WEEKLY FLIGHT 6/17 through 6/19/2021 - France vs Italy

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  • By Mark Meissner
WEEKLY FLIGHT 6/17 through 6/19/2021 - France vs Italy

This weekend's flight:
A special Father's Day weekend showcase
Flight of 4 wines: $27 tasting
Saturday 1-8pm
Since we'll be doing our Summer Solstice Iberia tasting on Friday evening, our weekly showcase tasting flight will be Saturday only. Join us Saturday from 1-7:30pm as we showcase 4 reds from both Italy and France. It will be a spirited competition of two warmer climate areas - southern Rhône valley/France Süd reds versus two Tuscan greats! We'll be pouring the wines in order of increasing gravitas noted below! See you Sat dads!
Istine Chianti Classico
"Vigna Cavarchione" 2018
"I love Sangiovese because it's difficult and very Italian"- Angela Fronti
From 1959, Angela Fronti's family built a thriving agricultural services business in the area by tending to others’ vineyards and olive groves. Bruno Fronti, Angela’s grandfather, created a service activity in agriculture, Agrichianti, specialized in earth-moving, vineyard plants and green management.
Angela continued charge, moving more into the winemaking game, and graduated in Enology and Viticulture at the University of Florence. In 1982, her father and uncle bought their first land parcels, on the high southern slopes below Radda known as Casanova dell’Aia and planted 11 acres of vines. Her father made wine and sold it in bulk, while investing in more of the local stony acreage to plant more vineyards. In 2002, he bought Istine, a windswept ridge top and farm hamlet.
By 2009, Fronti was working as an enologist 50 miles away in Cortona and helped her father on weekends to make what was destined to be their first estate wine. Three years later, she came home and took over Istine full-time, bottling the first Chianti Classico and turning her focus to the vineyards and the future.
The first vintage of Istine Chianti Classico was in 2009 with just 250 cases produced. This some brilliant Sangiovese (and it ain't cheap!
Now onto our french contender...
Domaine du Grand Montmirail Gigondas Vieilles Vignes
"Les Deux Juliettes" 2018
Named after the daughters of producer, Yves Chéron, and the Importer, Charles Neal's daughter - both Juliette!
The vineyard is located in the southeastern part of the appellation - not far from Chateauneuf du Pape. Denis Chéron owned property in Vacqueras in the 1960's (he came from Burgundy) and also created a negociant business. His relationships as a negoc led him to discover Grand Montmirail, whose owner had retired. Denis was smitten with the opportunity and partnered with Neil.
The vineyards are some of the highest elevation in Gigondas (300-350 meters), helping the wine retain its acidity. Clay and limestone soils give the wine its round, approachable texture.
Think wild berry, mulberry, dried spices, peppercorn, and herbs. This is a classic blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.
Will you like the Gigondas over the Chianti?
Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona
Brunello di Montalcino 2016
The Bianchini family was gifted its Brunello estate in 1985 by Countess Elda Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, who had no heirs!
Brother-and-sister team Paolo and Lucia Bianchini continue to make excellent Brunellos in the tradition of their father, Giuseppe, who died in 2004.
Ciacci Piccolomini is one of the most sought-after producers in all of Italy. This ancient estate has 35 hectares of superior holdings in the prized Castelnuovo dell’Abate zone, including the ‘Pianrosso’ vineyard (meaning ‘red field,’ a reference to the iron rich soils) and the ‘Fonte’ vineyard.
The estate is a member of the EU ‘Lotta Integrata’ movement, which promotes reduced use of chemicals and organic viticulture. At Ciacci, fertilization is organic, and pruning and harvest are done by hand.
The aromas are intense, fruit-forward, spicy and floral with hints of red berry fruits enriched by delicate notes of baking spices. Warm, soft, and very well balanced on the palate; well-structured with soft tannins and long aftertaste.
High praise from the press and will be a great contender to a southern France/Provence icon from Bandol... up next!
Domaine de Terrebrune
Bandol Rouge 2016
Before acquiring vineyards, Georges Delille trained as a sommelier in Paris. In 1963, he bought what would become Domaine de Terrebrune, a property just outside the beautiful town of Bandol.
With the newly established AOC Bandol in the early '40s came the craze from local farmers to replant their olive orchards into more lucrative crops - and that's how Mourvedre made a strong comeback from the brink of extinction in the area. 
There are 36 hectares of terraced vineyards and the microclimate's proximity to sea creates cooler air at night - keeping the Mourvedre fresh and expressive!
Georges spent ten years just renovating the property with the help of a local vigneron. He also built a new cellar just in time for his son Reynald to join him after finishing enology school.
Mourvedre can be a harsh, tumultuous varietal grown in the harsh Mediterranean sun - but this bottling brings out the essence of "Le Sud" (The South of France). Broad layers of dark fruit with moderate tannins and a vivid freshness to the overall end product makes this a great competitor to the Brunello. Yes, hard to believe Mourvedre versus Sangiovese grosso? Give the tasting test a whirl!
See all you dads this weekend.