Monday, July 18, 2011

Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani Vigna Tecc (2009) Piedmont

A suffrutescent effort from Matteo Sardagna, the great-grandson of the estates namesake, Luigi Einaudi; the first president of the Italian Republic from 1948-55. Dolcetto, the everyday wine of the "Giuseppe sei botti" of Piedmont, is a wine that goes with everything; its light tannin structure and fresh acidity makes it an excellent all-around red. Einaudi produces more than a dozen varietals, including 3 levels of Dolcetto's; the Classico, which uses grapes from all of the poderi; the Vigna Tecc, which uses selected grapes from the oldest crus; and the Filari, which uses grapes from the very best plants. The 2009 Vigna Tecc, named for one of the four hills on the estate, is as smooth as Luigi was handsome. The wine is ruby-red in color, with a soft black cherry/violet nose, and in my opinion, unnecessarily oaked.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Argiano Non Confunditur (2007) Tuscany

A lusty Italian red from Argiano, a historic (established in 1581) Montalcino estate now owned by the Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano. (yikes!) The wines name; Non Confunditur, is a Latin term that is written on the Argiano's crest and was the motto of the estates former owners, the Lovateli Gaetani d'Aragona family. (double-yikes!) The wine is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 20% Syrah. Each of the four different varietals are fermented in separate tanks in order to preserve their individual characteristics. Before blending, each wine is aged for several months in both second passage French barriques and large Slovenian oak casks. The blended wine is then aged for an additional four months in the bottle before release. Deep ruby-red color. Strong berry/spicy aroma. Rich mouthfeel. Smooth finish. The estates wine maker is Dane, Hans Vinding Diers. (triple-yikes!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Italian Rose Wines - Easy Summer Drinking Redux

I wrote this post back in May of 2008. Because I'm it is again. Ever since White Zinfandel left its scourge upon the wine landscape, Rose wines have been looked down upon. But because they are a perfect warm weather drink, lying somewhere between refreshment and flavor, they needn't be. In fact, in the coastal regions of southern Italy, a good Rosato is a prized wine. The history of Rose wines in the south of Italy dates back to a time when fermentation could not be controlled by refrigeration. To make a red wine, time is needed for the wine to macerate on their skins. Because the heat of the day would stop the fermentation process cold, these "half-made" reds became Roses by default. Today, Rose wines are made by either macerating a red wine for a short time or blending a red and white wine together. Abruzzo's famous red, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, is known as a Cerasuola (meaning cherry-red) when vinified in the Rose style. In Puglia, the Negroamoro and Primitivo grape are used as a Rose base. Some Abruzzo producers to look for: Spinelli, Mascigelli, Cataldi, Madonna, Illuminati. Some Puglian producers: Leone de Castris, Damiono Calo. While the south dominates the Rose scene, the north of Italy also is represented with the pink. Catalupo, a Piedmontese winemaker produces a great Rose from the Nebbiolo grape and Bastianich from Friuli vinifies the native Refosco varietal. Because of their lack of tannins, look for young Roses. They are best consumed the summer after their vintage; when their fruit is bright and their acidity vibrant.