We recently tasted three unique Italian wines — two were new to us, and the third was a new vintage of a favorite from last year. The first two are from San Felice, the historic estate located in the heart of Chianti Classico: Il Grigio Classico Riserva 2018 and Chianti Classico 2019. Next, we opened Cantine Ermes Nero d’Avola Riserva 2018. Last Thanksgiving, we poured the 2016 vintage, which was one of our preferred wines of 2021. Read on for more details.
Avignonesi is the largest vineyard in Italy that produces vegan, organic, and certified-biodynamic wines. Located in Montepulciano, Avignonesi’s portfolio features almost two dozen wines, in addition to Grappa, olive oil and honey. We recently tasted seven mini-samples including Chardonnay, Rosato, Sangiovese, Merlot and two excellent red blends. Our favorite? Avignonesi Grifi 2017. All but one of these wines are distributed in 37 states in the U.S. Read on for more details.
Located near Spokane, Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is a boutique Washington state winery focusing on bold reds from Red Mountain. Our kind of wines, right? Right! As background, original owners Doug and Shelly Smith released the first 2005 vintage in 2007. Fast-forward to 2016. Mark and Sarah Lathrop took over the Liberty Lake operation, moving to a larger tasting room and production facility. They also created a second label, TAHIJA, for non-Red Mountain reds and whites.
Mark recently sent us samples of four bottles of Liberty Lake wine. First, we tasted 2018 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which won’t be released until next year. Second, we tried three releases coming out later this month: 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2018 Zinfandel and 2018 TAHIJA Sangiovese. Read on for details.
Stottle Winery, based in Lacey, just north of Olympia, has spring releases of some of its unique red wines, four of which we recently had the opportunity to taste.
Owner and winemaker Josh Stottlemyer is skilled at blending reds, as we experienced with the 2014 Stottle Big Eddie and Hombre. He also does well with the 2014 Tempranillo (100%) and Sangiovese (99%, topped with 1% Cabernet Sauvignon).
As in the past, our palates prefer Big Eddie, but all four wines will pair well with a late spring or summer dinner or barbecue on the deck or patio. Or sip them lakeside or poolside, with some tasty cheeses and charcuterie.