John Paul Kaminga
Updated: Feb 25, 2022
Andrea Felici Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2018 - (organic)
It's back! A perfect model of freshness, this is one of our faves, and the new vintage lives up to all of our expectations. White, yellow and green fruit notes, crisp and tart, are accented by floral, herbal and saline nuances. It finishes dry and long, with gorgeous interplay of fruit and minerals. Certainly consider this to pair with a tin of the grilled branzino in olive oil.
Domaine Alary Cairanne Blanc 'L'Estevanas' 2018 - (organic)
You will not see white wine from Cairanne very often. An iconic and long celebrated village in the southern Rhone, Cairanne is mostly known for exceptional red wines that compete with more famous names like Chateauneuf or Gigondas. This fabulous white is a blend of 50% Clairette, 40% Roussanne and 10% Bourboulenc, and it tastes like something that might cost $50+. Pineapple, white peach, diverse citrus and green banana are accented by notes of fennel, honey and white flowers. Silky and rich on the palate, it is very fresh, but not so tart. It is young, vibrant and complex, and will age well for at least a few years. Quite a bargain in the context of Rhone whites. It might be just the right thing for some smoked mussels.
Orgo Kisi 2018 - (organic)
One of the best amber wines we've tasted this year. You might think of it as an orange wine, but the preferred nomenclature in Georgia, the world's oldest wine region, is amber. Organic Kisi grapes are fermented in qvevri (large clay vessels) with no yeast inoculation or additions, and the wine is left on its skins for 6 months. It is bottled with minimal sulfur. Aromas of dried apricot, peach, flowers and pu-erh tea are followed by a fresh and dry palate, with significant tannic grip and length. Try this with braised meat, roasted eggplant, or salty cheeses.
Le Piane Maggiorina 2018 - (organic)
The 2018 Maggiorina just landed and it is living up to the idea that Le Piane's wines improve with every vintage: the 2016 and 2017 were simply wondrous, but the 2018 is seemingly even better. Many of you know these wines well and some of you met Christophe Kunzli in early March; if you don't know what we're talking about, get on board, you will not regret it. A blend centered on Nebbiolo, it is strikingly aromatic. Exuberantly fruity yet full of savory, herbal and floral nuances, the 2018 Maggiorina will be worth saving for at least 5 years. It is immensely complex and intense for a wine under $20; it will show up many a Barolo and Barbaresco, though one should not expect it to be as rich and powerful as a wine from those more famous regions.
Vigne Guadagno Irpinia Aglianico 2015
From one of Campania's most promising young wineries, this delicious Aglianico is a new obsession. Beguiling on the nose: blue plums, red cherries, green herbs, rosehips, mint, bee pollen, licorice, leather... it leaves the taster searching. Firmly tannic and a touch rustic (just the way we like our Aglianico), this is going to be a great choice for slow braises with tomatoes and herbs.
Castello la Leccia Chianti Classico Riserva 'Giuliano' 2015 - (organic)
A blend of 98% Sangiovese and 2% Malvasia Nera, this is quite serious Chianti. Aromas and flavors of dark plums, cherries, violets, mint, leather, exotic spice. Open-knit and immediately delicious, it is young and primary today, but looking forward to a decade or two of positive development. If opened soon, one might make the most of it with the right food: steak, lamb, game, a savory bean and mushroom casserole... something rich and hearty.