Showing posts with label Aglianico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aglianico. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Italian Wine - Aglianico From Campagnia

Today we continue a virtual trip through Italy provided by wine guide Gambero Rosso, who staged the online tasting event recently.

The Donnachiara winery is located in Campagnia, home to Naples, Salerno, Mt. Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast.  The company is located in the province of Avellino, within the Irpinia appellation.  The business has a mostly female power structure, with owner Chiara Petitto delegating CEO duties to her daughter, Ilaria.  

Taurasi is one of the region's three DOCG wines, all of which are made by Donnachiara.  The 2016 Donnachiara Taurasi was made from 100% Aglianico grapes, harvested by hand and  fermented in steel tanks, then transferred to barriques, where malolactic fermentation took place.  The wine aged for a year in oak and a year inside the bottle.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the wine retails for around $36.

This wine is medium-dark in the glass and offers up a perfumed nose of red fruit, sweet oak spice, smoke and hint of spearmint.  The palate is just as delightful, with cherries, raspberries and red currant flavors joining together.  The tannins are sweet, while the finish is medium length and savory.  It was great with an Italian sub sandwich and also a hit with arancini and fennel-laced meatballs.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Italian Wines On Display In L.A.

If you don't know Italian wine, shake hands with your new best friend.  Italian wine is what goes with Italian food, from pasta to pesto, scampi to scungilli.

The Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour 2019 is underway, spreading the gospel of Italian wines to big cities across the nation.  The Los Angeles stop was held in October on the terrace garden of the fabulous SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.  I was invited to attend the walk-around tasting session, and here are my notes.  All the wineries mentioned here are seeking U.S. importers.

Italy's terroir is varied, and I have always found that nothing tastes like an Italian wine - even a wine of the same grape, grown somewhere else.  Wine regions like Piedmont, Veneto, Lazio, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna, Sicily, Tuscany and others were on display.

Cantina Sociale di Trento poured their 2018 Teroldego Dolomite Vineyard.  The grapes were grown at 600 meters and above and were vinified in stainless steel.  The wine shows good color and savory cherry and plum flavors.  The freshness is amazing.

Zell's 100% Chardonnay bubbly spent 30 months in the bottle.  It has a wonderful nose and palate, great acidity and bubbles from the traditional method.

Casa Vinicola Carminucci offered two wines.  The 2018 Belato Pecorino is made from grapes grown in Offida, the only DOCG in La Marcha.  The nose is light citrus and it's a wine made for food.  The 2018 Grotte sul Mare Rosato is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Montepulciano.  Cherry, strawberry, nice acidity, quite refreshing.

La Fortezza has the 2011 Aglianico Riserva, which aged for three years in oak and one in the bottle.  Lovely fruit, savory earth.  The 2015 Aglianico got 8-10 months of oak and six months in the bottle.  The 2018 Falanghina has beautiful florals, citrus and savory plum.

Azienda Agricola Zaglia Giorgio's 2018 Pinot Grigio is from Friuli.  Savory on the nose and palate, its presentation is earthy - not on pretty side.  The 2018 Prosecco is extra dry, not as sweet as one usual finds the style.  Their 2018 Rosato is made of Merlot from Venezia Giulia.  It has a beautiful salmon color and fruity cherry.

Manvi's 2017 Myra Rosso di Montepulciano is all Sangiovese with no oak treatment to get in the way of the grape.  The 2014 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is also a varietal Sangiovese, but it spent two years in oak and another in the bottle.  I get plums. Prunes and a savory finish.  The 2015 Ojas Riserva Montepulciano will pair well with game or lamb.  The name is Sanskrit for vitality.

Matteo Soria showed off their 2018 Soria, a delightful Moscato which is bubbly, fresh and fruity. It aged for nine months on the lees in the tank.

Azienda Agricola Sordo Giovanni brought their 2015 Sordo Barolo - light in color, lovely nose, easy sipper, nice tannins but not too firm.  Their 2009 Sordo Barolo Riserva Perno has better structure and a deeper color, showing some bricking on the edges.

Vignetti Repetto of Piedmont poured the 2017 Equilatero, a steel-made Barbera.  The 2017 Rosso is a red blend which also saw no oak.  The 2018 Derthona Quadro Timorasso Colli Tortonesi has a lovely salinity after steel vinification and aging on the lees.  The Timorasso grape is difficult to grow and almost went extinct in the 1980s.  Plantings in the area have gone from two acres to 350 in 30 years.  Derthona is the Roman name of the village. 


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Friday, September 20, 2019

Italian Grapes Via Lake County

Prima Materia doesn't sound at first like an Oakland winery, but it is.  Winemaker and owner Pietro Buttitta grows his grapes two and a half hours to the north, in Lake County's Kelsey Bench AVA.  He focuses on Italian varieties - from Sangiovese to Barbera to Refosco to Negroamaro.  Buttitta says he planted most of those grapes himself and has worked the vineyard for the last eleven years.  He claims to find a clear Lake County voice for his minimally handled wines, one that maintains a "distinct Old World finish and feel."

The Prima Materia 2016 Sangiovese is made from four clones of the grape, grown in the volcanic soil of the region.  The winery claims that it reflects the growing area and respects its Italian heritage.  The grapes were nearly dry-farmed, with no pesticides used.  Buttitta refers to the 2016 vintage as "almost boring," but the fourth consecutive drought year brought just enough rainfall.

The Sangiovese is abetted by 8% Aglianico grapes.  The wine was vinified and aged 18 months in neutral barrels of French and Hungarian oak.  Alcohol tips 14.1% abv, a little heftier than most Italian Sangioveses, and it sells for $25.

This Cal-Italian grape expresses itself well.  The effect of the oak barrels is apparent on the nose, with delicious vanilla, clove and spice notes wafting upward.  Red fruit shows up, too, but it's the accessories that draw attention first.  The palate brings the cherry flavor forward in a dramatic presentation, elegant and a bit rustic at the same time.  The oak may be a bit overplayed, but it's an attraction, not a distraction.  The wine finishes fresh, clean and fruity.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cal-Italia Aglianico From Lake County

At first glance, the name Prima Materia doesn't look like an Oakland winery, but it is.  Winemaker and owner Pietro Buttitta grows his grapes two and a half hours to the north, in Lake County's Kelsey Bench AVA.  He focuses on Italian varieties - from Sangiovese to Barbera to Refosco to Negroamaro.  Buttitta says he planted most of those grapes himself and has worked the vineyard for the last eleven years.  He claims to find a clear Lake County voice for his minimally handled wines, one that maintains a "distinct Old World finish and feel."

Prima Materia Aglianico 2014

Buttitta says the Aglianico grapes were planted in 2003 and have evolved into his signature variety, along with Barbera and Sangiovese.  The grapes were grown in soil laced with deposits from Mt. Konocti's past volcanic eruptions.  Does that make the Kelsey Bench the Sicily of California? 

The 2014 Aglianico vineyard is interplanted with 7% Montepulciano grapes.  The wine was vinified and aged on its lees in Hungarian oak, 225-liter vats that are anywhere from two to ten years old.  Alcohol tips 14.3% abv, while the wine retails for $38.

This wine is quite dark in the glass.  A whiff of nail polish remover greeted me when I opened the bottle, but after sitting a bit, the more expected aromas of dark fruit, white pepper, spice and trampled leaves overtook the problematic initial whiff.  The alcohol came on strong in the sip, and the tannins need time to smooth out.  There is definitely an Old World feel to the wine, and I am reminded of other excellent Aglianicos I have had from Santa Barbara County, Texas and, oh yeah, southern Italy.  I'd love to try it in ten years, when aging will have softened its rustic edges.



Friday, September 21, 2012

California Wines Road Trip Tasting Event


Wine country is not a long drive from Los Angeles.  In Southern California, though, drives have a way of becoming long even when they aren't supposed to be.

Wine Institute staged a wine tasting event on September 6, 2012, that left the driving to the wineries.  The California Wine Road Trip tasting event brought the wines to Los Angeles.  Actually, to the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.  The Verandah Room - with its part outside, part inside design - is a great place for a wine tasting event, even on a hot and muggy afternoon.

Different California wine regions were laid out at their own tables, so one could get a glimpse of a whole region while standing still.  Here are some highlights from my own tasting notes.

Lake County
Rosa D'Oro Vineyards Aglianico 2010 - A big, earthy, funky nose shows strong minerality.  Great flavors of red fruit, candy finish and firm but smooth tannins.

Six Sigma Ranch Tempranillo 2008 - Tastes cherry delicious, with great acidity.  Nice touch with the oak spice.

Livermore Valley

Fenestra Winery Pinot Gris 2010 - Earthy peach aromas, with minerals shading the fruit on the palate.  Good acidity.  Really nice touch of oak.

Mitchell Katz Winery Sangiovese 2010 - Smokey, rosy cherries all over the place.  Great acidity.

Steven Kent Winery Lineage 2009 - A blend of Bordeaux grapes from the east end of Livermore Valley.  Big fruit, very smooth, tart finish lasts forever.  Steven Kent Mirassou said he had been on the road for several days, and the wine was just beginning to show like he wanted it to.  It was showing very well.

Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay 2010 - Pears, melons and apples.  Oak just right. Great acid.  100 year-old vines.  Wente claims to have done the first bottled Chardonnay in California.

Lodi

McCay Cellars Rosé 2011 - Carignane is the heart of this rosé.  It's not done in the saignée method, where the juice is bled off in the making of a red wine.  This is intended to be rosé all the way.  The Carignane is picked from an old field blend vineyard where the grapes were conveniently laid in rows, more or less.  Some Grenache, which imparts a bright cherry flavor, comes from a different vineyard.  Michael McCay talked about micro climates and how the ocean cools an area 60 miles inland with breezes through the delta.
One of my favorite wines of the event.

Peltier Station Winery hy.brid Vermentino 2011 - Notes of the earth rather than the ocean, as is found in the Italian version of the grape. Nice acid, minerals.

Monterey

Bernardus Winery Fairview Pinot Noir 2009 - From Fairview Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Subtle tannins.

Paso Robles

Austin Hope Wines Grenache 2010 - Brilliant fruit and acidity.

Justin Vineyards Icosoles 2009 - Extremely fruity nose, big dark fruit flavors and great tannins. Steak, please.

Villa Creek Cellars Rosé -  Grenache, Counoise, Mourvedre and Roussanne combine for a smooth and refreshing wine. The acidity comes on the finish.

Tablas Creek Vineyard Cotes de Tablas Blanc 2010 - Fantastic minerals and salinity from a four-grape blend: Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne.

San Luis Obispo County

Tangent Winery Albarino 2011 - Great floral nose.

Zocker Winery Gruner Veltliner 2011 - Floral meets mineral on the nose, more minerals on the palate.  Acidity really zips.

Saucelito Canyon Vineyard and Winery Cotes de Blanc 2011 - Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc blend shows big minerals.

Santa Barbara County

Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay 2010 - Great, smokey oak bouquet, fruit forward and brilliant acidity. What more do you want?

Buttonwood Farm Winery Cabernet Franc 2009 - Beautiful red fruit and great acidity.

Foxen Winery Syrah 2010 - Great Rhone funk shows on the nose.  Dark fruit, nice grip and a fabulous finish.

Margerum Wines M5 2009 - Doug Margerum adds Counoise and Cinsault to the standard GSM mix and gets an herbal wave over red fruit on the nose, with a tart edge to the flavors and extremely nice acidity.  Huge tannins: beware the brawn!

Temecula

South Coast Winery GVR - Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne combine in a tasty mash up of flowers and nuts.  It's mostly stainless steel, with just a small portion of the Viognier fermented in oak.  Really refreshing.

Palumbo Family Vineyards Merlot 2009 - A 100% varietal wine this 2009 effort shows smokey roses on the nose, with earth and cherry cola flavors.  The tannins and acidity are fantastic.


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MANDOLA AGLIANICO 2008 TEXAS


Duchman Aglianico

Most of the wines I drink come from California, which is by design.  California is where I live and I like to taste the terroir of my home in the wines I drink.  I'm certainly not opposed to trying wines from other places, though - especially when the place is one near to my heart.

I'm from Texas.  I've been transplanted in Southern California for some time now.  It was so long ago when I lived in the Lone Star State, the burgeoning wine industry there is a stranger to me.  I drank plenty of Texas beer in my days as a card-carryin’ Texan - plenty - but I had never tried a Texas wine, until recently.

The Duchman Family Winery - located just a bit west of Austin - was kind enough to provide me with samples of two of their wines made from Italian grape varieties - Aglianico and Dolcetto.  On today's Now And Zin Wine Blog, I'll tell you about the Aglianico.

The Aglianico grape thrives in dry places with plenty of sunshine.  Central Texas gets a check mark on both counts.  The grapes generally make a full-bodied, acidic wine with plenty of tannic structure.

The Mandola Aglianico - the winery has recently been re-branded as Duchman Family Vineyards- is labeled as "Texas wine,” and the grapes are from the Reddy Vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA.  Bottled in June of 2009, this wine was fermented in stainless steel and aged ten months in American oak.  The alcohol level is listed as 14.5% abv in the winery’s literature, but the label shows 12.5% abv.  I believe I’d go with the lower figure.  Total production of the Mandola Aglianico was only 150 cases.

I’m happy that the first Texas wine I taste is one with a taste as big as the state itself.

Right up front, the nose gives big aromas of red fruit - red plums and raspberry seem to dominate.  There’s more red fruit on the palate with an earthy aspect that increases the longer the wine has been decanted.  By the second night after opening the bottle, it was downright dark and earthy.  The flavor of spices did not diminish, though.  If anything, the spiciness increased a bit with time.

This wine has the tannins the grape is known for, and the acidity to allow it to match with a variety of foods.  Snacking with a handful of almonds, a piece of brittle and a chunk of dark chocolate, all three seemed to fit well in the scheme of the Aglianico.  This wine is really made for something a little more substantial.  Try it with an Italian sausage or lasagna.

The thing I was really looking for with this Texas Aglianico was the feeling of the Lone Star state’s terroir, and I think I found it.  Even though Aglianico wines tend to be somewhat “rustic” anyway, this one has a deeper, darker feeling than I was expecting.  To call it “brooding” would not be an overstatement.  To call it “wonderful” just about hits the nail on the head.  I think - just this once - a “yee-haw” might even be called for.

I couldn't resist sharing this image from the Duchman website.  Boots