Category Archives: Vermentino

Wines of Sardinia from Vigna Surrau

I have visited the Island of Sardinia off the coast of Westen Italy a number of times. It is has a rugged interior, but a great coastline with beaches that attract many tourists. Though it is one of the regions of Italy, the inhabitants are proud of their Sardinian heritage and if someone is going to the mainland (Italy), they say they are going to the continent. The national dish is mutton. I always enjoy the wines of Sardinia made with such grapes as Vermentino, Cannonau, Carignano and Muristellu.

A few months ago I received samples of wines from Vigna Surrau, a winery in Sardinia. I just finished tasting them last week and here is my review.

The Surrau Vineyards extend to the eastern part of Gallura, in Sardinia. The Vigna Surrau winery overlooks a property of over 50 hectares of land covered by vegetation. It is not far from the famous “Costa Smeralda” (Emerald Coast), on the road from Azachena to Porto Cervo.

The Winesimg_1270

Vermentino Di Gallura “Branu” 2015 DOCG made from 100% Vermentino. The training system is espalier (guyot) and the soil is granite, medium mixture, tending to be sandy. Crushing and destemming takes place in a cold environment. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine is bottled young to preserve its minerality and fruity freshness.img_1265

Vermentino Di Gallura Superiore “Sciala” 2015 DOCG Made from 100% Vermentino from a selection of the best grapes in their vineyards in the valley of Surrau. Training system is guyot and the soil is granite, medium consistency, tending to sandy. After destemming and crushing the must is kept cold. After a brief contact of the skins with the must, alcoholic fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature and the wine remains on the fine lees for a few months with batonnage. The wine has aromas and flavors or citrus fruit with hints of tropical fruit and good acidity.img_1268

 Cannonau Di Sardegna 100% Cannonau.  2014 The soil was formed from granite of medium mix, clayey and sandy, which gives the wine good minerality. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks for 7 to 8 days at a controlled temperature, daily pumping over and punching down are carried out in order to allow for balanced extraction of polyphenolic substances. Malolalactic fermentation takes place right after alcoholic fermentation. The wine remains in concrete and steel tanks for a few months before it is bottled. The wine has an intense aroma of red fruit with hints of strawberries and raspberries.img_1266

Cannonau Di Sardegna “Sincaru” 2013 DOC 100% Cannonau The soil is derived from granite weathering, medium mix, tending to sandy. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks for 16 to 18 days at a controlled temperature. Daily pumping over and punching down are carried out. The wine is then aged in Slavonian oak barrels that have not been toasted for 12 months. It remains for a few days in cement tanks and very large barrels before release. This is a wine with intense red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of spice and a touch of leather.

Cannonau di Sardegna “Sincaru Riserva” 2011 DOC made from a long maceration of 100% Cannonau grapes. After a careful manual selection, the grapes are destemmed and crushed and ferment in medium sized Slavonian oak barrels. Alcoholic fermentation lasts about 15 days never exceeding 28C. Maceration is with a floating cap with frequent pumping over. There is prolonged post fermentation for another 15 to 20 days with a submerged cap. After racking, the wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels of 30HL for a minimum of 18 months. The wine is in small cement tanks before it is bottled and will remain in bottle for 6 months before release. This is an intense wine with red fruit aromas and flavors and hints of cherry and spicy notes.img_1267

Isola Dei Nuraghu “Surrau” 2013 IGT Made from Cannonau, Carignano and Muristellu grapes. Skin contact takes place in stainless steel tanks for about a week at controlled temperature. Daily pumping over and pumping down take place. Aging is for a few months in steel tanks and then in bottle. The wine has nice red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of raspberries and strawberries and a touch of violets.img_1271

Isola Dei Nuraghi “Barriu” 2013 IGT made from Cannonau, Carignano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Maceration on the skin is continuous for about 3 weeks with daily pumping over and punching down. Malolactic fermentation takes place in cement tanks and then is aged for 18 months in barrel. The wine has ripe red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of red jam and spicy notes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Cannonau, Vermentino, Vigna Surrau

Castello di Meleto: The Wines of Tuscany

A few months ago I was contacted by wellcomonline.com, a PR agency based in Alba, Italy. They wanted to know if I wanted to taste wine samples from Castello di Meleto, a winery in Tuscany. Wellcom handles some of Italy’s top wine clients, so I told them I would except the samples and was very pleased that I did.

The Castello di Meleto estate consists of 2,470 acres of which 300 acres are planted with vines. It is located just over a half mile from the town of Gaiole in Chianti. The castle, the heart of the estate, once belonged to the monks of the Coltibuono Abbey. The name Meleto can be traced back to 1256. Today the vineyards are spread in five different plots that surround the castle, leaving the winery in an ideal central location.

The Wines IMG_0984

Vermentino 2015 IGT Toscana Bianco made from 100% Vermentino. The vineyard was planted in 2010 and is at 360 to 420 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. The grapes are handpicked in small containers in order to reduce skin breakage. After being gently destemmed and soft pressed the free run juice is chilled and left on the skins for a few hours. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. During fermentation, a small portion of the wine undergoes a brief aging in second or third passage barriques. The wine in aged in stainless steel for 4 months before release. This is a fresh slightly tangy wine with hints of citrus and nice minerality. $12 IMG_0985

Chianti Classico DOCG 2013 made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is at 360 to 450 meters with a south, southeast and south-west exposure and the soil is gravelly, rich in galestro and alberese. There are 3,500/ 5,000 vines per hectare and the vines were planted in 1970-2000. The training system is spurred cordon, guyot and alberello (bush). The grapes are harvested by hand and by machine and then destemmed and lightly pressed. Maceration is on the skins for 15 to 20 days. Spontaneous alcoholic fermentation is in stainless steel tanks, without adding exogenous yeast, for 7-10 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in cement vat. The wine is aged in 54HL Slavonian oak barrels (botti) for 12 months. The wine is aged in the bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of cherry, blueberry and a hint of pine. It is a very pleasant wine that is very food friendly. $18IMG_0986

Chianti Classico Riserva “Vigna Casi” DOCG 2012 made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is located in Gaiole in Chianti. The exposure is west, south and southwest at 400 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon and alberello. The vines were planted in 1990-1995. Harvest and selection is by hand. Maceration and spontaneous fermentation is at a minimum temperature of 78-82F in wooden vats with delestage and pump-over. The wine is kept in contact with the skins for 20 to 25 days before it goes into cement vats for malolactic fermentation. One half of the wine is aged in 52 Slavonian oak barrels, the rest in second or third passage 225-liter barriques for 18 months depending on the vintage. The wine remains in the bottle for 6 months before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of cherries, violets and spice and a long and intense finish. $30IMG_0987

 Chianti Classico “Gran Selezione” DOCG 2011 made from 85 % Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is south facing and is at 400 meters and were planted in 2000 and 2003. There are 5,000 vines per hectare; the training system is spurred cordon and the soil is gravelly, rich in galestro and alberese. Great care is taken in thinning shoots, foliage canopy management, and pruning. Harvest is by hand with 10-kilogram bins. In the cellar the grapes are refrigerated to a temperature of 8/10C for at least 24 hours. After the fermentation, which is in oak barrels, there is a long maceration. The Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in second passage French barriques, while the Sangiovese is aged in second and third passage barriques. The wine is aged between 14 to 18 months depending on the vintage. The wine remains in bottle for one year before release. This is an intense complex wine with hints of spice and berries. It will need a few more years to bring out all of its aromas and flavors.  $50

Gran Selezione is a new classification at the top of the Chianti Classico pyramid. The grapes for these wines must be estate grown and come from a single vineyard, or selected from the estates best-suited vineyards. Gran Selezione wines can be released on the market 30 months from the grape harvest, including at least 3 months of bottle age. The alcohol must be at least 13% IMG_0989

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC 2008 90% Trebbiano, 5% Sangiovese and 5% Malvasia. The vineyard has western exposure and is at 400 meters. The soil is limestone mixed with sandstone. Training system is guyot, there are 3,000 vines per hectare. The vines were planted in 1972 -1974. Manual harvest and the grapes are naturally dried in well-ventilated rooms followed by fermentation and aging is barrels of different woods and sizes, which are sealed and kept in rooms with shifting temperatures. Aging is for 4 to 5 years in mixed wooden casks called caratelli of 60, 100 and 120 liters. The caratelli are filled up to 70%. This is a full dessert wine has hints of dried fruit, honey and apricot with a touch of vanilla. $45 – 375 bottle

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Filed under Castello di Meleto, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Vermentino, Vin Santo

ITALIAN SUMMER WHITE WINES FOR UNDER $ 20

My motto has always been that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on wine to drink well. Over the last year I have tasted  many excellant Italian white wines that are under $20.  Here is a list of some of my favorites.


Frascati Superiore Secco 2009 DOC Lazio Fontana Candida Made from 60% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 30% Trebbiano and 10% Malvasia del Lazio. The grapes come from hillside vineyards in the DOC zone located in the province of Lazio, in the communes of Frascati, Monteporzio Cantone, Grottaferrata, Montecompatri and Rome. The grapes are harvested between September and October and immediately transported to the cellar where they are gently pressed. Vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel and then bottled under nitrogen to protect its freshness and fruit. The wine has aromas and flavors of white peaches and apples. It has good acidity and minerality with a long finish and a nice aftertaste. $10.

Bianco Veronese “Ferdi” 2009 IGT Sartori di Verona (Veneto) made from 100% Gaganega.  There is a careful selection of handpicked grapes from different vineyards that are partially dried in small boxes for 30- 40 days (appassimento) in order to reduce water and concentrate sugar content and color.  3 grams of sugar per liter in the wine is balanced by the acidity. There is a light cold soaking. The pressing of the grapes is followed by short skin maceration at a low temperature.
Part of the must is fermented in 500-liter oak tonneaux but the oak is not new. The remainder is aged in stainless steel. The wine is then left to mature on its lees for 6/7 months. This adds mouth feel and intensity. The wine is aged in bottle for at least 3 months before release. The wine has subtle floral notes with hints of pears and apricots and good acidity.  $14

Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG 2010 Beni di Batasiolo 100% Cortese (Piedmont) the vineyards are at 100/200 meters and there are 3,500 vines per hectare. They use the Guyot system modified into small arches. There is soft pressing with static decanting, and the alcoholic fermentation is under strict temperature control. The wine is bottled after malolactic fermentation. The wine has aromas of white flowers with hints of white peaches, citrus and good acidity. $18.99

Cuppa Ramato 2009Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio IGT 2009 Attems.
The harvest took place near the end of September and the grapes were harvested by hand. Vinification takes place 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 malolactic 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 history of the 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.

Grechetto Dell’Umbria IGT 2010, made from 100% Grechetto. Scacciadiavoli The harvest takes place the first ten days of September. Vinification takes place in steel tanks on the lees and malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 months before release. Grechetto is a native Umbrian varietal and this a wine to be enjoyed when it is young. It is fresh and fruity with floral hints and good acidity. $18
Vermentino Maremma Toscana IGT 2011 Cecchi 85% Vermentino and 15% other approved grapes. The vines are at 150 meters and the training system is guyot. There are 5,500 grapes per hectare. Harvesting takes place the beginning of September. After the grapes are picked they are left for 12 hours at a temperature of 8°C in contact with the skins in order to keep the primary aromas.
Fermentation takes place in small stainless steel tanks for 18 days and the wine remains in bottle for two months before release. $16
Pecorino 2009 Offida DOC 100% Pecorino Saladini Pilastri.  The vineyard is 4 hectares at 150 meters with gravelly soil and east/northeast exposure. Training system is vertical shoot-positioned trellis, and there are 4,200 plants/ha. The harvest takes place in the middle of September and the grapes are organically farmed. Temperature controlled fermentation for 20 days. This is a wine with floral and herbal undertones and nice citrus aromas and flavors.  $14.99

Scavigna Bianco DOC 2010 Azienda Agricola Odoardi (Calabria) made from Greco Bianco, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco and Riesling. The winery is at 600 meters. The soil is calcareous clay and the training system is Guyot. The harvest takes place in late August and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine has flavors and aromas of white peach and herbs. They are one of the few producers that make this wine.  Owners are Giorgio and Giovanbattista Odoardi. $17

Falanghina Beneventana IGT 100% Falanghina  Donna Chiara.(Campania)  The soil is chalky clay, there are 2,500 vines per hectare, the training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the first week of October. Fermentation in stainless steel at controlled temperature for 40 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and does not see any wood.
The wine was fresh with hints of citrus and floral aromas and flavors, good acidity and is a very pleasant wine to drink. $18

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Filed under Calabria, Ciró, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Frascati, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Odoardi winery, Sartori di Verona, Scacciadiavoli, Scavigna Bianco, Vermentino, wines under $20

The Wines of Davide Sada and Dinner by a Tuscan Chef

Davide Sada is a wine lover and always dreamed of owning his own winery.

Davide however was involved in the family business; his great-great grandfather had patented the technique of vacuum-canning foods and was the creator of what was to become Simmenthal, Italy’s best-known brand of tinned beef.

 Sig. Sada at first wanted to start a winery in Friuli, but he changed his mind and his career when he met the well known Italian enologist, Maurizio Castelli, who convinced him to look in the northern part of the Maremma.  After a detailed analysis of the land lying between Casale Marittimo, Bibbona and Bolgheri by a geologist friend of Castelli, Davide purchased land that they felt was best suited for growing quality grapes.  The new winery was named Azienda Agricola Sada – Fattoria “Carpoli”. 

Chef Vallini and Davide Sada

 Recently, at the Hotel Michaelangelo in NYC Sig. Sada presented his wines at a very special dinner of simply prepared traditional Tuscan food.  The dinner was prepared by Emanuele Vallini, chef/owner of La Carabaccia in Bibbona, not far from the winery.  Sig. Sada is so proud of the food of this area that he flew Chef Vallini to the US to prepare the food for the dinner.

 Vermentino Toscana IGT 2010, 100% Vermentino. The production zone is the Casale Marittimo. The vineyards are at 350 meters. The training system is spurred cordon and the harvest takes place toward the end of September. Vinification is in stainless steel and the wine does not undergo malolatic fermentation. It is aged 5 to 6 months in steel and 2 to 3 months in bottle before release. The wine was fresh and fruity with flavors and aromas of green apple, grapefruit and a touch of honey. It was a perfect combination with the Coccoli della Carabaccia (fried bread dumplings, zucchini flowers vegetables and sage leaves that were passed around as finger food. It also went very well with the first course pappa al pomodoro (bread and ripe tomatoes porridge, flavored with garlic, onions, basil and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.) $26

 Integolo Toscana IGT 2009 Made from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30-40% Montepulciano.  Sig Sada said that if the vintage is lacking and more color is needed in the wine, they will add a small percentage of Alicante, so grape percentages may vary according to the harvest. The production area is Bibbona. The vineyards are at 120 meters, the training system is guyot and the harvest is toward the middle of September. The wine is vinified in stainless steel, aged in steel for 3 months and aged 3 more months in bottle before release. Sig. Sada said that he was trying to make a wine characteristic of the area that was low in price and low in alcohol,  what he called “a wine for every day drinking”.  It is only 12.5 degrees of alcohol because the leaves of the plants are shaded from the sun. The wine had flavors and aromas of fresh red fruit, with hints of blueberry and good acidity. I think he has succeded.  It is an easy drinking wine and went very well with the farro della Garfagnana con pancetta e porro su crema di pepperoni (a timbale of spelt from Garfagnana with bacon and leeks, over a bell pepper cream) $19

 Baldoro Toscana IGT 2008 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Montepulciano and 5% Alicante. Vine training, altitude, harvest and vinification as above. The wine is aged is stainless steel for one year and in bottle for 6 months before release. This wine had fruity red berry flavors and aromas with hints of blackberries and blueberries. This wine had more body than the Integolo and had a longer finish and more lasting aftertaste.

Sig. said that the Baldoro started out as being his “every day” wine but it soon developed into a complex wine with more body and fuller aromas and flavors than the Integolo.  He felt that Baldoro would be an excellent wine with steak. We had it with La Carabaccia di Caterina de’Medici (onion soup with fresh egg soup) $26

Carpoli Toscana IGT 2006 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.  Sig. Sada said that these were the classic grapes of Bolgheri in the Maremma. The altitude, training system, harvest, and vinification are the same as above. The wine is aged in French oak barriques. Less than 1/3 are new and the rest in second and third passage barriques. It spends 8 to 10 months in bottle before release. Sig. Sada said that this was his “Super Tuscan” and a wine to age. It was a little too modern for me but not over the top and was better with the filetto di maiale in crosta di erbette e noci (polk filet in a crust of herbs and walnuts.) $44

 Vermentino Toscana IGT 2008 100% Vermentino- Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest)

This wine is not for sale at this time and is only made for family and friends. It was dark brown in color, very dense, thick and sweet. However with the dessert crema di mascarpone con sbrisolona di cantucci (cream of mascarpone with crumbles of cantucci) it was a perfect combination.

 At dinner I was sitting next to Sig. Sada and he said that the winery was organic but he does not put it on the label.

 

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Filed under Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Maremma, Vermentino