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Italian Restaurant Wine Notes and Excerpts

Italian Restaurant Wine Notes and Excerpts

 

It started with my love of napkins, chess and travelling France, Italy, Switzerland…and noticing the seasons off the beaten track…

Now I’m in America noticing the old world wines that are becoming International…
SUMMER FRIENDLY REDS: 
No. 22# Dolcetto Dogliani San Fereolo Valdiba 2012 

Dolcetto, or “little sweet one,” is actually a light- to medium-bodied dry red wine, with mouthwatering black cherry, licorice and almond notes. With its low to moderate acidity but firm tannins, it’s the polar OPPOSITE of Barbera, which has high acidity and virtually no native tannins.

The classic Italian picnic wine, Dolcetto also works well in summer when slightly chilled…it goes with everything…

Dolcetto is what most people in Langhe and in the rest of Piedmont still drink every night for dinner,” says Barolo producer Franco Massolino.

Maurilio Garola, chef at Il Ciau di Torrevento, one of the area’s Michelin-starred restaurants, agrees… 

No. 6#  Italian Reviera on the coast of Liguria Italy Pigato (freckles) 2013
 
You don’t see many wines from Liguria (the gorgeous stretch of coastline that extends from Tuscany to the French border) in the U.S. This fresh white, made from the indigenous Pigato grape, offers clean aromas of wild sage and freshly cut grass and isn’t hard on the wallet.

Grilled Octopus Pairs Nicely with a Pigato from Riviera Ligure…

Governed by the culinary philosophy of using quality local ingredients, chef Mario Batali, of B&B Ristorante, created this decadent dish that’s easy to prepare at home.
BY WINE ENTHUSIAST

http://www.winemag.com/2012/06/28/grilled-octopus-pairs-nicely-with-a-pigato-from-riviera-ligure-di-ponente/

Much richer than the pigato I drank in Liguria. White melon, white grape and pear. Beautifully balanced with medium acidity and mild sweetness. ~ Unknown


No. 9# Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rose 2014 …

When you think of French rosé,the first thing that comes to mind is Provence. The classic pale pink wines of the region depend on a number of grapes, but Grenache is a major player. 

A 2014 Bandol rosé from Domaine de Terrebrune in the nearby town of Ollioules is alive and almost explosive in the glass, dry and savory. 

Inspired by Amy! Thank you!
http://winefolly.com/update/summer-wines-2014/
 
AUTUMN & FALL in Sicily:
 
No. 16# Centonze Frappato 2013,
Expect an explosion of sweetish red fruits in the spectrum of candied cranberry, strawberry and raspberries.
This is great, but this is just the start!
Enter savory and floral notes reminiscent of lavender, smoke, leather, bacon fat, saltiness and freshly cut green grass.
*This wine will treat you especially well during lunchtime drinking because it typically has light alcohol*. Frappato might just be the perfect bacon burger wine. Afterall, wine-and-burger pairings deserve to be taken to the next level.
 
No. 17# Nerello Mascalese, Pietradolce Etna Rosso 2013

If Sicily has anything similar to the delicacy of Pinot Noir, NM is it. Most of the vines grow close to Mount Enta, so they give off a distinct smoky volcanic aroma along with a basket of fruity-flower flavors of cherry, raspberry, plum, rose and violet. It tends to sway on the sweeter, more plush, end of the ‘pinot noir-like’ spectrum but not without additional complexity of leather, pink peppercorn and cocoa.

19# Nero d’Avola Le Vigne di Eli Etna Rosso 2012.

Traditional style Nero d’Avola (Sicily’s champion red grape) is earthy with dried fruit aromas such as raisins and figs. More and more winemakers in Sicily are experimenting with different winemaking techniques and Nero d’Avola becomes smoother with more blackberry and spice characteristics. Plum, Black Currant, Blackberry

No. 19# Le Vigne di Eli Etna Rosso 2012  Nero d’Avola from Italy RP92 The 2012 Etna Rosso is Marco de Grazia’s signature style with pretty floral aromas of blue flower, pressed violets, cassis and drying volcanic ash. It delivers great value with tight tannins and a long, polished mouthfeel. (Reminds of Syrah)

No. 4#  Discover Artisan Wines – Venture Outside of Popularly Rated Wines. Love Sauvignon Blanc? Try a Pinot Bianco.
USING Alto Adige’s famous Pinot Bianco TO SEGWAY to Robert Sinskey’s Pinot Blanc (375ML half-bottle) 2013 Fulfilling aromas and flavors of fresh pears, apricots, casaba melon and a hint of mineral-like complexity complimented by tart notes of kaffir lime.Though this wine sees no oak, it has a slight essence of yeasty toast.

It starts lively on the palate then evolves into a round lengthy mouthfeel with a bright, refreshing finish. It is incredibly complex in its natural simplicity. [An opening half bottle to start OR a magnum to party all night!]

Pinot Bianco Tasting Notes

Depending on the vintage, the flavor of Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige will range from fruity pineapple and white peach flavors to green apple and sage with loads of minerals. The wines from Alto Adige have high acidity and the best versions of Pinot Bianco have a rich honeycomb-like aroma that haunts you because the wine tastes perfectly dry.

Inspired by the Gist
http://winefolly.com/update/6-intriguing-wines-drink-fall/
 
Finally in this segment, something off the typical map and a notch in the belt… 

38# Terre de Trinci Montefalco Sagrantino 2008

Add link here.
Inspired by Esoteric…
http://winefolly.com/tutorial/esoteric-wines-add-notches-belt/ 

…And a love of discovering the essential characteristic that describe the fundamental difference between say Nebbiolo and Sangiovese (often confused with each other)…

SEGWAY: Here is what Jefferson had to say on Nebbiolo: As sweet and silky as Madera; as astringent on the palate as a Bordeaux, and as brisk as a Champagne. 

Nebbiolo was sweet before the Marchesa Falletti got involved in the fermentation process.

Madera–essentially shaken wine–was discovered as a consequence of using barrels of wine as ballast on trans-Atlantic sailing ships. 

Clearly lots has happened since…including a cloned Puilliac Lafite-Rothschild that was planted in Italy, which won the Paris 1968 show and perhaps inspired Italians to today’s heights…See Angelo Gaja, and Antonio Galloni in My Wine Picks section regarding Chris’s Wine List.


I use the following list I compiled in this way: 

If info on No. 25# (a Nebbiolo) is requested, I can immediately do a find here on 25# to get an excerpted review below (which I can progress via incremental improvement and testing) with notes…Just like the Summer-Fall-Esoteric theme I led with!

A restaurant wine list can be an ever changing gateway to the world of wine that I can surf, and those doors lead to different paths taking one across the globe, sometimes revealing opportunities…

Here is A Wine Technique that can be built on easily.

Part of that adventure for me is taking a picture of a wine (list etc):

 Jotting Three Notes which could be: First the Fruit Aroma (found on lower rim of wine glass); Second the Floral/Spice (aroma at top of rim) and Third the Earth qualities (in the middle) of a glass of wine. Perhaps the aroma is mirrored on the palate. 

I have found this aroma technique keeps it simple and cuts thru incredible complexity as does having a searchable list of wines. ~ Thank you, Jane Nickles, The Bubbly Wine Professor.

The SCRIPTS.

Keeping It Simple,  Strategic, Spontainious

A 5 minute Overview Comparison of “Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Syrah – Red Wine Guide” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/uvWL6_A7uQc


An Overview Comparison of Barolo, Barberesco, Barbera, Dolcetto. I transcribed that below…

Watch “Best Wines Online.com Tutorial 1: Piedmont with Kyle” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/-E7j1-cugd4


An Overview Comparison of Wines of Tuscany.

Watch “Best Wines Online.com Tutorial 2: Tuscany with Kyle” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/d_PP9li5Kk4


An Overview Comparison “Tasting differences Sangiovese v. Nebbiolo – Episode 54” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/ABdSSpPiJnk


5 minute Overview Comparison of “Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris – White Wine Guide” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/mEJAyNQQmUo


Brief Essentials of What you can expect from Grenache, Gamay (Beaujoulais), Pinot Noir, Nero D’Avola (Syrah) Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio etc

3 minutes on each wine…

I would pick No. 25# Barolo Gaja. He is an Italian wine producer from the Piemonte region in the district of Langhe, chiefly producing a number of Barbaresco and Barolo wines, and later diversified intoBrunello and “Super-Tuscan” production. Its current owner and president Angelo Gaja is credited with developing techniques that have revolutionised winemaking in Italy,[1][2][3][4] and terms such as “the undisputed king of Barbaresco”,[5] and “the man who dragged Piedmont into the modern world”[1][6][7] have been applied to him, and whose Barbaresco wine is considered a status symbol on a par with Château Lafite-Rothschild or Krug.[8][9] 

Gajas 2004 Barolo is being Celebrated by Vinous / Antonio Galloni (Robert Parkers ex partner) in October 2016 for a reprise rendezvous.

INTRO: In Italy Red wines (are Rosso) and Whites (are Bianco).

Note that New World i.e. USA is usually more Fruit Forward, longer growing season, hotter climate, riper grape, more alcohol (more body).

Old World i.e. Italy more Earthy, less fruit forward, more acidic, less ripe due to less growing season, less hot, less alcohol. Sommeliers, even with new world signature dishes, pair with old world wines because they do not overpower the food but blend with it. It’s designed to clean palate, invite next bite.

International style is trending where old world wines are milked for as much fruit forward as possible to reach American audience where fruit forward is more palatable. I am also reviewing a flow chart of light medium bold and fruit forward Vs earthy within old world i.e. Italy. Not rated yet.

Suffice it to say digesting 39 wines prompted me to look for broad categories understanding and meaning…

Italian-Red-Wines1

Making Petite Sense of Italian Red Wines. (Transcript)

I am going to start in NW Italy in Piedmont or Piemonte or foot of the mountain (Alps). It includes Langhe valley and Asti. Climate is not condusive to growing Bordeaux as in France and Napa Valley.

Instead maybe because of proximity to France, they tend to focus on more elegant, prettier yet earthy stoic grape varieties.

The main grape in Piedmont is Nebbiolo, and refers to fog rolls in and covers the hills of Langhe valley which is what Piedmont is known for.

This grape produces several different wines of similar style but because of location w/i Piedmont have different variations.

First of all, Nebbiolo produces Barolo. Tend to mirror full bodied earthier Pinot Noir style or wine from Burgundy France.

They age remarkably well 10 to 15 years. Beautiful, elegant refined with Roses, tar and leather notes and sweet cherry fruit.

It’s kissing cousin, is a commune of Barbaresco right next to Barolo. Now Barberesco is hilly, same grape variety however soil is slightly different and elevation a little quirky, so what you get is MORE ELEGANT version of Nebbiolo.

Still able to age to the Dickens. A full bodied Barberesco will compare favorably to a lighter style Barolo.

These wines are what are called Burgundian in style. Fragrant. Effusive. Little chewy when young. Not deeply colored. It’s lighter colored. It’s about aromas and perfumes. Wonderful balsamic and cherry aromas and flavors.

Then we have Barbera from sub zones of Asti and Alba in Piedmont.

Barbera is an at home because it’s so versatile, insanely fruity, wonderful dark black cherry type fruit component in the wine. Acidity is racy. Beautiful acidity. Develop sense of complexity. Richness without heaviness. If want color punch and fruit but without too serious then Barbera is route to go.

No body does it better than Piedmont.

Other major grape variety in Piedmont is known as Dolcetto. These days not so sweet nor little.

Red Wines from Tuscany.

It’s about romance. Piedmont is about eating and drinking and some partying. Tuscany I think of bringing my wife,  cypress trees, rolling hills, sunshine and the wines convey that vibe. Not so warm as beach. Not beach wines. But not so cold winter wines either. They strike wonderful balance.

That’s why you need them in your life.

Great thing in Tuscany you basically really need one wine grape to get a grip on. The grape is Sangiovese. Produces most of go to Tuscan wines.

You have Chianti Classico. 80% Sangiovese.

Brunello Di Montalcino. Montalcino is a region just south of chianti region. Made from grape called Brunello. It is Sangiovese (Grosso little browner skin, little larger grape providing richness structure intensity, aristocracy to the wine. So fetch a bit more money than Classico.

Vino de Montepulciano…

Beyond that along Tuscan coast south of pisa there is whole new genre based on Bordeau varieties of France.

Soil and climate mimics Bordeau France. Bolgheri is a little of the bling area.

In sum these wines have bright acidity, red black berry fruit, balsamic notes.

See 1# thru 39# wine links below.

Work-It-Out list I am Progressing Via Incremental Improvement and Testing.

Starting with Bubbly / Chardonnay.

1# 2010 Gruet Blanc de Blancs is Brut styled

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/gruet-winery/wines/champagne-blanc-de-blancs-brut-8888

Balance is as a major THEME thru out this Wine List, I am reviewing. E.G. The writeup certainly presents that. 

Medium lemon in color  Aromas of intense notes of brioche (enriched bread), followed by Green Apples, Lemon zest, Honeysuckle, and Tropical fruit.

Soft on the Front of the palate with nice Lingering acidity on the finish.

Flavors of fresh green apple and pineapple with great structure from top to bottom.

In sum: 100% Chardonnay. French “Champagne Roots, Method and American Dream, Terroir.

https://m.wine.com/product/gruet-blanc-de-blancs/58915

NB The family of Laurent Gruet still owns Gruet et Fils, in Champagne, France whilst running the Gruet NM USA.

http://wiredforwine.com/featured-wine/gruet-blanc-de-noirs-nv

Segway to related WHITE WINE

3# Cortese

Perhaps more famous than the variety name of Cortese is the wine called ‘Gavi’ which is the name of the town in the southeast part of Piedmont. Gavi wines are made in a dry style and are known for their lemon-like citrus flavors and tingly acidity. Cortese has the same mouth-zapping refreshing quality as some Pinot Grigio and Chablis wines.

A new style of ‘Blanc de Blancs’? LoveBlanc de Blancs Champagne? Many producers make a ‘Metodo Classico’ Gavi which is in the same style…

http://winefolly.com/review/piedmont-wine-guide/

http://winefolly.com/review/beginners-white-wines-list/

Fini this section with one more BUBBLY: PINOT NOIR with touch of Chardonnay.


2# Vesselle Blanc de Noir [Pinot Noir 90% with Chardonnay 10%].

For nearly 300 years, the Vesselle family has been tilling the chalky soils of Bouzy and cultivating some of the village’s best-placed Pinot Noir vines.

Domaine Jean Vesselle crafts “grower” Champagne, a récoltant-manipulant house that grows its own grapes and makes its own wine all on site.

http://www.northberkeleyimports.com/wordpress/project/domaine-jean-vesselle/

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/georges-vesselle/wines/champagne-blanc-de-noirs-grand-cru-bouzy-8888

The point: More natural nuances not present with conventional farming show themselves as are more balanced fruit with more present acidity.

Inspire by https://www.winefrog.com/2/1668/wine-styles/champagne/the-new-generation-of-champagne

II. WHITE WINES

STARTING with ALTO ADIGE, use it to SEGWAY to Napa, and back to Italy…

5# Pinot Gregio Durer Weg Alto Adige

http://www.durerweg.com/en/Vini/Classici/Pinot-Grigio

Of a straw-yellow colour, the aroma has intense and clearly definable flavours of Pear and Golden Delicious Apple, Jasmine and Lily of the Valley. On the palate, it is soft and markedly sapid.

http://winefolly.com/review/alto-adige-wine-region/

4#  Discover Artisan Wines – Venture Outside of Popularly Rated Wines

Love Sauvignon Blanc? Try a Pinot Bianco.
USING Alto Adige’s famous Pinot Bianco TO SEGWAY to Robert Sinskey’s Pinot Blanc (375ML half-bottle) 2013 Fulfilling aromas and flavors of fresh pears, apricots, casaba melon and a hint of mineral-like complexity complimented by tart notes of kaffir lime.Though this wine sees no oak, it has a slight essence of yeasty toast.

It starts lively on the palate then evolves into a round lengthy mouthfeel with a bright, refreshing finish. It is incredibly complex in its natural simplicity. [An opening half bottle to start OR a magnum to party all night!]

Sourced from: https://m.wine.com/product/robert-sinskey-pinot-blanc-375ml-half-bottle-2013/154451

Watch “Pinot Blanc: White Wine Guide, Information & Types” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/cPlOq6OrtW0

Inspired by https://www.winefrog.com/2/1639/tasting/ignore-the-ratings

PINOT BLANC

One of the white grapes of the pinot family that includes pinot grigio (also white) and the red grapes pinot noir and pinot meunier. While some pinot blanc can be found interspersed with chardonnay in the vineyards of Burgundy, the grape is more renowned in Alsace. In North America, California boasts several top producers of pinot blanc, though the grape is not widely grown. Pinot blanc often *has flavors similar to chardonnay*, though the wine is generally lighter in body and somewhat more delicate

http://www.graperadio.com/wine-terms/

3# Step outside the box — the box of ordinary white wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.


CONTINUING with Northern Italy, but a little South of Aldo Adige with Gavi di Gavi, a famous Piedmont white. Steely with a more backbone than the traditional Gavi. Theme of Apples, citrus peel, pear and slight note of apricots. Scored 3.8

Good on its own. The wine is bone-dry and crisp, with citrus and mineral notes. The area’s proximity to the Ligurian coast, the Italian Riviera, has made Gavi a natural partner for seafood.

Gavi

Grown in the Piemonte region of northwest Italy with the Cortese grape, Gavi is acidic yet fruity, dry and balanced, with a steeliness **NOT OFTEN FOUND in Italian whites**. Fantastic with seafood, it also partners well with pasta with cream- or lemon-based sauces, grilled vegetables or chicken Caesar salad.

http://www.winemag.com/2009/08/18/beyond-sauvignon-blanc/

“Barbera
High in acidity, this red variety makes one of Italy’s greatest food wines. The natural freshness pairs well with cold cuts, cheese, pasta or pizza. Barberas from Asti and Alba offer affordable alternatives to the great reds of the region.

Cortese
This fresh white grape is the foundation of Cortese di Gavi (or simply Gavi) wines. It shows a touch of talcum powder or crushed granite, with pretty floral accents.

Dolcetto

Fruity, dark in color and soft in tannins, Dolcetto is another grape that shows incredible versatility with food. Locals drink it with slices of dried salami and cheese”

http://www.winemag.com/2012/10/01/a-feast-for-the-senses-in-piedmont/

Cortese

Perhaps more famous than the variety name of Cortese is the wine called ‘Gavi’ which is the name of the town in the southeast part of Piedmont. Gavi wines are made in a dry style and are known for their lemon-like citrus flavors and tingly acidity. Cortese has the same mouth-zapping refreshing quality as some Pinot Grigio and Chablis wines.

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/giustiniana/wines/lugarara-gavi-9999

Inspired by http://www.marileebrothers.com/gavi-verdicchio.html

Cortese
[kohr-TEH-zeh, kohr-TAY-zee]
A white-wine grape grown in northwest Italy, mainly in PIEDMONT and parts of LOMBARDY. Cortese generally produces good-quality, high-ACID wines that have a DELICATE, fruity aroma and flavor. Much of this wine is sold as Cortese del Piemonte. Higher-quality wines come from the DOC of GAVI, with those known as Gavi di Gavi being among the most expensive Italian white wines

http://www.graperadio.com/archives/2006/04/10/wine-101-terminology/

6# MORE SOUTH to the Italian Reviera on the coast of Liguria Italy for Pigato (freckles) 2013 which scored 3.4

Interesting green apple and earthy nose with fatty body

Much richer than the pigato I drank in Liguria. White melon, white grape and pear. Beautifully balanced with medium acidity and mild sweetness.

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/punta-crena/wines/vigneto-ca-da-rena-pigato-9999

7# Failla The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is a terrific appellation-level bottling.


Lemon oil, apricot pit, white pepper and chamomile are all very much alive in this beautifully expressive, pliant Chardonnay. The finish bristles with a real sense of energy. This is pure class ALL the way.

https://m.wine.com/product/failla-sonoma-coast-chardonnay-2013/139948 

PART III. ROSE

THE PINOT NOIR THREAD.

8# Lieu Dit Pinot Noir 2013 s/b 2014 From a very sandy vineyard site just to the west of the Sta. Rita Hills and farmed biodynamically, this pinot noir was fermented whole cluster for about two weeks before being pressed. It was then taken down to neutral barrel and rested on it’s lees for almost a year before being racked to tank, filtered, and bottled.

With such a large influence of whole cluster in the wine, the aromatics show lots of wild cherry, rose petals and clove. Similar notes show on the palate with vibrant red fruit flavors, great acidity and balance.

https://m.wine.com/product/lieu-dit-pinot-noir-2013/135140

11# Poe Sonoma County Pinot Noir Meunier Rosé 2014Avg. Rating: 3.8 wine Compass

rasperry

aromas; juicy and chewy or and citrus; long acids and cherry tannins

Alissa Sytsma

Aromas of orange blossom and ripening strawberries. 66% old vine pinot noir, 34% pinot meunier. Easy warm weather drinking, light bodied, crisp with a persistent citric finish.

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/poe-wines/wines/sonoma-county-pinot-noir-meunier-rose-9999

POE was founded in 2009 by Samantha Sheehan, an advocate of the vineyards and wines of Burgundy and Champagne. The brand; Poe, was created to show that California too has incredible and distinctive terroir, varying dramatically from one microclimate to the next.

https://m.wine.com/product/poe-rose-2014/142080

Rose SEGWAY TO PROVENCE

9# Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rose 2014  Rosé from Provence, France RP91 V91 Light pink/salmon in color, with classic orange blossom, melon and tangerine aromas and flavors, as well as that salty minerality that’s common from rosé from the region, Domaine Terrebrune’s 2014 Bandol Rose is medium-bodied, juicy, rounded and nicely textured, with bright acidity coming through on the finish. It’s a beautiful rosé to drink over the coming year or so.

https://m.wine.com/product/domaine-de-terrebrune-bandol-rose-2014/152512

Rose SEGWAY to a SANGIOVESE

10#  scoring 4.0 La Spinetta 2014 https://www.vivino.com/wineries/la-spinetta/wines/il-rose-di-casanova-9999

“Cassis with a light acids & dark fruits.”

Screenshot_2016-07-27-03-41-16

 by Dadavoodoo

PART IV THE REDS with Burgundian (Pinot Noir) and Bordeauian and Sangiovese thread.

To START its back to Alto Adige not quite as famous as Burgundy but still FAMOUS for Red Pinot Noire.

12# Alois Lageder Pinot Noir Avg. Rating: 3.3

Nice light

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/fr-alois-lageder/wines/pinot-noir-9999

Screenshot_2016-07-26-15-20-59

13# Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2014 The 2014 is strikes a beautiful balance between both RED and BLUE fruits, notably Bing cherry and Asian plums. Interwoven with the fruit characteristics is coastal MOSS, fresh wild Mushrooms and Spice. The wine has good carry-through from front to finish, with lively acidity to keep it light on its feet.

https://m.wine.com/product/banshee-sonoma-county-pinot-noir-2014/151334

14# B. Kosuge Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 sb 2012

The 2013 Hirsch aromatically has the usual dark cherry fruit overlaid with a brown spices that is somewhat characteristic of this vineyard. On the palate, dense but weightless, and still very young.

https://m.wine.com/product/b-kosuge-hirsch-vineyard-pinot-noir-2013/148789

SEGWAY TO NAPA GAMAY

Gamay

Gamay is better known as Beaujoulais. Most Beaujoulais are meant to be drunk within the year after they were produced and are light cherry with sometimes a banana-like flavor. There are finer more age-worthy Beaujoulais referred to as “cru Beaujoulais” and these wines often have raspberry aromas. These wines often have a green stem bitterness. Tart Cherry, Raspberry

Watch “Winebird’s VINALOGY: Gamay” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/Pv9csTCVXTQ

Antidote to heavy tannic heavy alcohol  wines. Carbonic maceration = low tannin.

Gamay
[ga-MAY]

The full name of this French red wine grape is Gamay Noir a’Jus Blanc. Gamay wines have gained prominence in France’s BEAUJOLAIS region where this grape, which represents 98 percent of all vines planted, reigns supreme. They’re so associated with Beaujolais that winemakers outside of the region often try to imitate the style of immediately drinkable, light- to medium-weight wines with high ACID and low TANNINS. These light purple, fruity wines suggest flavors of bananas, berries, and peaches.

http://www.graperadio.com/archives/2006/04/10/wine-101-terminology/

15# Broc Solano County Green Valley Valdiguie Avg. Rating: 3.9


Takkino Felduchi

Ideal US hipster wine! Unloved grape: 60-70yr-old Valdiguié aka Napa Gamay, anti-Parker, New California, hip label, terroir-lovin’ wine maker in Berkeley. Restored my faith in CA wine.

Nose: fruity BEAUJOLAIS style, but with more green peppers. Tart cherries, pickled Japanese plum, some animal funk and vanilla.

Palate: the closest I’ve been to umeshu plum wine. Lean+light! Sour apricot, plums and cranberries burst with low tannins. Nice acidity contrast. Floral greenness+warm vanilla aftertaste.

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/us-broc/wines/solano-county-green-valley-valdiguie-9999

Screenshot_2016-07-25-03-19-01

PART IV ITALIAN REDS.

16# Centonze Frappato 2013, a beautifully floral Sicilian red JG91 13% alcohol. Sweet, supple, floral nose of red cherries and rose petals. On the palate this shows supple, sweet fruit with red cherries and plums. It’s quite light-bodied, but generously flavoured, with a slightly grainy structure. Fresh, supple, pretty and delicious.

http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/italy/centonze-frappato-2013-a-beautifully-floral-sicilian-red

17# Pietradolce Etna Rosso 2013Avg. Rating: 3.7

Terry Hsiao

Grown at 800 m altitude at a northern face slope of Etna mountain with mostly stony light sandy loam soil.

Macerate for 18 days with good tannin extraction and used French oak for 3 months.

Beautiful pinot noir color. But 100% nerello mascalese.

High intensity nose of smokey perfumy quality and good mineral with light sour cherry and raspberry.

High acidity with medium minus firm gritty grind tannin and a medium plus finish of smoked cherry juice.

90pts me

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/pietradolce/wines/etna-rosso-9999

18# Vino di Anna Palmento Rosso 2014Avg. Rating: 4.5

Best chilled?

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/vino-di-anna/wines/palmento-rosso-9999

Nero d’Avola

Traditional style Nero d’Avola (Sicily’s champion red grape) is earthy with dried fruit aromas such as raisins and figs. More and more winemakers in Sicily are experimenting with different winemaking techniques and Nero d’Avola becomes smoother with more blackberry and spice characteristics. Plum, Black Currant, Blackberry

19# Le Vigne di Eli Etna Rosso 2012  Nero d’Avola from Italy RP92 The 2012 Etna Rosso is Marco de Grazia’s signature style with pretty floral aromas of blue flower, pressed violets, cassis and drying volcanic ash. It delivers great value with tight tannins and a long, polished mouthfeel

https://m.wine.com/product/le-vigne-di-eli-etna-rosso-2012/140112

20# Etna Rosso del Contadino No. 7 Frank works as naturally as possible, without using any chemicals in the vineyard – not even the sulfur and copper used by biodynamic and organic growers – and he doesn’t add anything in the winery. It’s a fresh, vital, cherry-scented red of real profundity, yet this is the entry level wine in the range

http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/?s=Etna+Rosso+del+Contadino+No.+7

21# Križ

Dolcetto

Dolcetto is a high acid grape that exhibits blackberry aromas and typically has very tart flavors. It is one the the lightest dark fruit flavored wines and has bitterness on the finish. Blackberry

It’s wonderful snappy black berry character. Crisp fruit component. In sub zone of Dogliani in Piedmont. Takes on dark inky appearance. Almost looks like Petite Syrah but much racier and have almondy almost nutty backbone to them.

Lightly tannic and tend to be bit grippier than Barbera. Dolcetto is less tannic but sometimes APPEAR more full bodied. CF with Gamay. Antidote to heavy tannic heavy alcohol wines. Carbonic maceration = low tannin.

BIG YET APPROACHABLE

Barbera resides just above Dolcetto in the Piedmontese pecking order of grapes. It matures later and is bigger in flavor than Dolcetto. As with Dolcetto, the flavors are decidedly cherry, ranging from sweet-tart to black. Cocoa and chocolate notes appear again, too, making one wonder if perhaps some of the similarities between Barbera and Dolcetto are due to the terroir of Piedmont. In general, Barberas have a chewy, leathery, earthy element that can add complexity, but also some toughness. Without doubt, the grape is decidedly higher in acidity than the friendlier Dolcetto.

If Barbera has one particular problem, it would be its natural high acidity. To address this, producers are taking action in a few ways. Many are harvesting the grape later than ever before, seeking greater ripeness and a reduction of acidity.

Traditionally, Barbera was brought in between the early-maturing Dolcetto and the late-ripening Nebbiolo (from which the esteemed Barolo and Barbaresco are made). However, as a rule these days, producers are seeking longer hang times, and when the vintage permits, they may even allow their Barbera to remain on the vine longer than the Nebbiolo.

http://www.winemag.com/2000/04/01/dolcetobarbera-piedmonts-dynamic-duo/

22# San Fereolo Valdiba 2012

Avg. Rating: 3.7

JAYRCEE !

100% Dolcetto. A very food friendly Italian red. We have had Dolcetto wines with ‘beer can in the butt’ chicken, pizza and tonight Italian subs with chips along with some fruitcake. Seems to go nicely with a variety of different foods. Aged in S S tanks. Lots of ripe blueberry aroma/flavor. Hint of fresh ground all spice. Robust and yet elegant. Fresh tannins. Dolcetto means ‘little sweet’. The wine had a slight sweetness but was not a sweet wine. Nice slightly minty finish

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/san-fereolo/wines/valdiba-9999

Dolcetto, or “little sweet one,” is actually a light- to medium-bodied dry red wine, with mouthwatering black cherry, licorice and almond notes. With its low to moderate acidity but firm tannins, it’s the polar opposite of Barbera, which has high acidity and virtually no native tannins. 

Dolcetto d’Alba should be enjoyed within a year or two of its vintage date, and is usually aged in steel or in concrete tanks to preserve its aromas and freshness. 

In Dogliani, Dolcetto’s spiritual home on the outskirts of Barolo, Dolcetto Superiore can age for a few years or longer, so producers often mature it in oak casks to obtain more complexity. 

Both versions are extremely food friendly. Dolcetto has long been a staple on Piedmont dinner tables.

“Dolcetto is what most people in Langhe and in the rest of Piedmont still drink every night for dinner,” says Barolo producer Franco Massolino.

Maurilio Garola, chef at Il Ciau di Torrevento, one of the area’s Michelin-starred restaurants, agrees that Dolcetto makes a wonderful table companion.

“Dolcetto goes with everything,” says Garola. “I really love it with pasta e fagioli, but it’s a wine you can enjoy right through the meal, from the first course to the meat dishes.

The classic Italian picnic wine, Dolcetto also works well in summer when slightly chilled


http://www.I.com/2013/09/25/visiting-piedmont-on-a-budget/

Barbera

From northern Italy, barbera has a much more pale color and notes of cherry and unripe raspberry….

23# La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian 2011

Avg. Rating: 3.8

Sipping Fine Wine

Just love the Rhino on the label! Ruby red with blue and black fruit aromas and woodsy spices. The palate focuses on the fruit and shows plum and cherry flavors with some oak and spice. Vivid acidity, smooth tannins and mineral hits on the medium finish

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/la-spinetta/wines/ca-di-pian-barbera-dasti-9999

Barbera —a round, fruit-forward red wine boasting fleshy cherry and black pepper flavors—owes its current popularity to the late Giacomo Bologna, who in the 1980s revived Barbera in Piedmont’s Asti hills. By replanting Barbera in more suitable sites, applying careful vineyard management and adopting scrupulous winemaking methods, Bologna transformed a coarse local tipple into a world-class wine.

Just a few miles away, producers in the Langhe took note and began replanting Barbera in vineyards with better sun exposure and altitudes. Most winemakers also started aging it in barrels to give the wine the tannic structure it naturally lacks. 

“Thanks to all the care in the vineyards and the attention in the cellars, there’s been a Barbera renaissance that’s turned what we always considered a rustic wine into an elegant wine with longevity,” says Gianluca Grasso, the winemaker for his family’s Elio Grasso winery. 

While Barbera d’Asti has more structure, Barbera d’Alba is generally more refined. Its exuberant fruit and naturally high acidity make it ideal to pair with a range of dishes, from fish to meat. 

It’s a favorite of Giuseppe Rosati, the wine director at Felidia in New York.

“Barbera is incredibly versatile with food,” says Rosati. “I love to drink it with everything, from grilled red meats to pasta dishes with mushrooms and truffle

http://www.winemag.com/2013/09/25/visiting-piedmont-on-a-budget/

24# Pietro Rinaldi San Cristoforo Alba Barbaresco 2011Avg. Rating: 4.0

Steve Brame

Nice depth for a Barbaresco.

Homero Garza

Very nice barbaresco at an early age. Intense ruby red. Appealing ripe red fruit with hints of mocha and tobacco wrapped by a curtain of violets and balsamic notes. Palate is fresh, live, elegant and balanced. It’s vibrant acidity gives it character. Dusty tannins. This nebbiolo shows determination to keep aging but it is already drinking very well now. Thumbs up

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/pietro-rinaldi/wines/san-cristoforo-alba-barbaresco-9999

25# Gaja DaGromis Barolo 2010 Intense red in color with full aromas, rich with berries and floral notes as well as aromas of licorice, dried herbs and spices. This wine has a solid structure on the palate and a rich softness as well as a lingering finish.

https://m.wine.com/product/gaja-dagromis-barolo-2010/138669

https://www.justerinis.com/fine-wines/producer-details/italy/gaja-772

http://www.vendemmia.ca/our-wines/wines/dagromisbarolo/

# Avg. Rating: 4.1 Borgogno Cannubi 2008

Alex MacFarlane

Good value at $40. definite dried flowers in palate. Med to high tannins. Med to high acids. Long finish

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/fossati/wines/borgogno-cannubi-9999

VIP Although Barbera is rapidly gaining ground, Barolo and Barbaresco are still the defining wines of Piedmont. With a string of good vintages still in the pipeline, now is the time to be buying.


As springtime approaches, wine lovers’ thoughts begin to turn away from the sturdy wines of winter and toward light, refreshing wines to be sipped outdoors on a balmy day. On the other hand, when the frigid grip of New York’s winter descends, you try convincing wine critics to taste cool, crisp Pinot Grigios. Thankfully, there are some wines that can bridge the seasons easily.


“Barolo is unique,” asserts Paolo Abbona, owner of the Marchesi di Barolo winery. “It can go with multiple courses because it ‘washes the mouth,’ allowing you to taste the food.” In parallel fashion, despite its reputation as a heavyweight, winter wine, its acidity allows it to transition into lighter seasonal fare, such as roast chicken. Barbaresco, its more elegant sibling, does so even more easily.

Abbona resists generalizations about the characteristics of specific vineyards, but does allow that “the crus are always riper and more concentrated” than wines from other sites. Boffa makes a distinction—and other producers seem to agree—between the Barolos from the eastern portions of the zone versus those from western portions. “They are more robust, concentrated and tannic, whereas the western wines are fruitier and more delicate.” 

The eastern part of the zone, around the communes of Castiglione Falletto and Monforte d’Alba, have more sandstone; the soils around Barolo and La Morra have more clay and limestone. Cannubi, Barolo’s most famous cru, is the only site to combine both soil types, according to Abbona, one of that vineyard’s largest land holders. 

The soils of Barbaresco are predominantly the calcareous clay type known as Sant’ Agata marl. Together with the region’s slightly lower elevation (200-250 meters above sea level, compared to 300-450 meters for Barolo), these conditions make for what Abbona calls “more elegant, easier to drink wines.”

http://www.winemag.com/2004/04/01/piedmonts-killer-bs/

27#4.3 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina [Monteforte] 2003 Decant The excellent 2005 Domenico Clerico Barolo Per Cristina presents gobs of chocolate, spice, florals and dark fruit. So well balanced and gifted with a long, long finish, it impresses on every level. Not as big a wine as in some years, but actually, in this case- that’s a good thing. Highly recommended

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/clerico-domenico-e-giuliana/wines/barolo-percristina-9999

Barrel program: 36 months in French oak barriques (80%new – 20% once used) and then 24 months in 50hl Slavonia oak vats

http://www.domenicoclerico.com/page/eng/vini/barolo-percristina.php

Domenico Clerico Italian Wine | Justerini & Brooks | Wine
https://www.justerinis.com › italy › dome…
Mobile-friendly – Domenico Clerico is one of Piedmont’s legends. … purchased in some of the most interesting crus of Monteforte: Ginestra in 1983, Pajana in 1989 and the last, Mosconi, in 1985. …. Barolo, Percristina

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo from northern Italy has very big tannins and is the grape in Barolo and Barbaresco. When it is made under the “Langhe” designation, it has much lighter flavors that remind me more of pinot noir (although still with stronger tannins). Tart Cherry, Strawberry,Raspberry

28# Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo delle Langhe 2013 This wine offers up generous fruit along with menthol, spices and hard candy, showing notable intensity while retaining an essentially mid-weight style. Strong, intense and powerful when young, complex and elegant with proper aging.

https://m.wine.com/product/vietti-perbacco-nebbiolo-delle-langhe-2013/153636

29# Sfursat 2010

Elizabeth Sopel rated 4 starsCherry medicine, iron, dirt mushrooms. Medium high acidity
https://www.vivino.com/wineries/sfursat-148783/wines/sfursat-di-valtellina-2010

Doug Meikle

Absolutely magnificent wine. Deep berry flavors and dark red cherries. Almost dark chocolate like at the finish. High alcohol content but still delightfully smooth and flavorful.

Dry for a Nebbiolo, smokey, excellent with game

Deep rich cranberry

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/sfursat-148783/wines/red-9999

30# Querciabella Chianti Classico 2012

Critical Acclaim

WE91

Wine Enthusiast

Alluring aromas of ripe plum, fragrant violet, menthol and baking spice emerge on this savory, enjoyable red. The juicy, easy-drinking palate combines an enticing weightless quality with succulent fruit including fleshy black cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice and chopped herb alongside round, polished tannins

https://m.wine.com/product/querciabella-chianti-classico-2012/150103

31# Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino 2013 V91 The 2013 Rosso di Montalcino captures the essence of this site rich in clay and limestone, where the wines are ample and broad in style. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, lavender and spice notes blossom in a resonant Rosso loaded with personality

https://m.wine.com/product/uccelliera-rosso-di-montalcino-2013/149061

Sangiovese

Sangiovese comes from Italy and is grown all over. Traditionally, when it’s from Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino, it has a smokiness with dried cherry or strawberry flavors. When grown in the US, it has little to no smokiness and fresh strawberry and jam-like flavors. Red Cherry, Strawberry, Jam

32# Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino 2011  Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy V94 The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a terrific wine for the year. Sweet red cherry, plum, tobacco, mint, sweet spices and orange peel are all front and center. This is a gorgeous 2011 Brunello that represents everything the vintage can be; open-knit, accessible and polished. I don’t expect the 2011 will be a long-term ager, but it is exceptionally beautiful and delicious today.

https://m.wine.com/product/caparzo-brunello-di-montalcino-2011/154066

33# Fanti Brunello di Montalcino 2010 RP92 The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino is a dark and well-saturated wine that puts on a very nice show. It shows immediate fruit and spice and delivers these characteristics in a very direct and matter-of-fact manner. This is a proud Brunello with no hidden messages or meanings. It portrays the grape with honesty, placing emphasis on freshness and silkiness of tannins. Sweet cherry and cinnamon make for cheerful end notes

https://m.wine.com/product/fanti-brunello-di-montalcino-2010/143197

Montepulciano

The primary grape in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Italy. This wine also has intense smokiness and big tannins as well as dark red fruits. Black Cherry

34# Cataldi Madonna Malandrino Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013 sb 2012 V92 Deep ruby. Enticing aromas and flavors of mineral-driven red cherry, dark berries and herbs. Very fine-grained, precise wine with a clean finish featuring noteworthy freshness and noble tannins. Malandrino is Cataldi Madonna’s most improved wine and one of the flag bearers of the new wave of very successful unoaked Montepulciano wines now increasingly in fashion.

https://m.wine.com/product/cataldi-madonna-malandrino-montepulciano-dabruzzo-2013/143715

SEGWAY TO BORDEAUX BLENDS


Why Bordeaux and why terroir from California, Italy and Slovenia?

One reason is to provide value of CONSISTENCY of VINTAGES to hedge Bordeaux climate off and on higher HIGHS, lower LOWS.

But ALSO to progress variety, novelty and EXCITEMENT between say Bordeaux’s Puilliac, St Emilion and Steph. Chris of Biancos has multiple Bordeauxs that showcase markedly at least 3 different terroirs.

AND at the same time Tuscany is a close emulation, double, doppelganger to LEFT BANK of Bordeaux.

Wine news. Note 2013 was worst Red vintage of quarter century in Bordeaux France. But dry Bordeaux whites were Top of Mark. Ying and yang.

The restaurant is covered on many levels with its 2013 Bordeaux Blends from Santa Ynez, and Tuscany, Slovenia 2007,  and 2009 Santa Cruz.

Here are WINE NOTES of 3 Bordeaux Blends; a Montefalco Sagrantino and Mt Eden Calif Cabernet Sauvignon.

35# 3.9 Klinec Quela 2007Avg. Rating: 3.9

Takkino Felduchi

My third wine from this great Slovenian wine maker from the border with Friuli, Italy. This ‘Bordeaux’ blend with 60% Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon/blanc, is quite standard, but with a little rebellious side.

Nose: heady, unique, slightly herbal, candied sour cherry that turns jnto licorice, before showing tertiary notes of time: tar and dried figs.

Palate: medium kirshe* body with thick tannins and soil. Medium finish with the tannins becoming strong, with some flint and black berries

Colin Hartley

Nose, to me, is very earthy – root vegetables, agricultural. Taste though leaves the farm behind and has powerful fruit and spices

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/klinec/wines/quela-2007

*What does Kirsch taste like?
The cherries are fermented complete (that is, including their stones). Unlike cherry liqueurs and so-called “cherry brandies”, kirschwasser is not sweet. The best kirschwassers have a refined taste with subtle flavors of cherry and a slight bitter-almond taste that derives from the stones.

36# Habit Red Blend 2012 sb 2013 V94 The 2012 Red Wine Santa Ynez Valley, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, is superb. Layers of rich plummy fruit, savory aromatics and pulsating minerality open up in this effortless, radiant red. A rush of Cabernet Franc notes round out the finish. The 2012 isn’t a huge wine, but it delivers extreme pleasure. Don’t miss it.

https://m.wine.com/product/habit-red-blend-2012/141564

37# Bordeaux Blend Angelo Gaja Ca’Marcanda Magari 2013 JS93 A solid red with silky and polished tannins, pretty blackberry fruit and hints of wood. Full body, fine tannins and a savory finish. Racy and transparent in style. Bordeaux blend.

https://m.wine.com/product/gaja-camarcanda-magari-2013/148208

38# 3.5 Terre de Trinci

Montefalco Sagrantino 2008

CHARACTERISTICSRuby red, intense colour, rich and persistent to the nose, a play of small wild berries and lightly spiced. Full and robust, also to the palate, and deep and velvety in the mouth.

AGINGAt least 10 – 15 years

SERVING TEMPERATURE18-20 C°

PAIRINGSPrized meats, game, and aged cheeses

 http://www.terredetrinci.com/en/vini-rossi/docg-montefalco-sagrantino.php

Interesting article: http://www.vinous.com/articles/cellar-favorite-2005-arnaldo-caprai-sagrantino-di-montefalco-cobra-aug-2016

RemyDrinkStuff

For the money, this is one of my favorite Italian wines. Fruit on the start (cherry, red currant underripened blackberry), and herbs in the middle with a great Italian backbone. Great with pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Ricky Reznik

The best grape you may have never heard of. Much bigger and impressionable than any chianti or barolo. Unreal value, memorable finish.

A F

Good nose, nice varietal character. Not as full-bodied as most Sagrantinos, ah that balancing theme.

https://www.vivino.com/wineries/cantina-terre-de-trinci/wines/1403935-montefalco-sagrantino-2008

Watch “Winebird’s VINALOGY: Cabernet Sauvignon” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/w8wgMRs_pZo

39# Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Critical Acclaim

V94


Vinous / Antonio Galloni

Dark red fruit, menthol, spices, licorice and plums meld together in the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, layered and textured, the Cabernet Sauvignon has plenty of vintage 2009 juiciness, but firm, well-integrated tannins provide a gorgeous backbone of structure. The style is bold, juicy and direct, much of that shaped by a period of warmth at the end of the growing season. This is an unusually flashy wine from Mount Eden, but it works. Over the last few years in particular, the Cabernet Sauvignon has been the hidden gem in the Mount Eden lineup

ST93
International Wine Cellar

Deep ruby. Powerful, smoke-accented cherry and blackcurrant aromas are energized by zesty minerals, picking up pipe tobacco, cedar and dried rose nuances with air. Fleshy and broad but focused too, offering intense dark berry flavors and a suggestion of bitter chocolate. A sweet vanilla quality rounds out the impressively persistent finish, which shows superb clarity and solid but well-knit tannins

https://m.wine.com/product/mount-eden-vineyards-estate-cabernet-sauvignon-2009/131883

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