Showing posts with label Montepulciano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montepulciano. Show all posts

Monday, June 14, 2021

Italian Wine - Roma Holiday

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

The Roma DOC is in the Lazio region, which surrounds Italy's capital.  The DOC was established in 2011, but winemaking in the area goes back to around 800 B.C., so they really know what they are doing with the grapes.  It's natural to find Roma wines scoring great popularity with the citizenry.

Felice Mergè carries a century of winemaking with him as the owner and enologist for Poggio Le Volpi.  His father, Armando, and his grandfather, Manlio, set the scene before him.  The grapes grow in soil of volcanic origin, loaded with minerals.  

The 2017 Limited Edition of Roma DOC Poggio Le Volpi was made from three grape varieties - 60% Montepulciano, 20% Syrah and 20% Cesanese.  The grapes were grown in the same vineyards as the regular vintage Roma, but the winery says only the best bunches contribute to this wine.  It was fermented in steel tanks and aged for a year or so in oak barriques.  Alcohol sits at 14% abv and the retail price averages around $19.

This is an extremely dark wine, inky black, and it smells of black plums, blackberries and black cherries.  The palate shows a terrific display of said fruit with a savory blanket of spice and licorice thrown over it.  The tannins are a bit tame, but that fault does make for an extremely sippable wine.  It will pair nicely with pork or tomato-based dishes.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Master Class: Part Two

Virtual wine tasting events are no stranger to me, especially in the era of COVID-19.  Get the box, open the box, log on and taste from home.  No social distancing to strain the process, no mask needed.  I was invited to take part in a Zoom gathering recently along with two dozen other wine writers.  The event was called the Tre Bicchieri Web Show, which featured twelve different Italian wines from various producers.  My shipment was delayed several times - it came from Italy, after all - so I didn't get to take part in real time, but the box finally arrived and I was finally able to taste the wines inside.

The Tre Bicchieri Web Show was presented by Gambero Rosso, a Rome-based Italian wine and food magazine that was founded in 1986.  It was their first-ever Master Class, which indicates that there are more planned.

The interactive event was hosted by Lorenzo Ruggeri, the wine guide's international editor, with comments along the two-hour journey from each winery's representative.  This is the second installment on Now And Zin Wine to feature the wines that were tasted.  We started with four amazing white wines and now move on to four of the eight reds included in the assortment.

Velenosi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Prope 2017 

Ercole Velenosi and Angiolina Piotti established Velenosi in 1984 in Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche region.  They now make Abruzzo wines in Controguerra, to the east and across the border to the south.  The first vintage from that outpost was in 2005.  Angela Velenosi now sits on the board, while Filippo Carli and Luca Fioravanti work in the cellar.

Prope is made completely from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes, grown in gravelly clay soil.  They are destemmed and placed in stainless steel tanks for vinification, which could last as long as a month.  Then, the wine is transferred into large barrels for 12 months of aging.  Alcohol is 14% abv and the retail sticker should be around $15 when it is available in the U.S. market.

This wine is tinted medium dark ruby and shows purple around the rim.  It smells of bright, ripe cherries and strawberries.  There is not a big influence of oak.  The palate is nice and fresh, with fruit in the forefront and a gentle acidity.  The tannins are easy-going enough for gulping, but the wine does pair well with tandoori lamb from my favorite Indian restaurant.  Ruggeri noted the flavor of dried fruit and meatiness at the end of the sip.

Conte Leopardi Dittajuti Conero Pigmento Riserva 2016 

The Count Leopardi winery is in Numana, Marche, on Italy's Adriatic coast.  The estate is owned by the Leopardi Dittajuti family and has been for some 15 centuries.  Back then, one of the Leopardis was made a bishop, then killed by pagans, then made a saint.  Today, Piervittorio Leopardi is dedicated to the beautiful area, the forests, the limestone massif, and to Montepulciano, Conero's traditional grape, which has been vinified by Leopardi for nearly forty years.  The vineyards between Numana and Sirolo are rich in limestone and marl and cooled by the Adriatic Sea.  

Leopardi's Pigmento Riserva was made by winemaker Riccardo Cotarella, completely from Montepulciano grapes.  The fruit was late-harvested - in the end of October and early November - a roll of the dice that dared the fates to bring damaging rains.  He lucked out.  Leopardi says this elegant, full-bodied, well-balanced Riserva wine has great structure, good concentration and smooth, consistent tannins.  Alcohol tips 14% abv and the price tag reads $38.

As the name implies, this wine is very dark colored - hardly any light gets through.  The nose is complex and lively - black cherry, cassis, vanilla, cedar.  On the palate, a bit of licorice joins the fruit profile.  Acidity is brisk, but not racy.  Tannins are firm, but not toothy.  I would like a sausage or pork chop with it, but I would settle for a salami.

Giordano Emo Capodilista - La Montecchia Colli Euganei Cabernet Sauvignon Ireneo 2016 

Giordano Emo Capodilista's estate is located in Veneto, in the Euganean regional park.  The vineyards lie in the northern part of the area - in the almost Alpine territory of Selvazzano.  More recent acquisitions are in the volcanic hills to the extreme south - in the more Mediterranean area of Baone.  The two sites are not that far apart - only about six miles - but they feature very different terroir.  The grapes that make up Irenèo are 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, grown along the slopes of Monte Castello, while the 6% Merlot and 4% Carmenère came from the area around Villa Emo Capodilista.  The wine was aged for a year in barrique barrels, then six months in the bottle.  Alcohol hits 14% abv and the retail price is $30.

This Italian Cab has a bit of Merlot and Carmenère mixed in.  The color is medium dark garnet with a bit of bricking around the edge.  Aromas of blackberry are joined by the smell of minerals and a whiff of smoke.  The palate has a chalky note to it - the owner referred to the wine in his presentation as "salty."  The tannins are manageable and the acidity is middle-of-the-road.  The wine really puts me in mind of Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, not Napa.  I paired the wine successfully with grilled kielbasa and charred Brussels sprouts.

De Stefani Colli di Conegliano Rosso Stefen 1624 2015 120 USD

Still in Veneto, up north in Piave, owner and winemaker Alessandro di Stefani steered away from the so-called easy money of Prosecco in favor of still wines with character.  The results should make everyone glad he made that choice.

The 2015 De Stefani Colli di Conegliano Rosso Stefen 1624 was made from 100% Marzemino grapes grown in clay soil which is mixed with minerals from the Southern Limestone Alps, the Dolomite Mountains.  Marzemino is said to have been Mozart's favorite wine grape, and that is completely understandable.  The single-vineyard grapes were destemmed and slowly fermented on the skins up to a point, when the juice was put into oak barriques, where it stayed for three years.  Aging continued in the bottle for 18 months before release.  Alcohol checks in at a lofty 15.5% abv.  Depending on the vintage, it can be as high as 17.5% alcohol.  The sticker price is up there as well, at $120.  

This wine is deep, dark and delicious.  The nose opens with a whiff of smoke, which leads to aromas of dried cherry, cedar and pipe tobacco.  The palate shows a nice mix of fruit and savory - the cherry flavor finds a black raspberry partner.  Firm tannins and bright acidity make it dance on the tongue.


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Monday, August 3, 2020

Abruzzian Art Of The Earth

People sometimes don't think that wine importers are very important, that all they do is have crates of wine shipped in from who-knows-where to be peddled on the shelves in the lower reaches.  The best importers are those with a nose for wine, who can sniff out good stuff through endless trials, then bring the product to us.  Great importers like Kermit Lynch and Terry Theise are as important and as recognizable as great producers.  Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a price that is more than fair.  Founded in 1939, the company expanded to the Miami office eight years ago.  They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

Art of Earth Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2019

The certified organic grapes for this bottle were grown in the light, sandy loam of Abruzzo DOC in eastern Italy, between the Adriatic sea and the Apennine Mountains.  The variety is full, 100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, the wine hits a reasonable 13.5% abv on the alcohol scale and it retails for $12.

This wine certainly smells like it is the art of the earth.  There are abundant minerals to go along with the ripe, red cherry aromas and the sweet oak on the nose.  The palate follows suit and lays in a racy acidity on top of the firm tannins.  Spaghetti Bolognese would be a nice pairing, but I had mine with a pork chop and loved it. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Oakless Red Wine: No Complexity, No Problem

The Caldora winery is in the community of Ortona, in Italy's Abruzzo region, just above the "ankle" on the back of the "boot."  It's close enough to the coast to enjoy the effect of the Adriatic Sea.  The winery has a special arrangement with the many small growers in the two coastal provinces of Teramo to the north and Chieti to the south.  They say they don't actually buy grapes from these growers, but rather rent the vineyards and use the fruit for their wines.

If you like your red wines simple and unadorned, the 2017 Caldora Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is for you.  It is a 100% varietal wine, with no oak aging used in the making of it.  Alcohol is easy to take at 13% abv and the wine retails for $12.

The Caldora carries a subdued nose, rather like a toned down Syrah.  It's certainly a clean nose, with no oak to color the fruit.  The Montepulciano grapes take center stage, showing blackberry and plum aromas and similar dark fruit flavors.  The acidity is fresh and lively.  The lack of complexity is not a problem, as the wine sips just fine.


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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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Easy Drinking Italian Bargain Red

Citra Vini, an association of wineries in Abruzzo established in 1973, covers a lot of ground in Chieti.  The winegrowing group is located near the Majella, a limestone massif in the Apennine mountain range, Gran Sasso, the highest peak around and the Adriatic Sea. 

Their website explains a bit of the storied history of the Montepulciano grape.  Hannibal reportedly gave the wine to his soldiers for its supposed restorative powers, and Ovid praised it in a poem.   The Citra umbrella shades a lot of labels, and this would appear to their bargain brand, as it sells for less than ten bucks.

There was scant information available about the wine, but a winemaking team of 19 worked on it, so at least they had a lot of experience in the cellar.  Alcohol hits a reasonable 13% abv.

Citra Vini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017

The nose on this 2017 Italian wine is a bit fuzzy at first, but the cherries and blackberries are there, along with a strong initial whiff of chocolate.  It's medium-ruby in color and offers cherry, black cherry and a hint of raspberry on the palate.  Tannins are reasonable, if not very firm, and the acidity is quite refreshing.  I snacked it with a hard Italian cheese, the name of which escapes me.  Pair it with meat or tomato sauce dishes and you'll be fine.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

VALLE DELL'ASSO GALATINA 2006


Valle dell'Asso Galtina 2006

Sometimes the label on a bottle of wine doesn't offer much more than a blurb designed to sell the product.  The sticker on this rosso, though, is a wealth of information.  Valle dell'Asso is an Italian wine from Galatina, in the Puglia region - the heel of the boot - this is 85% Negramaro and 15% Montepulciano.  It's a red wine I purchased a couple of years ago for about $17 at Rosso Wine Shop in Glendale.  The importer is Tesori Wines of San Francisco. The alcohol level is only 13% abv.
This dark wine has black cherry, licorice and clove on the nose, and it's a dank and musty aroma.  I mean that in the best possible way.  I asked Denise for her opinion on the nose, and she said "It's meaty."  I concur.
The word for the taste is "Wow."  There's a burst of fruit - plums and figs - and a spicy quality that is both peppery and sweet.  There's some mushroom in there, too.  Despite the darkness that pops up at every turn, it's a very bright tasting red that's quite showy from the start.  It definitely makes an impression.  A rather lasting one, too, as the finish keeps on going and going.  It's a well-balanced and sturdy wine.