Christy Frank from Frankly Wines (top) Hana Muniz from Mari Vanna (bottom)
At yesterday's Big Red Tasting in Studio 206, all the city's players came out to taste. With older vintages secured from Il Colle Brunello di Montalcino, Mauro Veglio Barolo and Milziade Antano Sagrantino di Montefalco, we showcased over 70 wines. "The Milziade Antano Sagrantino di Montefalco 2004 was a good discovery," said Rocco Spagnardi of Locanda Vini & Olii. "It's a big wine like a Sagrantino should be, aromatic with herbal notes that maybe you don't normally see in a Sagrantino. The 2004 shows great persistence; it's a great wine after ten years."
Representing both old friends (ZD Wines, Robert Sinskey, and Vineyard 29) and new (Matthiasson, Tertre Roteboruf, and Casa Marin), the room was abuzz with offerings from a select portion of the portfolio that's been in the making for 19 years. "It was exciting to try the new vintages  from Forlorn Hope," said Christy Frank, of Frankly Wines. "They seem a little more approachable than the last vintage; a little softer straight out of the bottle, and they're very weather appropriate now."
"Cool things are going to happen with Forlorn Hope," added Somm extraordinaire, Sarah McCusker, after tasting "Gascony Cadets" Petit Verdot and "Les Deux Matrieux" Petite Sirah. "I've seen them in my neighborhood, and I live in Brooklyn!"
"I wanted people to see how we compete," said Greg Reeves, our Italian Portfolio Director who organized the event. "And I also wanted to see how some of the wines that we don't always get to taste are progressing." And while our close relationship with Caterina Carli, the daughter of the late Alberto Carli of Il Colle enabled us access to their remaining bottles of the 1979, 1981 and 1985 vintages, most everyone agreed that the Il Colle Brunello di Montalcino 1985 has a few years to go before reaching its peak, while disagreeing on whether the 1979 or the 1981 was their favored vintage.
"The '79 Il Colle tasted like toasted almond profiterole," said Sarah.
"Super fun," said Christy of the 1979, "at such a great price." Though she also spoke of the pleasure of tasting the Casa Marin Syrah Miramar Vineyard 2009 following the Vins de Vienne "Sotanum" Syrah 2008. "The 'Sontanum' tastes like a Cote Rotie, while the Casa Marin Syrah has the pretty, proper expression of a New World Syrah with white and black pepper, and more fruit. Though it's not a block bluster," she said before adding that she couldn't keep the Kuyen 2010 on the shelves.
With a kitchen run by Michele Baldacci, who came to Locanda Vini & Olii from La Tenda Rossa in Florence, Rocco said that while the all of the Italian selections would fit well with the menu, most especially the Mauro Veglio Barolo "Vigneto Castelletto" 2008 and the Ca 'Rossa "Audinaggio" 2009, "You have to make a choice," he said and laughed, "as a small business."