I was going to my local wine shop, The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, for two reasons. One was to pick up a case of wine that is becoming one of our new “go-to” wines and also to pick up the current Wine Club selections. I tell everyone that they should join this club, the wines are actually curated by the shop and become part of their inventory, which is very important, because they don’t carry the run-of-the-mill wines that are found in gas stations, drug stores, grocery stores, party stores and the big box stores. The club also allows the member to run in and pick up a bottle or two (and that sometimes happens) and still rate a “case discount price.” Each month, they offer one Old World and one New World wine.
Podere Ciona Semifonte Toscana IGT 2017 was the current Old-World selection. Podere Ciona is a boutique winery and an agriturismo, meaning that you can arrange to vacation on their property. The estate is located near the historic town of Gaiole in the Chianti Classico region. The estate is about ten acres of weathered sandstone and has been planted primarily with Sangiovese, Merlot and a bit of Alicante Bouschet. Semifonte features their younger Merlot with the addition of twenty-five percent Alicante Bouschet and they keep production low and they average about a bottle per plant. With it being a Merlot based wine, it has to carry the famous Toscana IGT appellation, which is just as popular as the Chianti Classico DOCG. The wine is fermented in Stainless Steel and then is aged for twelve months in large French vats, and then bottled for about a year. The wine is a bright purple-red with notes of black fruit and spices. On the palate tones of black plums, nuts, pepper and spices, smooth tannins and a nice finish of spices.
Airfield Estates Syrah, Yakima Valley 2019 represents the New World. Airfield Estates goes back to 1907 when H. Lloyd Miller was pioneering this area as he was into the buying and selling of farm properties, and this area did not have access to irrigation water. He was instrumental in getting water from the Roza Canal Project and he also leased part of the property to the Olympia Air Transport Corporation, which constructed a flight school for hundreds of Army Air Corps pilots needed for World War II. Eventually they got their property back and it was the basis for Airfield Ranch and a portion became Airfield Estates originally selling grapes to other wineries, until 2005 when they began producing their own wines. The wine was fermented on the skins for sixteen days and then Malolactic fermentation in French Oak for three months, then an additional aging in French Oak (twenty-five percent new) for sixteen months and then one month in Concrete before bottling. The wine is described as having notes of brambleberry, with hints of orange peel and soy. On the palate tones of plums, blackberry jam, salted chocolate and a touch of licorice with a silky texture and a lingering finish of oak and terroir.