Friday, October 31, 2008

Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux 2004

Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux 2004 smooth cherries, nice... first impressions sent via twitter... more to come.

Here's more... made from 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and a 12.5% alcohol content, this Bordeaux is aged in oak barrels for 12 months on one of the oldest properties in all of Bordeaux. Dark ruby red and medium-bodied with aromas of red berries, licorice, spice and white pepper. On the palate there are flavors of cherries, mocha and vanilla, and cedar finishing with smooth silky tannins. $21.

Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro La Planta Ribera del Duero Tempranillo Spain 2007

This Tempranillo by Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro from Ribera del Duero in Spain 2007 ... wafts of smoky bubble gum, toasted wood, jammy, dusty, cola and very fruit forward. Had this one at a new Turkish wine bar called Pierre Loti on Irving and around 17th street. It was $46 a bottle but can probably buy retail at around $10. This will be my first entry via twitter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Organic Wine & Cheese Pairing

This past Saturday Dan Olson hosted an Organic Wine & Cheese Pairing at The Wine Room of Forest Hills. There were amazing pairings of six wines (three white and three red picked by Gary Grunner for The Wine Room) with six cheeses (Dan had help from cheesemonger, Leah Juhl). All of the cheeses were made in Wisconsin, Dan's home state, and from Murray's Cheese Shop, while the wines were from Spain, Chile, Argentina, and Washington.

Mike Jett and his band provided the musical background while Carolina from The Wine Room made her rounds to make sure everything was going smoothly.

Try these combinations (I'll list the whites on this post... stay tuned for the reds!):

Cuma Torrontes (Argentina) Perfumed bouquet of peaches, apricots and tropical fruit. Light dry and crisp with a delicate finish.

paired with

Dante. Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative, Sheeps milk, dry, firm, aged minimum 6 months. Rich, nutty flavor with hints of hazelnuts and spices. 2008 American Cheese Society Award Winner.

Natura Chardonnay Chile Pale yellow with an aroma and flavor of citrus, toast, butter, fruit and plenty of apples and pears. Great long finish.

paired with

Pleasant Ridge Reserve Upland Creamery Raw cow's milk in traditional French Alpine method. Firm, subtle yet complex flavors that change with the season. Nutty, milky flavors, long finish. 2008 American Cheese Society Award Winner.

Badger Mountain Reisling (Washington state) Lemon colored with perfumed aroma of spicy apples and fruit salad. Off-dry and quite pleasing with a crisp, lime flavored finish and minerally aftertaste.

paired with

Black River Blue Cheese. North Henderson Cheese Coop. Pasteurized cow's milk. Classic from an 80 year old company. Lovely soft texture complements the intense blue. An all around blue good for everything.


1. Bunch of Grapes (could be x-rated depending on where you put them on your body)
2. Bottle of Wine
3. Grape stomper (paint feet purple, and I might use this one)
4. Corkscrew
5. Grapevines
6. Wine Barrel
7. Cork
8. Wine Glass
9. Phylloxera
10. Wine Box

...please add to the list if you like.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Faustino VII Rioja 2005 with whole wheat pasta

This lively red from Rioja, Spain, 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha, is a light red color with intensely fruity aromas and vanilla, and velvety cherry flavors and smooth slightly spicy finish. Again, this wine is very fruit forward but so smooth and light, an excellent food wine. I paired it with whole wheat pasta, steamed broccoli, prosciutto and (toasted) pignoli nuts with grated locatelli cheese.

©2008 photo by Dave Trieger

Winemaker notes:
In 1861 Eleuterio Martinez Arzok set out on a journey, selling his Rioja wines direct from the barrel, working from the back of a horse-drawn cart. Thus began Bodegas Faustino, today Spain’s largest producer of Reserva and Gran Reserva Rioja wines. In the late 1950s, Eleuterio’s equally adventurous descendant, Faustino Martinez, launched the Faustino label. Source of over 25% of all Reserva and Gran Reserva Riojas sold abroad, Faustino is a proud custodian of the Rioja’s international reputation for world-class wines. A phenomenal nine million bottles of Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are stored in Faustino’s magnificent cellars.

Production Area
Grapes are harvested exclusively from Faustino estate vineyards in Spain’s Rioja region.

It is aged 10 months in oak casks and in bottle for 6 months prior to its release.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Raul Calvo Tinto Roble Ribera Del Duero 2004

This red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes from the Ribera Del Duero region of Spain... my wife bought this bottle at a charity auction for $5 and I was blown away by how good it was.

The color is a deep dark violet with intense floral aromas, bright black currants, and earth.

The palate is exploding with extremely ripe cherries and toasted oak, and a smooth tannic finish that reminds me very much of a Nero D'Avola from Sicily called Firriato Chiaramonte.

If I could find more of this wine I would be so happy.

©2008 photo by Dave Trieger

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dinner with New (snooth) Friends

(originally posted on by the author)

I'm fairly new to snooth, but since the beginning of 2008 I founded a wine blog and website and having a great time doing it. Had the opportunity to share dinner and some great wines (thanks to Greg Dal Piaz) with a small group of snoothians this past week. There was a chef, a lawyer, and a commercial artist, (but all with extreme interest in wines) exchanging notes with a super wine-geek.. a pretty diverse group.

Conversation ranged from "The new Great Depression" to "where can I get a wine fridge, cheap?" to "what's your favorite everyday wine?". We also talked about what snooth is (for one thing a HUGE wine database), and what we'd like to see it become.

And last but not least... the wines. Greg opened 3 beautiful California reds for us:

Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1985... extremely nice balance and beautifully smooth... my favorite.

Laurel Glen Sonoma 1985 Cabernet (blended w merlot & Cab Franc, I think) ...2nd favorite with cherries and herbs.

Fife Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 1995... some heavy tannins on the nose but on the palate it sings with notes of licorice and white pepper.

It was a pleasure to meet you guys.

Dave Trieger

Friday, October 24, 2008

Italian Wine Series: Part 3-The Wines of Calabria


Italian Wine Series: Part 3-The Wines of Calabria


The Greeks seem to have been the first to introduce the wine grape varieties and winemaking techniques to Calabria. The indigenous people became so adept in the art of vine cultivation and fermentation that soon the wines produced in the colony were considered better than the ones made in Greece. The area was then called Enotria or Land of Wine.

Following are DOC regions:

Bianco- The DOC of Greco di Bianco is one of the few predominant white wine regions in Calabria. The area produces most sweet wine from the Greco Bianco grape that have alcohol contents of at least 17%. The wines are typically produced as straw wines with the grapes being partially dried prior to pressing and fermentation. Greco di Bianco is characterized by a deep amber color and aromas of citrus and herbs.

Bivongi-The DOC of Bivongi is one of Calabria's newest DOCs and produces red and rosé wines from blends of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nocera, Castiglione and Calabrese. The few white wines made in this region are dry wines made from a blend of Greco Bianco, Guardavalle, Mantonico Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Ansonica as well as up to 30% of other available white grape varieties.

Donnici- The Domnici DOC is located south of Cosenza on the wester slopes of the the La Sila plateau. The production is mainly red wine made from Gaglioppo with some blending of Greco Nero and Mantonico Nero.

Isola di Capo Rizzuto- The DOC of Sant'Anna di Isola di Capo Rizzuto is located south of commune of Melissa. The region was once an island but overtime the marshland around it filled in and connected the region to the mainland. The DOC produces dry red and rosé wines from Gaglioppo, Nocera, Nerello Mascalese (and the related Nerello Cappuccio), and up to 35% of added Malvasia and Greco Bianco.

Lamezia Terme- The DOC of Lamezia is located on the plains and hill side regions around the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia near the Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte along the Tyrrhenian Sea. The region is very warm, allowing the grapes to fully ripen and develop body and alcohol levels. The region produces red and rosé wines from Gaglioppo, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Greco Nero, Magliocco and Marsigliana. The white wines from the region are made from Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano.

Melissa-The Melissa DOC is located south of Cirò and produces wines of similar style, though not with the same international reputation of quality. The red wine grapes of the region are the Gaglioppo and Greco Nera with some blending of the white wine grapes Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano.

Pollino- The Pollino DOC is named for the nearby mountain range that forms part of the Apennines. Located near the border with Basilicata, the region produces pale, cherry red wines that need 2-3 years to develop. The wines are made primarily with Gaglioppo and Greco Nero with up to 20% of white grape varieties permitted in the blend.

San Vito di Luzzi- The DOC of San Vito di Luzzi is located in the hamlet of San Vito near the commune of Luzzi. The red and rosé wines from this region are produced with Gaglioppo, Malvasia Nera, Greco Nero and Sangiovese. The white wines are produced from Malvasia Bianca, Greco Bianco and up to 40% of other local white wine varieties.

Savuto- The Savuto DOC is located south of the Donnici region in mountainous terrain that stretches to the coast. The vineyards located closer to the interior are cooler than other parts of Calabria, producing wines with lower alcohol levels. The red and rosé wines from this region are produced with Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nerello Cappuccio, Magliocco, Sangiovese and up to 25% of the white wine grapes Malvasia Bianca and Pecorello.

Scavigna- The Scavigna DOC is located south of Savuto on the western coast of Calabria. The dry red and rosé wines from this region are made with at least 60% Gaglioppo and Nerello Cappuccio with a blend of other local red wine varieties. The white wines are blend of Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Greco Bianco and Malvasia Bianca.

Verbicaro- The DOC are of the Verbicaro region are located in the Pollino foothills, west of Pollino DOC region and extends to the Tyrrhenian coast. The dry dry red and rosé wines from this region are made from Gaglioppo and Greco Nero with a small amount of the white wine grapes Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Guarnaccia Bianca blended in. Those same white grapes also produces the limited amount of Verbicaro Bianco.


10 good wines for Under $10... wines for the NEW GREAT DEPRESSION

Here is a list of 10 good wines, mostly Italian, that you can get for under $10 a bottle:

Monte Antico Toscano 2004 IGT Italy
Colosi Sicilia Rosso Nero D’Avola 2005
Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenere 2006 Chile
Straccali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2004 IGT Italy
Bodegas Zabrin Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines 2006 Spain
Casal Thaulero Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2006 DOC Italy
Fattoria di Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2005 DOCG Italy
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico DOCG 2004 (375 ML) Italy
Rocca Delle Macie Rubizzo Sangiovese di Toscana 2006 IGT Italy
Rocca Delle Macie Campomaccione Morellino Di Scansano DOC 2006 Italy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

artiCHoke CHicken CHardonnay CHile

Here is Montes Classic Series Chardonnay in a 2007 vintage, from Curico Valley in Chile. Fermented in 75% American Oak and 25% stainless steel with colors of pale golden green, and scents of buttery pineapple and tropical fruits. On the palate is a fresh fruitiness (some lychee and ginger) mixed with vanilla ice cream.

While I watch Game 1 of the World Series I'm pairing this Chard with grilled breast of chicken, artichoke hearts and couscous with pesto sauce. Damn good... and $12 a bottle.

©2008 photo by Dave Trieger

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boscaini Marano Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2000

This red wine from Veneto is a Valpolicella with light weight and a pale ruby color. On the nose is a fragrant cherry with mild glycerine aromas and on the palate waves of ripe fruit. It finishes with a silkiness that leaves me with a feeling of balance and maturity. It has a very mild alcohol content of 12% and it's in the $14 range. This is a good wine to pair with pastas, pork or poultry and is an excellent value.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Montes, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Classic Series, Chile

From the Colchagua Valley in Chile comes this playful Cabernet Sauvignon... it's a deep colorful wine, (literally and figuratively) and I found myself enjoying it more as it breathed.

The color is a dark ruby, and fruity aromas prevail with a wisp of smoked bacon, probably from the American oak, caramel, and a hint of tree bark. Flavors of chocolate mint, spices and red berries dance on the palate. The firm tannins mean you can lay down a few bottles for a couple of years, or you can just drink it now. The alcohol content is 14.5% but doesn't overpower the great flavor profile. This is a bargain at around $12 per bottle.

Another sign that Chile is on the right track.

©2008 photo by Dave Trieger

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christine in Puglia: Tufjiano 2007, Fiano Biologico, Colli dell Margia; Tempio di Giano 2007, Negroamaro, Veterere

My good friend Christine recently returned from a trip to Puglia and kindly wrote this story about what sounds like a wonderful place.

I had a very special evening in the Puglia region of Italy on the 30th of September. In the town of Ostuni I was given a tour of the exquisite grounds of the Masseria Il Frantoio by its charming proprietor Armando Balestrazzi. He and his wife Rosalba had a vision for this old farm estate 14 years ago and now proudly reap the rewards of this working organic farm and restaurant. I shared in their rewards as well, as I dined on the food and wine from its very own soil. Nothing here is taken for granted and it shows in everything they do.

Most memorable for me that evening was standing in the courtyard by candle light, smelling a combination of the citrus trees (lemon, lime & mandarin orange) along with the most intense grapes of which I held a pure, plump, bunch of in my hand.
At the table I was thrilled by the refreshingly cold white wine they served; Tufjiano 2007, Fiano Biologico, Colli dell Margia. It was sweet, smooth, crisp and pure and went perfectly with the green-beans fricasee served in a crispy basket of sheeps cheese.

I am not usually a white wine drinker, but this was really wonderful. It impressed me more than the red served later with our meal; Tempio di Giano 2007, Negroamaro, Veterere, very traditional to the region along with their seasonal, wild fennel pasta with fava beans puree and green peppers.

For me, these were a few special hours spent in heaven!
See their website:

Christine Rubinelli

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fattoria dei Barbi Toscana Brusco dei Barbi 2006 IGT

Fattoria dei Barbi uses a patented technique of fermentation developed by Giovanni Colombini to make this Sangiovese Tuscan red wine. The process involves the extensive soaking of the grapes with their pomace which results in an intensity of flavors, softness, color, and complexity.

The initial fermentation lasts 10 days, transforming the sugars to alcohol. Then the stainless steel vats are sealed, the temperature dropped and the wine left in contact with the skins, continuing to ferment slowly. After three months the skins are then removed and the wine remains in the stainless steel vats until bottling.

The color of this wine is a ruby red with aromas of raspberries and spices while on the palate are earthy autumnal tones of underbrush. There is a smoothness in the tannins and a good balance overall with a finish that's full circle back to red berries. 13.25% alcohol and $13.99 at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

©2008 photo by Dave Trieger

Monday, October 13, 2008

Banfi CollePino Sangiovese & Merlot 2005 IGT

From Montalcino comes this Tuscan red, a blend of Sangiovese & Merlot and nice every day red wine. At $8 a bottle Banfi succeeds in producing a full-bodied inexpensive red with the character of some of it's older brothers from the region. Ruby red colors with earthy aromas, deep red fruits and a tiny hint of oak from the 2 month of aging in French oak barrels. This went very well with a simple pasta marinara with grated ricotta & pecorino cheese.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Italian Wine Series: Part 2-The Wines of Basilicata

"Basilicata, also known as Lucania, is an often neglected region of arid hills and desolate mountains that can be bitterly cold for a southerly place. But the cool upland climate has its advantages for viticulture, in wines that can show enviable aromas and flavours. Basilicata has only one DOC in Aglianico del Vulture, but that, at least, gives the inhabitants a source of pride. One of southern Italy's finest red wines, it is gradually gaining admirers elsewhere.

The Aglianico vine - which is also the base of Campania's vaunted Taurasi - was brought to Basilicata by the Greeks, perhaps as long ago as the sixth or seventh century BC. (Its name is a corruption of Hellenico). On the slopes of the extinct volcano known as Monte Vulture it makes a robust, deeply coloured wine that from fine vintages can improve for many years, becoming increasingly refined and complex in flavour. There are also youthful versions of the wine, sometimes semi-sweet and even sparkling, but the dry "vecchio" or "riserva", after ageing in oak casks, rate the most serious consideration.

Aglianico is also used for "vini da tavola" in other parts of the region, notably in the east around Matera, where reds from Sangiovese and Montepulciano also originate. White wines of interest are the sweet Moscato and Malvasia, the best of which come from the Vulture zone and the eastern Bradano valley." excerpt from


In an interview I did with Keith Beavers from InVino Wine Bar, I asked him what was the first wine that made him realize he loved wine? His answer was a wine from Regione Basilicata.

"It was a 1999 Paternoster Aglianico Del Vulture Don Anselmo. It was so full bodied and robust with rose petals and licorice and a tannin structure as mammoth as the mountain it was grown near yet harnessed and balanced. It sent off alarms in my mind and soul telling me this was very important somehow. And here I am a servant of wine, spreading the love...I hope."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Italian Wine Series: Part 1-The Wines of Abruzzo


Italian Wine Series: The Wines of Abruzzo

Whites: Trebbiano (Bombino)

Reds: Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo

Rose: Cerasuolo


Located 150 miles east of Rome, Abruzzo is a dry mountainous region, while its proximity to the sea makes for great growing conditions... producing wines like Montepulciano and Trebbiano, which are the native Abruzzi workhorses. The people from this area were always known to work hard, and it's no wonder they produce such a great value in their wines. Abruzzo deserves credit for greatly improving the quality of their wines.

Montepulciano D'Abruzzo is often confused with the Montepulciano from Tuscany that is technically Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and usually a Sangiovese blend.

My pick in the $20 range
Gran Sasso Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Colline Teramane 2004 DOCG

Italian Wine Series: The regions of Italy

Over the next three weeks I'll be doing a series about the wines of each of Italy's 20 regions.

Each entry will have a list of wines typical to the specific area along with info about the region. I'll also choose a local wine that is a good value.

The regions to be covered:

Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Valle d'Aosta

I'll also be attending the NYC Food & Wine Festival this week and will be seeking out as much info on the subject as possible. If you have any reference material to contribute either in advance or as comments I would greatly appreciate it.

NYC Wine & Food Festival

Reminder: This week the NYC Wine & Food Festival will take place and if you're a big wine fan, I'd try to make it to this event.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Colosi Nero D'Avola 2005

Back on the very first day I started blogging this site, about nine months ago, I reviewed this wine. It's still one of my favorite every day wines going for under $10, but this time I think I noticed a few more details. The color is a dark ruby with a bluish tint and the nose shows a cherry, cassis, and hint of barnyard. There's also an herbal aroma that bridges the gap to the flavors of raspberries and blackberries with a finish of chalky black cherries.

Competing with the Biggies for the Best Wine Deal

Keeping pace with the economic crisis, Wall street bonuses are down 60 percent this year. That would, I think, translate into consumers thinking twice about luxury items and real estate... but it will most probably even trickle down to items like expensive wines. On my limited budget, I'm always looking for the next great deal on a reasonably priced wine. But now because of the bailout there might be more of the previously higher end wine consumers in competition with guys like me for the best deals out there... and as a result they might get more difficult to find.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lirac Domaine Du Joncier 2005

Cru Des Cotes Du Rhone. This blend from France is made from 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, it has a deep ruby color with initial aromas of black pepper and ripe plum. It's big on the palate combining a fragrant spice with a nice barnyard kick and a fairly high alcohol content of 14.5%. At $14.99 this is a nice replacement for an expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Found this bargain at a tasting at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Norie Negroamaro Salento 2005 IGT

From the Puglia region of Italy comes this full bodied 100% Negroamaro with deep heavy purple colors painted on a canvas of smokey aromas and heavily textured bittersweet chocolate. All topped with a warm syrup of black cherries and a bitter but pleasant finish. Had this by the glass at In Vino.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva 2003 DOC

This 85% Negroamaro, 15% Malvasia Nera red wine blend from the Puglia region of Italy is ruby colored with aromatic hints of tobacco and spice and slightly bitter flavors of cherry and cedar. From The Wine Room of Forest Hills.