Category Archives: Italian Sparkling Wine

Wines and a Sunset at the Marco Carpineti Winery

Recently, I wrote about my trip to Cori, where I visited the Cincinnato Winery together with journalist John Curtas from Las Vegas, Nevada.img_2124

The second winery on our itinerary was Marco Carpineti. Paolo Carpineti, who we had met the night before at a dinner in Rome where we stayed. He joined us on the drive to Cori as his car would not start.

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Temple of Hercules at Cori

Paolo is the sales manager for his family’s winery and he took us to the town of Cori. Paolo said that Cori was settled 300 years before Rome. There are still ancient ruins in the town and he also wanted to show us the sunset from the highest point in the town.img_2115

It was really something to see.

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John Curtas and Paolo Capineti

Next, Paolo took us on a tour of the vineyards and told us about the winery. The vineyards are south of Rome and are protected by the Lepini Mountains. They are at 400 meters. His family has been in the wine business for generations and in 1994 they went organic. As he pointed to the vines he said we do not use herbicides, chemical fertilizers or synthetic products. He said biodynamic agriculture is based on the idea of the balance of nature, in unison with the landscape, the earth and humanity.

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You plant diamonds and you get nothing, you plant manure and you get flowers.

In order to obtain a fertile and vital soil they only use natural methods like bone meal (mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones) and slaughterhouse waste products and quartz horn (burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow).img_2135

We tasted the wines with a light supper. Paolo said that all the food we were eating was from local products produced in and around Cori. We also tasted his olive oil, which was excellent.

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Paolo speaking about the wines

The Wines

Kius Brut Millesimato Vintage Brut is a classic method sparkling wine made from 100% Bellone. There are 4500 plants per hectare and harvest takes place the last 10 days of August. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in the bottle for 24 months before release. This is a sparking wine with small bubbles a fresh taste, fruity aroma and a hint of briocheimg_2127

Kius Extra Brut Rosè is a classic method sparkling wine made from Nero Buono di Cori. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the grapes are harvested the last 10 days of August. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. It is aged for 30 days in bottle before release. The color is light with red berry aromas and flavors with touches of strawberries and raspberries.img_2130

Capolemole IGT Lazio Bianco made from 80% Bellone and 20% Greco. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in September. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel. This is a fruity wine with hints of citrus fruit, lemon and floral fragrances.img_2131

Moro IGt Lazio Bianco made from two varieties of Greco: 80% Greco Moro (dark green grapes) and 20% Greco Giallo (White Greco transplant). There are 4,500 to 5,000 plants per hectare and the harvest is in September/October. The grapes are selected and picked at sunrise and then a cold maceration takes places. There is a soft pressing of whole grapes and fermentation is at a controlled temperature for 12 days. A portion of the must is fermented in oak barrels. This is a fruity wine with hints of peach and almonds with a touch of cut hay.img_2133

Tufaliccio IGT Lazio Rosso made from 70% Montepulciano and 30% Cesanese. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the harvest is in September/October. Maceration is for about 10 days at a controlled temperature. The wine has aromas and flavors of red and black berries with a hint of violets.

They also make:

Capolemole Bianco IGT Lazio made from 80% Bellone and 20% Greco.

Apolide IGT Lazio Rosso made from 100% Nero di Cori.

Capolemole IGT Lazio Rosso made from 45% Nero Buono di Coti 45% Montepuliciano and 10% Cesanese. 

Dithyrambus IGT Lazio made from 50% Nero Buono di Cori and 50% Montepulciano.

Also a late harvest passito wine from the best bunches of Bellone called Ludum.img_2118

Paolo showed us a number of amphoras in the cellar that he is experimenting with using the Nero Buono di Cori grape.img_2139

Before we headed back to Rome, we had coffee and Grappa made from the Nero Buono di Cori grape.

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Filed under Bellone Grape, Cori, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Marco Carpineti Winery, Nero Buono, Spumante

12 Wines $20 and Under for All Seasons

 

There are some wines that I like to drink all year round. They go with the foods I like to eat and I know I can turn to them at any time. I consider them wines for all seasons. Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to drink well.

Prosecco “Rustico” Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG Nino Franco. 100% Glera (traditionally called Prosecco) from classic production area hillside vineyards situated at medium to high altitude. Pressing, destemming, cooling of the must and fermentation takes place in steel tanks at controlled temperature. Second fermentation is in “cuvee close” (Charmat method). $1IMG_9987

Falanghina Beneventano 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. The vineyard is the Torre Cuso, the best location for Falanghina. Donnachiara. The soil is volcanic, chalky clay, the vines are 16 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed before pressing. Cold fermentation is in stainless steel and there is extended maceration. This is a crisp white wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors nice acidity and good minerality. $18IMG_0118

Pallagrello Bianco “Caiati” 2014 100% Pallagrello Bianco from a 2.13-hectare vineyard at 280 meters, soil is volcanic with minerals. Alois The training system is guyot, there are 4,800 plants per hectare and the harvest is in the middle of September. Fermentation takes place on the lees for 30 days. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. The wine remains in the bottle for 4 months before release. It has hints of almonds, citrus fruit, melon and grapefruit with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. $20IMG_1091

Côtes-du-Rhone Samorëns Blanc 2015 made from Clairette and Grenache. Ferraton Père & Flis  The grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly chilled upon arrival at the winery via a chill tunnel. After pressing, the must is cold-settled for 48 hours. Vinification in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where many lots will under go malolactic fermentation. The wine is then blended and bottled without the use of oak. It has fresh citrus aromas and flavors with hints of white peach and good acidity. $15IMG_1094

Pinot Grigio 2015 Alto Adige DOC Peter Zimmer. Made from 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. 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. 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, and a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. $16IMG_0912

Gewürztraminer Alto Adige DOC 2014 Elena Walch made from 100% Gewurztraminer from small vineyards around the villages if Tramin and Caldero. After harvest, the grapes are crushed and pressed. The fresh must is clarified at low temperatures then gently fermented at a controlled temperature of 20°C in stainless steel tanks. The wine matures in stainless steel tanks for several months on its fine lees. The wine has hints of white flowers and spice with a nice long finish. $20

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rose 2015 IGP Pays d’OC  Chapoutier made from 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah. The estate was purchased by Michel Chapoutier in 1999 and is located in one of the best parts of the Languedoc called the Cotes du Roussillon. The grapes are carefully vinified at low even temperatures. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in the same tanks. After a short maceration on the skins, the delicate pink hue is attained and the wine is racked and vinified. The wine is then carefully blended prior to bottling. $15IMG_1075

Bordeaux Rose 2015 made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau de Lardiley. The soil is clay and limestone, organic agriculture and located in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers area in the village of Saint-Pierre-de Bat. The estate is situated midslope along the Garonne River. This is a ripe, red fruit dominated wine with hints of strawberries and raspberries. $15IMG_1092

Az. Agr. Apicella Colli di Salerno Piedirosso IGT 2014, made from 85% Piedirosso from ungrafted vines and 15% other red grapes. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is mostly pergola. Harvest takes place the third week of October. The stalks are removed and the grapes are pressed. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 12 days. Piedirosso is used mostly as a blending grape.  (It is one of the grapes in the blend for Lacryma Chrisit del Vesuvio Rosso.) It is difficult to find wine made from 100% Piedirosso but worth the effort.
The wine has fresh red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of black pepper and spice a long finish and nice after taste. The wine should be drunk young. $16IMG_0914

Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2015 made from 100% Schiava from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. Elena Walch The soil is limestone and dandy clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000-liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish. $16IMG_1093

Cahors Malbec Prestige 2011 AOP Cahors Domaine du Théron 100% Malbec. Family owned and operated by Pelvillain Freres. The domaine was established in 1973 and is situated in the village of Prayssac in the valley of Lot. The soil is limestone and clay with cover grass planted between the rows. Grapes are harvested in the early morning, destemmed and lightly crushed. Maceration and fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After the wines are racked to different stainless steel tanks where malolactic fermentation is completed. The wines are aged in barriques for about 12 months, 1/3 of which is new wood. The best barrels are selected and blended into the Cuvée Prestige which is the top of the line and aged another year in bottle before release. This is a big dark wine with hints of spice and chocolate and a touch of blueberries with a smooth yet powerful finish. $18

Moscato d”Asti “Cascinetta” DOCG –NV 100% Moscato d”Asti, Vietti. Grapes are selected from vineyards in Castiglione Tinella. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and they are about 40 years old. The grapes are crushed, pressed and naturally clarified. Must is stored, without sulfite, at low temperature in order to naturally prevent fermentation. Before bottling, yeast is added and the temperature is increased. Alcoholic fermentation is in stainless steel autoclave to preserve natural CO2 from the fermentation. The fermentation is stopped at 5.5% alcohol by again reducing the temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place and preserves acidity, varietal fruit character and freshness. The wine is held in stainless steel tanks before bottling. The wine is delicately sweet, slightly sparkling, frizzante with hints of white peaches, apricots and ginger. $16

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Filed under Alois Winery, Cotes du Rhone- Ferraton, Donna Chiara Winery, Elena Walch, Falanghina, French Wine, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Moscato d'Asti, Nino Franco, Pallagrello, Peter Zemmer, Piedirosso, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Uncategorized

A Winery Named Ciù Ciù: Certified Organic and Vegan

When I was in Rome in February we went to Ar Galetto restaurant in the Piazza Farnese. It was warm enough to sit outside and Michele loves the view of the fountains and Palazzo Farnese, where much of the opera Tosca is set.

I ordered spaghetti with fresh anchovies. With it I ordered a wine with the unlikely name of Ciù Ciù (pronounced choo choo) made from the Pecorino grape from the region of the Marche. I had first enjoyed this wine in NYC at Ribalta Restaurant with Paolo Agostinelli who represents the winery. It was the perfect wine to go with the spaghetti.IMG_0759

This is what Paolo told me about the Società Agricola Ciù Ciù winery. It is family owned and run and was established in 1970 by Natalino Bartolomei and his wife Anna. Today the winery is run by their sons Massimliano and Walter.

In the beginning, the focus was on indigenous grapes: Trebbiano, Passerina, Pecorino, Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Later they expanded into the Verdicchio del Castelli di Jesi and the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba area. They also have some international grape varieties. The philosophy of the winery is that the best wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar.

The Ciù Ciù winery is certified organic and since the 2014 vintage, the wine is certified vegan. The winery is located in the middle of the Piceno hills, at Offida (Ascoli Piceno). It is in the Rosso Superiore production area and its vineyards extend over 150 hectares.

The White Wines

Passerina “Evoè” Marche IGP 2015 100% Passerina The vineyard is at 250 to 300 meters and the soil is of medium texture. They use the spur pruned training system and the hand harvest takes place at the end of September. This white wine is fermented at a controlled temperature in stainless steel and refining does not take place. It is any easy drinking aromatic wine with fresh citrus aromas and flavors and nice minerality. Paolo said it is ready to drink right after the harvest.IMG_0813

Pecorino “Mertettaie” Offida  2015 DOCG 100% Pecorino, the vineyard is at 280 meters, vines are spur pruned cordon trained and the soil is medium mixture and clayey. Harvest is the last ten days of September. Paolo said the wine  is cold macerated in stainless steel and then fermented in botti (25hl) with indigenous yeast. It is also aged in the same botti for 6 months  and 3 months in bottle before release. This is a dry white wine with good minerality, notes of citrus fruit and a touch of acacia.

Vino Spunamte Merlettaie Brute NV made from 100% Pecorino. Vineyard is at 280 meters, spur pruned cordon training and the soil is of medium mixture quite clayey. Harvest is by hand the first ten days of September. The decanted must is fermented with selected yeasts at controlled temperatures. The Charmat-Martinotti method is used, the sparkling process lasts for 25 days, refining with yeast for 5 months and 3 months in bottle before release. It has very fine bubbles with hints of citrus fruit, apple and almonds with mineral undertones.

The Red WineIMG_0812

Marche IGT Rosso 2011 “Oppîdum” made from 100% Montepulicano. The vineyard is at 300 meters, with medium mixture clayey soil, spur pruned cordon training and the harvest takes place at the end of October. Fermentation is on the skins for 20 days followed by malolactic fermentation. 30% of the wine is aged in barriques and 70% of the wine in 10 hl barrels for 12 months. The wine is in bottle for 6 months before release.IMG_0814

Rosso Piceno Superiore DOP 2013 “Gotico” Montepulciano 70% and Sangiovese 30%. The vineyard is at 300 meters, spur pruned cordon training, medium mixture soil and the harvest takes place the second half of October. Traditional red wine fermentation takes place with a cold drawing of the wine. Paolo said the wine is aged in botti. Depending on the vintages we use 25 to 35 hl botti and we keep the wine for 12 to 18 months. The 2013 vintage was aged for 18 months as the weather was really hot and we needed to soften the edges more.  This is a full-bodied wine with hints of black fruit, spice and a touch of vanilla.IMG_0811

 Offida DOC Rosso 2009 “Esperanto” Montepuliciano 70% and Cabernet Sauvignon 30%. The vineyard is at 300 meters, spur pruned cordon training, and medium mixture clayey soil. The harvest is by hand: the end of September for the Cabernet and the end of October for the Montepulciano. There is a long fermentation on the skins; a daily cold drawing of the wine both in stainless steel and barriques. Paolo said the wine  is aged in mid-toasted French oak barriques for two years and then bottled for 2 more years before going to the market.  This is a well-structured wine with hints of plums, cherries, a touch of spice and leather.

 

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Filed under CiuCIU, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Marche, Passerina, Pecorino, Rosso Piceno

Visiting Poderi Colla

I have always been an admirer of the wines of Beppe Colla. I had been to the winery before and was very happy to have the opportunity to visit it again when I visited Alba recently.

The Colla family’s connection with wine goes back to 1703, but the modern era begins when Beppe Colla purchased the Alfred Prunotto winery in 1956. Beppe owned the winery for 35 years and made it into one of the most renowned wineries in Piedmont.

Beppe’s younger brother Ernesto, called Tino, worked with him at Prunotto. Beppe was not feeling well when we visited, but Tino was able to show us around.

Tino is a gifted winemaker in his own right and worked very closely with his brother at Prunotto.

In 1994 Tino and his niece Federica (Beppe’s daughter) opened a new winery and so Poderi Colla was established.

Tino Colla

Tino Colla

As we were walking through the vineyards Tino said that the winery comprises three farms covering a total of 26 hectares of vineyards: Cascine Drago in Alba, Tenuta Roncaglia in Barbaresco and Dardi le Rose in Monforte.

He pointed out the different vineyards, explained the different microclimates of the area, and how important the work done in the vineyard is. He also spoke about the different types of soil.IMG_9125

Tino explained his wine philosophy. The key words are naturalness and originality, wines made without manipulation or invasive intervention. He feels the wines have a connection with the past and we must learn from the past, often using methods that his grandfather taught him. He pointed to the stainless steel tanks, which were all outside. No air conditioning for Tino.

Tino and the Truffle Hunter

Tino and the Truffle Hunter

At one point in the walk we stopped at a small house. The owner, a truffle hunter, heard his hunting dogs barking and came out to chat. Tino asked him to show us some of the truffles he had discovered. Some were very large and the aroma was wonderful. Most would be sold to nearby restaurants, he told us.

The walk was a true education.

The WinesIMG_9138

Vintage Spumante Metodo Classico Extra Brut “Pietro Colla” made from Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Tino said this is in line with Piedmontese tradition dating back to the early 1900’s and with the traditions of his grandfather, Pietro, for whom the wine is named. It is fermented and matured in the bottle for about 2 years before dégorgement, ouillage with the same wine without the addition of liqueur d’expédition. The wine is bone dry, with a rich bouquet, complex and elegant at the same time. Tino said it is a wine that could be served throughout the meal.IMG_9142

Langhe DOC Riesling 100% Riesling from vines in Alba planted in 1987 with a Northwest exposure at 350 meters and in Barbaresco, planted in 2009 with a western exposure at 240 meters. There are about 4,000 vines per hectare and the grapes are hand harvested between September 10th and 25th. The grapes are immediately soft crushed at 8/10 C for 24 hours. After racking, alcoholic fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in stainless steel. The wine is left on the lees for a few months, before being naturally cooled in winter. The wine is bottled in the spring. It is a complex wine with full citrus flavors and aroma, hints of mountain flowers and fresh acidity. Tino said it is a wine that can age.IMG_9144

Barbera D’Alba DOC “Costa Bruna”  2013 100% Barbera. Vineyard planted in 1930 and 1995, about half of the vineyard contains the old vines. The new vines are a selection of the old vine’s understock. The grapes are hand picked and immediately destalked and crushed, maceration on the skins is for 10 to 12 days. Malolatic fermentation is completed before winter. Elevage in oak casks lasts about 12 months. This is an intense wine with hints of strawberry, cherry and spice and nice acidity.IMG_9141

Nebbiolo D’Alba DOC 100% Nebbiolo. The exposure is westerly and easterly and the vineyard is between 330 and 370 meters. The vines were planted in 1967, 1989 and 1999 and there are about 4,000 to 5,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is the 1st-10th October. Vinification is the same as above. Elevage is in Slavonian oak casks for about 12 months. This is a complex wine with hints of plum, red berries, dried roses and a touch of violet.IMG_9145

Barbaresco “Roncaglie” 2011 DOCG 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyard is at 244 and 280 meters and the exposure is south/southwest. The vines were planted in 1970,1980,1995 and 2010 and there are 4,000 to 5,000 vines per hectare. Grapes are handed picked from October 5th to 15th  The grapes are destalked and crushed and maceration is for 12 to 15 days, then malolactic fermentation is completed before winter. In the spring the wine is put into oak casks for 12 to 14 months. This is a classic Barbaresco with hints of blackberry, violet and spice and a touch of rose petal.IMG_9146

Barolo “Bussia Dardi Le Rose” DOCG made from 100% Nebbiolo from the hamlet of Dardi in Bussia Soprana di Monforte. It was the first to be vinified separately by Beppe Colla in 1961 and identified on the label. The vineyard has a south/southwest exposure and is at 300 to 350 meters. The vines were planted in 1970 and 1985 and there are about 4,000 vines per hectare. It is vinified like the Barbaresco but is aged in oak casks for 24 to 28 months. This is a full bodied wine with hints of red berries, tar, licquorice and tea. This is a classic Barolo.IMG_9143

Campo Romano Langhe Pinot Noir. Tino said the vines were planted in 1977 from vines imported from Burgundy. In the field when the ground was being ploughed they found remains of a Roman settlement, hence the name. The exposure is westerly, at 330 meters and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is September 10 to 20th and the hand picked grapes are immediately destalked crushed. Maceration is for 8 to 10 days followed by malolactic fermentation completed before winter. The wine rests in oak casks for 12 months. This is a balanced and elegant wine with hints of red fruit and floral notes.IMG_9140

Bricco del Drago made from 85% Dolcetto and 15% Nebbiolo. Tino said the wine was first produced in 1969 when Dott. Degiacomi, former proprietor of Cascine Drago, which produced an unusual Dolcetto requiring barrel aging, decided to combine it with a small portion of Nebbiolo, naming it after the estate. Vines were planted in 1970,1989 and 2,000 and there are about 5,000 plants per hectare. Dolcetto is harvested from September 20th to the 30th and the Nebbiolo from October 1st to 10. The varieties are vinified separately and maturation takes place at different times. The wines are assembled and then undergo élevage in oak. Maceration is for 5 to 8 days for Dolcetto and 10 to 12 days for the Nebbiolo. Aging for 12 to 18 months depending on the vintage. We tasted a number of wines going back to 1995, a wine that was showing no signs of age. I was very impressed with all of the vintages we tasted.

 

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Filed under Barbaresco, Barbera, Barolo, Bricco del Drago, Campo Romano Pinot Noir, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian Wine, Nebbiolo, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Poderi Colla

Franciacorta: The Real Story

Jeremy Parzen is an old friend.   I have a great respect for his wine knowledge and I enjoy reading his erudite blog http://dobianchi.com/.Jeremy is now the official spokesperson for Franciacorta sparkling wine and wants everyone to know the real story.

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Jeremy Parzen

Jeremy explained that Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Northern Italy noted for its sparkling wines. The Franciacorta wine region is located in the hills immediately southeast of the foot of Lake Iseo in the province of Brescia in the Lombardy region. Roughly square in shape, it stretches eastwards for 15 miles (25km) from the Oglio River (which flows out from the lake) until reaching the Mella River valley and the western suburbs of the city of Brescia.

Franciacorta is reserved for wines obtained exclusively with re-fermentation in bottle and the separation of sediment by way of disgorgement. They must be produced in accordance with the appellation’s production regulations.

The four categories of Franciacorta DOCG are:

Franciacorta – must be made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as a maximum of 50% Pinot Blanc. The base wine for the production of Franciacorta may be obtained from a blend of different vintages. Minimum of 18 months on the lees.

Franciacorta Saten – Pinot Noir is not allowed in the Satén No more than 20 grams/liter of sugar may be added to the wine in causing the second fermentation/final dosage.

Minimum of 24 months on the lees. Saten Rose is a minimum of 30 days and Saten riserva is a minimum of 60 days.

Jeremy said that Satèn in Franciacorta has less pressure than most sparkling wine with 4.5 atmospheres of pressure instead of the traditional 6. This gives the wine more elegant bubbles, a more delicate mousse and a softer mouth feel.

He did not compare Franciatora to Champagne but showed how they were different. The climate and soil where the grapes are grown are different, as are some of the grapes that are used. He added that in Champagne more sugar is added to the wine. In Franciacorta most of the production is organic. In fact he said in the near future every producer in the consortium would be organic. Champagne has a long history while Franciacorta has been in production for around 50 years.

Franciacorta Rosè – minimum of 25% Pinot Noir and minimum of 24 days on lees. Millesimato minimum of 30 days on lees. Riserva minimum of 60 days on lees.

Franciacorta millesimato (vintage dated) must be produced using at least 85% of wine from the stated vintage.

Franciacorta riserva — minimum of 60 days on the lees.

Franciacorta must be disgorged manually or mechanically and filtration is not allowed.

Jeremy said there are 109 members of the Franciacorta consortium and they account for 94% of the total production.

Franciacorta is the largest selling sparkling wine in Italy made by the Methodo Classico.

There were 8 wineries represented with two wines from each winery.IMG_8101

Barone Pizzini Brut”Animante” 78% Chardonnay 18% Pinot Noir 4% Pinot White. The winery is certified organic and states on the label “organic wine”. There are 5,000/6,250 plants per hectare. Soft pressing and fermentation in thermo steel tanks. The wine ages for 6 months in stainless steel tanks and bottle aging is on the lees for 20/30 months. The wine has citrus notes with hints of honey, apricot and dried fruit.

Barone Pizzini Satèn 100% Chardonnay. The soil type is Moraine and the training system is guyot. Soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation is thermo steel tanks. The wine is aged for 6 months in steel barrels and remains on the lees for 30/40 months. Residual sugar is 6g/l. The wine has citrus notes and nice minerality.

Il Mosnel Brut 60% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Blanc. Half of the Chardonnay is fermented in small oak barrels and half from a different vintage is fermented in steel. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc are fermented in steel. Each bottle is given the liqueur de triage and laid down for the second fermentation. After a minimum of 18 months on the lees, the wine is riddled to concentrate the sediment against the cap, disgorged and re-corked. The wine has hints of white flowers and peach and a touch of almonds in the finish.IMG_8104

Il Mosnel Satèn 2010 100% Chardonnay, 60% fermented in steel and the rest in small oak barrels. In spring it is given the liqueur de triage and laid down for the second fermentation. Less sugar in the liqueur makes the mousse less forceful. After a minimum of 30 months on the lees, the wine is riddled. This is a silky, fruity full-bodied wine. The residual sugar is 8g/l. Organic farming.

Monte Rossa Brut 85% Pinot Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Blanc. Soft pressing of the best grapes with no more than 55% of the total yield. Partially fermented in steel tubs at a controlled temperature and partially fermented in oak barrels. The wine has strawberry aromas and flavors with an undertone of brioches with added to depth to the wine.IMG_8106

Monte Rossa Cabochon 2009 70 % Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and selecting the best grapes for no more than 58% of the total yield. Fermentation is in first and second passage barriques between September and February. The wine is aged on the lees for 48 months. The bottles are not sold until at least 4 months after the dègorgeage. The wine has citrus aromas and flavors with more than hints of brioches which gave it much more depth.IMG_8107

Montenisa Brut Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and a small amount of Pinot Noir. The first fermentation takes place partly in stainless steel vats and partly in barriques. The second fermentation is in the bottle with at least 30 months contact on the yeast. The remuage is carried out by hand according to ancient tradition, using typical pupitres (trestle tables). After the degorgement the bottles remain in the cellars fro 3 months before release. The wine has hints of peaches and apples and a hint of yeast. The winery is partly owned by Marchese Antinori.

Montenisa Rosè 100% Pinot Noir. In the early spring, following alcoholic fermentation partly in stainless steel vats and in barriques, the wine underwent a second fermentation in the bottle and remains in contact with the yeast for at least 24 months. Remuage is by hand. After degorgement the bottles were laid down for at least 3 months before release. The wine is full bodied with hints of strawberry and cherry.IMG_8119

Ricci Curbastro Brut 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc and 10% Pinot Noir. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, followed in spring by the draft with the beginning of a slow second fermentation in the bottle. The bottles remain in the stack for at least 30 months (total of 38 from the harvest) contact and autolysis of the yeast. After disgorgement, with the addition of liqueur di triage(very dry) 8g/l,the wine remains in the cellar for a few months before release. This is a dry elegant fruity wine with floral hints and a touch of baked bread.

Ricci Curbastro Satén 100% Chardonnay fermented in oak barrels. The bottles remain in the stack for at least 40 months (total 48 from the harvest). There is an addition of liqueur very dry 7g/l. The wine remains in the cellar a few months before release. It is an elegant wine with fruity notes, a hint of spice and a touch of toasted almond.

Ronco Calino Brut 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from Burgundy clones. The training system is guyot and spurred cordon and there are about 6,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand and there is a manual selection of clusters before pressing which occurs in the first week of September. There is a soft pressing of the entire grape cluster and initial fermentation in thermo-conditioned stainless steel tanks and 20% in French oak barrels. At least 24 months on the lees before disgorging. The wine has hints of pear, cherries and candied orange peel with a touch of spice.IMG_8117

Ronco Calino Satèn 100% Chardonnay. There are about 6,000 to 8,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand the third week of August. Soft pressing of the grapes, fermentation in stainless steel. 30% is aged in French oak barriques. There is a low percentage of liqueur de triage. The wine has hints of pear, peach and cherry and a touch of brioches.

Contaldi Castaldi Brut NV 80% Chardonnay 10% Pinot Blanc and 10% Pinot Noir training system guyot and casarsa (a variation of guyot). There are 3,000 /5000 plants per hectare and the average age of the vines is 15 years. Harvest takes place in August and early September. There is a soft pressing and a cold settling followed by an inoculation of selected yeast. Fermentation is in stainless steel for 20 days and there is partial malolactic fermentation. First aging is for 7 months in steel and barriques. The wine spends 20/25 months on the lees. It has floral notes with hints of lime and peach.IMG_8113

Contaldi Castaldi Rosè NV 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir. Training system is guyot and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. The average age of the vines is 15 years. There is a soft pressing of the grapes after a cold maceration of about 3/4 hours. Cold settling, inoculation with selected yeasts and fermentation for 20 days is stainless steel. There is partial malolactic fermentation. First aging is for 7 months in stainless steel and bariques. The wine ages for 24/30 months on the less. Disgorgement is in July. The wine remains in the bottle for 3/4 months before release. The wine has hints of wild berries, apple and tropical fruit.

Jonathan La Rochelle

Jonathan La Rochelle

Also at the tasting was Jonathan La Rochelle, Brand Ambassador for Bellavista

Bellavista “Alma” Cuveè Brut Jonathan said that alma means soul in Latin and this wine reflects the soul of Franciacorta and Bellavista. The symbol of this wine is the butterfly because it represents harmony and balance, nature at its purest, transformation and rebirth. Made from 80% Chardonnay and 19% Pinot Nero and 1% Pinot Blanc. The balance comes from 30 different selections from over 100 vineyards. Most of the wine is fermented and matures in 228 litter oak barrels for 7 months. The wine consists of at least 6 to 9 older vintages. This is a wine with a depth of flavor with hints of apple, pears and white flowers.IMG_8111

Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvèe Pas Operè 2006 made from 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir. The grapes for this wine come from the most vigorous selection of grapes from vineyards that are over 20 years old with an east and southeast exposure. Most of the must is fermented in small oak barrels. The wine is aged for 6 years before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of honey, apple and herbs. Jonathan said that in 2007 this wine not only changed its label but its name, to Bellavista Pas Opèrè.

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Filed under Barone Pizzini, Bellavista, Contadi Castaldi, Franciacorta Brut, Il Mosnel, Italian Sparkling Wine, Monte Rossa, Montenisa, Ricci Curbastro, Ronco Calino, Uncategorized

$20 and Under for Summer Drinking

Here is a roundup of some of my favorite wines for summer drinking.

WhiteIMG_7993

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut White Côtes Du Roussillon  2014 made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Macabeo and Vermentino (Rolle in France). The 40-year-old plus vines are on the hills of the Agly Valley. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in the same tanks. After a long maceration of two to three weeks, the wine is aged on the fine lees and then racked from vat to vat which naturally clarifies the wines. The wine is then blended prior to bottling. It has hints of citrus aromas and flavors with tropical fruit and good minerality. $14

Bila–Haut was purchased by Michael Chapoutier in 1999 and is located in the best part of the Languedoc, the Cotes du Roussillon in France, an area which I have visited a number of times. Bila-Haut translates to Bila Heights and it was once a refuge for the Knights Templar. The cross-featured on the bottle label is in their honor.IMG_8070

Pinot Grigio 2014 Alto Adige DOC Peter Zimmer. Made from 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. 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. 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, and a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. $17IMG_8062

Urban Riesling 2014 Nik Weis Selection non-estate Mosel. 100% Mosel Riesling from vineyards around the town of Mehring. The Riesling is grown here on steep slopes with a perfect angle for the sun’s rays. The soil is blue, highly decomposed slate rocks that give the wine its minerality.

The owner/winemaker Nik Weis is a minimalist and traditionalist. The grapes are not destemmed, there is a slight maceration of the grapes, a gentle pressing and gravity-fed sedimentation. There is indigenous yeast fermentation. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks. There is a very gentle filtration. It is a complex wine with a smoky and floral bouquet, with juicy fruit and a minerality that finishes off dry. The wine in named for St. Urban, the patron saint of German winemakers. Alcohol is 9.5% and the residual sugar is 33g/l. $14IMG_8063

Frascati DOC “Terre Dei Grifi 2013 Made from 50% Malvasia Bianco di Candia, 30% Trebbiano Toscano, 10% Greco and 10% Malvasia del Lazio. Hillside vineyards with volcanic, potassium rich soil. The grapes are gently pressed and vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, the wine rests on its lees for 4 months to impart greater complexity, structure and bouquet. The wine ages in stainless steel tanks until it is ready to be bottled. The wine has fragrances of exotic fruits and citrus with a touch of ripe pear and almond in the finish. $12

Pecorino “Cortalto” 2013 Colli Aprutini IGT Cerulli Spinozzi (Abruzzo) 100% Pecorino. The soil is clay and sand. Fermentation in stainless steel, then malolactic. It is aged on its lees for 5 months before the wine is bottled. Hints of white flowers, peach, citrus fruits and apricot. There is a touch of bitter almond in the finish. I was very impressed by this wine, one of the best I have tasted. $16IMG_8098

Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio Bianco 2013 DOC Struzziero made from 85% Caprettone 15% and Falanghina or Greco. The vineyards are located on the slopes of Vesuvius. Crushing and destemming followed by a soft pressing of the grapes. Temperature controlled fermentation. The wine is bottled in March following the harvest. Aromas and flavors of citrus fruit with good minerality and a touch of smoke. $12

Sparkling

Organic Prosecco DOC grapes for this small production Prosecco are harvested from certified organic wine estate in the town of Vazzola in Treviso. The grapes are grown without chemicals or fertilizers, the grapes are 100% organically grown. It is produced in the extra dry style with just a little more residual sugar than a Brut. It has hints of green apple and a touch of tropical fruit. $16

RoseIMG_8034

Les Vignes Rosé Bila Haut 2013 Pays D’Oc  This is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. Mr. Chapoutier went outside the Roussillon area to find a Cinsault from the Gard district that, when blended with Grenache, would produce a delicate and elegant rosé. The grapes are vinified at low even temperatures. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in those tanks. After a short maceration on the skins, the pink hue is attained and the wine is racked and vinified. The wine is then blended prior to bottling. The wine has hints of citrus and red fruit with a floral aroma. $14IMG_7661

Château La Tour de l’Evêque Rosé 20014 Cuvée Pétale de Rose AOC Côtes de Provence. Made from 42% Cinsault, 38% Grenache, 9% Syrah, 4% Ugni-blanc 3% Mourvèdre, 2% Sèmillon, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Rolle. The hand harvest took place between August 16 and September 16. This is a wine with nice red berry aromas and flavors. Very easy to drink with a nice finish and aftertaste. $18

RedIMG_8067

Cantina Terlano St. Maddalena 2014 Alto Adige DOC made from 80% Schiava and 15% Lagrein. The vineyards are between 230 and 500 meters and the exposure is south/ southwest. Harvest is by hand and there is a grape selection and they are destemmed. This is followed by a slow must fermentation at a controlled temperatures and gentle agitation of the must in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation and aging is in big wooden barrels for 7/10 months. The wines are blended one month before bottling. The wine has hints of black elderberry and cherry with a touch of bitter almond and violet. It has balanced acidity and low tannins which is a unique feature of the Schiava grape. $20IMG_8069

Scherecbichl Colterenzio Kalterersee Auslese Classico Superiore 2014 Alto Adige DOC 100% Schiava. (Vernatsch) produced by old traditional pergola trained vines. The hillside vineyards are at 410/440 meters and the soils are morainal mixed with sand and eroded porphyry deposits. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with the skins, followed by malolactic fermentation, then four months of aging in tanks. It had red summer fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of cherry, light tannin and acidity. This is a wine to be drunk young served slightly chilled for summer drinking.IMG_8068

Kaltern Caldaro Kalterersee Auslese 2013 Alto DOC Adige 100% Schiava (Vernatsch). The vineyards are on south and east facing slopes surrounding Lake Kaltern at 230/450 meters. The soil is loamy, limestone gravel, with a small proportion of sand. The average age of the vines is 20/50 years and the training system is the pergola. Harvest is from the end of September to the middle of October. Fermentation is for one week on the skins at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged four months on the fine lees in stainless steel and large casks. It has hints of cherry and raspberry with a touch of bitter almond. Wine should be drunk young.IMG_8066

Chianti Classico “Aziano” 2013 DOCG Ruffino Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Colorino and Canaiolo. The soil is moderate clay content rich in Galestro rocks. The vineyards are at 200/400 meters. The vines are guyot trained and cordon spur pruned. Fermentation, aided by racking and punching down, takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Once malolatic fermentation is complete the wine is aged for 11 months in stainless steel and concrete vats and four months in bottle before release. It has hints of red berries, cherries, violets, plums and a touch of spice. $14IMG_8064

Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012 Sartori di Verona made from 45% Corvina, 30% Covinone, 20% Rondinella and 5% Croatioa. The Valpolicella Classico area is north of Verona and the soil is calcareous with fine layers of limestone. There is soft pressing with skin maceration for 8 to 10 days. After pressing 10% of the must is extracted to obtain better color and tannin. After racking and malolactic fermentation the wine is aged partially in stainless steel and partially in oak for 15 months. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 months before release. It has aromas and flavors of rich red fruit with hints of black cherry, nice minerality and soft tannins. $20

I was very impressed with this wine. It was one of the best Valpolicellas I have tasted in a long time.

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Filed under Banfi, Bila- Haut, Bio-Dynamic, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Kalterer See, Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Struzziero, Petale de Rose, Peter Zemmer, Pfarrhof Kaltern, Prosecco, Ruffino, Sartori di Verona, St. Magdalener- Hausler, Terre dei Grifi Frascati, Urban Riesling-Nik Weis

Baracchi Winery: Red, White and Sparkling

Tony di Dio of Tony di Dio Selections is the representative for a number of quality wine estates. It is always interesting to taste with him the wines from one of these estates. This time it was the Baracchi Estate located near Cortona in Tuscany, we tasted the wines with lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill in NYC.IMG_8061

Tony said that near the winery is the Relais Il Falconiere, part of the Relais & Chateaux which is operated  by the Baraccho family.

The Baracchi Estate is located on a hill overlooking the Valdichiana Valley. It covers about 60 hectares of which 22 are planted in vines. They are divided into small plots: San Martino where the winery is located, Gabbiano between Cortona and Montepulciano, and Montanare all of them at about 300 meters with a southern exposure.

Tony said that the agronomist Stefano Chioccioli, who is also the enologist, selected the best land for each variety. San Martino with sandy and well-drained soil for Sryah and Sangiovese. Gabbiano with its clay soil is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Montanare with soil composed of stones and lime for Merlot and Trebbiano. He said that here at the top on the edge of a forest he planted Pinot Noir, which might be their greatest challenge. IMG_7803

Trebbiano Methodo Classico Brut NV 2012  100% Trebbiano  The grapes are harvested early by hand. Fermentation takes place with skin contact for about 10 days at low temperatures. Maceration is for at least 12 months on selected yeasts. It has small bubbles, good acidity with floral hints and notes of apples, crusty bread and almonds. $19. I was very impressed with this wine for the price.IMG_7802

Sangiovese Rosè “Millesimato” 2012 100% Sangiovese. Metodo Classico with manual riddling. The wine is produced by the method of submerged cap maceration for a few hours and the fermentation continues with the cold techniques for a few hours more. This is to enhance the aromas and finesse of the wine.  The wine remains on the lees for 36 months. It has hints of cherry with notes of almonds and yeast. I have tasted Rosé made from Sangiovese but this is the first time I tasted a sparkling one.IMG_7811

Sangiovese Rosso “Smeriglio” 2012  Cortona DOC 100% Sangiovese comes from old vines of more than 20 years and a recently planted vineyard. The harvest begins the first week of October; a selection of the grapes had already been made at the end of July leaving only one kg of grapes per vine. The alcoholic fermentation with consequent skin maceration is done in stainless steel tanks for about 21 days, at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in French barriques, half new, for 12 months, which also performs the malolactic fermentation. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and raspberries, with a touch of vanilla.IMG_7807

O’Lillo! 2010 Tuscana  IGT made from 25% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 23% Cabernet and 25% Sangiovese. The grapes are harvested and vinified separately. After a soft de-stemming the grapes are fermented in stainless steel thermo-controlled and kept in contact with the skins for 20 to 24 days depending on the variety. The wine is bottled after six months and is aged for another 6 months before release. It has hints of cherry, wild berries with a touch of spice and pepper.IMG_7808

Ardito 2010 Toscana IGT made from 50% Cabernet and 50%Syrah. Harvest is by hand in mid-September for the Syrah and on October 10 for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are vinified separately and after alcohol fermentation, part of which takes pace in oak barrels, the wine is placed in vertical temperature controlled tanks, continues fermentation for 21/22 days. The wines are blended and malolactic fermentation takes place in medium toasted French barriques: Allier, Nevers and Troncais) aging continues for 20 months. It remains a minimum of 9 months in the bottle before it is released. It is a full-bodied wine with hints of plums, licorice, coffee and chocolate.IMG_7809

Pinot Nero- 2012 Toscana IGT 100% Pinot Noir from a vineyard approximately 500 meters. Tony pointed out that this is a Tuscan Pinot Noir and should not be confused with the Pinot of Burgundy or other areas. It has hints of cherry and strawberry and a hint of spice with a very long finish.

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Filed under Baracchi winery, Italian Restaurants, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian Wine, Uncategorized