This year it took me a while to publish the second article by 2022 Blend, but with my master's degree and my continual living between Rome and Monte Isola, time is really running out. Then I managed to take many more notes than other years that I wanted to share with you at photo of the labels, which I consider fundamental in choosing a wine. Sure, I'm an esthete… but how a bottle looks says a lot about the cellar and also about the wine. But above all he speaks for the contents of the bottle even before it is uncorked. And I find that among these wines distributed by Bellenda there are some real gems at the label level. Which labels do I find most beautiful? Supernatural by Bodegas Menade and Crianza by Costers del Sio.
Blend 2022 started with a conference on agroforestry moderated by journalist Antonio Paolini. Talking about it today, with an obvious environmental and energy problem, should be a stimulus for the entire supply chain, from those who produce to those who buy a bottle of wine. However, in this article, I want to focus on the splendid wines imported by Bellenda, promising to tell you about agroforestry, in a piece entirely dedicated to this theme, in the coming weeks.
Blend 2022: Champagne Forget-Brimont
Maison that I didn't know and would place as "to be explored", especially for those who love vertical and rather snappy Champagnes. Being a completely different style from Champagne Roger Coulon who already imported Bellenda, I find it a great choice.
Champagne Forget-Brimont, now in its sixth generation of winemakers, is located in the heart of Reims mountains. Perfectly focused on the theme of the environment thanks to their durable and respectful viticulture with the use of natural fertilizers and very little treatment in the vineyard.
Champagne Forget-Brimont | Extra Brut Premier Cru
It has a pale and brilliant straw yellow color with a numerous, fine and persistent perlage. The nose is very delicate, not particularly complex and mostly tinged with bread crust. In the mouth it is crunchy, very fresh and very vertical.
Champagne Forget-Brimont | Brut Premier Cru
It is quite pale and brilliant straw yellow with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is delicate and elegant, already more complex, with very pleasant buttery notes. In the mouth it is crunchy, very fresh, vertical, sapid and rounder than the previous one.
Champagne Forget-Brimont | Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru
It has a brilliant straw yellow color with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is extremely delicate, with hints of white flowers and just hinted peaches. In the mouth it is coherent, crunchy, vertical and overall round.
Champagne Forget-Brimont Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut Premier Cru 2016
It has a brilliant straw yellow color with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. Despite having the delicate nose of the previous ones, it is more complex and interesting. We recognize buttery and pastry notes. In the mouth it is crunchy, fresh and very sapid with a nice structure. Long finish of unsweetened fresh cream.
Blend 2022: Château Lou Payral
I got to know the Perigord area thanks to Bellenda who made me discover this company that I appreciate more and more, year after year. We are in the south-west of France, in Razac de Saussignac, in an enologically crazy and unfortunately very neglected area.
Chateau Le Payral produces organic wines without added sulphites and with the use of indigenous yeasts.
Château Lou Payral: Perigord 2020
It is straw yellow with a consistent pink gold reflection. The nose is delicately intense and quite complex with notes of fresh and jam apricot, honey and white chocolate. In the mouth it is coherent, intense, loaded, structured, warm and very pleasant with a long tropical finish.
Château Lou Payral: Perigord 2017
It is straw yellow, almost veiled. The nose is intense and fascinating, with clear and concentrated aromas. We recognize notes of candied orange, mushroom, medicinal herbs. In the mouth it is coherent, fresh, soft, structured and with a long mandarin finish, both fresh and candied.
Château Lou Payral: kiss
It is straw yellow with rose gold reflections. The nose is delicate, with pleasant notes of dandelion flowers. In the mouth it is fresh, coherent, long and endowed with great pleasantness that makes you want to drink it.
Château Lou Payral: Saussignac 2004
What a crazy wine! Of a beautiful amber color, consistent. On the nose you can feel the typical aromas of botrytis cinerea with notes of honey, mint and apricot. In the mouth there is a splendid balance between sweetness, sapidity and enveloping minerality. Long nutty finish.
Château Lou Payral: Merlot 2019
It is ruby red with violet reflections, impenetrable and consistent. The nose is intense, with notes of leather and animal scents. In the mouth it is fresh, savory, coherent, soft and quite tannic. Equipped with an excellent drink.
Blend 2022: Costers del Sio
A project that was born from Juan de Porcioles who has always wanted to live in the countryside and built an estate where olive trees and cereals are grown, animals are raised in the wild and wines are made using ancient methods.
Costers del Sio – Las Cuadras, white blend viognier & muscat a petit grains 2021
It is pale straw yellow and brilliant. The nose is intense with notes of white peach and ripe pear. In the mouth it is coherent, soft and very fresh, well balanced and with a long finish.
Costers del Sio – Las Cuadras, Tempranillo & Garnacha tinted 2021
It has a transparent, consistent ruby red colour. The nose is intense with spicy notes of nutmeg and pepper, cherry and blackberry. In the mouth it is coherent, spicy, soft and warm, but also fresh and tannic. Long finish.
Costers del Sio – Las Cuadras, Crianza DO Costers del Segre Garnacha tinted & Syrah 2019
It is transparent and consistent ruby red. The nose is intense and spicy. In the mouth it is soft, coherent, and with a well-present and fine spiciness. Long finish and great drinkability.
Costers del Sio – Siòs Nature DO Costers del Segre Syrah 2021
It is ruby red with little transparency, consistent. The nose has earthy notes of green pepper, violet and sour cherry. In the mouth it is fresh, quite soft and with a tannin that has yet to round off. Great potential for aging in the bottle.
Costers del Sio – FincaSiòs, Vino de lagar 2017
It has an intense and transparent ruby red, consistent. The nose is intense, fine, elegant, with balsamic notes of undergrowth, black pepper, cardamom and licorice. In the mouth it is fresh, soft, sapid, coherent and with a long finish.
Costers del Sio – AltoSiòs, Vino de lagar 2017
It has an intense and transparent ruby red, consistent. The nose is intense, with a note that doesn't fully convince me. In the mouth it is soft and coherent, but it has slightly green tannins and a note of negative lipids is felt which makes me think of some difficulty with grape seeds.
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Blend 2022: Marco Levis
In Alpago Marco Levis has given a new impetus to local viticulture and has rediscovered ancient methods of grape cultivation, such as the ring incision of the fruiting head towards the end of ripening. The terroir is magnificent: in the mountains a small lake helps to avoid sudden changes in temperature and reflects the sunlight, while the vines enjoy large annual temperature variations.
Mark Levis – Pinot Grigio
It has a pale straw yellow colour, brilliant and consistent. The nose is delicate, fine and with pleasant fruity notes. in the mouth it is very sapid, very mineral and overall really pleasant. Definitely a Pinot Grigio capable of exceeding all my expectations.
Marco Levis – Annular 2020
It is straw yellow with pink reflections. The nose is delicate and particular with very pleasant slightly oxidized notes. In the mouth it is soft, coherent, fresh and also endowed - like all Marco's wines - with excellent drinkability. [In this article dedicated to Blend 2019 you will find a photo of the label]
Mark Levis – Pinot Noir 2020
It is pale ruby red, transparent and quite consistent. The nose feels very fruity, cherry both fresh and jam. In the mouth it is coherent, fresh, to be served fresh and with a light structure. Perfect with frying, especially baby octopus, cuttlefish and barbed fish.
Blend 2022: Chateau Puybarbe
The night before I had dinner at Dolada restaurant with Riku Väänänen, the delightful owner of Chateau Puybarbe. We are in my beloved Bordeaux, in the Cotes de Bourg, also called "la petite Suisse girondine".
Chateau Puybarbe is the romantic and ambitious project of Riku and Anna, where since 2018 they have been creating wines capable of bringing the bucolic landscape of the French countryside to life in a glass.
Chateau Puybarbe – Annabel, AOC Cotes de Bourg Bordeaux Rosé 2021
It has an intense and brilliant onion skin pink. The nose is fresh and delicious with notes of strawberry that I also found in the mouth. On the palate it is coherent, savory and very fresh with a beautiful structure. A rosé for the whole meal that I loved!
Chateau Puybarbe – Gaja, AOC Cotes de Bourg 2019
Intense ruby red, transparent and consistent. The nose is delicately perfumed with notes of red fruits and a slight spice. In the mouth it is fresh, sapid and has an excellent drinkability.
Chateau Puybarbe – Le Roc, AOC Cotes de Bourg 2019
It has an intense, consistent ruby red. The nose is very fruity and the ripe cherry dominates the sweet spices. In the mouth it is soft, a little tannic and needs time to round off, but it is already very pleasant. It has many years in the bottle ahead of it.
Chateau Puybarbe – Chateau Puybarbe AOC Cotes De Bourg 2015
Intense ruby red, barely transparent, consistent. The fruit is very ripe, and in the mouth it is more woody than the 2018. The vintages are certainly different and between the two I preferred the 2018 (I remind you that you can read the tasting in this article dedicated to the previous evening at the Dolada Restaurant).
Blend 2022: Bodegas Menade
The three Sanz brothers, in the heart of Rueda in Spain, they founded Menade, which is more than a cellar: it is a project to recover the natural landscape of Castilla y Leon. In the vineyard they do not use synthetic products, but experiment with herbal and flower-based infusions to prevent the attack of parasites and diseases.
Bodegas Menade – Nosso, Verdejo Natural Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León 2021
It is pale straw yellow with greenish reflections, brilliant and consistent. The nose is very fragrant, with citrine and floral notes. In the mouth it is coherent, structured and very pleasant.
Bodegas Menade – Sobrenatural – Verdejo Natural – Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leòn 2018
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow. The nose is very delicate, with slightly oxidized notes, citrus and white chocolate. In the mouth it cleans a lot thanks to its salinity, it is very coherent and chocolaty, structured and fine with a long chocolate finish. Wine that I love more every year!
Bodegas Menade – Adorado de Menade, Solera 1967
It has a bright golden yellow with amber reflections, intense and consistent. The nose is fabulous, intense and elegant. Notes of milk chocolate, raw chocolate, crunchy, eggnog, custard, candied mandarin with drop and violet. In the mouth it is fresh, soft, coherent, structured and with a long zabaglione finish.
Blend 2022: Bellenda 1986
I've written so much about Bellenda in this blog that I won't add anything, but I invite you to read too this article about a spectacular tasting that I did during Vinitaly 2017 of the SC 1931: a prosecco with extraordinary potential that has redefined my idea of this appellation and this grape variety.
Bellenda – SC 1931, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Pas Dose 2018
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow color with a very fine, numerous and persistent perlage that forms a foam that leaves a crown around the edges. The nose is delicate, buttery, with hints of pan brioche, candied pear and with a slight citrine accent. In the mouth it is crunchy, very fresh, vertical and has excellent drinkability.
Bellenda – Saiph Extra Brut sa
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow color, with a very fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is delicate, fine and with buttery notes that intertwine with the pastry. In the mouth it is coherent and intense, crunchy, very fresh, structured and with a long finish of cumin. A classic method sparkling wine with an extraordinary value for money.
Bellenda - Worm, Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 2008
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow color with a very fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is amazing with chocolatey, buttery notes of fruit tarts with custard and undergrowth. In the mouth it is crunchy, very fresh, soft, sapid and with a long finish of toasted hazelnuts and creamy zabaglione. I love it!
Bellenda – pluck 2012
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow. The perlage is quite numerous, very fine and persistent. The nose has those slightly oxidized notes that remind me of a certain way of making champagne… and I love it! Notes of hazelnut, vanilla, candied pear and crisp and harmonious pan brioche. In the mouth it is very fresh, coherent, crunchy and with a long buttery finish.
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Blend 2022: Ilocki Podrumi
Ilocki Podrumi was built under the Ilock castle by Nicholas the Great, lord of the Slavonian lands. In the historic cellar, which survived the devastation of the Serbo-Croatian war, there are still a few bottles of sweet Traminac 1947, the same one chosen in 1953 for the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II.
Ilocki Podrumi – Grasevina 2020
It has a transparent and consistent straw yellow colour. The nose is delicate and elegant with notes of white peach and white flowers. In the mouth it is very fresh, consistent, with good structure and great drinkability.
Ilocki Podrumi – Grasevina DO Principovac 2018 Grand Collection Magnum
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow color with golden reflections. The nose is amazing, with a bouquet of white spices and cedar. In the mouth it is coherent, structured and very fresh, even more intense in taste and with a note of chamomile and incense that continue on the finish.
Ilocki Podrumi – Velika Berba, Grasevina 2011 aged at sea
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow color with golden reflections. The nose is incredible, intense and with very elegant notes of butter and saltiness, freshly toasted peanuts, roses. In the mouth it is coherent, elegant, balanced and very fresh, still very young.
Ilocki Podrumi – Traminac DO Principovac 2018 “Limited Edition”
It is pale straw yellow and brilliant. The nose has the known characteristics of the vine with a dominant rose. In the mouth it is soft, fresh, structured and has an excellent drinkability.
Ilocki Podrumi – Semi-sweet Traminac 2020
It has a bright golden yellow. The nose is delicate and characteristic with notes of both fresh and dried rose and shortcrust pastry. In the mouth it is very fresh, with the sweetness perfectly balanced by the great sapidity. Long almond finish.
Ilocki Podrumi – Ledena Berba, Traminac DO Principovac Icewine 2012
It has a beautiful intense amber color, viscous and consistent. The nose is a riot of dried fruit, caramel, butter, dates, dried figs and chestnut honey. In the mouth it is fresh, soft, balanced and very sapid, with a very balanced sweetness. Very long finish of salted caramel. I did an encore.
Blend 2022: Champagne Roger Coulon
What can I say about this Champagne maison except that I'm madly in love with it? And also of Isabelle Coulon, what a charming woman! Then the wines are all CRAZY, but especially Esprit de Vrigny remains my favorite! Sooner or later I want to visit them!
The age of the vines is a real rarity in the area: the oldest parcel dates back to 1924 and all the vines have an average age of 40 years. About 100 very different parcels in 10 hectares of organically managed vineyards, where grassing is practiced and the native vegetation is favored to counteract erosion.
Champagne Roger Coulon – Esprit de Vrigny, Champagne AOC Premier Cru Brut Nature
It has an intense and brilliant straw yellow. The nose is amazing and has that meunièr nose that I adore. We recognize notes of butter, vanilla, white chocolate, custard, linden flowers and exotic fruit. In the mouth it is intense, coherent, crunchy, very fresh, structured and with a long finish with a slight almond.
Blend 2022: Domaine Damien Pinon
We are in the Loire, and Damien and his wife Ingrid own 25 hectares of property with vines with an average age of 30 years. The philosophy is to seek the best quality and genuineness of the fruit in a sustainable way. In the vineyard, treatments and fertilizations are reduced to a minimum. Indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar and no sulfites are added.
Domaine Damien Pinon – Moelleux Les Perruches, Vouvray AOC 2009
It has an intense and brilliant golden yellow, consistent. The nose is delicate, full and very elegant with notes of custard that intertwine with apricot, candied orange peel and the characteristic aromas of Botrytis cinerea. In the mouth it is very soft, with a well-dosed, coherent sugar, a good structure and excellent drinkability for the type. For me an oyster wine.
Blend 2022: The Vineyards of Alice
I always keep my darling Cinzia Canzian di Le Vigne di Alice lastly because I would like to spend a lot of time at her banquet since I always find goodies there… but this year I was literally enraptured by Anna of Studio Cru from the very first taste to be accompanied to the station and I was very sorry (even if actually there was a train to catch…)! I hope to fix it soon… and in the meantime I'll tell you what once again the PS stole my heart!
Thanks to Umberto, his family and all those who make Blend a unique and culturally rich experience every year. A culture never flaunted, but rather sought after, of foods, wines and words to carry in the heart.