Monday, March 31, 2008

Canneto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (2003) Tuscany

The Canneto vineyards, located in Tuscany, in the district of Montepulciano near Siena, were purchased by a dozen Swiss wine enthusiasts in 1987. Since that time, they have been producing small quantities of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Grappa, Vendemmia Tardiva, and olive oil. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (named after the place, not the grape) has enjoyed high esteem since the first century A.D. and D.O.C.G. status since 1980. The Canneto Riserva is made from 90% Sangiovese Grosso, and 10% Canaiolo Nero, Mammolo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is aged for 3 years in 500 litre French tonneaux and another 6 months in the bottle. The wine had a nice nose and color, but the extended aging in oak did little to soften the harsh tannins or to lengthen its short, abrupt finish. Not a good wine.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tenuta di Capezzana Villa di Cappezzana Carmignano (2003) Tuscany

The Capezzana estate dates back to the 12th Century, and lies in the Carmignano region of Tuscany, west of Florence; a region that has been producing wine since the Etruscan days. Capezzana produces a beautiful, ruby-red Carmignano (80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) a wine that is typically higher in acidity and greater in aroma than a Chianti Classico. The wine is matured for over a year in French tonneaux and another in the bottle. It has soft tannins, well balanced acidity, and a long, smooth finish. A terrific wine; something different for Chianti-lovers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Francesco Boschis Dolcetto di Dogliani "Pianezzo" (2005) Piemonte

A terrific value-priced Dolcetto from Francesco Boschis, who has been producing wine on their family property in the Township of Dogliani (just south of Barolo) since 1919. Their "Pianezzo" is a blend of young vine Dolcetto grown on different plots scattered throughout Dogliani. The Boschis family also produces two single-vineyard Dolcetto's made from old vines grown on premier sites. The "Pianezzo" is fermented and aged entirely in stainless. It has a beautiful color, a great black fruit nose, and a smooth, long finish. A great everyday red for dinner or as a party wine. Given its versatility, price and taste, Dolcetto may be my favorite red. Albeisa bottle.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ercole Velenosi Quattro Mani Montepulciano d' Abruzzo (2006) Abruzzo

This Montepulciano d' Abruzzo is the first wine released by the Quattro Mani (four hands) brand, a concept of Italian wine importer Paolo Domenghetti of Domaine Select. His idea was to have four winemakers, each representing a different Italian wine region, create wines which would be marketed under the Quattro Mani label. The wine is 100% Montepulciano (the grape, not the place) grown on the Ercole Velenosi estate in Abruzzo (a place, not a grape). This youthful wine sees no wood, so its fresh, dark cherry flavors sparkle. Its "smoke on the water" in color, and has lush, smooth tannins. A terrific, food-friendly wine that belies its low price tag.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Claudio Alario Dolcetto Di Diano D'Alba Costafiore (Piemonte) 2006

A delicious Dolcetto from a master of "the little sweet one". The Alario estate was established at the beginning of the last century and, up to 1988, they sold their grapes to other producers. Today, their 12 hectares of vineyards and the cellar are managed by Claudio Alario, and with the help of his parents and his wife; produce an average of 25,000 bottles of Dolcetto a year, along with some Barbera, Barolo and Nebbiolo. In Piemonte, there are three townships for superlative Dolcetto: Diano, Montelupo d'Alba, and Dogliani. Claudio's old-vine vineyards are located in Diano. The Dolcetto Costafiore is simply exquisite. The wine is vinified and aged in stainless, so the wines great fruit shines through. Very intense teeth-staining purple color, with a nose of fine, fresh, fruity cherries. Soft, full, round tannins. Long, smooth finish. Although Dolcetto's are considered a humble wine today, in the mid 1800's, Vittorio Emanuele, the first king of a united Italy, used to have two, 8 Hectolitre barrels of Dolcetto Costafiore produced every year for his own consumption.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bastianich Tocai Friulano (Friuli) 2006

A great, straightforward Tocai Friulano from Azienda Agricola Bastianich, which is owned by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich and her follically-challenged son Joe. The wine is a beautifully clear straw-yellow color, with ripe, luscious pear flavors. Vinified in stainless steel. Its bright acidity makes it a perfect food wine. Put down the Pinot Grigio and enjoy. Screw top.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Paola Scavino Rosso Vino da Tavola (Piemonte) 2006

A very good, everyday wine from Paola Scavino, a winerly established in 1921 and located in the heart of the Langhe . First released in 1995, the wine is a simple "Super-Piedmonte" blend of 40% Nebbiolo, 25% Barbera,25% Dolcetto and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (the percentage of the varietals in the blend varies according to the vintage). The grapes are from younger vines that can also be harvested separtely in the great crus. Owner Enrico Scavino calls this wine "A fresh, fragrant, easy composition, with a Piedmontese character that talks about the soil and the estate where it was born". I would agree.