Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tenuta Rapitala Piano Maltese (2006) Sicilia

A unique Sicilian white from Tenuta Rapitala, a seventy acre winery located in Camporeale, a commune about 20 miles southwest of Palermo; 'nuff said. Made from 50% Grillo, 50% Catarratto (grapes I never heard of previously) which are picked and vinified separately as they ripen at different times; the Grillo in mid August, and the Catarratto (which are grown at higher altitudes) towards the end of September. The name of the winery comes from the Arabic Rabidh-Allah “river of Allah” for the stream which flows through the vineyards; 'nuff said. Bright yellow color. Summer fruit nose. Seafood friendly acidity. A wine worth seeking out. Inexpensive.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Villa Calcinaia 'Comitale' (2008) Tuscany

A nice Italian white from Villa Calcinaia, a 75 acre winery that has been around since the 1524. Villa Calcinaia produces the full range of Tuscan varietals including Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, a renowned I.G.T Super Tuscan called Casarsa, Comitale, and a Vin Santo. In addition to wines, they also produce produce olive oil and vinegar. Their Comitale is an I.G.T. Bianco made from 90% Grechetto and 10% Vernaccia. Pale straw-yellow in color with some hints of green. Light, floral/fruit nose. Fermented and aged (for five months) in stainless steel. Crisp acidity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Suavia Soave Superiore Classico (2008) Veneto

A delicious Italian white wine from Suavia, a top tier Soave producer from Veneto that was established in 1982 when owner Giovanni Tessari and his wife Rosetta decided to stop selling grapes to the local cooperative in order to produce their own wine. Today, the winery is operated by their daughters Arianna, Meri, Valentina, and Alessandra. Together, the sisters produce about 100,000 bottles annually on the 12 hectare estate. By the 1970's, Soave was widely dissed by the American market (and for good reason) so a producers' association, the Consorzio del Soave, established a series of rules to improve the quality of the wine. They also established rules for the "Classico" designation for wines that are grown in better areas with more carefully chosen grapes. A "Superiore" designation was also created for the best, most carefully made wines. The 2008 Suavia Soave Superiore Classico (say that ten times fast!) is 100% Garganega, that has a beautiful straw-yellow color and a floral nose of citrus. Crisp acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Definitely not your 1970's Soave!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vietti Dolcetto d' Alba Tres Vigne (2006) Piemonte

A everyday 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. Vietti was 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 is credited with rediscovering and promoting the Arneis, the now famous white wine from the Roero area, north of Barolo. The 2006 Dolcetto d' Alba Tre Vigne is 100% Dolcetto that is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine is a very deep purple/red color with a strong nose of black cherry and raspberry. Perfect balance of acidity and tannins. Wonderfully smooth. 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. A terrific producer. Life would be better if every wine at this price level (less than $15) were this good. I have enjoyed every Vietti wine I have tried. Albeisa bottle.