Tuesday, December 7, 2010

But where was cousin Larry? - from wd 5/19/2010

Recently, Balki from Perfect Strangers met with Giampiero Bea (who knew Balki was a wine connoisseur? who knew Balki was still alive?) during Giampiero's visit to New York.

'Ole "Brown Eyes" Bea told Balki that he was happy to make drinkable wines, and that he did not think of his own as "great." I am told that the humble statement impressed Balki, as his experience of famous winemakers often runs counter to this.

Giampiero also shared that he has wines aged in an improvised solera at his winery that he has been experimenting with but that haven't been released for commercial sale.

Giampiero further mentioned that the "Santa Chiara" has seen progressive levels of skin contact with the passing vintages, originally being a wine with contact measured in hours, now being one with contact measured in weeks. The yet unreleased 2009, with the longest maceration time on the skins yet, rings in at 21 days. Longer contact has resulted in a deeper color as well as a thicker texture. Of those vintages that have been released, the 2006 saw the longest maceration.

Giampiero also said that he is dividing his hours between family time devoted to his newborn (seen here),
the Montefalco and Lazio wines, a consulting project in Sicilia working with Catarratto and Perricone, and as president of a small natural wine organization that also includes the Cappellano, Maule (La Biancara), and Massa Vecchia wineries.

In passing Giampiero revealed that the first vintage of dry Sagrantino from Bea was the 1994, a somewhat shocking statement actually, and that pure Sagrantino had previously always been Passito. Balki acknowledged that the '94 Bea Sagrantino Secco was drinking quite well today, and deemed it ready to drink and hold.

Prior to '94, Sagrantino would be either offered in purezza as Passito, as mentioned, or blended with other red grape varieties like Sangiovese to produce a dry red table wine, like this 1990.

Also, did you know that Veo as in Rosso de Veo indicates "Bea" in the local Umbrian dialect? Balki didn't.


Do Bianchi said...

The Veo reference is really interesting and it goes back to the Bea family's association with the legacy of Frederick II of Swabia... (13th century) Did you know that Montefalco is named for Frederick's love of Falconry?

Great blog man! very psyched to follow! mazel tov!

The Lush said...

Don't you think Bronson Pinchot deserves to be named?

Nice blog, Levi.

leviopenswine said...

Wait, didn't Bronson Pinchot play Frederick II in The Risky Business of Swabia?

Thanks for the kind words.

Charlie Woods said...

I saw Bronson Pinchot in a Public Theatre Shakespeare in the park production. Can't remember the play but for some reason we were late and not able to get in so my Mom and sister posed as non-english speaking German tourists and somehow this got us seated. I was not impressed with his acting. Or was that Pierce Brosnan?

leviopenswine said...

Was he singing?

If he was singing, probably it was Pierce Brosnan.

I am pretty sure that the last time anybody saw Pierce Brosnan, he was singing.