Monday, March 30, 2020

The Unicorn of Calabrian wine with Senatore Vini

I apologize for my absence over the last couple weeks, but as the coronavirus hit the US it has taken some life adjustments as I manage a fulltime job with a 2 and 3 year old at home until at least the beginning of May.  Some personal hobbies and interests have taken a backseat as we know preparation and health is most important.  As the world suffers this terrible pandemic it’s important to stimulate our minds and still educate about Italian wines, especially supporting the Italian wine industry as the country continues to struggle, but at the same time remain strong to push forward.  I hope all my readers are staying well and please stay home.  It’s important for everyone around the world to do so in order for us eventually get back to a normal life.  

Over the last month or two I learned of an event called Savor Italy in Los Angeles promoting Italian food and wine with a focus on the regionof Calabria.  I was contacted by a long time reader of Vino Travels who imports Calabrian wine exclusively.  She shared a few bottles and I was thrilled as Calabria is a region we don’t get exposure to all too much and these are the ones that I love to share. Unfortunately, the Savor Italy event has been postponed at this time. 

2012 Senatore Vini Nerello IGPThe Region ~ Calabria 
Calabria is a southern region in Italy located on the tip of the boot.  It’s a region almost completely surrounded by water with the region of Basilicata to the north and a small separation from Sicily via the Strait of Messina.  Calabria is a region that is dominated by hills and mountains with the Southern Apennines running through it.   

The wines there are predominately red with Gaglioppo leading the charge.  The wine I’m sharing today is produced from the Calabrian Nerello grape, another red grape along with Maglioppo that can be found produced in this region. 

The Winery ~ Senatore Vini                
I conducted a brief interview with Dr. Raffaele Senatore, the President of Senatore Vini. 
What is your role at the winery and your background in the wine industry? 
Dr. Raffaele Senatore is the General Manager of Senatore Vini company, but also a medical specialist and senior professional.  The love for his land led him to devote himself completely to the winery and to reaffirm the ancient testimony of expertise and tradition that has always belonged to the family.  At the dawn of the 1900’s the grandfathers, Francesco Senatore and Giuseppe Sculco, founded their wine cellar in the district "Corfu Vecchiu" in Cirò Marina.  In the 40’s they built the ancient stone cellar in the district "Corfu Novu" which was the place of business for around 50 years until the 4 brothers, Raffaele, Salvatore, Giuseppe and Franco Senatore, in 2005 opened the currently used wine cellar within the district "San Lorenzo" of Cirò Marina.  It is a modern and technologic winery equipped with the most innovative vinification systems and wine-making machinery. 
Senatore Vini in Calabrian wine
The generations of Senatore Vini ~ copyright of Senatore Vini
Tell me about the land and soil in which your vineyards are planted. 
The soil is a medium mixture of calcareous land.  The climate of the area is a Mediterranean microclimate consisting of mild temperatures with an optimal humidity and ventilation.  The vineyards are cultivated with a low yield per plant all selected and harvested by hand, which favors quality over quantity of the fruit.  All these are important elements of the terroir and the quality of the grapes produced.   
Senatore Vini in Calabria
Copyright of Senatore Vini
What does Senatore Vini pride themselves on and what is their winemaking philosophy? 
Throughtout national and international competetions Senatore Vini has received over 40 awards.  The accolades they have received repay them of their efforts made, allowing them to offer excellent products recognized internationally. Because the company's mission is to best represent our brand: the mythological figure of the unicorn found on their labels represents an emblem of rarity, beauty and uniqueness.  

This adds up to the passion of our Management of medical derivation, which has always placed the health of consumers first.  It projects them towards the production of high quality  wines and, even more, of healthy wines. 

What is the future of Senatore Vini and any projects on the horizon? 
Our focus is on being able to make known the excellence of Calabrian wines, spreading the name of Senatore Vini and the Calabrian wine culture worldwide. We live in a beautiful area from many points of view.  We have a fantastic sea, a breathtaking view, a perfect climate and for many years now we have  produced exceptional wines. I hope the world can get to know our territory more and more and the many virtuosities it has to offer. It is also for this reason that our company is committed to wine tourism. The doors of our Estate are open to visitors, to let touch with their hand our reality. 

Calabrian food and wine pairingThe Wine ~ Senatore Nerello 
I sampled the 2012 Senatore Vini Nerello Rosso IGP.  This wine is made from the Calabrian Nerello grape and is aged in small french oak barrels for about 8-12 months.  Ruby in color and rather translucent.  Aromatics of ripe blackberries, black cherry and spice.  Full-bodied with lush dark fruits with moderate tannins.  An elegant wine with lingering fruit towards a persistent finish. ABV 13% SRP $21 

Pairing: Although not a typical Calabrian dish I felt the weight of this wine would pair well with this Nerello.  I chose to pair it with an espresso infused balsamic dressed steak.  

*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are all my own.  Importer: IVDC Imports.

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