The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

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Page 74 of 124

74 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2017 has championed the Franciacorta region and has served as a past Chairman of the Consorzio per la Tutela del Franciacorta. Although manageably small, the winery is one of Italy's most advanced, with much of the work done with the aid of custom machinery geared to treat the grapes like the jewels they are. One controversial process that Zanella, and only Zanella, practices is referred to as the "grape spa": All incoming fruit is treated to a three-step rinsing process that removes dust and other contaminants while preserving the berries intact. After the ensuing blow-dry, these are no doubt the cleanest, happiest grapes in the business. Zanella acknowl - edges that native yeasts are also removed in the spa treatment, but he says that this allows the winery more control in inocu - lating with yeasts that will yield predictable and desired results. The Ca' del Bosco 2007 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi was vibrant, racy and scintillating against the deep red Akaushi beef carpaccio that started the meal. (Kudos to Chef de Cuisine Tetsu Yahagi for the enticing Japanese touches on the contemporary Spago menu.) Named for Maurizio Zanella's mother, Annamaria Clementi is the winery's tête-de-cuvée and carries an SRP of $95. The Ca' del Bosco 2011 Chardonnay, served with squid ink garganelli with mixed seafood, was ethereally perfect, with toasty but subdued oak playing through gorgeously nuanced fruit that spoke of a terroir not Sonoma Coast, not Meursault, but something uniquely its own. Alas, this masterpiece is in extremely rare supply, even in its current 2013 vintage. With the roasted rack of lamb came the Ca' del Bosco 2009 Maurizio Zanella, a stun - ning blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a mouthfeel of crushed velvet holding generous cascades of ripe, dusky fruit. This "Super Franciacorta" (as lunch guests fondly dubbed it) was first released in 1981 and immediately showed the potential for powerful international- style reds in this part of Italy. This current vintage has an SRP of $90 and is a highly collectible bottle worthy of cellaring. Dessert—a sublime Meyer lemon soufflé from Spago Pastry Chef Delia Gossettwas paired with the creamy, layered richness of the multi-vintage Ca' del Bosco Cuvée Prestige, served from magnums (SRP $90). Made from Chardonnay (75%), Pinot Nero (15%) and Pinot Bianco (10%) blended with older reserves and matured many months on the yeast, its delicate touch of sweetness set the perfect ending note to the meal. Just last year, Ca' del Bosco signed with a new impor ter in the U.S. market: Santa Margherita USA. The transition has been relatively smooth, especially given Santa Margherita's long exper tise with mar - keting Italian wines. But the change has given Zanella an excuse to hit the road and reintroduce the American public to his world-class por tfolio. Like ever ything he does, he is tackling the job with a brand of enthusiasm that's as infectious as his wines. Cuvée Annamaria Clementi is Ca' del Bosco's tête-de-cuvée offering. (right) Akaushi beef carpaccio. The Ca' del Bosco Chardonnay–uniquely its own. (right) Squid ink garganelli with mixed seafood. "In the New World, people talk about the varietal, in the Old World, we talk about where the wines come from."

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