos d’Ora, AOP Minervois La Livinière , 2017 / Demeter-certified biodynamic, Clos d’Ora benefits from an exceptional terroir situated at La Livinière in the Minervois at an altitude of 220 meters and is the first Grand Cru of Gérard Bertrand wines; a beautiful blend typical of Southern France of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Grenache. The entire estate is cultivated using biodynamic methods and with only horse traction used to work between the rows. Hand-picked, each varietal and each parcel are macerated in separate batches with distinct winemaking methods and very gentle maceration to limit the extraction of tannins. Deep, deep ruby in colour, the nose has black fruit (blackberry, plum, cherry), chocolate, pepper, incense, coffee, warm earth with a bit of cedar; and the palate is intense, complex, ripe, well-structured and warm but maintaining a freshness (despite the 15.5% abv). Tasted just opened, an hour after opening, and decanted – the decanting definitely makes this wine sing and the tannins become more subtle, smooth and mellow. Exceptional – would age beautifully! Pair this with grilled, aged, or slowly cooked beef – we had it with a premium cut of aged beef, seared in the pan before gently cooking in the over and it was spectacular! A leader in organic and biodynamic viticulture and named ‘Green Personality of the Year’ in 2020 at the Drinks Business Green Awards (the world's largest competition aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues in the beverage industry and rewarding exemplary sustainability and environmental performance), Gérard Bertrand discovered his passion for wine at his family’s estate, Villemajou, in 1975, started running it in 1987 and created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in 2002 to showcase and develop wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France. The company now includes 16 châteaux, estates and wineries covering over 850 hectares cultivated using biodynamic methods in one or more of 6 levels of certification: conversion to organic agriculture; organic agriculture; no added sulphites; vegan; bee-friendly and Demeter-certified biodynamic. Guiding his philosophy is that these organic practices are not only an essential way to act for the planet and to ‘be the change’, but also that they allow the identity of the terroir and sense of place to shine through and for the wines to ‘taste of somewhere and not of something’! Tasted as part of Gérard Bertrand’s virtual Organic French Wine festival.

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Red 2019

Pays D'oc Languedoc-Roussillon, France
24 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 92/100

Cigalus Red, IGP Aude Hauterive, 2019 / Demeter-certified biodynamic (since 2002!), Cigalus is a heady mix of international and local varietals: Syrah, Merlot, Caladoc, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignon. Caladoc you ask? New to me as well, it’s a cross between Malbec from Bordeaux and Grenache Noir. Hand-picked grapes are placed in small wooden crates to preserve their condition and avoid any crushing. Carignan and Syrah are vinified separately with carbonic maceration and all other varietals are in the traditional way, placed in new French oak barrels for 12 months after fermentation and bottled unfiltered. Complex, rich, bold yet nuanced, the nose has tons of red and black fruit (ripe strawberries, dark cherries, blackberry, plum), coffee, cacao, cigar box, slight toast but not overly oaked and pepper with an intense palate (fruit, coffee and pepper) and long finish. Could be decanted but was beautifully drinkable as is. With its complexity and at 15.5% abv this would be amazing with rack of lamb, duck confit, roasted meat, or extra ripe strong cheese. A leader in organic and biodynamic viticulture and named ‘Green Personality of the Year’ in 2020 at the Drinks Business Green Awards (the world's largest competition aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues in the beverage industry and rewarding exemplary sustainability and environmental performance), Gérard Bertrand discovered his passion for wine at his family’s estate, Villemajou, in 1975, started running it in 1987 and created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in 2002 to showcase and develop wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France. The company now includes 16 châteaux, estates and wineries covering over 850 hectares cultivated using biodynamic methods in one or more of 6 levels of certification: conversion to organic agriculture; organic agriculture; no added sulphites; vegan; bee-friendly and Demeter-certified biodynamic. Guiding his philosophy is that these organic practices are not only an essential way to act for the planet and to ‘be the change’, but also that they allow the identity of the terroir and sense of place to shine through and for the wines to ‘taste of somewhere and not of something’! Tasted as part of Gérard Bertrand’s virtual Organic French Wine festival.

Alana L

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Memorable Wine

Tied between Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple AOP Languedoc Cabrières 2019 tasted in 2021 & Klein Genot Black Swan Reserve 2008 at the most picturesque Stellenbosch winery in South Africa in 2009 (now called Holden Manz Winery)

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First Wine

Probably the notorious wicker-wrapped Chianti - but the first one that made me fall in love with wine was a Brouilly Georges Duboeuf

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Unusual Wine Experience

Finding rare old vintages on the wine list of an Algerian french restaurant

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Current Fav Wine

Domaine Le Roc La Folle Noire d'Ambat, Fronton

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