JAO Imports is best known for the excellent Burgundies that it imports to the US, but it also brings in selected wines from other parts of Europe, including Champagne, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Montalcino.
Azienda Agricola Armilla. The smallest estate in the Brunello appellation, Az Agr Armilla is located southwest of Montalcino in the subregion of Tavernelle. Just one hectare of the estate is dedicated to producing the Rosso. Rosso di Montalcino is usually aged in oak for about 10 months and sold a year after harvest as an easy drinking, fruit forward, light bodied wine. The Armilla Rosso is aged in 25 hl botti for 18 months and is therefore considerably richer and darker and more in the mold of a Baby Brunello. We reviewed Armilla’s Brunello di Montalcino in our Report #31 Brunello di Montalcino, which shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Rosso.
Azienda Agricola Armilla 2011 Rosso di Montalcino ($25) 89 This big, ripe wine is Brunello like in its earthy, dark fruited character. It shows aromas and flavors of mushrooms, savory herbs, and mature dark red fruit. It’s quite similar in quality and character to the 2010 vintage of the same wine.
Domaine Saint Siffrein Claude Chastan and his wife owned and operated this domaine until recently, but now their son Cyril is in charge. The domaine and its 35 acres of vines are located north of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wine reviewed here is made in concrete vats and then 90% aged in large foudres and the rest in barriques for 12 months. The grapes are not destemmed, and there is neither fining nor filtration. We also reviewed this domaine’s Côtes-du-Rhône in our Report #39 The World of Grenache.
Domaine Saint Siffrein 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge ($40) 91 Dark ruby. This Grenache-based (65%) blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah from 60+ year old vines reveals blackberry and spice on the nose. It has a soft attack and a densely flavored, broad palate of black fruit, slate, and licorice with a nice red fruit accent. Robust and delicious, although not quite as elegant as the 2011 vintage we reviewed last year.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler