STORY: Have you met him? Unconventional. Engaging. Incredible Savoir Faire. As at home in a tux or 3 piece suite at a gallery opening as he is in a wool shirt and jeans at a primitive wilderness campsite after hiking a good 8 miles….
Writes poetry with a fountain pen, enjoying the sensuous feel of it gliding across the page with a broad nib and wet ink. Works at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Lab primarily on NASA projects – serious robotics and software engineering stuff.
Never follows the crowd. As likely to be spending a couple weeks on an archeological project in Ometepe, Nicaragua as skiing in the Apennines in Umbria or the Dolomites at Val Gardena.
Appreciates the finer things in life. Just look at the lady on his arm… The art on his walls…. Or his wine cellar…
Should you be lucky enough to be invited for a small intimate party in his penthouse, you might find the paintings and sculptures stunning, but by little-known artists. The wine he serves, elegant and impressive, is always from small boutique wineries, purchased at the winery or from a sole importer, never available “mass market.”
Tonight he’s serving a luscious red wine from Umbria. It’s a Bordeaux-style wine, primarily Cabernet Franc with a small percentage of Merlot. Almost reminiscent of the famous St. Emilion Grand Cru Cheval Blanc. “It takes a special vintner, an artist,” he says, “ to craft a wine like this. Cabernet Franc is a difficult and demanding grape; the terroir must be right, the care must be right. But when it all comes together, taste the results – an incredible wine, perfumed and seductive.” He winks at his lady. She blushes demurely.
“I’m not surprised this Cirulli 1861 San Valentino 2008 won ‘Best of Show’ in a blind taste testing at the 2012 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention and Exposition.” He sighs. “But, now everyone will want some in their cellar.” He of course won’t tell us where he got his….
DESCRIPTION: This 1861 San Valentino is the flagship wine of Cirulli. It is named in honor of the ancestors of the present owner and vintner, Valentino Cirulli, who began making wine on this land in 1861, the year of the unification of Italy. The vineyards occupy southwest-facing hillsides in southwest Umbria, an ideal location for growing wine grapes.
1861 San Valentino is a warm and intense red wine, 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot. The blend and style is reminiscent of right-bank Bordeaux wines, such as the famous St. Emilion Grand Cru, Cheval Blanc – sweeping, intense, suitable for long aging.
The grapes for this wine are carefully selected, and immediately cooled to about 55 degrees F, followed by maceration in 8,000 liter barrels for 15-18 days. The malolactic fermentation is conducted in barrique where the wine ages for 15 -18 months. The wine is released for sale only after an additional period of 8-10 months in the bottle.
Cirulli 1861 San Valentino can stand on its own against Napa Valley and French Bordeaux wines that go for twice the price, as evidenced by winning the blind tasting “Best in Show” at the April 2012 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 69th Annual Convention & Exposition held in Las Vegas.
Enjoy a bottle now, but definitely tuck a few away to enjoy over the next 10 years.
Serve at 64 to 68 degrees F. Open and decant for at least an hour to let the full flavor of the wine develop.
TASTE: This is a wine to savored and appreciated. It glows an intense red in the glass, showing warm ruby reflections – a fine gem. Swirl, and bring the glass to your nose. This great red wine gives off a fireworks explosion of aromas – ripe red fruits, plums and mulberry, followed by chocolate and anise, then balsamic notes with vanilla and mint from its barrique aging.
On the palate, 1861 San Valentino is intense, warm and juicy – almost chewable. The oak flavors are well integrated, with dense notes of mint and vanilla complimenting the red fruit. The tannins are velvety. Exceptionally well-balance, this is a true masterpiece of the vintner’s art.
FOOD MATCHING: Cirulli 1861 San Valentino pairs well with a wide variety of foods. We especially like it with roast leg of lamb, with a cherry-chocolate sauce and baked or braised fennel. Delectable with braised lamb with truffles.
Wonderful with the best filet mignon, or a chateaubriand. For some classy comfort food fit for an elegant dinner, may we recommend osso buco or braised lamb neck? Vegetarian? Try this with a torta di spinaci e ricotta, or stuffed portabello mushrooms. Italians would also pair this with strong cheeses, and wild game, especially roast wild boar. (No wild boar in your area? Try roast pork instead. )
1861 San Valentino can also be paired with salmon.