Monday, August 29, 2011

ITALIAN WINE TASTING AT ENOTECA DRAGO


Enoteca Drago

In Los Angeles, the Drago family is to Italian food and wine as the Rockefeller family is to money.  They know it, they live it, they breathe it.  Wine importer V.E.D.I. Wines brought some of the wines they represent to Enoteca Drago in Beverly Hills recently for an afternoon trade tasting, and I had the good fortune of an invitation.

Here are some of the tasty Italian treats I discovered from Veneto, Lombardia and Abruzzo, along with some sparkling wines from Valencia, Spain.

Cava Pago de Tharsys:

Pago de Tharsys poured those extremely nice sparkling wines produced in Valencia.  There were a lot of earthy notes in these Cavas, and some very interesting grapes.

Rosado Brut 2008:  100% Garnacha; strawberries and earth
Brut Nature 2008:   80% Macabeo, 20% Chardonnay; yeasty and earthy with notes of guava
Tharsys Unico:  100% Bobal; yeasty and crisp with a nutty edge
Dominio de Tharsys Brut:  75% Macabeo, 25% Parellada;  very fruity and fresh
Dominio de Tharsys Rosado:  Bobal; earthy cherry nose, cherry syrup flavor with a hint of banana

Marcato had a couple of notable sparklers from Italy's Lessini Hills of Verona, in the Veneto region.

Durello Spumante Brut:  85% Durella with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well; multi-vintage; steel fermented, Charmat method; nutty nose; light and fruity, with a citrus/tropical play
Durello 36 Mesi:  Durella, Pinot Noir & Chardonnay again; creamier, yet still vibrant and fresh; traditional method

Cavalchina is from Veneto.

Cavalchina is the name of the district where this winery is located, on the southeastern border of the Garda amphitheatre.

Bianco di Custoza:  40% Garganega, 30% Fernanda, 15% Trebbiano, 15% Trebbianello; very nutty with a light acidity
Amedeo Biano di Custoza Superiore:  40% Garganega, 30% Fernanda, 15% Trebbiano, 15%Trebbianello:  more acidity than in the Bianco di Custoza
Chiaretto Bardolino:  Rose harvested and vinified separately from the rosso, not as a bleed-off; very light pink with strawberries and flowers
Bardolino:  the red bardolino; gorgeous nose, black cherry and chocolate, unusual for a steel fermented wine; flavor is fruity and floral
Santa Lucia Bardolino Superiore:  60% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 15% Marzemino e Barbera; nice tannic structure, the wood aging doesn't overwhelm

Vigneti Prendina is from Lombardia.

Merlot Garda:  85% Merlot, 15% Rondinella; the grapes are harvested at different times, so separate vinification is required; neutral oak barriques, smokey fruit
Pinot Grigio Alto Mincio: oakless Pinot Grigio with a lovely aroma
Falcone Cabernet Sauvignon:  85%  Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot; dark and smokey; 12 months in barriques

Contesa is in Abruzzo, centrally located in Italy, but considered part of the south.  The region borders the Adriatic Sea.

Nerone:  Montepulciano d'Abruzzo; great drak nose showing tar, tasting of smokey plums
Contesa Montepulciano d'Abruzzo:  great acidity, very smooth; 24 months in large barrels
Vigna Corvino Montepulciano:  very smooth; dusty cherry notes
Vigna Corvino Trebbiano:  stainless steel fermentation; rather like a new world Sauvignon Blanc; grassy and earthy; grape dates back to Roman times in Abruzzo
Vigna Corvino Cerasuolo:  dry rose with a lovely nose; one day skin contact gives a lovely cherry color
Pecorino:  citrus and a nutty quality
Sorab Pecorino:  four weeks barrique fermentation; weightier with delicious use of wood; aged on its lees for 6 months


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