Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dal Piaz to Italy's Top Winemakers: Embrace Social Media

Gregory Dal Piaz, Editor in Chief of Snooth, told a panel of Italy's top wine producers to embrace the new social media vanguard, namely wine bloggers. The challenge: To address the massive amount of information that consumers wade through regarding Italian wines which had been previously disseminated thru the wine press, thus opening lines of communication between producers and consumers. Greg explained that a small investment in creating an internal blog or hiring a blogger to field the questions for them would offer curious consumers direct interaction with producers and that would be a very a good thing. This kind of unique opportunity would enable producers to explain all sorts of things, such as what sub-regions are, as well as answer any other questions.

The Instituto Grandi Marchi is composed of 17 of Italy's most renowned wine producers including the likes of Augusto Boffa from Pio Cesare, Raffaelle Boscaini from Masi, Piero Antinori from Antinori, Giovanni Folonari from Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari, Sebastiano de Corato from Rivera, Jose Rallo from Donnafugata, Giuseppi Tasca from Tasca d'Almerita, and more. The event was held at The New York Public Library this past Monday, October 25th.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Castello Banfi Moscadello di Montalcino Florus 2007 DOC

Castello Banfi in Tuscany produces this beautiful Moscadello that is made with late harvest grapes gently pressed at low temperatures over the course of a few months... then stored in stainless steel. 85% of this batch is then blended with 15% from the previous vintage, and stored in oak for a year.

Displays heady and strong aromas of honey and flowers, but then the flavors exude raisins, exotic fruits, painting a balanced sweet wine... excellent for dunking biscotti or on it's own. This is a beauty for around $20 at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cantina Di Soave's New Three Brands

One of Veneto's top producers, Cantina Di Soave introduced three new brands and National Sales Manager Gary Grunner poured samples to the press at the friendly and beautifully stocked Columbus Circle Wines, located at 1802 Broadway in NYC. Gary spoke about the great wines of the Veneto, and gave a very informative narrative of the region.

The brands include Duca Del Frassino, a Premium Wine-In-A-Box, Re Midas, an all new fresh affordable everyday indigenous wine, and Rocca Sveva on the higher end.

The Duca Del Frassino includes a white blend and a red blend, both in a box, that holds the equivalent of 4 bottles and after opening can stay fresh for as long as 5 months... retails for about $22.

Duca Del Frassino White
is a blend of 80% Garganega, 20% Pinot Grigio, both grapes are widely grown in the Veneto region. Aromas of pineapple, and fresh melon with floral hints on the palate, crisp and dry, but fruit forward and a very nice surprise.

Duca Del Frassino Red
is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Corvina with an earthy tone showing cherries and cassis and a very smooth finish.

Cantina di Soave Re Midas Corvina
Italy's Veneto region is the home of the Corvino grape used in so many great wines of the region. This one is a version using that same grape aged in stainless steel tanks for three months, then in the bottle for one month... and what you get is an everyday wine that is so food friendly. Ruby red colors and fresh floral aromas and a waft of dried fruits, topped with bright cherry flavors and sweet vanilla accents and spicy undertones.

Cantina di Soave Re Midas Soave
Made with 100% Garganega, aged 3 months in stainless steel followed by 1 month in bottle. Floral and citrus aromas, crisp fruitiness, noticeable minerality, and roasted nuts round out the pleasant finish... tonight worked well with gorgonzola cheese.

Rocca Sveva Soave Classico
This straw colored white wine, made with 100% Garganega grapes, expresses blossoming aromas of fresh fruits, melons, pears, apples and mild cinnamon. A surprising depth of flavor and texture balances very nicely with bright, crisp acidity, and a nutty finish.

Rocca Sveva Ripasso di Valpolicella Superiore 2007 DOC
Made from 70% Corvina, and 30% Molinara and Rondinella, and employing a process by which the wine is "re-passed" for 11 to 14 days over the freshly fermented pomace/lees of the grapes used to make Amarone, is then further aged for six months in the bottle. The "re-passing" provides increased structure as well as an appealing roundness; 30% of the wine is then matured in oak barriques and 70% in large oak botti for an additional 12-18 months.

The hospitable bouquet is abundant with black fruits, a smoky oakiness, with slight barnyard alongside exotic spiciness, mineral, raspberry, blueberry, raisins, and violets... quite a lot going on for $19.99. Luscious ripened black cherries and vanilla contrast a slightly floral edge, as a prelude to a smart, smooth and long, herbal finish.

Rocca Sveva Amarone della Valpolicella 2006 DOC
Deep ruby with warmer colors around the edge of the glass, along with cherry pie aromas, layered with flavors of rich chocolate, dried fruits, bing cherries, and dark berries urge you to savor every sip. This full-bodied gold medal winner is the perfect pairing for a hearty meal. On the palate has a nice full-bodied structure, with notes of hazelnut, a beautiful balance and lasting finish.

Friday, October 8, 2010

G.B Burlotto Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 DOC

Deep black cherry colors in the glass, darker around the rim, and a very attractive but subtle freshness... floral aromas waft from the glass ranging from violets to lavender on one end of the spectrum, and on the other a contrasting earthy, barnyard... juicy flavors of prune, red berries and spice dominating the palate, and finishing as if bitter almonds were dusted on sour cherries.

An excellent pick by Eric Guido, who recommended this winner to me at the tasting last week at the Wine Room of Forest Hills, and the first meeting of the Wine Society of Queens. $15/bottle, 13% alcohol.

The Burlotto family is one of the oldest families involved in the production of Barolo wines.

Vinification: Vinification requires a maceration-fermentation of almost 7 days in vats of French oak, with pumping over, remixing and re-submerging the wine on a daily basis, as well as temperature control, which should not exceed 27 -28 degrees. By achieving malolactic fermentation in stainless steel vats, the wine matures for some months in Slavonian and Allier oak casks, holding 35-50 hectoliters.

Bottling: After bottling, normally done in May, the wine ages in the wine cellar for a brief period.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay 2006

This Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, shows big fruit flavors of apple, pear, peach, pineapple, rich butter pecan ice cream, a little oak, and honey on the roof of the mouth.

Made an excellent pairing with baked salmon oreganata and cauliflower in a creamy butter sauce, contrasting the Chardonnay's lemon acidity but complementing with a creamy smoky finish and slight spiciness.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Leese-Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 California at 1st Wine Society of Queens Meet-up

The first meetup of The Wine Society of Queens was held this weekend at The Wine Room of Forest Hills, where we sampled over a dozen new wines from California, France, Argentina, Italy, Spain and even Georgia (Russia). One of my favorites was the Leese-Fitch Cab and here are some tasting notes:

I know the label says Cabernet Sauvignon, in reality what you get is an amazing blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, 5% Syrah from River Junction, 5% Tempranillo from Moneterey, with Lodi contributing the 2% Alicante Bouchet, and 2% Petite Sirah.

Very attractive aromas of cassis infused with intense cherry liquore, sarsaparilla and black currants, flavors are floral influenced and herbal on the back palate. At the tail end hints of tea leaves, bits of cedar, milk chocolate and roasted marshmallow finish off nicely. This is a great bargain at $15.