Poggio Anima

Poggio Anima is a joint venture between Montalcino superstar Riccardo Campinoti of Le Ragnaie and his importer Vine Street Imports. The idea is pretty simple: to source the best vineyards from existing relationships and produce a real wine that conveys a place and a grape. These wines are not bulk wines, nor leftover juice from a winery, but long term contracts with reputable growers. Poggio Anima translates to ‘Hill of Soul.’
Simply put, Vine Street Imports founder Ronnie Sanders has a very twisted sense of humor and marketing! The fusion of his Eastern beliefs with Western philosophy is apparent when you look at the contradiction of red and white (wines), good vs evil (demons vs angels) and modern ideas with old world winemaking practices (catchy, fun packaging with classic old world wine).

Belial Sangiovese

One of the four crown princes of hell. Roughly translated to ‘without yoke’ in Hebrew. It is believed that Belial is the purest definition of ‘lawlessness.’ The correlation is that much of what has come to be known as ‘Supertuscans’ or ‘IGT’ is simply lawless. People blending international varietals with indigenous varietals, etc.
This is 100% Sangiovese sourced from a single Montecucco vineyard. This wine puts the 'super' in SuperTuscan and certainly at this price. Winemaker, Riccardo Campinoti is a firm believer that the wine is made in the vineyard and when he found this one with mature vines (averaging 15 years of age) he knew he had something special. The grapes were hand harvested and the fermentation included 2 weeks of skin contact to extract rich flavors and color. Aging is in neutral barrels so the Sangiovese fruit is the star here.
2008 was the inaugural vintage for this wine and the response was overwhelming to say the least. It is not too often where the marketplace smiles in unison when selling and drinking a wine, but that happened here. This is a pretty serious and structured wine for this price. The 2011 has considerable amount of fruit, in a positive way. The vintage was even and nearly flawless until about a month before harvest when a hot cell from Africa descended upon Tuscany and decided to stay put for the rest of the summer. Harvest was a few weeks earlier than usual, though the wine has great balance and looks more like 2005 than 2003.

Reviews:
Price: $128, $120 3 cases, $112 5 cases
 
Samael Montepulciano D'Abruzzo

In Jewish texts, Samael is better known as the ‘Angel of Death.’ It is believed that Samael is both good and evil in that he does the work of God but desires man to do evil. Samael is viewed as a seducer as was first spoken of in the Talmud as assuming the role of the serpent and tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. The correlation here is that Montepulciano can be a very alluring and seductive grape that lends itself to pleasurable drinking. That said, often time Montepulciano is simple, thin and insipid. It is both good and bad.
This is 100% Montepulciano, sourced from a steep (for Abruzzi standards) vineyard facing southeast toward the sea. 2009 was the inaugural vintage and 2011 pushes the wine to another level in terms of complexity. The grapes were handpicked and fermented in stainless steel tanks before being racked into large 20hL Slavonian barrels. This is a value at all levels and this continues the range of wines under the Poggio Anima label.
The wine is fairly large in stature with flavors of crushed black pepper and red fruits along with marjoram and coriander. The wine is dark ruby red with a purple tinge and displays a aromas and flavors of crushed berries and exotic spice.

Reviews:
Price: $128, $120 3 cases, $112 5 cases
 
Uriel Grillo

Uriel, the archangel of repentance. Uriel played a very important role in ancient texts as the rescuer of Jesus' cousin John the Baptist from the Massacre of the Innocents ordered by King Herod. The translation of Uriel is ‘God of Light.’ Uriel was the angel who checked each of the doors during the Passover in order to ensure safety for God’s people. Grillo, also known as Riddu, is a very resilient grape and one that withstands a lot of heat and wind on Sicily. It is probably best known as the foundation for Marsala but in its ‘dry’ form has many interesting characteristics. It is the most important white grape on Sicilty and therefore the ‘principal light.’

The vineyards are located in Western Sicily, in the Salemi area at about 25 miles from Marsala. They are planted east facing following the vertical trellis system on sandy and clay rich soil, using guyot pruning. At an altitude of around 1,600 feet above sea level, they are about 15 years old.

After de-stemming and maceration for a few hours, the grapes are subject to soft-press before fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. The wine is then left on its lees for about a couple of weeks before being bottled.

Light straw yellow in color, it has a rich bouquet of tropical fruit with notes of apricots and peaches. It is full and round on the palate with a lovely balancing acidity and a long perfumed finish.

Reviews:
Price: Fl $128, 3cs $120, 5cs $112
 
Asmodeus Nero de Avola

In the Book of Tobias, an ancient Hebrew text, Asmodeus is the Demon of Lust. It is said that when Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve separated for 130 years. During this time, Adam was tempted by Naamah and Lillith, two demons of prostitution. Asmodeus is the offspring of the relationship between Naamah and Adam. Of all of the varietals of Italy, Nero d’Avola is as lustful and pleasurable as it gets. Rich, peppery and opulent. It has many of the same characteristics of Syrah and is the most important grape of Sicily.

Until the 1980s, commercial use of Nero d'Avola was dedicated almost exclusively to fortifying weaker reds in France and northern Italy. In the past Nero d'Avola, like other Sicilian reds, was often syrupy, with an alcohol content reaching 18%. New viticulture techniques and night harvesting --placing the grapes in cooled vats to prevent premature fermentation-- have been used by a few vintners to retain flavor without producing an overpowering wine. The result is often compared to Syrah.

The vineyards are located in central Sicily, in the province of Caltanissetta, at about 1,600 feet above sea level. The altitude, together with the distance from the sea, provides for excellent diurnal variety where the warm Sicilian sun is alternated with fresh, cool evenings, ensuring great condition for ripening the grapes. The vines are planted south facing following the vertical trellis system on sandy and clay rich soil using guyot pruning.

The vinification is pretty straightforward: De-stemming and maceration for 12 - 15 days at 77 degrees with frequent delestage. Soft press and vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The wine was aged in second year French and American oak for 3 months.

Reviews:
Price: Fl $128, 3cs $120, 5cs $112
 
Lilith Primitivo

According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was banished from the Garden of Eden when she refused to make herself subservient to Adam’s sexual requests. When she was cast out of the Garden, she was made into a demon, and Adam was given a second wife, Eve, who was fashioned from his rib to ensure her obedience to her man. Where Adam was created from dust, Lilith was created from filth and sediment. Primitivo refuses to be submissive to the oenology that it is the same grape as its close relative Zinfandel. Many subscribe to this idea, though they are both mutations of Crljenak, a Croatian varietal. Primitivo always brings plenty of flesh and ripeness to the table with a solid spine of certainty and structure.

Reviews:
Price: Fl $128, 3cs $120, 5cs $112
 
Gabriel Greco de Tufo

In the ancient Hebrew Book of Enoch, Gabriel, along with Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Suriel, hears the cries of humanity under the strain of the Nephilim. It was their beseeching of "the Ancient of Days" - interpreted to be Yahweh - that prompted God to call Enoch to the prophetical office. After Enoch informed the Watchers (or "Grigori") of their fall from grace, the Ancient of Days sent the archangels to earth to complete various tasks. Gabriel was to "Go to the biters, to the reprobates, to the children of fornication, the offspring of the Watchers, from among men; bring them forth and excite them against one another. Let them perish under mutual slaughter; for length of days shall not be theirs." Gabriel is recognized as the most important archangel in many texts in various religions. From revealing the Quran to Muhammad to announcing the birth of Jesus to Mary, his importance is noted throughout historical texts.

As is such, Greco arguably the most important grape in all of Italy, due to its use in various liqueurs as well as fine wines. It is often better known by its mutation moniker of Trebbiano. It’s a delicious, food-friendly wine made of an ancient grape. Often compared to Viognier because of its subtle fruit and herbaceous aromatics, Greco ("Greek") originated in Greece, but it came to southern Italy more than 2,500 years ago

Reviews:
Price: Fl $128, 3cs $120, 5cs $112