March Madness

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When it comes to wine, one of the advantages of living in one of the largest wine markets for fine wines in the world such as New York City is that there is always some importer or distributor or government trade association holding a trade wine tasting. A couple of times a year the city is teeming with tastings. This is that time of year and it’s pretty much non stop tastings for a few weeks. On Monday I attended a few of those tastings.

I began the day with the UbiFrance tasting which was held at Hearth restaurant in the East Village.  Unfortunately, the wines that were to be poured hadn’t made it to the restaurant yet so I decided to make my way to the Sherbrooke Cellars portfolio tasting. There was some nice juice to be had.

I started the tasting sampling several red Burgundy from Rene Bouvier. I liked the 2010 Fixin which was medium red and had an aromatic nose. The 2009 Marsannay Rouge “En Ouzeloy” was medium red with a nose of dried mushroom with silky fruit. The 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin “Racines du Temps” was medium red with a nose of black cherry and forest floor with very silky fruit and nicely balanced.

Going over to Italy, I had some nice juice from Aldo Conterno. The 2009 Lange Rosso was dark in color with a nose of bright cherry cough drops, silky with bitter almonds on the nicely tannic finish. The 2009 Langhe Nebbiolo “Il Favot” had an amber to dark  color with cigar-box on the nose and chewy dark leather notes on the balanced finish. The 2008 Barolo was dark amber in color with a nose of cigar-box and leather with nice chewy fruit and balance. The 2008 Barolo “Colonnello” was dark red with a nose of cigar-box and black cherry. The 2005 Barolo “Granbussia” was amber in color with a classic nose of pencil shavings and cigar-box with dusty fruit and very firm tannin.

Another Italian I enjoyed was the 2008 Barolo from Mauro Molino. Amber in color with a nose of pencil shavings with velvety dusty fruit on the long finish.

A couple of Cali wines that I enjoyed were the Hoopes 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville”. Dark purple in the glass with a nose of red roses, red licorice and dried herbs with tight fruit and silky tannin on the finish. Liparita 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” was medium dark with a nice nose of roses and dried herbs.

I left the tasting and headed downtown for the Empson Importers tasting of the Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello portion of their portfolio. It was a small event in the basement of a restaurant. I decided to concentrate on Piedmont and some well-know producers such as Macarini, Einaudi, Ca’ Rome, Bongiovanni and Conterno Fantino were offered. These producers poured wines from the newly released 2009 vintage which has been rated as an excellent one. After trying several of the ’09’s all I can say is “hard as nails”. None of the wines came close to being aproacable and are going to need a long time in the cellar to come around. I’m going to make it a point to try the ’09’s at the upcoming tastings to see if that is how the vintage is turning out. A non Piedmontese wine that I tried was the 2008 Cignale from Tuscany. A Super Tuscan comprised of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the bottles come with six different label designs of the namesake wild boar created by the owner of the winery. It was medium dark with tight fruit with some smoke and barnyard notes and firm acidity on the finish.

From the Empson tasting I made my way downtown to Il Buca Alimentari restaurant for a small tasting event featuring the wines of Sagratino from Umbria.

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