Sun (7/27) Dinner w/ Emilio/Laura/Maria
I have known Emilio on the wine boards for a fair number of yrs when I found out that he was growing Nebbiolo
in the GreenVlly of RRV. We finally met in '09 at our first NEB#1 get-together at PaxMahle's wnry in Forestville;
which was followed by dinner at Emilio & Laura's home. Since then, we've gotten together several times, including
meeting up at all the NEB get-togethers. Since it'd been several yrs since we'd broken bread & drunk Nebbiolos
together, I figured it was time to catch up.
Emilio farms his tiny vnyd at home, containing mostly Nebbiolo w/ a bit of Dolcetto. He also farms several
other vnyds in the area. He was originally making his Nebbiolo, including some from Nebb grown at RanchoSisquoc,
in his garage. Several yrs ago he built a small straw-bale wnry on his "estate", where he now vinifies his wine.
Emilio farms his Nebb according to MasanobuFukuoka principles. Compared to some of the well-manicured vnyds
along GreenVllyRd, it's a pretty ugly plot. But you can't argue w/ the results coming off the vnyd. He also makes
a small amount of PinotNoir from nearby vnyds. He originally called his label "Naked Lady", named after the roadside
flowers that are ubiquitous to the area. Now it's simply "Castelli Estate".
So...we convene at Emilio's house, joining up w/ his wife, Laura, and older daughter, Maria, up for the weekend
from TheCite. After fresh TomalesBay oysters poolside, we adjourn to the deck for a simple meal w/ good
wine and even better company, drinking and eating away into the late hrs:
1. Nalle JohannisbergRiesling HopkinsRanch/MendoCnty 2000: Somewhat golden color; rather nutty/toasted
hazelnuts/oxidized slight floral/R complex nose; tart rich some oxidized/nutty/toasted hazelnuts light honeyed/
floral/R somewhat bitter flavor; some interesting oxidative character and not altogether unpleasant but pretty
much on its last legs.
2. OltreTorrente DOC: ColliTortonesi Timorasso (14%; http://www.OltreTorrente.com; FreeRunWineMerchants.com) Paderna
2012: Light gold color; very perfumed/aromatic/melony/Timorasso light earthy quite lovely/perfumed nose;
fairly tart rather rich/lush strong floral/melony/Timorasso/pear blossom/slight appley light mineral/stoney
flavor; the rich/lush Timorasso character of the WalterMassa w/o the oak; an outstanding Timorasso.
3. Angoris Schioppettino DOC: FriuliColliOrientali (13.5%; L284C3; http://www.Angoris.com; GregoryCondesWines;
http://www.GCondesWines.com) Cormans 2011: Dark color; strong black cherry/black cherry cola/boysenberry
somewhat plummy/earthy/dusty big fruit nose; tart big/black cherry/boysenberry/RCCola/DrPepper rather earthy/
dustiy/mineral rather rough/rustic flavor w/ ample hard/rough tannins; quite a structured Schioppettino and needs
age; not the high-toned/Zin-like notes of some Schioppettinos. $20.00 (BB)
4. CastelliEstate Nebbiolo GreenVlly/RRV/SonomaCnty (Dry farmed) 2009: Med.color; some tarry/pungent/road tar
classic Nebb/floral/lilacs/violets slight smokey rather perfumed/aromatic nose; light tarry/pungent/road tar/smokey
somewhat lean/tart/angular rather floral/lilacs/violets flavor w/ some hard/bitey/sharp tannins; a very classic
expression of Nebbiolo along the lines of a good Gattinara like a Sperino Uvaggio; a bit hard on the palate but
worked well w/ the SpaghettiCarbonara. $34.00
A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. Emilio served the Nalle blind and we finally narrowed it down to GWT or JR, but never guessed it to be a Nalle.
It more resembled an oxidized/aged Chard. It did not go w/ the fresh TomalesBay (harvested the day before they
were closed by the Feds) oysters, but w/ some savory apps, it would show much better. A bit reminiscient of
some oxidized Friulian Ribollas.
The Timorasso was one of the better examples I've had. It shows a Chard-like richness but the very floral
aromatics that Timorasso can have. They should be planting this all up&down the coast of Calif. I was not
familiar w/ the importer, FreeRunLLC, based in Richmond/VA. They actually have a very interesting portfolio
of Italian wines (mostly), but some very good wineries from Calif & the PacificNW.
The Schioppettino I also liked quite a lot. It was one of the bigger/rougher/more rustic renditions of
Schioppettino. Another grape they should be planting all over Calif.
I have always thought Emilio's Nebbs are among the best we've tried at the several NEB events. I've also liked
KenMusso's DueVigne and BrianHarrington's Nebbiolos as well. They seem to be more of a Calif expression of Nebb
whilst Emilio's have shown more tarry character and fall closer to the Gattinara paradigm.
This '09 version of his Estate Nebbiolo is scheduled for an October release. It will be available from his
WebSite: (http://www.castellivineyards.com) . I'll be buying. Because of the tiny crop of the 2010 vintage,
he got only a tiny crop off his Estate. It will be blended away into a larger batch of LakeCnty Nebb that he
made from purchased grapes and called LaBruna, after the fog that dominates in his area.
Emilio originally hails from the LakeComo area of NorthernItaly, in the heart of Lombardy and not far from
the Valtelline, moving to GreenVlly about 2005. So wine and Nebbiolo are in his blood. He is also an avid
sailor of Laser class sailboats. In fact, the following weekend, he was competing in the US National Regatta being
held down in SanFranciscoBay. Competing against all the young whippersnappers, he managed a very respectful 14'th
out of 30 competitors. In epee,when the old guys finish in the top half in Open competitions, we consider that
a victory for the geezers.