I Fabbri's Chianti Classico + Emrich-Schönleber's "Mineral" = Dinner, Perfected
The thing about dinner...it happens every night.
No matter how many meals we make, there is always another dinner on the horizon. But, these are wines that will turn any simple meal made up of simple ingredients, into a food and wine experience worth remembering.
These are wines we chose to highlight in our "indespensible" Newsletter. The best way to get the best deals on our best wines is to sign up!
I know, I know--let's get to the wines:
The red, a romantic expression of one of the world's most food-friendly wines: Chianti!
The white is just as perfect for dinner! We're taking the train from Italy to Germany for a dry, mineral Riesling--bring on the spicy food!
The old-fashioned straw-bottomed fiasco of Chianti Classico is flat-out the most romantic bottle in wine.
I Fabbri's 2018 "Lamole" is more than just a novelty bottle. The wine itself is every bit as traditional as the bottle — a delicious, organic Chianti Classico that expresses Lamole's unique, high-altitude terroir beautifully.
Chianti's straw-covered wine bottle is an ancient vessel. Botticelli painted them, Bocaccio wrote about them, and they were legally regulated by the 1500s. Long before the easy-to-stack Bordeaux bottle began to dominate the wine trade, the Tuscans learned they could pack their straw-covered bottles safely. But in the 20th century standardization came for the fiasco. Bottling, packing and shipping were all easier with the new, international shape. And fair enough — it's easier for us to fit on our shelves in the shop too. And it doesn't really affect the taste.
But some of the other changes in Chianti Classico of that era weren't so great. It wasn't just the bottles that were standardized; farming and winemaking were also industrialized in much of the region, and many of the wines also began to feel standardized. Chianti Classico's reputation as one of the world's great wines of terroir suffered.
Things have started to turn around, though. I Fabbri's Susanna Grassi is part of a new generation of winemakers that are reversing the trend. Susanna came back to her family winery because of her love for the land, and she's put everything she has into making her wines clear expressions of her terroirs. The farming and the winemaking of course, but even the bottlings focus on the terroir: the lower altitude vineyards (which give more substantial, more structured wines) are bottled on their own; the highest altitude vines (which make the light, pure Chianti Classico of your spaghetti and meatball dreams) are bottled in this "Lamole" wine.
Putting the wine in a fiasco is great marketing, of course. We all want to crush a bottle and then stick a candle in it. But it runs deeper — that bottle is a part of the same heritage that she's reviving in the vineyards. Using the old fashioned bottle means extra work and expense for Susanna. She had to get a special bottling machine for the non-standard bottles — a machine that has to be worked by hand, which means a long day for whoever's loading bottles.
We feel lucky whenever we find a wine this fun and honest. But we feel incredibly fortunate to get such a wine in a bottle this fun! And we're thrilled to be able to share it with you today at such a great price.
Absolutely spot on Lamole from what was a very good vintage up in those high hills: cherry, herbs, flowers on the nose; deliciously light and fresh with beautiful fruit on the palate; finish goes from fruit to dried herbs and mineral, showing the terroir to beautiful effect. Perfect with red sauce food and just enough tannin to go with something meaty if you want. And then you can use your bottle as a candelabra!
'Mineral' is essentially a Grand Cru wine for less than $35. How can it be such a great deal?
But it's more than that. Mineral is their calling card to Monzigen and its perfectly situated vineyards. Werner Schönleber spent 40 years farming and expanding their holdings in a trio of Grand Cru vineyards: Halenberg, Frühlingsplätzchen, and Auf der Ley. These steep and singular sites of blue slate, gravel, quartz and sandstone are laboriously crafted into exquisite wines by his son Frank, who has now taken the reins at the estate.
Mineral is sourced from younger vines, mainly from Halenberg, a site known for its intense minerality. The Mineral is a chance to taste this extraordinary terroir, which usually takes years to show its true character, in an earlier-drinking, reasonably-priced bottling from a top producer in a great year.