Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chateau Le Pey Bordeaux 2004, France

The 2004 Chateau Le Pey Cru Bourgeois is a Bordeaux blend made from 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot. Aged for a minimum of 12 months in French oak barrels.

Deep garnet red in color with a bouquet of ripe red berries, earth, mineral, mint and eucalyptus. On the palate tobacco is present along with nuances of wood and spices supporting a balanced wine with marked tannins.

Silver medals in the Concours des Vignerons Independants 2006 & 2007

Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée: Médoc
Situation géographique: Bégadan

A bargain at under $20.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Montesco Colli Di Conegliano Rosso 1999 DOC

From Conegliano around the Veneto Hills, Italy comes this blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a small percentage of Marzemino. Aged in French barrels for 24 months and at least another 6 months in bottle. Deep ruby red colors precede the intense aromas of chocolate, tobacco and a just opened raspberry/blackberry jam followed by waves of spices and underbrush. Full-bodied and rich with integrated flavors leaving medium tannins riding on the licorice finale.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Velenosi Ludi IGT

From Velenosi vineyards in Offida and Castel di Lama in the Marche region of Italy, this blend of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is aged in French oak for 18 months. Ruby red in color with bold fruity aromas of cherries, dark berries and licorice, the palate expresses a cassis and plum silkiness reflecting its subtle tannins.

Tasted this at a recent wine show and my notes do not have the vintage, I'm guessing it was an '02 or '03, whichever it was I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scrimaglio Fiat Barbera D'Asti Superiore 2006

Licensed by Fiat for the name and logo, and produced by Scrimaglio Vineyards in Nizza Monferrato in the Piedmont region of Italy, this Barbera D'Asti shows aromas of red berries and vanilla with intense flavors of ripened cherries.

Exhibiting a freshness tinged with herbs and oak that stretches into a long finish, this wine is thoroughly enjoyable and just downright delicious.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Filippo Gallino Roero Superiore 2004 DOC

From Canale, Piedmont, Italy, and produced with 100 % Nebbiolo grapes, this Roero Superiore is a dense garnet color with warm outer edges. On the nose are scents of violet and roses, but at a very subtle level, in other words, not a punch in the nose and, a core of summer fruit, cocoa, an almost undiscernible suggestion of spice with complex undertones of leather. Absolutely balanced tannins, and a long finish.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Poggio Nardone Rosso Di Montalcino 2004 DOC

Produced with 100% Sangiovese Grosso in Tuscany, Italy and aged for 10 months in oak barrels, this Rosso Di Montalcino has hues of ruby red along with simple aromas of toasted oak and a fresh cherry liquoir and caramel followed by flavors of ripe cherry cola, with a smooth herbal finish. At Alberto's Restaurant in Forest Hills.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Podere Forte Petrucci 2002 DOC Orcia

From Castiglione d'Orcia, Siena, Italy comes this stunning red wine produced with 100% Sangiovese grapes, matured in oak barrels for 18 months and 3 to 6 months in bottle.

With deep violet hues tinged with ruby around the edges, and a huge herbal waft of thyme and rosemary along with a spicy edge of cinnamon, this one wastes no time with formal introductions. "Piacere", it says, then the hidden aromas of coffee and ripe cherries. The bouquet is then succeeded by more aromatic notes on the mouth including herbs, tobacco, and plums, which linger to the middle palate and finish with a silky vibrancy that reflect the collective sensations beautifully.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Italian Wine Series: Part 5-The Wines of Marches (Marche)

Located on the Adriatic coast of Italy, the "calf" of the boot, Marche, has been known for its Verdicchio white wine that comes in the familiar green amphora bottle. The region was primarily known for its white wines and the Verdicchio di Matelica has emerged as one with even more character.

The reds are emerging from the shadow of the whites, including the Rosso Piceno, a blend of mostly Sangiovese with small amounts of Montepulciano, and Rosso Conero, a blend of mostly Montepulciano with a bit of Sangiovese.

The Vernaccia di Serrapetrona recently received a DOCG status, and Lacrima di Morro d'Alba is making a big splash.

Varietals of region:

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Pino Bianco
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Nero
Vernaccia Nera

DOCG Zones:
Vernaccia di Serrapetrona

DOC Zones:
Bianchello del Metauro
Colli Maceratesi
Colli Pesaresi
Falerio dei Colli Ascolani
I Terreni di San Severino
Lacrima di Morro d'Alba
Rosso Conero
Rosso Piceno
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (Classico)
Verdicchio di Matelica

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mario Bollag Terralsole Brunello Di Montalcino 2003 DOCG

Wow! This Brunello Di Montalcinolo shows beautiful resinous aromas of raspberry, cherry and vanilla. It has a lush, vibrant texture, mingled with silky tannins and an opulent, lingering smooth finish. With no lack of focus on detail, pinpointed by accents of plums, oak, and spices, this wine has character tattooed all over it. I can even see this wine being cellared for a few more years. It was a true pleasure sharing this wine with my family.

Mario Bollag Terralsole Pasticcio 2005 IGT

Made from a friendly blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese, Pasticcio shows nuances of blackberries and cassis supported by an underlying freshness woven into a crisp, well integrated finish.

Mario Bollag Terralsole Coldoro Merlot 2005 IGT

With a supple nose of strawberries, sour cherries and green peppers, this Merlot (also contains small amounts of Sangiovese) from Montalcino spends eight months in French oak and six months in bottle, showing woodsy flavors rich in tangy fruits, cassis and a lively acidity.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Castello di Meleto Rosso Toscano 2006 IGT

From Tuscany comes this 100% Sangiovese with resinous aromas of ripe cherries and a subtle suggestion of minerality, almost like shoe polish, chased by aspects of cola, cherries and berries on the palate. Opened to an integrated pleasant fruitiness that worked very well with our valentine's day dinner at Il Poeta.

Paired with Cannelloni di Vitello gratinati al formaggio tartufato (home made pasta filled with veal and vegetables baked with béchamel sauce and truffle cheese), and Tagliolini del Poeta home made pasta in porcini mushroom sauce wrapped with smoked prosciutto.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Macari Chardonnay Reserve 2007

From the North Fork of Long Island, this Chardonnay shows aromas of lemon rind with tropical fruits, hints of melon and papaya, even a bit of apples. Hues of pale yellow color this white wine along with nice acidity and flavors of toast (from the 12 months in oak), smoky vanilla and an expressive nutty, buttery midpalate.

Paired well with a risotto with white wine (this one, of course), portobello mushrooms, baby spinach and pancetta. This is the third time I've attempted risotto... still not perfect, but getting closer, thanks to advice from a chef friend (thanks Eric). Retails for about $19, 13.5% alcohol.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Blind Tasting of 12 Pinot Noirs at Snooth

Flight 1
Under $20 from around the world

1 - 2006 Faively Bourgogne 13% $20

Muted nose of dried fruits, chalk, red berries, dry and diluted, with light pale colors, ghost-like, flat and flabby.

2 - 2007 Babich Marlborough 13.5% $15

Intense floral bouquet, minerality on nose with hints of strawberries, cherries, medium tannins, nice mid-palate.

3 - 2007 Schug Sonoma Coast 13.5% $20

Darker tones with vanilla on nose, fruit, fresh cherries, chewing gum, nicely floral, violet finish.

Flight 2
Entry level Oregonians

1 - 2006 - Ponzi Willamette 14.5% $34

A nose of cola with some vegetal notes, stewed fruits and flavors of blueberries, and violets and nicely balanced.

2 - 2006 Johan Willamette 14.5% $30

Floral nose, medium to heavy weight for a PN, ripe cherries, smoke, cola, with balanced finish.

3 - 2006 Stoller SV Dundee Hills 14.3% $40

Earthy barnyard, syrupy deep purple colors with balanced flavors of ripe cherries.

Flight 3
Mid range Californians

1 - 2006 Wild Horse Unbridled Santa Barbara County 14.3% $35

On the nose, cigar smoke, sweat, locker room, and a palate of sweet fruit bomb, pepper, cola and oakey midpalate.

2 - 2005 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard St. Rita Hills 13.5% $45

Aromas of mushrooms, chocolate, cocoa, dried fruits, plums with high acidity, not very balanced.

3 - 2006 Schug Carneros Heritage Reserve 14.5% $40

Perfumed aromas of fresh flowers, cheese, powdered violets, like the candy, with bright flavors, cherries and integrated oak.

Flight 4
Mid range Oregonians

1 - 2006 Fiddlehead Oldsville Reserve Willamette 14.1% $50

High alcohol, white pepper, chalk, wood, medicinal, chemical acetone edge, with bits of cinnamon.

2 - 2006 Benton lane First Class Willamette 14.5% $45

Nose of vanilla, cherry syrup, vegetal and medium tannins.

3 - 2007 Antica Terra Willamette 13.5% $45

Floral bouquet with warmth, herbs, barnyard, and opened wide with a spicy finish.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tonight: Blind Tasting of 12 Pinot Noirs

Looking forward to a blind tasting of 12 Pinot Noirs at Snooth's offices tonight. Greg Dal Piaz usually puts together a great mix of whatever varietal we're targeting, and it makes for an interesting experience. I also like the number 12... anything more and my senses seem to get a bit overloaded... he also breaks the wines down to four flights of three wines each, putting some time between the wines.

Should be fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rubio San Polo Rubio Montalcino Rosso 2006 IGT

After 15 days fermenting in stainless steel tanks, and aging for 12 to 18 months in oak casks, this pure Sangiovese from the hills around Montalcino is a deep dark ruby wine displaying supple aromas of currants, chocolate and violets. While all the stars align on the nose, so do the flavors... combining in a complex mid-palate of ripe cherries and spices, with well structured tannins and a velvety finish.

This is a real find at about $15 per bottle at Rosetta Wines... ok, it's not a Brunello Di Montalcino, but it's as close as you're gonna get for the price.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Alvaro Palacios Les Terraces Priorat 2005 Spain

From Cataluna, Spain, and made with 40% Carinena, 40% Garnacha and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this dry, deep, ruby/purple red wine blend has intense aromas of ripe figs, anise, leather, earthy minerality, and leather. Exotic flavors range from black currants and herbs to licorice on the mid-palate, and a finish of sour cherries and blackberries with firm tannins. 14% alcohol and in the $35 range.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

4th Flight of Sangiovese/Chianti Blind Tasting

2005 Kuleto Estate Sangiovese Napa Valley 14.8% $20

Plush nose of super-ripe cherries, barnyard, mushrooms and vanilla, with flavors of intensely ripe fruits, almost sweet, balanced, ripe raspberries and blackberries.

2004 Deerfield Sonoma Sangiovese 14.6% $25

Funky nose with a vinegar edge to it, then floral, followed by medicinal flavors of old cough syrup, maybe close to a fortified wine, an aged feel, with oak, ripe berries and candy finish.

2006 The Midlife Crisis Winery Sangiovese Paso Robles 16.6% $20

Oak first, super ripe cherries flavors, strawberries, extracted fruit and figs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

3rd Flight of Sangiovese/Chianti Blind Tasting

2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 14% $20

From the Monsanto - Barberino Val d’Elsa area near Florence, and from grapes of Sangiovese, 90%; Canaiolo and Colorino, 10%, maturation: 18 months in French oak barriques used once, and bottle aging for 3 months.

Barnyard, violets and herbs, dark fruits, ripe black cherries, cedar, smoked meats, prosciutto, with nice balance of acidity and tannins. Midpalate of white pepper and medium to long finish. A beautiful wine with a luscious mouthfeel.

2004 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 13.5% $30

Resinous with cinnamon, root beer, cola, coffee bean, cherries, fresh on the midpalate, with long cherry finish. From Castelnuovo Berardenga in Tuscany.

2004 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 13.5% $35

First impression outhouse, but opens to very dark expressive fruits, stylish flavors, bright and warm with nice fresh midpalate and long perfumed finish.

Fontissimo (Papa's Best) Le Fonti 2003 IGT Alta Valle Della Greve

The Schmitt-Vitali family owns and operates the Fattoria Le Fonti, In the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, in the village of Panzano where this delicious red wine is made from 65% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It is followed by 18-20 months maturing in new French oak barriques (upon further research it may also contain a bit of Merlot).

Juicy and fruity, with colors of deep, ruby red and aromas of blackberries, licorice, and chocolate; that evolve into intensely smooth flavors of ripe cherries, chocolate, dark fruits, and a finale as fresh and bright as a clear summer's afternoon.

2nd Flight of 3 Chianti/Sangiovese Blind Tasting

2004 Podere Il Palazzino La Pieve Chianti Classico 14% $20

Manure, rubber bands, blackberries, sour cherries, white pepper, smoke with a big-pucker factor and a medium finish with good balance.

2005 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Tan Label 14% $22

Aromas of cool herbal perfumes with raspberries, cola, black pepper and flavors of ripe cherries and cranberries with a short finish.

Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley 14% $18

Barnyard, candy mint, cherries with bright resinous fruit.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blind Tasting of 12 Chianti/Sangiovese

Attended another blind tasting last night hosted by Greg dal Piaz of Snooth, and I'll be posting 4 flights of 3 wines each over the next 24 hours. Here is the first flight:

2005 Cosentino Il Chiaretto California 14.8% $18

With 92% Sangiovese and equal parts of 2% Petite Sirah, Early Burgundy, Merlot and Alicante, this is aged approximately 13 months in small barrels, and bottled unfined. On the nose resinous leather, fruit, white pepper, plastic wrap, high alcohol, with a palate of sour cherries, licorice sticks or twizzlers, and a woodsy profile... tasting like a Merlot blend.

2006 Ruffino Santedame Chianti Classico DOCG 13.5% $18

85% Sangiovese and remainder composed of various other reds, the alcohol fermentation took place in thermo-controlled stainless-steel vats for 10 days. Post-fermentative maceration on the skins continued for another 7 days. After completing the malolactic fermentation one part of the wine was refined for about 8 months, first in oak barrels, then in tanks and finally in bottle.

Very muted aromas of wet earth, structured tannins, with moody layers of white chalk, ash and a dark finish.

2007 Flora Springs Napa valley 14.2% $15

On the nose cranberry candy with a vegetal swash of green peppers, cologne and manure, while the flavors are earthy and cedar.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso 2005 DOC

70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Merlot is the blend for this earthy, resinous number from Montefalco, Italy.

Dense and ruby colored, full bodied with plums and vanilla, this extracted red speaks of dark sour fruits with structured tannins and hints of oak, but is a good drinking wine that goes down easy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

La Montecchia Fior D'arancio Vino Spumanti Dolce Colle Eugenei DOC 2007

From the Colli Eugenei D.O.C. in the Veneto region of Italy and made from 100% Orange Moscato grapes, this sweet sparkling Spumante floats on floral notes and gives the essences of citrus and pears.