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This past Saturday evening I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City to attend the Cal-Ital Summer Winefest, “a celebration of California and Italian wine”. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is located off the boardwalk on the Marina at Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard. It celebrated Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritage with more than 120 poured while a band played light jazz in the background.  Much of the early California wine industry was started by Italian immigrants who brought their wine culture and winemaking skills to the New World.

A wine tasting in a casino is a fun venue and I had some time to kill before the event so I decided to try my hand at the tables and perhaps recoup the cost of the bus ride down. It was not to be. But I did learn my lesson from the first time I attended this event and that lesson was gamble before the wine event and not after it.

Whites

2013 Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) Yellow with classic melon and grass notes on the nose, lemony tartness but not too much, easy drinking.

2013 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay (Sonoma County) Gold in color, honey on the nose with ripe melon on the fruit and good acidity.

2012 Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay (Carneros) Ripe mango on the nose with lime notes on the fruit.

2013 Terra d’Ora Winery Chenin Blanc/Viognier (Clarksburg) Gold in color with a honeyed nose with nice, clean acidity.

2013 Simi Winery Chardonnay Reserve (Russian River) Gold in color with toasty honey on the nose with oak flavors on the fruit.

2014 Planeta “La Segreta Blanco” (Sicily) Gold, turned earth on the nose with melon notes on the moderate to light fruit.

Reds

2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville District” (Napa Valley) Medium red to black, roasted nuts on the nose, chunky.

2011 Robert Mondavi BDX “Oakville District (Napa Valley) Medium red with ripe black cherry on the nose and dried herbs on the chewy finish with silky acidity.

2012 Ferrari-Carano “Siena” (Sonoma County) Medium red, bottle must of been off, getting sour, cooked fruit notes.

2010 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack” (Napa Valley) Dark red with crushed red berries on the nose, chunky and dusty with nice firm acidity on the finish.

2012 Parducci Petite Sirah “True Grit” (Mendocino County) Dark red to black with black herbs on the nose, tight and firm.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) Light red with ripe vegetable and earth on the nose and crisp acids.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards “Gravel Bed Red” (Sonoma County) Medium red with juicy red berry on the nose with juicy dried herbs on the fruit.

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione (Tuscany) An old standby, medium red with an amber robe, smoky, turned earth on the nose, tight with dried herbs, tar and bitter cherry on the finish. Tasty.

2010 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Classico (Tuscany) Medium red, dried herbs on the moderate fruit, firm.

2011 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) Medium red, white flowers and dark chocolate on the nose, chunky and chewy with great balance. One of my favorites of the night.

2013 Brancaia “Tre” (Tuscany) From grapes from three of their estates, medium red, bubblegum on the nose, silky with earth notes on the finish, balanced.

2010 Brancaia “Ilatraia” (Tuscany) A Bordeaux blend, dark red with a big nose of violet and dark chocolate, silky with firm acids on the finish.

2008 Brancaia “Il Blu” (Tuscany) First bottle I tried was corked, second bottle much better, dark red, tar and violet on the nose, deep, chewy, balanced, long finish. Very nice.

2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium red, tar and cooked fruit on the nose, tight with dark chocolate on the fruit with firm acids.

2011 Castello Banfi “Belnero” (Tuscany) Dark red, warm, crushed slate on the nose, crushed rock on the moderate fruit with a firm finish.

2013 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany) Light red, cooked fruit on the nose, light and tart.

2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Brick in color with smoky violet on the nose, tight and tart.

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