Fratello’s Wine Club News

** Greetings,
I am pleased to announce the initial release of the Fratello’s Wine Club. Over the past several weeks I have tasted wines from a number of wine distributors, and have been offered lists and notes on a number of other wines, some of which I plan to include in further club selections. I have chosen three wines from very different wine regions, a wine from Spain, one from California, and a wine from Italy, which I thought was appropriate given that we are an Italian restaurant. I tasted the wines this past weekend with dinner with my family and they worked very well with our meal, which is a primary metric I use in selecting wines for you to enjoy. The wines continued to drink well the day after our meal with another dinner, and I hope you enjoy them. The wine will be available for pick up starting on Friday evening, December 11th, and thereafter any day that you are available to pick them up. The cost is just slightly more than my target range, totaling $123.97, which with tax
owed to the state gives a grand total of $132.03. In addition, the $40 one time cost of your wine bag will be added to your total which will be billed tomorrow, giving a final total of $172.03. The wine bag will be given you when you pick up your wines.

Now, the wines. The first wine is a 2012 Garnacha from Alto Moncayo from Spain, Veraton. This wine comes from the Campo de Borja region from Aragon, which is in north central Spain. The vineyard is in a very arid part of Spain in sight of the Pyrenees mountains to the north, and the vineyard has very stony soil with a very deep root system. Veraton is the third wine of Alto Moncayo, and comes from vines that 30 to 50 years old. Their other two wines comes from successively older vines, and I have tried their second wine which is excellent, and may be a candidate for a further club release. Garnacha along with Tempranillo are the two major grape varietals from Spain, and this wine has beautiful color, a pleasant mouth feel, and excellent fruit. The wine, which is aged 16 months prior to release, offers soft, not harsh, tannins and a full, lingering finish. It has also received very good reviews from the wine press, including a rating of 93 from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. I
am a big fan of this wine, and I hope you enjoy it.

The second wine is a Merlot from the Miner Family Winery from Napa Valley, California. In my view Merlot is a grape varietal which has been unfairly maligned in recent years and is worthy of both more respect and attention. This 2010 vintage is from the Stagecoach Vineyard, which is situated along an old stagecoach trail in volcanic soils on the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation of Napa. The wine is a blend of 91% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, and offers moderate to full fruit in its nose, ripe cherry notes, fine tannins and a lengthy finish. This is a smooth tasting wine, fruit forward, and typical of fine Merlot from Napa. It just might make you a fan of Merlot again, or perhaps for the first time.

The third wine is a 2006 Barbaresco Riserva from Rivetti Massimo. Barbaresco is a 100% Nebbiolo grape varietal, and is grown around the village of Barbaresco in Piedmont in northwest Italy. Rivetti Massimo is located in the township of Neive, and this wine comes from their Serraboella vineyard, which is well suited for excellent Nebbiolo. I had lunch recently with Davide Rivetti, one of the younger generation of this family which has five generations of history in the wine business, and I was very impressed with the attention to detail the family makes in crafting their wines. They pay meticulous attention to every step in the process, especially with respect to the environment. They harvest by hand and use only organic fertilizers, very low amounts of sulfites, and strive to keep the wines as natural as possible. In fact this vineyard will be certified as organic in 2016. They use Slovenian oak barrels and then French “barrique” oak barrels, taking a page from the renowned
Barbaresco producer Angelo Gaja, and the wine offers balance, structure, body and finesse. Barbaresco offers perhaps a more nuanced and perhaps even a more “feminine” side to Nebbiolo, but what Barbaresco, and for that matter its bigger cousin, Barolo, offers to me is elegance. This is a well crafted wine that will be excellent with your meal. This is not a huge bodied Cabernet, rather it is rounded, a bit softer yet not a lightweight, and, again, elegance. Nebbiolo is a grape that should be on everybody’s radar, and now it may be on yours.

In closing, I want to thank you for your support for Fratello’s and your faith in joining the Wine Club. I want to finish with a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who would be high on my list of historical dinner companions, who said “wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy”. I say “here, here”, I hope you enjoy these wines, and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.


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