When a company's motto is "Fine Wine or Death" you know that they are going to fit right in here at the Bottega. Just about four years ago, after years of experience in retail, supply-side and just about every other dark corner of the wine world that exists, the Hangtime Wine Co. was founded by the notorious Jeff Slavin. Since its inception Hangtime has been on the leading edge of representing great, small production wines that are carefully sourced though a solid network of boutique importers and direct relationships. Jeff's ability to combine great value with many traditional, organic and natural wines has made him one of our best sources for wines from all corners of the globe. Be it humble country wines from the southwest of France, well balanced American selections from California, kegs of riesling or some of the most sought out cult wines of Italy, every wine in Slavin's book is a gem.
Tonight we have the pleasure of hosting Mr. Hangtime, aka The Funkster Flava' Slave, Jeff Slavin himself while he pours out some of his best Italian selections, all while we listen to some funk over the speakers. We will explore the Franco-Italian Alps with a great new Valle d'Aosta nebbiolo then journey all the way down the boot to Sicily to try a snappy new nero d'avola. This is going to be a lively tasting, large straw hats and Boosty Collins shirts are recommended, don't miss out, "we're gonna tear the roof off this sucka' !"
The (Funktastic, only because it's Slavin and not the wines) Lineup:
Fuso, Verdicchio di Matelica, Le Marche
Everyone's favorite red wine (Fuso barbera) now comes in an exciting new white wine version! We (I) call it Fuso Crystal™ because of its bright, crisp style but fear not, it won't go the way of Crystal Pepsi (yikes).
Vallarom, Vadum Caesaris, Vallagarina Bianco, Trentino-Alto Adige
Vallarom is a small family domaine at the foot of the Trentio/Vallagarina massif; Julius Caesar crossed the Adige River at this point, hence the name. This is a refreshing mountain wine based on a field blend of pinot bianco, riesling, sauvignon and chardonnay. Lots of mountain herbs with a broad mineral tone.
Cave Cooperatives de Donnas, Donnas, Valle d'Aosta
In the shadow of Mont Blanc the high mountain Valle d'Aosta may be one of our favorite regions in all of Italy. Being in such close approximation to France and at such an extreme altitude the wines often combine the best of both French and Italian wine. Elegance and freshness maybe a nod to the French with savory, smoky and a hint of rustic coming from the Italians. Donnas is one of only three sub-appellations in the entire valley and is at the southern end of the range, a stone's throw from Piedmont. Almost all nebbiolo with a dash of freisa and the rare local variety neyret. This wine oozes minerals and gentle spice, watch out Langhe nebbiolo.
La Casaccia, Fresia, Piedmont
A lovely new addition from one of our favorite little producers in the southern Piedmont. La Casaccia is a family farm that specializes in the more humble, everyday grape varieties of the Piedmont; Barbera, Grignolino and here Fresia. Freisa is the grandfather grape of nebbiolo but often has a bit more color and a lively verve that makes it particularly refreshing, especially during the Spring. Serve slightly chilled with a big plate of salumi.
Feudo Montoni, 'NM' nerello mascalese, Agrigento, Sicily
The beauty of nerello mascalese is that it defies the norm of Sicilian wine; over-ripe, over-extracted, low acidity, high alcohol, etc. You most often find nerello planted high on the slopes of Mount Etna in the deep volcanic ash and at extremely high altitudes. On Etna the grape can achieve great things, though greatness often has its price. We were more than a little excited when Slavin presented us this novel nerello that costs less than half of most Etna versions. Reason is, it's not from Etna but from Agrigento to the west. Here in the lower plans of coastal Sicily nerello grows wild but is often blended into local wines, here we have a true to form nerello with its bright cherry, soft core of fruit balanced by its high toned acidity all for $20. A real find, get on it.
Maretima, Nero d'Avola, Sicily
Sometimes you just want a nice, deep easy drinking red wine that is well made, tastes great and costs very little. We were skeptical at first, many nero d'avola's in this price range ($13) can be exactly what I described above (lots of booze and note very well done) but this one more than exceeded our expectations, it blew us away. Organic vineyard work, hand harvesting and small scale production all add up to our new favorite nero. Buy it by the dozen.
|Manny the Hangtime puggle|