Where’s Gina? … Visiting Vinchio & Vaglio Serrra

Gina is on her spring tour (Premier Vineyard Tours), taking a group of lucky Seattle travelers on a wine tour of Piedmont, in northwest Italy.  Today we got notes from the road on her visit to the wine cooperative for the towns of Vinchio & Vaglio Serra near Asti:

Vineyards of Vaglio Serra; you can see the village of Vinchio (with the tower) in the distance to the left.

The two villages are right next to each other. See the signs on the road.

The winery (the building on the left) is the original whole winery from 1959.

The tasting room is really cool. Best part is you can bring your 32lt or 54lt bottle and “fill up” at their clever pumps… See next two photos:

Price is around 1,50-2,50€ per liter!  Winemaker, Massimo, next:

He’s been the interior winemaker since 1981.

Above is their impressive bottling room.  Everything is state of the art. My favorite was their robot:

Robot is programmed to do many things; one was sorting bottles after bottling into boxes.

This is the cellar. Mostly Slovenian oak with a little French oak for the Barbara d’Asti like the I Tre Vescovi (which we sell at Portalis!)

Here’s Emiliano (who visited Portalis on his last trip to Seattle). He gave us the tour. He’s pictured here in front of 3 presses. This one is used for single vineyard wines.

Now THAT’s a racking system, for your information! The pallets move back and forth on the rack.

Emiliano did an awesome job! We all enjoyed it very much, and so interesting. We will definitely bring people here in future.  Coolest thing…

This co-op was the first winery in northern Italy to go totally solar. Panels are on top of this building. You can see on the sign in front how much energy is being produced. They run totally on solar power!  Also, they are biodynamic.

And yes, here is one more of Emiliano giving us an awesome tasting of their Brut Spumante Pinot Noir/Chardonnay & Brachetto Brut.

He’s also sending some vino back to Seattle, including this high-end Barbera ~ only 3000 bottles produced. Two vintages got Tre Bicchiere, including the 2005 which won them Winery of the Year in Italy.

Heading to town for salumi & fromaggio … Ciao from Italia!

If you’d like to learn more about joining Gina on one of these wine excursions, go to: http://www.premiervineyardtours.com/

Wines from the co-op of Vinchio & Vaglio Serra available at:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
5205 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle WA 98107

Does Vintage Matter when Choosing a Rosé?

Spring has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and of course this brings to mind picnics, drinks on the patio, and of course dining with rosé! What better accompaniment with lighter dishes than an acidic, lighter & fruit forward wine with a palate complimenting dryness. Rosé has surged in popularity in recent years in the States thanks to its ability to be paired with a vast range of foods & appealing color.

Choosing a Rosé
First off, there are quite a few misconceptions about this delightful drink. Firstly, color does NOT matter. Many people think that a lighter colored rosé means better finesse and overall improved quality; this is not true. One of the best known rosé producing regions (Tavel) is known for making deep-colored, bone-dry, robust rosé wines. Another example is a Languedoc rosé: expect a very deep blush colored wine that is not only light, but refreshing! It really comes down to the producer and the quality of the wine in the bottle: color does not apply.

True rosé is bled, not blended. Look for the word ‘saignee’ when choosing a French rose, meaning the production is in fact ‘bleeding’. When producers combine two separate grapes (one red and one white) the overall quality is compromised and the final product does not stand the test of time.(Note: one area where blending is practiced is Tavel, so in this particular region choosing the latest vintage is necessary.)

People have come to believe that rosé is only good in its current vintage. This again is only true with poorly made rosé wines. Rosé of good quality can age in the bottle for a few years and be even better than in its current vintage. The taste is what matters, not the year.

Here are a few of our favorites (updated June 2014):

Domaine de La Croix Bouquie 2011 Pinot d’Aunis Rosé (FR)
(pictured above & one of the prettiest in the shop!)

Reg. Price: $15.99 | Insider Price: $14.99 | Mixed Case: $12.79

Tenuta Montecchiesi 2011 Selverello Sangiovese Rosé
Reg. Price: $15.99 | Insider Price: $13.99 | Mixed Case: $11.19

Chateau Rivière 2012 Minervois Rosé (FR)
Reg. Price: $14.99 | Insider Price: $13.99 | Mixed Case: $11.99

Isenhower 2012 Paintbrush Rosé (WA)
Reg. Price: $16.99 | Mixed Case: $13.59

Chateau Barbanau 2013 l’Instant Rosé (FR)
Reg. Price: $22.99 | Insider Price: $21.99 | Mixed Case: $18.39