I remember going to dinner with Gianfranco Soldera in the fall of 2010. My family and I had recently moved from New York City to Italy, and I had arrived at Soldera's cantina during harvest, expecting to see chaos and disorder, something like the kitchen of a messy cook who used every pot and splashed the walls with sauce. Instead, I found it clean, spotless--pristine. Only the rich scent of amarena, or sour cherry, permeating the air testified to the recent harvest; the fermenting grapes, a lightly bubbling mass of ruby, alone showed me that Soldera had finished harvesting his grapes. Soldera gave a devilish grin; he knew what a supernatural feat it was to harvest and to leave no trace.
Despite being up since 5:00 a.m. Soldera insisted on going to Il Silene, a favorite restaurant about 45 minutes away on Monte Amiata. He brought a bottle of wine for us to drink, a 2004 Brunello. The waiter opened the bottle and rinsed the glasses. While the waiter prepared the decanter, I put the glass to my nose and instantly froze in delight. The first impression made me think it might just be the best wine I ever smelled; it smelled as I imagined heaven might. When the wine was poured and I put it in my mouth, that impression was grandly reinforced. The liquid was oily, rich, broad-shouldered, sweet, perfectly tannic, juicy and long with una bevibilità incredibile, an incredible drinkability. It's not just that you want to drink it; it compels you!
Today, I'm delighted to bring back the 2008 Rosso IGT from Soldera's Case Basse estate. Soldera left the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino a couple of years ago, so his wines no longer bear the Brunello name, but a rose is a rose is a rose, and there is nothing--nothing--like a Soldera Brunello, even if it's called something else. When you drink this 2008, as is fitting for all Soldera wines, try, as I did, to have as little wine as possible in the glass. And, try, just try, not to drink a few bottles, so you or your loved ones can enjoy them throughout your lives. That, in fact, I dare you!
Two great wines from two great Italian winemakers complete this offer--Josko Gravner's extraordinary 2006 Ribolla Gialla Anfora and Piero Incisa della Rocchetta's Bodega Chacra 2010 Treinta y Dos, an old-vine Pinot Noir from Patagonia. Don't miss them!