Monthly Archives: October 2012

Southwest France for Under $20

 When I attend a wine tasting where I am not familiar with the wines, my method is to taste them without looking at the prices. At a tasting of the wines of Southwest France I could not believe the number of wines that I liked. Even more amazing was that most of them were under $20. North of the Pyrenees Mountains, south of Bordeaux, east of the Atlantic Ocean and west of the Languedoc, Southwest France has almost 30 appellations and over 100 native grape varieties.  Many, such as Arrufiac, Fer Servadou and Loin de l’Oeil are unique to the region. There are 850 independent producers and 23 cooperative cellars.

Southwest France follows the European Union’s new wine regulations. Each appellation is either AOP — Appellation d’Origine Protègèe — the European equivalent of the French AOC, which applies to wines produced following very strict specifications and tied to a defined origin and terroir, or  IGP  — Indication Geographique for wine produced according to strict specifications and certified as having been produced in a defined geographical area.

Here are a few of my favorites all under $20.  I was told that all the producers have US importers.

Sparkling White
Cuvèe Methode Gaillacoise Brut 2011 Gaillas AOP Domaine du Moulin made from Mauzac White.
Method Gaillacois, I was told, is the traditional and oldest method for making sparkling wine.  The wine has aromas of green apple and other citrus fruits but also has a creamy texture that make it easy to drink.  It can be served as an aperitif or with dessert and should be served well chilled. $18

The White WinesCvèe Colombard- Ugni Blanc 2011 Cotès de Gascogne IGP Domaine UBY 80% Colombard and 20% Ugni Blanc. The soil is composed of sandy loam and clay. There is whole fruit maceration, low temperature fermentation and maturation on the fine lees.  This is a wine with crisp acidity and hints of grapefruit and lemon. It has a surprising long finish and should be drunk young. $9

Cuvèe Classic 2011 Cotès de Gascogne IGP Domaine Du Tariquet. Made from 45% Ugni Blanc, 35%  Colombard 10% Sauvignon Blanc 10% Gros Manseng. Tariquet is the largest family owned white wine estate in one appellation in France. They also produce a Bas-Armagnac. I was told that this is the favorite white wine in the bistros of Bordeaux. This is an intense dry but fruity wine with nice citrus fruit and good acidity   $9Cuvèe Harmonie de Gascogne 2011 Côtes de Gascogne IGP Domaine de Pellehaute. Made from Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Folle Blanche, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng. This is a traditional farming estate with the vines situated on the slopes and the low lands reserved for cattle and cereal crops. The wine has nice fruit aromas, fresh acidity, herbal overtones, and the finish is off dry. $12Cuvèe Les Vignes Retrouvèes (rediscovered vines) 2010 Saint Mont AOP Plaimont Producteurs. Made from Gros Manseng, Petite Courbu and Arrufiac The leading producer of wine in the south of France, they produce 40 million bottles. This is an aromatic wine with nice citrus aromas and flavors and a touch of stone fruit. $11Cuvèe La Coste Blanche 2011 Gaillac AOP  Domaine de la Chanade 80% Loin de l’Oeil and 20% Mauzac. Christian Hollevort purchased the vineyard because he wanted to use old methods to make a wine as natural as possible. It is a wine with herbal overtones, nice fruit and good acidity. $8

Rosè
Cuvèe Premier Grain “Rosè “ 2011 Côtes du Lot IGP Château De Gaudou 100% Malbec. The vineyards spread over 35 hectares of gravel soil and face south-southwest. These 35 year old vineyards hug the gentle slopes of the third terraces of the Lot Valley and are regarded among the finest of the Cahors appellation. Fruity aromas with hints of citrus and a pleasing aftertaste. $15

Red WinesCuvèe Lo Sang del Pais 2011 Marcillac AOP Domaine du Cros 100% Fer Servadou.  The grape bunches are handed harvested, destemmed and fed into fermentation tanks by gravity. The “cuvasion” lasts for 15/20 days with the juice being pumped over the cap during the first six days. The wine is aged for six months in oak and chestnut barrels some of which are 200 years old.  $17Cuvèe Folle Noire d’Ambat 2009 Fronton AOP Domaine Le Roc 100%  Negrette.  The winery is located in the smallest viticulture zone of Fronton on gravely and Boulbenes (ground quartz, sand and stone) soil.  There are 5,000 vines per hectare. There is a light pressing of the grapes and vinification is in the traditional manner for about 2 weeks. The wine is made in small open tanks, which allow for better temperature control. Aging in 20hl oak barrels for 8/10 month.  The winery is situated just outside of Toulouse. This is an aromatic wine with aromas and flavors of red fruit, hints of cherry and spice. It was one of my favorite wines.  $18

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Filed under French Red, French White Wine, French Wine, Rose, Southwest France, Sparkling wine

“TASTES”

There are many wines that I would like to write about but unfortunately, it is not possible to get to all of them.  So I decided to write a brief post called “Tastes” from time to time highlighting some of the wines and food I have enjoyed.

And I can introduce my new wine group.  The League of Gentlemen, a wine group, I used to belong to and often wrote about no longer exists.  In its place is another group with no name, which meets once a month at restaurant SD 26 in NYC. There are a few members from the old group plus some new ones.  This is also a very low-key group, which happens to enjoy great wines.

 

Here are four French Wines that I enjoyed with lunch last Monday at SD26:

Chablis Premier Cru “La Forest” 2010 Vincent Dauvissat
This is one of my favorite Chablis’ and it can age.

Burgundy Volnay “ Les Premiets” 1985 Joseph Voillot This is a classic Burgundy at its peak but it will last for a number of years.Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1998  Domaine Peagu Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah 4% Mourvèdre and 6% of other approved varieties.  This is a big wine drinking very well right now, with black fruit aromas and flavors and an undertone of spice.Hermitage 1985 Jean-Louis Chave Everyone agreed that this was the wine of the afternoon. This is a complex wine almost at its peak with aromas and flavors of deep red fruit with hints of cherry and strawberry and a touch of smoke.

 

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Filed under Burgundy, Chablis, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, French Red, French Wine, Hermitage, SD26

The Legends of Italian Wine

Istituto del Vino di Qualitá /grandi marchi (The Institute of Fine Italian Wines/Premium Brands) is a group of 19 of Italy’s top wine producers that have joined together on marketing activities to improve both the image of Italian wine and to promote the member wineries. The members include Alois Lageder, Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari, Tenute Antinori, Argiolas, Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo, Ca’ del Bosco, Carpenè Malvolti, Donnafugata, Gaja, Jermann, Lungarotti, Masi, Mastroberardino, Michele Chiarlo, Pio Cesare, Rivera, Tasca d’Almerita, Tenuta San Guido and Umani Ronchi. The President is the Marchese Piero Antinori.
All of the producers are older well-established wineries that are family owned. It is very unusual to get Italians to agree on anything so to have so many producers from different regions cooperate like this is even more unusual.

Their first event in NYC, “The Legends of Italian Wine,” was held at the New York Public Library on Fifth Ave.  17 of the 19 producers were  at the event (only Gaja and Tenuta San Guido were missing) and there were wines from ten of the Italian regions.

As I tasted the wines, I felt that there was a movement away from the over extracted oaky wines of the past few years. Even those producers that make wines of this type spoke about terroir and using less new oak. There were only two wines that were a little too international in style for me, but they were not over the top.

Listed below are six wines, which I felt were particularly interesting:

Pinot Grigio “Porer” Alto Adige DOC 2011 Alois Lageder 100% Pinot Grigio. (Alto Adige) Fermentation and aging on the lees in stainless steel tanks and the wine is matured in stainless steel tanks and large oak casks. Clemens Lageder, representing the winery, said that the vineyard faces east and gets the morning sun. He feels that because of this the resulting wine has a touch of smoke and good acidity. This is an elegant Pinot Grigio with a lot of body.  It is soft and creamy with a long finish and nice aftertaste. $25

IL Falcone Castello Del Monte Riserva DOC 2006 Rivera Made from 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Montepulciano. (Puglia).   The harvest is in the middle of October, with the older vineyard of Nero di Troia sometimes picked the first week of November. Maceration and color extraction are carried out in stainless steel tanks for 12/14 days with frequent pump-overs and delestage.  Sebastiano Decorato, the sales director and a member of the family that owns the winery said that this is done to obtain better extraction and soften the tannins. The wine is aged for 12/14 months in 225-liter French oak barriques of various ages. The wine is filtered but not cold stabilized and released after one year of bottle aging. This is a wine that should get more attention. I have been drinking it for a number of years and it never disappoints. $30

Taurasi “Radici” DOCG 2006 100% Aglianico Mastroberardino SPA. (Campania) Piero Mastroberardino said that the vineyards were on two hills, Mirabella vineyard at 500 meters and the Montemarano vineyard at 550 meters. Because of its position on the hill and its altitude the temperature at the Montemarano vineyard was much colder and the grapes are picked a little later. Harvest in from the end of October into the beginning of November. The vinification is the classic one for red wine, long maceration with skin contact at controlled temperatures. The wine is aged for 24 months in French barriques and Slovenian oak barrels and remains in the bottle for 24 months before release. Piero made a point of telling me that the barriques were second and third passage. This is full, complex wine with hints of black cherry, plum, spice and a touch of leather.

There was a dinner the night of the tasting and I was sat with Piero. He said that a few people said that his wine should be more concentrated. I could not believe this!.  This is a great wine, a unique wine the can last for 40 years or more. I have the 1989 1995,1997 and 1999 vintages of this wine. Piero said, to my relief, that he would not change anything. $65  

RubescoVigna Monticchio” Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG 2006 Cantina Giorgio Lungarotti SRL (Umbria) 70% Sangiovese and 30% Canaiolo. The Monticchio vineyard is the Brufa hill is near the town of Torgiano. Giorgio Lungarotti said that this vineyard is at 300 meters and the soil is mostly clay. He feels that this is a unique vineyard, which gives the wine its unique character. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with 15/20 days of maceration on the skins. Aging is in oak barriques and barrels for about 12 months and following a light filtering it remains in the bottle for four years before it is released. This is an elegant wine with red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of cherry, tobacco and spice. The 2006 is the current vintage.  I have been drinking this wine since 1981 when I first visited the winery in Torgiano and drank the 1973 vintage. The wine was granted its own DOCG in 1990. The Rubesco Riserva is a wine that can age for 30 years. $55

Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Greppo DOCG 2007 Franco Biondi Santi. (Tuscany) 100% Sangiovese Grosso-BBS11 clone. The BBS11 is a very special clone that goes back to the beginning of Brunello.  Bondi Santi is the only producer that has it.  Alcoholic fermentation takes place in concrete vats. The wine is aged for 3 years in Slovenian oak barrels and released into the market after five years from the harvest. This is a legendary wine that can last for over 100 years. They still have the 1888 and 1891 at the winery and they are still in good condition. $150

Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Riserva  “Di Costasera” DOCC 2007 Masi Agricola SPA (Veneto) made from 70% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 10% Oseleta and 5% Molinara. The hillside vineyards face southwest. At the end of September/beginning of October the best bunches are picked and laid out in on traditional bamboo racks (arele) in special lifts where the natural drying process (appassimento) is controlled by the NASA system. By the middle of September the grapes have lost about 40% of their weight and have a great concentration of sugar. Only the Corvina grape is subject to slight touch of botrytis (noble rot). The Oseleta grape gives greater tannic structure and deeper color to the wine after drying. The grapes are gently pressed after partial destalking and are fermented for 45 days in large Slovenian oak barrels or in stainless steel vats at cellar temperature. The malolactic fermentation takes place in 38/40-hectoliter barrels for 35 days induced by the inoculation of selected yeasts highly resistant to alcohol. The wine is aged in 600 liter Slovenian and Allier oak casks-1/3 new, 1/3-second passage and 1/3 third passage. The wine is aged in bottle for six months before release. This is a big full wine, with aromas of ripe fruit, jam and a hint of balsamic. On the palate it is smooth and rich with a long finish and great aftertaste. $85

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Filed under Alto Adige, Amarone, Biondi Santi, Brunello, IL Falcone, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lageder, Legends of Italian Wine, Lungarotti, Masi, Mastroberardino, Pinot Grigio, Rivera, Taurasi

Riesling and Small Bites

Cooking by the Book is a place that every wine and food lover should know about.  A cooking school, tasting center, team building and private party space, it is located in Tribeca.  Lately, CBTB has been hosting a series of wine and food tastings called Small Bites Big Sips featuring expert speakers, a wine, beer or spirits tasting, and tapas-style dishes to go with them.

When I attended an event recently, Raimund Prüm of the S. A. Prüm Estate, located in the Mosel region of Germany, was speaking about his Riesling wines from the area.  He said that grapes have been planted in this region for almost 2,000 years and his family roots in the area date back to 1156. The current estate is over a century old and is located in the village of Wehlen in the heart of the Mosel.  During his grandfather’s time, the property was divided so there are a few other producers with the same last name making wine, however, he said that he was the largest producer.

Raimund Prum

The region has steep slopes of mineral rich slate, rising almost from the banks of the Mosel River.  Layers of slate formed millions of years ago have become vertical folds in the mountains, enabling the vine roots to penetrate as much as 50 ft down into the soft rock. The Mosel River is very important because it facilitates optimal ripening for the grapes by reflecting the sun and adding humidity for warmth. The slate retains this heat and the result is almost perfect ripening conditions for the grapes.

All of the wines are 100% Riesling and the majority of the vines are 60/100 years old with original, ungrafted rootstocks which thrive in slate soil. Organic products are used for fertilizing and regenerating the soil.Prüm Blue Riesling Kabinett 2010 Pradikatswein, Kabinett.  Mr. Prüm said the wine is named for Bernksatel’s blue colored soil, which has a copper content, and gives the wine backbone and structure. Maceration on the skins for 12 hours followed by fermentation using only wild yeast for eight weeks in stainless steel vats, aged sur lies, and bottled with Stelvin closures (type of screw cap). He considers this wine to be between a dry and medium dry.

Wehlener Sonnenur “Old Vines” Dry Riesling 2007(Grosses Gewachs-Great Growth).  Mr. Prüm said that wines designated Grosses Gewächs must come from Erste lage (top vineyard site according to the VDP) vineyard sites, must meets specific yield limits, attain sugar content of at least Auslese level, undergo comparative taste-testing and vineyard inspections, and be fermented to dryness. The grapes are harvested in late October, destemmed before 6 to 8 hours of skin contact, then allowed a long, slow, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for one year in 50 to 60 year old oak casks before bottling.  He went on to say that these 80 to 120 year old vines on original rootstock always express wine characteristics from Riesling grapes since they extract high minerality from the slate and transport it to the grapes. This is a dry, full bodied structured wine with depth, concentrated stone fruit and minerality. This is a great wine and was one of my three favorites of the tasting.

A Small Bite

Graacher Domprobst Grand Cru Riesling 2007 Mr. Prüm said that Graccher Dompropst Erste Lage vineyard is the steepest in Gracch. Its south to southeast exposure makes it hot and humid, giving the grapes perfect quality, minerality and ripeness, some of the vineyards still have the original rootstocks. The grapes are harvested the last two weeks in October and fermented in stainless steel. The wine rests sur lies with an additional ten months in old oak barrels before bottling. The wine has complex aromas, with slate and mineral notes, full bodied with good acidity.  This is was a dry wine leaning toward medium dry and it could age for 50 years.
Urziger Wurzgarten Kabinett Riesling, Pradikatswein, Kabinett 2009 Mr Prüm said that the Würzgarten, meaning spice garden, vineyard in the village of Ürgiz has iron rich slate soil, which gives the wine herbal notes and a spicy warm character. Selected grapes are hand harvested in the middle of October.  After 6 hours of skin contact, fermentation is for 4 to 5 weeks in stainless steel tanks. Bottled with the Stelvin closure. The wine can age for 20 to 30 years. Mr Prüm said that this was declassified Spätlese with aromas of ripe peaches and herbal notes with hints of spice and minerality on the palate.
Graacher Himmeireich Spatlese Riesling 2010 Mr. Prüm said that the Graacher Himmeireich Erste Lage vineyard has natural mineral springs, which add a singular character to the wines. The vines are 60 to 70 years old, ungrafted (original rootstock) and the roots are 50 feet deep. After extended maceration on the skins and a fermentation period of five weeks with wild yeast, the wine is refined in stainless steel tanks and bottled. He said the wine could last for 40 years.  It is fruit forward, full-bodied with hints of citrus fruit, rose petals and peaches. There are mineral and flinty notes and a very long finish. Mr. Prüm calls this a medium sweet wine.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling 2006, Prädikatswein, Auslese  The Prüm estate owns 13 of the 40 acres in the Wehlerner Sonnenuhr vineyard. The soil of this famous domain is composed of Devonian gray slate, with a high tin content, which imparts a distinctive, fresh minerality to the wine.  Mr.Prüm said that this is the best vineyard in the Mosel region with a southern exposure. The altitude is between 425-1110 ft. with a steep 60% slope. The mountain tree line, rising above the vineyard, blocks the cold wines from entering the valley.

Mr. Prüm said there is a select picking of late harvest grapes, fully ripened, that have been touched by botrytis. Maceration on the skins and five weeks of fermentation is followed by a period of aging, first in stainless steel and then in old large oak barrels, 50 to 60 years old.  This is a complex, very aromatic wine, with aromas of cantaloupe and apricot. Like all of the wines it has hints of mineral and slate. Mr. Prüm called this a medium sweet wine bordering on the sweet and it could last for 30/50 years. He said because the grapes are late harvested natural yeast alone is not enough so they must
add yeast.

Graacher Himmerireich Eiswein Riesling 2004, Prädikatswein. Eiswein (ice wine) Mr. Prüm said that the highest part of the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard is cooler and dryer, and, in certain years, provides for ideal conditions for producing eiswein. The grape bunches are harvested while frozen in December/January. By law, grapes must have the ripeness level of at least a “BA” wine. The natural high concentrated levels of sugar and acidity are carefully preserved during the six-week fermentation process. The wine is aged in stainless steel and bottled under natural cork. He said this is a rare wine with aromas of peach, pineapple, mango and hints of citrus and lime and could age for 50 years.  Mr. Prüm said because the grapes are picked when frozen natural yeast is not enough for the fermentation process.  He said that this is a sweet wine but it was closer to medium sweet in my opinion and I liked it a lot.

 

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Filed under Cooking by the Book, Eiswein, German Wine, Ice Wine, Mosel, Riesling, S. A Prum Winery, White wine

Quality not Quantity from Sicily

Vinzia and Salvatore Di Gaetano, owners of Firriato Winery in Sicily, chose the perfect setting to introduce their wines — the Leopard at Café des Artistes.  Not only is it one of New York’s most beautiful and historic restaurants, it also serves some of the city’s finest Italian food.  

Mural at The Leopard at Cafe des Artistes

At lunch the other day, Vinzia said that Trapani has more grapes planted than any other place in Italy.  However, at Firriato, they are interested in quality not the quantity of their wines.  Above all, they love Sicily and Sicilian grape varieties.

Firriato is comprised of 7 estates, four of which are near Trapani:  Baglio Soria, Burgo Guanini — the largest with over 140 hectares of vineyards, Pianoro Cuddia and the Dagala Borromeo. On the east coast near Mount Etna is the Cavanera estate that has 11 hectares of wines.  Off the coast of Trapani are the Egadi Islands.  The Calamoni estate is on the island of Favigana.

Vinzia Firriiato

Asked how it is possible to keep quality control with so many different estates, Vinzia replied that each one is operated independently with its own enologist. They also employ two agronomists who take care of all of the vineyards.

She said that wood is not used for their white wines since it hides the character of the wines and is the reason why so many wines taste alike. I could not agree more.

She said that wood is not used for their white wines since it hides the character of the wines and is the reason why so many wines taste alike. I could not agree more.

There were nine wines at the tasting, four white and four red.  I will write about the red wines another time.
Chiaramonte IGT Sicilia 2011 100% Inzolia from the Tenuta Dagala Borromeo estate in the Trapani countryside. The soil is of medium mixture, mostly clay and the vineyards have a southwesterly exposure and are at 310 meters. The training is cordon spur pruned/guyot and there are 5,000/5,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are picked by hand during the first two weeks of September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation takes place at controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. The wine spends 3 months on the lees with daily shaking and two months in bottle before release. This is a fresh fruity wine with aromas of pineapple and lime with a hint of almond. $ 18
Etna Bianco Etna DOC 2011 60% Carricante and 40% Catarratto. The grapes come from the territory of Castiglione di Sicily (Catania). The soil is loamy sand of volcano origin, with good drainage. The exposure is the northeastern side of Etna, 500/600 meters. The vine training is freestanding espalier with permanent bilateral rod and spur pruning (cordon de Royat, 5 spurs of two buds each). There are 4,000/4,500 vines per hectare and the harvest is the second week of October. Vinification is the same as the wine above. This is a fragrant wine with fresh fruit scents and hints of white peaches, pears and a touch of lime, with nice acidity. $ 20
These were served with a tender grilled octopus and this was an excellent match.  

Favinina “La Muciara” 2011 IGT Sicily. Made from Grillo, Catarratto and Zibibbo.  The grapes were grown on the Island of Favignana off the west coast of Sicily. They are grown at the Tenuta Calamoni estate which is two meters from the sea. The training system for the vines is alberello and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand during the first week in September and the grapes are placed in small baskets. In the winery soft pressing is followed by fermentation for 20 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel and for 2 more months in bottle before release. This is the first vintage of this wine and it has to be one of the best white wines of Sicily. Vinzia said that they had to break up the surface soil to bring up the rich soil below. The heat during the day and the ocean breeze make for a wine with a mineral character and good acidity. The vineyards are five years old and Vinzia said that she feels as if she “grew up with them.”

Bucatini alle Sarde

Bucatini alle Sarde was matched with this wine and the combination could not have been better. I noticed my glass was empty and asked the waiter to pour me some more; I like this wine a lot!

Passito IGT Sicily “L’ECRÙ” 2008
Moscato and a small amount of Malmsey From the Tenuta Borgo estate in the Trapani countryside. The soil here is of medium texture; mostly clay and the vineyards have a north-south exposure at 250/400 meters. There are 5,500 vines per hectare and the training is cordon spur pruned/guyot.

The harvest takes place the first week of September and the most mature grapes are hand harvested.  The rest remain on the vines until they reach full maturity. Soft pressing of the grapes and the fermentation at controlled temperature lasts for 4 weeks. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 months before release. This is a very elegant dessert wine with aromas of candied orange peels, dried figs and dates. It has a clean but long finish and wonderful aftertaste.

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Filed under Favinina, Firriato, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Sicily

Wines from Cortina D’Ampezzo

As I entered A Voce Restaurant, I was offered a choice of a glass of Pinot Grigio or Rhine Riesling.  I was there for a wine tasting and lunch, so I tried both wines and liked them.  Wine in hand, I sought out our host, Peter Zemmer of the Peter Zemmer Winery to give him my compliments which he seemed pleased to receive.  Established in 1928, his winery is located in the Alto Adige-South Tyrol in northeastern Italy.

Peter Zemmer

Peter spoke about Cortina D’Ampezzo, a beautiful skiing and hiking resort in the Alps that I visited several years ago, as “his town.”  Cortina, he said, is among the smallest communities in the region and is also the last village with a German-speaking majority before the southern border with Trentino.  It is also the only village in the Southern Tyrolean Lowlands/Unterland that is situated on the valley floor.  He described the vineyards and fruit trees that surround the town and went on to say that the day temperature can be 40 degrees higher than the night temperature, which enhances the aromas and flavors in the grapes. Bolzano, the largest town in the area, can have summer daytime temperatures as high as Palermo, in Sicily.

In response to a question about screw caps Peter said that they can use them in foreign markets but in Italy they only want cork.

The Wines of Peter Zemmer

Pinot Grigio 2011 Alto Adige DOC There is a selection of grapes from the best vineyards of the valley floor and the steep slopes nearby. The soil here is stony, sandy and extremely chalky. Peter said that the low yields per hectare and this particular terroir combines for a very particular Pinot Grigio.  The grapes are gently pressed, then clarified through the natural settling of sediment.  Alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation does not occur in any of the white wines. The wine remains on the lees for several months before it is bottled. It has more depth than most Pinot Grigio, with ripe fresh fruit, a touch of pear, a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. $16

Rhine Riesling 2011 Alto Adige DOC Peter said that this grape is very well suited to the micro-climatic conditions and the loose, well aerated soils in the area. The grapes are pressed and the stems are removed in a pneumatic tank press. Before being pressed, a 6 – 8 hour cold maceration takes place in order to enhance the fruitiness of the wine.
Afterwards, the grapes are gently pressed and clarified through the natural settling of sediments. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This is a nice fruity wine with good body and hints of fresh peach.  It has a nice finish and aftertaste. $19

Pinot Bianco 2011  – Alto Adige DOC This Pinot Bianco is a selection of the best vineyards of the valley floor and steep slopes near the vineyard estate. It flourishes under outstanding climatic conditions on a stony, sandy and extremely chalky soil. Peter said that the poor yield per hectare and the particular terroir are responsible for the outstanding quality of the wine.

After the grapes arrive, they are gently pressed and clarified through the natural settling of sediments. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. Peter said that after several months of ripening on the yeast the wine in ready to bottle. This is a wine with rich fruity aromas and flavors with hints of green apple, fresh acidity and a mineral character. $19

Bianco “Cortinie”(Latin name for Cortina ) 2010 made from Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Gwürztraminer. These grapes are grown on the valley floor around the village of Cortina and on the slopes at different altitudes. The aromatic grapes are grown at 600, 400 and 300 meters. Peter explained that grapes from the valley floor give the wine more body and fruit and the ones at the higher altitudes add acidity and minerality. The harvest time is different; the lower vineyards are harvested in August and the highest in late September. Training of the vines is by the guyot method, 6,000 to 9,000 vines per hectare or on the single pergola, 3,500 to 4,000 vines per hectare. Peter said that Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Grigio do not like a lot of sun and do better under the pergola. The older vineyards are single pergola and the newer are guyot.

The grapes are crushed and the stems are removed in a pneumatic tank press. Before being pressed, an 8 hour-long cold maceration takes place. Peter said that this is done in order to enhance the fruitiness of the wine. Afterwards, the grapes are gently pressed and clarified through the natural settling of sediments.  2/3 of the alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks with select strains of yeast. 1/3 of the fermentation is carried out in small casks of French oak. The wine is then aged for 6 months in French barriques from Allier. Peter said that he does not use new barriques for the wine. The wine is then aged in the bottle until it is ready to be put on the market. This is a full-bodied wine with ripe fruit and hints of apricots and a touch of tropical fruit. There is good minerality and acidity. $ 30Pinot Nero 2010 Alto Adige DOC the stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 26 – 28° C (79 – 82° F) for about 10 days. The must is kept in contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below. Peter said they achieve ideal results with the coloring of the skins and this emphasizes the fruitiness of the wine. After two gentle rackings, 70% of this Pinot Noir is aged over 12 months in large barrels of French oak, and the remainder is aged in small casks of French oak (barriques), which are 2 – 3 years old. After blending, 750 ml Bordeaux-style bottles are filled and the wine is aged an additional 6 months in the bottle before it goes on sale. $22

Lagrein 2010 Alto Adige DOC
Peter said that this varietal, unique to Alto Adige, finds excellent growing conditions on the loamy soils of the community of Ora. Tender care of the vineyard offers the best conditions for the production of varietal and extraordinary quality.  The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 28° C (82° F) for about 10 days. The must is kept in regular contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below. Peter said by this they achieve ideal results with the coloring from the skins and emphasize the fruitiness of the wine. After two gentle rackings, 60% of this Lagrein is aged over 12 months in large oak barrels, and the remainder is aged in small casks of French oak (barriques), which are 2 – 3 years old. After blending, 750 ml. Bordeaux-style bottles are filled and the wine is aged an additional 6 months in the bottle before it goes on sale. This is a big, intense complex wine with hints of wild berries, violets and spice. $22

Peter said that they make 22 wines but only these six are brought into the United States.

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Filed under Alto Adige, Cortina, Cortinie Bianco, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lagrein, Peter Zemmer, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero, Rhine Riesling