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Oregon Originals: Second Generation Vintners (SGV)

Second Generation Vintners is collaboration between the siblings at Elk Cove, Ponzi, and Sokol Blosser. Founded in Oregon’s Willamette Valley during the early 1970’s , each winery was built on the mutual vision of making world-class Pinot Noir.

A tasting of the wines was held at the Astor Center in NYC. This was one of the most unique tastings that I have ever attended.

THE WINE MAKERS

Elk Cove Vineyards: Adam Campbell

Ponzi: Luisa Ponzi

Sokol Blosser: Alex Sokol Blosser and Co- President

There were 9 wines divided into 3 flights.  Each of the winemakers produced 1 wine from 3 different vineyards. The vineyards: La Bohéome, Madrona Vineyard and Old Vineyard Block

Elk Cove La Bohéme Vineyard  planted in 1985 from cuttings from their best vineyards on the western side of the property. Adam said the soil is marine sediment, the AVA is Yamhill-Carlton, elevation is 800 ft, spacing is 7×6 and the clone is Pommard on its own roots. The estate’s vineyards stretch from the Yamhill-Carlton hillsides to the peaks of the Chehalem Mountains.

THE WINE

Adam said 80% destemmed and William Seylem yeast was used. The wine was aged in French oak 25% new. This is an aromatic wine with hints of dark sweet fruit, plums and just a touch of vanilla.

Luisa Ponzi 100% destemmed, inoculated with commercial yeast and fermented in an upright oak tank. The wine was aged in French oak 20% new. Luisa said there was a long fermentation of 21 days. This is a wine with a lot of red fruit, with hints of cherry and almost cherry candy like in the finish.

Alex Sokel Blosser 100% destemmed, and inoculated with commercial yeast. Fermentation was in an oak upright tank with punching down. The wine was aged in French oak 20% new. Alex said his section of grapes was not ready to be picked until two weeks later than the others. This is a wine with nice fruit, a hint of spice and a hint of vanilla.

Ponzi: Madrona Vineyard Luisa said it is a 10-acre vineyard and was planted in 1985. It is one block of soil. The soil is called Laurelwood (a basalt base covered with ice age wind blown sedimentary soils) this is the youngest soil in the valley. The elevation is 300 to 450ft and the exposure is southeast. Spacing is 8×3 and the Clones: Pommard own-rooted. The winery is in the northernmost part of the valley in what is known as the Chelalem Mountains AVA.

THE WINE

Adam said he used 85% whole clusters and the wine was “dumped over” not punched down. William Seylem yeast was used and the wine was aged in French oak 25% new. The wine had hints of red berries, cherries and spice. It was the most approachable and if I had to chose a wine to drink with lunch today this would be the one.

Louisa said she used 50% whole clusters and there was a 7 day post fermentation with 35 days in the fermenter, ambient yeast fermentation. The wine was aged for 25 days in French oak, 25% new. This was the most tannic wine I tasted so far but there was enough ripe fruit to cover it. This is a wine that will age.

Alex said there was 100% destemming, ambient yeast and fermentation in an oak upright tank. The wine is aged in French oak 20% new for 10 months. The wine had hints of raspberries and cherry and a touch of spice. Good acidity in a wine is very important to him.

Sokol Blosser Old Vineyard Block The vineyard was planted in 1971 and replanted in 2007. The soil is called Jory (Volcanic) and the vines do not have to struggle too much. Elevation is 500ft. Spacing is 7×5. Clones: Pommard on 428H rootstock. AVA is Dundee Hills, 30 miles SW of Portland, in Yamhill County in the northern Willamette Valley.

THE WINE

Adam used 85% whole cluster, dump over, no punching down, William Seylem yeast and the wine was aged in French oak 25% new. The wine has hints of red fruit ,cherry and spice. I found the wines made by Adam to be the most approachable and have the softest tannins.

Louisa said there was 100% destemming, and 10% saignee added on the second day and ambient yeast fermentation. This wine had the most tannin, which I believe is part of the Ponzi style. This is the most structured of the wines with hints of blackberries, cassis, plum and a hint of hazelnut.

The wines of Louisa were the most structured and the most tannic but they were not harsh tannins and they are wines that will age.

Alex Said there was 100% destemming and a house yeast was used for fermentation and aged in new Mercury Prestige French oak barrel. This is a wine with hints of cherry and raspberries and a touch of spice.

I found Alex’s wines to be somewhere between the style of Adam and Louise.

Some of the wines have a touch of vanilla and Alex said that would go away with age.

One of the members of the audience in response to a question from Alex  said the 3 wines they liked the best were those made by the winemakers from their own vineyards and I would have to agree.

 

The last wine was the 2GV 2017 Pinot Noir Cuvee from 3 vineyards: 36% Madrona, 32% Boheme and 32% Old Vineyard Block.

Alex said this wine is a blend made by three-second generation, sibling-run wineries, incorporating three estate vineyards, three AVA’s and three different wine makers. This wine had hints of red and black fruit with hints of cherry, blueberries and a note of spice.

Also at the tasting: Anna Maria Ponzi, President of Ponzi

Alison Sokol Blosser, Co- President

Anna Campbell Elk Cove Vineyards, Creative Director.

This was a Oregon Original and true Second Generation Family wine event.

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A Restaurant Lunch at Home

Michele and I meet with a group of friends for lunch every few months.  At one get together, our friend Lucio Galano said that he would like to prepare for us a menu from a restaurant his father once owned in Danbury, Conn, called Bella Italia. His father, Agnello Galano, was the chef and his mother Anna often cooked with him in the restaurant.  Though Agnello is now deceased, Lucio said that Anna still loves to cook and wanted to make the dinner with him at his home.  It was an invitation Michele and I were happy to accept.

The table setting.  The table was set with plates and flatware from the restaurant.  The plates  were  handpainted  in  Vietri,  Italy.

The appetizer was  a combination  of  cheeses  and  greens  served  in sweet  onion  “spoons.”

Then baked clams,  an  old  favorite, delicately  seasoned  with  just  the  right  amount  of  breadcrumbs.

The pasta was cappellini served with ham, peas, mushrooms, and a touch of tomato in a creamy sauce.

The main course was chicken breast, pounded flat and enclosing a filling of ham, cheese and mushrooms, then coated with egg and flour and sauteed.  A light wine sauce completed the dish.

Our fabulous dessert was spectacular.  It consisted of sponge cake moistened with liqueur and layered with cannoli cream and strawberries.

The wines

Toscano Rosso IGT 2013 Ziobaffa made from 80% organic Sangiovese and 20% organic Syrah. The soil is sandy, calcareous with many river pebbles. The exposure is southwest.  There are 2,500 plants per acre and the training system is cordon spur. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel. This is an easy drink fruity wine with hints of cherry, blueberry and a touch of raspberry.

Aglianico Del Taburno 2013 DOCG Fontanavecchia (Campania) Harvest is in late October sightly on the ripe side and vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in large oak barrels for 9 months and then in bottle before release. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit, hints of blackberries, spice and a note of tobacco. The wine was showing very well.

What a treat to experience Agnello’s cooking interpreted by Lucio and Anna.  We had such a great time and can’t thank them enough for this delicious meal.

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Terresacre: Wine from Molise

Over the years, I have met Chef Marcello Russodivito at different wine and food events. He owns a restaurant called Marcello’s of Suffern, in Suffern NY http://www.marcellosgroup.com. We would talk about wine and food and told me about a winery in Molise that he really liked. In fact, he liked it so much that he considered himself the American ambassador for the wine.

I asked him who the importer was and he told me that it is Wine Emporium. I called Franco Bengazi, owner of the company, and asked him if I could have some samples to try. In return, Franco sent me 7 bottles of very interesting wine.

Terresacre winery was established in 2006 in the small South Central Italian region of Molise. There are 35 hectares of vineyards and they are at 270 meters located in the countryside of Monterero di Bisaccia. This is in the hills of the lower Molise where the grapes are influenced by the maritime climate.

The Wines

Falanghina 2018 DOC 100% Falanghina. Harvest is by hand the first week of September and the grapes are destemmed, immediately crushed, and softly pressed. The must is immediately cooled at 8 to 10 degrees C. After 18 hours the must begins the fermentation process. Alcoholic fermentation lasts for 10 days at a constant temperature 15C. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a fresh dry wine with hints of citrus fruit, apple, a touch of acacia flowers and good acidity. This is the first time I have tasted a Falanghina from Molise and I really enjoyed it. $21

Falanghina Oravera 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. After pressing, the grapes are subjected to a pre-saturation and the juice is cooled at 8C and left to settle. After 24 hours the clear must is fermented. The juice is fermented in French oak barriques. To obtain aromatic complexity the wine remains in the barrels on the lees for 8 months. The wine then is aged in bottle until it is ready for release. This is a complex wine with hints of candied fruits, acacia flowers and vanilla. Even with the barrique aging the aromas and the flavors of the Falanghina come through. This is the first time I have had a Falanghina fermented and aged in barriques. $30

Rosato 2017 “Rosavite” Terre Degli Osci IGT 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand picked at the end of September. After the separation of the stalks there is a mild crushing of the grapes. Maceration is for 10 hours. Fermentation at a controlled temperature takes place at 16 to18 C for 10 days. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints a cherry, raspberry and strawberry. $17.50

Rosso Neravite Molise 2014 DOC made from 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested on the last 10 days of October. The grapes are softly crushed and destemmed. Maceration is in small steel fermentation tanks for 15 to 20 days with continuous daily stirring. Temperature controlled fermentation at 28C. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with hints of black cherry and blackberries. $17.50

Tintilia 2016 DOC made from 100% Tintilia. This wine is treated the same way as the Tintilia Riserva(see below) the only difference is the it is aged in neutral stainless steel containers only. This is an intense full bodied wine with hints of blueberries, dark cherry, spice and a touch of balsamic. $27

The Tintilia Grape Is a black-skinned grape grown in small quantities in Molise. The vines produce medium-sized, egg-shaped berries in lose winged bunches. During maturation, some berries will even detach themselves, thinning bunches even more and further lowinerg the yields. The history of the grape in Molise is open to interpretation. Because the name Tinta means red in Spanish some believe that the grape was introduced into Molise sometime during the 17th century from Spain. Others believe the grape goes all the way back to the Samnites who inhabited the region prior to Roman rule. All agree however it is the most interesting “indigenous” grape in Molise.

Because Tintilia is a very low yielding grape it was not very profitable to grow. The grape managed to survive in a few places here and there until it was “re-discovered” in the late 1990’s by producers such as Terresacre. This was helped in part by the creation of the DOC in 1998 which allowed wines made by at least 85% Tintilia to have the DOC.

I do not believe I have had a wine made from this grape before!

Tintilia Riserva Molise 2013 made from 100% Tintilia. The grapes are hand harvested at the end of September and the beginning of October. After the separation of the stalks there is a soft pressing of the grapes. Maceration takes place in steel vats for 20 to 30 days with pumping over of the must. Alcoholic fermentation is for 10 to 12 days in temperature controlled tanks and at a temperature that does not rise above 28C. The wine is aged in French barriques carefully selected by the enologist Goffredo Agostini to respect the character of the Tintilia grape. This is a complex full bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruits, a touch of black pepper and balsamic notes. $41.50

Rispetto Montepulciano “Experientia Manet” 2013 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested in late October. Maceration takes place in small steel fermentation tanks for 20 to 25 days and strring takes place. Fermentation is from 10 to 12 days at 28C. The wine is aged in French oak barriques made from two different types of wood. The wine has hints of blueberries, jam, vanilla coconut and coffee. $ 33.50

Thanks to Chef Marcello Russodivito for introducing me to these wines and to Franco Bengazi of Wine Emporium for sending me the samples.

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Drinking Fiorano Rosso with Alessia Antinori

A few years ago Michele and I were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. There were 12 people and everyone was asked to bring a bottle of wine. One of the guests brought two bottles of wine, one of which was the 1974 Fiorano Rosso from Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa, a winery located 30 minutes outside Rome. Followers of my blog know that this may be my favorite wine.

I took this guest aside and explained that since he had two bottles there was no reason to open the Fiorano for so many people. It may have been the tone of my voice or the look on my face and he said to me, “Here, take the bottle home.” I promised I wouldn’t open the bottle until one of our Fiorano dinners when he could join us.  Unfortunately, it did not workout and he told me I could drink the wine without him.

Alessia Antinori

Alessia Antinori, granddaughter of the prince is the owner of Tenuta Fiorano, which is just a short distance from Rome.  I have visited the winery a number of times.  Alessia also  has an apartment in NYC.  Recently we met in Chinatown for lunch and she brought the 1993 Fiorano. After drinking the wine we decided it was time for  another Fiorano dinner. Alessia invited us to do it at her apartment. I also invited the person that gave me the 1974 Fiorano. Not only could he make it this time but he said he would bring a bottle of the 1971!

There were 7 of us for lunch.  We opened a magnum of Champagne to start but it was oxidized–too bad.  So we moved on to the wines.

The wines

Alberico Bianco 2015 100% Sémillon Tenuta Fiorano After a careful manual selection, the best grapes were destemmed and soft pressed. Fermentation in casks and the wine completed its six months of aging in puncheons. The wine was aged in bottle for a minimum of 24 months. This is an exceptional balanced wine with complex aromas of subtle tropical fruit, hints of citrus fruit and a slight touch of vanilla with a very pleasing finish and a long aftertaste. This is Alessia’s wine and it is  very special. Alessia said it is a white wine that will age and I agreed. In fact I told her it was a white wine as good as the Sémillon or the Malvasia di Candia that her grandfather made!

Le Montrachet 1986 Jaffelin 100% Chardonnay The grapes are harvested by hand and then directly pressed in a pneumatic press. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels of which 40% are new. The lees are stirred (batonnage) occasionally during aging which lasts for about 13 months. This is how they do the white wine now but it may have been different back in 1986. The wine was showing signs of age but was very drinkable and was a lovely combination with the   stracchino, a mild and creamy Italian cheese.

We started with homemade potato gnocchi in a rich creamy cheese sauce.

Next we had Brasato al Porcini, beef braised with porcini, red wine and tomato sauce.  With it we had a puree of cauliflower and potato, brussels sprouts and roasted asparagus.

Fiorano Rosso is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa. Burton Anderson, in his landmark Italian wine book  Vino, called Fiorano Rosso “the noblest Roman of them all”.  The Prince’s few acres of vines are planted along the Appian Way about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome and almost right next to Rome’s second airport, Ciampino. It is the best cabernet/merlot blend made it Italy and one of the best in the world!  In my opinion–and I am in the minority here–one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is in Lazio close to Rome.  The Fiorano Rosso is all leather and cherry with a great finish and aftertaste.  The last vintage made by the prince was 1995.

Fiorano 1956 This wine was still drinking but showing its age. The leather was there but the fruit had become more muted.

Fiorano 1971 This was classic Fiorano, leather and cherry in excellent condition with a wonderful finish and aftertaste.

Fiorano 1985 This wine had to be decanted because it was too young but the leather and the cherry was all there. All it needs is time to develop.

 

Fiorano 1988 This wine seemed to be out of balance perhaps  because it needed more time to develop.

Villa Antinori Villa del Chianti 1949 This wine was showing its age, still drinkable but not for much longer. A few weeks ago in Rome I had the 1975 in magnum and it was drinking very well.  One  of  the  guests  brought  this  wine for Alessia.

Chateau Margaux 1986 Made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon , 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.  This was a classic Bordeaux.  1986 was a classic year, however the wine needed more time to develop.

It was a wonderful lunch and a chance to taste different vintages of Fiorano Rosso along with other older wines, not to compare but to enjoy.

 

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An Extraordinary Wine Dinner

A wine collector friend decided to have a party in order to share some of his best wines so he arranged a dinner at Gramercy Tavern.  There were 16 of us in the private dining room.

The Wines

Champagne “ Grand Dame” 1990 Double Magnum Veuve Clicquot made with 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay from the estate’s 100 percent rated Grand Cru vineyards. This is refined, elegant champagne with a hint of brioche and a smooth silky finish.

All of the following wines are Magnums

Batard Montrachet 2004 Joseph Drouhin made from 100% Chardonnay purchased from regular supplies. Hand harvest and a very slow pressing. Juice from the last pressings is not used. The wine is decanted directly into barrels. The wine is aged in French oak, 25% new for 12 to 15 months. The wine has hints of honey, almond, ripe fruit and a touch of wood. It has a great feel in the mouth with a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.

Chambertin 1989 Domaine A Rousseau P&F Made from 100% Pinot Noir. The soil is limestone and clay and the vineyard is 5.3 acres making them the largest landowner in Chambertin. Following a cold maceration the must travels by gravity into barrels where it will stay for the entire vinification process lasting from 18 to 24 months. The wine is blended unfiltered. This is a structured, dense, powerful wine but it is not heavy and is a joy to drink. One on the two best Burgundies I have had the pleasure to enjoy. The other I also had with this same generous friend.

PommardLes Rugiens Bas” 1988 De’Montille made from 100% Pinot Noir from Les Rugiens Bas, a Premier Cru composed of 5.83 hectares. With 1.02 hectares, they are the largest owners. The soil is clay with the presence of iron. The wines are certified organic by Ecocert and they use biodynamic practices. This wine is balanced and elegant with nice fruit and will age for a number of years.

Ornellaia 1988 Marchese Lodovico Antinori made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon,16% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are hand harvested. The grapes were de-stemmed and gently crushed and put into wooden fermenters and stainless steel tanks. Fermentation maceration lasted for 15 to 20 days. After fermentation the wine completed malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels.  The wine was aged for 11 months in French barriques 40% new and 60% once used. The wine was aged for 16 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with with hints of dark fruit, violets and a touch of vanilla.

Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli” 1990 Altesino made from 100% Sangiovese. Traditional fermentation. The wine is aged for 4 years with a minimum of two years in barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of wild berries, chocolate and tobacco with a touch of violets and vanilla.

Hermitage “La Chapelle” 1988 Paul Jaboulet Aine 100% Syrah planted in a diversity of terroir. The age of the vines is 40 to 60 years. The grapes come down from the slopes of l’Hermitage on small sledges and then are sorted manually and vinified traditionally in the cellars. The final assembly is made during aging in the cellars in wood for 15 to 18 months. During this time the wines are also racked. This is a complex and elegant wine with hints of black fruit, black cherries, spice and leather. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. A very impressive wine.

Chateauneuf –du- Pape Cuvee Reserve 1995 Pegau made from 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah 4% Mourvèdre and 10% other grape varieties allowed  by the AOP. There is a strict selection of carefully hand picked grapes. No de-stemming and the blend of 13 grape varieties are gently crushed before fermentation takes place for ten days in a cement vat. No added yeasts and no temperature control in this natural process. An absolute minimum amount of tartaric acid and sulphites are added. After pressing, the wine is aged for 2 years in select large oak barrels. The wine has hints of cherries, raspberries and plums with a touch of leather and spice.

Bordeaux 1983 Pomerol Chateau Lafleur made from almost equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard is planted on 3 different soils: northwest there is sandy clay gravel, to the south and east clay gravel and in the heart of the vineyard gravelly sand. Vinification takes place in traditional cement vats. The vats go from 30 hl to 8o hl. The wine ages in French oak barrels and a portion of them are new where the wine remains for about 15 months. The wine has hints of cherry, blackberry, plum and spice. 1983 was a very good year for the Chateau and it is one of the best Pomerols.

Bordeaux 1983 St Julien Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. There are 10,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is in stainless steel vats of different sizes and malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete vats. Over 50% of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry and a touch of tobacco and spice.

With dessert, we drank two 750’s.

Ruby Port 1963 Graham a fortified wine that is aged for 2 years in wood. 1963 was a memorable vintage for port. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of caramelized fruit, notes of plum, raspberry, blackberry and dried figs.

Madeira Verdelho 1966 D’Oliveira, a fortified wine made from the white Verdelho grape. It is drier then Bual but not as dry as Sercial. This is a lush and balanced wine with hints of roasted nuts and a very long finish and a lingering after taste.

 

In all, we enjoyed one double magnum of Champagne, one magnum of white wine, eight magnums of red wine, one 750 bottle of Port and another of Madeira.

 

 

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Lunch with Dora

When Julia Griner asked if we knew of any traditional pasta makers in New York City that could be featured on the popular Pasta Grannies You Tube Channel, Michele had one thought, our friend Dora Marzovilla. Dora, who comes from the Puglia region of Italy,

Dora

makes several varieties of handmade pasta every day for her son’s restaurants, I Trulli and Ristoro del Cinghiale in New York City.

Julia, together with her husband Pino Ficara, own the Grano & Farina Cooking School in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome that we have written about before. Julia also began collaborating recently with Vicky Bennison, the owner and creator of Pasta Grannies.  Michele put Julia and Vicky in touch with Dora through her son Nicola Marzovilla, and they scheduled an appointment for Vicky to interview Dora in New York and make a video of her in action. Lucky for us, we were invited to join Vicky, Dora, and members of the Marzovilla family for dinner at Dora’s home afterward.

When we arrived, Dora was in the kitchen trimming baby artichokes and heads of broccoli. These she dipped in a light batter and fried in hot oil. They were hot and crisp and we ate them with our fingers as Dora sent out batch after batch from the kitchen

along with Dora’s freshly made tomato focaccia.

Next up was the pasta, handmade orecchiette, which Dora had made in advance. The little disks, made with semolina flour, were pleasantly chewy and the slightly cupped shape was ideal for holding Dora’s homemade ragu made with

meatballs

and beef braciole which we ate after the pasta.

For our main course, Dora had prepared braised rabbit with tomatoes and potatoes, a Pugliese specialty.

The rabbit pieces were tender and moist and both they and the potatoes had absorbed the delicious flavors of the herbs and tomatoes.

With the meal we had two wines from the Marzovilla family’s Tuscan winery, which went very well with the food.

Massoferrato 2015 IGT made from 100% Sangiovese vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.

Massoferrato 2014 IGT  made from 100% Sangiovese from a selection of the best grapes and aged in custom made 20hl Slavonian casks.

Dessert was an assortment of Italian pastries, and of course, strong cups of espresso.

Dinner with Dora was a classic Italian-style family meal with lots of good food, wine and lively conversation. We were delighted to have shared it.

The Pasta Grannies video with Dora is not yet available on line, but we will let you know when it appears. Meanwhile, go to their website and enjoy some of the other great grannies in action.

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An Evening with Robert Mondavi Wines

Two Great Talents, One Unforgettable Night with Robert Mondavi Chief Winemaker Genevieve Janssens & award winning Chef Elise Kornack.

Genevieve Janssens and Elisa Kornack

Robert Mondavi opened his Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley in 1966 and changed the face of California wine forever.

Having attended previous Mondavi wine tastings organized by publicist Lisa Klinck-Shea, I was looking forward to this latest one, and the opportunity to meet the winemaker and the chef.

Reception: Carrot with Polenta and Sumac and Foie Gras with Preserved Vegetables.

Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc Riserve 2016 TO Kalon Vineyards Napa Valley. Made from a blend of 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon. The grapes were picked between August 5th and August 23rd. The wine has hints of white peaches, grapefruit and a hint of orange blossoms with a nice finish and aftertaste.

Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Reserve 2015 Carneros, Napa Valley. Made from 100% Pinot grapes from selected blocks from Rancho Carneros (forty-year-old vines) and the Hyde Vineyards. The clusters were hand harvested and sorted. Portions of the grapes were destemmed. Fermentation took place mainly in small traditional open-ended fermentation tanks and the cap of skins was pushed down gently. Several days of cold soak prior to fermentation and extended maceration afterward added up to a total of 25 days skin contact. The wine went into 91% new French oak for malolactic fermentation and matured for 9 months. The wine has hints of red plum, cherry, a touch of vanilla and cinnamon and a fruity finish.

First Course: Celery, Turnip and Pear with Ginger, Almond and Sheep’s Milk Cheese.

Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016, Carneros, Napa Valley. Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Hyde ranch. Grapes are hand harvested into one-half ton bins at daybreak, the clusters were gently pressed and slow cool native yeast fermentation took place in 100% Burgundian-style barrels. Seventy-seven were new French oak. As the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, each barrel was stirred twice a week, recirculating the yeast to gradually build in greater creaminess and further enhance the texture. When optimal balance of fruit and oak influence was reached, it was blended and transferred to neutral barrels with the lees to continue aging for a total of 12 months. The wine was bottled in October 2017. The wine has citrus flavors and aromas with hints of pear and apple with a touch of toasty oak and almonds in the finish.

Second Course: Beluga Lentils and Wild Mushrooms with Cranberry, Coffee and Truffles.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Franc 2015, Oakville, Napa Valley Made from 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Grapes hand harvested into small bins and sorted in the gravity-flow cellar. The clusters were destemmed directly into traditional French oak tanks for cold soaking, fermentation and extended maceration for 32 days skin contact. The wine was drained, gently pressed into 100% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled after repeated tastings over 20 months of barrel tasting. The wine was bottled in August 2017. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of dark fruit, violets and licorice, nice minerality and a long finish.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Oakville, Napa Valley. Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot. The wine was drained and gently pressed into 29% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled with tasting trials over 18 months of barrel aging. The wine was bottled in August 2016. The wine has hints of dark cassis, black cherry, and sage with a touch of vanilla.

Third Course: New York Strip: Rutabaga and a Sauce of Smoked Corn, Peppercorn and Mustard Seed

Robert Mondavi Winery “The Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard, 2015 Oakville, Napa Valley. Made from 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4%, Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were hand harvested with 3 stages of strict sorting: on the vine, by individual cluster and then by single berry. There was a total of 37 days of skin contact. The wine was drained and gently pressed into 100% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled by repeated tastings over 20 months of barrel aging. The wine was bottled in August of 2017. The wine has hints of dried plums, cassis, black fruit, vanilla and a touch of tobacco.fullsizeoutput_2f2a.jpeg

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008, Napa Valley made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine is blended from selected blocks from the To Kalon (highest beauty) as well as other vineyards within the Oakville Bench. Appellation 100% Oakville District, Napa Valley. Grape source 82% To Kalon Vineyard. Each vineyard block is hand harvested into small containers. The grapes are gently hand sorted and the clusters are destemmed directly into oak fermentation tanks using a gravity-flow method which eliminates the use of a must pump. After fermentation the wine goes through 40 days of maceration. To drain and press, the free run wine flows by gravity directly to the barrels and the pomace (skins and seeds) is conveyed to a basket press for a gentle extraction. Malolactic fermentation is in barrels. The wine is aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. The wine was bottled in November of 2010. This is a well-structured wine with hints of blueberry, cherry and sage with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. The wine will age for many more years.

Dessert;  Apple and Fig Leaf with Seeds, Turmeric and Honey

Robert Mondavi Winery Moscato d’Ora 2017, Napa Valley made from 100% Moscato di Canelli. All the grapes were harvested from a single block on the Wappo Hill Vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap District. The grapes were picked between September 4th and September 14th. The hand-picked grapes were gently pressed as whole clusters, the juice was inoculated with a yeast strain selected to heighten the inherent floral character of the Moscato. The slow cool fermentation was stopped when the natural sweetness reached optimal balance with the acidity. The wine was bottled in February of 2018 to retain freshness and fruitiness. Residual sugar 76g/l and the alcohol is 8%. The wine has hints of nectarines, peaches, white blossoms and honey and is very refreshing on the palate.

It was an unforgettable night of wine and food

 

 

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