Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Osprey's Dominion Sauvignon Blanc 2007

From Long Island's North Fork, Osprey's award winning Sauvignon Blanc shows intense aromas of mineral, grapefruit, lime, and the color green…. particularly of fresh-cut grass, a palate of melon, herbs, green peppers, with fresh apple on the finish.

Cantine Colosi Nero D’Avola Sicilia 2008

From Giammoro Sicily this Nero d'Avola is big brother to the red label Colosi which is one of my everyday favorite value wines.

The label shows a Darwinian graphic representation of a vine, visualizing aromas of black currants and cherries paired with flavors of resinous minerality while a chalkiness shows on the mid-palate. Smooth tannins balanced with a nice acidity show a finish that will work well with steaks or a pasta with red sauce.

This is the second time I’ve tried this wine (the first time was a 2007 vintage) and have to say it never disappoints. 14% alcohol and retails for about $15-20 a bottle.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Francis Ford Coppola Rosso 2007

Coppola has successfully striven to create a good everyday wine expressed here in a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Geyserville, California.

Starting with good texture, and solid tannic structure, this robust red shows sweet fruity aromas, with mint, anise, and licorice, accompanied by an earthy attitude, while the palate goes first to sour cherries, then opens to the sweeter fruits as strawberries, and raspberries.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Prisoner (Red Blend) 2008 Orin Swift Cellars California

Here is a fine Napa blend of 46% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono, and 1% Grenache.

Deep violet colors in the glass, spreading to a garnet outer ring, with aromas of red berry and ripe black cherry and wafts of smoke. Opens softly with big fruit flavors of raspberry, and later hints of black pepper and a dried herb, licorice and coffee finish, shows great complexity and structure.

Robert Parker: 90 pts
Wine Spectator: 92 pts

Retails: $35

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Santa Alicia Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008 Maipo Valley Chile

Delicious aromas of ripe plums, cassis and spices and priced like an everyday wine (bottle retails for about $10) to have with a meal... but drinking like a complex Cabernet with rich chocolate and vanilla nuances, black sour cherries, good weight and texture, and firm tannins balanced with a pleasant acidity. Long thick finish with definite signs of Coca-Cola and maple syrup. Another great find at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Domenico Valentino Tenuta Del Conte Ciro Rosso Superiore 2007 DOC

Ciro is located on the ball of the boot that is Italy and Gaglioppo grapes make up this fine red wine.

With an herbal bouquet of mint and waves of dark fruits, raspberry, black currants, dried cranberry and raisins, followed on the palate with black olives, and chocolate, coffee and spices.

This was one of the featured wines at a recent tasting at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Wines for a Special Birthday

Friday we were invited to dinner at I Trulli restaurant on east 27th street in NYC to celebrate the Birthday of fellow wine lover and good friend, Eric Guido. The planets must have aligned, because in one hour we drove in (from Queens), parked (on the street!) and made it to the restaurant on time, our table was al fresco in the outdoor garden, and the weather was perfect. Now we could relax and enjoy the party.

From the wine menu we started with a tasty Prosecco and followed with a smooth Soave to match the appetizers, and the food as usual was delicious... but what followed is what I want to focus on here. Eric pulled out all the stops, bringing with him 3 picks from his wine cellar, a Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco, a Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva, and for dessert a Giuseppe Quintarelli Amabile del Cere Passito.

Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco 2003 DOCG
Aged 24 months in stainless steel before being racked into large oaken casks to undergo an additional 24 months of barrel aging prior to being bottled. Savory and gamey aromas of sausage, earth, and mushrooms hovered, while dusty dried flowers, dried cherries, strawberries and flavors of chocolate were woven around coffee and cream filled cherries, finishing long and refreshing.

Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 1995 DOC
This exotic, exquisite Amarone from Quintarelli evoked many interesting descriptors at our table of eight: nutty, buttery, caramel, bright ripe cherries, fortified, hazelnut, smoked meats, pastel, raisins, resinous, violets, marzipan, butterscotch, extremely intense cherry vanilla ice cream, port, smoke and Harvey’s Bristol Cream.

Giuseppe Quintarelli Amabile del Cere Passito 1990 IGT
Garganega grape, almonds and walnut aromas with flavors ranging from fig to rum to orange citrus to smoke, ending with a caramel that reminds me of a Log Cabin. The beautifully sophisticated aromas and flavors stayed with me throughout the night... I savored them all as long as I could.

All photos by Eric Guido

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rias Baixas Albarino Grand Tasting

Photo by Iñaki Vinaixa
New wine drinkers many not know about Albarino wines, so here's a short study. It's said but not proven that the Albarino grape was brought to Spain in the form of Riesling cuttings during the middle ages by German monks on pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago. It's the finest variety grown in the Rias Baixas of the Galicia region in northwest Spain. The Albarino and Riesling grape share minerality as one of their similarities.

Last week I got the chance to sample a dozen or so of this crisp, zesty white wine at Zengo restaurant on 3rd Ave and 40th Street.

Laxas Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Condado do Tea
Floral aromas with flavors of melon, nutty, pears, apricot, fresh with a luscious finish.

Adega Condes de Albarei Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Muted aromas, fresh flavors, citrus, 7-up
Tasted with mixed seafood ceviche

Salneval Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Muted aromas with stronger mineral flavors, pineapple, kiwi, banana, lychee, canned peaches

Adegas D’Altamira Brandal Albarino 2008
Creamy typical floral notes, peach, orange citrus, mango, marzipan, ripe apple, melon, lime, minerality, nice finish

Bodegas Y Vinedos Don Olegario Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
90 Pts Wine Advocate
“4th best wine in the world” WSJ
Intensely fragrant aromas of ripe honeydew melon, tasty pineapple with grapefruit and lychee, crisp and very smooth finish

Bodegas Mar de Frades Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Fresh ocean air, melon, balanced beautifully, clean, explodes on palate, fragrant flavors, smooth long finish. Very nice!

Bodegas Marques de Vizhoja Torre La Moreira Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Condado do Tea
Mineral aromas with bouquet of honeysuckle, apple, papaya with hints of chalk dust

Bodegas Martin Codax Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Mineral, spirited, even toned, mild, citrus, hot tropical

Burgans Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Attractive mineral aromas, green peppers, more tropical fruits, ripeness key, apple cream pie

Adegas Martinez Serantes Alba Rosa Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Mineral aromas, floral, citrus flavors, yellow apple, ripe banana, pineapple, white pepper, nice

Pazo de Senorans Albarinos 2009
Sub-zone: Salnes Valley
Floral aromas, citrus, grapefruitr, apricot, lemon rind

Santiago Ruiz Albarino 2009
Sub-zone: O Rosal
My clear favorite of the day, is this blend of 70% Albarino, 20% Loureiro, 10% Treixadura, and 5% Caino Blanco and Godello. Sweet floral aromas with white peaches, grapefruit, apricot, kiwi, lychee, some apple and fresh herbs, while showing good structure and a balanced acidity.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ruffino Il Ducale Toscana 2006 IGT

A Blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 20% Syrah, with colors of ruby red, the Syrah contributing to the spicy character, the Merlot expressing the dark round fruits, while the Sangiovese displays undergrowth on a forest floor uncovering herbal notes.

Immediately drawn in by the fruity aromas of plums, cherries, and blackberries, then attracted by the flavors of blackberries and cinnamon laced with chocolate and cherries, further layers reveal leather and tobacco, finishing with an impressive mark.

With good acidity and smooth, silky tannins, Il Ducale’s amazingly fresh, but supple style makes it a surprising value for $14 bottle. Found this at Beach Liquors in East Atlantic Beach, Long Island.