Tuesday, May 29, 2012

La Scolca Gavi "White Label" (Piedmont) 2008

A refreshing Italian white from La Scolca, a 50 hectare, family-run Piemontese winery that was founded in 1919. Today, the Estate is run by Giorgio Soldati, the founder’s great-grandson, and his daughter, Chiara.  Although the Cortese grape (what Gavi is made from; the name is derived from Gavi, the town at the center of the wines production zone) had been planted in the region since the late 19th Century, the grape produced low-alcohol, thin wines that quickly oxidized.  It was the Soldati family, who after the Second World War saved the Cortese grape from oblivion by focusing entirely on the production of quality Cortese. They pioneered modern, controlled vinification in stainless-steel to preserve the subtle fruit of the Cortese grape, allowing for the creation of wines that retained crisp acidity, aroma, and structure.  All of La Scolca’s white wines follow the same vinification process: hand-harvested fruit is brought to the winery where it is sprayed with dry-ice, cryo-macerated and cold fermented using only natural yeasts.   The La Scolca Gavi di Gavi White Label is made from 20 to 30 year-old vines sourced within the Rovereto commune in the heart of Gavi.  Light straw in color with a typical "Gavi" nose that is fine and pleasantly fresh. Delicate and dry mouthfeel with crisp and refreshing acidity.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Last Word

A superb gin-based cocktail created by vaudevillian Frank Fogarty in the early 1920's, where it was first served at the Detroit Athletic Club.  A recipe for the drink was first published in 1951 in Ted Saucier's (my middle name, btw) classic cocktail book "Bottoms Up!". The cocktail faded into obscurity until it was rediscovered in 2004 by Seattle's Zig Zag Cafe bartender Murray Stenson, when he came across Saucier's book.  As evidence to its renewed popularity, a recipe for the drink reappeared in the 2009 edition of the "Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide".  An equally superb variation to the drink is "The Final Ward", created by the New York bartender Phil Ward, who replaced the gin with rye whiskey and the lime juice by lemon juice.  The recipe is as follows: combine equal parts of gin (I prefer Plymouth), green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur (I prefer Luxardo), and fresh lime juice.  Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lime twist.  Enjoy responsibly.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jasci L'Atteso Pecorino (2007) Abruzzo

An awful Italian white from Jasci, a 90 acre winery founded in 1970 by Donatella Jasci. In 1975, Donatella began experimenting with organic and biodynamic farming when his mother became allergic to pesticides. Since 1980, Jasci wines have been certified organic by the Soil and Health Association, which guarantees the organic production of their grapes, as well as their winemaking processes. Jasci is also one of only a few wineries to hold organic certification in every country in the world that offers such certification. 100% Pecorino, a grape native to the area that was recently brought back from the brink of extinction. The origin of the name is that the grape variety was once a favorite snack of the sheep that were often driven through vineyard lands on their way to lower pastures. In Italian “Pecora” means sheep.  The wine is the color of your urine if you were dehydrated and had tuna salad for lunch.  Old and musty; none of the lemon/peach/floral you would expect.  Hoch bottle.