Returning To A Sparkling Nest

Domaine J. Laurens
Le Moulin
Blanquette De Limoux AOP
Mauzac, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay
Sustainable agriculture, HVE 3
La Digne d’Aval, Graimenous, Languedoc, France
Jacques Calvel and team

Very light yellow-gold with a green sheen and very fine white bubbles. Breathing in and it starts cool, clean and creamy smoothness (or a poof of meringue). Next up are pears (fresh & baked), green apples, lemon blossoms, light white peaches, and toasty brioche.  Sip and there’s green apples again with a few crab apples thrown in, firm green pears, apricot, a lemon/lime spritz, and mineral lick. It’s lovely, dry, crisp, and very lively.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: absolutely delicious

I always love stories of being able to reboot your life and return to your roots, just like Jacques Calvel. He grew up near Limoux and learned the satisfaction of a good day’s hard work from childhood. As often happens a person will leave the nest or in his case even France to venture to Switzerland, build his expanding venture and then after success, sell the business and return back to his homeland. Sparkling wine was his calling, and his business acumen & exporting knowledge were a perfect pairing. When he purchased Domaine J. Laurens it had a history of making sparklers, he just needed to rethink how they (he & his team) would work to better the lands, the winemaking process, and quality which is very important to all of them over quantity. They’ve achieved the 3rd level of HVE, and are working constantly harder to achieve organic. As Jacques says on his site, “Our next goal, which is not a small one, is to become organic. We are just at the start off our organic conversion; however, I am excited to work hard to provide a cleaner environment for the next generation.” Cheers and raising a glass J. Laurens caring enough to plan for the future of the next generations. 🥂

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Intersecting Generations

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2022
100% Nebbiolo
Canale (CN), Piedmont, Italy
Faccenda family

Deep ruby with a garnet rim. Give this bottle a little breathing room, inhale and there’s tart cherries, cranberry (fresh and dried), plums, jumble of blueberries, raspberries & blackberries, violets, the more it opens a warm spice, and on the back orange zest. Tastes swirl on my tongue of all of the scents joined with pomegranate and a little cedar.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: smooooth

The Faccenda’s purchased their winery just over 20 years ago and have proceeded to celebrate their love for the land and vines(30 to 40 years old). They sum it up best on their site, “The vineyards of the Rorero are our family’s home, where we both live and work. In keeping with our respect of nature, we use the ‘integrated farming’ agricultural practices set by the EU. Our winery is also a proud participant in Piemonte’s ‘Vino Sicuro’ project, aimed at keeping our region’s wines free of harmful pollutants.” Now onto their branding/labels which piqued my curiosity. Kept wondering why the clean lines forming an X or cross & also a metallic diamond/square (each wine has a different color) at their intersection. Turns out they worked with a very cool art director, Derrick Lin. He used the crossing lines to symbolize, “the generational bond between grandmother Velia (the vineyard’s first owner) and her children who have carried on the business; as well as the meeting point between the dedication of her grandchildren — both winemakers — and the generosity of extraordinary regions such as Roero, Langhe, Barolo. Guidobono wines emerge from this “intersection” of lives, affections, people and territories.” Perfect packaging and an even more perfect wine. 🍷❤️

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Naturally Nudo

Corte Pagliari Verdieri
Vén Crüd
Sabbioneta Rosato IGP
Lambrusco Sobrara
Biodynamic certified
Mantua, Lombardy, Italy
Mimma Vignoli

Deep rosato with a touch of orange (80s magenta) sunrise with fine light pink bubbles, and it deepens the longer it’s open and more electric. Breathing in raspberries, strawberries, mandarin & zest, a touch of cream, Circus Peanuts, light lemon lime squeeze, salt/seltzer, and a dash of white pepper. Sipping those raspberries/strawberries joined with a swish of watermelon & a citrus spark, shake of salt, little white-pepper with a smidge of something green/herby, and an exhale of teeny French breakfast radish. It’s crisp, dry, alive, zingy, and lip vibrating magic.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: it’s everything with more berries

Mimma Vignoli, I absolutely love you! Your passion, integrity, and strength are so inspiring. So glad to be introduced to your Vén Crüd because if I hadn’t I would not been given the chance to hear how you ended up on your vine path (learning about stories like this are why I started worldbyglass). Turns out a few decades ago Mimma took on the responsibility of assisting her MIL (who had lost her husband) with the family farm. She ended up not just going there to help out but to make it grow into a naturally thriving biodiverse grange that also included vines that now produce their wines. Also became a member of the Casalasco Viadanese Organic District (picked as President but not sure how long in office) and associated with like other minded growers, slow food movement, and eating local & seasonal. She and some of the other bio buddies, were even featured in a photography exhibit by Cornelia Schmidt, “Just Conscious” which shall we say is very “au naturale” with a huge dash of fun and makes its naked is beautiful point whether with people, our environment & produce. Check out more of their honest reveals at “Just People”.

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Rock On!

L’Essenziale 2021
Prosecco Col Fondo
Colli Trevigiani IGT
Old school natural re-fermentation in the bottle, hand harvested, unfiltered, member of ColFondo Agricolo
Valdobbiadene, Italy
The Ruggeri brothers (Ruggero and Andrea)

Yellow with green hints and lots of fine active bubbles. First up are creamy yeasty fresh baked scents followed by a pears & mellow apple blend, touch of lychee as it opens, and over time a teeny very light citrus tingle in the way back…it’s beautifully light & dainty. Sipping and all the scents & creaminess are right there…gentle, free and as it grows more full with a little more of a lemon/lime crisp tingle in a good way, and a crumble of sugar cookie with a pinch of salt. Just a dreamy, enchanting glass of bubble love that has enough edge can pair with some good ol’ rock n roll.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: Not tonight

Ruggero & Andrea have designated themselves as “guardians” for their land, and what a beautiful rich, green, sloping vision it is. As in their own words, “We have the duty to transfer a little of the wonderful landscape in which we live into the glasses.” L’ Essenziale completely transports you to their history (how it’s made & etc) and celebrates their native grape. It also links you to a group (ColFondo Agricola) unified under 10 winemaking commandments, secondary fermentation in the bottle, and the sparklers being able to pass a blind tasting & seal of approval before they can carry the project’s logo on the back label. Oh and it doesn’t hurt if you like a little head banging to AC/DC, to join this sparky band of vintners. 🎸🤘Rock on!

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What A Wonderful World

Cantine Benvenuto
Zibibbo 2021
100% Zibibbo di Pizzo
Calabria Bianco IGP
Organic, sustainable, hand harvested, native yeasts
Francavilla Angitola, Italy
Giovanni Benvenuto

Yellow green shining light. Sniffing and wow! There’s melons (honeydew with a bit of cantaloupe & more), pears, peaches, lemon soda & citrus blend with a touch of tangelo, a whole bed of flowers including a heady bit of wisteria & magnolia, dusting of vanilla/Oreo cream filling, and a lovely lush & lingering memory of a night filled with amore. All of those scents are there in the taste but a bit more festive & floral with a musky melon, a cream feel evened out with that citrus lemony lime-arita zing with a salty rim, and a gentle touch of our old cool spring house (sans salamanders). Just so good!

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: crisps it all up so depends on your mood

Zibibbo di Pizzo has one passionate champion and protector in Giovanni Benvenuto. After his studies in agronomy, he returned to his grandfather’s land and treated it (and still does) in the natural reverent way it deserved…going organic and sustainable. He’s also joined in his/their cause with a few other growers/winemakers (aka “I vignaioli dell’Angitola”) to resurrect, rebirth & keep this ancient grape (Zibibbo) flourishing. Honestly if there was a fan club for this grape, I’d be more than happy to join because this wine is flirtatious, romantic, just makes me so happy, and reminds me that beautiful experiences like this show me that we do live in “What A Wonderful World”.

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Lucky Number 7

ILatium Morini
Soave DOC 2021
Garganega 85%, Trebbiano di Soave 15%
Mezzane di Sotto, Verona, Veneto, Italy
Winemaking family: Famiglia Morini

Yellow golden pour. Has my nose headed to a beach vacation with a tropical cocktail? There’s scents of pineapple, mango, white blossoms, pinch of saltiness, lemon & lime, followed with white peaches, and honeysuckle (which I so love and miss the ones from home). Sipping lemon/lime sizzle & a touch of zest on the back, pineapple, mango, firm peaches, that delicious honeysuckle nectar, and a touch of almond. Btw trying this on a lovely night with my windows open. Some neighbor is deep frying onion rings and oh they would be so good with this bottle.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: eh NO

ILatium’s logo of the seven-pointed starflower isn’t symbolic of any of the multitude of historical & religious references, or for a certain ⚽️ player’s  number…it’s actually the Morini family’s latest generation of a mix of 7 brothers & cousins that have expanded & grown the business but kept in harmony with their roots. Their passion for the vines not only makes their winery great, it also ties them closer together as a family. Btw it’s not just wine that’s keeping them happy, there’s also grappa…which I wish I could get my hands on because that would totally make my week! Anyone know where I might find one…anyone?

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Making Friends

Aida i Luis
“Girò” Maboi 2020
100% Girò
Alicante DO
Organic, indigenous yeast, dry farmed, hand harvested
Grapes sourced from single vineyard in Sierra de Bernia Natural Park
Xalò, Alicante, Spain
Winemakers: Aida Cisnal Roig & Luis Serra Bernabeu

Stained glass crimson-ruby. Scents pop out of plums, dried cherries, a spritz of perfume that turns into a bouquet of violets, dainty roses, magnolia depth, and after time a roll on the forest floor with some old pine needles. On the tip of my tongue there’s tangy blood orange/lemon/mandarin/lime squeeze & zest, followed by cherries, strawberries, blueberry, a little blackberry, raspberries, and on the back there’s a tingly herby thing like a smidge of eucalyptus/mint and other forest goodness “digging in the dirt” dark depth, and that bit of floral returns on the exhale.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: juicy, tart and floral mmmm

When I first met this bottle, I was greatly intrigued by the costumed fete figures on the label and of course the name. Turns out “Maboi” from what I’m finding, is actually Maori for “come and see” or/and “my friend”. Well, you’ll definitely want to come and see this wine and the beautiful elevated area from where their Girò comes and thrives. Will you make a friend? My bet is yes. Just share a glass with someone and a conversation is bound to bloom. 🍷

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Lust For Life

Cantine Polvanera
La Marchesana
Primitivo 2021
Puglia IGT
Gioia del Colle, Puglia, Italy
Owner & winemaker: Filippo Cassano

Ruby purple loveliness. Breathing in cherries and all the berries, a touch of butter cream frosting, and as it opens a pop of cherry cola. First sip and there’s cherry & pit depth, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries…like I said before all the berries and a fresh picked violet with a hint of cola. It’s a dancer that glides through a tango and then has a youthful kick that can do backflips on the dance floor in socially conscious pleather chaps. Also a bit of zest or as Iggy Pop says, “Lust For Life” (little side note I am a big Iggy fan and had a larger than life shirtless BW poster of him right at the foot of my freshman dorm room bed 😍 Love the lean & lanky ones).

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: smooth and dark

Thank goodness for stainless and Cassano’s love of Primitivo. He lets this little grape show us just how elegant and lively it can be and express the land and environment it resides. Makes me really want to find out where I can pick up a bottle of their Spumante Rosè Brut IGT “A” to see just what song the método charmat brings out. I bet it really sparks! 🍷

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What’s in a Name?

Onirocep 2020
100% Pecorino
Falerio Pecorino DOC
Organic, hand harvested, biodiverse
Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy
Family (Pantaloni) owned winery in latest hands of Federica and Francesca (and her husband Giuseppe)

Remember that yellow-green crayon? Well think a little more yellow. Give the glass a little time to grow and scents of pears, apricot, pineapple, and musky white peach are joined with smoke/peat and rained on slate…this is darn lovely. First sip and there’s a little mild sizzle on the front edges of my tongue. Tasting and there are those pears and apricot again followed by Mandarin orange, nectarine, a sliver of dinosaur plum and its skin, pineapple and a smidge of pineapple gummy bear (those are my favorite!) and a little bitter herby like a rosemary and thyme mix. Yum, yum yum!!!

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: crisp yet luscious at the same time

So I evidently opened this bottle a tiny bit early. I’m reading online that Federica advises to wait 2 years. Well, we’re almost to 2022 (I can’t believe how time has flown this year), and if it gets better than what I just had then I’m getting another bottle and sitting on it. Heck, maybe I should buy a whole case! As for the name “Onirocep” I kept thinking is that the name of the artwork on the label or is it the name of some ancient beast that roamed the land? Then it hit me…it’s Pecorino spelled backwards. Before it was a DOC (2012) it was an IGT and you weren’t allowed to list the varietal on the bottle. Why do I always overthink things 🤣? Cheers y’all!

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A Wine of Mystery

Azienda Agricola Crivelli
Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOC 2018
Ruchè 100%
Castagnole Monferrato, Asti, Italy
No herbicide or pesticide used, hand harvested, indigenous grape
Winemakers: Marco Maria Crivelli and his son Jonathan

Shining ruby and purple. It’s buttery at first…just a little bit. Next it’s fragrant warm spice, deep cherries, plumminess, and a touch of Twizzler. Sipping in spiced cherry, plum, prune and other dried fruit richness, and some cola. There’s also twinge of bitter like an olive pit or maybe an almond and some black pepper. Medium body and lovely and easy to drink.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Juicy, juicy, juicy, fruit

According to Azienda Agricola Crivelli, ”If someone in Castagnole Monferrato offers to you a Ruchè, it’s because he cares of you”. Now, that makes me feel pretty special to have a bottle of this grape with mysterious origins. In the past there were tales that monks may have brought it from Burgundy, but that got a big fat no with a DNA test. It appears to be an indigenous grape that has been around at least from the Middle Ages, and was revitalized by a local priest, who has been said to have wished he had more time to spend with the vines than people.

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