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The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.

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Ep 66 Giovanni Poggiali, Felsina

While some wineries take centuries to figure out which clones or massal selections work best in their vineyards, the brilliant minds of Felsina have accomplished the same in just five decades. Today, third generation winemaker Giovanni Poggiali maintains his family’s commitment to producing wines that express the distinct terroir of each of Felsina’s vineyards and dedication to purity of sangiovese.

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The famed Rancia vineyard of Felsina

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Giovanni Poggiali, Felsina

Chianti-Classico2017 Felsina Berardegna Chianti Classico DOCG

Bold dark cherries on the nose backed by floral notes and minerality. On the palate rich red cherries with good complexity and silky texture.

SRP: $28

 

Chianti-classico-riserva

2016 Felsina Berardegna Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

Finessed and complex nose of purple flowers, red berries and minerality. On the palate flavors of red cherry, tobacco and truffle are backed by good acidity and silky tannins.

SRP:  $32

 

rancia-portfolio

2016 Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

Lively and serious this wine. While young, it is shaping up to be a classic wine from an outstanding vintage which will age for decades. Classic flavors of cherry and tobacco are balanced out by fantastic structure and tension.

SRP:  $50

 

Fontalloro2016 Felsina Fontalloro IGT

Demure, elegant nose of delicate dark fruit, cocoa, and violet. On the palate this full bodied wine shows delicious earthy notes followed by darker fruits, plum, currant and black cherry with hints of dried flowers. Amazing long complexity and great structure. Ages for five to twenty years or more.

SRP:  $58

 

Colonia

2011 Felsina Colonia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Dark berry aroma is balance by classic Felsina notes of tobacco and earth. On the palate dark lush fruit, plum, berries mingle with dried herbs and spicy notes all supporting an intriguing body. Worth the effort to find.

SRP: $120

 

Ep. 65 Roberto Stucchi Prinetti, Badia a Coltibuono

The wines of Badia a Coltibuono are some of the most precise, balanced, and typically Chianti Classico of those produced in the region. While many wineries pay lip service using terms like ” we believe wine begins in the vineyard,” Roberto Stucchi Prinetti truly follows the axiom. After receiving his degree at UC Davis, and working under Cathy Corison at Chappellet, he returned to take over as the sixth generation of his family running Badia a Coltibuono. He immediately replanted the vineyards to maximize quality and emphasize terroir. Ever since the wines he makes have been met with critical acclaim.

 

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Coltibuono - Roberto StucchiRoberto Stucchi Prinetti, Badia a Coltibuono

Chianti Estate bottle shot2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico

Nose of rich berries and fresh herbs with a hint of limestone minerality. On the palate this medium weight wine shows flavors of black cherry, currant and baking spices all balanced by crisp acidity and fine tannins.

SRP: $23

 

 

 

 

Coltibuono Riserva bottle shot

2015 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva

Very pretty perfumed nose. Finesse and balance best describe this wine. Layers of complex flavor, fine yet assertive tannins, and mouthwatering acidity are all wonderfully balanced. IN time this will be a very special wine from an amazing vintage. Wait three to five years. A steal at this price.

SRP: $35

 

 

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2013 Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto IGT

Elegant, complex, and harmonious nose. On the palate the structure is balanced and elegant showing prime characteristic flavors of cherry and violets. Great acidity make this the perfect wine for foods from Tuscany.

SRP: $55

 

Montebello bottle shot2013 Badia a Coltibuono Montebello IGT

Made from nine historical varieties: Mammolo, Ciliegiolo, Pugnitello, Colorino, Sanforte, Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Foglia Tonda, Sangiovese. All vinified separately. If you are a fan of Chianti Classico this wine is familiar yet unknown all in the same sip. Flavors of plum and dark berries mingle with tangy acidity and hints of minerality. Intriguing, intellectual and delicious.

SRP: $60

Ep. 64 Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Castello di Volpaia

I’ve traveled throughout the wine world and few places have enchanted me the way Volpaia and the people there have.

The hilltop hamlet is magical. The 11th century piazza is composed of a church, a cafe and a the Castello di Volpaia tasting room which was closed when I arrived. That’s it.

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Volpaia

I wander up the road another 50 or so meters to find a smaller, older piazza consisting of not much more than yet another church, a small well and an iron gate.

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The well on the tiny piazza in Volpaia

With no signs, I have no idea where to go so I throw caution to the wind and enter the gate. Sitting in the manicured garden under the warm spring Tuscan sun I meet Giovannella Stianti. Tall, grey haired and elegant, Giovannella introduces herself to me and warmly welcomes me into her home. All of the walls inside the ancient building are lined with beautiful books. Gio explains that her father was a book binder and this was his work.

After lunch Gio takes me on a wonderful tour of the village and winery within. The modern winery is built into the building of the 11th century with pipes running underground connecting one production area to the next. Already enchanted with both the place and Giovannella, I then sat down to record this episode with Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Gio’s daughter, who now runs the family business. As charming as her mother, Federica and I talk about what makes wine from Radda unique, the controversy behind gran selezione classification, and of course we taste some delicious wines.

If you travel to Chianti Classico a visit to Castello di Volpaia is not to be missed.

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Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Castello de Volpaia

VCC 2016 Volpaia Chianti Classico

Alluring aroma of lavender and complex perfume.  On the palate flavors of bright fresh cherries chocolate, lavander candies and leather. Silky body, great balance and a long complex finish make this wine lovely to drink with or without a meal. This is an example of the huge value offered by Chianti Classico.  One of the best sub $20 wines I have even tasted.

SRP: $19.99

Castello-di-Volpaia-Chianti-Classico-Riserva-Bottle

2016 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva

While you may be searching for the 2015 vintage, which garnered Wine Spectator #3 Wine of 2018 don’t bother. The 2016 picks up where the 2015 left off. Deep complex aromas of black cherry, tobacco and spice box let you know that this is a serious wine. On the palate beautiful fruit, grippy tannin, and forward acidity make the structure of this wine something you want in your cellar. Drink now through the next 20 years.

SRP:  $35.99

original2015 Castello di Volpaia Coltassala Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Pretty nose full of fresh violet, red licorice, coffee and vanilla along with a distinct minerality. Elegant texture with flavors showing black cherry, dark berries, plum, play harmoniously with grippy tannin and forward acidity. Structured to age for decades but drinks beautifully now.

SRP: $69.99

 

Ep. 63 Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena

The sub-region of Barberino Tavarnelle lies in the western part of Chianti Classico. Topping out at about 400 meters above sea-level the vines here flower early and experience a longer growing season than other areas of Chianti Classico. Wines for here typically express more earth that fruit and are the perfect companions of the region’s game focused cuisine. I met with Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena, a top producer from Barberino Tavarnelle to talk about these wines and learn about how his farming choices over the past 45 years have allowed him to express its special terroir.

 

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20190322_094217Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena

IsoleOlenaChiantiClassicoBottleSmall2016 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

Aromas of earth, red berries, hints of tomato leaf, leather and cocoa. This is a food wine. This medium bodies wine is driven by earth and acidity. Flavors of fresh red cherries and cedar lend balance. Drink alongside Tuscan cuisine for maximum happiness.

SRP:  $30

 

 

images 2016 Isole e Olena Cepparello

100% Sangiovese from the best of selected sites throughout the estate. Nose of a dusty minerality, dark cherries and cocoa powder. An elegant texture showing wonderful balance between fruit, acid and fine tannin. Complex flavors. Drinks nice now, but will age spectacularly for decades. I recommend waiting 5 years minimum for this special wine to mature.

SRP:  $89

 

 

IsoleeOlenaGranSelezioneSmall2013 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Aromas of dried red berries, dutch cocoa, spy sauce and a distinct earthiness. Full bodied showing great balance between fruit and earth.  Bright acid and fine tannins make this a wine for a special dinner.

SRP: $225

Ep 62 Francesco Mazzei, Managing Director, Castello di Fonterutoli

We continue our special series of episodes from Chianti Classico. In this episode we visit Castello di Fonterutoli just south of Chianti Classico. It’s on this spot, that the riders of the legend of the black rooster met. The tiny hamlet no loner houses the winery, it is still home to the Mazzei family’s agroturismo and osteria (a great place to have a traditional, highly regional dinner!). The new winery is a modern, high tech winemaking facility, built into the hillside that still uses time honored traditions of vinification. The Mazzei family has been involved in the wine business for 24 generation and holds a unique place in U.S. history. It is said that Philip Mazzei inspired Thomas Jefferson to write that “All men are by nature equally free and independent.” Today brothers Francesco and Filippo continue the family’s legacy of making great wine. I met with Francesco at the winery south of Castellina in Chianti to discuss the family’s heritage, the importance of Chianti Classico and of course to taste some delicious wine.

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francesco-mazzeiFrancesco Mazzei, Managing Director, Castello di Fonterutoli

 

Classico2016 Fonterutoli Chianti Classico

An earthy nose showing notes of mushrooms, forest floor, cranberry and purple flowers. On the palate this medium bodied wine brings flavors of bing cherry, milk chocolate and a touch of mint. Fine tannins and bright acidity round out this food friendly wine

SRP: 27.99

 

 

Ser lapo2016 Fonterutoli Ser Lapo Chianti Classico Riserva

Aromas of dried mixed red berries, forest floor, notes of black olive. A medium-full body brings about flavors of over-ripe cherry, black licorice, hints of clove and sage. Firm, grippy tannins and forward acidity let you know you’re drinking Chianti Classico.

SRP: $29.99

 

 

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2015 Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione

Bright ruby in color. An elegant and complex nose that coyly calls out to you. Gorgeous balance on the palate between earth, fruit, and acid. Flavors of cherry, cocoa, lead to a long complex finish. Fine silky tannins. Drinks great now but will age for 10 to 30 years or more.

SRP: 74.99

 

 

 

Sipi

2016 Fonterutoli Seipi Toscano IGT

A blend of 50% merlot and 50% sangiovese. These two varieties complement each other beautifully in this intriguing Super Tuscan blend. Nose of  black cherry and purple flowers. Flavors of black cherry, black plum, tobacco and cocoa mingle harmoniously together in this lush elegant bodied wine.

SRP: $88

Ep. 61 Giovanni Manetti, Fontodi

Welcome to this special series of episodes. In this series we take a deep dive into a wine region that not only offers amazing value, some very special, terroir driven, dynamic wines. Chianti Classico has long suffered image problems. First, all Chianti is not Chianti Classico. In fact the two regions are quite different, even though the name Chianti is often considered synonymous for each of the regions. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you drive through Chianti Classico the hills are steeper and sharper than the gently rolling hills elsewhere in Tuscany, the slopes range from between 200 and 700 meters above sea level, and many grape growers in the region have converted to organic and sustainable farming techniques.  All of this adds up to make wines of special quality.

The story of The Black Rooster

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You know you have a true bottle of Chianti Classico when the bottle is labeled with the black rooster. It’s the symbol of Chianti Classico.

Back in the 13th century the region was in constant dispute between the cities of Florence and Sienna. In order to determine where the true border between the city states laid without war, it was decided that, on a certain day, when the cock crowed, riders from Florence and Sienna would set off along the road. When the met, that’s where the border would be drawn.  The crafty Florentines however, decided to take an old angry black rooster, starve it for a few days, keep it awake for a few days and set it free long before dawn on the morning of the ride. Well, it was so agitated that it crowed immediately, long before the crack of dawn, so the Florentine rider set off. By the time dawn had come and the rider from Sienna had begun his ride the rider from the north had covered most of the distance to Sienna. When they met, they were within just 20 km of the walls of Sienna. Thus, the black rooster became the symbol of Chianti Classico.

In this episode I met with Giovanni Manetti, the current President of The Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and winemaker of Fontodi. The pride he takes in his vineyard is clear when he talks about his farming practices. You can hear the passion in his voice and it’s impossible to not be captured by it. And of course you can taste it in his wines.

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Giovanni Manetti, Fontodi

fontodi_chianti_classico2016 Fontodi, Chianti Classico

Aromas of violets, fresh herbs and dark cherries. On the palate flavors of black cherry, cocoa, leather, cigar box and herbs. Quite youthful, grippy tannins and bright acidity.  Enjoy now or age for ten or more years.

SRP:  $39.99

 

fontodi_granselezione2012-crop-u414472015 Fontodi, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo

Perfect balance. Aromas of earth, violets and dark berry.   Flavors of a complex blend of black plum, black cherry, and licorice. Sure you can drink it now but you’ll be rewarded greatly after a few years of cellaring.

SRP:  $90

 

 

 

fontodi_flaccianello2015 Fontodi, Flaccianello della Pieve

This is a big boy. On the nose dusty minerality leads the way followed by notes of black plum, black cherry, black licorice. On the palate this wine is full and rich. Plush fruit, Cherry, milk chocolate, baking spices, vanilla. This wine is worth cellaring for decades to come. A true classic, showing all of the bold characteristics typical of Greve and more particularly Panzano. You want this wine.

SRP: $125

Ep. 60 Sara Dionisio, Antonio Lopez Ribeiro Wines

Passion only takes winemakers so far. On top of the desire to make great wine a lot of hard work goes into it as well. There are few people in wine who have had to work as hard as Sara Dionisio and her husband Antonio Ribeiro. After mother nature dealt the couple a catastrophic blow in 2017, they have, like a phoenix, literally risen from the ashes and today continue their pursuit of  producing delicious wines.

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Casa de Mouraz-3
Sara Dionisio and Antonio Ribeiro

 

CDMW2015 Casa de Mouraz, Dao White

Enticing aromas of petrol and beeswax give way to flowers and stone fruit. On the palate flavors or lemon/lime, distinct limestone minerality, fresh acidity and a wonderful overall texture.

SRP:  $17.99

 

 

ALRVT

2016 Antonio Lopez Ribeiro, Vinho Tinto

This red wine is a special take on the typically harsh red wines from Vinho Verde, a region known more for white wine production. A spicy, salty nose showing notes of light red fruit and cracked black pepper. Flavors of  wild strawberries and a distinct acidity. Serve this light bodied red chilled along side grilled meats. Perfect for the summertime meals on the patio.

SRP: 19.99

 

CDMR2014 Casa de Mouraz, Dao Rouge

Deep purple in color. Fresh dark fruits lead the way on the nose of this wine. Think plum, dark berries, black licorice, earthiness, with floral and roasted meat notes. On the palate a very silky texture with nice balance between the dark fruit flavors, bright acid and fine tannins. A spicy, complex finish.

SRP: $17.99

Ep. 59 Jo Landron, Domaines Landron

When I started The Honest Pour there were several winemakers who I really wanted to interview.  The guest of this episode is one who I have tried to book for almost three years. The wines of Muscadet are often over cropped, too linear, and mundane, But the wines made by this episode’s guest are different.  Jo Landron makes some of the most dynamic, terroir driven, and delicious wines in the western Loire’s Muscadet region. Known as much for his flamboyant mustache as his wines, Landron uses both organic and biodynamic farming to express the special terroir of his vineyards. Next time you want to have some seafood, raw oysters in particular, pick up a bottle of his delicious and crazy good value wine for a match made in heaven.  You can thank me later.

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Jo Landron, Domaines Landron and John Lenart

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2016 Domaines Landron, La Louvetrie

Delicate nose of flint and limestone, notes of stone fruit. Just a slight bit of effervescence give this fresh bright wine an exclamation point of fun. Concentrated flavors of peach, grapefruit zest are balance with a distinct minerality which combine in a long mouthwatering finish.

SRP:  $14.99

 

 

 

1313538x2018 Domaines Landron, Amphibolite (Barrel Sample, for release in mid 2019)

Aromas of fresh stone fruit, apricot cream, fresh grapefruit and lime zest. Wonderful complexity and balance on the palate with flavors of lemon and sea salt highlighted by crisp acidity and a touch of playful spritz.

SRP: $19.99

 

 

 

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2014 Domaine Landron, Fief du Briel

A complex and elegant stunner of a wine. Aromas of Beeswax, a hint of smokiness, with notes crushed gravel, earth and nuts. On the palate flavors of red apple and lemon chiffon play in perfect harmony with lush acidity, distinct minerality and minty notes.  Lovely to drink now but as age worthy as wine three times its price.

SRP: $28.99

 

Ep. 58 Claudio Naranjo, General Manager, Viña Los Vascos

Just over 30 years ago the great Bordeaux house Chateau Lafite Rothschild laid stake in the new world with its purchase of Los Vascos in the Colchagua province in Chile. To run the business they hired Claudio Naranjo, a young financial consultant who aided them in the purchase, as the General Manager. Decades later, Naranjo still holds that position but with a much deeper understanding of, and more importantly, a passion for wine. Today, Claudio is responsible for maintaining what is referred to as “The Spirit of Lafite” here in the new world. While making some great red wines, headed by Le Dix de Los Vascos, grand cuvee, one of the wines that most impressed from the Los Vascos portfolio is a $10 sauvignon blanc. This wine is among the best $10 wines I have ever tasted.

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Los Vascos People (6)

Claudio Naranjo, General Manager, Viña Los Vascos

 

LosVascosSavBlancsm2017 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of lime, grapefruit, subtle notes of passion fruit, and salinity. On the palate mouth watering acidity leads to flavors of tart apple, lemon, with a hint of minerality. This could easily be one of the greatest values in wine at just $10 per bottle.

SRP: $10

 

 

 

 

LosVascosGrandReservesm2015 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Pretty and complex nose of red fruit, dutch cocoa and just a breath of mint. On the palate flavor of cranberry, black cherry and baking spices. A soft texture with good balance and fine tannin make this an elegant drinker. Another  super value at $21 per bottle.

SRP:  $21

 

 

 

LosVascosLeDixsm

2014 Los Vascos Le Dix

This grand cuvee is primarily cabernet sauvignon, blended with syrah, and carmenere, from vines up to 80 years old. Aged for 18 months in new and used oak it presents aromas of dark fruit like  black plum, blackberry, with hints of milk chocolate and graphite. Lovely balance, great tannins, and balanced acidity make this wine one to age for a decade or more, if you can wait that long!

SRP: $70

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