MCF Rare Wine
Rustic, Yes...but Also Charming...
Every month or so, my three closest friends from high school and I have our 'guy's night out'. It's not nearly as glamorous (or mischievous) as that name suggests, though.
It used to be a few beers and food at a bar, and, since we are pushing 40 and three of us have kids, it's usually home and in bed by 11ish.
Since I moved MCF to its new location a year and a half ago, however, we've taken to having 'guy's night in' in the back room at the shop.
They bring beers, we order in pizza or tacos or whatever, and then I'll usually crack a bottle of wine to have with the food.
This past week, a few hours before closing time (when they arrive), I'd been glancing at the shelf thinking about which items needed a little love in the newsletter and I saw Odoardi's 2004 Vigna Garrone staring back at me.
I offered this wine in a mixed offer a few months ago, but, as often happens to some wines in those 'mixed sixer' newsletters, it got lost in the shuffle. So I pulled it from the shelf, yanked the cork and decanted it right away.
(Yes, decanted it. This is a 14 year-old, unfiltered wine, that has thrown considerable sediment and also, as you'll read, needs some good air time.)
As always, I tasted a bit of it right after I was done pouring it off and, like I recalled from the last time I had it, it was very deep, dark, pungent and 'rustic'. Of all the times that the word 'rustic' is thrown around describing wines, I think that Odoardi's wines, particularly this one, and, indeed wines from Calabria in general, are most deserving of this descriptor.
According to the back label, this is 'a blend of 80% Gaglioppo, 10% Nerello Capuccio, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot severely pruned to produce just 1 bottle of wine per vine'. So, right off the bat, you know that you're dealing with a very unique wine. But then, when you think about the thick-skinned nature of Gaglioppo, and the climate of Calabria, and the intensely concentrated fruit, you realize that you've crossed into the rarefied category of what one of my longest-running customers/friends once dubbed 'Caveman Wines'...a name I like and continue to use.
These are the wines, usually from obscure appellations in Central/Southern Italy that utilized oddball grapes and wacky techniques and deliver wines that are simultaneously massive and brutish, but also brilliantly delicious.
And, with time in bottle (and, in this case, ample air time as well), like this Garrone has, they do come around to the more charming end of the spectrum...charming in that still rustic kind of way.
When our pizzas arrived (the Salsiccia e Pistaccio Pesto for me, of course) I grabbed the decanter off the counter and poured some out for each of us. Mind you, this had been about 3 or 4 hours of decanter time at this point.
It's not a wine that glimmers with ravishing, sexy beauty (like a mature Bordeaux) or lures you in with a sense of poetic restraint (like Burgundy or Barolo), but it rather almost challenges you in a playfully rough way.
As with any proper wine made from Gaglioppo, the fruit here is very textured and very dark - you can almost taste the 'thickness' of the skins in the way the wine behaves on your palate. Underneath that is a nice dose of savory meatiness and, at the end, there's plenty to love buried inside, if you just allow it to show you...coax the wine, if you will, with your palate...pay attention...allow it to speak its full piece through the finish.
It reminds me exactly of archetypal character of the surly man, withdrawn or outcast from society, who has a wealth of beautiful (though decidedly 'tough-love') wisdom to offer, but only to that one person willing to shove aside their own ego/fears/general know-it-all-ness and actually listen.
So you get to be that one person...or if there's a group of you eating pizza and talking smack/reliving hilarious incidents from your past, then you can be 'those few people'...
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN OLDER BOTTLE. PLEASE STAND UPRIGHT FOR 24 HOURS BEFORE SERVING TO ALLOW THE SEDIMENT TO SETTLE. IT ALSO HAS A VERY DEEP CORK, SO PLEASE USE AN APPROPRIATE TYPE OF CORKSCREW (NO BUNNY EARS OR SCREWPULLS OR ANY OF THOSE NONSENSICAL SKYMALL-TYPE GIZMOS, JUST A REGULAR, WELL MADE WAITER'S CORKSCREW OR AH-SO) AND DRILL THE THREADING ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ENSURE THAT YOU PULL THE ENTIRE CORK UP AND NOT JUST THE UPPER HALF, AND PULL SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY SO AS NOT TO BREAK IT. AND, FINALLY, DECANT THE WINE, LEAVING THE SEDIMENT BEHIND AND GIVE IT SOME TIME TO BREATHE.
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10014