I hope this letter finds everyone happy and healthy. If you are new to the Raffaldini Wine Club, welcome! With each semi-annual wine club package, you will receive a letter from me describing the wines, why they were chosen, and updating you on all activities happening at Raffaldini Vineyards.
This package includes the following:
2 bottles of Raffaldini 2020 Sangiovese Classico
2 bottles of Raffaldini 2020 Bella Misto
2 bottles of Raffaldini 2021 Vermentino Superiore
The Winemaker’s Notes associated with the wines
Recipes that we encourage you to enjoy with the wines
Invitations to upcoming signature events at Raffaldini
This release will be quite interesting as the wines could not come from two more distinctly different vintages. As members know, the 2020 growing year was the wettest on record eclipsing more than eighty inches of rain versus our average of thirty to forty. The prior wettest year was 2018, and as grapes prefer dry weather in arid climates, this presented us with huge challenges. I believe that our 2018 vintage was the weakest we ever produced and was quite despondent when the 2020 harvest commenced. To my great surprise the wines have turned out infinitely better than I hoped, so I decided to investigate. What I learned was while the amount of rain matters what matters more is the frequency of the rain. In 2018 it rained nearly every day with little sun and warm temperatures. By contrast in 2020 we had many heavy rain days followed by dry days which enabled the crew to go into the vineyard and tend to the vines. This difference was profoundly important which is why the wines turned out so well. I believe you will be surprised with the texture and flavor of the two reds. By way of extreme contrast, the weather in 2021 was hot and dry and has produced wines of immense power and structure. They will without question be the finest wines we have ever made in over two decades. You will need to wait until 2023 to taste the 2021 reds, but you will be able to start now with the 2021 Vermentino and eventually the new Auguri, Girasole, and Desaria later this year.
The Raffaldini 2020 Sangiovese Classico possesses the typical dry, earthy aromas with medium tannins and bountiful acids. What draws people to this wine is the same reason that people are drawn to Pinot Noir – both grapes have very similar cellular structure. Specifically, each grape has big berries with thin skins and a low ratio of skin to berry. This combination tends to produce balanced over powerful, acidic over tannic and paler versus darker wines. And as such these wines tend to pair with a wider array of food than do wines made from grapes with different structures like Cabernet Sauvignon and Sagrantino that demand red meat be served alongside.
The Raffaldini 2020 Bella Misto is a fruitful and surprisingly fuller-bodied wine owing to our heavy use of Petit Verdot, and to a lesser extent, Montepulciano. We also added a touch of Sagrantino to provide a bigger tannic backbone. Best of all, this Bella Misto retains that slightly peppery taste which wine club members have come to know and love. We make Bella Misto so that it is not only your go to affordable daily wine but also one that pairs with the widest range of food. Most importantly, we do not sacrifice quality and always treat these grapes with the same care and attention as we do our more expensive wines.
This brings us to the 2021 Vermentino Superiore. Wine club members will remember that we decided to split our Vermentino production and divert an equal amount to the production of Vermentino Superiore and the other to the production of Desaria. In a nutshell, the difference is that the Vermentino Superiore is made in a style more common in Sardinia with a technique called whole cluster pressing, fermented in stainless steel, which increases aromatics and freshness. By comparison, the Desaria uses our Appassimento drying process on the grapes which are then fermented and aged in oak bottis. This creates a richer and a very full- bodied white wine closest to the style of Vermentino made in the beautiful Tuscan seaside of Bolghieri. The 2021 Vermentino Superiore is an incredibly delicious wine that explodes aromatically in the glass with a crisp-yet-round taste on the palate and finish. There is no doubt in my mind this is the best Vermentino we have ever made, and it gives you a glimpse of other ‘21 gems to come.
Despite the challenges brought on by lingering COVID, 2021 was a very busy year at Raffaldini Vineyards. We begun to harvest some of the newer plantings of Sagrantino and Montepulciano. These new clones are doing very well, and we expect great things from them. We will have our first major Trebbiano harvest this year, and I believe this will significantly benefit Desaria, and our sparkling wine, Auguri. In the tasting room, the reservation only, 21+ age requirement has been very well received as well as the introduction of a Riserva Flight of past vintages of Grande Riserva, Montepulciano and Sagrantino. We remain fully and utterly committed to pushing the boundaries on quality.
During a rare overseas business trip last year, I had some time to pass at the airport lounge and was reading an article on Albert Einstein and was struck by his words when he said:
Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which in itself is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy.
I simply adore this life philosophy – living life with no regrets while doing no harm to others and being the best person you can be every day.
Our warmest wishes to all of you.
Jay Raffaldini on behalf of La Famiglia Raffaldini
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