Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cantina Tollo Pecorino Terre di Chieti (2008) Abruzzo

A unique Italian white wine from Cantina Tollo, a cooperative that was established in the 1960's by 18 farmers in the Abruzzian village of Tollo. Today, the cooperative has grown to over 1,200 members that produces about 9 million bottles of wine and 15,000 tons of table grapes a year. Cantina Tollo's Pecorino Terre di Chieti is 100% Pecorino, a grape native to the area that was recently brought back from the brink of extinction. The origin of the name is that the grape variety was once a favorite snack of the sheep that were often driven through vineyard lands on their way to lower pastures. In Italian “Pecora” means sheep. Fantastic nose of peaches and flowers. Light straw yellow in color with a tinge of green. Vibrant acidity. Aged in 100% stainless steel so the essence of the grape is unadulterated. The best (and only) Pecorino I've ever drunk!

Pio Cesare Dolcetto d' Alba (2007) Piemonte

An outstanding Dolcetto from the world-class Pio Cesare winery. The winery, founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, owns more than 130 acres of vineyards, located in the most highly rated and better exposed areas. In addition to is own vineyards, Pio Cesare has fostered long-term relationships with growers for several generations and manages all aspects of viticulture in these vineyards. These growers have been selling grapes to the family for generations. Their Dolcetto grapes are grown in selected vineyards around the village of Treiso, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga and Madonna Como. The wine is a beautiful ruby-red with purple hues. Aged for 5 months in stainless, the wine has a terrific nose of berries and pepper. Nice, smooth finish. A solid everyday wine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vivalda Barbera D' Asti "L Clumbe" (2006) Piemonte

A beautiful Barbera D' Asti from Vivalda, a Piemontese winery owned by husband and wife Massimiliano and Simona Vivalda. Located in Monferrato in the heart of the Barbera D’Asti region, the duo offers four styles of Barbera D’Asti that range from lightly frizzante to a Riserva that is barrique aged for 12 months. They also produce a Dolcetto and a Moscato D' Asti. The 2006 "L Clumbe"; Italian for "The Clumbe", is deep ruby-red/purplish in color with a nose of cherry and spice. Left long on the vine, the wine has a rich, full mouthfeel. No oak; the wine is aged for six months in steel and another six in the bottle. Long, smooth finish.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Falesco Merlot (2006) Umbria

A not-so-great offering from Falesco, a winery founded in 1979 by brothers Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella. Together, the brothers produce nearly 3 million bottles a year on over 900 acres located in both Lazio and Umbria. I'll admit that Merlot is not my favorite grape, so I didn't give it much of a chance. The wine reminds me of a scene from the '70's British sitcom "Are you Being Served?" when Captain Peacock finally gets to have lunch in the executive dining room and shares a bottle of wine with Mr. Rumbold. Captain Peacock: (Reading the label) "Peruvian Beaujolais." Mr. Rumbold: "Amusing little wine, isn't it?" Captain Peacock: "Hilarious." But I digress. Made from 100% Merlot that is grown in various estate vineyards in Umbria and harvested in early September. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in Nevers barriques for 5 months. Nice ruby color and full nose of blackberry's and stink. Too tannic, however, for my tastes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jasci Montepulciano d' Abruzzo (2007) Abruzzo

A much better than most Montepulcino d' Abruzzo from Jasci, a 90 acre winery founded in 1970 by Donatella Jasci. In 1975, Donatella began experimenting with organic and biodynamic farming when his mother became allergic to pesticides. Since 1980, Jasci wines have been certified organic by the Soil and Health Association, which guarantees the organic production of their grapes, as well as their winemaking processes. Jasci is also one of only a few wineries to hold organic certification in every country in the world that offers such certification. Dark ruby-red in color. Nose of ripe, jammy-red fruits. Aged in a mix of third-time-around oak tonneaux, cement vats, and stainless steel. Very smooth tannins. Rich tasting.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chiusa Grande Tommolo Montepulciano d' Abruzzo (2008) Abruzzo

A drinkable, affordable, organic Italian red from Chiusa Grande, a 50 hectare estate comprised of three farms perched high in the hills of Abruzzo. Deep red color. Spicy, fruity nose. A little Sunoco on the finish, but considering the price; they are forgiven. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 100% Montepulciano; organically grown. As is typical of the varietal, very food friendly (particularly anything tomato-based). Around $5 at Trader Joe's.