Cat Silirie Curates: The Trio Series #7: "The Colors of October"

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"Cat Silirie Curates: The Trio" is Back with the seventh installment of this wonderful series. "The Colors of October: Harvest Gold, Royal Purple, & Crimson" represents the splendor of fall as well as the grape varietals featured in today's trio. As we acclimate to the cooler weather, we change what we eat and drink, eschewing the lighter fare of summer in favor of foods - and wines - that are a bit heartier. Today's wines fit the bill, offering satisfying, layered, and terroir-driven characters that beautifully compliment the varietals from which they are made. The ultimate autumn color of harvest gold symbolizes our featured Austrian riesling; vivid royal purple is the rich hue of the gamay grape that comprises our Cru Beaujolais; crimson red captures the noble character of our sangiovese from Montalcino.

These colorful wines perfectly accessorize with food, the mood, and the weather of October.

2018 Franz Hirtzberger Riesling Federspiel "Steinterrassen" Wachau, Austria
This is one of the world's most dynamic, crystalline, lush, and food-friendly wines!

Franz Hirtzberger is among the elite growers of Austria’s Wachau region, producing wines of precision, power, and longevity from riesling and grüner veltliner. This 5th generation estate belongs to the prestigious Vinea Wachau and vinifies under the strict parameters of their codex, which includes production guidelines for their dry white wines.

The Wachau region, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, is the home of Austria’s most prestigious vineyards and wineries; the appellation is like a fjord situated between mountains on one side and the Danube, one of Europe’s most important rivers, on the other. With a history dating back to Roman times (the Danube was the northern limit of the Roman Empire), the vineyards are on the steep sides of the river, in parts on both sides, and also up the side valley running west from the village of Spitz.

The Hirtzberger estate is located in Spitz in the far west of the region – an area influenced by cold winds blowing off the mountains to the north. The estate covers 15 hectares (37 acres) of vineyards, which are split between Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, with smaller amounts planted to Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay.

The Hirtzbergers believe that the character of all fine wine has its origins in the vineyard. To that end, they hand-pick and pass through each vineyard several times during harvest, thus guaranteeing that only grapes with the highest phenological maturity are selected. Their must is fermented in steel tanks until the process comes to its natural standstill. Further maturation takes place in traditional large wooden casks. These practices ensure wines of regional character and utmost purity.

Federspiel wines are without exception classically fermented to dryness. Intense minerality, lush mouthfeel, multitudinous flavors, vivacious acidity, and a long lingering finish are the hallmarks of Wachau. Hirtzberger's wines in particular beautifully straddle the line between opulence and elegance, as evidenced by this glorious wine!

2019 Jean-Marc Burgaud Régnié, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
The past 20 years have brought dramatic and exciting change among the world’s most revered wine appellations, including Beaujolais. This small Burgundian region, often existing in the shadows of its pinot noir-producing neighbors, is in the midst of a golden age, and winemaker Jean-Marc Burgaud is one of the driving forces of the transformation taking place here.
In a region with no shortage of ambitious and diligent winemakers, he has proved himself again and again to be an over-achiever.

Jean-Marc Burgaud established his estate in 1989. While most of his production is in the Cru of Morgon, he also makes alluring Régnié and Beaujolais-Villages wines. The Wine Advocate wrote that Jean-Marc is "as usual brimming with ideas about how he is going to make what are among his region’s handful of most exciting wines even better" and also observed, "If there was any doubt that Jean-Marc Burgaud’s talents match his considerable ambitions, his recent wines should put them to rest, as few if any finer collections of Beaujolais are likely to have been rendered in this or any other vintage."

Burgaud is constantly adapting while honoring regional traditions; this is the hallmark of a truly great winemaker. Each and every one of his cuvées is an endorsement of his policy of picking late; stylistically the wines lean toward plush Burgundian pinots. His 2019 wines have plenty of freshness and ‘cut’, a trait revered by Beaujolais fans. He has great land, works diligently on his vines, but above all has a light touch in the cellar, believing that wines are truly made in the vineyards.

2019 Gianni Brunelli Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
This crimson-colored sangiovese is made from the same grapes that also go into the Brunelli Brunello. It exhibits bright and youthful aromas, with a balanced and elegant palate.

Gianni Brunelli, a man of many interests, established "Osteria Le Logge" in Siena, which has become one of the top restaurants in the city. In 1987 Gianni returned to his homeland of Montalcino and purchased Le Chiuse di Sotto, an estate that had belonged to his father Dino, with two hectares of vineyards standing at 200 meters above sea level in the northern part of the area. He revitalized and replanted the vineyards and started growing sangiovese again in 1989. (He retained one small plot of vines planted by his father in 1947.)

Brunelli later purchased the "Podernovone" estate. This property has a magnificent view of Monte Amiata and is endowed with 4.5 hectares standing at 350 meters above sea level, planted mainly to sangiovese, with a small percentage of merlot. The soil of Podernovone, made up of calcareous-marly schists, reflects light and heat, thus contributing to the ripening of the grapes.

The different climate of the two properties (fresh and airy at Le Chiuse di Sotto with a lot of rain in the summer and warmer and ventilated at Podernovone) results in complex and elegant wines. After Gianni passed away in 2008, his wife Laura, who already used to work with him at the estates, oversaw wine production and hired sangiovese expert Paolo Vagaggini as consulting winemaker.

All viticulture is organic, with no use of herbicides and synthetic products. Soil management is manual between the rows and under the vines to maintain the natural flora and good aeration of the soil. Organic fertilization is provided to each vine individually, depending on their needs, in order to ensure perfectly balanced growth.
*adapted from winery and importer notes

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