September Imported Wine: 2011 Casa Brindisi Riserva, Molise, ITALY
Located in the most obscure Italian region of all, Molise, Casa Contini is from the Eastern coast of Central Italy, in a place so remote, that in a country the size of California, only 1 in 100 Italians have been there. Casa Contini is a spectacular vineyard site (with a small house) owned for three generations by Botter family. Luca is in the wine bottling business, and is one of the most successful in the country, but he also owns this quirky patch of land that produces amazing, varietally classic fruit. Moreover, he ages the wines in large oak barrels for several years, gently and patiently imparting soft tannic structure into the wines.
The result? They are Riservas that are immensely pleasing, ready to drink immediately, and a remarkable value. Thus, we found them too good to pass up. The wines do not meet the criteria for Small Vineyards, because the Botter family business is a true corporation, and the vineyard site is not in the smallest 10% in the region. So, with great enthusiasm, Small Vineyards imports the wines under their Largo brand. The quality is stupendous, and sometimes exceptions such as these, best prove the rule.
Pronunciation: Casa Contini (ka-ZAH cone-TEE-nee)
Varietals: 80% Negroamaro, 10% Malvasia Nera di Brindisi, 10 % Sangiovese
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume
More about the wine: This wine has a very long tradition in Italy. The town of Brindisi was the Roman gateway port to the East, and thus provided its own wine to Rome along with salt and olive oil imported from other Mediterranean provinces of the Roman Empire.
The vineyards are planted at short distance from the most southern part of the Adriatic Sea, and they benefit from the climate influence of the sea. With cooling breezes during summer evenings and nights, warm temperatures are reduced in the grapes and the acidity increases, making a great wine!
Food Pairings: Pair this fun wine with almost anything! Enjoy with Italian cuisine, such as sausage, pizza and pasta. A great match with grilled meats and savory cheeses as well.
Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “This wine is savory and really good! A very decadent blend of indigenous Italian varietals from a remote area. It is definitely a pizza or pasta night wine. You may need a second bottle…mark my words!”-JL