Friday, December 28, 2007

Giuseppe Quintarelli Primofiore 2002 (Veneto)

Known as "the Master of the Veneto," Giuseppe Quintarelli makes some of the world’s most sought-after wines. While waiting to afford one of his classic Amarones, I enjoyed his "Primofiore" here meaning first press, which receives treatment from the fresh Amarone to provide rich flavors of cherry, spices, and oak. This beautiful wine includes all of the varietals Quintarelli grows including: Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, which are partially dried before fermentation, then a touch of lees from the fresh Amarone (or in the case of 2002, his Rosso del Bepi, since in this less than stellar vintage, no Amarone was produced) to add depth, structure and body. This contemplative wine is fresh and vibrant, with outstanding violet and floral aromas, and showcases Quintarelli's great skill. Wonderful.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Giuseppe Mascarello Scudetto Barbera 2003 (Piemonte)

The estate of Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio has a long and illustrious history in Piemonte, dating back to the mid 1800's. This traditionally-styled winery is now run by Mauro Mascarello, who is the fourth generation of the family to head the domaine. The Scudetto Vineyard is located in Perno, in the hamlet of Monforte d'Alba, and has been owned by the Mascarello family since 1991. This value-priced barbera exhibits a good, full red-ruby color. Its complex nose smolders of crushed blackberry and spices, while its bright acidity finishes with a firm spine and noteworthy tang. Houston, we don't have a problem. Albeisa bottle. The wine was opened and enjoyed with sausage and mushroom pizza one day, and finished with fettucine alfredo the next.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gaja Sito Moresco 2004 (Piemonte)

A fine "Super-Piedmont" blend of 35% Nebbiolo, 35% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from Italian master Angelo Gaja. The wine is named after the former owner of the vineyard, a 25 acre plot in Barbaresco. The wine has a beautiful nose and a fruity, elegant taste. The wine exhibits good balance in the mouth and a fresh dark berry fruit finish with very fine, silky tannins. I enjoyed this wine on Christmas Eve with a delicious beef tenderloin with a parsley pesto crust.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Planeta La Segreta Bianco 2005 (Sicilia)

From the Dispensa vinyards, located in the town of Menfi in eastern Sicily, Planeta's La Segreta Bianco is a blend of 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, and 10% Fiano. The wine is straw yellow in color with light greenish hue. Touched only by stainless steel, it has a broad, fresh and lively bouquet. Its nose has a slight mineral scent followed by classic amomas of green citrus fruits, lime and peach. The wine exhibits a good balance between acidity, suppleness and fullness. Smooth, clean finish. An inexpensive delight.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Castelcosa Cuvee Tai di Castelcosa 2005 (Friuli)

A delicious Tocai blend from Castelcosa, whose estate is located in the small village of Cosa, in the geographical center of Friuli. The Cuvée Tai di Castelcosa, a fragrant white wine of remarkable character, is their “flagship” wine. In the Friulano language, tai is the word for “wine glass” but also for “cuvée,” or the final blend of a fine wine. Tai's blend reflects the changing character of each vintage year, but it always contain Tocai Friulano. An intense straw-yellow, Tai offers a rich nose with green pepper and ripe peach, along with hints of rose. It has a crisp-edged, full-bodied richness in the mouth, and finishes with an attractive hint of bitter-almond. Each component wine is vinified individually in stainless steel, and is then blended the following spring. A wonderful white.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Damilano Barolo DOCG 2001 (Piemonte)

A very good ready to drink barolo from the brother and sister team of Guidi and Margherita Damilano. Their family estate has been a producer of wines in the Monforte d' Alba region of Barolo for over a century. At under $30, their 2001 vintage, highly rated by Wine Spectator, is a great value. The wine is garnet red in color, with a touch of an orange rim. It has nice fruit, a licorice and cocoa nose, and a warm, smooth finish. I used it both in and with beef with barolo. Albeisa bottle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC 2005 (Piemonte)

A wonderfully fruity dolcetto brought to us by Paola Einaudi, the granddaughter of the estates namesake, Luigi Einaudi; the first president of Italian Republic from 1948-55. Dolcetto, the everyday wine of the "Giuseppe sei botti" of Piedmont, is a wine that goes with everything; its light tannin structure and fresh acidity makes it an excellent all-around red. The Einaudi dolcetto is as smooth as Luigi was handsome, ruby-red to violet in color, with a rich fresh fruit nose, untouched by oak.