Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tenuta di Fessina (Rovitello, Mt. Etna), crafting high-quality wines on the north face of the mountain

After a long, lazy, delicious, wine-soaked lunch at Cave Ox, we headed out on our much-anticipated visit to Tenuta di Fessina, a visit organized, as per usual, by Brandon Tokash. Tenuta di Fessina is located in the commune of Rovitello - on the north slope of the mountain - and was purchased by Silvia Maestrelli from its 11 owners in 2007.

Silvia  who, in addition to her ownership role, also functions as the Marketing and Sales Director, Financial Director, and Winemaker, was supposed to lead our tour but had to change her plans. Instead she deputized Jacopo Maniaci (Winery Director, Hospitality Manager, Sommelier, Cellar Master, and Export Ambassador) for that role. He performed admirably.

Jacopo met us on arrival and led us on to a platform overlooking the vineyard. The sun was setting in the distance and lit the vineyard and surrounding structures up with a soft, golden glow.

With Jacopi on the platform overlooking the
Tenuta di Fessina vineyard in Rovitello

Tenuta di Fessina, Jacopo said, has three vineyards on Mt Etna -- located on the north, east, and south slopes of the mountain -- and a fourth in Val di Noto that produces the grapes for the estate's Nero d'Avola wine. The map below shows the location (precise in the Rovitello case) and key characteristics of the estate's Mt. Etna vineyards.

Tenuta di Fessina vineyards in the
Mt Etna region

Fessina's main vineyard (estate-owned) is located in Contrada Moscamento (Muscamento in the dialect) in the commune of Rovitello. The vineyard is framed by two slopes: the one on the left was formed by the flow from the 1911 eruption while the one on the right was formed in 1809. These are relatively young structures and serve primarily as vineyard protection. The actual vineyard soil predates these two flows, dating back to between 4000 and 15,000 years ago, and is comprised of pumice and light sand enriched with iron, copper, manganese, and potassium. Soil depth ranges between 10 and 12 meters.

The vineyard is the beneficiary of breezes blowing in form the Ionian Sea and, as a result, is pest-free. Sulphur and copper are used to combat mildew. Vines are trained Alberello and have an average age of 70 years. Ten different Nerello Mascalese biotypes exist within the environment.

The sandy nature of the soil has rendered it phylloxera-free. As a result, most of the vines are own-rooted. Nerello Capuccio scions are, however, grafted onto Nerello Mascalese rootstocks. White grape varieties are found in specific sections within the vineyard. Vine replacement is by massal selection.


Jacopo responding to a question from Sue Tolson

Old vines
Selected grapes are harvested manually at optimum ripeness, placed into small crates, and transported rapidly to the cellar in order to preserve freshness. At the cellar the grapes are subjected to a second selection at the sorting belt after which they are destemmed and placed into stainless steel tanks (25, 50, and 75 hL) for low-temperature maceration and subsequent fermentation. After fermentation the wine is transferred to used oak tonneaux and 35-hL barrels for aging. Wines are bottled only when they are deemed ready.


At the conclusion of our visits to the vineyards and cellars we repaired to the tasting room to sample some of the estate's wares.

Wayne Young and Sue Tolson prepare for the
tasting segment of our tour



The first wine tasted was the 2016 Erse Etna Bianco DOC, a blend of 90 % Carricante, 8% Cataratto, and the remainder Minella. The grapes are sourced from Milo. Jacopo characterized 2016 as a rigid and cold vintage in Milo. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 9 months in bottle. The wine showed mineral, spice, salinity, flint, and an oily richness on the nose. A great palate with minerality, a lean salinity, good acid levels, and a long finish.

We next tasted three vintages of A'Puddara, a 100% Carricante made with grapes sourced from the commune of Santa Maria di Licodia on the south slope of the mountain. The 2016 vintage showed minerality, matchstick, nuttiness, and sweet, ripe fruit. Lime on the palate. Not very fulfilling.

The 2015 edition of this wine showed minerality, matchstick, a duskiness, and herbs on the nose and acidity without the balancing salinity on the palate. Jacopo said that 2015 had been a very difficult vintage in that it was colder and the picked grapes had less sugar content. The wines had not been subjected to malolactic fermentation, hence the elevated acid levels.

The 2011 growing season was warm and the wine of this label showed a creamy richness, salinity, minerality, matchstick, and ripe tropical fruit.

The 2017 Erse Etna Rosato DOC is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (30%) with the latter variety added to provide color and "honey, fruity notes." This wine is aged on the lees for 7 months and an additional 2 - 3 months in bottle before release on the market. A bright pink color. Reduced nose initially but that quickly blew off to reveal a fruitiness. Salinity and power on the palate.

The 2017 Laeneo Nerello Cappucchio (100%) was very aromatic. Fruitiness and spice on the nose. More refined and elegant than most of the 100% Nerello Cappuccios that I had tasted previously.

The 2015 Erse Etna Rosso DOC was made from 90% Nerello Mascalese, 8% Nerello Cappuccio, and 20% white grape varieties, all sourced from the Rovitello vineyard. This wine was fermented in stainless steel and aged therein for 9 months. Shoe polish, florality, and cherry on the nose and spicy red fruit on the palate. Elegant and persistent while exercising the salivary glands. Drying finish.

The final battery of wines was drawn from the Musmeci Etna DOC Rosso Riserva label: 2012, 2011, and 2007. The 2012 was perfumed, elegant, and feminine. Red fruit and great acidity on the palate. Engaging. The 2011 showed menthol, balsamic, and green herbs on the nose. Started slow but then exploded on the palate. A piney character. Excellent fruit on the 2007. Slightly medicinal. Excellent body and persistence.

High-quality wines from a high-quality producer with high-quality staff.


©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Carricante-Based wines from the eastern and southern slopes of Mt. Etna at Contrada dell'Etna

Our going-in strategy for this year's Contrada dell'Etna was to drink only the white wines from Etna's east and southeast flanks in order to imprint the characteristics of those wines on our senses. Our tasting team included Brandon Tokash, Lidia Rizzo, Sue Tolson, Parlo, and me.  The map below shows the coverage area of interest.


Climate in the area of interest
As shown on the below chart, growing conditions in the east and southeast differs from the conditions in the north and southwest.

Derived from Nesto and di Savino

The southeast and eastern slopes are unprotected from the autumn and winter rains but the combination of rapid runoff and early morning sun contribute to their attractiveness as growing regions (especially for whites).

The volcano's southeast flank experiences markedly different climatic conditions than north-slope-resident wineries. First, it is warmer in the southeast than in the north; 4 to 7 degrees warmer, as a matter of fact.

Second, with no protective layer of mountains, the region bears the full brunt of the wind and rain coming in off the Ionian Sea. In the fall and spring, dry winds form over North Africa, pick up moisture over the Mediterranean, and barrel into the Sicilian coast at upwards of 50 miles an hour. These winds are called Scirocco and an event can last from 1/2 day to several days. The wind makes it easier to farm organically as it helps to keep mold at bay.

Third, the southeast is unprotected from the autumn and winter rains but the combination of rapid runoff and early morning sun contribute to its attractiveness as a growing region 9especially for whites).

Tasting the Wines
Contrada dell'Etna day was bright and sunny and the crowds took full advantage of the conditions.


The organizers had divided the participating wineries into the broad categories shown below.The wines of interest fell into the Sud-Est category which included producers in the east, southeast, and southwest. The wines that we tasted are indicated by stars next to the producer names.

The stars indicate the producer wines tasted as
part of this exercise

The first producer that we visited was Monterosso. The grapes for this producer's wines are sourced from a 5-ha vineyard on the southeast flank of the mountain. The soil here is composed of alternating layers of sand and pumice stone. It has a reddish color -- a result of its high iron content -- and is light, airy, and porous. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

We tasted two wines from this producer: a 2017 Etna Bianco DOC (90% Carricante, 10% Catarratto) and Crater (100% Carricante. The former is from 700 m elevation while the latter is at 600 m. The Etna Bianco was big on the nose with sulfur, minerality, and white peaches and a florality. Acid and salinity on the palate. Dry finish. The Crater was more refined, almost austere. Greater minerality and less salinity.

Aurelio Marconi of Monterosso


Feudo Cavalieri is located on the southwest flank of the mountain with its Carricante grapes drawn from vineyards (ungrafted old plus newly planted) located between 950 and 990 m on the slope. The "land is composed of volcanic sands and 'ripiddu,' rich in minerals that tend to be acidic, well exposed and ventilated."

Its Etna Bianco 2016 was still on the lees (the wines are normally kept on the lees for 2 years). It was aromatic, with minerality, salinity, and citrus fruit dominant. The Etna Bianco 2017 was a tank sample and reminded me of dank charcoal. Less balanced in terms of salinity and minerality. The Millimetri 2014 was mineral, herbaceous, oily and chalky on the nose and those characteristics followed through to the palate.




La Gelsomina is located on the northeastern flank of the mountain. Its Bianca dell Contea is 97% Carricante and 3% Catarratto made from grapes grown at 550m. The soil is loose, of a volcanic nature, and rich in potassium. The 2016 Bianca dell Contea showed minerality and herbs on the nose and was all minerality on the palate. Salinity and acidity less than all wines tasted previously. Conversely, the most mineral wine tasted up to this point. Short, drying finish. The 2017 was very floral, with stone fruit and perfumed citrus. Mineral.



The Ciro Biondi grapes for its white wines are grown in Contrada Ronzini in the Municipality of Trecastagni on the southeast flank of the mountain. The soil here is volcanic with red pumice and elevation ranges between 640 and 700 m. The grapes for the Outis and Pianta wines are grown at 650 m.

Outis and Pianta are field blends of Carricante, Catarratto, and Minella with the latter vinified in wood and the former in stainless steel. The Outis showed white peach, white flowers, citrus, and minerality while the Pianto showed minerality and lime and appeared somewhat thin.


The Federico Curtaz Gamma is made from 100% Carricante grapes sourced from Milo on the eastern flank. I tasted both the 2016 and 2017 versions of this wine and was left wanting. The 2016 showed salinity and citrus but seemed light-bodied while the 2017 showed lemon and minerality.


Vini Eudes is located in Trecastagni on the southeast flank of the mountain. The winery produces an 80% Carricante wine called Bianco di Monte and a 100% Carricante. The former had a perfumed nose with traces of salinity, minerality, and lime skin. Precise and focused, a food-loving wine. Lemony lime on palate giving away to a mineral, saline finish.

The Carricante wine showed a limestone minerality, sulfur, creaminess, and salinity on the nose. Not as impressive on the palate. Short finish.

Like Feudo Cavaliere, Azienda Falcone is located on the southwest flank of the mountain in the town of Santa Maria di Licodia. The wine is 90% Carricante with the source grapes being grown at 900m. The wine had a stony minerality, creaminess, salinity, and citrus notes. Clean on the palate. A fair wine.


As is the case for the Santorini Assyrtikos, Carricante-based wines from the east to south flanks of Etna are characterized by salinity, minerality, and acidity and, at its optimum, these characteristics meld extremely well. These characteristics also allow the wines to age well (based on my experiences drinking aged Benanti Pietra Marina wines). While the characteristics of the wines are consistent, the quality of individual wines will vary based on winemaking practices, elevation, soil composition, and other related factors.

I love Assyrtiko. I also love well made Carricante-based wines from the east and southeast slopes of Mt. Etna. I will undertake a comprehensive review of the whites from the northern slope at some point in the future.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Friday, May 18, 2018

Pre-Contrada dell'Etna visit to the Calabretta (Randazzo, Mt Etna) cantina

On Saturday morning of Contrada dell'Etna weekend, we grabbed a quick coffee and headed off to a tasting of Calabretta wines at the estate's cantina which is housed in a three-level building in the heart of Randazzo. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Salvatore Caggegi, the estate's Agronomist and Cellar Master.

The Calabretta estate was founded in the early 1900s with the resulting products sold in bulk to restaurants and private customers. In 1997, Massimo and Massimiliano opted to bottle their best wines to sell on the commercial market.

The historical Calabretta vineyards was comprised of 7 ha of 60 - 80-year-old Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappucio vines located in Randazzo. The old vine stocks has been supplemented with an additional 3 ha. Within the past 5 years total vineyard hectares has been expanded with new plantings of Nerello Mascalese (1 ha), Carricante (1 ha), and Pinot Noir (1 ha).

The estate adheres to a sustainable, noninterventionist approach in both its grape-growing and winemaking activities. The grape vines are grown among olive trees and fruit orchards and never see chemical pesticides or herbicides (small quantities of copper sulphate and sulphurum are used to combat powdery and downy mildew). Old vineyards are head pruned while newer vineyards are trained Guyot.

Calabretta seeks to harvest perfectly ripe grapes and is aided in this quest by the volcanic soil, the temperature differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures, and the high incidence of solar exposure. Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in small- and medium-sized barrels. The estate's wines are shown in the table below.

Label
Variet(y)ies
Contrada
Description
Cala Cala Rosso


Non-vintage cuvée
Rosato
Nerello Mascalese
Calderara
Mostly from young vineyards
Vigna Vecchie

Calderara/Taccione

Little A

Feudo di Mezzo

Nonna Concetta
Nerello Mascalese
Porcaria

Piedefranco
Nerello Mascalese
Taccione
Ungrafted
Cappuccio
Nerello Cappuccio

Young vineyards
Pinot Nero

Zocconero?Battiati

Gaio Gaio Rosso


Young vineyards. Sepcial fermentation to be more fruit-forward
Contrada dei Centenari

Solicchiata

Carricante
Carricante


Minella Bianco



Elisir


Semi-carbonic fermentation. Young vines
Cala Cala Bianco
Grillo



The first wine tasted on the premises was the 2017 Vigne Vecchi. This wine is made from grapes grown on ungrafted 80-year-old vines in Centenarian vineyards in the Contrada Calderara. The variety mix is 97% Nerello Mascalese with the remainder Nerello Cappuchio. The wines are macerated for a short while in steel vats and then transferred to large Slavonian vats for extended aging.

Writing about this wine in the Wall Street Journal (11/12/15), Lettie Teague had described it thusly: "... the style of this red is different from other more modern Etna Rosso bottlings. It is a soft Old World-style wine, with notes of earth and tobacco reminiscent of a traditional Barolo." This particular wine was too young to exhibit the characteristics of which she spoke but manifessted both dark and red fruit on the nose and rich blue fruit on the palate. Smooth.

Example of the large vats on premises

Salvatore Caggegi, Calabretta Cellar Master and
Agronomist

Cellar heaven


Sue, Parlo, and Lidia


The 2017 Passopisciaro is sourced from 60 - 80-year-old vines, is aged fro 8 - 10 months in used barriques, and is released to the market after 1 year. Vinosity. Structured, spicy red cherry. Light-bodied and high-toned. Soft tannins. Persistent, bitter finish.

Parlo, Brandon, Lidia, Salvatore, and Sue.

The 2017 Feudo di Mezzo is 100% Nerello Mascalese. Cherry and dark olives on the nose. Faded strawberry on the palate. Light but textured. Smoky.

The 2017 Cappuchio was aromatic, more so than the Nerello Mascalese. Match flint and spice. Short finish. Unimpressive.

The 2017 Pinot Noir was rich but seemed to lack balancing acidity.

We then doubled back and tasted a 2012 Vigna Vecchi. Brandon described this vintage as producing some of the most concentrated wines in Mt Etrna's history. This particular wine exhibited tobacco, ginger, port, balsamic, and green herbs on the nose. Concentrated on the palate with port, amarone, and walnut flavors. Powerful with strong tannins and a cupric finish.

These wines will benefit from the passage of time.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Still waiting for the Etna Contrada maps

Etna producers and the Consorzio continue to stress the importance of Contrada as a differentiating factor for its wines (much as cru is for the wines of Burgundy). And I continue to be frustrated by the lack of definitive data to allow fact-based comparisons and analysis of the wines of the region.

At the close of the 2017 Contrada dell'Etna, I was under the impression that Alessandro Masnaghetti, the famed Piemontese Cartographer, would be contracted to produce Etna maps akin to his Barolo MGA maps. I saw Masnaghetti earlier this year at Galloni's La Festa del Barolo and asked him how things were coming along on the project. He indicated that discussions had begun but he had not been contracted for the effort.

The producers in the 2018 Contrada were sectioned by Commune (as was the case last year). The identifying mortar board also had a listing of the Contrade included in the Commune (see below for an example).


A map (pictured below) was handed out late in the morning of Contrada dell'Etna.


I had a number of issues with the map:

  • It only captures the northern slope of the mountain
  • It does not clearly delimit the Communes
  • It is not clear which Contradas are associated with which Communes
  • It is not clear where the boundaries fall between the various Contradas
  • I am not sure that there is a one-to-one correlation between the Contradas listed on the map and the Contradas listed on the mortar boards
  • The map does not draw as heavily as it could have from the Geological Map of Etna.

The topmost category for the map is the Commune and that is a practice that Etna producers should adhere to. For the north slope, currently, the Commune is used as the highest level but in the southeast, the classification is geographic -- Southeast. I recommend that the relevant Communes -- Milo, for example, be used instead to ensure consistency of presentation.

In discussing this issue with Massimiliano Calabretta (Calabretta Winery), he said that the real problem is that the Consorzio is awaiting the boundary lines from the Communes. "This is Italy," he says. "They wrote the boundaries rather than drawing them on a map."

When all is said and done, I think that the Consorzio has to provide the following types of data in order to allow quality comparative analyses:

  • Delimited Contradas by Commune (with explanation if a Contrada spans multiple Communes)
  • Size (ha) of each Contrada
  • Exposition of each Contrada
  • Elevation range of each Contrada
  • Soil types for each Contrada
  • Variety percentage by Contrada
  • Producers sourcing fruit from each Contrada
  • Cru bottlings for each Contrada
  • Eventually, drawings showing ownership of each vineyard in a Contrada

This is by no means a comprehensive list but I would be happy to work with such a dataset.


©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Friday, May 4, 2018

Greek Wine Dinner at K Restaurant (Orlando, FL)

I have an abiding interest in Greek wines due to my tasting travels in the region and the number of friends I have made during those trips. I was considering attending the upcoming Greek Wine Dinner at K Restaurant and was still in the deliberative phase when I received a direct communication from Michelle Hulbert, the restaurant's Pastry Chef, inviting us to the event. I decided to take her up on the invitation.

The event was being held in the Garden House, a newly rented, event space located next to the main restaurant. Passing through the front entrance we were confronted by two rows of dressed tables and presentation equipment against the southern wall. A few guests had already arrived and we introduced ourselves as we sought seating that would position us best for the presentation.




After all the attendees had gathered, we were welcomed by K Restaurant Owner and Executive Chef Chad Phelps. He thanked us for coming and laid out his thought process in putting together the tasting. At the end of his remarks, he turned the floor over to Lawrence Head of Breakthrough Beverages who would be leading us through the tasting.

Chad Phelps, Executive Chef and Owner,
K Restaurant

The first dish was a Grilled Manouri Cheese on Pita garnished with Arugula and with oregano and lemon. Tasty and refreshing. The Pita was unyielding to the cutlery and had to be "handed."

This dish was accompanied by the 2016 Alpha Estate Malagouzia. Aromatic. Green herbs and pineapple. Full, round mouthfeel. Brightness on the palate along with power and minerality. Persistent minerality. Powerful in relation to the Malagouzias from Porto Carras and Geravassiliou.

Grilled Manouri Cheese

Ryan McLaughlin, Chef de Cuisine

The second course was a Greek Salad accompanied by a 2016 Domaine Santo Assyrtiko.

This was a beautifully constructed salad with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, Kalamata Olives, Feta cheese mousse, oregano, lemon, and olive oil. In the US, Greek salads are often encumbered with lettuce and other arcana, straying from the traditional path. This salad stayed true. I normally prefer my feta cheese in slabs at the top of the salad, rather than as a mousse, but the dish did not suffer from the change. Excellent.

The Assyrtiko was mineral on the nose with a hint of salinity. Broad on the palate, saline, mineral, citrus. Not as razor-sharp as I like my Assyrtikos.

Greek Salad

The third course was a Grilled Swordfish and Octopus dish accompanied by the 2015 Douloufakis Liatiko.

The Swordfish and Octopus laid on a bed of fennel, artichokes, garbanzo beans, peppers, and herbs all in a tomato and seafood broth. The Octopus was pleasingly spicy. The Swordfish was extremely tender, an experience with which I am unfamiliar. Loved the dish.

The Douloufakis Liatiko showed tar, dark olives, and blue fruit on the nose. Light-bodied. Dark and red fruits. Savory. Mineral. Drying finish. Does not engage the full palate. Will benefit from some aging.

Swordfish and Octopus

The Lamb Chop course was accompanied by the 2013 Kir-Yianni Ramnista. The Lamb dish included oregano roasted potatoes, fava beans, and house-made yogurt. This was a wonderful dish. Beautiful pink color. Nice salty texture and buttery feel.

The Ramnista showed tomato, tomato leaf, herbs, savoriness, and salinity. An explosion of fruit on the palate. Dark red fruit, spice, licotice, salinity, and tar. Better three or so years down the road.

Lamb Chop

Table mates

The dessert course was a Honeycake, supported by an Orange Blossom Glaze and a Yogurt Sauce. Michelle did her usual excellent job on this one. The dish was accompanied by the 2016 Kir-Yianni Akakis Sparkling Rosé. Strawberry and spice on the nose. Unappealing.

Honeycake

Michelle Hulbert, Pastry Chef

I really enjoyed this dinner. Generally I am more interested in the wine part of these dinners but the food quality and taste was of such a high quality that it easily eclipsed the wines. Kudos to Chad and his team. I think that Ryan has stepped into the ranks of the top-tier chefs in Orlando with this performance

     ©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Book Review: Peter Liem's Champagne

Champagne lovers are swimming in a sea of plenty with the recent release of three high-quality books on the topic: David White's excellent But First, Champagne, Robert Walters' Grower-focused Bursting Bubbles, and the subject book, Peter Liem's Champagne. If you could only buy one of the three, I would strongly recommend the latter. This book is a tour de force that is backed by the author's 10 years of living among, and writing about, the Champenois and their wines.

Source: penguinrandomhouse.com

In objective and thrust, The Liem and Walters book mirror each other. They both feel that the traditional Champagne Houses and methods consign the beverage to a place that is atypical when compared to other fine wines. Rather than celebrating "place," Champagne celebrates the winemaking and blending processes. But having lived in Champagne for over 10 years, and having tasted myriad vin clair wines, Liem has come to the conclusion that Champagne can be a terroir-expressive wine (the same conclusion reached and proffered by Walters).

In the Preface of his book , Liem states, "The contemporary movement in Champagne ... is, rather simply, the acknowledgment of champagne as a wine like any other":
... a new generation of producers are asking a more complex and detailed set of questions, employing more conscientious viticultural techniques and deepening their understanding of agricultural expression to present a more precise portrait of place ... this proliferation of new champagnes offers an unprecedented opportunity to glimpse the intricacies of Champagnes's terroir.
 There are challenges still to be solved on the way to defining this terroir:
It is still not yet possible to write a comprehensive analysis of Champagne terroirs, given the lack of tools and information available compared with other historic regions. However, it is my hope that this book can in some small way help to push the dialogue further toward acknowledging champagne as a terroir-expressive wine, and to provide a foundation for envisioning that."
The chart below shows the organization of the Peter Liem book and, at first blush, it covers all the bases of what one would expect from a wine-region-based book. As a matter of fact, there is some similarity to the White book both in terms of organization and practice. In terms of practice, some of the same devices (sidebars, etc.) are employed effectively in both books. But there are significant differences in coverage areas; where White eschews coverage of viticulture and viniculture, those areas are critical elements of the Liem book -- and are handled masterfully. But even in the areas of similar coverage the assurance and depth in the Liem book is surpassing.


What distinctively sets Liem apart from the competition, however, is his treatment of terroir.

The conventional approach to regionalizing Champagne shows Champagne's vineyards extending over 4 districts (shown in the map below), 20 sub-regions and 319 villages.  The districts are Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, and Côte des Bar.

Source: champagne.fr

In Champagne, Peter Liem expands the districts from four to seven. The new schema: divides the Vallée de la Marne into the Grand Vallée and the Vallée de la Marne; adds the Coteaux Sud d'Épernay; and combines the disparate zones between the heart of Champagne and Côte de Bar into a single sub-zone. The construct of this schema is illustrated in the map below.


Liem walks us through the villages associated with each of these sub-regions and the lieux-dits of note in each of these villages. He provides descriptions of the soils of these Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards, and included lieux-dits, and details the types of wine they produce. He tells of conversations and tasting with the principals producing wines from these terroirs. The granularity is unparalleled.





At the conclusion of each section on the reconstituted districts, Liem provides recommendations for terroir-expressive wines from that region.

The book is beautifully packaged in a two-compartment box set with one compartment containing the book and the other reproductions of long-lost maps of the Champagne region. The front cover is adorned with a picture of multiple bases of Champagne bottles and rich golden text listing the book title and the author's name. The paper on which the book is printed is thick and rich and the included photography compares very favorably with that employed by Walters, for example.

Source: Peter Liem's Champagne

I strongly recommend this book.


©Wine -- Mise en abyme