Welcome to The Spirit Haus, Amherst's Specialty Beverage Center

Tomorrow afternoon the paid portion of our tasting focuses on the three 100% Sagrantino expressions from vintage 2010 of Umbria's Paolo Bea – his Rosso de Veo [$62.99 less special 20% sale = $50.40], his Montefalco Sagrantino Pagliaro [$83.99 less 20% = $67.20] and his Montefalco Sagrantino Cerrete [$141.99 less 20% = $113.60], before finishing with Muga's full-bodied 2011 Torre Muga [$101.99 less 20% = $81.60], a modern, barrique-aged Rioja.

We'll begin our afternoon with three new playful, light/medium bodied wines: a 2018 Ciro Gaglioppo Rosato from Azienda Agricola Antonio Scala in Calabria [$14.99], a 2018 Malbec/Pinot Noir blend called JIJIJI (Ha Ha Ha in Spanish) from Gen del Alma in the Tupungato region of Mendoza [$14.99] and Judith Beck's 2017 Beck Ink [$14.99] a bio-dynamically farmed blend of 80% Zwiegelt and 20% St. Laurent from Austria's Burgenland. Beck hand harvests. The grapes are de-stemmed and fermentation occurs spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. In the JIJIJI and Ink reds there are very lively, bright mouth feels; a bit of sour cherry with the Beck and a fresh, snappy feel with the Gen del Alma, which also uses native yeasts and, somewhat uniquely, is bottled without undergoing malolactic fermentation. These are delightfully playful, natural wines. The Scala's Gaglioppo Rosso delivers the pure and spicy southern Italian notes of Ciro Rossi with a summer chill.

Here are reviews of the JIJIJI and the Ink:

Gen del Alma – JIJIJI 2018: Luis Gutierez, Wine Advocate, June 2018: The explosive and showy red 2018 JI JI JI made me think of a Morgon as soon as I put my nose in the glass. It partly had carbonic maceration and was pressed halfway through the fermentation, then finished fermenting like a white without skins or stems. It's still the same 50/50 blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir from Gualtallary and feels more serious and somewhat less wild, more about the place than the fruit. It fermented in a 23,000-kilo concrete vat and was bottled unoaked soon after it finished fermenting (without malolactic), in late April 2018. It has some chalky tannins, and it feels very mineral and fresh, again à la Morgon. Delicious and a real bargain. 20,000 bottles. Drink: 2018-2022. 93 points.

Judith Beck – Beck Ink: Wine Spectator, April 2019 Notes of game and loamy earth frame the core of cassis and crushed strawberry flavors in this silky red, with medium tannins and lively orange peel acidity. Inviting finish. Zweigelt and St. Laurent. Drink now through 2023. 2,500 cases made. 89 points. –AZ

Then, to Paolo Bea, the embodiment of a wine-making approach that speaks directly to the heart of those who believe in the cult of the grape, in the practice of an active and delicate vigilance which allows minimal intervention in the vines' growing and maturing processes. This small, family run estate follows this a bio-dynamic approach including indigenous yeasts, warmer fermentation temperatures, extended skin macerations, traditional aging vessels and bottling without fining or filtration. Their entire property encompasses 33 acres: 11 of which are dedicated to the vineyards (60% of that to Sagrantino), 4.5 to olives, and the remainder to the fruits, vegetables, grains and some livestock. If their wines are a touch esoteric, they are also beautifully honest. Each year the amount of wine they produce varies according to the natural conditions. They apologize when demand out strips their supply. We are allocated only one case of each release. Their Sagrantino wines are among the highest expressions of the Montefalco region. The 2010 vintage we taste tomorrow was a most excellent one.

The Rosso de Veo comes, for the most part, from younger vines in their Cerrete Vineyard, at 1300 to 1500 feet, the highest vineyard in the Denominization. After forty to fifty days of cuvaison, it is aged one year in stainless steel tanks and then spends two years in large oak barrels and one in bottle before release. In 2010, they made about 7200 bottles.

The Sagrantino Pagliaro comes from the Pagliaro vineyard at about 1300 feet. Its aging again for one year in stainless, then two years in large Slavonian oak and one in bottle before release. In 2010, they produced about 20,000 bottles.

The Sagrantino Cerrete, comes from that single vineyard mentioned in the Rosso de Veo, but only in the best of years, and is aged in large oak casks. In 2010, they produced about 7,250 bottles. It always receives an extra 18 months of bottle aging before release.

The Rosso de Veo is a superb introduction to Paolo Bea's style. Their Sagrantino Cerrete 2009, which we tasted a year ago last October, was a most profound expression, a breathtaking wine.

Here is a Dec, 2017 review of their 2010 Pagliaro from Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate: I was absolutely impressed by this wine from Giampiero Bea [Paolo Bea's son]. In fact, I bought a second bottle to share with my colleagues at the Wine Advocate year-end editorial meeting. The 2010 Sagrantino di Montefalco Pagliaro is gracefully tamed and tranquil. All those biting tannins that you might expect from the structured Sagrantino grape have been delicately subdued and rendered silky and smooth. It's magic. The wine opens to a dark garnet color with luminous ruby-like sparkles. The bouquet delivers fine aromas of dried cherry and exotic spice. This is one of the nicest wines I have tasted from this creative producer in Umbria, and the wine is drinking mostly beautifully starting at this very moment in time. Drink: 2018-2032. 94 points.

Our final wine of the afternoon will be Bodegas Muga's 2011 Torre Muga. A month ago , we tasted with much pleasure, Muga's Reserva 2014 and Prado Enea 2006. They were beautiful expressions of a traditional Rioja style. Their Torre Muga bottling is made in a decidedly modern style much more like the Artadi's Vinas de Gain and Pagos Viejos which we also tasted with the Mugas. Artadi's 100% Tempranillo wines took a step towards the wines of Bordeaux in style and structure. It will be interesting to see how the modern styled Torre Muga shows. Here are two reviews:

Bodegas Muga 2011 Torre Muga

Josh Raynolds, Vinous, September 2015: (75% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano : Opaque ruby. Powerful aromas of black and blue fruits, vanilla, incense and candied flowers are complicated by smoke and minerals. Broad, fleshy and appealingly sweet, offering intense boysenberry and cherry-vanilla flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. Rich yet vibrant Rioja with superb finishing clarity and smooth tannins arriving late to frame the wine's plush, sweet fruit. After fermentation and six months of aging in large French oak vats this wine was moved into small new French oak casks for another 18 months before bottling. Drink: 2020 – 2026. 93 points.

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, Apr 2015: The 2011 Torre Muga is a dark-colored, almost opaque, ripe and concentrated effort... It is quite heady with aromas of ripe plums, spices, lead pencil, ink and well-integrated oak. The palate is full-bodied, round and lush with plenty of dense and concentrated tannins that feel very young. If you have in mind the Torre Muga from the beginning, this has a lot less oak and is less extracted; it has much better balance. As usual, it's a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and others,..There will be no Torre Muga in 2012 or 2013, and possibly very little 2014. So stock up on this if you want a wine like it, because it will keep and develop well in bottle. 32,000 bottles produced. Drink: 2017-2026. 95 pts.

Seven wines in all comprise our afternoon beginning around 2:00 pm. The paid portion of tomorrow's tasting will be $10. Our 20% sale continues through Passover/Easter weekend.

Thank you so much for your time and continuing interest.




Scala Cirò Rosato 2018

Rose-coloured with lilac reflections, elegant and bright with fresh fruit and red flowers notes.



Judith Beck Beck Ink 2017

Blend of Zweigelt and a little St. Laurent that makes you want more. Handpicked, natural fermentation in stainless steel tanks, about 10 days of maceration, then pressed and aged in old barrels. Juicy and easy-going it's a wine for every occasion. Enjoy it chilled in summertime!



Paolo Bea Montefalco Sagrantino Secco Cerrete 2010

These products are culled from the unique soil of Montefalco, imparting a minerality that is exclusive to this area. All grapes and olives are harvested by hand with care and attention. The flavor of our wine is imbedded in the soil, as well as within our agricultural tradition. It emanates from our commitment to working with the rhythms and inconsistencies of nature, rather than trying to manipulate it.



Bodegas Muga Torre Muga 2011

The wine faithfully expresses the climatology that prevailed during the vintage, showing itself to be balanced and very juicy. Its easy-drinking character and "good manners" surprise you, even when you remember that it is only three years' old and it is from a zone which usually needs more bottle time. That said, you can make allowance for the occasional rough edges on the palate which are of little importance and will round themselves off very quickly.