April Wine Club

Apr 18, 2024

As you all likely know, I, Ellie, was pregnant from about June to February. I was tasting wine during my pregnancy and even felt like my palate was more in tune, but I missed just relaxing with a glass of wine—the pleasure of drinking wine. It is one of my favorite pastimes, and I am grateful to be back doing so. Here are some wines that make me happy—wines I like to sit with and savor.

“Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil.” – Lord Byron

Cheers,
P. & E. Mullins

2016 Sonntag Geschlossen ‘Hintaus’

Weinviertel, Austria

“Sonntag Geschlossen” means “closed on Sundays,” which reflects the work drive there. It is to let be and let become. Winemaker Markus took over his family vineyards in 1998 and transitioned them to organic with minimal intervention. The vines are barely pruned, and the grasses grow tall between the vines. Markus planted many fruit trees to add diversity to the land. Often, the fruit is left unharvested and there for the animals that graze to eat. Markus closes his cellar door, believing wine should age for extended periods to let the magic work. When tasting this 2016 Gruner, we can’t argue with that approach. Surprisingly enough, this 100% Gruner Veltliner is one of his youngest releases. It is aged entirely in stainless steel and “only” for seven years before being released in 2023. In the glass, this is a hazy gold hue. The liveliness of the wine showcases its energy, and with each sniff and sip, it evolves more and more. The nose first greets you with a bit of a cidery hint, and there are notes of quince. The palate is silky and complete with an acidity that carries through. The flavor of yellow apples balances the salinity and tartness. It finishes with sunshine and slate.

2020 Cantina Cenci Sandiagio Rosso

Umbria, Italy

For four generations, the Cenci family has been cultivating native grapes on this old farm in western Umbria, which was first established in the 15th century by Olivetan monks from France. Winemaker Giovanni is a lovely, kind guy, the fourth generation of the family to live on the property. A winemaker, farmer, poet, and even mechanical artist–he repairs farm machines until they give out and turns them into art!–He quite humbly produces some of the best white wines in the entire region. His grandfather, Mario, selected the first grape clones of Grechetto, Sangiovese, and Malvasia from the vines that the Olivetan monks cultivated along with mulberry. Thus, the first vineyards of Cantina Cenci were planted. “Sanbiagio ” is an homage to the country where the cellar is located—a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Sangiovese Grosso. The color in the glass is a light and hazy rusty ruby red. Old-world aromas of tart cherry meet you. The palate is lighter and brighter than expected.

2020 Terra Costantino Etna Rosso

Sicily, Italy

The wines of Sicily were mainly unknown to the masses until the 1980s. That allowed the wineries to remain mostly a family affair with the wines produced every year for the household, for the neighbors, for the evenings, and for celebrations. The region’s character was preserved since these wines weren’t for selling and were distributed in these ancient vineyards. Terra Costantino is the first organic winery on Mount Etna, and it has always been that way. Here, we share the Etna Rosso made of 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio. I recommend a slight chill on this wine. When you swirl it in the glass, the rusty edges meet the transparent red hue. The nose is rustic and slightly funky up front, then brambly and woody notes come through. It is medium in body with cedar spice and dusty minerally tannins.