Joe's Winos Wine Club december 2016
South African sparkling rarely makes it to US shores. Graham Beck was able to break through into the international markets by becoming their own importer. Their entrepreneurship rewards us with a glimpse into South Africa's world of bubbles. What they refer to as the "Méthode Cap Classique" is bottled conditioned Méthode Champenoise with the added necessity of 18-20 months on the lees (yeast). Graham Beck's first planted vines in 1984 and produced their first sparkling wine in 1991. This non-vintage Brut, sourced from Champagne clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, offers lively orange peel, lime custard, toast, almond butter and subtle flinty notes. The bright bubbly offers a rich, creamy mouthfeel teaming with lemon meringue, yellow delicious apples, peaches, Parmesan and a toasty, buttered bread finish.
Great as an aperitif but would do very well alongside seared tuna or sashimi, puff pastry, herb baked brie, or waffles.
VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2014
Marco Speri is the son of Valpolicella wine-making legend Benedetto Speri. Benedetto helped perfect the now famous Amarone di Valpolicella, a style of drying out the region's grapes for several months before pressing. Marco's vision was to make wines with bright acidity, lower alcohol and less residual sugar than his predecessors. The results speak for themselves with this amazingly expressive wine. Valpolicella, an appellation in the province of Verona, is a field blend of the local varietals Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Valpolicella Classico is sourced from grapes grown in the original Valpolicella region. The Secondo Marco Valpolicella Classico 2014 offers impressive complexity with tart raspberry, anise, pomegranate, rose water, foxy nutmeg and clove, cured meat and old leather. The palate is light bodied but has a rich mouthfeel with pie spice, cranberry and cola. Many Valpolicellas can come across as simply easy drinking, light summer quaffers but Secondo Marco has blown all those preconceptions away with this stunner.
The wild side of this wine just beg for wild game if its available to you. Also try with Braised oxtail or any hearty stew.