130 Granby St., Suite 100, Norfolk, VA 23510
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Meet the Maker: Diamante of Villa Diamante~ Campania, Italy
Producer: Villa Diamante
Label: “Vigna della Congregazione” Fiano di Avellino Riserva
Region: Avellino, Campania, Italy
Villa Diamante began as a husband and wife team in 1996 when Antoine and Diamante who moved back to Campania. Antoine was an avid proponent of the potential of Fiano from the village of Avellino specifically to make world class wines that could age for decades. He tragically passed away in 2015 but Diamante continues his legacy of Fiano. Their philosophy has always been that Fiano shines best when it is fermented and aged in stainless steel with extended lees contact. This wine spends 12 months on the lees and an additional 4 months in bottle before it is released, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Tasting Notes: These high elevation estate vineyards are 25-40 year old and are just the perfect environment to make incredibly expressive Fiano. The wine is practically bursting with flavor and minerality the vibrant texture totally takes over your whole mouth. Serve closer to 55 degrees and prepare to fall in love with the most complex Fiano I’ve ever had!
Interview with Angela Fronti of Istine 2022
Angela Fronti is the winemaker at Istine, producing some of the best Chianti Classico wines out of Radda in Chianti. Her focus is producing single vineyard expressions of Sangiovese (never blended) to highlight terroir in the region. She is turning heads around the world with her incredible wines! I had the pleasure of meeting her and touring her winery in 2018 and we also did a similar virtual tasting in 2020. I was thrilled she could tune in again from Italy to talk about her 2018 single vineyard Chianti Classico wines.
Kiera’s Notes: Istine Casanova dell’Aia
This vineyard sits at 500m elevation (about 1,650 ft) and has a South facing exposition so it gets great sunlight during the peak hours of the day during growing season. But it cools down rapidly at night, elongating the growing season to make incredibly elegant expressions of Sangiovese. Limestone soils with old clay layers (less iron content in older clay) the vineyard holds a little more moisture so the wines can be a little beefy while still elegant. Harvested after the Cavarchione but before the Istine vineyards, the wine is vinified the same- fermented in concrete with a 45 day maceration and then aged for 12 months in 20-30HL Slovenian oak casks. Bright, herbaceous, rich fruit, and a woodsy finish.
Kiera’s Notes: Istine Cavarchione
This vineyard sits at 400m elevation (about 1,300 ft) and is an east-facing exposition providing lots of daytime direct sunlight for an earlier ripening vineyard (in comparison to her other 2 vineyards) so it is usually harvested 2 weeks earlier than the other bottlings. Shale and limestone are the primary vineyard soil types providing for excellent drainage. Because of the elevation, the soil type, and the exposition, the fruit is concentrated, ripe, and rich and to me, the most feminine and floral of the 3 single vineyard bottlings. I prefer this one the most for a wine to drink younger. Like all the rest, it is fermented in concrete with a 45 day maceration and then aged for 12 months in 20-30 HL Slovenian oak casks.
Kiera’s Notes: Istine Vigna Istine
The highest elevation vineyard in the entire town of Radda, sitting at 550 ft elevation (about 1,800 ft), the lowest production vineyard, and also the latest to harvest of all the vineyards. It has a N/W facing exposition thus a much cooler climate. The vineyard is very steep with shale, limestone, quartz components and LOTS of huge boulders/rocky terrain making for great drainage. Like all the rest, it is fermented in concrete with a 45 day maceration and then aged for 12 months in 20 and 30 HL Slovenian oak casks. First tasting notes are always that this is the brightest & most high-toned of the 3 single vineyard bottlings. Fresh herbs, dusty leather, and cherry pits make up the primary core to the wine with dried flower petals and pencil shavings hinting on the edges of your palate.
Kiera’s Notes: Istine Levigne Riserva
Each vintage of the Levigne Chianti Classico Riserva varies with the specific blend, but the grapes do come from the best plots on her 3 single vineyards. The wine is aged for 18 months (instead of 12 like the other bottling) in large Slovenian oak casks and the wine is meant to age long and gracefully. I tasted the 2014 vintage in Italy a couple years ago and even though the year was considered to be a terrible vintage, her wine was stunning. I also was able to taste a barrel sample of the 2016 which was so elegant despite not even being finished yet. Tasting the 2017 now delights the senses even more than both of these wines though! Rustic, structured, and beautiful; elegant but with boots on if that makes any sense!
Live with Backsberg!
After Party with Kiera
"After Party" videos are filmed after classes, tastings, and events and I chat about my *favorite* wine of the night (you know I don't believe in having favorites) or about something that we learned and discussed!
Tonight we tried a Lambrusco Rosé that stole my heart! Watch the video to find out why!
Meet the Maker: Steve Matthiasson
Meet Steve Matthiasson, leading viticultural consultant for Napa Valley. I have learned so much from Steve and hope you enjoy getting to know him better. Look for his wines and see what makes him and his wines so special!
Virtual Wine Class: Grenache Lovers Unite!
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