While reading Bravo (a VERY highbrow Brazilian culture magazine that weighs in on conceptual art, modern dance and avant garde classical music but also finds the music of Prince and Morphine worthy of mention), we found a wonderful article by the linguistics columnist praising the English language (and encouraging Lusophones to follow suit) for its ability to assimilate words from other languages that express precise concepts with no English equivalent. Examples he thought would be useful for brazilians included “Drachenfutter” (German for a guilt gift that an adulterous husband buys his wife, sprechen sie Deutsch, Kobe?), “Mokita” (from New Guinea, signifying a truth that everyone knows but no one has the courage to say) and, most especially in a land replete with exuberantly youthful beauties, “Shibui” (the Japanese word for that deep beauty that can only come from age and experience: the patina on a fine wooden table, Rene Russo being ten times sexier than Brittany Spears or……an aged bottle of wine). Literally translated as the puckery and astringent qualities of the green persimmon, Shabui in the extrapolated sense carries the idea of something that is not sweet in nature but is instead reserved, elegant, multidimensional and somberly austere in its effect, leaving the consumer in a state of contemplation and gratitude….like these for example:

Ronco del Gelso Friulano Toc Bas 2010, Friuli Isonzo Rive Alte 

Giorgio is one of the leaders of what we call the “Movimento Tocai Classico”, an emerging group of Friulani vignerons who have recently decided that the lush, ultra fruit driven, Viognier like versions of Tocai are masking the true character and potential of that most Friulian of white varieties and, instead, are making a leaner, more structured and aromatic expression. This vintage is very dry and structured with herbal and almond notes on top of an enchanting yellow plum fruit base and will be an excellent aperitivo now but our experience with past vintages is that it will be even more wonderful in a couple of years.

 

Faraone Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Santa Maria dell’Arco  2001  

This is one of the gems of Italy: pure minerality underpins a rich frosting of apple and pear fruit plus wild flower, exotic spices and nutty nuances on the nose. The Selezione le Vigne sees no wood but considerable time on the lees (this is the CURRENT release!) and can mature for years in the manner of great Chablis but will be exciting right now with any seafood, veal, pork or lighter chicken dish you throw at it.

 

Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore

Riserva Colli del Mancuso 2005, Calabria 

Gnarly old Gagliopo vines growing on steep hillsides in the heart of the zona are left hanging fruit until late October to produce this rich and delicious wine. The fruit is macerated for weeks in the manner of traditional Barolo and the resulting wine is then finished in barrels for eight months. Medium bodied but immensely flavorful, this beauty exudes perfumes of dried cherries, spices and vanilla. Braise something with some good mushrooms for a long time and hit it with this, you will not be sorry.

 

Vintripodi Greco di Bianco 2003, Calabria

Somewhere between Vin Santo and Old India Sherry, this was famous when Euclid was a Geometry student. It is the result of meticulously selected grapes being laid out in the sun to dry for ten days then fermented in small Chestnut casks. The Greco remains in the wood for fourteen months, emerging with a rich golden color and a nuttier flavor set . Traditional serving suggestions include almond cookies, sheep’s milk cheese drizzled with honey or dried figs rolled in paprika. 500ml.