COLUMN WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
Please don’t get your knickers in a twist when I suggest that the seasons might change in the next month and that I’d like to suggest a couple of wines which are quite suited to the reduced level of rising mercury on our outdoor thermometers. So listen up peeps while I share some brilliant nectar for the upcoming cooler weather.
Ruffino Modus Toscana 2012. (approximately $20): Ruffino, as noted in this column since I began writing it last century, is a nifty Italian wine purveyor who has never put a foot wrong as long as I’ve been enjoying the drinks in its stellar portfolio. The heavyweight wine in their catalog is Modus — the Latin word for “method” — made from a blend of three grape varieties. Since the wine is from Tuscany, 50 percent of the blend comes from that region’s mega star grape: Sangiovese; with equal amounts (25 percent) of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon added to give the wine its superlative structure and finesse. The color is incredibly deep ruby with that sensuously enticing perfume of dark berries one expects from Sangiovese. The flavor is clearly edged with the Cabernet which always, in my mind and palate, overwhelms the Merlot and which plays a significant role of smoothing the wine’s overall structure. But the harmony of Sangiovese and Cabernet in the mouth gives a soft, red berry taste that I can sit and sip until every single cow comes home.
And even though the weather might be changing it’s always seasonable for a Biutiful wine (yes that’s name, not a typo), by Isaac Fernandez, a winemaker whose cellar magic takes place in Northern Spain. His philosophy is one that I have always admired in winemakers, to keep the essential character of the grapes in tact and to respect the region in which they are grown so the finished product has as little tampering to its personality as possible. For the Biutiful Cava (sparkling) wine Fernandez grows his grapes in Requena in the eastern part of Spain, in the famous province of Valencia.
Biutiful Cava Brut Rose (Approximately $14) is made from 100 percent Garnacha grapes, which is the yummiest grape I know, especially when it’s a spirited bubbly. The wine was aged for 15 months, which gives it firm structure and more complexity than I might normally expect from this type of fizz. If you listen to the wine feature on my show, you’ll know that Jill Weber, the owner of Jet Wine Bar in Philly, and I, always talk about the berry flavors of this grape, especially strawberries and Jill has her stone fruit comparisons. Both are present in this soft, gentle, easy to quaff wine.
Now, how’s your math? Did you know that 1+1=3? Well, another Spanish sparkling winemaker believes it does and he can prove it.
1+1=3 Cava Brut N/V (Approximately $16): This wine is produced from grapes grown in Cava, located in south Catalonia, just below Barcelona. The winery is called U Mes U Fan Tres (1+1=3), and was launched just over a decade ago. Who cares about the derivation of the winery’s name — it’s totally fun and the label is dead cool. The grape varieties used in this blend is as follows: 45 percent Xarel-lo; 30 percent Parellada and 25 percent Macabeo. The flavor is a nice confusion of flavors offering a taste of toast (which I’d expect from Chardonnay) with some fresh summer fruits. It is stunningly elegant and fresh and ideal for sipping while reading this column on a Sunday morning.
More of my delicious discoveries next week.
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears regularly in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining