NY Wine Salon is proud to present a cinematic taste of Portugal. In Brooklyn. Filmmaker Ken Payton, known for his in-depth and incisive blog Reign of Terroir, will screen his documentary film AÇORES: FROM LAVA TO WINE. Ken Payton will be on hand for this one-hour screening, preceded by a reception of sympatico food and wine, provided by both the filmmaker and Esporão. Don’t miss this New York debut of one of wine’s most authentic voices.
Gem of Verona
Written by Suzanne Gannon Wednesday, 09 February 2011 00:00
Romeo & Juliet, Murano glass and Amarone are among the precious exports of Italy’s Veneto region. On February 1, under the sleeting skies of New York City’s most precipitating winter on record, Deborah Cesari may have added a new one to the mix: Jema, which the modest Cesari says is one of the first, if not the first, commercial wines made 100 percent from Corvina, the main grape of Valpolicella and Amarone.
According to Cesari, who represents the third generation of the eponymous winemaking family in the Valpolicella Classico district of Verona, this Super-Venetian, so to speak, “expresses the purity of the Corvina grape.” Coiffed and relaxed in the manner of a woman at ease traveling the world to present the wines that flow through her veins, she explained that the name “Jema” derives from the Italian word “gemma,” which possesses the dual meanings of “gem stone” and “bud on the vine.”
Though its package was presented at Vinitaly 2010, Jema had not been uncorked in the U.S. until this month; New York, naturally, was its first stop. Overall, the wine leaves a supple impression on the palate, with strong and pleasing hints of its raisined and cherried relationship to Amarone and mild but persistent tannins that reveal a sound structure.
In 2005, Cesari said, intense heat made for a prolonged ripening that yielded the quality of grape that was required to fulfill the vision for Jema. Hand-picked in late October from a three-hectare vineyard in the town of San Pietro, the grapes were left to dry in crates for 20 days and then fermented on the skins in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation then followed in small French barriques where the wine spent 18 months developing a medium toastiness before being transferred to large Slavonian oak casks for another six months.
Jema and the rest of the Cesari line is imported and distributed here in New York by Opici Wines, the company where Deborah’s father Franco, now 74, struck up a relationship with Hubert Opici, now 94, in 1985. Only 27,000 bottles of the 2005 Jema were made, and it retails for $50. Already being sold in Italy, Germany, the U.K. and in parts of Scandinavia, Jema should soon be available at Ambassador Wines & Spirits and select New York restaurants.
Also worth a swirl are Cesari’s “Cento Filari” Lugana 2008, a surprisingly honeyed aperitif consisting of Turbiana (95 percent) and Chardonnay, and of course its Amarones, specifically the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1990 ($100) and the “Il Bosco” 2000 ($140) —rare treats if you can find them.