Showing posts with label Sagrantino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sagrantino. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Wine Country: Virginia - Jump Mountain Vineyard

The Now And Zin Wine Country series started in 2011, with Virginia wine. In the dozen years since then I have sampled wines from 46 states. The last four - Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming - have proven to be tough nuts to crack, for a variety of reasons. There are fewer opportunities in those states and shipping restrictions, to name two. I'll press on to find wines from those states, but when I get a chance to revisit a previous stop, I'll jump at the chance. Especially when it is Virginia. 

The Old Dominion State has 291 wineries, by Wine America's count. That's good enough for 6th place in the winery count. As far as wine production goes, Virginia lags a little farther behind, in eighth place. 

Jump Mountain Vineyard is in the unincorporated community of Rockbridge Baths, in the southwestern part of the Shenandoah Valley. They admit that the mountain they call Jump is really a sandstone knob, but it protects the estate which has soil and a microclimate that makes vinifera grapes want to grow. 

The 2019 Jump Mountain Vineyard Borderland Red Blend is from the Shenandoah Valley. The grapes are 50% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc. They also grow Syrah, Grüner Veltliner and a handful of grapes with an Italian pedigree. Alcohol hits 13.5% abv and the retail price is $26. 

This wine is medium-dark in the glass. The nose provides plenty upon which to ruminate. There is red plum and raspberry abetted by a raft of spices: clove, nutmeg, allspice and anise among them. On the palate there is mainly raspberry and blueberry with enough oak spice to make things interesting but not enough to take over the show. Big tannins make the sip a bit raspy, but this wine is made for pairing with beef. 

The 2021 Jump Mountain Livia Italian Style Red Blend is made with an interesting array of Shenandoah Valley grapes. The blend is 60% Refosco, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Lagrein and 5% Sagrantino. Owners Mary Hughes and David Vermillion say the wine was named for Roman empress Livia Drusilla Augusta, who made public her love of the Refosco grape. Alcohol is a low 13% abv and the retail price is $26. 

This wine is a medium-dark garnet in color. Its nose suggests savory aspects of the red fruit which is present. There is a smokiness that hangs over the plum, cherry and raspberry aromas, with some oak spice thrown in for good measure. On the palate are big red fruit notes, but little of the oak influence detected on the sniff. It is a rustic wine, with tannins that lie waiting for a bolognese sauce or a plate of sausage and peppers.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Masterclass - Part Three

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, but the box finally arrived and I was 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 final of three articles on Now And Zin Wine which feature the wines that were tasted.  

Tenuta Monteti Caburnio 2015 

The Baratta family owns Tuscany's Tenuta Monteti in Capalbio, in the southern part of Maremma, very close to the sea.  The winery was founded in 1998 and it deals exclusively with international varieties like Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante-Bouschet.  All the Monteti wines are aged in small wood barrels. 

The 2015 Caburnio was made from 50% estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Alicante Bouschet.  The individual grapes were vinified and aged separately, then blended, then aged a year in the bottle.

Ruggeri says the area is in the wildest part of Tuscany, where the forests are populated mostly by wild animals.  The region, he says, is too warm for Sangiovese or white wine grapes, but great for the Bordeaux varieties.  Caburnio has alcohol at 14% abv and a retail price of $21.

This wine is dark enough, that's for sure.  It is a blend of Cab, Merlot and Alicante Bouschet.  No light gets through it when I hold it to the light.  It smells dark, too.  Cassis and tar fight for first place, while blackberry and oak spice aromas jostle from behind.  The palate is stately, with a muscular elegance structured by firm tannins, flinty minerals and a lively acidity.  Bring on the steaks, as big as you like.

Coppi Gioia del Colle Primitivo Senatore 2015

Now we come to Puglia - the heel of the boot, the land of Primitivo.  The winery which is now Cantine Coppi was founded in 1882 and taken over by the Coppi family in 1976.  It sits between Turi and Gioia del Colle, where the vineyards feature. traditional varieties like Primitivo, Aleatico, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera, Malvasia Bianca, Falanghina and Verdeca.  On the label, you'll see an artistic representation of an elevation map of the property.

The 2015 Coppi Senatore was named after Senator Antonio Michele Coppi, who founded the company and makes the wine.  It was made completely from Primitivo grapes which were grown on their chalky, clay hillsides.  The de-stemmed fruit was crushed and put into fermenters before being transferred to steel tanks after separating the juice from the skins.  Aging took place in barrels of Slavonian oak for about a year.  Alcohol hits only 13.5% abv and the price is $30.

This Primitivo shows a medium-dark tint in the glass and a nose that is all fruit, all the time.  Cherry aromas are joined by notes of plum and cassis, with just a hint of oak.  After it sits for a bit, a whiff of smoke gathers at the top of the glass.  The palate shows a lot of earthiness and a chalky quality, which we can chalk up to minerality.  There is a lengthy finish that turns slightly tart on the fade.  I would love to have this wine with some nice Italian sausages and pasta, or a meatball sub. 

Còlpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino 2012 

Còlpetrone is in Montefalco, right in the middle of Umbria, which is right in the middle of Italy.  Under the umbrella of Tenute del Cerro, they are known for producing wines of note from the ancient Sagrantino grape and the white Grechetto.  The winery was founded in 1995 in the hilly region of clay loam soil.  

The 2012 Còlpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino is a full varietal wine, 100% Sagrantino, which was racked into French oak barrels after fermentation for a full malolactic fermentation.  It was aged in the wood for a year and another six months in the bottle.  The winery rep noted the big spiciness in the wine, adding that it is unusual to think of Sagrantino as elegant, but that this one earns the description.  Ruggeri said, it is "not showing off, the wine speaks in a low voice."  One of the participants commented that it is like meat in a glass.  Alcohol sits at 14% abv and the list price is $30.

This 2012 wine is extremely dark in the glass - inky - and bears a nose of beautiful blackberry and black plum.  There is a savory ride-along for good measure.  The sip reveals a wine with a tingling acidity and very firm tannins - eight years old and it still has plenty of fight left in it.  Bring on the rib eye, bring on the porterhouse… this wine will tame all of them.

Tenuta Sant'Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli 2015 

The Castagnedi brothers' estate extends along a ridge in Veneto that separates the Mezzane and Marcellise valleys.  They also have vineyards to the east, towards the Illasi valley.  Tenuta Sant’Antonio was represented on the virtual event by Armando Castagnedi, who said the property's marly limestone soil is so deprived of nutrients that it is white.  Accordingly, the vines have to work to stretch their roots deep to find the richer dirt.  

The 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella was made from a mix of Italian grape varieties: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5% Croatina and 5% Oseleta.  The grapes were dried for three months for raisining before being pressed late in the year.  The wine was vinified in new 500-litre French oak casks.  Afterward, the aging process took place in new casks for three years.  Tasters mentioned barbecue notes, cinnamon and fruits.  The alcohol content is 16% abv and the retail price is $73.

This wine speaks loudly through its minerals, but does not need to shout.  The dark liquid gives off aromas of meat, fine cigars, dried fruit and a slight raisiny note.  It is a complete joy to smell, let alone to drink.  The palate is silky smooth, with tannins on the back end.  Dark fruit dominates the flavor profile, but there is a hefty chunk of savory minerality that elbows through - ever so elegantly.  Pair it with pasta, marinara, Bolognese, or just sip it and make dinner wait.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Mosby Sagrantino Santa Barbara County 2006

Bill Mosby specializes in growing and making wine from Italian grape varieties at Mosby Winery and Vineyard in the Central Coast town of Buellton, California.  Since 1998, when he left his dental practice to follow his passion for wine, he has produced some award-winning wines using grapes like Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio and Dolcetto.

His Sagrantino Santa Barbara County 2006 comes from the Mosby estate’s “Vigna della Casa Vecchia” (vineyard of the old house) which, according to the Mosby website, has "clay loam and shale soils supporting approximately 18 acres of Italian varietals."

The wine's label explains that Sagrantino is “idigenous to the Umbrian region of Italy, particularly around the hilltop town of Montefalco,” and is usually deep red in color and fairly tannic.  His Sagrantino has an alcohol content of 13.9% abv.

Sure enough, the color of this wine is deep ruby red with just a little light getting through.  There is a lot of fruit on the nose and a lot of alcohol, too.  Upon opening, the palate is hot with alcohol and shows flavors of black cherry and plum.  Clove spice also shows. 

On the second night, this wine is still smokin' hot.  The alcohol on the nose blows off fairly quickly leaving darker plummy aromas.  Tannins are still very pronounced, but they begin to mellow after some time.   It's really starting to be enjoyable now. 

The third night's nose is beautiful - full of fruit and earth, without the smell of the alcohol   It's amazing.  The tannins have smoothed out nicely and the flavor- still dark, plummy and spicy - is the dominant feature.  This wine needs a lot of air in which to open up.  I recommend a lengthy decanting, after which it should be a thing of beauty. 

It is, however, a beauty with a mole.  Even on the third night there was a faint scent of paint present at times.  The aroma would come and go, and it was not present to a disagreeable level.  Overall, this wine is extremely enjoyable, provided it has had ample breathing time. 

The label is a beautiful work of art done by Robert Scherer of Appiano, Italy.  Mosby commissions Scherer to do labels for Artist Series of wines.