Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tenimenti La Lepre Dolcetto Diano d’ Alba (2004) Piemonte

I know, I know, not another wine from Piemonte. The bottle however, caught my eye. Purchased in Winestyles, a bad franchised wine store, Tenimenti’s La Lepre; Italian for "The Lepre" (hare, actually), looked formidable. "We serve this wine at our, blah, blah, blah" said the franchisee. "2004 is pretty old for a Dolcetto" I responded. A blank stare followed. I later learned that Tenimenti is a new brand from long-time winemaker Fontanafredda that showcases wines made from grapes grown on the estate's own vineyards or by growers supported by Fontanafredda's 125 years of technical know-how. Fontanafredda’s "Mad Men" state that "The new logo - incorporated into an original line of labels - also appears on the bottle, which is itself brand-new. The change in the bottle is destined to be the most striking element: for the first time in its history, Fontanafredda is leaving behind its unmistakable, traditional burgundy bottle for a wide-shouldered Bordeaux bottle." As full of crap as that sounds, it worked. I picked up the bottle from the shelf and admired its heft. "What power this wine must have" I thought. So in spite of its age and knowing nothing else about the wine; I bought a bottle. I was quite surprised. The wine was a delight. 100% Dolcetto, grown on a 2.55 hectare vineyard located in the village of Diano d'Alba, the wine was a beautiful deep ruby-red with violet highlights. Fruity nose of plums and cherries. Very slight tannins; well balanced. Fermented in stainless and aged a short time (four months) in barriques. Very enjoyable. I’d buy it again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo (2005) Piemonte

A delight from Vietti, a family owned Piedmontese winery that produces nearly 20 different wines from estate-owned vineyards (about 80 acres) and contract growers. The family’s involvement in the winery dates back to 1919. They were one of the first wineries to select and vinify grapes from single vineyards, one of the first to export wine to the United States and are credited with rediscovering and promoting the Arneis, a now famous white wine from Roero area, north of Barolo. The 2005 Perbacco is 100% Nebbiolo, with the grapes being selected from different vineyards in the area of Scarrone of Castiglione Falletto and from Ravera in the Village of Novello. Following its fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is moved into barriques for 10 months, and then transferred in oak cask for other 16 months. Prior to bottling, the wine rests for a few months in steel tanks. The wine is a haunting (not really; I just wanted to write that) pale ruby color with aromas of ripe cherries, dark fruit and spice. Well-balanced with a hauntingly (again; not really) smooth finish. Since 1974, certain Vietti wines have been adorned with original works of art inspired by the wine of that particular vintage. The print run is the same as the number of bottles produced, and the first hundred labels are signed by the artist. Certainly wines worth looking for. I have enjoyed every Vietti wine I have tried. Albeisa bottle.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Abdul Mulls Offer From “The Italian Cellar”

David Sonenberg, manager for American Idol judge Paula Abdul, has reportedly confirmed that the former singer is mulling an offer to not return to Idol for a ninth season and instead write for an obscure, little-known Italian wine blog.

“The near total anonymity gained by writing for The Italian Cellar would be a refreshing change of pace from the pressure and crush of publicity associated with American Idol.” Abdul said “It’s read by practically no one.”

Reports state that Abdul would be a perfect fit for The Italian Cellar, as her affinity for Italian wine is well known. “I enjoy the grippy tannins of a properly aged Barbaresco as a counterpoint to the truffle-like essence of a handful of large animal tranquilizers or the vibrant acidity of a Tocai Friulano when paired with anything by GlaxoSmithKline.” Abdul said.

News of this possible career change for Abdul apparently has Idol officials reeling, as they would not return any requests for comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Piazzo Dolcetto d' Alba "Scaletta" (2005) Piemonte

A tasty Italian red wine from Piazzo, a small multi-generational winery located on the hills of the Langhe. Selected from the best lots of of Piazzo's Dolcetto, the wine is wonderfully fragrant, with a deep-hued ruby red/violet color. Aged four months in oak. Very nice for what is usually a simple wine. Albeisa bottle.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stimulus Package!

You go Barry! (and Nicolas!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Domenico Clerico Barbera d’Alba “Trevigne” (2005) Piemonte

A fantastic Barbera from Domenico Clerico, who Robert Parker calls "One of the most gifted winemakers in Piedmont...these are wines of extraordinary richness, amazing aromatics, and sensual personalities that satiate both the hedonistic and the intellectual senses." Bob’s lyrical prose aside, Clerico IS one of the most respected names in all Barolo, and his wines are renowned for both winemaking of the highest quality and for exceptional character derived from outstanding vineyard holdings in some of the greatest crus of Monforte. As with the other greats of Piedmont, Clerico’s Barbara and Dolcetto are an easy and affordable way to enjoy the genius of the winemaker, and represent two of the greatest wines made from those varietals. An agronomist first, Clerico practices "green" farming methods; he uses no systemic plant protection products; no herbicides; and when needed, only the lightest touch of organic fertilizer (manure). Clerico’s single-cru Barbera d’Alba "Trevigne" is 100% Barbera that is matured for over a year in French oak barriques, 40% of which are new. Intense, purple/red color. Strong nose of red berries and fruit. Very soft, velvety mouth feel. Effortless to drink. Because of my brother-in-law’s diet, I was forced to drink it all myself.