Where does it come from:
The origin of Altesse has been the subject of some debate. It has been suggested that it's identical to Furmint, the noble Hungarian variety used to make the great sweet wine Tokaij. However others suspect that it is indigenous to the hills of Savoie. Today there are fewer than 1,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in France, though there is a small quantity in Switzerland.
What's it like for the farmer:
Altesse needs gentle care, as it is quite to susceptible to the most common forms of grape rot.
Buil & Giné, "Giné Giné," Priorat, Catalonia, Spain, 2011
Distributor: David Bowler Wine, 119 W. 23rd St, Suite 507 New York, NY, 10011 - (212) 807-1680
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Over the past 30 years, a revolution in winemaking technology has led to an explosion in serious wines from every corner of the globe. And in perhaps no country has the effect been magnified more than in Spain. Why Spain? While the advances in cleanliness and temperature-controlled fermentations have allowed good commercial wines to be made in places previously not suited to the process, Spain has long been home to some of the world's great wines. It is littered with parcels of very old vines, often of indigenous or ancient varieties. The potential, with some adjustments in the vines and cellars, was limitless and no region embodies this more than Priorat.
Priorat sits two hours southwest from Barcelona in Catalonia and is marked by its steep dramatic hillsides, hot summers and cold winters. The magic lies in those hills, as they are composed of volcanic slate, both red and black, called llicorella. The old vines, mostly Garnacha and Cariñeña thrive in this soil. The slate retains heat and aids ripening but keeps the juice feeling fresh and lends an elegance to the tannins that might feel rustic in a place of less distinction. The problem has has always been that these wines have often been very expensive. Some still are. So we are excited this week to offer a bottle of delicious, classic Priorat at a great price. Buil & Giné is a young estate, a little less than 20 years old. But their wines bely a seriousness and deep understanding of the vines and soil.
The "Giné Giné" is composed of both young and old-vine Cariñeña (60%) and Garnacha (40%) and is bursting with red fruit and spice and balanced with crunchy mineral notes. It is also unencumbered by new oak and so the intensity and purity of the fruit shines through. This is a truly delicious wine for the price and we suspect you will agree. Hope to see you this week!
Wine Director, Blue Ribbon Restaurants