Thursday, August 28, 2008

Potazzine Rosso di Montalcino (2004) Tuscany

A below average Italian red wine from winemaker Giuseppe Gorelli of Le Potazzine, a new (1993) Tuscan estate dedicated solely to the growing of Sangiovese Grosso. Their Rosso di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso (the same grape used to make Brunello) that are planted near the hilltop town of Montalcino. Following maceration for about 30 days, the wine is aged for 12 months; partly in Slavonian oak casks and partly in French oak barriques. The Wine Advocate, who rated the 2004 with an 88, called the wine “beautifully expressive” with “excellent length and freshness on the finish”. I found the wine watery and thin, with a short, flat finish. Cute chickadee’s on the label, though.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joe Biden - Our Next Vice-President, Verbose Gaffer, and Italian Wine Lover

The Italian Cellar is pleased to report on another lover of Italian wine, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who on Saturday was selected by Barack America to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Biden, whose verbosity is only outmatched by his follicular challengedness (is that a word?), was reportedly chosen by Obama because of his vast foreign policy experience garnered by years of serving as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Interestingly enough, Biden failed to use this vast experience and voted in support of invading Iraq. Biden is also famous for two other things; his ability to put his foot in his mouth and his love of Italian wine; sometimes even mixing the two. Let's look at a couple of examples of this: When announcing his candidacy for the Presidency in the spring of 2007, Biden mused about a Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto as "The first mainstream Italian wine that is articulate, clean, and nice looking." In another instance, Biden, when speaking to an Indian-American supporter, said that in Delaware, "You cannot go into a 7-Eleven to buy a Rosso di Montalcino unless you have an Indian accent!" But after eight years of tee totalling with recovering alcoholic George Bush, The Italian Cellar looks forward to an Italian wine lover in the White House.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico (NV) Veneto

A tasty off-dry Prosecco from Nino Franco, a winery located in the Valdobbiadene zone of Veneto; an area known for producing Italy’s finest Prosecco. In addition to serving on the governing board for the Prosecco DOC, third generation winemaker Primo Franco produces a full range of Prosecco, from bone-dry to slightly sweet, including a dry Rose called Faive made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Franco’s Rustico (their best seller and lying ½ way between dry and sweet) is made from 100% Prosecco that receives both its initial and second fermentation in stainless steel. I enjoyed this wine as the base for Bellini cocktails.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gerardo Cesari Boscarel (2005) Veneto

A surprisingly good Italian red wine from Cesari, a large producer of inexpensive Veronese wines, including Amarone, Soave, and Valpolicella. Their 2005 Boscarel is a blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet, and 15% Sangiovese that are grown on Cesari’s Boscarel vineyard, which lies in the region of Calmisano, on the Verona side of Lake Garda in Veneto. Each grape is fermented separately then blended together prior to winter storage. The wine is bottled the following spring. The wine has a deep, ruby-red color and a strong nose of dark berries. The wines greatest feature is its rich, voluptuous mouth feel and long, smooth finish. A very elegant wine at a modest price.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tenuta Olim Bauda Gavi di Gavi (2006) Piemonte

A light Italian white wine from Tenuta Olim Bauda, a relatively small (61 acres of vineyards) Piemontese winery owned by the Bertolino family. The Bertolino family, known mostly for Barbera's, boast of an unbroken line of four generations of estate ownership and winemaking. Their 2006 Gavi di Gavi is 100% Cortese that is fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel. The wine is a typical Gavi; light in body, color; with balanced acidity and a delicate floral nose. The wines petite frame may be too unsubstantial for some tastes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

La Valentina Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo (2005) Abruzzo

A sturdy, Italian red wine from La Valentina, a new (1990) winemaker from the town of Spoltore, located in the hills near Pescara, a few miles from the Adriatic in Abruzzo. The winery continues to increase their use of "green" farming methods that limit the use of chemicals and technology in order to allow the regions special qualities to mark the wine. La Valentine’s Montepulciano is deep, ruby-red in color with a full, dark-berry nose. 15% of the wine is aged in wood. The remainder is aged in stainless and cement before its all blended together and bottled. For my taste, the wine is a little abrupt on the finish. La Valentina also makes several single-vineyard Montepulciano’s that are grown on premium sites and receive more wood aging.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Piazzo Langhe Chardonnay (2007) Piemonte

An elegant Italian white wine from Piazzo, a small multi-generational winery located on the hills of the Langhe. Made of 100% Chardonnay (grown in Piemonte since the late 1800's) that sees no oak; the wine is both a terrific partner for seafood or on its own. A refreshing change from over-oaked California Chardonnay. Albeisa bottle.