Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tenute Silvio Nardi

The Nardi family, starting with Francesco in 1893 who emigrated from Italy to the US and returned to Umbria two years later with his new plow invention, the “Voltarechhia”, is tied to the earth.

The next generation found his son Silvio buying estates in three Montalcino locations, the Casale del Bosco estate in 1950, Manachiara in 1962, and finally the Bibbiano estate in 1970. He also was one of the founders of the Brunello di Montalcino Wine Consortium.

Silvio’s daughter Emilia, president of the Winery since 1990, was influenced by the wines of Bordeaux and has focused on terroir, clonal research and phenological ripeness in order to improve the quality of the wines. All told there are 36 vineyards and 25 different kinds of soils and altitudes. She employed enologists to study the soil and positions of plants, and the use of many modern techniques.

At a recent tasting at Aldea in NYC I had the opportunity to meet Emilia and sample some of her wonderful wines from Brunello, paired with equally great cuisine... here are my tasting notes.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2007 $70

A blend of the best hand harvested Sangiovese Grosso grapes of the Manachiara and Casale del Bosco estates, aged for 30 months in French Allier barriques and large Slavonian oak, then a minimum of 12 months in bottle. Deep ruby color, with nose of violets, spice, smoked meats, leather, and on the palate sour cherry, cedar, and green pepper. Good acidity and tannins in balance with a long finish.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino Manachiara 2006 $107

From 45 year old vines this single vineyard Brunello demonstrates intense use of wood in the 12 months in French Allier barriques and 18 months in old Slavonian oak barrels, followed by at least a year in bottle. One bottle = 1 vine. Garnet colors, aromas of ripe fruit and spice, while on the palate is candied cherry, and floral notes with a nice acidity and finish.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso di Montalcino 2010 $27

Sangiovese Grosso grapes from the Casale del Bosco estate make up this Rosso fermented in stainless steel for 15 days, aged in used casks for 6 months and 4 months in bottle. Enjoyed this very much. The 2010 vintage was a great one and it shows here, can’t wait for the Brunellos. Deep ruby colors, this was a shining star for me with bing cherry, red fruits, even some strawberry on the nose and a palate of red fruits and spice that grows with time.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $70

Also a blend of the best hand harvested Sangiovese Grosso grapes of the Manachiara and Casale del Bosco estates, aged for 12 months in French Allier barriques and 12 months in large Slavonian oak botte, then a minimum of 6 months in bottle. Grapes are from the best 15 to 20 year old vines.
Ruby colors warmer colors around rim of glass, intense aromas of spice, leather, and earth and a palate of red fruits and a smooth balance of acidity and tannins. What a great finish.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007

Ruby with rust colors around rim, showing minerality on the nose, waves of wood (cedar) with a nutty edge, while on the palate attractive candied spice, blue and red fruit, hints of violet.

This Brunello is newly released and is a tiny bit tight but with an hour decanting should be fine. On the other hand if you'd like to lay this one down optimum drinking would be between 2014-2022, a bottle presently averages around $46.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Feudi del Pisciotto Versace Nero d'Avola IGT 2009

Made from 100% Nero d'Avola grapes fermented in stainless steel, aged in barriques (50% new, 50% used) for 10 months with another 6 months in bottle.

Expressively intense and fruit forward, with pretty aromas of blackberry pie, fruit compote and baked strawberry, while flavors are on the sweet side of dry with bing cherry and hints of blue fruits.  Mild tannins are balance by fresh acidity and finish is long. Average $14/ bottle, good price for this gem.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Argiano Suolo Rosso Toscano IGT 2007

The Sangiovese grapes used to produce Suolo are from two single vineyard plots on the Argiano estate, one, their oldest vineyard planted in 1966, and one of their younger ones, planted in 1989, thereby playing on the contrasting age of the vines. Aged in new French oak barrels (selected for softness in both fruit and tannin) for 15 to 17 months.

Dark ruby colors with aromas of roses & violets, forest floor, sweet vanilla and licorice, while the palate shows more vanilla, cherry, red and blue fruits, white pepper and cherry. Nicely balanced.

Sampled at the Vias Portfolio tasting last week in NYC.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Argiano Non Confunditur Rosso Toscano OGT 2010

Just southwest of famed Montalcino in Tuscany, Argiano produces this attractive blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 20% Syrah, each fermented and aged for several months in French and Slavonian oak separately before blending.

Showing colors of ruby, scents of violet, smoke meat and cedar with parallel deep floral aromas, met by complimenting flavors of wood, spice, pepper, blueberry and leather. Medium-Full body with soft tannins.

Sampled at the Vias Portfolio tasting last week in NYC.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Romano Dal Forno Amarone Della Valpolicella DOC 2006

One of the top Amarone producers in the famed Veneto and inspired by Giuseppi Quintarelli, Romano drastically lowered it's vine yields resulting in rich, expressive and dense wine. The classic blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes is partially dried resulting in an intensity of flavor, texture and aromatics and ultimately making some of the best Amarones in the world.

With deep colors of dark ruby, colored by brooding aromas of sweet raspberry, strawberry, and a viscous and plummy texture. On the palate fragrant smoked meats offset by bing cherry, dark chocolate, and tobacco. Very nice acidity and silky tannins.

A bottle generally goes for about $400, but I sampled this at The Vias Portfolio tasting last week.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fossacolle Brunello di Montalcino 2007 DOCG

Aged in French and Slavonian oak casks for 12 months and in second usage of French barriques for another 12 months and finally in concrete vats for another 12 months. 14.5% alcohol.

Ruby red, clear and clean with medium weight, hints of musk with aromas of mature fruits, smoked meats under a burst on the palate of cherry and spices with violets and red fruit... fresh and straightforward with a good finish.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Viña Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Here we have a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Colchagua valley in Chile, produced by DOMAINES BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD-LAFITE who took over the Los Vascos estate (Los Vascos meaning The Basques, in honour of its Basque origins) in 1988.

There is much going on here for under $10. This wine has a deep and dark ruby red color. The nose is definitely intense, with ripe red and blue fruits like cherry, cassis, blueberry, raspberry and plum interwoven with palate notes of licorice, violets and spice, while showing good firm structure. A very pleasing combination of tannins and acidity, and a warm and harmonious finish. This is a really good everyday wine well worth looking for by the case, where it can probably be had for close to $7 a bottle!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Artemis Karamolegos Santorini Assyrtiko 2010

Made with Assyrtiko grapes on the Greek Isle of Santorini by producer Artemis Karamolegos this white wine is greenish gold in color, shows complex aromas of citrus, pear and exotic fruits combining with flavors of ripe peach, green apple and hints of yeast. Nicely balanced with a crisp, bright acidity, and closing on a good long finish, 13.5% alcohol. Paired beautifully with a grilled shrimp dish with peppers and mushrooms.

About the Winery:
The San Torini Winery, founded in 1952 by Artemis Karamolegos, began from a passion for winemaking passed down to him from his beloved grandfather who made wine in a small cave or “canava” using the old traditional methods. In 2004, a new and modern winery was built to take advantage of the latest in modern technology, while also adhering to the traditional practices passed down from generations. Artemis has been a champion, not only of the main Assyrtiko variety, but has also invested in the cultivation of some of the more obscure indigenous varieties of Santorini, like Mavrotragano, Aidani, Mavrathiro and Voudomato.