June 29, 2016

Summer Whites

Here are our recommendations for Summer quaffing and dining.

Note that several of these wines are packed
in 6 bottle cases, so you can be a bit adventurous, and stock up for the summer.


La Dolce Vita

Over the past few years, Italy has risen to the top of the pyramid as the world’s most interesting source for high-quality white wines.  Even in regions Canadians think of as hot, vineyards planted at high altitudes, close to the sea, and often on volcanic terrain, provide invigorating, delicious wines at very competitive prices.


On the Dock or Patio...

Cocci Grifoni 2015 ‘Le Torri’ Pecorino, Falerio DOC, Marche
Retail:  $16.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

Pecorino has become one of the hottest Italian white grapes in the last couple of years.  Although it shares a name with a sheep’s-milk cheese, trust me, they have nothing in common.  Guido Cocci Grifoni, patriarch of this winery, is credited with saving the indigenous Pecorino grape from extinction, and rebuilding the reputation for quality.  The ‘mother vineyard’ is at the Cocci Grifoni estate, and Pecorino is now grown throughout southern Marche and Abruzzo.  This is fresh and light, with great fruit (pear, apple, peach, lemon) and a distinctly savoury herbaceous character.  One of our top-selling wines.

“The Italian Star that Came Back from Oblivion” http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/video/the-italian-wine-star-that-came-back-from-oblivion/4955861541001


Valdibella 2015 ‘Munir’ Catarratto, Sicilia DOC
Retail:  $17.95/btl
  (12 btl/cs)

Sicily has found it’s way in the last several years.  The calibre of winemaking has skyrocketed, and a number of indigenous grapes, farmed for quality rather than volume, have become recognized as superior to the previously popular international varieties.

Catarratto is one of the most interesting of the whites.  And Valdibella is a winery that offers tremendous quality at impressive prices.  Certified organic in the vineyards and winery, their wines are clean, fresh, and characterful.  Medium-full bodied (without oak influence) Munir shows floral, citrus and vanilla notes, with refreshing acidity.  A hint of minerality comes from the calcium-clay soil of the hillside vineyards.


Mosole 2015 Pinot Grigio, IGT Veneto Orientale
Retail:  $18.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

Absolutely delicious.  This is a serious Pinot Grigio with texture and even a bit of colour.  Estate grown, hand-crafted.  The winery is about 40 minutes north-east of Venice where the vineyards benefit from Adriatic influence to the south and Alpine breezes from the north – leading to a long, moderate growing season producing complex, balanced fruit.  Medium-bodied with pear and peach tones, it has a lovely almond note on the finish.  Fermented in temperature-controlled stainless to preserve aromatics, it is matured in concrete to contribute texture & complexity.  This is a fantastic aperitif, but even better with grilled garlicy shrimp.


Roccafiore 2015 ‘Fiordaliso’ Grechetto, IGT Umbria
Retail:  $21.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

Roccafiore is beautiful organic farm near Todi, barely 90 minutes north of Rome.  This Grechetto is highly appealing, light-medium weight, and very pretty.  Stainless steel fermentation, with no exposure to wood, ensures freshness and high tones.  Notes of pink grapefruit, Granny Smith apple, and daisies paint a picture of summer in the hills of Umbria.  It’s dry and fresh and very delicious.


De Conciliis 2015 ‘Bacio il Cielo’ Fiano, IGP Paestum, Campania
Retail:  $25.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

Bruno De Conciliis crafts expressive wines where his family once operated a chicken farm, near the ancient Greek settlement of Paestum.  Fiano is one of Southern Italy’s signature white grapes.  Organically farmed vineyards, within sight of the Tyrrhenian Sea provide fruit with high tones and a distinctive, appealing aniseed note.  Medium-full bodied, no oak, refreshing (but not too high) acidity.  Try it with pork sausages and braised fennel.


Villa Papiano 2014 ‘Tresche’ Sauvignon, IGT Forli, Emilia-Romagna
Retail:  $25.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

A pretty dramatic interpretation of Sauvignon, it’s vibrant, aromatic, and totally satisfying.  Certified organic.  Bottled with an elegant glass stopper.  The wine is mostly fermented in stainless to preserve aromatics, however about 20% is fermented and aged in barrique to add depth, and soften the edges.  The fruit really shines, complemented by a slightly nutty note on the finish.  Great acidity, very fresh. It’ss a very complex, highly aromatic, very appealing Sauvignon Blanc much closer in style to Bordeaux than Marlborough. 


Villa Papiano 2014 ‘Terra!’ Albana, IGT Sillaro, Emilia-Romagna
Retail:  $38.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

This is such a cool wine.  Organically farmed Albana, fermented in terra cotta amphorae.  You want to talk ‘minerality’…?  Villa Papiano is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the region, and all their wines have a remarkable vitality.  Albana is closely related to Garganega (see Prà Soave below) and Catarratto (see Valdibella ‘Munir’ above), but the thick skins and deep colour make for a structured, medium-full bodied wine – almost a red wine in a white dress.  Complex characteristics of pear, lemon and acacia honey, with beautifully aromatic herb and exotic fruit tones.  Minerality and acidity make it oh so savoury.  Try with lemon-herb marinated roast chicken or seared tuna with Asian spices.  Stunning.


Prà 2014 ‘Monte Grande’, Soave Classico DOC, Veneto
Retail:  $39.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

One of the most significant wines of the region, Monte Grande is Graziano Prà’s vineyard-designated Soave fermented and aged in large, neutral French oak ‘botti’ and tonneaux.  Much larger than barriques, these vessels contribute little wood character to the wines, but allow the terroir of the hillside vineyard’s volcanic soil to shine, while contributing to the structure and impressive ageability of the wine.  Aside from Pieropan’s ‘La Rocca’, no other Soave compares for nobility and stature.  An elegant, medium-full bodied wine, it shows complex notes of pear, plum and Golden Delicious apples wrapped around a nougat tone and that remarkable minerality.  Excellent acidity makes it very versatile with food.  Try it in place of white Burgundy and you’ll be a convert (and it’ll save you a lot of money).


Congratulations to Cave Spring

In recognition of its efforts in environmentally friendly winemaking, Cave Spring Cellars has been named Ontario’s first certified sustainable winery by Sustainable Winemaking Ontario (SWO).  This externally audited program was developed by the Wine Council of Ontario in order to assist the wine industry in implementing environmental ‘best practices’ by wine producers across the province.  SWO is a voluntary program that enjoys broad participation by the province’s winemakers, benefiting consumers as they search for products produced in an environmentally sustainable way.  The sustainable winemaking certification for Cave Spring Cellars for the time being covers winery operations, with the vineyard certification expected shortly.

For more information about Cave Spring Cellars’ sustainability initiatives visit cavespring.ca/origins/sustainability