Monday, November 30, 2009

Poggio Argentiera Morellino di Scansano “Bellamarsilia” (2007) Tuscany

A nice Morellino di Scansano from Poggio Argentiera, a fairly new (1998) winery founded by Gianpaolo Paglia and his wife, Brit, Justine Keeling. Together, they own 22 hectares near the coast in the Maremma and produce nearly 250,000 bottles of wine a year. Morellino di Scansano was granted its DOCG status with the 2007 vintage. To be classified as a Morellino di Scansano, the wine must contain at least 85 % Sangiovese (Morellino is the local name for the Sangiovese varietal). The 2007 Bellamarsilia is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo, and 5% Alicante grown on newly planted, high-density vines. Dark ruby red/purplish color. Strong cherry/berry nose. Three-quarters of the wine is aged for four months in stainless steel; the remainder in cement vats. Perhaps some oak could add the element that’s missing; or maybe the wine is what it is; affordable, fruity, and fresh.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Le Salette Valpolicella (2006) Veneto

A delicious everyday Valpolicella (if there can be such a thing as an everyday Valpolicella…like being too rich or too thin; or in my case, neither) from Le Salette, a 25 hectare Venetonese (is that a word?) winery owned and operated by husband and wife, Franco and Monica Scamperle. (what an opening sentence!) Made from a blend of 50% Corvina, 40% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon for good measure. (followed up by a not so great sentence) Brooding, brick red color. (even worse) Dried fruit and spices on the nose. (why are you still reading?) The finish was soft and smooth. Enjoyed with food and by itself. Aged in stainless steel for 6 months. Synthetic cork. Under $15; a great value. (next time I will start slow and finish big)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Copertino Riserva DOC (2001) Puglia

A delicious, spicy Italian red wine from Copertino, a Puglian cooperative of 1,000 growers that crank out 1.2 million bottles of wine annually. The cooperative, established in 1935, has in recent years been producing higher quality wine from the regions traditional indigenous grapes. The 2001 Riserva, crafted by respected enologist Severino Garofano, is a blend of 95% Negro Amaro and 5% Malvasia Nera. Inky, brick-red color. Blackberry nose. Tannins are softened by two years in oak. Rustic yet refined. Nice finish.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

La Bellanotte Armonico (2008) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A white Italian blend that I didn’t really like from the folks at La Bellanotte, an eight hectare artisan winery located near the border with Slovenia. Under the direction of Paolo Benassi and his business partner Cristina Visintin, La Bellanotte produces a full range of white and red wines, along with a Picolit desert wine. The 2008 Armonico is a blend of 30% Malvasia Istriana and 70 % Friuliana (previously known as Tocai Friulano). Bright straw gold color with green highlights. Nice nose of citrus fruit. Acidic to the point of astringency. The percentages in the blend changes from year to year; i.e. the 2007 was a 50/50 blend…..perhaps this makes a difference. Synthetic cork.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bastianich Sauvignon “B” (2008) Friuli-Venezia Giulia

A very refreshing Italian white wine from Bastianich, a 70 acre Friulian winery founded in 1997 by superstar TV chef Lidia Bastianich and her newly svelte, but still follically-challenged son Joe. (Joe, you look like you’ve lost significant tonnage; I hope nothing is wrong, bro)

Joe "Before"

Joe "After"

Deliciously crisp, the 2008 Sauvignon "B" is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc that is fermented and aged entirely in stainless. The wine gains some extra complexity because the grapes have been given some extra hang time on the vine. Nice tropical fruit nose, vibrant acidity, and a long finish. Stelvin screw cap.

Monday, November 9, 2009

De Angelis Vesuvio Lacrima Christi Rosso (2007) Campania

WWJD? He sure wouldn't cry (Lacrima Christi translates to "tears of Christ") - this wine is terrific! From De Angelis, a Campanian winery located on Sorrento Bay that has been producing Italian whites, roses, and reds since 1936. The 2007 Rosso is made from 40% Aglianico and 60% Piedirosso, a rustic grape named for its red feet or red roots that is found in a variety of Campanian wines. Ruby-red color. Berry fruit on the nose. Very smooth, soft, mouth feel. Aged for three months in barriques; just long enough to mellow the rustic grapes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tavignano Rosso Piceno (2007) Marche

Real garbage from Tavignano, a small Marche winery owned by the husband and wife team of Beatrice Lucangeli and Stefano Aymerich. The winery, better known for their Verdicchio, is located within the municipality of Cingoli and lies within the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi appellation. About half of their 30 acres is planted with Verdicchio, the other half in Sangiovese and Montepulciano. The 2007 Rosso Piceno is 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese. Fermented in small oak barrels, and aged in large oak casks and French oak barriques. To say the wine is oaky would be an insult to all things oak. Very tannic. Rough. Astringent. No finish. Watery. Cheap, short cork. Do not even attempt to drink without food.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis (2006) Piemonte

A wonderfully expressive Italian white wine from master winemaker Bruno Giacosa, whose family has been making wine in the Langhe region of Piedmont for three generations. Giacosa credits his winery's success to his respect for traditional winemaking methods which enhance the characteristics of the grapes. The Giacosa property covers 37 acres that are entirely cultivated in vines. Made from 100% Arneis, an indigenous varietal cultivated in Roero area of Piedmont. Fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel. Elegant nose of apples, peaches and pears. Sparkling in the glass. Vibrant acidity. Enjoyed Saturday with my family's traditional Halloween meal of Chicken Diablo. Annoyingly long cork made opening difficult.