• Piedmont's Wild Side: Fabio Gea Barbaresco

    Piedmont's Wild Side: Fabio Gea Barbaresco

    I am always searching for the rebels in traditional wine regions and, better yet, those doing it well. Arguably the most stick it to the Man producer in Piedmont, Fabio Gea’s approach is both thoughtful and unconventional, from pét-nats made from Barbaresco-designated fruit to vinifying specific wines submerged in water (like DNAss). The wines speak to Barbaresco from a completely different lens.

    Gea farms just 1.8 hectares of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto in and around Barbaresco, from which he produces 18 different wines. DNAss is one in a three-part series (The others, Back Grin and Cul Otte, sold out earlier this year). Made from 100% Nebbiolo, DNAss ferments and ages in homemade porcelain amphora and stoneware vessels without any sulfur, then is bottled in old Travaglini Gattinara bottles. Barbaresco is known for its more approachable Nebbiolos, and Gea's are some of the wildest yet pure expressions to encounter.

    Of course, the Barbaresco designates are the most traditional. We tasted the 2014 Notu Seguiva Le Gocce D'Acqua, which shows classic notes of ripe cherry fruit and rose aromatics, and the structure and tannins are just beginning to soften. It's fermented in concrete, aged in barrel for three years, and bottled with minimal sulfur. Barolo was hit hard by heavy rainfall and hail storms in 2014, so this is a particular vintage where Piedmont lovers should veer toward Barbaresco!

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    Posted by Sydney Love
  • Champagne Equilibrium

    Champagne Equilibrium

    Last holiday season, our staff had a smorgasbord tasting of champagnes from the Kogod cellar. I wasn’t able to attend, but Max was kind enough to hand-deliver some of the highlights to my doorstep, including David L'eclapart and Marguet. He also insisted that I needed to try Olivier Horiot, a micro-producer in the village of Les Riceys.

    5 Sens (or five senses) is our favorite in the lineup and has the most breadth, as it's a blend of Arbane, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir. Les Riceys is a commune of three villages situated in the southernmost part of Champagne. The Kimmeridgian soil here is the same you'll find in Chablis and Sancerre, except these slopes primarily grow Pinot Noir. The village is also known for its Rosé des Riceys, a long-held tradition that’s now kept alive by a mere 15 to 20 producers.

    Olivier is the third generation to pursue viticulture. His father and grandfather sold all their fruit to the local cave coopérative until Olivier began winemaking in 1999. The Horiots farm seven hectares—all farmed biodynamically—but keep just two hectares for themselves. Olivier jokingly calls it the Champagne equilibrium. “This balance [allows us] to have more fun with the stuff we vinify independently,” he explained to Louis/Dressner, “to craft them more to our taste.”

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    Posted by Sydney Love