Friday, February 29, 2008

Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis "Sparse" (Piemonte) 2006

A delicious, everyday white from agronomist, winemaker, and mayor, Giovanni Almondo. Grown in high-altitude vineyards, a scant 30 miles from the swiss border, his arneis "Sparse" is a super-bright straw yellow color which sparkles in the glass. The wine has a fresh, citrus aroma, vibrant acidity, and a smooth, clean finish, untouched by oak. 11 commas ( a new record!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Antinori Villa Antinori 2003 (Tuscany)

The Antinori family has been in the wine business since the 1300's, making such landmark wines as Solaia and Tignanello. Antinori, along with Tenuta San Guido, invented the "Super-Tuscan" class of wines. This poor relation is made with 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Syrah. Intense, ruby red colour. Dark, fruity hints on the nose. Strong tannins. Aged for 12 months in American, French, and Hungarian Oak. Maybe it was the heat of 2003, or the strong oak, but I did not particulary enjoy this wine. If super-tuscans are your thing, this might be one to skip.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Renato Ratti Barbera d' Alba Torriglione (Piemonte) 2005

A terrific, classic Barbera from the Renato Ratti, a Piedmontese winery famous for producing a wide range of outstanding world-class wines. The winery was founded in 1965 when Renato Ratti purchased a vineyard in La Morra. Renato's son, Pietro, now heads up the winery. Deep red in color with a nose of fresh fruit and spices. Aged 8 months in French oak which adds a rich, smoothness to the long finish. The labels of their Alba wines are illustrated with "tin solders" dressed in the uniforms of the Napoleonic period gleaned from the private collection of Prof. Edoardo Mosca of Bra in 1969, and show the various battalions of Alba from 1700 and 1800. Albeisa bottle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Terenzuola Vermentino Fossi di Corsano 2006 (Tuscany)

A crisp, elegant Vermentino from winemaker Ivan Giuliani, owner of Terenzuola, whose winery straddles the northwest corner of Tuscany and Liguria. Although they do not have an official designation, the winery utilizes low production/high density plantings that are managed organically. The wine has a full, fresh fruit nose with light, mineral notes on the palate. A delicious wine. For those who select wine because of the label ( I would never do that), the wine comes in a tall, slender Alsace-style bottle with a stark, high-style, black and white label. Very shprocket-like. "Touch my monkey."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Vietti Barbera d' Asti Tre Vigne (Piemonte) 2005

A great Barbera from a multi-generational family winery. The grapes for this wine are from young vines, approximately 10 years old, grown in Agliano d’Asti. The wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks, and at the end of the malolactic fermentation, the wine is moved into French oak barrels for 12 months, then into steel tanks 2 months before bottling. A striking red/purple color, strong fruit nose, fresh acidity to perfectly compliment food, and a long, smooth finish. Albeisa bottle. Ooga-booga label.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tramin Lagrein 2004 (Sudtirol-Alto Adige)

I now know why no one has ever heard of a Lagrein. From one of the oldest wineries in Alto Adige, Tramin is owned by a cooperative of over 290 local growers who raise grapes on approximately 575 acres in the communities of Tramin, Neumarkt, Montan, and Auer. The wine is made from 100% Lagrein. During maceration, the skins are constantly pushed down in the juice to obtain greater color extraction. Part of the wine is aged for 8 to 10 months in bottle, and part is aged in barriques. Bright ruby red in color with garnet hues, this is an extremely typical Lagrein, offering intense aromas of cocoa, cinnamon, wild berries, and violets. For my tastes, the wine had too spicy a finish; maybe it was the Popeyes Chicken I paired it with. Maybe not.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Aldo Conterno Quartetto (Piemonte) 1999

We all know the story….boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love….wait; that’s the wrong story. The story I’m talking about is that of the Conterno boys, little Aldo and Giovanni; whose differences on how the family's Barolo should be made; in the traditional style with long macerations, or with a shorter maceration time, drove them mad…well apart at least. The Conterno brothers split-up back in the late sixties to create their own styles of Barolo, Giovanni (who continued to run the Giacomo Conterno Estate) produced the more traditional style of the two. Aldo Conterno, who continues to produce prized wines in a more modern vein, is known as the "King of Barolo" in Italy. Poderi Aldo Conterno is situated in Monforte d'Alba on the prized Bussia Soprano vineyard, in the heart of the Barolo region. His Quartetto, an affordable blend of Nebbiolo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera, offers a full spectrum of flavors - from plum and dark cherry to earth and spice. Medium to full-bodied, with perfectly ripe fruit and grippy tannins. A great food wine to enjoy now.

Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis Bricco delle Ciliegie (Piemonte) 2004

This terrific Roero Arneis is produced by winemaker Giovanni Almondo, who divides his time cultivating his vineyards and running his cellars and being mayor of the town of Montà d’Alba in Roero.
The Arneis for his Bricco delle Ciliegie (his top wine) is grown on a hilltop vineyard (a former cherry orchard; hence the name, "hill of the cherries") which is warmed by the morning sun and shielded from the excessive heat of a Piedmont July and August. The wine is bright, straw to medium yellow in color with a heavier fruit character than his Arneis Sparse which receives no barrel aging.
70% of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel, while the remaining 30% are fermented in barrels. Both are then aged in their respective containers for 6 months, then blended and bottled.
The wine offers wonderful fresh aromatics of apricot, apples, minerals and light toast. This textbook Arneis reveals great length as well as a clean, inviting finish.