Monday, October 26, 2009

Pieropan Soave Classico (2008) Veneto

A terrific Soave Classico from a benchmark producer. Family owned since its founding in 1890, the estate covers about 30 acres in the Soave Classico DOC. Pieropan’s Soave Classico is 90% Garganega and 10% Trebbiano di Soave. The Garganega provides the structure and acidity to the wine, while the Trebbiano di Soave provides the perfume. Brilliant straw yellow color with a slight greenish hue. Floral, marzipan nose. Nice fruit on the palate that is balanced by a bright acidity that enhances its length. The wine is aged for a short time in oak casks for some extra weight and depth. Stelvin screwcap.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Albino Rocca Vignalunga Dolcetto d’Alba (2008) Piemonte

A knock-out Dolcetto from Albino Rocca, a 15 hectare estate that was established in 1960 by Giacomo Rocca. Now run by grandson Angelo, the estate produces about 100,000 bottles of wine a year; about half Barbaresco, and the other half split between Barbera, Dolcetto, Chardonnay, and Cortese. Rich, deep purple/red color. Very floral nose of ripe red fruit. Aged in stainless steel for 8 months before bottling. A very smooth, well-made wine. Priced for everyday drinking. I have read that Rocco’s modern-style Barabaresco’s are also great; I must try to find them. Albeisa bottle.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Authorities Investigate Link Between “Balloon Boy” Hoax and Obscure Italian Wine Blog

Denver - Just days after the world watched a giant silver balloon fly through the air as a tearful family expressed fears that their 6 year old son Falcon could be inside, authorities announced the whole thing was a hoax. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden stated that Richard Heene admitted that the ill-conceived plan was just an idiotic publicity stunt to promote "The Italian Cellar", an obscure wine blog. Heene, a past participant on the TV show "Wife Swap", and a self-proclaimed meteorologist (with a high school education) claimed that his combined passion for both media exposure and Italian wine drove him to concoct the plan. "The Italian Cellar’s wine reviews are both informative and fun." Heene stated. "The blog has exposed me to many terrific Italian wines that I never knew existed. I wanted to tell the whole world about this blog." Heene stated that he had been working for weeks on a banner that would be hung from the balloon which had the Italian Cellar’s web address on it. But the media stunt was not to be. "I forgot to attach the banner to the balloon before I released it." Henne said sheepishly. Heene stated that he and his wife, Mayumi, often enjoy a nice Valpolicella after putting sons Falcon, Eagle, and Buff-Crested Bustard to bed. "The wine really helps me with my proposals for reality show pitches." Heene said. The Italian Cellar vehemently disavowed any knowledge of Mr. Heene or his actions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Salvatore Molettieri Aglianico Cinque Querce Irpinia (2005) Campania

An intense Italian red wine from Salvatore Molettieri, an 11 hectare family owned Campanian winery run by Salvatore (a trained farmer) and son Giovanni (a trained oenologist). 100% Aglianico, a grape thought to have been planted centuries ago by the Greeks who colonized the area. The estate bottled their first wine in 1988. The 89, 90, and 91 grapes were all sold to buy barrels for future vintages. Very dark, brooding, purple color. Named after the Cinque Quere vineyard in the Irpinia DOC. The wine is called Taurasi when it's from the Taurasi DOCG. (see how simple Italian wines are?) Organically farmed. Aged in oak casks and in French oak barriques for 16 months and for 6 more months en botti. Spicy, cherry, cocoa. Tannins lose their bite with food. Enjoyed with beef and pork ragu. A nice wine.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Inama Soave Classico (2007) Veneto

I admit it. I never drank a Soave before. Maybe I’m a snob. Maybe I remember those bad Soave Bolla commercials from the 70’s. Maybe it’s all the bad press Soave gets. Boring. Cheap. Insipid. A commodity wine; mass-produced by cooperatives whose emphasis is on quantity rather than quality. While all that may be true about your supermarket variety, Inama’s Soave Classico is different. In the 1950s, Giuseppe Inama, the estate's founder, began purchasing small plots of vineyards in the heart of the Soave Classico region with the desire to produce top quality wines. In the 1990s, the winery purchased vineyards east of Soave in the neighbouring province of Vicenza and began making red wines from grapes such as Carmènere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Today, the winery has nearly 25 hectares under vine. I found Inama’s Soave Classico full of flavor and interest. Brilliant light yellow color. Wonderfully fragrant floral nose. 100% Garganega. Aged for 8 months in stainless steel before bottling. Delicious. I’m sorry I waited so long to try it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino (2004) Tuscany

A delicious Rosso di Montalcino from Mastrojanni, a winery founded in the mid 1970's that today is recognized as being one of the better producers of Brunello di Montalcino. The Mastrojanni family has over 44 hectares of land under vine in the southeastern part of Montalcino, about 7o miles from Florence. Rosso di Montalcino is a wine made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso; the same grape that is grown in the same delineated region that is used to make Brunello di Montalcino. The wine, however, is required to spend only six months aging in oak and 1 year total aging before release instead of the longer aging required of the region's flagship Brunello di Montalcino wine. Although some Rosso di Montalcino’s are lighter in character than a Brunello, the 2004 Mastrojanni I enjoyed was very Brunello-like. Quite a bargain for $20. Enjoyed with grilled Italian sausage and gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce. Fragrant dark fruit and tobacco nose. Smooth tannins. Long finish. Aged for 10 months in slavonian oak casks before bottling. Jeeves and Wooster-style label.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Castello San Sano Chianti Classico (2005) Tuscany

In an Italian wine world filled with seemingly endless choices, it's hard to get excited about Chianti. The 2005 Castello San Sano Chianti Classico is no exception; It's simply Chianti. Located in the heart of Chianti, the San Sano farm is home to olive oil production, Cinta Senese pig breeding, and sheep farming. 90 of their 230 hectare farm is planted in vines. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo. Aged in oak tonneaux for 15 months. Given a choice, I'd take a pig.