A couple new members of the family

One of the best things about loving and studying wine is the constant discovery of new styles and varietals. Letting go of your own favorite brand and diving into the unknown can indeed be frightening but it’s where growth and discovery lie. My goal with the wine list here at Bitto is to try and make the process of discovery less intimidating but still exciting. At last count, our flight and glass list represents over 60 different varietals! Picking a favorite is impossible, some wines shine by themselves, some need a cloudy day, some need food, some work with dessert and some work best with breakfast!

We’ve recently brought in a number of new wines and I wanted to show off just a couple of the new faces. The Godello had a great following, but the new vintage didn’t live up to the last one so I found a new Spanish white that I’m now in love with. It’s the Mustiguillo Mestizahe from the hills outside Valencia not far from Don Quixote’s plains of La Mancha. Here at almost 2500 ft, Toni Sarrión has almost singlehandedly saved the indigenous Merseguera from extinction. These cool hillsides are also great for the notoriously challenging Viognier. This organic blend of 75% Merseguera, 20% Viognier and 5% Malvasia brings so much to the table retailing at only $14 a bottle (in the Wine Cellar). Viognier’s floral and candied apricot nose, soft white peach flavors are present and envelop the sturdy body and bracing citrus acidic foundation of Merseguera. The limestone shows subtly as the wine warms and even more flavors of pear, Meyer lemon and a hint of herb become apparent. Bottom line is bottom’s up!

When our Washington Merlot suddenly left the market, (it happens a lot in Colorado) I searched for another domestic Merlot. While they seem to be a dime a dozen (not literally), I strive to serve wines that are grown, produced and bottled by the folks on the label. I’m sorry, but if you made your name at the Judgement of Paris, or have a Wine Speculator 95pt estate grown wine, trading in on your name recognition with bulk juice from the Central Valley in a pretty package (add some edgy name or sexy picture) is not the kind of “discovery” I’m shooting for here at Bitto. I was tasting and tasting and tasting until I chanced upon a lovely Italian Merlot from the Veneto. I know I have a lot of Italians, but sometimes you can’t help yourself (I married an Italian after all!).

Corvina grapes drying for AmaroneThe Veneto is home to a special technique known as Appasimento (finished wines are named Passito wines). This process involves drying the grapes to concentrate flavors and sugars prior to fermentation. The most famous example of these wines are the Amarones. My personal theory is the Venetians were jealous of the fame (justifiable) of their neighbors in the Piedmont who crafted the magically monstrous Barolos and Barbarescos from the ethereal Nebbiolo. Their own thin skinned grapes were much better suited for light quaffable styles like Bardolinos and Valpolicellas unless they found a way to strengthen the must and hence boost alcohol and concentration. But they have been doing this style since Roman times, and yes, I’ve completely diverged from my WA Merlot challenge but bear with me as I circle back!

Merlot has been grown in the Veneto and in neighboring Friuli for a few hundred years and does very well there, bringing softness to acidic or tannic wines although we don’t yet see much of it here in Colorado. Bertoldi’s Gran Passione is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Corvina (the most important grape in Amarone) with the Corvina dried on mats in the appasimento process. What ends up in the bottle is a delicious “baby Amarone”, an affordable introduction to this style of wine that suits American palates perfectly. Intense aromas of plum, cocoa and blackberry greet you and flavors of blackberry chocolate covered blueberries with a ripe tannic foundation round out the tasting experience. And it retails for about $15!

Obviously with about a dozen or more new wines coming onto the list this month, I can’t describe them here but will try to tell a few more stories about our new additions in the coming weeks and months! Got to run taste some rose's for our direct import this summer...


Barney


Orchard Wine Cellar Movers and Shakers This Week

  • Bonavita Red

    #1 Bonavita Red

    Made from four grapes harvested later than usual to achieve a greater ripeness and smoothness. A deep and inky wine, with ripe plum and blackcurrant aromas. Nice ripe fig and cherry with chocolate and licorice flavors. Just enough oak to give it some backbone.
    (Holding the #1 spot)

  • Gran Passione

    #2 Gran Passione

    From the land of Amarone comes a delicious Merlot based blend. To perfectly ripe Merlot (60%) is added juice from dried Corvina grapes ala Amarone. Rich, deep and smooth, this is a remarkable Merlot that may just change your Merlot worldview! (behind by 3 bottles)

  • Laya

    #3 Laya

    From Castilla-La Mancha in Central Spain, a unique blend made with the Garnacha Tintorera grape. Not only is the skin red, but so is the flesh. This provides a sturdy structure and noticeable tannins. Aged only 4 months in oak, this wine has luscious red and black fruits with hints of spice. Definitely one you should try, especially at this price! (behind by 9 bottles)

  • Sweet Sunset Chocolate Merlot

    #4 Sweet Sunset Chocolate Merlot

    First lets say that this is Not ChocoVine. This wine is actually made with eighty five percent Merlot and than has natural chocolate cream added to the mix. This is the wine for anyone looking for sweet red or the chocolate lover at home. Great gift for the holidays. (behind by 12 bottles)

Fun New Arrivals

  • Broc Carignan

    Broc Carignan

    From 130+ yr old vines, and on original rootstock comes this remarkable Carignan. All native yeasts, no SO2 used during production means pure bright flavors of tart cherry, blueberry and unmistakeable juicy tang from carbonic maceration. Why spend $34 on wine.com?

  • Chateau Deux Rocs

    Chateau Deux Rocs

    A rose of lovely character, with fleshy red fruit and floral aromas. Its intense fruit and tannic backbone will make it the perfect match for spicy Mexican or Thai food.

  • Poquito Moscato

    Poquito Moscato

    Lightly sparkling, fruity and sassy, Poquito is small in size but big on taste. Delicate floral aromas combine with a sweet yet refreshing palate of ripe peaches, pears and apricots. Apply liberally at any social occasion. Great right out of the bottle but really amazing with mint and rum as a mojito!

  • Gewurz

    Gewurz

    A CA Gewurztraminer crafted in the style of those from the Alps. Great crisp minerality, rose petal and lychee notes, with bright acidity to hold it together. All organic from the rugged and cooler Potter Valley in Mendocino. Try with grilled chicken or pork chops to see what a great food wine this is!