A Musical / Vinous blast from the past:

Hot List 7.23.02: Guarding the Global Cellar

This week we heard the sad news that one of our greatest inspirations, musicologist Alan Lomax, had passed away after dedicating more than seventy years to recording, preserving and evangelizing about what he called The Global Juke Box, meaning the incredibly diverse musical heritage of the human race. In his quest to make the songs and hence the stories, emotions and histories of every nook and cranny of not just the US but the world available to us he discovered artists such as Leadbelly and Muddy Waters, preserved songs like Home on the Range and Good Night Irene from extinction and inspired not only the Broadway hit “Jelly Roll!” but the techno-tribal sounds of Moby. You may ask how this relates to wine. It is simple: He recognized that mass communications and the industrialization of the music business led directly to standardized, mass-produced and cheapened culture everywhere…which led him to conclude that if those absolutely precious differences are ignored we are going to lose them and then, in his words, “there will not be anyplace to go and no place to come home to as it will all be the same”. Which is EXACTLY what is going on in the world of wine and is what we fight against every day by bringing you  delicious but VERY local wines like these:


Solms-Delta Wine Estate, Franschhoek, Western Cape

This historic winery has an amazing story, dating back centuries. Click here for the tour!

Solms Wijn de Caab Amalie 2006, Western Cape

Round and full bodied? Check! Fragrant and slightly exotic? Check! Great value for money? Double Check! With 55% fragrant Viognier for tropical aromatics and 45% Grenache Blanc for structure, this is extremely versatile. Made at a winery with roots back to the late 1600’s. Limited.


Solms Koloni 2007, Western Cape  VERY Limited…and a STEAL!

Boys and girls, let’s play “Stump the Wine Geek”! No matter how wine geeky your Brother in Law / Boss / Tasting Group buddies are THIS is probably going to be an eye opener for them: Riesling (73%) and two clones of Muscat are “strangled” on the vine by applying strong clamps which cut the bunches off from further nutrition and leaves them to desiccate before harvest. The result is a sort of Amarone like WHITE: It is hearty, very aromatic, BONE DRY and builds strong bodies twelve ways….cheers!


Zanotto Col Fondo Vino Bianco Frizzante Rifermentazione in Bottiglia, Veneto 

So…What is THIS?!?!? It’s the most rustic / authentic / old school Italian bubbly we’ve ever brought you: literally farmhouse style, just like we get served when we visit some very traditional cantine. It is re-fermented in THIS bottle then sent to market unfiltered with the secondary fermentation yeast still in the wine. Just like a great Belgian Wit Biere, you ROLL it on the table before opening to integrate the lees into the wine. WHY?!?!? It gives a richer texture AND is a great source of Vitamin B12…Cheers! BONE Dry, Über Refreshing!


Navayerri Pago de Leros Crianza 2002, Navarra

Emphatically wine, not fruit juice! This ten year old blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Tempranillo has a spicy, savory, meaty nose and a complex palate leading to a VERY dry finish. It is NOT thick and juicy and is not ABOUT fruit. It WILL play well with grilled or braised meats, strong cheeses, sausages and other hearty fare. It’s also a STEAL for an aged claret style!


Azienda Vinacola Struzziero Giovanni, Venticano, Campania

This cantina was established in the heart of the Taurasi zona near Mt. Vesuvius in 1920 by the grandfather of the current proprietor (great grandfather of the current winemaker, Mario). Giovanni began production of DOC wines in 1970, carefully vinifying only his best grapes hand harvested from their 13 hectares of vines. Mario is now leading the cantina into the future with the same insistence on quality and traditional style that has made this cantina famous for nearly a century.

One of the many benefits of an established winery like this one is that, without the pressure to raise cash to pay off the initial investments paid off long ago, they have literally MILLIONS of bottles in their cellars and are thus able to release tranches of their top wines with some serious age on them (see the Tarausi below).

Struzziero Taurasi Riserva Campoceraso 1993, Campania  

Struzziero Taurasi Riserva Campoceraso 2001, Campania  

One taste of this and you will understand why Taurasi is often called “The Barolo of the South”: it may be light in color but it is PACKED with savory flavors and aromas of dried cherry, meat, earth, spices and smoke. The harsh tannins of its youth have mellowed into a silky, dry finish that just leaves you wanting more…now!


Struzziero Taurasi Villafosca 1997, Campania  

All of the attributes of the wine above taken to a whole ‘nother level. VERY limited, worth it!