Monday, November 26, 2007

Paitin Langhe 2000 (Piemonte)

A delicious super-piedmont blend of 60% nebbiolo, 30% barbera, and 10% cabernet from a family run, old-time producer named after one of the great crus in the Barbaresco region. Depending upon the vintage, (2000 was a great year in the langhe) the wine is made from different blends or even a single varietal.

Very intense, purple-red color (from the barbera). Ripe, red fruit and forest on the nose. A warm, long and velvety finish. I enjoyed this wine with pork marsala and baby portobello mushrooms.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monte Dall 'Ora Valpolicella Superiore 2004 (Veneto)

The Monte Dall 'Ora Estate is located just east of the town of Verona, right in the heart of the Valpolicella zone. The organic vineyard utilizes green harvesting techniques to lower yields and heighten the quality of the fruit.

The wine contains the traditional valpolicella blend of 60% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and 10% other native Veronese varietals. A ruby red color jumps out of the glass and is highlighted by scents of red fruits, cherries and sliced red plums. On the palate the wine is delicate and fresh with vinous fruit and mild cinnamon spice. A pleasant wine, and a great value.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Albeisa; Look for the Union Label (Piemonte)

The already cryptic Italian wine label is made even more confusing when selecting a wine in a bottle stamped "Albeisa". What does this strange marking mean? Is it some message of quality being given to unsuspecting wine lovers? In a way it is, as the word "Albeisa" on a bottle of wine celebrates a regions long tradition of winemaking.

At the beginning of the 1700’s, winemakers in the Alba district, proud of their wines and wanting to distinguish them from others made in Piedmont, began using a different shaped bottle, which they called “Albeisa”. During the Napoleonic invasion, however, the “Albeisa” was gradually replaced by two typically French bottles: Bordeaux and Burgundy, which were cheaper to produce and more uniform in shape.

In 1973, 16 companies decided to start using the old “Albeisa” bottle again. These were: Terre del Barolo, Marchesi di Barolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, Giacomo Borgogno, Ceretto, Gaja, Batasiolo, Bartolo Mascarello, Renato Ratti, Oddero, Francesco Rinaldi, Cavallotto, Elvio Cogno, Marchesi Fracassi, Mauro Mascarello and Calissano.

The Union of Producers of Albese Wines was set up and close cooperation began with Vetreria Italiane di Dego, now known as Saint-Gobain Vetri, the only glass factory appointed to manufacture the Albeisa bottle. The aim was to symbolize the prestigious oenology products of the Lange, and only wines produced within this area can be bottled in the Albeisa bottle.

Today, the Union has over 200 members who use nine million “Albeisa” bottles a year. The Union of Producers of Albese wines is a non-profit association, which aims to promote and maximise the value of Albese wines. Every time a producer buys a bottle a tiny percentage of the price goes into a fund used for promotional activities.

So next time you are shopping for Italian wines....Look for the Union Label!

Terruzi & Puthod Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2005 (Tuscany)

A light, fresh vernaccia. Brilliant straw yellow in color, the nose is delicately floral and fruity; medium-bodied, fresh and minerally, with notes of honey and pears on the palate; elegant, with a crisp, consistent finish. Located in the heart of Tuscany, Terruzi & Puthod is one of the finest producers of Vernaccia. Like many Italian white wines other than the droll Pinot Grigio, Vernaccia is a terrific wine with unique flavors and complexity that is unfortunately often overlooked.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

La Spinetta Ca di Pian Barbera d' Asti 2004 (Piemonte)

Powerful, oaky barbera from La Spinetta. Co-owner Giorgio Rivetti's heavyhandedness is evident in this dense, ruby-red hued wine. Its nose is full with dark cherry, violets and plum. Fruity, but burdensome. For my tastes, more wine than it needs to be.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2006 (Marche)

Unlike the usual insipid examples of Verdicchio, this wine, produced by Fattoria Laila and enologist Lorenzo Landi, is the real deal. Fattoria Laila is located in Corinaldo, and lies among the rolling hills of the Marche, overlooking the Adriatic Sea on the east coast of Italy. Landi has helped to establish strict limits in the vineyard and utilizes techniques based on vitricultural research not practiced anywhere else in the region in order to craft his excellent wines. The wine presents delicately honeyed wildflowers at the nose, a lingering note of grapefruit acidity, playful minerals and a juicy finish. The wine can be enjoyed on its own, with appetizers, or with light main courses.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

La Mozza I Perazzi, Morellino Di Scansano, 2005 (Tuscany)

This terrific wine is co-produced by luminaries Lidia Bastianich, son Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali on their 100 acre property located in the Maremma region of Tuscany. The wine is made from 85% Morellino (the local name for sangiovese), 5% Syrah, 5% Alcante, 3% Ciliegiolo, and 2% Colorino. I'm a freak for Ciliegiolo, so the 3% in this blend pushes it over the top for me. The color is a deep, translucent ruby. The wine is medium bodied, with nice acidity and tannins that have been polished by aging over half of the wine in French barriques for 10 months. Cherry berry cola and Cocoa Puff flavors develop in the lengthy finish.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2004 Hilberg-Pasquero Barbera d'Alba (Piemonte)

A beautiful, well balanced barbera. Plenty of ripe, rich fruit. Nice acidity, with a slightly spicy finish. A "biodynamically-produced"wine from husband and wife team Michele Pasquero and Annette Hilberg. A wine Al Gore would love. This is a great food wine, especially when cooked on the grill. (The food; not the wine)

Monday, November 5, 2007

2004 Livio Felluga Tocai Friulano (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)

A wonderful Tocai from a pioneering Friulian estate. Well structured and fresh. Very smooth with notes of apple, almonds and pear. Pleasant mineral aftertaste. Tocai Friulano is an under-loved white that goes great with all antipasti. A much better choice then the ubiquitious pinot grigio.