Italian Winemaker’s Invitational

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This past Saturday I attended the Astor Winemaker’s Invitational event held at Astor Wines & Spirits at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The event consisted of 13 artisanal wine makers pouring their products as well as winemaker seminars. It was a consumer event. There were many off the radar producers with small labels pouring some very interesting wines that afternoon.

Grand Tasting: Whites

2012 Coenobium Bianco (Lazio). A white wine blend made by Sisters of the Cistercian, fermented with some skin contact, closed nose with a light, floral finish.

2011 Coenobium “Ruscum” (Lazio). An Orange wine, more skin contact than the Bianco, copper colored, nicely balanced and very drinkable.

1997 Ronchi di Cialla “Ciallabianco” (Friuli-Venezia Giulia). Dark yellow with wildflowers and sweet spice on the nose with some oak and vanilla on the honeyed , but dry finish. Holding up well.

2011 Gulfi “Carjanti” (Sicily). Carjanti is the grape varietal, light gold in color with ripe flowers on the nose, very ripe fruit with a hit of lemon tartness at the end.

2013 Foradori Manzoni Bianco “Fontansanta” (Trentino Alto-Adige). A blend of Pinot Bianco and Riesling, light gold with an oily nose of canned peaches, some oak and vanilla spice on the fruit with cotton candy notes on the finish.

Grand Tasting: Reds

2012 Cantine Valpane Grignolino “Euli” (Piedmont). Little seen varietal from Piedmont that produces light bodied reds, this one has more heft than usual. Strawberry on the nose with silky fruit and cigarette smoke on the balanced finish, very drinkable.

2009 Cantine Valpane Barbera del Monferrato “Perlydia” (Piedmont). Dark red to black with black berry on the nose with dusty, chewy fruit and moderate tannin and acids on the balanced finish, drinking nicely now.

2012 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium to light red with some cooked fruit notes on the nose with juicy tobacco fruit and tart at the end.

2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Brick color and slightly cloudy, silky with herbs and nuts on the well structured finish.

2010 Gigi Bianco Barbera D’Alba (Piedmont). Medium red with a big perfume of dark fruit and pencil shavings, silky dark fruit and firm acidity on the finish.

2009 Gigi Bianco Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont). Medium red, brick robe with sweet herbs on the nose, pencil shavings on the fruit, feels light but ends with a long finish.

2009 Oddero Barberesco “Gallina” (Piedmont). Light red with an amber robe with cigar box on the nose, silky and tight with lip-smacking tannin at the end.

2010 Oddero  Barolo (Piedmont). A blend of grapes from three vineyards, brick color with a muted nose with smoky black cherry on the tight fruit, roasted nuts on the firm finish.

2009 Oddero Barolo “Rocchi di Castiglioni” (Piedmont). Brick color with cigar box on the nose, sweet silky fruit, firm structure and mouth coating tannin at the end.

2007 Oddero Barolo “Brunate” (Piedmont). Medium red with an amber robe, sweet black cherry on the nose, silky sweet fruit with a firm structure.

2011 Poggio la Nocce “Gigetto” (Tuscany). A blend of Sangiovese and Teroldego, dark red with roasted coffee and black cherry on the nose, rustic, chunky and dusty, firm but balanced.

2011 Poggio la Nocce “Gigiò” (Tuscany). The flagship wine of the estate, mostly Sangiovese, dark purple with roasted meat on the nose, chewy and chunky with a nice brambly and mint finish.

1995 Ronchi di Cialla “Schiopettino” (Oriental dei Friuli). Schiopettino is the varietal, dark red with licorice and dried leaf on the nose with herbs and earth on the crisp finish.

2007 Tormaresca Aglianico “Bucco di Lupo” (Puglia). Dark red in color with dried herbs and fruit on the nose, very silky and concentrated, with chewy mint notes on the finish.


Iconic Antinori with Allegra Antinori

2011 Tignanello (Tuscany). Single vineyard wine, Dark red with dark fruit and rosemary on the nose, tight fruit with bitter herbs on the finish, getting some heat at the end, still young and needs time to balance out.

2011 Solaia (Tuscany). Purple robe with a perfume of pencil shavings and roast meat, silky with the same roasted meat on the tight and dusty fruit with dried herbs on the finish. Young.

2011 Guado Al Tasso (Bolgheri). A Bordeaux blend, black in color with fresh herbs, oregano on the nose, thick, dusty with bitter cherry on the fruit, mouth coating dusty tannin.

Paolo Bae, Il Censo, and Neal Rosenthal

2012 Il Censo Cataratto “Praruar” (Sicily). An orange wine. Burnt orange in color, muted nose, good fruit and balance.

2009 Paolo Bea Umbria Bianco “Arboreous” (Umbria). Another orange wine, dark copper with a perfume of sweet berries, chewy and earthy with a bit of citrus acid on the finish.

2006 Paolo Bea Sangrantino “Pagliaro” (Umbria). Medium to dark red with a brick robe with smoky tobacco on the nose, starts silky and ends with mouth numbing, fuzzy tannins.

2007 Paolo Bea Sangrantino “Pagliaro” (Umbria). Black in color with a light red robe with a gamey, barnyard and black fruit nose, concentrated with mint notes ending with the same ferocious tannin as the ’06.



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