The historic, Medieval castle of Strozzavolpe regally stands guard over the town of Poggibonsi, on the south-western part of Castellina in Chianti and the hills of Siena. The castle is surrounded by 32 hectares of vineyards, 7 of which are in Chianti Classico. The vineyards are protected by thick woods of live oaks, and the high altitude provides an enviable and wellventilated exposition. The stony-calcareous soil is rich in fossils and minerals, which give the wines an admirable structure. The warm days and cools nights enhance an already seductive bouquet. The vineyards were nearly abandoned and the grapes sold in bulk to the local cantina who greedily bought them up. Even in that state, the quality coming from the vineyards was exceptional. Now under the caring passionate hand of the owner, Alberto Arcangeli, the vineyards are returning to their formal glory.
As with any genuine castle, there is also a great legend. The story goes that when the castle was being built in 1154, there was a huge and ferocious fox that roamed the land. He would attack and maul anyone who ventured on the land, and he was even said to have fire coming out of his eyes and its mouth. The prince, determined to build his castle on this strategic hilltop, rounded up his bravest knights and went hunting for the fox. His army, however, was no match for the savage animal – half of them were quickly decimated. The prince himself finally cornered the fox in a tree and managed to get a lasso around his neck. As the fox leapt from the tree to attack the prince, he was hung by the lasso. And so, the castle earned its name, Strozzavolpe, which means “hang the fox.”
But the legend doesn’t end there. The prince's wizard warned him that the castle he was about to build would only last as long as the body of the fox. To ensure the longevity of his castle, the prince immediately ordered that the fox be embalmed & stuffed with liquid gold. The fox was then buried deep in the foundation of the castle. It is said that when the moon is full, the fox can be seen wandering the grounds of the castle.
Alberto just laughs and shrugs his shoulders when asked about the fox. He says, that as long as he doesn't get into the cellars and drink up his precious Chianti Classico, he is free to roam the grounds.
Alberto has a great passion for these vineyards and the wine they produce. He has researched the original clones that once grew in the area. His regular Chianti is 90% Sangiovese with small percentages of the ancient, indigenous grapes, Ciliegiolo and the rare Pugnitello, It has a luscious drinkability filled with bright cherry fruit that speaks of genuine Chianti. The bouquet is filled with red berries, in particular red currents and dark cherries, mixed with subtle spices. The finish is exceptionally elegant and long. The Chianti Classico stays 12 months in barrique. It is regal and impressively structured. The bouquet is full of rich, ripe plums and dark cherries with intriguing hints of vanilla and warm spices. It is a Classico of inherent power and great elegance.
25 ha Chianti and 7 ha Chianti Classico.
Average age of the vines is 25 years.
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Sometimes, the best things come from tough experiences. Our Black Label Reserve Portteus Syrah embodies this ideal. In one of the tougher growing seasons in recent memory, I was not sure what would come of the vintage. Within 6 months after harvest, I knew I had something special with this wine. Month after month, it evolved highlighting what these almost 20 year old Syrah vines could produce. The color is an incredibly deep and glass coating purple, the nose erupts with aromas of bacon fat and a subtle bouquet of wisteria . lilac. Viscous and dense, you will get mouth-filling notes of swiss chocolate and white pepper. Sit back and savor each velvety sip with a coffee-cocoa spiced rack of lamb and chocolate cheesecake. Decant for at least an hour to release its aromatics and enjoy this Syrah easily through the next decade.
Another stunning effort is the 2012 Portteus Vineyard, which is located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Exhibiting layers of smoked plums, liquid smoke and serious minerality, this full-bodied, layered and rich Syrah has notable underlying structure and tannin, with a firm, compact and focused feel. Fermented with 33% whole cluster and aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels, it comes from the second oldest Syrah vines planted in the state. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2025. This Walla Walla estate is owned and run by Justin Wylie. He excelled with his 2011 and 2012s. -Wine Advocate Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
Domaine de l'Ecu Muscadet Classic is made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne
This vintage claims to be “Classic” purely to set itself apart from the tendancy to promote wines whose aromas have their origin neither in the variety of grape nor in the locality...This Muscadet is developed and vinified to be appreciated young “on the fruit”. It is crystal clear and the color of yellow straw. Lime, grapefruit, white fruits, pear and apple, salty and citrus notes are generously present on the nose.
The mouth is rich, straight, providing a beautiful acid screen; lime and soft notes of the sea provide a good balance and a great freshness in this Muscadet, superb landmarks which stretch to the end....
GRAPE-VARIETY: Melon de Bourgogne. (Local name of the Muscadet grape)
SURFACE: 4.50 ha (11.12 acres).
AGE OF VINES: 30-35 years old.
CARACTERISTICS OT THE TERRITORY: Loire Valley vineyard
Orientation of the slopes is WEST and NORTH WEST.
Soil is Siliceous with a sub-soil of metamorphic rock.
PRODUCTION: 45 hl/ha
Soil ploughing and soil scraping. Canopy management.
PRUNING: Simple Guyot.
VINIFICATION AND REFINING:
Organicly farmed since 1975.
Biodynamic – Demeter certified since 1998
- 100 % hand-picked grapes
- Reception of the grape harvest by gravity.
- No use of pumps.
- Pneumatic pressing.
- No racking of the must.
- Fermentation 100 % natural yeast.
- Aged “on the lees” in underground vats
covered with glass tiles during 14 months.
This Muscadet would be a good accompaniment to a seafood platter, an oily fish, a white meat or would, of course, be the ideal companion to your aperitif.