Among the take-aways at Wine2Wine—where all walks of the international wine trade gathered in Verona for the fourth consecutive year on December 4th and 5th—was an overarching theme of wide-open spaces and changing landscapes for those who produce, sell, and consume wine.
To say we live in the best of times when it comes to the availability and accessibility of quality wine is not hyperbole. It’s a fact. And, as Jeffrey Porter of the Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group aptly pointed out during his 30-minute session The growing potential of smaller US markets, recognizing demand beyond New York and California is the logical next step in the broader context of U.S. wine distribution today.
Naturally, these themes strike a chord for those of us collaborating with small-scale suppliers who, in turn, are eager to explore alternatives to saturated top-tier markets. Turning the focus to less traveled pockets characterized by economic growth and demographic shifts not only makes sense, but is rapidly becoming one of the few viable paths of entry to the U.S. for new and niche wine imports.
Nearly a decade has passed since the last time Spain’s D.O. Rías Baixas appellation in Galicia announced ‘excellent vintage’ status for a specific growing season. Fortunately for Utah, 2016 has that honor as the latest release from Adega San Salvador de Soutomaior will abundantly prove with Noelia Bebelia 2016, single-parcel Albariño from the tiny sub-zone of Soutomaior.
Upon reaching its conclusion earlier this year, granting the 2016 vintage the highest possible classification, the Rías Baixas regulatory council described the overall growing season as follows:
Climatically, 2016 was an atypical year. It rained a lot during winter and at the beginning of spring, and temperatures were lower than usual. On the other hand, summer was very dry and hot, which chased away any trace of fungal disease in the vines. Light rainfall during mid-September enabled the vines to re-hydrate and the grapes to complete their ripening process very well and produce a very satisfactory crop size.
In Soutomaior, with the exception of the initial rainfall that vanished by early spring, the 2016 growing season was one of the driest ever recorded. According to proprietor Simón Barcia who runs Adega San Salvador with his wife Noelia Calvar, “In spite of the summer drought which impacted our yields, we ended up with the same number of bunches, however with smaller berries. Unsurprisingly, smaller grapes gave us higher than usual phenolic and aromatic concentration, which explains the positive outcome.”
Due to small production volume, Noelia Bebelia Albariño (2015/2016) is listed by the Utah DABC for limited distribution. For information about availability at select wine stores across the Wasatch Front, search the state’s inventory query system using SKU number 951684.
Downtown Salt Lake City may not boast frenetic hustle or bustle, but a vividly changing landscape and skyline reflect the cosmopolitan coming of age under way in this industrious corridor of the Mountain West. One catches a glimpse of the city’s renewed sense of self (and style) stepping onto Main Street with The Grand America Hotel, a towering beacon of urbane refinement. The property’s catchphrase #MakeLifeGrand is reflected in every detail of hospitality, including world-class food and beverage management personified by consummate professionals like F&B Outlets Manager Ty Richchouyrod. Terrestoria shines the spotlight this month on this spectacular venue, setting in motion the Herald of the month series which will be tipping off readers about where to find the most original wine selections in Utah.
Thanks to the DABC special order system, a stunning release from Basilicata’s Quarta Generazione is now available exclusively in Utah. Quarta Generazione 2013 Aglianico del Vulture DOC, a 90-point Decanter Silver Medal winner, is the estate’s maiden vintage, borne from the project of Giovanna Paternoster, whose surname is synonymous with winemaking history in southern Italy. The young winery, like the flagship wine it produces, is appropriately monikered Quarta Generazione, or ‘fourth generation’, a gesture to Giovanna’s forefathers. It was her great-grandfather Anselmo Paternoster, in fact, who founded Basilicata’s first commercial winery nearly a century ago.
The current vintage will be distributed exclusively in Utah by special order until our annual allocation of 75 cases is sold out. Inquiries relating to this and other Terrestoria special order offers are brokered by Vine Lore Inc. in Salt Lake City. For the convenience of private clients and the trade, all wines featured in the Terrestoria portfolio are imported to Utah in six-bottle cases.