If you don’t belong to a wine club, I would strongly recommend that you find a good one and join; if you are near Livonia, Michigan than I would suggest The Fine Wine Source. I was just there yesterday, to pick up the January Club Selections and we were catching up, since the holidays. I mentioned to the owner that I received a message on my blog, extolling his expert taste in wines, his knowledge and his ability to market to his customers. There is always laughter and true appreciation towards the customers, and respect to the wholesale wine salesman, as I once again was able to witness yesterday. The also offered me an impromptu tasting, and asked if I could back the next day to try some wines that may make the cut for their restaurant and for the wine shop. You really could not ask for a better way to spend a couple of hours.
The wine representing the Old World is one that I am well acquainted with, as I even tasted this wine back in May 2022. Lorenzo Gatteschi of Podere Ciona had hosted a tasting of his family’s wines that day, and their winery is in one of the oldest parts of the Chianti region on a south-facing hill and the estate has thirteen acres of vineyards, two acres of olive groves and one-hundred acres of woodlands, plus assorted fruit trees, chickens, vegetable gardens and soon apiaries. The Podere Ciona Chianti Classico 2018 is the winery’s basic Chianti wine and they still maintain their desire to only produce one bottle of wine per vine. The soil of the vineyards is a mix of sandstone, clay schist and marl. Depending on the vineyard the vines are between seven to eighteen years in age. 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 for about ten days with extended post-fermentation maceration on the skins for about a month, followed by malolactic fermentation, and then aged in French Oak for about eighteen months, finally refined for twelve months in the bottle. This light-ruby colored wine offered notes of red fruits and spices, and on the palate fresh fruit, soft tannins and a velvety texture from the Merlot with a nice medium finish of fruit and terroir.
The next selection represented the New World with Dunning Vineyards Chardonnay Paso Robles/Willow Creek District 2018. Another moment of déjà vu as I had a chance to taste this wine as it was being touted by their neighbor Willie Newman of Tre Son Winery back in January 2022, in fact I enjoyed this wine so much that I had to take some bottles home to my Bride, who didn’t attend the tasting with me. Bob and Jo-Ann Dunning are the winemakers and owners of this forty-acre estate which was established in 1991 on the west side of Paso Robles. The winery produces about fifteen-hundred cases a year using several different varietals. This Chardonnay wine is produced in the classic Burgundian style with full oak barrel fermentation and sur-lees aged for one year. It was a delightful wine with notes of pear and citrus, nutmeg and vanilla. The wine had a nice creamy taste with balance acidity and layers of flavor that opened up and finished with a nice medium finish of terroir.