Monday, September 28, 2009

Ca’ Viola “Brichet” Barbera d’ Alba (2007) Piemonte

A terrific Barbera from Ca' Viola, a small Piemontese winery that was founded in 1991 in Montelupo Albese, a town located on the hills surrounding Alba. Owner Giuseppe Caviola, along with enologist Maurizio Anselmo and agronomist Gian Piero Romana produce about 35,000 bottles of dolcetto and barbera a year. All of Ca' Viola wines are made exclusively from grapes grown in their 9 hectares of vineyards and are unfiltered. The 2007 Brichet has a deep violet-ruby red color, with a fragrant nose of fresh red, brambled fruit. (brambled is a new word for me; as in "Does this shirt make me look brambled?") Nice balance of acidity and tannins. Aged in oak casks and barriques for 10 months. The wine has a quiet 14% alcohol content. At $30 a bottle, the wine is a little pricey.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cusumano Benuara (2007) Sicily

A solid, value-priced southern Italian red wine from Cusumano, a Sicilian winery created by third generation winemakers and brothers Diego and Alberto Cusumano who assembled a network of growers that previously contracted with cooperatives. The 2007 Benuara is 70% Nero d’ Avola, a funky Syrah-like grape that is native to Sicily, and 30% Syrah (many enologists believe the Nero d’ Avola and the Syrah grapes to be one and the same). A majority of the wine (80%) is aged in stainless steel with the remainder barrel aged for an old world/new world feel. Spicy, yet smooth. Has the finish of a well-made wine. Way-cool glass "Vino-Lok" stopper.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut (NV) Veneto

A dry, fruity Prosecco from Nino Franco, a third generation winery is located in Valdobbiadene, an area in Veneto known for producing some of Italy's finest Prosecco. Nino Franco produces a full line of Prosecco from bone-dry to slightly sweet,with their "Rustico" being their best seller. Unlike Champagne, Italians treat Prosecco as an ordinary, everyday drink that is served in unstuffy white wine glasses and enjoyed with meals. The Valdobbiadene Brut has a pale straw color and crisp, mouth watering acidity. Nice apple/floral nose. 100% Prosecco. Sourced from high and medium high vineyard sites. Available in half (375 ml) bottles so you can enjoy without overindulging.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mastri di San Basilio “Due Sicilie” Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A benchmark EVOO from Mastri di San Basilio, 4th generation Sicilian producers of olive oil and almonds. Their "Due Sicilie" is a blend of Nocellara del Belice and Moresca olives. The Padova family uses certified organic agriculture methods, innovative tree pruning, and gentle, same-day, "continuous cycle" pressing to produce their product. The Padova’s are so "green" that they transform the olive pomace into a natural fertilizer and a green-energy fuel for domestic heating. They claim that their low oxidation processing results in a free oleic acidity level less than .2‰! Outrageous! The oil has a pronounced, rich, green, fruity flavor. Lux in a salad dressing, a topping on a slice of warm bread, or as a finish to grilled beef. A portion of the sale of each bottle supports the preservation of Sicilian arts and sites on the World Heritage List. Purchased at Whole Foods.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Buglioni il Clandestino (2007) Veneto

A beautifully floral Italian white wine from Azienda Agricola Buglioni, a small (14 hectares), young (1993) winery located in the Valpolicella Classico area of Veneto. Owner Alfredo Buglioni, son Mariano, and oenologist Diego Bertoni’s first Amarone, the 2001 vintage, won gold when it was shown at Vinitaly. The wine is named il Clandestino because it’s made from the same grape (Garganega) that a Soave is made from, although it’s not made in Soave. As previously stated, the wine has a beautiful floral nose. Nice lemon/citrus flavor. Crisp. On the palate, the wine has the feeling of depth. Terrific with food.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Filomusi Guelfi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2006) Abruzzo

A nice Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Filomusi Guelfi, a small, longtime winemaker. The Filomusi family, originally from the Marche region, moved to Abruzzo in the 16th Century. As is so often the case, a Filomusi married a Guelfi and the land; a 9 hectare plot where the present vineyard stands, was added to the patrimony together with the name. A majority of the vineyard (78%) is Montepulciano grapes. Filomusi Guelfi practices green farming methods; the soil is not tilled between the vines to utilize the "green manure". Filomusi Guelfi is the only estate in the area to produce and bottle wine exclusively from its own grapes. The wine was nearly the color of concord grape jelly. Spicy, cherry nose. Soft, warm mouthfeel. A good buy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Castelcosa by Furlan Ribolla Gialla (2007) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A nice floral Italian white wine from Castelcosa, a small family-run winery that owns approximately 6 hectares of estate vineyards and has another 40 under contract in three of the most viticulturally-important areas of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region—Grave, Collio, and Colli Orientali del Friuli. The Furlan family bought the property, which includes the magnificent “Castle of Cosa”, in 1976. Originally built in the year 1000 as a defensive structure, the castle was seriously damaged during WW I and was rebuilt in 1921 as a Palladian Villa. The castle (villa) has been lovingly restored by the Furlans who now use it as the center of their operations where they produce a wide range of wines from both native and international varieties of red and white grapes. The native Ribolla Gialla I enjoyed had a striking, gold-tinged straw color and a nose of pineapple, banana, and apple. Pleasantly dry in the mouth. In spite of being vinified and aged in stainless, it felt rich and warm.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fratelli Barba Montepulciano d‘Abruzzo “Colle Morino” (2006) Abruzzo

An inexpensive treat from Barba, a small family winery situated in the north part of Abruzzo along the valley of the Vomano River and on the surrounding hills. In addition to grapes, the Barba family, which is made up of brothers Vincenzo, Giovanni, and Domenico and their families, manufacture bricks, grow fruit, lumber, and livestock. High-tech winery. The care in which the Barba’s farm their property is evident in their wine. Often, a Montepulciano d‘Abruzzo is a poorly made, high-alcohol varietal that is drunk with pizza. This wine, however, is terrific. Rich nose of dark berries and stone fruit. Velvety on the palate with nice acidity. Full, round finish and good length. Vinified and aged in stainless. Well made.