Category Archives: Pinot Grigio

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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The Wines of Lis Neris

After judging the Pinot Grigio Challenge in Cormons, in Friuli, I visited the Lis Neris winery in San Lorenzo about 20 minutes away. The winery is in the Isonzo sub zone close to the Slovenian border.

Alvaro

Alvaro

The owner Alvaro Pecorari who began by speaking about the winery greeted me. Alvaro said that it is a family winery and the family controls all of the production process. There are 70 hectares of vineyards planted between the Slovenian border to the north and the right bank of the Isonzo River to the south. Wines are produced exclusively with grapes from their own vineyards. They have introduced biological treatments against vine pests and avoid the use of chemical weed killers. The winery is energy autonomous, with solar panels, which collect and transforms solar power.

He feels that his wines are the best expression of the terrior

The Wines of Lis Neris– They have different lines of wine Traditional, Selezioni and Riserva.IMG_5798

Pinot Grigio 2013 100 % Pinot Grigio this is from the Traditional line where the grapes are from the younger vineyards. The training system is guyot and there are 5,200 to 5,600 vines per hectare. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel takes at a controlled temperature. Maturation is on the fine less in the same tanks for 8 months with frequent stirring of the lees. The wine remains in the bottle a short time before release. This is a fresh fruity wine with aromas and flavors of critics’ fruit, hints of apple and good acidity. I also had this wine with food at one of the best restaurants in the area La Subida and it is an excellent food wine. IMG_5801

Gris 2010 100% Pinot Grigio This is from the” Selezioni line where the wines take the name of the vineyard. The soil is calcareous, alluvial on a broad shelf at 60 meters above sea level. The vines are 25 years old. The training system is guyot and there are 5,200 vines per hectare and the harvest is in October. Fermentation takes place in 500 liter French oak barrels (tonneaux), at a controlled temperature. Alvero said that tonneaux gives the wine aromatic breath without modifying the intrinsic character of the wine. Maceration is on the lees in the same barrels for 10 to11 months with frequent lees souring? The wine is aged in bottle for 12 months before release. Alvero said the wine would last for 5 to 10 years. This was a more intense Pinot Grigio and he said that it was an international style wine reflection the more modern wines of today. That is why I believe he calls it “Gris”IMG_5800

Confini 2010 Venezia- Gulia IGT made from 40% Gewürztraminer, 40 %Pinot Grigio and 20% Riesling from 25 year old vines. This is from the Riserva line, the grapes come from the older vineyards. Fermentation takes place in 500 liter French oak barrels and maceration is on the fine lees in the same barrels for 11 months with frequent bàtonnage. The wine is aged another 12 months in bottle before release. He said that the Pinot Grigio constitutes the skeleton of the wine, giving it structure a full bodied frame, softness and warmness. Traminer is important for aromas and perfumes and Riesling for the right acidity and complexity of taste. Only Pinot Grigio and Traminer are late harvested and matured in wood.IMG_5821

Tal Luc 2010 made from 95% Verduzzo and 5% Riesling. The vines are 10 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 5,200 vines per hectare. After the harvest the grapes are dried for 120 days in an air-conditioned environment. Long fermentation takes place in new 225 liter French oak barrels. The wine remains in the bottle for 12 months before release. Alvero said that the wine could age for 15 years. It is in the Riserva line” This is an excellent dessert wine and I really enjoyed tasting it. I also had the pleasure of drinking the=is wine at restaurant La Subida the night before.

 

 

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Filed under Confini, Gris, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Lis Neris Winery, Pinot Grigio, Tal Luc dessert wine

2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge

The 2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge was held in Corno Di Rosazzo, near Udine in the Northeastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy. I like the food and the wines of the region and have always enjoyed its Pinot Grigio, so I was delighted to be invited to be one of the judges.IMG_5741

The event took place over three days. The first day there was a round table discussion on Pinot Grigio: “Commercial Challenge on the World Market.” There were a number of speakers, including myself, and I found the conversation to be most interesting

Some of the topics discussed included the reasons for the popularity of Pinot Grigio, how to improve its image, Pinot Grigo in different countries and the other names for Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio came to Italy after the phylloxera plague in Europe in the late 19th Century. It most likely originated in Burgundy and is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. It is grown mostly in northeastern Italy. The best examples in my opinion come from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige

Pinot Grigio is not a white grape as can be seen by looking at the bunches. The must of the grape is basically copper in color, of anthocyanin origin, that does not always persist through bottling. This has to do with the presence or lack of oxygen during fermentation.

In the 1960’s Santa Margherita, thanks to the latest vinification techniques, was able to produce a white wine changing the history of the grape forever. By the 1980’s Pinot Grigio from Italy became so popular that it is looked upon as an Italian grape in the eyes of the world. Today Pinot grigio enjoys world wine popularity and is the number one grape varietal imported into the USA with over a 40% market share.

Some of the bottles

Some of the bottles

Some producers have gone back to the old style and produce a wine, which is copper/ orange in color. An example of this was the #2 wine in the Challenge, “Gossip” by Di Lenardo

The judging took place on the second day. The idea for the International Pinot Grigo Challenge came from Daniele Cernilli, known as “Doctor Wine.”

With Cernilli as the head, 24 judges from many different countries were to taste the wines blind and select the winners. There were 128 wines from all over the world. The judges were divided into groups of three. In the first round a score was given to each wine tasted. Next the 3 judges were presented with 2 wines, each judge stated their preference and one wine was eliminated. With 3 judges there could not be a tie. When this was completed there was a break for lunch. After lunch it was the same except there were 5 judges, again two wines were presented and one was eliminated.

Daniele Cernilli "Doctor Wine"  announcing the winners

Daniele Cernilli “Doctor Wine” announcing the winners

Cernilli called the judging a “winebledon” with direct challenges in couples, like a tennis match, evaluated by mixed and uneven juries.

After this segment was over the votes were tallied and there were 8 finalists.

The third day was the official announcement of the winners and the award ceremony. Listed below are the eight finalists in order. The first three wines were awarded medals.IMG_5744

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige “Punggl” DOC 2013 Nals Margreid Trentino Alto Adige #1IMG_5745

Pinot Grigio Ramato (copper) “Gossip” IGT 2013 Venezia Gulia Di Lenardo Friuli Venezia Giulia Harvest is by hand. The grapes are placed in a tank for 18 hours of skin maceration. Then the skins are separated and the must is transferred to temperature-controlled fermentation steel vats. The wine is on the lees before bottling. For the whole process oxygen does not come in contact with the wine in order to preserve the color. The wine has a light copper color with luminescent clarity. The aromas include wild strawberry, elderberry, hay and dried roses with hints of dried fruits and almond. There is a balance of robust fruit and crisp acidity. It is closed with a composite cork DIAM. 20,000 bottles were produced.  I described  how this wine  because has the ‘copper” color. #2IMG_5746

Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave DOC 2013 I Magredi Friuli Venezia Giulia. This wine of the final eight was given the award for best value for the money. #3

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Torre Rosazza Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Collio “Jesera” DOC 2013 Venica & Venica Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Castel Ringberg” DOC 2013 Trentinio Alto Adige Elena Walch

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Friuli Venezia Giulia La Sclusa

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC Azienda Perusini di Perusini Teresa Friuli Venezia Giulia

Three of my favorite producers were in this group: Di Leonardo, Venica & Venica and Elena WalchIMG_5734

There was a special category for wines with residual sugar exceeding 9g/l. The winner was Pinot Gris AAC 2013 Cuvee Saine Chatherine Weinbach Faller France.

Looking back over the wines that I chose all of them were from Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Alto Adige. Daniele Cernilli confirmed that I voted for the number one rated wine.

 

 

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Filed under Daniele Cernilli, Dr. Wine, International Pinot Grigio Challenge, Pinot Grigio

Great Wine Value from the Alto Adige

Every time Peter Zemmer is in town showing the Estate Wines of Peter Zemmer, I look forward to experience them at a tasting and lunch. I look forward to lunch because these are excellent food wines, and what better way to judge the qualities of a wine than with food. The tasting and lunch this year was held at Gotham  Bar and Grill in NYC. The Zemmer wines are a great value. The wines that I tasted ranged in price from $17 to $21 and all of them were well worth the money.IMG_5371

Pete began by saying that the winery was established in 1928, and is located in the Alto Adige-South Tyrol in Northeastern Italy. He spoke about Cortina D’Ampezzo, a beautiful skiing and hiking resort in the Alps, 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 told us that the daytime 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, far to the South in Sicily.

The WinesIMG_5152

Lagrine Rosé 2013 Alto Adige DOC made from 100% Lagrein  After the stems are removed the grapes are left to macerate for one day and then pressed. Peter said that in this way, they succeed in only partially imparting the coloring, which is obtained from the skins, to the must and the wine is able to obtain its fine rosé tone. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out with pure strains of yeast at a controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. This is the first vintage to been imported into the U.S. This is a wine with nice fruit aromas and flavors, hints of wild berries and violets, with good acidity and a soft spicy finish. $18IMG_5156

Pinot Grigio 2013 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. $17IMG_5160

Pinot Bianco 2012 “Pünggle Vineyard” 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. $20IMG_5158

Rhine Riesling “Rohracker Vineyard” 2013 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. Even though Riesling is a rare variety here it loves cooler climates so that this vineyard where the grapes are grown is at a higher elevation. 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 crisp dry wine with good body and hints of green apple and a touch of peach.  It has a nice finish and aftertaste. $20IMG_5165

Pinot Nero “Rollhütt Vineyard’ 2012 Alto Adige DOC 100% Pinot Noir. The stems are immediately removed and the grapes are fermented at a constant temperature of 26 – 28° C (79 – 82° F) for about 7 days. The must is kept in contact with the skins through circulation pumping and gentle pressure from below. Peter said that 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. $22IMG_5167

Lagrein 2012 Raut Vineyard Alto Adige DOC 100% Lagrein 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. $21

 

 

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Filed under Lagrein, Lagrein Rose, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero, Riesling

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

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

Frescobaldi Wines and an “orange” Pinot Grigio

Two wines made from the same grape by the same producer that are so different in style is uncommon.  It is even more unusual when the grape is Pinot Grigio.

 Alessandro Lunardi, the representative in America for the wines of Marchesi de Frascaboldi, invited me to a tasting that he was conducting on these wines. I expected all of the wines would be from Tuscany but it seems that the company is involved with wineries in other parts of Italy.

The producer of the Pinot Grigio is Attems in Friuli-Venezia Gulia and the estate is located in Lucinico in the Gorizia area of the Collio. The Collio Goriziano comprises a series of descending slopes (from which it derives its name) facing south, protected on the north by the Julian Pre-Alps, which act as a barrier to the cold north winds.

 

Attems Pinot Grigio 2010 IGT

2010 was a very good vintage for white wine in Friuli.  The Pinot Grigio grapes for the wines come from the area between the Collio and the alluvial area of the Isonzo. This wine is fermented in stainless steel and barriques. Fermentation takes place for 15 days. There is no skin contact and malolatic fermentation does not take place. It is a crisp wine with floral notes, fruity with hints of apple and pear. $19

Orange Wine

This wine goes back to the way Pinot Grigio was made during the time of the Republic of Venice. Ramato, meaning copper,  was the term used to describe the color of the wine. Some clones of Pinot Grigio can also be copper in color. The traditional vinification process led to the use of this name. The must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. The term “orange wine” is used to describe white wine where the juice has had skin contact.

Cuppa Ramato 2009Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio IGT 2009.

The harvest took place near the end of September and the grapes were harvested by hand. Vinification in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. Fermentation lasted for seven days. For this wine the skins remained in contact with the juice for 12 hours and the wine did not undergo malolatic fermentation. The wine is aged for four months in barriques and two months in stainless steel and one month in bottle before release. It has the color of a blush wine. The aroma is very aromatic with hints of strawberry and cherry. It is quite firm on the pallet with a nice fruit in the finish and aftertaste. It is a most interesting wine! $19

 The Frescaboldi wines

 Remole 2009 IGT Tuscany

The wine is mostly Sangiovese with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Alessandro pointed out that the wine that goes to make Remole comes from the Frescobaldi vineyards in central Toscana. It is the wine that is not selected to go into the estate wine. There is a second selection when the wine from the different vineyards is going to be blended together to make the estate wine. Alessandro said that all the grapes used in the Remole are from the estate vineyards and it was a bargain at $10.  I had to agree.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and maceration for seven days. It is aged in stainless steel for five months and 2 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with fresh red fruit flavors and aromas that should be drunk young.

 Nipozzano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 DOCG

Made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% from grapes such as: Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  2007 was a very good vintage in Tuscany. The estate lies in heart of the Chianti Ruffina area, covering 626 hectares at elevations between 250 and 400 meters. The soil is rich in clay and limestone. They use the “Nipozzano clone” of Sangiovese. Nipozzano means “no well” and they do dry farming and by law can only irrigate in an emergency. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel for 13 days and each variety is fermented separately. Maceration takes place for 25 days. Alessandro said that the wine is aged partly in two and three year old barriques and partly in large barrels 30 to 50 HL for a total of 24 months and three months in bottle before release. The wine tastes like Chianti with aromas and flavors of blackberries, blueberries and hint of pine and violets and good acidity. It is a wine that will age. This is an exceptional wine given the fact that 1,000,000 bottles are produced and it sells for $22

Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglione 2008 IGT
Made from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Sangiovese. The Castiglione estate lies at an elevation of 200 to 250 meters and is composed of 513 hectares in the Chianti Colli Fiorentini zone in the Montespertoli area. It is the oldest Frescobaldi estate. The soil is composed mostly clay and sand. Fermentation takes place for 10 days and the wine is aged in barriques for 12 months and in bottle for two months before release. This was a little more modern in style than the other wines with a deeper color and aromas and flavors of mature black cherry and plum. $25

A few days later the American Institute of Food and Wine was doing a seminar and tasting with the title- Olive Oil: Complexities and Clarifications. Among the panelists were Loius Coluccio of Coluccio and Sons Inc. and Michele Scicolone author of The Italian Slow Cooker. We tasted eight olive oils from different countries and the best one in my opinion was the Marchesi de  Frescobaldi “Laudemio” (Tuscany) made from Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino olives. $38

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Filed under Chianti, Frescobaldi, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Orange wines, Pinot Grigio