Red White Boston challenged a group of wine lovers to think about the story behind the wines during a recent tasting at Central Bottle in Cambridge, MA.
Nick and Maureen walked us through the story of how the idea of Central Bottle was hatched by four friends during a trip to Italy (sounds like quite a vacation!) and then we moved onto the wines.
Ravines Wine Cellar Dry Riesling
The first glass we tried was a Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Morton Hallgren, the owner and winemaker, grew up in a winemaking family, starting in Denmark and then moving to the south of France. Heading onto Texas and North Carolina, he finally settled in New York.
His vineyards are on a hillside situated between two ravines created when glaciers receded. The location has excellent drainage and the wind that flows through allows for organic methods.
The minerality of the Riesling provided a mental picture of centuries old land being carved out. The Dry Riesling is well balanced and would pair nicely with almost anything that you could throw at it.
Ciliegiolo Rosata from Bisson in the Liguria region of Italy
Ciliegolo is an indigenous grape variety, one that is not seen very often outside of the Cinque Terre region of Italy. This region’s vineyards are so steep that machines often cannot be used and the grapes must be handpicked.
These steep slopes flow down to the ocean and we had images of grape pickers hanging off the sides of cliffs. The region is famous for its “five towns” which tourists walk between, sampling wines and wonderful food in each one.
This rosé was very pale and refreshing and no doubt would be difficult to find outside of the region. Just hearing about the vineyards and drinking the wine made me want to go for a visit.
Le Poivre et Sal from les Vin Contés in the Loire Valley of France
In case you don’t remember your high school French, this one translates to “Pepper and Salt.” One whiff and it’s obvious why this name was chosen.
Made from Pineau d’Aunis and Gamay Noir, this wine is unusual for the Loire Valley and was denied AOC status as because of this.
Olivier Lemasson is the negotiant creating this wine and is dedicated to organic farming. A large portion of the tasting group purchased this wine because it was so distinctive.
In addition to being unusual, it was very enjoyable and my favorite of the evening. The briny smell transported my mind to a seaside village where I could enjoy a nice garlicky shellfish dish.
Enrico Cialdino Lambrusco from Cleto Chiarli in Italy
The oldest producer in Italy, Cleto Chiarli was founded in 1860 and is currently run by two brothers.
Lambrusco is a region known for slightly fizzy wines, and was ruined in the minds of most Americans when cheap Riunite was all the rage. Lambrusco is the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma ham and Ferraris.
Modena, sitting in this region, is well known for high quality balsamic vinegar. For reasons that we were not able to determine, the label contained a 19th century soldier.
I’m sure there is a story behind that one! This slightly fizzy red paired fantastically with the cheeses and the prosciutto that was served.
I love the story behind the wine!