2017 Allegretto “Pie Franco” Merlot
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We celebrate the fact that we make wine in a region where vintage variations play an important role. Atypical growing seasons are a nightmare for commercial wineries interested in making consistent but boring wines. For us, however, it defines our interest in wine. We look forward to seeing what Mother Nature gives us to work with each year. It is the effects of each vintage on the finished wine that urges us to start verticals of our favourite wines then follow their evolution and discuss their merits at tastings with friends.
Allegretto or a medium brisk and playful tempo is a very special single vineyard wine we call a true Merlot. The vines are planted on their rootstock (pie franco) in white silica sand (what glass is made out of). With every vintage, we are rewarded with trueness and transparency in the flavour that is not seen elsewhere. We also believe the white silica sandy soil of this vineyard contributes to the elegant style of this wine.
2017 Allegretto is a classic medium+ body single-vineyard Merlot. A wine that makes its presence known both on the nose and on the attack. Mostly integrated round tannins and a melange of red and black fruit approach you in poise. Raw cacao nibs, wild desert herbs mingle with the fruit and delicate dusty earthy notes; while the past few vintages were all on the more structured side, 2017 vintage can be enjoyed upon release or tucked away to gain complexity and nuances to wow even the biggest Merlot nay-sayers.
Please note prices do not include applicable taxes or bottle deposit (PST 10% and GST 5%)
A classic Bistecca Fiorentina with Italian Salsa Verde, side of Tuscan White Beans and charred Radicchio or a Pistachio-Crusted Filet Mignon with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Vegetables.
Vegetariano / Vegano
Marinated Cauliflower Steak with Mushroom Jus or a hearty Ratatouille.
93 points. 4/5 value value
Being asked to imagine “your bare feet in warm sand” is a blessed opening gambit for a slower than Allegro Okanagan Valley merlot. The phrase “piè franco” is invoked and with thanks to Italian wine scholar Jeremy Parzen, “in Italian wine parlance denotes ungrafted rootstock and is often employed to designate wines made from ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines, like the Cappellano Barolo Piè Franco. It is akin, although not derived from, the French franc de pied.” This 2017 piece performed in that soil to vine movement is beautifully and dutifully paced, a deeply resonant, firm and earthbound red with both feet squarely, if magically anchored in white silica sand. You can taste the controlled lightning, a flash of metalliferous virtuoso and the “campo franco,” or free field form of a vineyard-tethered merlot. The potential here is great. The lingua franca notated speaks to B.C. and to La Stella’s style. Also worth noting, once again with a nod to JP, that one of the earliest instances of Piè is found in the humanist poet Politian, a.k.a Poliziano, who was from Montepulciano. This Allegretto is very reminiscent of merlot produced in the southern Tuscan appellation. A curious reference point, if only for a fleeting, piè franco moment. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted January 2021.
Such a wine. 30ish year old own rooted [pie franco] vines in white silica sand. Canada’s top merlot, yet again.
A rare merlot grown on its own roots (“pie franco”), the 2017 Allegretto is a fleshy, firm, well-structured, perfumed example, which will take some time in the decanter (or time in the cellar) to really show its best. I like the grainy tannic structure, a little more finessed than the mean for Okanagan merlot, but certainly more firm than most international paradigms. Fruit is appropriately dark, ripe and plummy, also with some roasted vegetal-herbal notes in the varietal idiom, with very good length. It will be a little severe for some, but I like the more old world structure. Best after 2022.