Sunday, April 29, 2007
In the model of my perfect planet, wine is not a fantasy for the wealthy or the affluent. It is only a small part of the daily life, but an essential one.
In my perfect cellar, there are only a few wines, because most of the have already been opened and enjoyed.
Tonight I tasted a few Brunellos, 2001 and 1997. Both of them seemed ready to drink. In fact the 1997 was already on its way down. But the 2001 was just perfect. That would be for me the way I’d like it, not having to store a lot of wine, just a little and always on the lookout for another 3 or 4 bottles. Small footprint in consumption, but good, very good quality to keep searching for.
No need for special agents, near and far, to protect my personal interests. When it has gotten that the cars and the foods and the wines and the homes have exceeded their value, I can remember the early days when money was tight. But quality remained something worth seeking out, even if we had so little discretionary income.
It wasn’t a barren desert; there was the occasional oasis from which to draw from.
Then time and ambition and work starts to push everything back so far it’s hard to see the important, the essential, that which is important, friends and family, a simple life.
The fall from grace, the original sin of the wine trail, is to look too much for the defining moment in wine tasting and wine loving. There is a little of the narcissist in those who search only for the 98 point Brunello, shunning the lowly 91 or 92 pointer.
Italian wines that have a sense of the place they come from have less of a sense for their “point-worthiness.” Who cares?
Do you really think that wine is being made by a person who cares more for a review than their relationship with their plot of land, their earth? Yes, it takes more work and diligence, and yes it might not be a status symbol to order it at the hot new place in town. All the more reason to care about these kinds of wines.
Sure sometimes a wine, by virtue of its quality and the trajectory of its popularity, will become “cult.”
That is like the beautiful girl you knew in high school who went out west and made it in the movies. She no longer belongs to where she came from. Her new world has taken her into another ambience. Forget about her.
She won’t be at the table, nor will those wines, anymore.
Is it sad? A world one grows up in that seems foreign and unrecognizable? Or a world with mystery and new encounters, waiting for you to step on over into the secret corridor and launch into an interesting and fulfilling universe of discovery?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Fortunately the weekend is near, so I can get some work done. Hundreds of arugula sprouts are screaming in my hothouse, begging to be taken outside and planted in the earth, with the bees and the sparrow hawks and the outlaw coyote that is cleaning up the neighborhood of meandering felines.
Later today, if anyone reading this is in the Dallas, Texas area, I will finish up the week with a Friday Night Wine Flight, five Sicilian wines. I’ll be taking those folks, who show, on a Sicilian Carousel, starting with several Nero d’Avolas, a white Grillo and a surprisingly good Syrah.
This is not for Master Sommeliers-in-waiting; besides they’re way too busy developing their careers (and, apparently, to return calls as well). No, this is for regular folks who want to hear stories about wine and friends. Details here.
Speaking of wines and friends, the importers have come a knockin’ this week. Seems they’re back from Vinitaly with their sample cases full of new stuff that the market can’t live without. We’ll see. I still am looking at wine from last year's Vinitaly (and the year before), some of which are in my employers warehouses, still looking for someone to love them.
If you are an importer or a marketing person or a hopeful-wannabee, please know this. We want you to make a pile of money and be happy, just as long as you don’t expect us to be thrown out of the plane in mid flight. Come as a partner with realistic expectations. Respect the experience some of us have gained over the years, it could save you a lot of time and heartache. And please, many of us are working 60-70 hours a week for 20+ years at this. We may live in a backwater market, that doesn’t mean we are “jejune”, as Woody Allen would say. We're not "all hat-no cattle", as we say, in the local dialect.
Wine note this week- not Italian, but a nice beverage, Pierre Sparr Alsace One. Five grapes. Had it twice, once in a tasting, once at a lunch. Great with lentil soup and some sautéed perch. The wine had a clean backbone of crispness aligned with the spices of the fruit (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Pinot Gris)
Pierre Sparr Alsace One – Under $15.
Wine before it's time - 1 Liter Italian varietals in tetra-pax. The 17 and 18 year olds will be ready for this in 3-4 years when they are legal and looking for a good value that is 100% recyclable. That is, if the World Bank doesn't devalue the dollar anymore.
So, for the moment I'm writing dry, and it’s late again. Big developments coming. The writing thing will soon blossom. And the day job, well it soon will go to the next level too. I must do something big, before my heart bursts. Passion, baby.
And lastly, too crazy, but I actually heard this tonight (see cartoon below). The world turns and gets more and more interesting in a wicked sort of way.
Like I said earlier, got to rise above it.
And good night.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
All through this time grapes grow, wine is made. I read of a time, 4,500 years ago, about the winemakers who traded with the Egyptian rulers. This area, Northern Sinai, had a period of 200 years when they did a lot of business with the Nile leaders. Imagine, 8 generations or winemaking, just how good they could have gotten at making wine great. Passing along information, sharpening their skills, improving their winemaking, and handing it over to the next generation. I would love to have tasted those wines. Or maybe I did.
Now, the 1960’s don’t seem so far away, just a generation ago. It was the beginning of a move towards living lighter off the land, more in harmony with nature, what we presently call living with a smaller carbon footprint.
Well there I was, walking in the Sierras, heading for a little tree house by a river for a short time. Nearby a giant fig tree pushed out fruit for the birds and the lucky humans who witnessed the ripening. Behind us was a mountain range that was gentle and rugged and ancient. In front of us, the south fork of the American River rolling, waiting for us to jump on.
Simple. Happy. Timeless.
Meanwhile, halfway across the planet, war was waging, ripping, burning forests, poisoning rivers, destroying shelters for many souls, and lives lost.
We were heading towards our Summer of Love, while some would never make it past the Fall. Many marched, taking a trail towards the Promised Land.
Hey, look yonder, tell me what you see
Marching to the fields of Gettysburg?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with a flintlock in his hand,
Marching to the Gettysburg war, hey marching to the Gettysburg war
Winemakers marched too. They marched, but returned to their fields. Some set about putting into practice some of those convictions that inspired us to our life of adult activity. It was called the One Straw Revolution.
At Universities, Campaniles rang out the hours, the days, and the eras.
What have we learned? And what will we hand over to the next generation? Rows of zero-lot houses off some road leading from the cities? Fields of crops looking for the bees to return and pollinate them in an ancient and necessary rite.
The vines will wait for them, can't make it without them. We might end up with Barolo in Bernkastel, Sangiovese in Soultzmatt.
Thank God the young winemakers of Italy, and the world, are hearing the warning signs. People like Marco Torriti at Mongrana (il primo vino di Querciabella in Maremma), who mentions Masanobu Fukuoka with a look in his eye that takes us back 4,500 years ago, to the 9th generation.
Hey, look yonder, tell me what's that you see
Marching to the fields of Argentaria?
It looks like Handsome Gianni with a Green-Mix in his hand,
Marching to the One Straw Revolution, hey marching to the One Straw Revolution.
The sirens have been sounded; it's time to storm the tower, ragazzi. March, but make your footprint light, in preparation for the generations to follow you.
Carbon Footprint Calculator
Photos by Alfonso Cevola
Sunday, April 22, 2007
And while folks such as Piero Antinori say: “ancient roots play an important role in our philosophy, but they have never held back our spirit of innovation”, I don’t think this is quite what he had in mind.
Anyway, we were doing our part, listening, tasting, being led by a young supplier and his agent. We were attentive, but not as naïve as I felt we were perceived as being. Not a problem, I don’t mind being “mis-underestimated”.
Sealing the Deal
What really made my day, though, was when the broker opened up a bottle of red wine and said the words,” You'll like this, it doesn't taste like an Italian wine.” My response, “Great, all the better to go with the food at Italian restaurants that doesn’t taste Italian.”
I am not making this up. I will only say that this is not the way to my heart. And while I am not a snob, I am assuredly looking for authentic Italian experiences in wine.
Later that night I finished up the week at a very fancy and highly regarded Italian restaurant. Great pizza, innovative cooking, we had a carpaccio of pesce spada (swordfish) that was downright there-on-the-island good.
Pizza and Primitivo
A red wine was suggested to go with the pizza. A Primitivo from Puglia was opened and poured. I have liked Primitivo and wines from Puglia, since my first trip there 30 years ago. In those days we carried a one liter bottle and filled it up along the way. In 1977 a liter of red cost about 46 cents. Negro Amaro or Uva di Troja, maybe an occasional Primitivo. Decent, wholesome, tasting of a region, with lots of sun. Not a problem for me. But on this night the Primitivo tasted of manipulation, especially in the finish. Too creamy, too smooth, it also didn’t taste like an Italian wine.
You'll Like These Wines, They Do Taste Italian
So rather than live in a world where things Italian don’t taste Italian, here are two wines we have been tasting, alongside made-by-hand meals.
A simple wine, clean yes, but tan and healthy. People treat Puglia like some sort of Appalachia, but that is incorrect. Puglia is far from the center, a lot of tourists never make is that far south. Fine with me, and the Pugliese too. Fruit of cherry, rustic like a well-worn rocking chair. The press likes it. Good for them.
Ver Sacrum- San Savino
Holy Spring, the Latin translation. No wood, thank you. Montepulciano in purezza. From the Marche, an almost New World growing zone. This vineyard could be in Santa Barbara, California. Fortunately, in this climate the winemaker manages to make a wine that is Italiano in purezza. Fruit is rich, yes. Alcohol is high, but somehow it manages to maintain its balance. More info here.
So while I am not the kind that writes wine notes exclusively, I am of a mind to find an alternate, a wine or two that do “taste Italian”.
Italy makes many wines, many styles. Just try to find ones that taste like they come from somewhere. Open them up, pour them into your glass, close your eyes and breathe in. If it smells like you are in Italy, take a sip and give thanks. You have landed.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Who's Your Daddy?
Young girls in Bustiers prancing about, as if to keep me awake, blaring music, not even a soothing trance, but some sort of dissonant jumble of samples. “Break on through to the other side”, Jim Morrison, wails, but there is no other side. The world is flat, and this experience of going out to dinner is an amped up version of someone’s idea of dining with the stars, the Vegas syndrome. Tables of Doctors grabbing the 98 point Brunello and banging it down, before they head out to the ballgame. Young women, tossed and pushed up, and looking to make it out of the savannas for a season. Where do all these girls come from? Who is paying for all of this? This, a reflection of our self-centered narcissism, the hubris that surrounds this country and thwarts any cultural evolution. An insatiable scenario, no one will ever get enough, even when their bellies are full and their credit limits have been extended.
Unfortunately, it’s true. I’ll borrow from the words of Eric Burdon and say it. We gotta get out of this place. But this place might be anyplace and the fighter in me says, burrow down, build up your strength, and go out and fight another day, and another, and another. They all get older; they all have to face up to themselves in the mirror. None of us are spared the cycle of life and the time it takes to go around. Mantra: This will change, this will get better, it already has. And again.
Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously **
On the back of a car in traffic, a bumper sticker proclaimed, “Insatiable is not sustainable.” Water from Fiji Island, meat from Illinois, salami from Washington, wine from Verona. All guilty, all of it, all of us. And at the end, we drown a scoop of ice cream in espresso and call it an affogato, as if to wash away any last remnant of feeling we might have for this evening. Unless one would care for cup of Recioto for $50. Or maybe a single vineyard grappa for $35. Full, but unfulfilled.
Wine Note ~ Why Not?
Most interesting wine that I would not normally encounter? Rousseau Chambertin, 1996 and 2000. I primed the pump by sampling a whole range of 2003-4-5 Moreau Chablis and 2005 Potel-Aviron cru Beaujolais. Somewhere along the line I got a headache, was it the new oak barrels or the new oak pollen, which was at level Red.
The Chambertins; 2000 was open and fruity and rich and smooth and deep and delicious. 1996 was closed and funky and tight and slightly volatile. At first. Over the period of several hours the 1996 opened up, smoothed out and blew past the 2000. Both wines were most interesting to taste. (Thanks to Joe Sag)
Note: The whole time I was thinking about Barbaresco and how that wine affects me. I have no idea why.
Sit On a Potato Pan, Otis *
Best wine experience I had this week: In San Antonio, at a tasting I was working. I had a whole slew of wonderful Italian wines. A young couple walks up to the booth, asks to taste a couple of my wines and borrow a pen to take notes. The woman was pretty and exotic, reminded me of someone from the mid 1970’s. Wrapped her little boy in a fabric around her body, slightly bohemian, very natural, a nice time trip for me. An engaged, unpretentious, comfortable-in-their-skins couple. They were interested in tasting wines I was interested in, a Muller-Thurgau and Traminer blend from Basilicata and a Rosato from Piedmont. Wines I liked, they listened, tasted and went back to the Cru Beaujolais and the Grand Cru Chablis tables. He also reminded me of someone.
Sore Was I Ere I Saw Eros *
I found out later they had a French inspired restaurant in town, very high level ( it had even been written up in the N.Y. Times and Gourmet). The cool thing was, I didn’t know who they were, they didn’t know me from Adam. And maybe because we have reached a certain level of expression in our trade, I felt a kindred-folk connection. It was like looking at myself 30 years ago. Thanks Andrew and Maureen, that was a needed moment. I must come and visit your cuisine.
Vintage Images from PLAN59.COM
*Palindromes, just because I like them.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
In an airport waiting for a plane to catch up with me, I was scanning a piece by Thomas Friedman titled, “The Power of Green.” It got me to thinking about my little patch of green back home.
Which is where the Sardegnan tree hugger comes in. His nickname is Cecio. I call him Cucureddu, he calls me Capo Bastone. We’ve connected on a tribal level in the urban jungle. He runs an Italian kitchen in my town, very successful (though the wine list is overdo for a makeover). But he’s even much better in the garden outside than in the restaurant inside.
Tomatoes and artichokes, olive trees and herbs grow in a slice of earth here, a patch there. In one spot he has myrtle (mirto) plants growing so he can make his own infusions. Once he took me up to the attic where he was curing his own prosciutto.
In his 40’s now, usually with a Marlboro hanging from his lips, Cecio is in the old age of his youth. A ladies man, and one who raced onto the urban scene from his sleepy little seaside village in Sardegna, a town called Orosei.
I came to know Orosei through the writings of Salvatore Satta and Grazia Deledda, two very famous writers. And through Cecio, for the practical and primordial matter of being Sardegnan. The Sardegnans fascinate me. An island, but in many ways the anti-Sicily. Fiercely independent, they make the stubborn Calabrese culture look yielding, like butter that has been set on a sun drenched window sill. Opinionated, and innocently guarded of any civilization that might threaten their way or their progress. Tough folks, but thanks to time spent with my Persian friends, I think I can navigate my way through their world.
And what a world it is, so beautiful, the water, the light, the stars. Basic, elemental, simple, uncluttered. The island has become a haven for the famous and the wealthy looking to loosen their burden for a few weeks.
Funny, how those who “have it all” look to a place of simplicity to return to a way that they can never have. How ironic.
I asked Cecio if he would help me trim a few trees, especially the fig. The fig is a fabulous producer, but it had grown too high and needed to be brought back into the yard. My friend had been trained by his father, so I was sure he learned the right way. In fact all the fig (and fruit) trees I saw recently in Italy had been trimmed exactly like Cecio trimmed the one back home. We should rename him, maybe Capo Fico.
He climbed up and took it on like a sculptor would take on a piece of Carrara marble. With his chainsaw, he went about the tree, trimming here, carving there. It was truly great to watch him in an instinctive labor. I see him in the restaurant, flirting with the ladies, acting all sophisticated and urbane. But up in that tree I saw a man in his element, approaching his mature persona with diligence and discipline. And he is so good in that world. I tell him he has the green thumb. He grows lemons in January, tomatoes in March, it's like he brought the California (or Mexico or Sardegna) weather onto his little patch of earth. He has his own weather patterns.
What is so wonderful to see is, though he has access to money and famous people, it seemed I saw a happy man up in my trees, doing what came naturally to him. Cecio dancing in the sky with his true self.
My yard is a better place for it. Green is good.
Next, we’re going to save the world for the bees and make safe havens for these gentle creatures that seem to be losing the battle against the march of progress.
On the wine trail: Canonnau grapes in North Texas. That's all the wine talk for this posting.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Once Upon a Time in Rome
It must have been 1988 or 1990. We were in Rome, staying at the Rafael near Piazza Navona. It was June and not yet the scalding fry-pan Rome could sometimes become in the summer.
Twenty years before, I had wandered Rome for a week or two, with a camera. Looking back, I was capturing a city that was disappearing, a modern chapter that was submerging into history. That Rome is now gone and another layer has been covered over the one I first knew.
We headed out to the Trastevere and along the way got lost and tired and ended up in the Campo de' Fiori, an otherwise ancient neighborhood in the center of the city. Though we had planned on having dinner on the other side of the Tiber,we came upon a little trattoria that seemed simple and made for the locals. It was early and there was room. As it was, we weren't far from our hotel. My gal and I were a bit jet lagged, so we headed on into the little dining room.
Give Us This Day
It’s something that happens daily all over Italy, by folks who take it for granted, that they will eat simple, pure, fresh food and wine. The ritual is part of their daily routine, but I marvel at it. One, because it happens so regularly, and at such a high level, and two, because it seems so impossible to re-create it over in the U.S.
In the little room, cool and fresh, we ordered a bottle of white from the nearby hills. An antipasti of seafood that had been swimming earlier in the morning appeared on the table. Shall we gather by the river, I thought, for I consider Rome a home base of sorts. And while I often bypass it in order to get into the vineyards, there is a place for all of us who love Italy, and for the river that runs through it.
A plate of pasta came next, with little clams from the Adriatic. Rome pulls from both seas, as the legend says, all roads lead. Nothing extraordinary in the presentation, but the simplicity today seems far from ordinary. These days it must have some foul smelling truffle oil or foam, or the omnipresent fois-gras. No, simply pasta, olive oil, a little salt and the clams, finished with a little Italian parsley. Heaven’s door.
Don’t Stop Now
We could have stopped then and there, but why? A freshly roasted whole fish was being prepared and it was Saturday night, nothing to do tomorrow except walk to the Vatican for a little visit to St. Peters.
I asked for a wine list, expecting a simple two page deal. What came to the table was an unexpected surprise. Someone in the restaurant worked for a wine distribution company in Italy and this list was put together to showcase that persons love for the wines of Italy. (see at the end of this post)
Almost twenty years later and no one in Dallas has the bollocks to put out a list like this one. Not that the wines aren’t available. Not that I couldn’t write a list on that order. Not a problem. We even have people in this town that would flock to a place to sample those 500 wines. Like I said, no one in this town has the cogliones. Period.
With the fish, we had a bottle of Greco di Tufo. We would be heading down to the Amalfi coast and wanted to prime the pump, get our palates ready for the days ahead. The fish swam nearby, so why not a wine to go with it?
You Can Go Home Again
I haven’t had the heart to go back to Rome as often, since those early days. Things have changed for me too. But Rome awaits any of us who wish to step into that ancient urban gathering place. And places like that simple little trattoria abound.
Make a point of getting back there. It doesn’t seem like the sensibilities of our new world cities will quite make the leap, it’s too early and we’re all a little too culturally immature. We’re teenagers with emotional acne.
And while the Romans and the Italians are far from finished in their personal and cultural development, they really know how to put together a little place with great food and wine and re-create it hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.
And for that I’m eternally grateful.
The Wine List
Prosecco Brut S.Fermo Bellenda
Franciacorta Brut Blanc de Blanc Cavalleri
Franciacorta Pas Dosé mill.2002 Cavalleri
Franciacorta Prima Cuvée Brut Monterossa
Franciacorta Rosé Monterossa
Franciacorta Satèn Monterossa
Franciacorta Cabochon Brut 2001 Monterossa
Champagne Paul Bara Brut Réserve G.Cru 0,375
Champagne Paul Bara Brut Réserve G.Cru
Gavi Villa Sparina 2005
Rosazzo Bianco Ronchi di Manzano (Sauvignon/Chardonnay/Tocai/Picolit) 2005
Pinot Bianco Vorberg Cantina di Terlano 2003
Verdicchio Podium Garofoli 1999
Chablis Bernard Defaix (Borgogna) 2004
Riesling Dettemberg (Alsazia) 2003
Gewurztraminer Andlau (Alsazia) 2001
Petit Arvine Chateau Feillet 2005
Gavi Gorrina Tenuta S.Pietro (Prefilosserico) 2003
Cortese Bacca Bianca Tenuta Grillo 2003
Blangè Ceretto (Arneis) 2005
Chardonnay Buscat F.lli Alessandria 1999
Chardonnay Tenuta Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy 1998/1999 2000
Langhe Vajra (Riesling) 2005
Monteriolo Coppo (Chardonnay) 2003
Pinot Grigio Vendemmia Tardiva Cà di Frara 2004
Riesling Apogèo Cà di Frara 2004
Trentino Alto Adige
Nosiola Castel Noarna 2003
Bianco di Castelnuovo Castel Noarna (Chardonnay/Riesling /Sauvignon/Gewurz.) 2004
Emotional Wine N°2 Castel Noarna (Riesling /Sauvignon) 2003
Chardonnay Cortaccia 2005
Chardonnay Bucholz Lageder 2004
Chardonnay S.Valentin S.Michele Appiano 2004
Kerner Koferherof 2005
Kerner Nossing 2005
Kerner Pacherof 2005
Veltliner Nossing 2005
Muller Thurgau Burgraffler 2004
Muller Thurgau Hofstat Cortaccia 2005
Muller Thurgau Koferherof 2005
Pinot Bianco Schulthauser S. Michele Appian 2004
Pinot Bianco Praesulis Gumphof 2004
Pinot Bianco Falkenstein 2005
Pinot Grigio Pacherof 2005
Pinot Grigio Benefizium Lageder 2005
Riesling Falkenstein 2005
Sauvignon Cantina Prod.Termeno 2004
Sauvignon Praesulis Gumphof 2004
Sauvignon Falkenstein 2005
Sauvignon S.Valentin S.Michele Appiano 2004
Sauvignon Blanc Giovannelli Cantina di Caldaro 2002
Gewurztraminer Burgraffler 2004
Gewurztraminer Franz Haas 2005
Gewurztraminer Nossing 2005
Gewurztraminer Am Sand Lageder 2001
Gewurztraminer S.Valentin S.Michele Appiano 2005
Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof Hofstatter 2003
Manna Franz Haas (Riesling/Chardonnay/Gewurztram.) 2004
Milleuve Borgo del Tiglio 2001
Chardonnay Marco Felluga 2005
Chardonnay P.P.Pecorari 2005
Chardonnay Ciampagnis Vie de Romans 2003
Chardonnay Kante (0.500) 2003
Malvasia Istriana Castelvecchio 2005
Malvasia Kante 2002
Pinot Bianco Ronco del Gelso 2004
Pinot Grigio Dorigo 2005
Pinot Grigio Marco Felluga 2005
Pinot Grigio Russiz 2005
Pinot Grigio Dessimis Vie de Romans 2003
Ribolla Dorigo 2005
Riesling Ronco del Gelso 2004
Sauvignon Dorigo 2004
Sauvignon Ronco del Gelso 2004
Sauvignon Ronco dei Tassi 2004
Sauvignon Kante (0.500) 2003
Sauvignon Toros 2004
Sauvignon Piere Vie de Romans 2003
Sauvignon Vieris Vie de Romans 2003
Sauvignon La Tour Villa Russiz 2004
Sauvignon La Castellada 2001
Ribolla Gravner (vino fermentato in anfore di terracotta) 2001
Breg Gravner (vino fermentato in anfore di terracotta) 2001
Tocai Gigante 2004
Tocai Ronco dei Tassi 2004
Tocai Keber 2004
Tocai Raccaro 2004
Tocai Russiz 2005
Traminer Castelvecchio 2005
Latimis Ronco del Gelso
Vie de Romans (Tocai/Pinot b./Pinot g./Malvasia/Ribolla/Sauvignon) 2001
Molamatta M.Felluga (Tocai/Ribolla/P.Bianco)
Vie de Romans (Tocai/Pinot b./Pinot g./Malvasia/Ribolla/Sauvignon) 2005
Vie de Romans (Tocai/Pinot b./Pinot g./Malvasia/Ribolla/Sauvignon) 2002
Vie de Romans (Tocai/Pinot b./Pinot g./Malvasia/Ribolla/Sauvignon) 2002
Vie de Romans (Tocai/Pinot b./Pinot g./Malvasia/Ribolla/Sauvignon) 2004
Ronco della Chiesa Borgo del Tiglio ( Sel. Tocai) 2003
Prosecco “Tranquillo” Bellenda 2004
Soave Inama 2004
Soave Sup. Calvarino Pieropan 2004
Soave Sup. La Rocca Pieropan 2004
Sauvignon Serafini & Vidotto 2005
Lugana S. Cristina Zenato 2004
Lugana Sergio Zenato 2003
Bianco del Drago Musella (Chardonnay/Garganega) 2002
Pico La Biancara di Angiolino Maule 2004
Pigato Durin 2005
Pagliatura Fatt. di Magliano (Vermentino) 2004
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Cuprese Colonnara 2005
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Macrina Garofoli 2005
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Vigna delle Oche Fatt.S.Lorenzo 2003
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Frà Moriale Cimarelli 2004
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Podium Garofoli 2004
Orvieto Cl.Sup. Terre Vineate Palazzone 2005
Bianco delle Regine Castello delle Regine (Sauvignon/Chardonnay/Riesling/P.Grigio) 2005
L’Ultima Spiaggia Palazzone (Viognier) 2003
Solo Sauvignon San Marco 2004
Capolemole Az.Agr.biologica M.Carpineti (Malvasia/Trebbiano/Bellone) 2005
Collesanti Az.Agr.biologica M.Carpineti (Arciprete) 2005
Frascati Zandotti 2005
Ferentano Falesco (Roscetto) 2004
Malvasia Zandotti 2005
Trebbiano Villa Medoro 2004
Trebbiano Notari B.Nicodemi 2005
Falanghina Ramì Di Majo Norante 2004
Biblos Di Majo Norante (Falanghina /Greco) 2003
Falanghina del Taburno Cantina del Taburno 2005
Fiano Pietracupa 2004
Fiano Cupo Pietracupa 2002
Greco di Tufo Torricino 2005
Greco di Tufo Vigna Cicogna B. Ferrara 2005
Antece De Conciliis (Fiano) 2003
Costa d’Amalfi Furore bianco M.Cuomo (Falanghina) 2005
Costa d’Amalfi Furore bianco Fiorduva M.Cuomo (Ripoli/Fienile/Ginestra) 2005
Chardonnay Teresa Manara Càntele 2005
La Segreta Planeta (Grecanico/Chard./Viognier/Fiano/Sauv.) 2005
Coste all’Ombra Maurigi (Sauvignon Blanc) 2004
S’Agostino Firriato (Cataratto/Chardonnay) 2005
Piana del Ginolfo Baglio di Pianetto (Viognier) 2004
Chardonnay Planeta 2005
Etna Bianco Sup. Pietramarina Benanti 1996
Etna Bianco Sup. Pietramarina Benanti 1995
Vermentino Crabilis Pala 2005
Vermentino Canayli Cantina sociale di Gallura 2005
Vermentino Stellato Pala 2005
Vermentino Tuvaoes Cherchi 2005
Brentino Maculan (Merlot/Cabernet) 2003
Rosazzo Rosso Ronchi di Manzano (Cab.Sauvignon/Refosco/Merlot) 2004
Nobile di Montep. Riserva Fattoria del Cerro 2001
Sagrantino Antonelli 2003
Taurasi Mastroberardino 2000
Montiano Falesco 2001
Montsclapade Dorigo 2001
Cortona Il Bosco Tenimenti D’Alessandro 2003
Barbera d’Asti Pomorosso L. Coppo 2001
Cortona Syrah Tenimenti D’Alessandro 2004
Barbera Montebruna Braida 2003
Lagrein Abtei Muri Ris. Abb. Muri Gries 2000
Ronco delle Ginestre 2001
Nobile Boscarelli 1999
Bradisismo Inama 2000
Barbaresco Prod. Del Barbaresco 1996
Barbera d’Asti Pomorosso L. Coppo 2001
Barolo Brunate Rinaldi 2000
Percarlo S.Giusto A Rentennano 2001
Cotes du Rhone Village Rasteau Domaine de Beaurenard 2003
Bourgogne Pinot Nero Domaine Amiot Guy e Fils 2004
Pommard Rugiens 1er Cru Olivier Leflaive 2002
Dolcetto d’ Alba Bricco Bastia Conterno Fantino 2004
Dolcetto d’ Alba Vajra 2004
Dolcetto d’ Alba Rossana Ceretto 2004
Dolcetto d’ Alba Coste e Fossati Vajra 2004
Dolcetto di Dogliani S.Luigi Pecchenino 2004
Dolcetto di Dogliani Siri d’Jermu Pecchenino 2004
Barbera d’Asti V.Giustin Rovero 2001
Barbera d’Asti Camp du Rouss L.Coppo 2004
Barbera d’Asti Pomorosso L.Coppo 2003
Barbera d’Asti Montebruna Braida 2004
Barbera d’Asti Bricco dell’Uccellone Braida 2003
Barbera del Monferrato La Monella Braida 2005
Barbera d’ Alba Vajra 2004
Barbera d’ Alba Sup. Bricco Viole Vajra 2004
Barbera d’Alba Quass Pecchenino 2004
Barbera d’ Alba Mulassa Cascina Rossa 2003
Nebbiolo Prod. del Barbaresco 2004
Freisa Cantina del Pino 2003
St. Marsan Bertelli (Syrah) 1999
Gattinara Vigneto Valferana Bianchi 1998
Ghemme Bianchi 1999
SeiFile Nada (Barbera/Nebbiolo) 2000
Barolo Albe Vajra 2001
Barolo Margheria Az.Agr. Pira L. 1999
Barolo Marenca Az.Agr. Pira L. 1999
Barolo Marenca Az.Agr. Pira L. 2001
Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra Clerico 2001
Barolo Vigna Rionda Massolino 1996
Barolo Vigna Rionda Massolino 1998
Barbaresco Prod. Del Barbaresco 2002
Barbaresco Martinenga Tenuta Cisa Asinari Marchesi di Gresy 1993
Barbaresco Montestefano Ris. Produttori Del Barbaresco 2000
Barbaresco Ovello Ris. Produttori Del Barbaresco 2000
Barbaresco Rio Sordo Ris. Produttori Del Barbaresco 2000
Barbaresco Pora Ris. Produttori Del Barbaresco 1999
Barbaresco Ovello Cantina del Pino 2001
Barbaresco Fiorenzo Nada 1999
Barbaresco Vanotu Pellissero 2001
Barbaresco Currà Sottimano 2000
Barbaresco Fausoni Sottimano 2000
Barbaresco Camp Gross
Tenuta Cisa Asinari Marchesi di Gresy 1996
Bonarda Monpezzato Cà di Frara 2005
Io Rosso Cà di Frara (Barbera/Pinot Nero/Merlot) 2003
O.P. Rosso Pinot Nero Raro Nero Cà di Frara 2003
O.P. Rosso Il Frater Cà di Frara (Croatina/Barbera/Uva Rara/P.Nero) 2001
Valtellina Sup. Inferno Mazer Nino Negri 2003
Valtellina Sup. Grumello V.Sassorosso Nino Negri 2003
Valtellina Sup. Sassella Le Tense Nino Negri 2003
Valtellina Sup. Vigneto Fracia Nino Negri 2002
Sfursat Nino Negri 2002
Sfursat 5 Stelle Nino Negri 2001
Trentino Alto Adige
Schiava S.M.Appiano 2004
Cabernet Sauvignon Ris. Lageder 2003
Lagrein Cortaccia 2004
Lagrein Girlan 2004
Lagrein Dunkel Ris. Rottensteiner 2003
Lagrein Abtei Muri Ris. Abb. Muri Gries 2001
Lagrein S.Valentin S.Michele Appiano 2002
Lagrein Taber Ris. Cantina S. Maddalena 2002
Marzemino Battistotti 2004
Pinot Nero Burggrafler 2004
Pinot Nero Girlan 2004
Pinot Nero Riserva S.Michele Appiano 2003
Pinot Nero S.Valentin S.Michele Appiano 2002
Pinot Nero Gottardi 2004
Pinot Nero Schweizer F. Haas 2004
Teroldego Foradori 2004
San Leonardo M.Gonzaga(Cab.Sauv./Cab.Franc/Merlot) 2000
Cabernet Franc Castelvecchio 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon Ronchi di Manzano 2004
Merlot P.P.Pecorari 2005
Merlot Ronchi di Manzano 2003
Merlot Ronc di Subule Ronchi di Manzano 2002
Merlot Ronco del Gelso 2003
Merlot Raccaro 2003
Merlot Keber 2002
Merlot Graf de la Tour Villa Russiz 2002
Refosco Ronchi di Manzano 2004
Refosco Gigante 2003
Refosco Dorigo 2001
Turmino Castelvecchio (Terrano/Cabernet) 2003
Montsclapade Dorigo (Merlot/Cab.Sauv./Cab.Franc) 2001
Bardolino Zenato 2003
Valpolicella Classico Brigaldara 2003
Valpolicella Sup. Ripasso Zenato 2003
Brentino Maculan (Merlot/Cabernet) 2003
Masari Masari (Cab.Sauvignon-Merlot) 2003
Pinot Nero Serafini & Vidotto 2001
Rosso dell’Abazia Serafini & Vidotto 2000
La Grola Allegrini 2001
La Poja Allegrini 2000
Amarone Allegrini 2001
Amarone Corte Giara 2001
Amarone Musella 2001
Amarone Viviani 2001
Amarone Case Vecie Brigaldara 2000
Amarone Casa dei Bepi Viviani 2000
Amarone Bertani 1990
Amarone Bertani 1983
Amarone Bertani 1976
Fratta Maculan ( Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot) 2003
Ormeasco Lupi 2003
Il Rosso di Enrico Vallania Cuvée Vigneto delle Terre Rosse (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2000
Capalbio rosso Micante Solo Maremma 2004
Rosso Montepulciano Dei 2004
Rosso Montepulciano Prugnolo Boscarelli 2004
Pian del Ciampolo Montevertine (Sangiovese/Canaiolo/Colorino) 2004
Rosso di Montalcino Fanti 2002
Morellino di Scansano Acquaviva 2003
Morellino di Scansano Heba Fatt. di Magliano 2004
Morellino di Scansano Podere 414 2004
Barco Reale di Carmignano Ten.di Capezzana 2003
Cortona Syrah Ten. Luigi D’Alessandro 2002
Chianti Fattoria di Petrognano 2002
Chianti Classico Castello di Uzzano 2004
Chianti Classico Fatt. di Felsina 2004
Chianti Classico Fatt. S.Giusto a Rentennano 2004
Chianti Classico Querciabella 2004
Chianti Classico Riserva Castello di Uzzano 2000
Chianti Classico Riserva Fatt. Viticcio 2003
Chianti Classico Ris. Le Baroncole Fatt. S.Giusto a Rentennano 2003
Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva Fatt. di Felsina 2001
Nobile di Montepulciano Fattoria del Cerro 2003
Nobile di Montepulciano Ris. Fattoria del Cerro 2001
Nobile di Montepulciano Dei 2003
Rosso delle Miniere Sorbaiano 2000
Soffocone di Vincigliata Bibi Graetz (Sangiovese /Colorino /Canaiolo /Moscato N. e Malvasia N.) 2003
Le Cupole Tenuta Il Trinoro(Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cesanese d’Affile) 2003
Cortona Il Bosco Tenimenti D’Alessandro (Syrah) 2004
Brunello Col d’Orcia 1999
Brunello Casanuova delle Cerbaie 1999
Brunello La Poderina 2001
Brunello Poggio di Sotto 1999
Poggio Bestiale Fattoria di Magliano (Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc) 2003
La Massa Fattoria la Massa (Sangiovese/Merlot/Cab.-Sauvignon) 2001
Fontalloro Fatt. di Felsina (Sangiovese) 2001
Percarlo S.Giusto A Rentennano (Sangiovese) 2001
Merlot La Ricolma 2003
Anfiteatro Vecchie Terre di Montefili (Sangiovese) 2000
Le Pergole Torte Montevertine 2001
Paleo Bolgheri Sup. Le Macchiole (Cabernet Franc) 2000
Cepparello Isole e Olena (Sangiovese) 2000
Siepi Castello di Fonterutoli (Sangiovese/Merlot) 2000
Cabernet Sauvignon De Marchi Isole e Olena 1999
Sassicaia Incisa della Rocchetta 2000
Lacrima di Morro Conti di Buscareto 2004
Tornamagno Colonnara (Sangiovese/Montepulciano) 2001
Rosso Conero Horus Colonnara 2004
Rosso Conero Villa Malacari 2004
Rosso Conero Grigiano Villa Malacari 2003
Rosso Conero Pigmento Conte Leopardi Dittajuti
Rosso Conero Ris. Dorico Moroder (Montepulciano) 2001
Solleone Fattoria S.Lorenzo (Montepulciano) 2001
Petranera Colli Amerini Le Crete (Sangiovese/Merlot/Barbera) 2003
Rubbio Palazzone (Sangiovese/Canaiolo/Montepulciano) 2004
Rosso delle Regine Castello delle Regine (Merlot/Sangiovese) 2004
Podernovo Castello delle Regine (Sangiovese) 2004
Selezione del Fondatore Castello delle Regine
Merlot Castello delle Regine 2002
Vitiano Falesco 2004
Tizzonero La Carraia (Montepulciano) 2003
Rosso di Montefalco Antonelli 2004
Giro di Vite La Carraia (Montepulciano) 2003
Fobiano La Carraia (Cab-Sauvignon/Merlot) 2003
Campoleone Lamborghini (Sangiovese/Merlot) 2003
Sagrantino di Montefalco Colli Perugini 1999
Sagrantino di Montefalco Antonelli 2003
Cesanese di Olevano Terre Rubre 2004
Cesanese Amarasco Pallavicini 2003
Soleggio Pallavicini (Cab.Sauvignon) 2003
Shiraz Casale del Giglio 2004
Petit Verdot Casale del Giglio 2004
Madreselva Casale del Giglio (Merlot-Cab.Sauvignon-P.Verdot) 2003
Montiano Falesco 2001
Montepulciano Villa Medoro 2003
Montepulciano Praesidium 2000
Montepulciano Praesidium 2001
Montepulciano Notari B.Nicodemi 2004
Montepulciano Neromoro B.Nicodemi 2003
Montepulciano Malandrino Cataldi Madonna 2003
Montepulciano Tonì Cataldi Madonna 2001
Aglianico Cantina del Taburno 2003
Aglianico De Conciliis 2005
Aglianico Mastroberardino 2004
Aglianico Ischia Molettieri 2004
Cecubo Villa Matilde 2001
Naima De Concilis (Aglianico) 2001
Terra D’Eclano Quintodecimo (Aglianico) 2004
Taurasi Radici Mastroberardino 2000
Montevetrano (Cab.Sauvignon/Merlot/Aglianico) 2002
Aglianico del Vulture Teodosio Basilisco 2003
Aglianico del Vulture D’Angelo 2003
Aglianico del Vulture Basilisco 2002
Aglianico del Vulture La Firma Cantine del Notaio 2003
Salice Salentino Ris. Càntele 2001
Anarkos Felline 2004
Cappello di Prete Candido (Negroamaro) 2000
Cacc’e MMitte di Lucera Petrilli 2004
Varius Càntele (Negroamaro/Cab.Sauvignon/Montepulciano)2001
Primitivo Càntele 2003
Zinfandel Accademia dei Racemi 2004
Immensum Candido (Negroamaro/Cabernet Sauvignon) 2002
Amativo Càntele (Primitivo/Negroamaro) 2003
Cirò Rosso Classico Librandi 2003
Magno Megonio Librandi (Maglioppo) 2001
Gravello Librandi (Gaglioppo/Cabernet-Sauvignon) 2000
Nero D’Avola Masseria del Feudo Grottarossa 2004
Etna Rosso La Castorina (agr. biologica) 2003
Nero D’Avola Eloro Curto 2003
La Segreta Planeta 2004
Almanera Fatascià (Nero D’Avola) 2002
Rosso Gulfi (Nero D’Avola) 2005
Nero Ibleo Gulfi (Nero D’Avola) 2003
Etna Rosso Verzella Benanti 2001
Passomaggio Abb.di S.Anastasia (Nero D’Avola/Merlot) 2003
Rosso delle Rose Masseria del Feudo Grottarossa (Nero D’Avola/Syrah) 2003
S.Agostino Firriato (Nero D’Avola/Syrah) 2004
Piana dei Salici Baglio di Pianetto (Merlot) 2002
Sàgana Cusumano (Nero D’Avola) 2003
Santa Cecilia Planeta (Nero D’Avola) 2004
Merlot Planeta 2004
Syrah Planeta 2004
Terre d’Ottavia Maurigi (Pinot Nero) 2002
Rovittello Benanti 2000
Harmonium Firriato (Nero D'Avola) 2004
Nero D’Avola Feudo Montoni Sel. Vucrara 2002
Nebbiolo Karana Cantina Sociale Gallura 2005
Cannonau Triente Pala 2003
Nieddera Contini (Nieddera) 2003
Essentya Pala (Bovale) 2003
Luzzana Cherchi (Cannonau) 2003
Assayé Capichera 2003
Nebbiolo Karana Cantina Sociale Gallura 2005
Cannonau Triente Pala 2003
Nieddera Contini (Nieddera) 2003
Essentya Pala (Bovale) 2003
Luzzana Cherchi (Cannonau) 2003
Assayé Capichera 2003
Friday, April 13, 2007
Two wines that I had at Vinitaly earlier this month, one from the North and the other from the South.
On the Third Day
It all started during a day when my palate was worn out, my tongue literally was burnt, from tasting young red wine. Yeah, some of it had been micro-oxygenated, but a good portion had been barrel tormented. Fortunately the trend seems to be ending, especially in Piedmont (as opposed to Tuscany, another post for another day).
As a break, and still staying on a schedule, I opted for an afternoon of white wine tasting. Personal note, I like white wine, think Riesling is fantastic, love Verdicchio, Fiano, Grechetto, Garganega and almost any white wine well made. Savennieres, Chablis, you name it. Seems at times red wine will give my head a pounding.
From the Top
I started at the top and headed down the list. Two wines stood out. A Muller Thurgau and Traminer blend was one of the wines that really got my attention. Why? The crisp, clean flavors, the sharp acidity, the focus and the winemaking were spot on. The wine had healthy fresh fruit but wasn’t cloying. There was a good balance, great to sip as an aperitif but also available to go with food prepared from that fine Italian hand. A particular wine and very original.
The other wine, from a grape called Anas-cetta, has its roots drawn from the Sardegnan Vermentino. Rich and round, a little fuller bodied, slightly more alcohol, a touch, just an accent, of wood. Not too much. Here was a dancer, tanned and well fed but agile and graceful. We had this wine again at a hill-top restaurant with another gorge-us plate of hand-made pasta. Of course, with food it found its partner. And the dance was complete.
The Italian Paradox
Odd though, was that the two wines posed a bit of a paradox to those of us tasting them. The first wine felt cool and lean and slightly nervous like a wine from the Alto Adige. The second wine had the generosity of the sun, fullness and a voluptuousness one might think more likely to come from the sunny South.
One might think
The Muller-Thurgau and Traminer blend however, came from a volcanic hillside vineyard in Basilicata. A foggy, often harsh climate which makes for a struggle, both by humans and by grapes. Normally a place for one of the great red wines of the south, the Aglianico.
The Anas-cetta also came from a hillside, this one called Ravera, in Novello, in the Piemonte region. Another area known more for red wine, this time the Nebbiolo, where some of the great Barolo wines are born.
North is South and South is North
Seek these wines out, they are both artisanally produced in minute quantities. The Muller-Thurgau and Traminer blend is from Re Manfredi, called Terre degli Svevi (land of the Swabians, the empire of Federico II, also another subject for a future post). US importer is Frederick Wildman.
The Anas-cetta is from Valter Fissore of the Elvio Cogno winery. US importer is Vias. Valter and his wife Nadia reflect the young but solid second revolution we are beginning to see in Piemonte.
The restaurant? In La Morra, Ristorante Belvedere. The day we were there the Bel-vedere was shrouded in fog.
This is the view when the nebbia (fog) has cleared. Fortunately the food provided a clear view of the capability of the Piemontese kitchen.