The month is almost over, but to help continuing my birthday celebration are two more wines from my local wine club, The Fine Wine Source of Livonia. Even though, none of my wine clubs are aware of my birthday, they all added to the inventory in my birthday month. The wine shop has had some physical changes as they are adapting to all the new regulations, especially if and ever they can really offer wine tastings again, which was a definite part of the charm of the shop. Some beautiful wood racks have been dismantled and put in storage for the moment to allow for “social distancing,” even though wine tasting is best when it is a social event; as in the more the merrier. They have been doing their best to keep up with their customers and have been doing a major personal delivery campaign. Though I guess as a former merchant, I just enjoy the store experience and the comradery with the customers and even the sales representatives that always seem to populate the shop as well.
The first wine offered by the club is Donati Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Paicines AVA 2016. The Donati family started arriving in the Paicines region of the Central Coast in 1998, when they purchased the land that would become the family estate and vineyard. Since then they have planted the vineyards and built a state-of-the-art winery. Paicines is the southern most AVA in the San Benito County and in the 1980’s and 1990’s the area was associated with the production of bulk wines, but a few wineries are attempting to correct that image. To this day, much of the fruit is grown and then sent to wineries in other parts of California. It is still home to the five-hundred-acre Vista Verde Vineyard that was previously owned by Almaden Vineyards, before the company was sold and split up in the 1980’s. The sandy soils of gravel and limestone have forced the vines to develop deep root systems, because of the good drainage and has strengthened the vines. The wine is ninety-one percent Cabernet Sauvignon with four percent Merlot, four percent Malbec and one percent Petit Verdot. Initial fermentation was done in Stainless Steel and then it was aged for twenty-one months in a mix of French, American and Russian Oak, with some new in each category. The wine is said to offer aromas of red fruits, with medium tannins with notes of cedar and mocha, with a long finish that even offers some cranberry notes.
The second wine from the club was Podere Ciona Chianti Classico 2017. I was reading the history of the winery on their website “Franca and Franco Gatteschi were looking for a place in the countryside to retire to, after many years of working in Italy and abroad, when they came across a small, beautiful, albeit run down property: 100 acres of land, mostly wooded with 10 acres set aside for cultivation, of which 2.5 acres already had vineyards; a house from the 18th Century, abandoned for more than 40 years; and, above all, a view without equal on the Chianti hills, with Siena in the distance.” It really sounds idyllic and makes one ponder how this property was neglected and ignored for years. “They purchased the estate at the beginning of 1990 and they immediately started the reconstruction work on the main house (it took nearly three years). They also set up a small but well- equipped wine cellar for making wine. In 1996 they permanently moved to live on the estate and the following year, the great 1997 vintage, saw the birth of the first “official” wine of Podere Ciona: A Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva.” The winery is in the Chianti Classico region Gaiole in Chianti which allows them to feature the famous Gallo Negro or Black Rooster, one of the earliest area recognition labels in Italy. This is the winery’s basic Chianti wine and they still maintain their desire to only produce one bottle of wine per vine. The wine is eighty-nine percent Sangiovese, nine percent Merlot and two percent Alicante Bouschet. They still maintain hand harvesting and initial fermentation is in Stainless Steel and then aged in French Oak. The wine is described as a classic Chianti with red fruit notes and a velvety texture from the Merlot. I have had their Chianti Classico Riserva, as well as some of their other wines, so I know that this will be a nice choice with a dinner.