Let’s get the ball rolling with an under-$13 Italian sparkler from Corvezzo labeled organically grown and vegan. Some readers may believe all wine is vegan. However, this descriptor is making its way onto more labels, because many winemakers use animal products in the fining process for sediment removal to avoid cloudy appearance and/or off flavors such as bitterness or astringency from tannin. They may employ casein from milk, egg whites (albumin), gelatins from bones or isinglass from the buoyancy bladders of fish. Dried or whole ox blood was formerly used. This practice was made illegal in Euroland and the U.S. in 1997. More recently, this fining may be done with chitin from bug bodies and synthetic polymers, i.e., PVPP. To date, the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau does not require labeling of most allergens, with the exception of sulfites. These processes are quite common because consumers are more aware and many demand crystal-clear wine. The sediment frequently found in wine results from binding of these types of agents with particles too small to filter. Oldies may remember wine stewards employing a candle while decanting in upscale boites to assure no sediment reached your glass. Always tough watching an ounce or two of very expensive wine heading to the trash bin. If I have turned off any readers with “old wine” in their cellars, contact me for disposal. I will happily pick it up and write of how it performed.
Corvezzo wine is often packaged in bottles similar to those used by top-flight Cognac or Grand Marnier. I shopped pricing and wish to inform that several stores with organic, biodynamic, etc. in their names charged a steep premium; in two instances it was $27-$30. Corvezzo Organic and Vegan Prosecco DOC 2020 is new to local markets. Sparkling fine perlage, acacia, jasmine, apple and honey aromas. On the bright palate, Glera fruit and mild lemon flavors persist through a long, slightly sweet finish. Recommend with cannoli and tiramisu-type desserts. Try this vs. LaMarca, which I recommended in the past, and let me know. Those who prefer organic Spumante Extra Dry Rosé can take a look at Pizzolatto, a blend of Glera and Raboso that’s bright, pale rose, fine bead, with bouquet of raspberry, peach, pear and flint tones. On the crisp, creamy, bubbly medium palate, look for lemon curd and honey. Clean, long, floral finish; 88 McD under $15.
Back to Stags’ Leap for a Petite Sirah called Ne Cede Malis (“Yield not to misfortune”) 2017. Pronounced “peh-teet sear-ah,” this 95 McD killer entered its window this year and will last 20 more, minimum. The 2018 may be a bit better. Needs shelf time. Blackberry/blueberry nose, with blackberry cassis, plum and white pepper nuance, riding a balancing acidity and relaxed but slightly elevated tannins through a long, clean finish. PS is known for its dark color and tannin. Color says don’t worry; time heals all. These vineyards date back to 19th century, most though from 1930s. Those visiting Napa should choose Stags’ Leap as a preferred site to visit. Gorgeous! If $30-$35 sounds better, their 2018 Napa Valley Petite Sirah ain’t nuttin’ to sneeze at either. I prefer Petite Sirah for sipping but it goes great with lamb on a smoky grill. This is not Syrah but is actually a varietal grape aka Durif. About 90% pf Cali plantings named PS are actually Durif. I prefer to open these closer to 60 degrees and decant or let them rest in the glass an hour or so before serving. Calvert Woodley in D.C. has cases of 12 for $335. Those pols get all the breaks. Perhaps the reason they spend a million for a thousand paycheck. I’m certain if you can’t locate it in your shoppe, your friendly local wine store pal will bring some in at a fair price. Keep in mind this is a service, and ordering a single bottle may be inappropriate. It may be possible to get an order of two each 2017, ‘18 and ‘19. I’m 100% sure red winos will be delighted. The following site is worth a visit: wine-searcher.com/awards-2-international+wine+%26+spirit+competition.