3 New Releases at Raffaldini

Summer Wine Pick Up at Raffaldini

This past weekend was the wine pick up for Raffaldini Vineyards. Over the past seven years, Raffaldini has grown a loyal following. This is due not only to the great wine that they produce, but also because owner and winemaker Jay Raffaldini shows such passion for what he does.   Twice a year, Jay and his team holds a wine pick up party for his wine club members. At each pick up there are six bottles of wine, a sampling of new releases paired with authentic Italian food, and a short info session about the happenings at the winery and what’s next.

At the recent pick up, we sampled three new releases, noted below. The food pairing was Millecosedde (Soup of a Thousand Things) paired with the 2013 Sangiovese Riserva. While we were all tasting the new wines and enjoying the food, Jay brought the crowd together to recap the summer growing season and other developments.

According to Jay, the 2015 harvest is turning out to be one of the best in Raffaldini’s history. In comparison to the 2013 grown it season which had over 60 inches of rainfall, the 2015 season is downright parched. The hot temperatures paired with the low rainfall totals has accelerated the ripening cycle. The Pinot Grigio will be ready for harvest within the next week while some of his reds won’t be too far behind either. Jay compared the heat of this year to the 2010 and 2011 seasons which were much hotter. The dry weather has kept the vines focusing on developing the sugars and ripened or the fruits, amplifying their flavors.

Something to look forward to in this year’s harvest is the first crop of Sagrantino. This jammy grape produces a wine that’s rich in fruit flavors and big in body. The first wine of this varietal won’t be available for a few years yet, but it’s something to keep on the radar.

As far as other developments, Jay informed us that his neighbor’s vineyard will open its tasting room this fall.  We also learned that there are plans in the works to open two more vineyards, several cottages and a bistro restaurant serving panini sandwiches and light fare. The general focus for these developments is going to be Italian wines, grapes and food. When it’s fully realized, we will have our own little Tuscany right in the foothills of North Carolina. We can’t wait for it all to happen and it’ll be a great addition to the area.

Buona fortuna!

2014 Vermentino Superiore – The grapes for this wine came from the oldest Vermentino planted on the east coast.  What sets this vintage apart from the previous is how the grapes are treated during the wine making process.  One of the notable differences is that this vintage has undergone sink contact maceration for 24 hours during the fermentation process.  This imparted a bigger fruit flavor while also increasing the boldness of the wine.  It’s nicely balanced between butter and oak and finished with a sweet lemon flavor.

2013 Sangiovese Riserva – Since 2013 was such a wet year, a touch of Petit Verdot and Montepulciano were added to impart a bit of color and more structure.  The nose is dark with a big cherry spice.  The flavors are mild with a decent amount of dried red fruit.  The acid structure is complex leading to a soft finish.

2013 Montepulciano Riserva – Made from 100% Montepulciano, this wine is one of their boldest reds in the line up.  30% of the grapes were dried before processing the wines.  After fermentation, the wines spent two years in oak barrels, allowing more flavors to develop.  The nose is delightfully aromatic with notes of cedar and cherry blossom.  The flavors are big and robust with black cherries and currants, finishing with a light vanilla flavor.

Posted by Matt Kemberling

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