2017 Rudi Pichler, Gruner Veltliner, Federspiel, Wachau, Austria. The 2017 Rudi Pichler is a lovely white wine with a sense of ripe flavor(s) and brisk mineral character with nice fresh acidity lifting everything up and there is a real completeness here, making for a complex and satisfying Gruner. This Grüner Veltliner Federspiel, from Rudi Pichler, comes from vineyards on the valley floor, hillsides, and upper terraces set on the Wachau’s combination of Primary rock, Gneiss, and Loess soils. The term Federspiel is used by members of the Vinea Wachau indicating a dry wine between 11.5 and 12.5% alcohol, making it like a Kabinett Trocken in Germany, and similar to wines like Vinho Verde and Txakolina. This pretty and balanced Gruner from Pichler fills out nicely on the palate, which is light to medium bodied in feel with layers of lemon/lime, white peach, bosc pear and papaya fruits plus a touch of white pepper, almond oil, wet stones and tangy/bitter herb.
The Weingut Rudi Pichler, one of Austria’s most well known and great estates, consists of 37 acres that is spread between Wösendorf, Joching, and Weißenkirchen where south-facing terraces, with picturesque and perfect exposures that look down at the mighty blue Danube River, just west of Vienna. This 100% Gruner Veltliner was cold soaked on the skins for almost 6 hours before fermentation in stainless steel tanks, it comes from vines that range between 12 to 40 years old, and it is certified vegan for those that take note of such things, and it is aged in tank on the light lees for close to 7 months before bottling. This non malo, Gruner is stays bright and zippy in the glass with just a hint pf gold in its clear hue and it goes great with a mix of foods, though best with white fish dishes, soft cheeses and or oysters even. This vintage is perfect for people new to Gruner, its smooth and classic details gives a good insight into this signature varietal of Austria and it is easy to enjoy. ($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2016 Arianna Occhipinti, Il Frappato, Terre SiciIiane I.G.T. Rosso, Sicily, Italy. One of the wine world’s most exciting producers and wines, Arianna Occhipinti’s Il Frappato is a natural wine icon and her signature wine made from her estate vines in the Vittoria region of Sicily. The 2016 Il Frappato is exotically spiced and beautifully textured with intriguing complexity in a medium bodied red wine that shows lively layering with pretty floral notes, earthiness and a lovely texture. The nose starts with red berries, an interesting mix of wild herbs and Asian spice including hints of curry leading to a refined palate of raspberry, strawberry, plum and lingonberry fruits that feels silken, like Pinot, but still vividly terroir driven and unique to Occhipinti. Air brings things more together and adds a touch of mineral, kirsch, savory elements and a long echoing finish, this is a wine that thrills more with cuisine than on its own, though it is very flexible with food choices. Arianna, who is an artist and a poet when it comes to her wines, loves to quote verse like one of her favorites “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” a phrase by Saint-Exupery, she says it has inspired her and has always guided her efforts as winegrower.
The Frappato is grown on the red sandstone and chalky (limestone) soils that are the hallmark on this side of the Island at just under 900 feet of elevation with an average vine age of 40 years, which shows in the subtle concentration of flavors and the energy of holistic farming approach that Arianna employs. According to her cellar notes the Il Frappato sees a long maceration with 50 days of skin maceration, with 100% indigenous yeasts for fermentation with absolutely no additions or manipulation and very low sulfur if any. The is always a charm and personality that mirrors Occhipinti in her wines, they are singular and authentic without flashy adornment, like this dark ruby/garnet Il Frappato that shows ultra transparency, coming from traditional aging, it saw 14 months in large neutral Slovenian Oak barrels. The unfiltered and all organic Il Frappato, that comes in at 13% natural alcohol, like Cru Beaujolais, really turns on the detail with a slight chill in glass and can be enjoyed with a range of dishes, this is hard stuff to find, but should not be missed when available! Occhipinti started making wine professionally at the age of 21 and even before that it was always in her dreams, and her wines reflect her hard work, her respect for her land and ancestors and each vintage brings more to the table for us to cherish. ($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive