Pasqua wine tells a love story
Our first wine this week is the 2017 Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Ripasso Superiore.
The Pasqua family, who have a passion for wine and a strong link with Verona, their city of origin, describe it as such: “If wine is the poetry of the earth to the heavens, it is also a story and this wine tells of the love that made Verona famous all over the world – that of the sweethearts Romeo and Juliet. A legend, a place, a myth that attracts thousands of tourists every day to visit one of the most romantic places and invites them to leave and exchange messages of love in the courtyard of Juliet’s house.”
This is a blend of corvina and croatina grapes with a percentage of merlot, which the drying period renders velvetier still. The grapes are picked by hand and left to dry in wooden crates in the drying loft. There, by means of humidity control and air circulation, the grapes lose around 30 per cent of their water content and achieve a high concentration.
The result is a pleasing aroma of sweet berry fruit, plum, vanilla and touches of cranberry, baking spice and chocolate. The taste is soft, smooth and silky and it is loaded with sweet cherry fruit. Liquorice and black tea notes come out under the sweet fruit and linger on the long, dry finish. Critic James Suckling rates it 91/100. I should mention that the label is a representation of “Juliet’s Wall” and all the lovers’ messages that have been written below her balcony over the years. $21.05 (Stock #8903).
We carry many wines from the Pasqua family. Their 2020 Pasqua 11 Minute Rosé is so named as it tells of the amount of time that the clear juice is left in contact with the skins of the grapes to extract a delicate rosé colour. The corvina varietal, which dominates in terms of percentage, was chosen for the floral aromas as well as the significant acidity it gives to the wine.
Trebbiano (the only white grape) brings elegance and a long finish; syrah gives fine fruit and spice notes to the glass and finally, carménère creates structure, ensuring stability over time. This a fresh, enveloping rosé with an intense and complex bouquet. I do hope that we have all arrived at a time now where we feel that fine rosé wines can be enjoyed regardless of the season. $21 (Stock #8918).
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my friends Neil and Maria Empson and their very fine Super Tuscan called Cignale. I also mentioned their most reasonably priced Super Tuscan called Monte Antico but, as we did not have any stocks of Monte Antico Supremus, this wine was not included even though Neil has always told me that it represents “one of the best Super Tuscan values of them all”.
The 2016 has just arrived, and true to form, it has garnered a splendid 94/100 from James Suckling and this: “Pretty aromas of rosehip, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, orange zest and cedar. It’s medium-bodied with sleek, fine tannins. Wonderfully silky and juicy with an abundance of freshly crushed berries. Very fine. One of the finest wines they have made. Drink or hold.”
The winery describes their 2016 Monte Antico Supremus, a cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese blend, in this way: “Very deep crimson with ample purple reflections. Extremely intense, persistent bouquet showing elegant nuances of violets, red berries, cherry and toasted vanilla as well as balsamic, leather and mineral notes and hints of chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon. This exquisite range of aromas is confirmed on the full, rich palate laced with velvety tannins and long, lingering finish.” $27 (Stock #9052).
I should mention that the 94-point 2013 Cignale that I wrote about recently is now out of stock, but the good news is that along with the Supremus we also received a shipment of the 2015 Cignale about which Robert Parkers’ Wine Advocate has this to say: “A blend of 90 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 10 per cent merlot, the 2015 Cignale captures the sunshine and heat of the vintage with its tasty and succulent fruit. This wine matures in oak for 18 months. I've always liked this wine because it brings me back to a baseline taste that I associate with a Super Tuscan wine, although I fully admit that claiming any single definition for that catch-all category is an impossible feat. However, despite the international and contemporary character of this wine, with its bold cherry and chocolate-like flavours, there is no doubting that special Tuscan soul. 95/100.” $63 (Stock #9004).
Staying in Tuscany we have also just put in stock bottles and magnums of 2015 Biondi-Santi Il Greppo Brunello di Montalcino. It was Ferruccio Biondi Santi who “invented” Brunello di Montalcino in the late 1800s. It is produced from the brunello clone of the sangiovese grape, as all brunello must be.
Again, I will share some of what the Wine Advocate has to say: “The Biondi-Santi 2015 Brunello di Montalcino exudes dark, velvety fruit and concentration while maintaining the signature elegance, suppleness and lithe personality that distinguishes the iconic Il Greppo estate. I found this new release to be quite distinctive and exquisitely beautiful, setting it apart from many of the past vintages we are most familiar with. This 2015 edition is dark, exuberant and bold, but precise, focused and sharp as well. It will live for years in your cellar, but tasted now in its infancy, the wine shows blackberry, dried cherry, plum and dark cassis. Those dark fruit tones segue to a rich presentation of tar, spice, earth, tobacco and sweet balsam herb. I'd argue that this wine from 2015 will evolve over the years not only thanks to the freshness but more so thanks to the important structure of this solid and profound wine. 97+/100.” Bottles $195 (Stock #8792); Magnums $440 (Stock #8793).