Arcadian Winery’s Joe Davis, The Man Behind the Wine

While we’ve all heard that every wine has a story, so does every winemaker. One of the highlights of being in the wine business is getting to know the people behind the unique and interesting wines that we have at Church Street Wine Cellars in Burlington, Vermont. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know our friend, Joe Davis, who frequently comes by when he is in Vermont. One of the most enjoyable conversations I’ve had with Joe was over a glass of wine on a cold February evening a couple of years ago when I asked Joe how it is he came to be a winemaker.

Joe Davis was born and raised in Monterey, California in an Italian family who worked for generations in the fishing industry. Joe spent his childhood on the decks of his family’s fishing boats. He was constantly seasick as a youngster, so the prospect of following in his family’s footsteps wasn’t very appealing to Joe. Daring to not follow tradition, Joe got the courage to ask his grandfather what profession he thought he should pursue, “in case I don’t go into the family business”? Without hesitation, Joe’s grandfather told him the only respectable jobs are farming, cheesemaking, winemaking, or becoming a doctor.

With the intent to venture in different direction, Joe was the first in his family to go to college where he had a talent and propensity for science. While he was college in Seattle, Joe worked in a wine store where he became a devotee to pinot noir after a customer gave him a bottle of Domaine Dujac as a gift.

After college Joe was accepted into two top medical schools. Joe not only was the first in his family to go to college, but was on his way to becoming a doctor. It was after a year in medical school that Joe became interested in the wine program at UC Davis and decided to pursue his current career to the benefit to all other pinot devotees out there! I asked Joe how his family took the news he was leaving medical school? Without hestation and with a sense of humor that comes naturally to Joe, he responded, “like a fart in a submarine!” Thereafter, Joe said his parents moved his bedroom out to the garage. “I was the only kid on the block who got into his bedroom with a clicker.”

The family disappointment that there wasn’t going be a doctor among the clan was shortlived. Not only is Joe known for his highly sought after Burgundian-style pinot noirs, but also honed his skills in making chardonnay while working in his first job as a winemaker at Morgan Winery in the 1980′s. Right out of the gate, Joe became an instant celebrity along with the other movie stars in Monterey with his first chardonnay at Morgan.

After a long night out with the boys, Joe said he was awakened one morning by his feisty Italian mother with a broom in his back exclaiming, “what did you do last night?”. The neighborhood was crawling with TV cameras and reporters all looking to talk to Joe. Joe stammered down the hall of his house, trying to piece together the activities of the night before and he was pretty sure it didn’t involve anything “felonious”. When he opened the front door, he was greeted with flashing cameras eagerly waiting to snap his picture while Joe stood there in his skivies and bedhead. Joe said his picture looked like something that would have been taken down at the County jail.

It so happened that former President Reagan took wines from his home state of California to the White House. When the United States made peace with Russia and the Cold War came to an end, Ronald Reagan presented Mikhail Gorbachev with a gift of wine. One of the selections was Joe’s chardonnay. Thereafter, Joe was presented with a key to the city, and more importantly, Joe got to move his bedroom back into the house.

On a recent visit to Vermont, Joe told us he is pursuing a new venture of value wines called “Big Cock”, “Fat Cock” and “Long Cock”, amazingly approved by our Federal labelling authorities (although he was turned down when he offered up “Twisted Cock”). According to Joe, all was fine while he was talking about size. But when he ventured away from “Cock” size, he was told “NO” in no uncertain terms. No doubt the name alone will get people’s attention, but knowing Joe, the wines will be delcious and well worth the money, keeping the masses coming back for more. In the meantime, come on by Church Street Wine Cellars and pick up an extraordinary bottle of Arcadian wine. And if you ever get a chance to spend time with the man behind the wines, you won’t be disappointed either!

We have a variety of Arcadian wines for sale at Church Street Wine Cellars, at 2 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont, including but not limited to, the following:

Arcadian Chardonnay “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” 2006
Arcadian Pinot Noir “Pisoni” 2004
Arcadian Pinot Noir “Pisoni” 2005
Arcadian Pinot Noir “Rio Vista” 2003
Arcadian Pinot Noir “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” 2005
Arcadian Syrah “Westerly” 2005
Arcadian Syrah “Santa Ynez” 2006
Arcadian Syrah “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” 2006

Best,
Marinell

Stellar Italian wines that won’t break the bank at Burlington Vermont’s coolest wine store

Church Street Wine Cellars, at 2 Church Street, in Burlington Vermont invites you to the coolest in-store tastings in town. Stay tuned for our e-mails of educational in-store wine tasting events, by by the most knowledgeable staff!

If you didn’t make the last tasting, you missed some great value Italian wines paired with extensive tasting notes to see and feel where the wines are from, or tasting the flavorful, lightly-salted, air-dried Friulian Speck, the Genoa Salami, the array of great cheeses: Sottocenere (aka Perlagrigia) an ash-rind semi-soft Venetian cows’ milk cheese with fabulous truffle shavings; a 4-yr aged, organic and crystalline Parmiggiano-Reggiano hard cheese; or the soft Roccheta, a Piedmontese cows & sheep milk cheese paired with Castelveterano Sicilian un-cured (no vinegar) green olives with Red Hen fresh-baked Ciabatta to accompany our themed tasting.

Well, hopefully you will join us for future tastings and the notes will suffice to entice you to come taste our wares at our free, educational in-store wine tastings…

1. Greco di Tufo, Terredora di Paolo “Loggia della Serra” DOCG Campania 2009
Sale $17.99, Save $2.00, Reg. $19.99

2009 Terredora Greco di Tufo Loggia della Serra
Review by Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 189 (Jun 2010)
Rating: 91 Points, Drink 2010 – 2014
“The 2009 Greco di Tufo Loggia della Serra is a vivid, multi-dimensional wine laced with white peaches, minerals, flowers and mint, all of which come together in a beautifully nuanced style. The warmth of the vintage radiates through to the long, creamy finish. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2014. These new releases from Terredora are among the most impressive I tasted. From top to bottom these are serious wines readers will not want to miss. The 2009 whites, all of which are aged in steel, reflect the rich, generous style of the vintage, while the 2004 Taurasis are simply off the charts.”

With more than 120 hectares of vineyard land, Terredora di Paolo is Campania’s largest wine producer and vineyard owner, with a worldwide reputation for the quality of its wines. Their commitment to excellence was proven in 1994 when they decided to vinify their own grapes. This decision was prompted by their belief that great wine comes from the balance of natural resources: terrain, varieties used, climate and man’s ability to work with nature. With ample dedication and professionalism Walter Mastroberardino and his children Lucio, Daniela and Paolo, have put this new winery in the elite division of southern Italian wineries.

100% Greco di Tufo, Showcasing pale-medium gold reflections with a rich and powerfully aromatic nose of apricot, apple, peach and citrus fruits. On the palate it is full bodied, soft and well-balanced with excellent acidity. It improves with age. It is ideal with hors d’oeuvres, shellfish, grilled fish dishes, buffalo mozzarella, chicken and cold meat.

2. Aglianico Rosato, Terredora di Paolo DOC Irpinia 2010 Sale $14.99, Save $3.00, Reg. $17.99
A great rosé should be made from very ripe grapes, which is sometimes can be difficult to obtain from Aglianico in the cool climate of the Irpinia region. Thanks to the Terredora di Paolo vineyards, located in the finest areas of the Irpinia region, with limestone and clay soil and south-facing slopes, constantly warm temperatures and cool nights with cold dry breeze, year after year, the vines achieve extraordinarily mature fruit with a crystalline purity of acidity corresponding perfectly to the Terredora di Paolo style.

100 % Aglianico. To create Rosaenovae Terredora di Paolo gently presses the entire grapes, skipping away from the conventional saignèe method and the briefly cold maceration. The free run juice is then fermented at low temperature and later on the wine stays on the lees with a weekly batonnage. No malolactic fermentation is made.

A salmon pink hue, with radiant highlights and incredible youth. An intense, rich, bewitching bouquet of red fruit and citrus zest associated with more complex notes redolent of cedar and spring sap. The aromas evolve gently in the glass evolving from dried fruits, fresh almonds and frangipane, to notes of Tarte-Tatin, oven-baked apples and caramel. In tastings, the wine is soft and silky on the palate with a marvelous harmony of flavor and concentration of fruit. The attack is fruity and crisp. Finesse and fruit combine to create a full palate that melts in the mouth, giving way to candied citrus and dried fruits. It caresses and literally enfolds the full vivacity and rich structure of the Aglianico grapes without ever constricting or dominating. The Rosaenovae reveals a perfect equilibrium between concentration and finesse, richness and freshness, intensity and elegance.

The structure and richness make it a perfect accompaniment to savvy appetizers, vegetarian dishes, main courses, pastas, risottos marinara, magnificently complementing fish, such as salmon, dried salted cod, fish soup, fried calamari or warm octopus and potato salad; meat, such as lamb, veal, guinea fowl, and even pheasant; and soft cheeses, such as Mozzarella, Burrata and Chaource or Brillat-Savarin. It can also be served with red fruit based deserts that are less sweet, such as a red fruit zabaglione or a red fruit gratin.

June 2011 – WINE ADVOCATE
Terredora di Paolo S.S. Rosaenovae 2010 —88 points.
“The 2010 Rosanovae Rosato is an unusual rose made from Aglianico, the grape used for Taurasi. The Roasnovae shows the more feminine side of the variety as it hovers on the palate with exquisite finesse and elegance. It is a delicate, understated wine that impresses for its balance and sheer class. I loved it. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.” —Antonio Galloni

3. Damilano Barbera d’Asti DOC Piemonte 2009 Sale $13.99, Save $6.00, Reg. $19.99

A terrific Barbera from Damilano, a small producer whose family holdings include pieces of the Liste and Cannubi vineyards that is known mainly for their ready-to-consume Barolo’s. The wine is from a recently acquired vineyard in Asti. Their Barbera d’Asti replaces the Barbera d’Alba, which was made from rented vineyards, and which will no longer be produced. With it’s high acidity, Barbera is a great food wine, especially anything made with tomatoes. Deep ruby/purple color. Dark cherry on the nose. Excellent balance and length. 100% Barbera. 20% is aged in new French barriques, 40% is aged in used barriques (2nd
passage) and the remaining 40% aged in Tonneaux, all for 6 to 8 months.

2009 Damilano Barbera d’Asti
Review by Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate # 190
(Aug 2010)
Rating: 89 Points, Drink 2010 – 2014
“Damilano’s 2009 Barbera d’Asti is a big, powerful wine loaded with dark fruit, minerals and spices, showing terrific balance in a full-bodied, rewarding style. This is the second release from a recently acquired parcel in Asti, where Barbera is capable of reaching greater heights than just about anywhere else. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2014.”

4. Tenuta San Leonardo “Terre di San Leonardo” IGT Trentino Alto-Adige 2007 $18.99

This 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc Bordeaux blend from Trentrino-Alto Adige made by Carlo Ferrini is a food-friendly wine at a seriously wallet-friendly price. Speaking eloquently of its Northern Italian terroir, this vibrant wine shows nicely ripened red fruit, tempting minerality, and a charming streak of acidity.

The Estate, founded in 1724, has a rich ancient past. The current owner, Marquis Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga is the descendent of a famous Italian aristocratic family. The Marquises know how to yoke their aristocratic polish to a genuine rural simplicity. They do it spontaneously, directly involving all the people with they work to at Tenuta San Leonardo.

As a result the vineyards, home only to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, become more and more beautiful and the grapes even more delicious. The property spans over 300 hectares. Twenty of them are planted to vine. The cellar equipment includes stainless steel fermentation tanks and small and medium size oak barrels for aging.

The grapes are destemmed and soft-crushed, with minimal use of sulphur dioxide. The juice ferments and macerates on the skins for a long period of time, during which the cap is punched down daily. The must is cold-clarified by allowing the lees to settle. 80% aged for 18 months in big Slavonian oak barrels and the remaining 20% in French barriques for at least 6 months.

5. Dolcetto di Dogliani “San Luigi” Pecchenino DOC Piemonte 2009
Sale $14.99 , Reg. $17.99, Save $3.00 !

2009 Pecchenino Dolcetto di Dogliani “San Luigi”
Review by Antonio Galloni,
Wine Advocate # 192 (Dec 2010)
Rating: 88 Points, Drink 2010 – 2012
“Pecchenino’s 2009 Dolcetto di Dogliani San Luigi offers up plump, juicy dark fruit with excellent varietal character in an accessible, mid-weight style. Floral notes add lift on the fresh, vinous finish. This is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2012.”

The palate is fresh and elegant with a pleasant finish. Perfect with pasta with red sauce, meat, cheese and salami.

Dogliani in the province of Cuneo is well known for its winemaking tradition and it can claim an ancient foundation for it. The community’s most illustrious citizen was Luigi Einaudi, the first president of the Republic of Italy. A good Piedmontese, he still found time, despite his official duties, to keep his fingers on the pulse of his wine estate, situated in the vicinity of Dogliani. The town’s name is derived from Doglia and Lano, which is a corruption of Janus or Giano, the Roman god par excellence, who was lord of the sky and of sunlight. Janus later assumed special powers as protector of the beginning and end of all things.

According to legend, Janus visited the Langhe and stopped off at Dogliani, detained by the excellence of the local wine. Dolcetto di Dogliani has long appeared on the tables of mere mortals, including some of the most illustrious of them. In 1369, the Marquesses of Saluzzo granted the citizens of Dogliani the right to dispose of their goods and exemption from taxes as well as from the obligation of military service.

However, they imposed a tax “in wine” to assure that their noble cellars would be supplied with good Dolcetto. Dolcetto di Dogliani was specifically mentioned for the first time in 1593 in a declaration titled “Orders for the Harvest.” That document provides official confirmation that Dolcetto grapes were being grown at Dogliani even before the end of the 16th century. For the vine dressers of the Langa Doglianese, it is sufficient that the history of their wine can be traced back 500 years, even if reliable historians and researchers argue that in some areas the grape was being grown around the year 1000.

6. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, La Valentina DOC Abruzzo 2007 Sale $13.99, Reg. $15.99, Save $2.00!

Fattoria La Valentina was founded in 1990 and is situated near Santa Teresa in the municipality of Spoltore, on the hills near Pescara. After an intense study of the area the winery’s main objective was the achievement of top quality and in promoting Abruzzo’s DOC wines. The modern winery uses avant-garde technology while the cellar contains about 500 barriques and truncated cone-shape oak barrels, used for fermentation and ageing. Since 1998 enologist Luca D’Attoma has been in charge of technical management.

100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with deep ruby color, purple, sharp scent, sharp and very intense with hints of saffron and red fruit notes, underbrush and black cherry. The taste is clean and full, rich finish ends with red fruit, ripe. Fully reflects the variety of origin with a style that combines tradition and modernity. In combination with hearty pasta dishes with sauces with game, grilled meat and fish dishes with a good structure. Wine to drink now or keep for five years.

Santa Teresa, the main vineyard, is on a hill a few kilometres from the Adriatic Sea, south/south-west facing, over-looking the Maiella and Gran Sasso massifs. Five hectares of Montepulciano vines were planted 27 years ago with close proximity to both sea and mountains.

“These new releases from La Valentina are among the most impressive I tasted this year. The wines are made from low yields, see long maceration times on the skins lasting several weeks and are bottled unfiltered, resulting in very pure expressions of Montepulciano and these unique
terroirs. Consulting oenologist Luca D’Attoma works on all these wines, with the exception of the Binomio which La Valentina makes in partnership with Inama, one of Veneto’s leading properties.”
—Antonio Galloni in Wine Advocate (4/2009)