Friday, October 28, 2016

From Big Waves To Big Wine

ZIOBAFFA is an Italian wine, and its creators - Jason Baffa and Chris Del Moro - have brought their passion for filmmaking and surfing to wine. Their search for world-class waves in the Mediterranean Sea landed them in Tuscany, where the Castellani family took them in and made a vintage which was captured on film.

Baffa is an award-winning filmmaker who chronicled his love of surfing in the film, "Bella Vita," developed with his friend Del Moro. The pair shared plenty of good food and beverage while getting those gnarly waves on celluloid. It was a natural - organic, in fact - transition to ZIOBAFFA (in Italian, Uncle Baffa.)

The press blurb says "ZIOBAFFA is bottled and labeled with eco-friendly material, crafted with a biodynamic focus and organically produced grapes, with a focus on sustainable, zero waste production and environmentally friendly bottling, including the innovative Helix reuseable cork closure."

The unusual cork, which looks like a cross between a sparkling wine cork and a liqueur stopper, requires no mechanical assistance for opening. You can access the wine barehanded, even though it is worth some trouble.

The Ziobaffa Toscana is made from grapes organically grown in the Poggio al Casone vineyard, 80% Sangiovese and 20% Syrah. Visually this wine is a black hole - no light gets through at all. Aromas of black berries, plums and currants are soaked in a savory setting of cigars and spice. The palate is fresh and lively, with enough tannins for anything Bolognaise, for sure. You might even grill a steak for it. Dark fruit flavors are laced with a leathery licorice layer that does not disappoint.

I paired it with an amazing cheese by Italian cheesemaker Beppino Occelli, Occelli al Barolo.  After nine months of aging, the wheel is coated with a Barolo grape must, then soaked for two months with another wine, Langa Marc. The Sangiovese fits nicely with the Nebbiolo influence of the cheese. It also plays very well with Occelli’s Testun al Foglie di Castagno, which is wrapped in chestnut leaves.

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