Monday, March 21, 2011

True to Your Roots

The history is sketchy, but as the story goes, the native grape of Romagna was thought to have been planted mid-900s in the center of an ancient palace located in Faenza. Confined by old stone walls it managed to escape the ravages of Phylloxera. 
Transplanted to the Terbium vineyards in the Oriolo Villages in the hills of Faenza, neglected, it was allowed to almost go extinct, except for the rediscovery in the 1940s by Peter Pianori, who owned the land.
Through DNA testing it became officially recognized as a  original native only to the Emilia-Romagna region in 1993.

This area is famously known for its grapes of Romagna, Albana, Sangiovese and Trebbiano, but not so much for the grape known as Centesimino or Savignon Rosso. 
This little known grape, so true to its roots and originality is once again thriving in tiny amounts on the hills of Faenza. 

Azienda Agricola Farms Morini, located in Oriolo has dedicated it's talents and passion to preserving the local native grapes while continuing to strive for higher quality while emphasizing the importance of culture, territory, history and of course wine. They grow only 4 hectares of the Centesimino grape. 

It goes without saying it is privilege and a pleasure to taste such a unique wine which overcame pest, almost extinction and fashion to be preserved by those who truly believe in preserving native varietals and as a wine geek, I am truly grateful! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Between 2 Mountains-2 Mountain Winery

 Elegant, down to earth and natural. These are the descriptors that sum up not only the wines of Two Mountain Winery, but is reflected in their wine making philosophy. The wines consistently maintain a ripe, rich balance of bright fruit with intriguing complexity which carries through on the mid palate to the long, lingering finish.

The winery, tasting room and vineyards are located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, situated between Mt. Adams and Mt Rainier. Meandering down long country roads, surrounded by farms and cherry orchards you realize this is the real deal. No fake chateaus here, but a working winery bent on creating the best wines possible from estate grown fruit; focusing on quality and value. The winery is owned by brothers Matthew and Patrick Rawn and their honest, friendly, humble style is immediately apparent when you enter their tasting room. It's impossible to be intimidated with it's bare bones style and massive chalk boards. You will most likely be greeted by Rachel who is warm and accommodating along with a few very friendly pups.

Cabernet Franc. BROS, Hidden Horse, Merlot          

2009 Two Mountains Lemberger
Incredibly aromatic with fresh crushed wild berries, chocolate notes and a big, lush mouth-feel that lingers on. 

2007 Two Mountain Cabernet Franc
A classic Cab Franc made in an old world style, black pepper, strawberries, coffee notes and a rich, full palate and that incredible finish.

2006 Two Mountain Merlot
There is so much going on with this Merlot, ripe plums, a touch of bell pepper, Asian spice, tea leaves, it just goes on and on!

2007 Two Mountain Syrah
Lots of dark, ripe fruit, leather, sassafras, chicory with white pepper and a long incredible finish.

2006 Two Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Classic in style with cassis, black currants, vanilla on the nose, pomegranate and cocoa powder on the palate and a long wonderful finish.

Visit their website for more information 
or contact me for possible locations.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Long and Winey Road-Journey of a Wine Agent

Falling in love, or obsession, with wine is not something you plan. It starts out as a mild interest, an innocent question about a varietal or vintage. A glass or bottle in a restaurant that works so beautifully with the grilled sea bass you ordered, or that magical bottle that lifts the veil from your blinded eyes and all of a sudden there is Dionysus ushering you into the circle of light and you say, “Ah, that’s what all the fuss is about”.
Next you find yourself haunting wine shops, reading wine books and planning vacations around wine destinations.  Soon your fixation has reached manic proportion. This has gone far beyond a part –time hobby. You search out like-minded souls, attend classes and seminars in search of more knowledge, and the more you learn, the more you know you need to learn. This is the pivotal moment when you make the leap into the business side of wine. The archaic, crazy side, still bound by rules left over from prohibition, along with attitudes and customs that most professions abandoned 50 years ago, common courtesy, for the most part can be an option.
My formative years began in my Grandmother’s cafĂ©.  I have fond memories of being lifted up on wooden “coke “crates to reach the ideal height to beat egg whites for pies and eventually wielding a knife to cut up chickens to fry. Even though my educational path didn’t lead me directly into the food and beverage industry, cookbooks, experimenting with recipes and eventually wine was a very big part of my personal fulfillment.
In the mist of my diploma seeking interlude, I had the opportunity to live in Italy for two years.  Eating and drinking local fare with local wines when things were in season was a throwback to my roots. It satisfied not only my body’s need for nutriment but also something deeper, more spiritual, defining the connection between the seasons; the earth and the commemoration between the people who sat together to celebrate the bounty.
My first professional job in the wine business started in retail sales. I was the only woman working with eleven men. Not always viewed with enthusiasm, I rocked the boat pretty hard.  But I would not have survived in such a male-dominated world if I had been shy or timid. Finally I succeeded; I had gained respect, but I was getting antsy. I wanted to travel, I felt trapped at times. I wanted to be in the vineyards, I wanted to experience each season, to see the wine making process, to be a part of the enchantment when a simple agricultural product was transformed into the magical nectar that caused my heart to flutter.
 I made the monumental decision to pursue a position at a winery and made the enormous move to wine country.  The rolling hills of vineyards, the ideal weather for grape growing, and the beautiful idyllic scenery associated with living the lifestyle of good food and good drink while starring out over the bucolic landscape, this is what I pictured anyway. It was certainly a different rhythm from retail sales which had its own cycles of highs and lows. The pace was slower and moved more with the seasons, finally culminating and revving up with harvest, the grand finale.

Now I am entering into another facet of the industry, the wholesale side of wine sales. A side I have always envied for various reasons. Having access to a great diversified portfolio with intriguing wines from all over the world, is a wine geek’s fantasy.  To share those wines with other professionals, to taste and to discuss the possibilities, to see the spark of excitement when a wine is evaluated and exalted, without a doubt has its giddy satisfying moment. The other aspects are not so intoxicating, long hours in the car driving to locations, hauling wine around, the gray foggy areas of territorial selling rights, top that off with the people who love being a jerk, rude, insensitive or with just plain bad manners. It‘s the nature of the business I am told. Maybe…. Anyway here begins my stories and my journey.