Monday, March 31, 2008

Corvo Red Wine 2004 IGT Sicily

This red wine from Sicily is made mainly from 70% Nero D'avola, 15% Perricone, and 15% Nerello Mascalese. The nose is a cherry but with a background aroma of horse manure. The flavors are also primarily cherry, but with a dusty, chalky, musky vinegar aftertaste. I'll have to pass on this one. I usually like Nero D'avolas so I was a little surprised by this one although it may be the blending grapes that don't appeal to me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tuscan winetasting and food pairing at Uvarara

Today at Uvarara Vineria E Ristoro I had the pleasure of experiencing wines paired with wonderful dishes inspired by cuisine from Tuscany, Italy. Every wine shared one ingredient, Sangiovese, the grape that played such a huge role in the re-emergence of Italian wines.

First up was a 100% Sangiovese... Giaconde Sangiovese Rubicone 2006 IGT. Dusty aromas of cherries prevailed with a hint of green olive, and paired with Fettunta di Cavolo Nero, a black kale ground with garlic on toast.

Second was Tomaiolo Chianti Classico Riserva 1999 DOCG, a clear purple ruby, medium to full bodied, with a smooth bouquet of cherry, oak, figs, and currants. This was paired with Tagliere Toscano, mortadella, stelvio cheese, artichoke hearts, and pear.

Third up was Argiano Rosso di Montalcino (also nicknamed baby Brunello) 2006 DOC. Made from 100% Brunello (Sangiovese), this wine is in wood for 1 year. On the nose I found mild aromas of chocolate and coffee while the flavors showed and earth and violets. This was beautifully paired with Testaroli, a pancake style pasta with a pesto sauce.

Next up was Villa diAngelo Vino Nobile (also a Sangiovese) di Montepulciano 2003 DOCG which is a Prugnolo Gentile varietal with aromas of cola, spices, and violet perfume. On the palate was a cherry but on the sweet side of dry.

Fifth up was the Supertuscan from Maremma... Tommasi Poggio Al Tufo Rompicollo 2004 IGT. This deep red is 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an unfiltered red with spice and cherries on the nose while the palate is ripe cherries and some black pepper. Paired well with the Loin of Pork and White Beans.

We got to dunk our biscotti in Vinsanto made from a Trebbiano/Malvasia blend. It had amber coloring, and on the nose it was nutty and honey. High alcohol content 16%.

All in all, it was a really good night of pairing with my favorite being the Supertuscan with the Pork. Richard P. did a great job discussing the history of the wines while Angela ran the kitchen producing delicious dishes and Gordon was a blur at the bar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DaVinci Collezione Speciale Toscana Chianti 2004 DOCG

©2008 photo Dave Trieger
This clean deep ruby red Sangiovese Chianti has aromas of ripe fresh fruits and flavors of cherry, tangy strawberry and plums. A very good deal for $11. And in case you didn't know, Davinci is made by Gallo. Wine Spectator gave this wine 86 points.
I went back and had a glass the following day and have to say this wine opened beautifully, so I'll change that to a "great" deal for the price.

Luigi Giusti Lacrima Di Morro D'Alba 2004 DOC

©photo 2008 Dave Trieger
This gem from Le Marche region of Italy is a deep ruby with tones of purple and a medium to medium-heavy weight. The ancient Lacrima grape gives this red dry wine a floral bouquet rich in violets or lavender and hints of vanilla. On the palate there is a flow of red fruits, soft and silky tannins and mild acidity. Works well with garlic chicken and asparagus and for the $16 price tag this is a great value. Recommended to me by The Wine Room.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fattoria di Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2005 DOCG

ItalyFattoria di Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2005 • This red wine from Bibbiani is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and 5% Malvasia. Nice clean clear ruby color with typical Chianti aromas of cherry and earth with flavors of intense cherry and flowers. Being in the $10 price range, this wine is a really good everyday wine.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Planeta Nero d'Avola La Segreta 2005 Sicily

Italy • This purple/ruby medium weight red wine from Sicily has a unique freshness. The blend is mostly Nero d'Avola with Merlot and Syrah. There are aromas that jump out at you like raspberry, green olives with notes of prunes and toasted cocoa. It has fresh tannins and even acidity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Italy's DOCG Wines

©2008 Dave Trieger
The DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) designation on Italian wine labels means they are some of Italy's best. (This doesn't necessarily mean that you can't find an IGT wine that's as good or better than a DOCG wine, for instance a Super-Tuscan.) The map shows these designated regions and the wines they produce.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Photos from wine country, Toscana

© photos 2006 by Dave Trieger

The Best from the 2006 vintage

Following is a list of the best wine regions of the world from the 2006 vintage. FRANCE: Pomerol in Bordeaux • Burgundy • Cote Rotie/Hermitage • Chateauneuf du Pape • ITALY: Piedmont • Tuscany • GERMANY: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer • AUSTRIA: Riesling, Gruner Veltliner • AUSTRALIA: Barosa/Clare/McLaren • NEW ZEALAND • ARGENTINACALIFORNIA: Cabernet Sauvignon • OREGON: Pinot Noir • WASHINGTON: Cabernet Sauvignon. Art © 2008 by Dave Trieger

Monday, March 17, 2008

Montgras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Colchagua Valley Chile

©photo by Dave Trieger
This Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile has a color that reminds me of ink, it's a rich dark ruby with jammy fruits, spices, berries and toast. On the palate are black cherry, and plum skins with a finish like a low "C" note on a good piano, long and deep. Aged 8 months in oak barrels, this is a really enjoyable Cabernet that can be paired well with roasted meats, in the $11-14 range.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Castle Rock 2006 Sonoma County Pinot Noir

This California light ruby red is a Pinot Noir with fruity aromas and spices, and on the palate is cherry jam, plum a tinge of white pepper and oak. Good finish, and well balanced. Around $13 at The Wine Room.
photo ©2008 by Dave Trieger

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Castello Banfi Col Di Sasso Cabernet Sauvignon & Sangiovese 2006 IGT

First of all let me say that I love Italian wines. This one was drinkable, but not one of my favorites. I tried it last night after an hour of decanting, then again a day later. The color is a deep ruby, but on the purple side, medium to heavy weight. On the nose is a sort of cherry/gasoline and alcohol, and the palate has a mineral aftertaste. It reminds me of a homemade wine or one that Italy produced before the Old World Wine Renaissance. I guess I expected better after enjoying the 2005 Banfi Chianti Classico so much (See February 22, 2008 post). This one was about $10 but I can't really recommend it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Marchesi Di Barolo Sarmassa 2000 DOCG

photo/digital image ©2008 by Dave Trieger
Italy • This Sarmassa single vineyard uses 100 % hand picked Nebbiolo grapes to make this Barolo aged in Slavonian oak. Color is garnet red, aroma is sour cherry, violets, licorice and slight vegetal notes. Palate is complex... sour cherry and plum, with concentrated raisin and a long finish.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bertani Amarone Della Valpolicella 1999 DOC

Italy • This is an Amarone from Veneto where the best grapes (70% Corvino Veronese, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara) are picked with the highest sugar content, laid on racks in dry lofts for about 4 months where they lose 60% of their water content. Concentrated as it is, here it is exposed to "Noble Rot", then store in Slavonian casks for from 5 to 8 years and in bottle for 1 year.
Color is garnet/brick, aromas of cherries, leather, licorice, dried fruits, spices and raw meat. On the palate are raisins, dried raspberries, earth, mushrooms, black pepper and dried roses. It is full bodied with a smooth nutty finish that lingers nicely. (Thanks Jake!)
This is an expensive bottle of wine, around $100 if you can find it, but on a special occasion I say go for it!

What is Terroir?

Fog on the vineyard, San Leonino, Tuscany ©2006 Dave Trieger
(Ter-war) Wines are defined mainly by where their grapes are grown, or their Terroir. The amount of sun, dew, fog and rain, the soil composition, drainage, heat retention of the soil, warm days, cool nights, are all factors that make up Terroir. Topography also plays a big part, is the vineyard near a lake? near a mountain? in a valley? at a high altitude?

It's the "flavor" of the LAND, or more specifically the "flavor" of the PLACE. In short, Terroir is the artist's hand, and it paints the picture of the wine on the drinker's senses.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Altos De La Hoya 2006 Monastrell Jumilla Finca Hoya De Santa Ana

Spain • This Monastrell Jumilla is a dark red wine with medium to heavy weight and fragrances of white pepper and concentrated sour cherries, reminds me of a Syrah. Also present is the distinct bouquet of vanilla sticky buns with a long spicy finish. $13 from the Murcia region of Spain.

Dolcetto d'Alba De Forville 2006 Piedmont Italy

Italian wine • Sat at the bar at Market Table in the village on Carmine street and Bedford. This Dolcetto d'Alba, has aromas of cherries & sour fruit, medium weight with dark ruby color. It has a palate of chocolate, spices, herbs and medium tannins, with a bitter finish. It wasn't one of my favorites, a little too tight and on the sour side. Wine was paired with an Italian cows milk cheese called Taleggio with dried figs in balsamic vinegar. A sharper aged cheese might have worked better.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Estate Bottled Montebuena Rioja 2005

This Spanish red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes grown in the Rioja region. The last attempt in 2004 was a superior effort and the 2005 is less distinct, but with a 3 hour decanting it opened nicely. The nose is considerably milder but with hints of dusty fruits. Color is deep rose purple, mouth is tart dry cherries and glycerine, moderate tannins and low acidity. $12 range.

Marchesi de Frescobaldi Riserva Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Rufina 2004 DOCG

©photo 2008 Dave Trieger
Italy • The grapes are 90% Sangiovese with the remainder a mix of Malvasia nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the original Chianti regions, Rufina. Dark ruby color, 13% alcohol, not very intense on the nose but aromas are cherry and leather with slight tannins and good acidity and spices. The Frescobaldi family has been around since the 11th century and the story goes Michelangelo exchanged paintings for wine. Pairs well with roasted meats and aged cheeses. This red wine is #57 on the Wine Spectator's Top 100 list for 2007 and received a 91 rating for the 2004 vintage ... that being said, a $15-20 price tag is not a bad deal at all.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Monte Antico Toscano 2004 IGT tasting notes

photo ©2008 by Kristen Trieger
Monte Antico Toscano 2004 IGT • This red wine by Italian wine specialist Neil Empson and winemaker Franco Bernabei is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Aged in oak barrels for a year and in bottle for 6 months, this ruby red medium weight wine is 12.5% alcohol, on the nose are black cherry, chocolate, spice, earth, leather and plums. It's well balanced and on the palate are spice and cherries. This wine is a great deal at about $10.