Category Archives: Abruzzo

Tasting the Wines of Abruzzo at Enoteca Di Palo

Rosanna di Michele cooking teacher, personal chef, and lover all things from Abruzzo invited me to a tasting of the wines of Collefrisio. Rosanna has long collaborated with this Abruzzese winery and is a promoter of the wines and food of the region.

The tasting was held at Enoteca Di Palo in NYC’s Little Italy. This is the wine store of the famous Di Palo food store, which is right next door.

Amadeo, Rosanna, Lou Di Palo

Amedeo, Rosanna, Lou Di Palo

Amedeo de Luca one of the owners of Collefrisio was there to present the wines. He said that his family has been involved in wine for 3 generations. The winery is located in the hills of Frisa in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. The winery has 35 hectare of vineyards on 3 estates: Tenuta Valle del Moro – 12 hectares where they grow Montepulciano and Trebbiano; Tenuta Morrecine – 12 hectares where they grow Montepulciano and Trebbiano; and Tenuta Giuliano – 11 hectares where they grow Montepulciano and Pecorino.

Amadeo presented 4 wines.e9a736be-df96-4f73-914c-50f3982e53d6

Pecorino IGT Terre di Chieti 100% Pecorino Harvest takes place the last 10 days of September.Maceration is at a low temperature after removal of the grapes from the stalks and the alcohol fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This is a wine with citrus fruit flavors and hints of green tea and peach with nice acidity.deee3c39-1b2e-4609-ab99-56d1ad519bf7

Trebbiano  D’Abruzzo “Vignaquadra”  DOC 100% Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo. Harvest is the first week of September. Harvest is the first ten days in October. Aromatic wine with hints of apple, chamomile and mulberry.1b350bf1-9852-4c90-b515-3f73c014532c

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 100% Montepulciano. Traditional vinification in stainless steel, the grape skins are in contact with the juice for 12 to 20 days. The wine remains in stainless steel tanks until it is ready to be bottled. The wine has hints of cherry, plum and a touch of spice.70892e81-fac3-4048-a23d-3a89dd66c35f

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Vignaquadra” Vinification same as above. This is a single vineyard wine that is aged for a number of months in new barriques. The wine has hints of cherry plum, fruit jam with a hint of spice and vanilla. Amedeo said that the wine needed more time to come together and be at its best.

The wines are a very good value for the money at around $20 or less.

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Filed under Abruzzo, collefrisio winery, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, Pecorino, Trebbiano d' Abruzzo, Uncategorized

Dinner with Lars and Karen

Dinner at Lars and Karen’s house always begins the same way.IMG_8533

Lars takes a large silver sword from its box, holds a bottle of Cuvee Aurora Rose sparkling wine in his other hand, and with one fell swoop slices the cork and the top off the bottle.IMG_8534

We watch in amazement while they fly across the yard.

Lars Leicht is the head of the Cru Artisan division of Banfi. Here are the wines he served that night. He also did most of the cooking!IMG_8540

Cuvee Aurora Rose Alta Lange 2011 DOC 100% Pinot Noir Banfi Piemonte. The grapes are grown in the hilltop vineyards of the Alta Langa, south of Alba in Piemonte, in a mix of clay and calcareous soil. There is one hour of skin contact and cold maceration, which prepares the grapes for soft crushing. The must is clarified and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The final cuvee consists of 90% clear wine and 10% of the previous vintage wine. The wine is aged in French oak barriques. Fermentation takes place in the bottle (Classic Method). Yeast contact is extended for at least 24 months followed by a traditional hand riddling (remuage) on pupitres and degorgement a la glace. A period of brief aging follows. The wine is pink in color, with small bubbles and hints of strawberry and apple.IMG_8543

Lars served this wine with an assortment of appetizers including sauteed eggplant with cherry tomatoes, a Neapolitan dish.IMG_8541

Pecorino “Cortalato” Colli Aprutini IGT 2014 100% Pecorino Cerulli Spinozzi. The vineyards are in the Colli Aprutini in Abruzzo. The soil is clay and sand. Fermentation is in stainless steel, prior to malolactic fermentation and it is aged on its lees fro 5 months prior to bottling. The wine has hints of citrus and peach with notes of apricot and orange and a touch of bitter almond on the lingering finish. I recommend this wine often and it is a true bargain at less than $18 a bottle. Enrico Cerulli has taken over the management Cerulli Spinozzi his ancestral property. I have met Enrico a number of times and am always impressed by his knowledge and passion for his wine. The consulting winemaker is Franco Bernabei, who I consider to be one of the best.IMG_8548

With it, we ate hand rolled pici pasta (like thick spaghetti) with clams and herbs.IMG_8546

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo “Torre Migliore” 2009 Cerulli Spinozzi made from 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo in the Colli Teramane DOCG area. The soil consists of compact layers of shale and is rich in nutrients. Selected grapes are hand harvested in small boxes. The juice is fermented on the skins for 15/18 days in oak for at least 16 months. The wine is aged for 6 months in the bottle before release. This is a complex intense wine with hints of ripe cherries, blackberries and a touch of clove. This wine will age and is a bargain at about $18IMG_8556

With the red wines, we ate an assortment of grilled sausages and lamb chops.

The next three red wines are from Palari owned by Salvatore Geraci.IMG_8564

Santa.Ne 2008 100% A Francisa. I asked Lars about this unusual grape and he said “As Salvatore Geraci explains it to me, a century ago they planted a French varietal in that vineyard but no longer recall what it is. The farmers simply refer to it as “the French one,” or ‘a Francisa‘ in local dialect. Some hypothesize that it could be Malbec or Petite Verdot, but in any case over the decades it has morphed into something unique to its conditions.”

The grapes are grown in soil that consists of clay (argilla) in vineyards located in Santo Briga in Messina, Sicily. The wine is aged for 14 months in new barrels of Troncais oak. The wine is then bottled and allowed to rest, unfiltered for at least two more years before release. It has hints of tobacco, leather, red berries and a touch of spice.IMG_8557

Rosso Del Soprano 2011 made from 60% Nerello, 15% Nocera, 20% Nerello Capuccio, 2% Acitana, 2% Jacche and 1% Coe’e Palumba. After a soft pressing and fermentation with native yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel, the wine ages in one-year-old barrels of Troncais and Allier oak. It is then bottled and rests, unfiltered, for about another year before release. It has hints of ripe red berries and undertones of spice with a persistent finish.IMG_8566

Faro 2009 Like the Rosso Del Soprano above, this wine is made from the same indigenous grapes but with a different selection. Salvatore Geraci the owner of Palari saved the Faro DOC from extinction by taking over the 6 hectare vineyard and producing the wine. The wine is aged in new barrels of Troncais and Allier oak for at least 12 months. The wine is then bottled and allowed to rest unfilited for an additional year before release. This is an elegant and complex wine with notes of ripe red fruit, spice and a touch of vanilla. It has a very long finish and pleasing aftertaste. Faro means lighthouse in Italian.IMG_8568

Brunello di Montalcino 1982  Villa Banfi 100% Sangiovese, select clones from estate vineyards on the southern hills of Montalcino. The grapes are grown in stony, calcareous and well-structured soil at an altitude of 720 ft. A careful grape selection is followed by vinification with skin contact for 10-12 days. The wines are released the 5th year after the harvest. Current vintages of this wine are aged a minimum of 4 years, 2 years in oak barrels of various sizes, mainly French oak barriques and partly in Slavonian oak casks.

I do not believe the 1982 was aged in barriques and I do not believe the “clone selection” was the same back then. This is an elegant and complex wine with hints of red fruit, violets, and a touch of licorice and spice. It is showing no sign of age. A delightful Brunello.IMG_8574

Malvasia Delle Lipari 2011 100% Malvasia, Florio. The wine is produced in Malfa, on the island of Salina, archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. The soil is of volcanic origin and sandy. The vineyards are planted on the coast less the 50 meters above sea level. The grapes are hand harvested then laid on reed mats to dry in the sun for about 20 days.

The raisined grapes are gently pressed and left briefly with skin contact. The must is then drained and fermented slowly at controlled temperatures and fermentation stops naturally. The wine is aged a minimum of 5 months in 25 liter fine oak barrels. The wine has hints of raisins, dried apricots and a touch of honey

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Filed under Abruzzo, Banfi Brunello, Brunello, Cerulli Spinozzi, Cuvee Aurora Rose, Faro, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Malvasia delle Lipari-Florio, Rosso del Soprano, Santa.Ne, Sparkling wine, Uncategorized

The Wines of the Costa Dei Trabocchi at Cantina Frentana

Abruzzo is one of the regions of Italy I do not get to often.  For the past 10 years, the local grape growers have used the Filone system of training vines which I had never seen.  I am familiar with the traditional Tendone system used in Abruzzo, Puglia and Campania, and I knew that Cantina Frentana utilizes both these methods to train their vines.  I was very happy to accept their invitation to visit the winery to learn just how they do it.  But I was in for a surprise.  Cantina Frentana also utilizes a third method for training vines called La Pergoletta Abruzzese.

 Felice Di Biase, the sales manager, greeted us and told us the program for the week.  As we approached Cantina Frentana, I noticed a tall cement tower rising high above the winery.  Located in Rocca San Giovanni in the province of Chieti in the southern part of Abruzzo near Lanciano and close to the Adriatic Sea, Cantina Frentana is a co-op made up of 400 grower-members.  I wondered what the purpose of the tower was.  

 Entering the winery I looked up and could see that the tower is made up of glass lined cement tanks stacked one on top of the other.  The enologist Gianni Pasquale said that it is 30 meters high and the tanks were at one time used to ferment and store the wine. Now only the uppermost tanks are used for storage.

In side the tower looking up

 Cantina Frentana’s vineyards are located within the boundaries of the village of Frentana, southeast of the Apennine Mountains near the city of Lanciano in the southern part of Abruzzo.  The soil was described to me as being generally muddy and sandy.

IL Trabocchi

The coastline is called the Costa dei Trabocchi.  Trabocchi were dwellings used by fishermen so they could fish in bad weather.  Made of wood, they stand in the water on long wooden legs with long poles and nets reaching out into the water. Some have been turned into restaurants and in fact one night we had an excellent dinner in the traboccho of the co-op’s President, Carlo Romanelli.

Felice Di Biase, told me that the members (growers) are assisted throughout the entire grape growing season, right up to harvest by the co-op’s agronomist Maurizio Piucci and the Mr. Pasquale.  Only 10-15 % of the wine is bottled, and the rest is sold in bulk. The bottled wine comes from the best 100 producers and they are paid more for their grapes. I asked Mr. Di Biase who their customers were for the bulk wine and he just smiled. The Cantina produces 15 million liters of wine.  I was impressed by how knowledgeable and open everyone was.

Agronomist Maurizio Piucci under the Tendone

The traditional vine training method is the Tendone system also known as Pergola Abruzzese. The vines are grown along vertical posts and wires to a height of about 6 feet. The vines are planted 2 meters apart in parallel rows 2 meters apart. The leaves grow over the top to form a canopy (pergola)to protect the grapes from the hot Abruzzo sun. The Tendone has always been the way to grow table grapes in the area and it is easier to pick the grapes without having to bend down.

Co-op President Carlo Romanelli in front of the Filone

About ten years ago another method was introduced called the Filone system. The vines are planted in rows 2 meters apart and look like big shields full of grapes and leaves. The leaves hang down and give the grapes some protection from the sun. Many feel it is not enough protection. It is easier to machine harvest with this system because of the straight line of rows. Mr. Piucci said that the Tendone is better on hilly terrain where it is more difficult to use machines.

La Pergoletta Abruzzese

The third method, called La Pergoletta Abruzzese, was devised in a collaboration between Cantina Frentana and the Consorzio Agrario e Valente Pali.  The collaborators felt there was a need to increase the number of vines per hectare and to produce what they believe to be better grapes.  The method is similar to the Tendone but with a few differences. Each plant has two shoots instead of the traditional four. The distance between the plants is less.  If I understood correctly, it is 1 meter 20 centimeters, but the distance between the rows is the same. They feel that this system lets in more light and lets out more humidity so they will get better grapes. It is only used for the Montepulciano grape. This will be the first year that wine will be made from grapes using this system. There are 3,200 plants per hectare which is more than the Tendone (which ranges from 1,100 to 2,200 vines per hectare). The top grape grower for Cantina Frentana will not change to this system.  It is more expensive because of the zinc iron that is used in the construction. Maybe the grower is waiting to see what happens, and if you are already number one, why change?

Cantina Frentana makes a few different lines of wines but the one I liked best was the Vallevo’ imported and distributed by Franco Bengasi from Wine Emporium.

Cococciola Terre di Chieti 2010 IGT 100% Cococciolo.  This is an ancient indigenous grape variety of the province of Chieti mainly grown in the area around Rocco San Giovanni. The big grape bunches are irregular in shape and some are wing-tipped. It is a grape with good acidity and good yields. In the past it was only used for blending with other grapes. The harvest takes place towards the end of September. The grapes are soft pressed and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Malolatic fermentation does not take place. The first time I had this unusual white wine was at Keste Pizza &Vino in NYC and I liked it right away. There is a slight herbal and mineral character to the wine, good body with aromas and flavors of apple and citrus fruit.

Cococciolo Sparkling Brut Terre di Chieti IGT 100% Cococciolo.  Only the free run juice is used. This is an interesting sparkling wine made by the charmat method with citrus flavors and aromas and a hint of almonds.

 

Pecorino2010 DOC Abruzzo-Costa del Trabocchi .  The grapes are crushed and have a short period of cryo-maceration of 6-7 hours and then soft pressed. Fermentation takes place at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks and the wine is refined on the lees with periodic remontage. Special yeast is used and the wine does not undergo malolatic fermentation. This is a medium-bodied wine with citrus aromas and flavors of lime, lemon and almond. The wine may have gotten its name because the sheep (pecora) coming down from the mountains were said to eat these grapes.

Chardonnay IGT 2010 100% Chardonnay.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. This was my kind of Chardonnay — all stainless steel and no malolatic fermentation, the way I like my Chardonnay!

Trebbiano D’Abruzzo 2010 DOC 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.  The vines are 15-20 years old and have a North/North East exposure. The grapes are soft pressed and native yeasts are added.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Malolatic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in stainless steel for five months before it is bottled. It has aromas and flavors of citrus fruits and green apple with good acidity.

Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo Cerasuolo DOC 2010. The vines are 10-15 years old with an East/South-East exposure.  Fermentation talks place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The skins are in contact with the juice for 12 hours.  This is a rosé with a very deep color. It has flavors and aromas of strawberries and cherry.

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009 DOC 100 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. The soil is muddy clay and the vines are 5-15 years old with a West/South West exposure.   After a soft pressing, fermentation takes place with the skins for 7 to 10 days depending on the vintage. Malolatic fermentation takes place in stainless steel. It has aromas and flavors of fresh red fruit with a hint of prune and it should be drunk young.

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2008 Costa Dei Trabocchi 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. The soil is mostly clay and the vines are 10-15 years old with a West/South-West exposure. The grapes are soft pressed and fermentation takes place in stainless steel with skin contact for 10 to 15 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels of Allier oak and may see some second passage barriques for 12 months. The wine has aromas and flavors of violets and black cherry with a hint of vanilla.

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Filed under Abruzzo, Cantina Ferntana, Cococciola, Costa dei Trabocchi, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine

The Wine Media Guild Hall of Fame Annual Dinner at the Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC

 As co-chair of the Wine Media Guild I look forward to this event every year. At this event the WMG www.winemediaguild.com  pays tribute to those wine writers who have made a great contribution with their writing to the world of wine.  The inductees into the Wine Media Guild Hall of Fame were Gerald D. Boyd, Steven Spurrier and Tom Stevenson. 

We also give scholarships to students at New York City College of Technology and Fairleigh Dickenson University for wine study. Wine Media Guild Scholarship awards for this year went to Stjepan Lukic of City Tech and Erin Rouderbush of FDU.

 Another reason I look forward to the event is because it is BYOB. Each person attending brings at least one bottle of wine. Because of the love of good wine by the members of the WMG and their invited guests, everyone wants to bring a wine that everyone else will want to taste. What makes it even more exciting is that members and guests are only too happy to share their wines with people at other tables. One of the members gave me a 1986 Chateau Figeac to taste and when another member saw this he brought over a 1949 of the same wine for me to taste!

 But I get ahead of myself.

 The dinner was held at the Four Seasons restaurant in NYC. The reception was in the Grill Room and Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV Champagne 100% Chardonnay was served with a selection of hors d’oeuvres.  

 The first wine poured was a white wine Meursault 2007 100% Chardonnay from Pierre Morey.  It was very rich and full bodied with hints of tropical fruit.

The rest of the wines were all red.

 Gevery Chambertin Premier Cru La Combe Aux Monies Gallois 2002 100% Pinot Noir Domaine Dominique

The grapes are handpicked and sorted in the field and again on sorting tables in the winery. Cold fermentation is 2 to 5 days depending on the quality of the harvest. Fermentation takes place for 12-15 days depending on the year. Only natural yeasts are used. Temperature controlled mainly by remontage (crushing and pumping over) and piping.  Devatted and aged in Allier oak casks for 14 to 20 months depending on the year and appellation. This was a very good red to start with because it had typical Burgundy aromas and flavors.

Clos de Tart 2000 100% Pinot Noir Mommesson

This Grand Cru comes from18 acres of the very best slopes in the village of Saint Denis. The brown chalky soils contain a high proportion of clay particles, chalk for finesse and balance, small stones to help drainage and large flat rocks that heat up during the day and maintain a stable temperature at night. Low yield, old vines are harvested by hand and vinified in 6 separate lots. The wine is aged in new French Oak for 17 months. I did not taste the oak at all!  There is a mineral egg white fining and no filtering before the wine is bottled. This was a wine with a lot of character, with strawberry and raspberry aromas and flavors and a hint of spice. It really developed in the glass. It is a wine that can be drunk now but I think it will be better with more age.

Barolo Riserva Monprivato CA’D’Morissio 1993 100% Nebbiolo Michet Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio

Monprivato vineyard is in the village of Castiglione Falletto. The harvest for the 1993 was most likely in the beginning of November. They use the traditional floating cap fermentation for 25 days. The wine is matured in medium Slovenian oak barrels for about 45 months. The wine is bottled six years after the vintage. In my opinion 1993 was an underrated year for Barolo. Most of the wines from this vintage are dinking very well right now and should last for a few more years. This is a complex, elegant wine with classic Barolo aromas and flavors: Faded rose, leather, tea, mature fruit and a hint of white truffles.

 Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo 1993 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Edoardo Valentini

This is a dark full bodied wine, with deep aromas of  black and red fruit, cherry and a hint of spice. I would have never guessed that it was 18 years old. This wine has many years ahead of it.

Barolo Villero Riserva 1982 100% Nebbiolo Vietti

1982 was an excellent vintage in Barolo. It took some time for this wine to open up but once it did it had all the characteristics of a great Barolo from an excellent vintage. The wine went very well with the food.

Barbaresco 1952 100% Nebbiolo Francesco Rinaldi

In my opinion 1952 was a very good vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco.  When wines are almost 60 years old, they have to show some signs of age. Both of these wines were still drinking very well. 

 Barolo 1952 100% Nebbiolo Francesco Rinaldi

 Chateau Figeac 1986

They use a completely different proportion of grape varieties than anyone else in Saint-Emilion because of the fine gravelly soil. The wine is made from 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc and only 30% Merlot. Someone at the table said that it was the most Medoc of the Saint-Emilions.

 Chateau Figeac 1949

This is a great wine and one could only call it youthful.  It was one of the most balanced wines I have ever tasted. It has aromas of deep red fruit and mature Cabernet Sauvignon with a great finish and aftertaste. The 1986 was showing very well but the 1947 seemed younger.

Chateau Musar 1988 Gaston Hochar (Lebanon)

After fermentation, maceration is for 2/4 weeks and the wine is aged in Bordeaux type barrels of Nevers oak for 12/15months. At the end of the second year blending takes place with the proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan and Cinsault varying with each vintage, the only deciding factor being taste. It is blended in the third year before being bottled and is aged in the cellar for 3/4 years. The wine is released after seven years. The grapes are grown in gravely soil with a limestone base in the Bekaa Valley. The grapes are handpicked. The wine is not fined or filtered and there are no chemical additives with the exception of the minimum dose of sulfur. In April I had the 1998 which was drinking very well with nice red fruit, leather and a hint of spice. The 1988 was very well balanced with mature red fruit, and red fruit and leather in the long finish and aftertaste.

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Filed under Abruzzo, Barbaresco, Barolo, Bordeaux, Burgundy, French Wine, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Valentini, Vietti, White wine

The Legendary Edoardo Valentini

For 20 years, I wanted to meet Edoardo Valentini at his winery, but he did not welcome visitors.  Finally, the opportunity presented itself and a group of wine writers and I were standing before him in his home. We found the great winemaker seated in a throne-like chair with his son and grandson standing behind him and his wife and daughter-in-law off to the side. It reminded me of a scene from a Fellini movie about Italy in the 1930’s. We were not invited to sit down.

The wine writers had many questions but Valentini offered few answers. He said that he sold 90% of his grapes to a local co-op (Rosciano, which we also visited) and kept only the best for himself. He would not show us the cellar or explain how he made wine. All he would talk about was the terroir and the grapes.

Valentini joined us in our tour bus for a look at his vineyards.  On board, he told us that the average age of his vines was over 50 years and he uses the tendone method. The leaves cover the grapes like a canopy (pergola in Italian), so they were all in the shade. He explained that this protected the grapes from the hot Abruzzo sun. It was also important to protect the grapes from the heat coming from the ground so the bunches had to be a certain distance from the ground in order to avoid reflected heat. There were 2,000 vines per hectare. He emphasized that he was the only one growing the true Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grape. Valentini said that he wanted to have a conference on the Trebbiano grape, but no one would listen to him. At one point he suggested that we ask him a certain question.  When one of our group took him up on the idea and repeated the question, he replied, “That is the dumbest question I have ever heard.”

We returned to his house and were all standing around not knowing what to do. Michele turned to me and said, tell him we are friends of the late Sheldon Wasserman and his wife Pauline. I told him in my best Italian and suddenly he became silent. He looked up at us with tears in his eyes and began to praise Wasserman.  Sheldon and Pauline were the authors of The Noble Red Wines of Italy and were the first to praise Valentini’s red wine and pronounce his white and rose the best in Italy. They all became close friends. He asked if I knew where Pauline was and I said I had seen her the year before but had lost contact with her. All of a sudden we were invited to sit down and his wife brought out two pies she had made along with other foods. We ate, drank his wine, talked about Wasserman and wine and he was a like a different person.

When we were about to leave someone asked if we could buy some wine. He said no but he would give us wine. He gave us the white and the Cerasuolo, his rose, but would not give us any of the red. He said that he had very little red wine as he used most of his red grapes for his Cerasuolo. He said that he liked his white and rose better than his red.

After talking to him and drinking his wines I understood what the term “terroir driven” wine really means.

This was one of the last stops on this press trip and I had been given a lot of wine. I told the other people on the trip that I would trade bottles of other producers’ wines for bottles of Valentine’s wine.  Three for one, six for one it did not matter, I wanted the wine. I came back from the trip with eight bottles — all Valentini.

Edorado Valentini passed away at age 72 in 2006. I was glad that I had the opportunity to meet him and to talk to him and learn more about his wine. It was Sheldon Wasserman that had first told me about Valentini and his wines and was the one that urged me to go and visit him. For those that knew both of them they were two of a kind!

Edoardo’s son, Francesco Paolo has taken over the wine making and I was very curious to see if there were any changes in the wine. I was able to try them at a tasting arranged by the importer, Domenico Valentino Imports, at I Trulli Restaurant. 

The wines of Valentini – organic and biodynamic production.

 Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo 100% Bombino Bianco ?? DOC 2008. This is a very complex full wine with a lot of fruit, mineral undertones, good acidity and a great finish and aftertaste.

The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months. I do not like to compare types of wine, but if asked what other type of wine this reminded me of, my answer would be a great white burgundy.

 Wine writer Jancis Robinson in one of her books says that the grape for this wine is not Trebbiano d’Abruzzo but Bombino Bianco. In the technical sheets given out by Domenico Valentino, it says Bombino Bianco. They said that the information was given to them by the Italian distributor and the blanks on the technical sheets were filled in by Francesco Valentini. When this question came up when I was at the winery, Edoardo Valentini said that the grape was Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo. I guess I will just have to go back again and talk to the son.  However, no matter what the grape, it is a great white wine.

 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2005 this was a little more developed, very complex and full with a mineral character, hints of citrus fruit and apple, good acidity, great finish and aftertaste with that extra something that is difficult to describe.

 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo DOC 2008 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 12 months. There was just a touch of strawberry in the wine but that may be the only thing it has in common with other rose wines.

 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo 2007 aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months. More developed with very nice fruit aromas and flavors, mineral character and for a rose a great finish and aftertaste.

 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2006. This wine was big, rich and tannic with wonderful red and black fruit flavors and aromas. It needs many years to develop.

 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2001. At 10 years old it was not ready to drink. It still has a lot of tannin but with plenty of red and black fruit aromas and flavors. I have a few bottles of the 2001 and I will not open them for a few more years. I also have one bottle of the 1993 and I am thinking of drinking it soon.

 I Trulli’s chef prepared an entire roast suckling pig for the occasion.  Not only the red but also the white and the rose went very well with it. One of the things that impressed me about these wines was their great finish and aftertaste.  Edoardo Valentini’s tradition continues with his son Francesco and the winery is the Gambero Rosso winery of the year for 2011.

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Filed under Abruzzo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Valentini