Join us on this very special day for a fabulous tasting of one of the most venerable producers (and my favorite) in Piemonte, Vallana! My good friend Peter Zitz, Skurnik Wines (the official importer), will of course be here pouring these amazing gems. These wines are simply incredible, considering their prices and how much value they offer to consumers. More so, they age beautifully! Still drinking my 1958 Spanna!
For seventy-five years the name Antonio Vallana has meant great Piemontese Nebbiolo, yet their extraordinarily complex, long-lived wines come not from Barolo or Barbaresco but from the region’s other great terroir, the Novara hills of Alto Piemonte.
Here, in the town of Maggiora 100 miles northeast of the Langhe, Antonio’s son Bernardo was making Spanna—as Nebbiolo is known in Alto Piemonte—in the late 1950s that took its place easily alongside the wines of Giacomo Conterno and Bartolo Mascarello on the very short list of consistently great Piedmont producers at that time.
Over the next decade or two, Bernardo’s wines—bearing cuvée names like Montalbano, Cantina del Camino and Spanna del Piemonte—became well known as blue chips for Italian wine collectors in the New York area.
Today Antonio Vallana’s great-grandchildren Marina and Francis are using many of the same traditional methods and vineyards to fashion wines that would make their ancestors proud: wines of brilliant character that make no concessions to trends, and that are completely true to their place and history.
Francis and Marina make two great Spannas.
The Spanna normale is an utterly classic rendering of Alto Piemonte terroir. Like the Vallana Spannas of the past, it is traditionally vinified to capture the unique character of the region’s unique terroirs.
Predominantly Spanna (a.k.a. Nebbiolo)—with a dollop of the indigenous Vespolina grape—it provides the hallmark violet and rose bouquet, and is elegantly structured for a long, graceful evolution in bottle.
But Francis and Marina also make a “prestige” Spanna: Cuvée Bernardo Vallana, which is a selection of the most concentrated 100% Spanna lots. Vinified and aged longer than the normale, it is intended as a very long-lived wine in the mold of the great Vallana Spannas of the past.
For this special bottling, Marina and Francis have chosen the old Spanna Cantina del Camino (Spanna of the Fireplace) label. This was Bernardo’s favorite cuvée and label; according to Marina this was the wine he made for his friends and family “to drink in good company, in front of the fire” as depicted on the label.
In great vintages, the Vallanas also make a small amount of Gattinara. The latest release (and now sold out at the winery) is the 2004. One hundred percent Spanna, it is on the threshold of maturity.
As with 2010, Alto Piemonte’s growing season in 2004 mirrored that of the Langhe: a great, classic vintage with ideal balance for the long haul. Francis and Marina have captured all of the complexity and age-worthiness of this great terroir and vintage: deep, firmly structured and stunningly perfumed, this Gattinara has it all.
The Terroir Signatures of the Vallana Wines
While Vallana’s wines have proven over the decades that they can be just as rich, velvet-textured and long-lived as the greatest Barolos and Barbarescos, their overall character is strikingly different from that of the Langhe wines.
Alto Piemonte lies at the foothills of the Alps where the warm Mediterranean and temperate Continental climates of Europe meet. The cooling flow of air through the alpine valleys and the presence of large lakes creates moderate conditions that are ideal for Spanna.
Of particular importance are the wide daily temperature swings during the latter part of the growing season, creating great complexity through slow, even maturation of the fruit.
The climate and high altitude, coupled with glacially deposited soils that are naturally high in acidity produces Nebbiolo of haunting perfume, great elegance and unusually long life.
It is fortunate indeed that Francis and Marina choose to emulate Bernardo’s approach in making the Vallana wines today. Their grandfather was a perfectionist who, as Marina states “would accept no compromise in the quality of his wines, which he loved with all his soul.”
In many other traditional winegrowing families, a new generation will be more interested in putting their personal stamp on the family’s image, making changes at the cost of losing what was distinctively real about the wines.
Not so at Vallana, where Marina and Francis clearly relish their roles as defenders of a noble and unique tradition. They not only continue to craft true expressions of Alto Piemonte’s glorious terroirs, they do so in the same cellars and with much of the same equipment that Bernardo designed and built in his relentless quest to make the perfect wine.
As Marina says of her legendary grandfather: “Most importantly, he left us with wines of incredible finesse and structure that are the greatest inspiration for our work and set the style of the winery. Without Bernardo Vallana, we could not do our work the way we do it, and we feel that being part of this tradition is a great privilege.”
Join us for another great Saturday tasting with John Shanley of Polaner Selections. It looks like finally Spring is solidly in the air and weather promises to be a beauty this Saturday. We will be featuring the US exclusive debut of the newly arrived Cantalupo Ghemme Collis Carellae 2009. Be the first to taste another amazing gem from Cantalupo, and one you won’t find in any other stores!
We will balance that with the incredible, 94 points Barbera from Roagna (we just got a bit more and you should taste and buy what you can while it’s still available). It is an amazing wine and a fabulous value as well.
And also from Piemonte, the impossible to resist Castello di Verduno Barbaresco 2012. When it comes to value in Barbaresco, this is one of the very best wines I have tasted in a long time. It is such a pleasure to drink now, but promises years of fabulous evolution.
Since it is Rosé season after all, Francois Chidaine has sent us some of his fresh and zesty Touraine Rosé 2015. Another great value Rosé that showcases the strength of the vintage.
Sancerre!! Because it is also SANCERRE time, with Spring and Summer celebrations kicking in, how about a taste of Gerard Boulay AMAZING Sancerre Le Cote 2014? You won’t get many other chances to taste this amazing wine (for free) and to buy it, as it is quite limited.
And of course, in tune with warmer weather and sunny days, we need to throw in some ultra-delicious Cru Beaujolais! Some great Fleurie 2014 from Master Julien Sunier (just featured in a recent article in the NY Times HERE) and Morgon 2014 from Michel Guignier. Can you spell “Delicious” and “Fun!”?
Come on in and enjoy some great wine and cheese, from 1:00 until 5:00pm.
Come on over this Saturday October 29th, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, for the first Skurnik Wines tasting of the season, with my good friend Peter Zitz!
As you already know, Skurnik Wines is the proud distributor/importer for many of the great wine estates in the world. A portfolio that is truly unrivaled!
You know that every wine and every bottle poured will be nothing short of spectacular, from $20 to $100+
We will be pouring gems from around the world: Burgundy, Italy, Loire Valley, Rhone and more..and even some spirits!
Fabulous wines and of course complemented by fabulous cheeses from our partners in taste, Plum Plums Cheese!
This is a tasting you don’t want to miss!
I am sure you’ve heard the buzz about 2015 Burgundy, and we will be presenting you with some amazing wines at this event. The reds from the region are spectacular from this vintage (and some very good whites as well) and values abound. We will show you how to select some amazing wines, without breaking the bank. This is a vintage and a tasting you don’t want to miss. We’ll also be checking out some great new releases from La Rioja Alta, CVNE, and some spectacular wines from Raul Perez among others. Of course, since ’tis the season, a couple of Rosé will be in the mix. If weather permits, we’ll bring this tasting outdoors this time. Party time!
The ultra-wonderful wine selections will be complemented by the even better cheeses from our friends Michael and Gayle of Plum Plums Cheese!
AND, DON’T FORGET ABOUT “PARTNERS IN TASTE!”. BRING YOUR WINE CONNECTION RECEIPT TO PLUM PLUMS AND RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT ON THE FEATURED CHEESES.
Join us on this Saturday for a great Burgundy-focused event, with Polaner Selections!
Whitney, (pictured right, with the famed Jancis Robinson on left) a veteran of the wine business, is the French Portfolio manager for Polaner Selections, and she will be here on this day to talk about and enjoy some amazing Burgundies from Polaner’s great portfolio. This is another amazing, and educational event that you don’t want to miss!
As always, these great and informative tastings are free, and complemented by the wonderful cheese selections from our “Partners in Taste” at Plum Plums Cheese.
Shop local and support your business community!
Get ready for another fabulous tasting here at The Wine Connection, with Skurnik Wines!
Peter from Skurnik Wines is back, presenting a fantastic array of new arrivals and a couple of blind surprises, for your enjoyment and wine education!
This Saturday, April 28th 2018, from 1:00pm until 5:00pm
Spring is firmly in the air, and it promises to be another glorious weekend!
We will kick off with a superb 2017 Provencal Rosé that will surely light up this season!
From loire master wine-maker Jacky Blot, from Domaine de la Taille aux Loups,you will get a chance to taste the incredible Montlouis Sec “Remus” 2016 (95 points Decanter Magazine).It is almost sold out from the private email offer, so this is your chance! Fabulous white for summer!
Cru Beaujolais Continue to Rock The World!
Don’t be late to this party! The great Crus of Beaujolais continue to be one of the hottest categories on the market, and for very valid reasons: incredible quality, easily comparable to great Burgundy, and unbeatable value. You be the judge here, and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed!
FromDomaine des Marrans, the stratospherically good Morgon Courcelette 2016,and from legendary Michel Tete (Domaine du Fief), the 2016 Julienas. The 2016 vintage is as good as 2014, with amazing freshness, soil character (terroir) and balance of fruit and acid. Incredible wines!
Serio e Battista Borgogno Barolo Cannubi 2013
The Borgogno family has owned parcels in this venerable vineyards for generations. Very traditional, and from the great 2013 vintage, this is a great Cannubi that is also priced well. It’s a must buy for the cellar!
Antoniolo Gattinara 2010
Gattinara and alto Piemonte in general are seeing a resurgence in quality and popularity. As Barolo gets more expensive, it is an obvious evolution. You will experience what a great Gattinara from a great vintage tastes like, from one of the best producers in the area.
Domaine Arlaud Morey Saint Denis Les Ruchots 2015
Cyprien Arlaud continues its streak with the already legendary 2015 vintage. The Morey Saint Denis Les Ruchots is always one of his very best wines, and very limited. Experience greatness!
Last week’s “Blind Features” were a lot of fun and a great success!
We will continue this week with a couple of great “brown bag” specials!
As always, the tasting is free and open to everyone (over 21 of course), and your support is greatly appreciated.
And remember..shop local and support your local businesses as much as you can.
THE GREAT WINES WILL, AS ALWAYS, BE COMPLEMENTED BY THE FABULOUS CHEESES FROM OUR FRIENDS MICHAEL AND GAYLE ATPLUM PLUMS CHEESE!
“PARTNERS IN TASTE!”
NOW, YOU CAN BRING YOUR WINE CONNECTION RECEIPT TO PLUM PLUMS, ON THE DAY OF THE TASTING, AND RECEIVE A SPECIAL 10% DISCOUNT ON THE FEATURED CHEESES!
Vallana is a true icon in Piemonte (or alto Piemonte, technically) and Nebbiolo lovers are still enjoying their great wines from the ’50s and ’60s. Today, Vallana is seeing a resurgence, as everything Piemonte is once again in the spotlight. The beauty here is that their wines are the most incredible values one could find from that beautiful land. With prices ranging from $18-35, it seems almost criminal when considering their quality and status.
Please join us on this date and meet the next generation of Vallana, carrying the torch: Francis Fogerty Vallana will grace us with his presence and guide through an incredible lineup, spanning many years. This will be a truly special event that you will not want to miss!
As always, our tastings are free, and complemented by the wonderful cheeses from our partners in taste at Plum Plums Cheese! Of course, we invite you to support the cause and allowing us to continue these great events by buying as much as you’d like of the wines you love 🙂
We will feature:
Campi Raudii 2006 – Library Release
Campi Raudii 2007 – Library Release
Spanna Cuvee Bernardo 2010
Spanna Cuvee Bernardo 2013
Spanna 2010 – Library Release
Spanna “Cinque Castelli” 1964
Welcome back the amazing Whitney Schubert, French portfolio manager extraordinaire at Polaner Selections, with Chris Gambelli, guiding us through an amazing selection of wines!
We’ll be pouring some quite superb Burgundies, Bordeaux, Champagne, and even a sprinkle of great Cru Beaujolais!
This is our first tasting event of 2019, and we’re kicking the new year in style.
Don’t miss it! Our friends and partners in taste at Plum Plums Cheese are on vacation this month, but we will still have some wonderful cheeses to accompany the amazing wines!
See you this Saturday!