Pierini e Brugi
Pierini e Brugi was quite a find! I was in the Maremma region in Tuscany (next to the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea) and stopped at a fun little wine bar in Grosseto and asked the owner to let me have a tasting of local wines that he liked. All were good but one that really made an impression was the Albatreto from Pierini e Brugi.
On the surface, it was a simple wine blending 90 percent Sangiovese and 10 percent Syrah. But the Sangiovese core was delicious and the small amount of Syrah added suggested a talented wine maker who really knew what they doing. As an avid cook, I also started thinking of many food pairings for the wine which you will see listed below.
I am also now importing all three Pierini e Brugi wines as I believe they express the best recommendation for a wine that I can think of - which is that the wine maker is making wines that he would want to drink every night! In a wine world now filled with "designer wines" concocted to get high ratings from the known tasting preferences of "prestigious" wine critics, I'd much rather prefer wines that an individual is making to go well with a wide variety of cuisine in their area. The Pierini e Brugi wines do just that and I hope that you also like them!
Expansive vineyard views
Beautiful hilltop vineyards with perfect sun exposure
View towards the Tyrrhenian Sea
Cork tree in the vineyards
Albatreto 2013 (OC, NF)
The name is from the presence around the vineyard of blooming woods of strawberry-tree, called "Albatro" in the area and the fruits "Albatrelle". In the maquis, these fleshy and rough berries have a marvelous scarlet red color and represent the typical freshness, youth, and balance of a wine such as "Albatreto".
The 2013 Albatreto is a blend of 90 percent Sangiovese and 10 percent Syrah. This is a perfectly balanced wine across the entire palate with mild aromas of violets, black cherries, and forest floor along with a brilliant ruby red color. The flavor profile seems subtle at first with just notes of blackberry and cassis but each sip then brings many thoughts about lots of perfect food pairings.
My own suggestions include: pork chops, filet mignon, New York steak, beef stew, short ribs, pork shoulder, grilled chicken, jambalaya, grilled or braised tuna, Italian sausage, charcuterie, pizza, roasted potatoes, grilled or stir-fried vegetables, red curries, light pasta, bread soup (acquacotta), and a variety of cheeses including blue, parmesan, and truffle cheeses.
Wine making is in small stainless steel tanks with stirring and pump overs for maximum flavor extraction. Natural malolactic fermentation then follows along with extended bottle aging for enhancing the natural flavors of the wonderful grapes from their hillside vineyards.
Sugherettaio 2013 (OC, NF)
The name is from that in the vineyards and the farm there are many plants of century cork-tree (sughero means cork in Italian) - which in the maquis represents longevity. With their color, wrinkledness, and the skimming of the bark, there is the idea of maturity, fullness and evolutive development - which are all sensations that we can find in this wine.
The 2013 Sugherettaio Riserva is a blend of 60 percent Sangiovese, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20 percent Merlot - essentially similar to a "Super Tuscan" from the prestigious Bolgheri region just 50 miles north of Grosseto. While also having perfect balance, there are more complex aromas of vanilla, tobacco and little ripe fruits such as blueberry and cherry along with an intense ruby red color and brilliant garnet reflections. There are layers of delightful flavors which include rich dark chocolate, blueberry, dark cherry, and mild raspberry.
While delightful for just sipping, there are also a wide range of possible food pairings which could include Filet Mignon, Lamb, Wild Boar, Duck, Pork Ribs, grilled beef such as sirloin or burgers, pizza, grilled vegetables or sautéed peppers and onions, various "ethnic" cuisines such as Indian or Mexican food (would be great with Fajitas!), and also aged cheeses such as Gruyere. Overall, this is a very romantic wine with delightful sensations of drinking in big fluffy clouds!
Wine making is initially in small stainless tanks with stirring and pump overs and then natural malolactic fermentation occurs during at least one year of ageing in French Oak Tonneaux. Bottle aging, without filtration or fining, then occurs for another six months before wines are released. Such meticulous wine making results in a beautifully balanced wine that also has ageing potential of at least ten years.
Lillatrino 2016 (OC, NF)
The name is from the presence around the vineyards of vigorous bushes of “lillatro”, which have the typical essence of Mediterranean maquis. Lillatro has fleshy and smooth leaves of a marvelous bright and shiny green color, which suggests freshness and balance and reminds of the characteristic tints and the herbaceous notes of the aromatic Vermentino white grapes used for Lillatrino.
The 2016 Lillatrino, which always only uses hand-picked and the most carefully selected ripest and most flavorful Vermentino grapes, has a straw yellow color with greenish reflections. There are very intense aromas with strong fruity and flower notes which include white flowers, honeysuckle, and hints of lemon. The wine is well balanced and smooth, along with perfect acidity that lasts long on the palate with a blend of flavors which include mild lemon, mild peach, and apricot.
Food pairing is versatile as the wine will be great with crustaceans and fish such as scallops, shrimp, and sole, any risotto, a wide range of salads, light pasta dishes, mild cheeses, and also as a refreshing aperitif.
Wine making begins with early morning picking to preserve the aromas, then pressing and rasping the grapes, and followed by soft pumping to create a flowery must. Fermentation begins in small steel tanks resulting in the maximum expression of the different bouquets and an optimum evolution of the wine. Lillatrino is crisp and refreshing when young but the good structure will also permit at least two to three years of ageing.