Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Masseria Li Veli "Orion" Salento IGT (2007) Puglia

A rock-solid Italian red wine from Masseria Li Veli, a small (86 acres of vines) Puglian winery located in the the heart of the Salento region. The winery, which produces the region's principal native varietals, including Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Aleatico, has been owned by the Falvo family since the late 1990's. Their "Orion" is 100% Primitivo (thought to be a clone of the Zinfandel grape) that is vinifed and aged for six months in steel. Intense nose of cherry and spice. Rich, full mouthfeel. Nice finish. Refreshingly un-oaked. Terrific with grilled meat. Inexpensive.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Case Ibidini Insolia (2009) Sicilia

A very drinkable Italian white wine from Case Ibidini, a second label offering from Valle dell'Acate, a rising star in the Italian wine world. The Case Ibidini range consists of several inexpensive varietally labeled wines intended for everyday consumption. The name Ibidini (pronounced 'bidini) refers to the name of the Hellenic settlers who populated eastern Sicily nearly 2,000 years ago. The wine is 100% Insolia, a native Sicilian grape, that is aged for four months in stainless steel tanks and another two to three months in the bottle. Deep straw-yellow color. Fragrant floral and citrus nose. Refreshing acidity.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi; Tyrant, Bedouin, Italian Wine Lover

Recently, the Italian Cellar had an opportunity to discuss proper wine storage techniques with toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been on the run since August when an uprising against him forced him from power. "I had to flee in a hurry," the bedraggled former dictator said. "I had to leave behind most of my pornography, my Condelezza Rice photo album, and most of my cellar. Unfortunately, most of the wines I took with me were Barolo's and Barbaresco's; varietals that need long-term aging. I brought very little ready to drink wine," he said sadly. To avoid capture, it has been reported that Gaddafi is traveling in a convoy and using only a tent as shelter. "Not ideal conditions for the handling and storage of wine," he said. "Light, humidity, and temperature can have a profound effect on them. The god damn sun is relentless here," he exclaimed. "I fear it's adversely reacting with the wines phenolic compounds and creating potential wines faults." Gaddafi reminded us that wine will prematurely develop if stored in an environment that has large temperature variations; particularly if they occur frequently. "Wine should never be stored where the temperature is too warm or too cold," he said. "Moderate humidity levels between 55 and 75 percent should also be maintained." When asked how he maintains proper temperature and humidity for his beloved wines given his current domestic arrangements, Gaddafi laughed. "I'm reminded of that old Sam Kinison bit........YOU LIVE IN A FU**ING DESERT!!! Boy, I loved that guy," said Gaddafi. Sensing the National Transitional Council forces were closing in, the Colonel apologized for cutting our chat short. "I must be going. Ah, the life of a deposed dictator," he shrugged.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mamete Prevostini Botonero (2009) Lombardy

A young, fresh Nebbiolo from Mamete Prevostini, a small Lombardian winery located in the Valtellina Valley near Lake Como. Prevostini produces about 160,000 bottles of wine a year on 18 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards. All of Prevostini's red wines are made exclusively from the Nebbiolo (or as it's called in Lombardia's Valtellina; the Chiavennasca) grape. The 2009 Botonero I enjoyed was very different from the Nebbiolo based wines of Piemonte. With only a 5 day maceration and six months in stainless steel, the wine was more Pinot Noir-like in character. Brick red color. Good acidity. Light structure and body. Strong nose of strawberries. Like a Pinot, the wine would pair well with seafood. Synthetic cork.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Marramiero Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Anima / Marramiero Pecorino (2009) Abruzzo

Two knock-out Italian whites from Marramiero, a small Abruzzian winemaker with coastal vineyards near Pescara. Both the Trebbiano and the Pecorino have similar taste profiles; floral, peachy, with a hint of minerality. Both are vinified and aged entirely in stainless. Vibrant acidity. Terrific values. Delicious.