|This afternoon we’re pouring two different tastings: one of white wines, the other of red.
The white tasting consists of three wines (with an optional grand cru wine for an additional $10) from the brilliant, and sadly late, Chablis grower, Stéphane Moreau. Stéphane died without warning in the summer of 2016 and although I did not know him I do feel, through his wines, that I do know something of him. This is profoundly delicious Chablis and I won’t worry about overselling you, as I don’t think it’s possible to be overly enthusiastic about Stéphane’s work. Stéphane took control of his family’s domain as a young man in the late nineties and through toil and spectacular, sensitive, organic farming, began producing some of the most beautiful and exciting wines of his region. We prize Chablis for its crisp acidity and minerality but to me, the wines are often austere and sometimes clinical-tasting, for sure more cerebral than visceral. Stephane’s wines have great acidity and minerality, too, but at their center lies a bright core of orange-lemon fruit (I want to say kumquat, but perhaps that’s just because my kumquat tree is fruiting), a striking and exciting facet of chardonnay and that makes the wines an exhilarating drink.
For the red tasting, we’re pouring three reds from the island of Sicily. Sicily has become, over the last 30 something years, a hotbed for some very good wine growing. Part of the story lies in the reevaluation of local grapes such as frappato and nerello mascalese, and we’re pouring three wines made from these two grapes today. We’re starting with two frappato based wines from the southeast of the island. First, a pure, foursquare frappato from Valle dell’Acate and then a traditional frappato/nero d’avola blend from natural wine growers COS. To follow, a remarkable, smoky nerello mascalese-based wine from the south slope of Mt Etna, Ciro Biondi’s Etna rosso, “Cisterna Fuori.” This is a single vineyard wine perched on the slopes of a volcanic crater, made from vines planted at 2,300 feet. Native yeast fermentation and aging in older barrel.