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A Very Meaningful Wine (For Me) and an AWESOME Closeout Deal (For You!)

This is probably the last ‘big’ closeout we’re likely to see for a little while (January’s almost over, after all) but if that’s to be the case, I wouldn’t have had it any other way…I could not be more excited to get a couple cases of this wine. The only two cases in the state, actually. Yeah, I’m stoked because it’s a) a perfectly-aged Italian red from a hard-to-find, excellent producer, b) an incredible closeout value, and c) from a winery with which I have history.

Founded by Giovanni Maculan in 1947 in the Breganze hills in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, the winery subsequently passed to his son Fausto and, most recently, the latter’s two daughters, Angela and Maria Vittoria. The estate proper comprises just under 100 acres, split between grapevines and olive groves, and the family has contracts with some thirty local growers as well. Though they’re best known for producing sweet dessert wines (especially a stunning Torcolato and an interesting late-harvest Moscato), they also do some phenomenal dry reds and fun dry whites. Sadly, a few years ago, their contract with a local distributor ran out and no one is currently carrying the wines in Missouri. Looking through a vendor’s book last week, however, I saw this wine listed and did a double-take. I figured it was phantom inventory, but…sometimes you just get lucky!! Huzzah for climate-controlled warehouses and a winery most people don’t know about!

Sure, the winery’s great, the wines are fantastic, and this closeout deal is just stupid, but I was even more excited to snag this because a) Maculan’s wines are increasingly difficult to find in the US (completely unavailable in MO) and b) because I have history with this winery. Some 19 years ago, their Pinot and Toi (an easy-drinking, fun white blend) was the first wine my wife and I enjoyed together as a couple, the first time I made her dinner. Ever since then, Maculan’s wines have kinda been “our” thing, and I was even lucky enough to represent them on the wholesale side when I was in the biz (that was back in 2017, and they were tough to find even then!). Furthermore, the crazy-knowledgeable/passionate clerk that helped me choose this wine/winery for that dinner date was instrumental in inspiring me to get into the wine and spirits gig in the first place. Ok, enough with the trip down memory lane. Let’s talk about the wine, shall we?

2013 Maculan “Fratta” Red Wine-This Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is sourced from low-yielding vineyards and is aged in new French oak. The Cabernet component is sourced from a vineyard in the Ferrata area while the Merlot comes from the Villa Elettra vineyard. Grape harvest is manual, and the juice is fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks.

Ferrata Vineyard

The Ferrata Vineyard (Breganze DOC) is named after a nearby road (originally a railroad during the First World War). Fausto originally planted this vineyard to high-density Cabernet vines in 1985, and five years later added smaller amounts of Merlot and Chardonnay.

Elettra Vineyard

The Villa Elettra Vineyard (the source of this bottling’s Merlot component) lies inside property owned by the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) near Brogliati Contro and produces the best Merlot the winery has access to (south-southeastern facing and planted in 1999).

The wine itself is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (this particular vintage is 50/50) aged in new French oak for about a year. It comes in at 14% abv and is bottled as a simple IGT wine (Veneto Rosso) though it’s much more than that. When young, it’s rich and opulent, with towering tannins, but it gains elegance and depth with age (though the tannins remain and this is still firmly structured). Initially released somewhere north of $100 (my memory from presenting this at the St. Louis Food and Wine Experience several years ago had it pushing $200, which the vendor’s price history in the computer SUPPORTS, but I can’t find information online to support that so I’m not claiming it as fact. Regardless, it’s fair to say that this bottle cost at least a $100+ upon release…if not more.

Oh, and check out this press!

“This harmonious red is medium- to full-bodied. Structured by fine-grained tannins, this offers subtle layers of dark and brambly berry, dried marjoram and star anise, with a rich vein of smoke-tinged minerality. Presents a lasting, aromatic finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2019 through 2027. 600 cases made” 91pts Wine Spectator

It’s small-production, from a fantastic winery, from a lesser-known (but awesome)! sub-region of north-eastern Italy, and you won’t find it anywhere else. Oh, and it’s in the smack middle of its prime drinking window…thank the Lord for climate-controlled warehouses and lost cases! $100/bottle? Nah. How ’bout $25.99/bottle? Who loves y’all?

$100+ (or more!) originally…On closeout for $25.99!!

Cheers,

Dan

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