In 1870, humble Tuscan sharecroppers Emilio and Tranquillo Losi were dutifully tending the adjacent Fontino and Querciavalle farms that would become the Querciavalle estate. At the time, the adjoining farms were covered with grains, beans, grapes vines and olive trees and although tending to everything during Italy’s “Mezzadria” (sharecropping) period, even at this early stage, the Losi’s emphasized wine production.
Today, the estate is shepherded by five generations of Losi’s and the family is successfully crafting wines that marry tradition with innovation. The results are exciting and as I first covered the estate with this feature, my initial reaction was: “Where has this estate been all my life?” And I don’t have an answer for that, except to say that thankfully I’ve got plenty of life ahead and Querciavalle is now firmly on my radar. Readers should take note.
The one wine I did not cover at all in my initial feature on Querciavalle was their Vin Santo. I love Vin Santo, it is the perfect way to sit and muse with a guest or linger after dinner over conversation and a few cantucci. Yet finding reliably excellent Vin Santo is not easy to do and they can be very expensive. In my experience, there are three Vin Santo that never fail to impress: Avignonesi, Capezzana Riserva, and Isole e Olena. Today I can safely add a fourth.
The Querciavalle Vin Santo is a blend of 50% Trebbiano and 50% Malvasia that is harvested by hand and then attached to wire racks where they are left to dry until mid November. This process shrinks the grapes of their liquid which reduces the weight of the grapes by almost 2/3 and concentrates the sugars in the fruit. At this point, after a second selection takes place, the wine is vinified and then placed in very small wooden barrels called “caratelli”. Aging last 10 years.
The 2000 Querciavalle Vin Santo is a deep golden color throughout. Upon opening, the wine was a bit too cold but as it warmed, the aromatics exploded. White flowers, honey, brown sugar, caramel, toasted nuts, and orange peel are all intertwined with seamless wonder.
On the palate, the wine is viscous and perfectly sweet, but with enough acidity to refresh your palate without being cloying. The orange peel notes provide amazing contrast to the creme brulee, caramel, maple syrup and nuttiness of the wine. It is outstanding and will be a must on my table this Christmas. 96 points, about $50.
|~ Cantucci, Biscotti, and Vin Santo are one of the best pairings in the world ~|
August 18, 2016