Category Archives: Vin Santo

A Dinner Party in Rome

Daniele Cernilli, aka “Doctor Wine,” and his wife,  Marina Thompson invited us to dinner at their lovely apartment in one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Rome.

There were 3 other guests, including a professor from John Cabot University in Rome.

Daniele greeted us with glasses of Champagne Clos des Goisses Brut 2002 made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The grapes are grown on a pure chalk hillside with a 45 degree slope facing due south in Mareuil- sur-Ay. Goisse, in the old Champagne dialect, means steep slope. It has a very low dosage. Vinification is mainly in wooden casks and malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of pears and apricots, floral notes, a touch of toast and an exceptional long finish. Daniele said 2002 was a great vintage in Champagne.

With the Champagne we had caviar. You can’t go wrong with Champagne and caviar, and Marina enhanced the combination by serving it with burrata, a tender, fresh cheese from Puglia. Slightly firm like mozzarella on the outside, it is sweet and creamy within. Though it might seem like a strange combination, not only did it work, it was wonderful.

Daniele also served another wine with the caviar and burrata that he believed was a better combination than with the champagne. Pinot Bianco Colli Orientali del Friuli “Zuc di Volpe 2008 Volpe Pasini made from 100% Pinot Bianco from the Togliano “Zuc” Vineyard. Fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine spends some time in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied white wine with hints of white peaches, citrus and almonds. It was showing very little sign of age.

Though I liked the Pinot Bianco, I preferred the combination of the Champagne with the caviar and burrata.

Grignolino of the Monferrato Casalese “ Bricco del BoscoVigne Vecchie2011 Giulio Accornero & Figli made from 100% Grignolino from the Bricco del Bosco vineyard. Maceration is on the skins for 20 days. The wine is aged for 30 months in oak barrels (tonneau) and 24 months in bottle before release.

Daniele Cernilli

Every other Grignolino I have tasted was meant to be drunk young. By the time this one is released all the others would be too old to drink. Here is how Daniele describes this wine in his book The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017  Intense and lively red. One of the best versions of the last years. Complex smokey and spicy notes, raspberries, pomegranate and rhubarb. Strong, intense, warm, enveloping flavor with tannic hints and extraordinary persistence.” We discussed this wine for some time.

With this wine we had pasta prepared by Daniele. He told Michele that the recipe had been given to him by the late Paola di Mauro, a great winemaker and legendary cook. Daniele roasted sweet cherry tomatoes with olive oil, capers and breadcrumbs then tossed them mezze maniche, a short wide tubular pasta, before serving. It’s a great way to make the most of out of season fresh tomatoes.

Brunello di Montalcino 1995 100% Sangiovese Donatella Cinelli Colombini. I looked at the label and told Daniele that I have the 1995 at home but the label is different. He said this was a special bottling made in honor of a wedding that took place in 1995. I am not sure how this wine was made or aged and I know they have changed their production methods over the years. This wine is a classic Brunello.

We had the Brunello with braised veal.

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2005 Rocco di Montegrossi made from 95% Malvasia Bianco di Toscana and 5% Canaiolo Nero. The soil is calcareous loamy. The harvest is the first week of October. During the drying phase the bunches of grapes are hung one by one on nets in a well– ventilated area under the rafters. All of the nets are hung from rails and are affected by noble rot–botrytis. The rails allow the nets to be shifted so that deteriorated grapes can be removed. Pressing takes place in January. The must goes into small casks of 50 and 100 liters of cherry, oak and mulberry wood. The wine ferments and ages for 6 to 7 years, only indigenous yeast is used. This is a complex intense velvety dessert wine with hints of apricot, dried fig, toasted almond and caramel.The grapes are pressed between the 13 and 20th of December. Only organic farming methods are used and there is no filtering or fining. The wine spends 6 years and 4 months in small barrels called caratelli made of cherry, mulberry and oak wood, then one year in bottle before release.

With the Vin Santo we had cheese then finished with coffee and artisan chocolates.

 

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Filed under Accornero Winery, Brunello, Champagne, Clos des Goisses, Clos des Goisses Brut, Daniele Cernilli Doctor Wine, Donatella Cinelli Colombibi, Grignolino, Pinot Bianco, Rocca di Montegrossi, Vin Santo, Volpe Pasini winery

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

Capezzana- Part II

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Carmignano from the Capezzana winery in Tuscany. https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/capezzana-carmignano-a-wine-for-the-ages/ I have a long history with their wines going back to the 1925 vintage. But that was only half of the story. Here are a few more of the wines from Capezzana which I enjoyed over lunch with Beatrice Bonacossi, an owner of the winery.  IMG_3821

Barco Reale Di Carmignano D.O.C. 2010 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Canaiolo and 5% Cabernet Franc
The vines are between 150 and 200 meters and the exposure is South-South West and South East. Soil composition is clay schist and limestone. The harvest starts in the beginning of September with the Sangiovese and ends in the middle of October with the Cabernet. Whole grape bunches are pressed and fermented, maceration takes place under strictly controlled temperatures with initial fermentation occurring in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in oak barrels for six months and at least three months in bottle before release. Beatrice said that this was a baby Carmignano, the only difference is the vinification in that these grapes undergo less skin contact and a shorter period of aging. She added that the Barco Reale was their everyday drinking wine. $15

Trefiano Carmignano D.O.C.G. 2007 80% Sangiovese, 10 Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% CanaioloIMG_3823

Made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon,5%Cabernet Franc and 10% Canaiolo. In 1994 Beatrice’s brother, Vittorio Contini Bonacossi, asked his father Count Ugo for permission to make his own experimental wine. Vittorio wanted to make an easy drinking but complex wine.

He chose the grapes from the Trefiano vineyard surrounding the family’s 16th century Villa Trefiano. The vineyard is at 200 meters, the soils clay schist and limestone and the exposure is south-southwest. The harvest takes place the end of September and the beginning of October. Beatrice said that he reduced yields and introduced small 350 liter Allier barrels for vinification. The vinification of this wine is the same as for the Carmignano D.O.C.G. but it is aged longer. Individual lots remain in barrel for 16 months prior to blending and then in bottle for 18 months before release. $55

Sausages with Grapes for Lunch

Sausages with Grapes for Lunch

Ghiaie della Furba I.G.T. 2007 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah.IMG_3825

The vineyards are at 200 meters with a south-south west exposure and the soil is clay schist and limestone. Harvest takes place the end of September and the beginning of October. Hand picked grapes are pressed and fermented, then macerated under strictly controlled temperatures. The initial alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation in French oak.  The wine is aged in barriques for 16 months and at least 12 months in bottle before release. The wine was first produced in 1979 and Cabernet Franc was in the blend (it was a classic Bordeaux blend).  In 1992 Cabernet Franc was eliminated and more Cabernet Sauvignon was put into the blend.  Finally in 1998 Syrah was added to the mix.

Beatrice said that the name of the wine is a reference to pebbles in the bed of a stream named Furba on the property. $55

Vin Santo Riserva D.O.C.G. 2006 90% Trebbiano and 10% San ColombanoIMG_3809

Beatrice said that the San Colombano is a late-ripening, heritage grape, very rare today, but prevalent in blends in the 18th century. The soil is clay schist and the harvest takes place at the beginning of September. The grapes are hand picked into baskets lined with grape leaves and only the best bunches are chosen. The grapes are dried on mats until February/March becoming almost raisin-like. The wine is then fermented and aged in separated 40 to 50 lots, mostly in 100 liter caratelli. Most of the barrels are made of chestnut and cherry wood, the wood for these barrels are grown on the property, accenting Capezzana’s special terroir even more. Beatrice said that her sister Benedetta Contini Bonacossi especially likes to use chestnut wood for this dessert wine. There are a few barrels made from a combination of chestnut, cherry maple and oak. Beatrice said that for her sister, making this wine is a labor of love and you can hear it in her voice when she speaks about the wine. The wine is aged for 5 years and then another 3 months in bottle before release. $55 for a 375 ml bottle.

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Filed under Capezzana, Carmignano, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Vin Santo