Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cantine Salvalai Valpolicella Superiore Monile (2006) Veneto

A wonderful Valpolicella from Cantine Salvalai, a producer located on the Verona shore of Lake Garda in Veneto that has been making wines since 1870. Made of the usual blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, the wine has a striking red color and beautiful nose of jam and cherries. The wine is made in the Ripasso method, whereby a percentage of the grapes are dried prior to pressing. Aged in Slavonian and French oak barrels. The wine is incredibly smooth and completely effortless to drink. Terrific.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Somali Pirate Ransom Demand: "ITALIAN WINE!"

The Italian Cellar has learned that the ransom demand from the most recent Somali piracy incident is, not surprisingly, Italian wine. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported that the Somali pirates are "apparently growing weary of drinking Tej or Honey Wine, and are looking for something different to enjoy with their zilzil tibs." "If you've ever had Tej, you'd understand our actions!" claimed pirate Sugule Ali. "It is rash, but we feel our demands for quality Italian wine are justified" Ali stated. Admiral Mullen further added that, "an Italian varietal like a Tocai Friulano or Dolcetto pairs well with the spicy food native to the homeland of the pirates, as well as Indian or Thai food." "Just thinking about it makes me drool like one of your filthy dogs!" Ali quipped.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Massino Rivetti Langhe Nebbiolo Bricco Avene (2006) Piemonte

Another nice, affordable Italian Wine from Massimo Rivetti; a small producer of the usual Piedmont suspects, located in Neive. Typical color and nose. Nice finish. As with his Dolcetto, I could not find anything about this mystery-man Massimo or his wine on the web or in print. Non-functioning website. Albeisa bottle. Made a nice beef with Barolo with enough leftover to enjoy with it. (three "withs" in one sentence; do not try to write like this at home kids, I am a professional)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dezzani Roero Arneis Monfrigio (2007) Piemonte

Roero Arneis, a Piedmont native, is definitely a Italian varietal to try. Becoming increasingly available, its a versatile white that is great on its own or with food. The 2007 Dezzani Monfrigio is 100% Arneis that is grown in the Monfrigio vineyard, located in the Roero DOCG on the left side of the river Tanaro in Piedmont. A darker than usual straw-yellow color. Nice pear and tree fruit nose. Bright acidity. Soft, smooth texture. Priced for everyday drinking.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Armando Parusso Barolo Bussia Vigna Fiurin (1998) Piemonte

A terrific new world (read: more approachable in their youth) Barolo from Armando Parusso, a smallish (total production of about 130,000 bottles a year) Piedmont winery run by the brother and sister team of Marco and Tiziano Parusso. The winery owns 18 different vineyards located on the border between the Castiglion Falletto and the Monforte d' Alba appellation of Barolo that produce wines which display subtle differences due to site characteristics, as well as different aging and oak techniques. The 1998 Bussia Vigna Fiurin, highly rated by everyone who matters, is 100% Nebbiolo. The wine is brick-red in color with a characteristic orange-ish rim. Its nose is of smoky, spicy, roasted red fruit. Wonderfully integrated tannins. Smooth, long finish. In addition to Barolo, Parusso also produces a Nebbiolo Langhe, a Barbera, and a Dolcetto.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani (2006) Umbria

Something different from Arnaldo Caprai, a relatively young (1971)winery founded by textile magnate Arnaldo Caprai. Now run by son Marco, the winery, famous for its Sagrantino, also produces Grechetto, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet, and olive oil. The 2006 Grecante is 100% Grechetto, a native Umbrian grape that produces a darkish, straw-yellow, green-tinged wine. Very floral/fruity nose. Nice, balanced acidity. Very enjoyable as an aperitif. Vinified and aged in stainless steel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Massimo Rivetti Dolcetto d' Alba Carlin Burel (2006) Piemonte

A tasty Dolcetto from Massimo Rivetti, a small producer of the usual Piedmont suspects, located in Neive. Dark purple in color with a strong black fruit nose. Nice finish. I could not find anything about this mystery-man Massimo or his wine on the web or in print. Non-functioning website. Albeisa bottle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fattoria Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano (2005) Tuscany

As a contrast to small volume producer Elio Grasso, Fattoria Le Pupille cranks out hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine each year, but fortunately, just like Grasso, each bottle is terrific. Fattoria Le Pupille is a Maremma estate run by Elisabetta Geppetti and Stefano Rizzi (along with consultation from winemaker Christian La Sommer of Chateau Lafite). In addition to the Morellino di Scansano, the estate also produces a single vineyard Morellino, a "Super-Maremma" Cabernet blend and a dessert wine. The Morellino di Scansano DOC is located in southern Tuscany near the commune of Scansano. The wine is predominately Sangiovese with small amounts of Alicante and Malvasia blended in. The wine is deep, ruby-red in color and wonderfully fragrant. Deliciously fruity on the palate. Velvety smooth texture and finish. Vinified and aged in Stainless. Over 300,000 bottles produced annually. Synthetic cork.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Elio Grasso Dolcetto d' Alba dei Grassi (2006) Piemonte

A knockout from Elio Grasso, a small (produces less than 70,000 bottles a year) family run winery from the Langhe hill country near Alba in Piemonte. Patriarch Elio, wife Marina, and son Gianluca, think of themselves first as grape farmers and then as wine producers; characteristics they feel that make a difference in their wine. In addition to Dolcetto, they produce other native Piemontese varietals such as Nebbiolo and Barbera. Grasso has also planted non-native Chardonnay, "educating" the fruit to express the terroir into which it has been introduced. Wow. The 2006 Dolcetto is beautifully fruity, with a full nose and a bright, deep color. The wine is both vinified and aged in stainless steel. Just 7,000 bottles produced. Albeisa bottle.