Thursday, May 21, 2009

Marengo Valmaggiore Nebbiolo D’Alba (2004) Piemonte

An easy-to-overindulge, headache-inducing Italian red wine from Azienda Agricola Mario Marengo, a low environmental impact/sustainable/natural practicing Piemontese winery. The winery is run by son Marco, who took over for his Father Mario after his passing in 2001. The winery produces about 5,000 bottles a year on their tiny, 1.5 hectare estate. They produce two, single vineyard Barolo’s; Brunate and Bricco Viole as well as small quantities of Dolcetto and the Nebbiolo d'Alba I enjoyed. The 2004 Valmaggiore (named after Marengo’s really tiny .38 hectare vineyard) is 100% Nebbiolo that I found unusually refreshing and fruity both on the nose and palate. The wine is vinified in stainless and aged for 18 months in oak barriques (30% new). Albeisa bottle. A couple of apr├Ęs-wine Advil knocked the headache right out. (maybe it was the lack of pesticides)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kris Allen; Italian Wine Lover, 2009 American Idol Winner

The following is another imagined and partially plagiarized interview with Italian wine lover and 2009 American Idol winner, Kris Allen:

Kris, congratulations on your being voted 2009 American Idol. What was the first wine that made you realize you loved wine?

Damijan Ribolla Gialla 2002 made me change the way I look at white wine, and the first time I had Quintarelli Amarone I knew I’d never tasted anything even close to that before. However I have to say that the wine that did it for me, that truly made me realize that I love wine was Bartolo Mascarello’s 1989 Barolo (out of magnum). Like the Quintarelli it possessed layers and depth that I could draw few comparisons to, and definitely had the "what was that?" impact on me. However the one thing that made this one truly stand out was it’s elegance. To this day if you asked me to describe my idea of “elegance” I would have to say that that wine is an example that I would use.

Describe your perfect meal and the wine you'd pair with it.

Well, prior to Idol, I was in Piemonte, so how could I not mention white truffles on Tajarin with aged Barolo. But there is also something to be said about the simplicity of a white like Verdicchio from Le Marche (look for Sartarelli) that work their magic with the seafood of the Adriatic on a summer day. The zing and citrus nuances bring just about any fish back to life - no sauces needed here - just some grilled fish and lemon. A Rosso di Montalcino with some pici topped with wild boar ragu is also a nice, simple classic pair.

You do realize that everyone wanted Danny Gokey to win, don't you?

Yes I do.

Well, congratulations again, and thank you for your time.

It was my pleasure.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Borgo Magredo Pinot Nero (2007) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A fruity Pinot Nero from Borgo Magredo, a winery owned by Italian insurance giant “Generali”. At almost 620 acres in size and a production capacity of one million bottles per year, Borgo Magredo is one of the largest wineries in Friuli. The winery is located in the "Grave del Friuli" appellation of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The characteristic gravelly soil of this area is created by the Meduna River, which flows down from Carnic Pre-Alps bringing its pebbles and stones along for the ride. The stones make perfect soil for growing grapes; the Italian word "Magredo" means meager (feel free to Wiki “Borgo”). The stones in the soil also capture heat during the day and release it at night, protecting the grapes from low temperatures. In a final word on the area’s stones; they were used in a famous mosaic from the Romanic Cathedral of Santa Eufemia in Grado that inspired the winery’s logo. The wine is 100% Pinot Nero, violet red in color with a nose and palate of blueberry and raspberries. Nice, round finish. Aged for 3 months in Slavonian Oak casks. 12% alcohol.