Exclusive offer: 9/9/2022 – Sicilian bargain plus two returning favorites
This offer is available from Friday, September 9th at 3:00 pm to Monday, September 12th at 3:00 pm, or as supplies last. First come, first served on all wines.
New! Payment link is included on our order form. Payment goes directly to Solo Vino LLC.
No more back-and-forth with emailed invoices and payment links. YAY!!
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After last week’s Barolo Bonanza (wow what a response! Thank you!) we are taking the foot off the gas a bit and offering just three wines, but three AWESOME wines indeed! One that we can offer at the best price around (half price compared to the east and west coasts), and the return-to-stock of two personal favorites.
A Sicilian bargain: Murgo Etna Rosso!
This is fancy wine that has been featured at fancy wine shops on the coasts. The top-level wine shop Somm Select is one of the biggest champions of this wine, which delivers the type of purity of fruit and style that they seek out regularly.
(Note the price.)
The editorial director of Somm Select, sommelier David Lynch, has this praise for the wine:
“Year in and year out, this superlative Sicilian red never fails to amaze us. Even as the wines of Mount Etna have exploded in popularity, Murgo’s Etna Rosso remains among the very best values in southern Italian wine.”
So who is this Murgo producer and what makes this wine so good?
Let’s start with the wine. It’s 100% Nerello Mascalese, the great red grape of Etna, which in my opinion comes in two different personalities. Some Nerello Mascalese is gutsy, brawny, rough, and super interesting in a old-world Barolo way. Fantastic wines, with tannin that needs a few hours in a decanter to really start to unlock. Those that purchased some of the Tascante single vineyard wines a few weeks ago know what I’m talking about.
Then there’s the other style, which this one is.
It’s a style of elegance, grace, detail, and one that appeals more toward Pinot Noir drinkers.
Here’s something interesting to think about. In the wine world we often talk about substitutes. “I love Sauvignon Blanc but I’m a bit burnt out, what should I try?” (Answer: Vermentino.)
Or: “My go-to is Champagne but I just can’t afford it. What should I try? (Answer: Vintage dated Gran Reserva Cava.)
But here’s the curveball: “I love Pinot Noir (who doesn’t) but I want to try something different. What should I buy?”
The truth of the matter is that very few wines do what Pinot Noir does: elegance, detail, brightness, light body, food friendly pairing, and an ability to simply make you want more with every sip.
Finding a Pinot Noir substitute can be hard work.
What you have here is the PERFECT wine for lovers of Pinot Noir and classic Italian wines.
90 points from Vinous:
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
From their NYC importer, Michael Skurnik:
The Scammacca del Murgo family is one of the few winemaking families who can claim long, deep Etna roots; longer than even some of the older Nerello Mascalese vines!https://www.skurnik.com/producer/murgo/
For more than 100 years this family has cared for olive and fruit trees, crafted fine olive oils and jams, and nurtured Etna’s native grapes under Etna’s looming shadow. Yet it’s only been since 1980 that the baron Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo transformed the farm into a modern agricultural estate. After a long and illustrious career as a diplomat with important postings as Italy’s ambassador to the Vatican, Brussels and Moscow as well as Assistant Secretary of State in Italy’s Foreign office, the baron came home to focus on his ancestral lands with the help of his eight (!!!) sons, who are all involved in the family business.
Currently Murgo’s 30 hectares of vineyards are located on three farms: San Michele in Santa Venerina, Gelso Bianco near Catania, and La Francescana in Aprilia. 1982 saw the first bottling of Etna Rosso, while their first vintage of Brut sparkling was in 1990. Farming is done sustainably with the goal of producing pleasing wines inextricable from their terroir with the lowest possible environmental impact.
Regular price: $24 a bottle. Our offer: $14.99 a bottle, plus an additional 20% off on a solid case (which gets it down to $11.99 a bottle!)
This is stock-up-wine for the upcoming holiday season, a perfect wine to give as gifts, and an ideal wine with all upcoming holiday meals. It will be on my table for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Back in stock: The Bunny Bubbly!
At a live class we did a few months ago we highlighted one of our favorite sparkling wines, the Lelièvre “Leucquois” Brut from the region of Lorraine, France. The response was overwhelming, and the wine sold out immediately. Those that wanted to get in it hand for Easter were out of luck.
And typical of so many wines lately, the next shipment was in a container, on a boat, heading to New Jersey. But once it got here (late), the backup of containers and lack of truckers led to it being stuck for many months. (Have no fear, the containers are “reefers” or refrigerated containers. So the wine has actually been sitting in what’s effectively a perfect environment all summer long.)
We’re happy to announce it’s back in stock in the Twin Cities. In a big way! Enough to hopefully get us to New Year’s.
What makes this wine special? It’s 100% Gamay! Yep, you read that right.
The region of Côte de Toul, where this is from, is itty bitty. Located west of Alsace, and around the town of Nancy, this was a historic region for Champagne grape production before the AOC laws and boundaries were established. When those laws were created in the early 20th century, Côte de Toul was left out of the party. Their wine economy collapsed with the World Wars, and never returned.
Except for a few special producers, all located in the Côte de Toul AOC.
Côte de Toul was the only AOC in Lorraine until 2010 (when Moselle was added). It’s only 110ha in size, and only produces 50,000 cases total in the region.
That we see ANY Côte de Toul in America is amazing, and that any makes it to the Upper Midwest is a bit of a wine miracle. But that’s what happens when you’re talking about high quality, small, independent importers and wholesalers (this is brought in by Bourget Imports in Eagan).
What is the wine like? Super pale pink in the glass, just a touch of color, one that I’d call more Vin Gris than Rosé. It’s a Brut, dry as can be. Dynamic aromas of strawberry, apple, quince, lilac blossoms, and spring rain. It’s a persistent wine, one that doesn’t give up with time in the glass. It’s a super duper bubbly, one of our favorites, and obscure enough to serve to wine geek friends.
And that bunny is soooooooo cute! ?
Back in stock (a tiny bit): Xisto Illimitado from the Douro
Back in January, one of the very fist exclusive offers from TCWE featured this producer, Luis Seabra. The inventory sold out immediately, and after tasting the wine people have been clamoring for more.
A tiny bit more of the red has landed at the local importer’s warehouse, and a few bottles of the 2017 were found as well. Some cases went out to restaurants right away, and the little bit of inventory left is now available to us.
Here’s what we wrote in January, in the first offer (when both the white and the red were available, note that today’s offer is only on the red wine):
Luis Seabra’s “Xisto Ilimitado” from the Douro Valley of Portugal.
Eric Asimov of the New York Times, in an article featuring Mr. Seabra in 2019, said “In 2013, Mr. Seabra set out on his own, and is now making some of Portugal’s most compelling wines, both white and red.” See the full article here.
These wines represent the seismic shift in style we’re seeing not only in Portugal but around the world, moving many wine styles to that of detail and freshness. Both of these are some of my new favorite wines from Portugal.
Typical of Portuguese wines, I urge you to not be concerned about what they are made of. Both are blends of native Portuguese varieties. But if you must know, the white is Rabigato, Codega, Gouveio, and Viosinho (all 30-45 year old vines planted in mica schist soil). The red is Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Rufete, Tinta Barroca, Malvasia Preta, and Donzelinho Tinto (all 35-60 year old vines in schist soil).
The white is full of lemon-mineral aromas with a ripe pear background, very much in a Burgundian style (specifically Puligny-Montrachet). Stone, orchard fruit, mineral, power, finesse.
The red is packed with a fine balance of red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper, slate, and herbal aromas. Medium bodied in the best way, able to handle a wide range of flavors.
Only 750 cases of each wine were produced.
Anyone who loves the wines of Portugal should jump on this.
It’s good to have it back! But note this is extremely limited. Just a bit of 2019, and even less 2017.
The bargain Murgo Rosso Etna is a complete no-brainer. Especially if you buy a solid case and get it under $12 a bottle. It’s a wine that over-delivers in a spectacular way, will make recipients of it very happy, and at this price you can check off a ton of friend-family-client gifts for the upcoming holidays (if you don’t drink it all yourself).
The sparkling “bunny” wine is a specialty wine for sparkling wine lovers. It’s also a great choice when you have wine geek friends coming over, for it’s such a rarity to see a wine from Côte de Toul. Note it will continue to be available as we go into the season, but probably not at this price.
Lastly, you know my love of Portugal and Portuguese wines. The Xisto Illimitado is one of the best available, supports a super cool tiny producer and importer, and checks off all the boxes in terms of quality and bang-for-the-buck.
Happy shopping and thank you again for your support of what we do.
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education
NEW! Your payment to Solo Vino for the Friday offer is contained on the order form. No more back-and-forth emailed invoices and payments. Yay!!
This offer is closed. Thank you for your interest.