Thursday, August 27, 2009

Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG (2003) Piemonte

A quality, affordable Barbaresco from Produttori del Barbaresco. Produttori del Barbaresco is a large cooperative that was founded in 1958 which sources grapes from a growers association that dates back to 1894. At that time in Barbaresco, Nebbiolo grapes were either sold to make Barolo or simply labeled Nebbiolo. Domizio Cavazza, headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba and a Barbaresco resident understood that there were differences between Nebbiolo grapes grown in the Barolo district as those grown in the Barbaresco district so he created a cooperative known as the "Cantine Sociali" to produce a wine that identified Barbaresco as its place of origin on the label. The "Cantine Sociali" was forced to close in the 1920's because of fascist rule, but in 1958, nineteen small Nebbiolo growers again came together to form the Produttori del Barbaresco cooperative. The cooperative currently has 56 members and 250 acres of Nebbiolo vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation, which amounts to almost 1/6 of the vineyards of the area; each member being in full control of its land. They produce a Barbaresco DOCG; a blend of Nebbiolo grapes harvested from different vineyards, and a simpler Nebbiolo Langhe suited for earlier consumption. In great vintages, nine single-vineyard Barbaresco’s are produced from premium sites within the Barbaresco village boundaries. The cooperative produces around 420,000 bottles (35,000 cases) per year. In those great vintages, they are divided among Barbaresco (40%), single vineyard Barbaresco’s (40%) and Nebbiolo Langhe (20%). 2003 was a hot summer in Piemonte, so the wine does not have a particularly tannic bite that requires long aging. Nice, fragrant nose of black cherry and spices. Soft tannins. Aged for 20 months in oak casks. Very drinkable as a young wine. Widely distributed, so it’s a wine that's easy to obtain. Albeisa bottle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Albino Armani “Foja Tonda” Casetta (2005) Veneto

A brooding Italian red from Giorgio’s pale brother, Albino. His small winery is located north of Verona, near Trentino. The "Foja Tonda" I enjoyed is made from the Casetta grape or "Foja Tonda" in dialect; a variety which is indigenous to the area and cultivated since antiquity. Spicy, musky nose of dried plums. Tastes wild and overgrown. Tarty acidity. Although I have no recollection what I paired it with, it was a good companion. Definitely something different and worth looking for.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inama Carmenere Piu (2006) Veneto

A plush Italian red wine from Inama, a thirty hectare winery located in the heart of the Soave Classico district. In the 1990’s Inama decided to expand production to include red wines and, after much research, settled on the Colli Berici, 10 miles east of Soave in the neighboring province of Vicenza. ‘PiĆ¹’ which means ‘more’ in Italian is an apt name for the wine, as it contains more then just Carmenere (introduced in the region in the 19th century). The wine also contains 20% Merlot and 5% Raboso Veronese. All three varieties are 100% de-stemmed by Punjab laborers. Inama utilizes Indian labor because they work in "Inama's" way, with "no preconceptions or local cultural heritage" which Inama feels are often responsible for the lack of growth of many local enterprises - I'm not so sure about that. The wine is aged in used 225 Liter French oak barriques for 12 months. A final racking is followed by a gentle pad filtration before bottling. The wine is un-fined. Vivid ruby color. Dark fruit nose. Full body, smooth tannins. Very enjoyable.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kante Carso Vitovska (2005) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A spectacular Italian white wine from Kante, a small winery in the Carso D.O.C. of Friuli. Carso, which was granted its D.O.C. status in 1985, is located on a plateau above the town of Trieste near the Slovenian border. It is here that owner Edi Kante produces some of the best white wines in Italy. The 2005 Vitovska is made from an indigenous grape of the same name that has been cultivated in the area for generations. The wine is a brilliant straw yellow color that sparkles in the glass. Vibrant acidity. Wonderfully fragrant. Beautifully balanced. A terrific wine. The only problem is that the 500ml bottle does not provide enough to enjoy.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ermacora Friulano (2007) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A traditional Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano) from Ermacora, a small winery located in the D.O.C. Colli Orientali of Friuli. Specialists in Friulian whites, Ermacora’s wines are made with a "green" touch. The land is interspersed with wooded areas populated with wildlife and a stream providing diverse ecology for the vineyards. They also rely on an aggressive use of clover and dandelions to protect their vines. The wine exhibits the classic Friulano characteristics; apple and pear on the nose and palate, with perhaps too much of the bitter almond notes. Crisp acidity. Aged in stainless steel. Clean, long finish.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Casali Aurelia Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso (2007) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Something different from Casali Aurelia, a family-owned Friulian winery that is member of the Consorzio DOC Friuli Annia, whose geographic area lies along the old Roman Strada Annia. The wine is made from the Refosco dal Peduncolo (meaning “Red Stem”) grape, an indigenous sub-variety of the Refosco grape that purportedly was praised by Pliny the Elder in the first century for the quality of wine it produces. (Even if this is not true, it’s fun to give Pliny the Elder a mention) The wine is ruby-red in color and violet highlights with an herbaceous nose of dark stone fruits and berries. Tannic. Slightly bitter. I have not had enough of this grape to know whether its unpleasant characteristics are the varietal or the winemaking. Could Pliny the Elder be wrong?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Belisario Terre Di Valbona Verdicchio di Matelica (2007) Marche

A Twitter-like review of a great summer wine from Belisario, a co-op started in the early 70’s that has become the world’s largest producer of Verdicchio. To lend a small-town feel to the wine, each label in Belisario’s portfolio is from its own vineyard. The Terre Di Valbona Verdicchio is a brilliant straw yellow color with hints of greenish-yellow. Fragrant nose of apple, pear and peach. Crisp acidity. Terrific food wine. Aged for two months in stainless steel. Inexpensive, but doesn’t drink like it.