Maremma Toscana

 

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On March 15th the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management), a Miami based agency that organizes, markets and manages events held a press release/seminar for wines from the Maremma region of Italy, “From the Mountains to the Sea…A Pristine Land: The Tuscan Maremma”. The event was for members of the restaurant trade and they held a sit-down tasting of eleven wines followed by a walk around tasting of about thirty more wines. The I.E.E.M. held  this type of event last October at the same venue, Il Gattopardo restaurant at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. 

The Maremma district is in Tuscany, Italy along the coast, west of the more famous Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino wine districts. In a country with vineyards planted for hundreds of years, the Maremma is a relatively new wine district since for most of its history the area was swampy. Those swamps were drained in the early 20th century.

Some famous Super Tuscans such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia are produced in the Maremma but this tasting was to showcase and focus on the smaller, lesser well know producers looking for exposure and importers and to showcase the local grape varieties such as Ciliegiolo and Alicante. 

 

These were the wines served at the sit-down tasting:

2019 Argentaia “Le Papese” Rosato: A Rosé from 100% Sangiovese. Clear light copper, cantaloupe on the nose, melony finish with mouth watering acids. 

2019 Sassotondo: 100% Ciliegiolo. Opaque dark purple, cedar and crushed red berries on the nose, dusty, metal shaving notes on the fruit with tight tannins and acids on the finish. 

2019 Sequerciani: 100% Ciliegiolo. Opaque dark purple, sweet nose of tar, fresh herbs and olives with juicy, dusty, tart cherry fruit. 

2018 Cantina “I Vini Di Maremma” Alberese: 100% Ciliegiolo. Opaque dark purple to black, closed nose of pixie stix and green herbs, moderate juicy fruit, nice balance with olives , herbs and silky tannins on the moderate to long finish. 

2018 I Cavallini: 100% Ciliegiolo. Opaque dark red, tar, leather and wet earth on the nose, moderate bright fruit with very tart cherry on the finish. 

2016 Cantina LaSelva: 100% Ciliegiolo. Opaque dark red with some garnet on the rim, tar and leather notes on the nose, juicy with mouth coating tannins and tart cherry. 

2015 Sassotondo “San Lorenzo”: 100% Ciliegiolo, Pitigliano single vineyard. Opaque black with a purple rim, black olives and red leather on the nose, slate notes on the fruit with mouth coating tannins. 

2016 I Cavallini: 100% Alicante. Dark garnet, green herbs and black olives on the nose, moderate fruit with silky, firm tannins and tart earth notes on the finish.

2016 Fattoria Mantellassi “Querciola”: 100% Alicante. Opaque black with sweet spice on the nose, medium juicy fruit followed by firm, gritty tannins and low acids.  

2017 Cantina “I Vini Di Maremma” Territorio: 100% Sangiovese. Opaque dark red with some earth notes on the nose, light fruit with cooked fruit notes on the finish with mouth filling tannins. 

2018 Le Sode Di Sant’Angelo “Sassi Dautore”: 85% Sangiovese, 15% Alicante. Opaque dark red to black, closed nose of crushed rocks. tight with slate notes on the fruit, firm acids. 

 

 

 

2016 Cordella Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany

 

 

Rosso di Montalcino is the “junior” version of Brunello di Montalcino. They both come from the same area in Tuscany, and are made with 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The big difference is that Rosso has a bit more leeway in where the grapes are planted and the aging that’s required before being released. Brunello has a minimum of 4 years aging (5 years for Riservas ) before being released while Rosso needs only to age for 1 year before release. This gives the winemakers an opportunity to have some cash come in while the Brunello’s are aging.  

 

2016 Cordella Rosso di Montalcino

Clear red with an amber rim with tar, black pepper and tobacco on the nose, chewy and firm red fruit with bitter cherry on the long finish. Was getting a metallic aftertaste on the finish.  

 

 

2017 Ridge Vineyards Petite Sirah Lytton Springs

 

 

Petite Sirah is the new world name for the Durif grape which was developed in France in the mid 1800’s. It’s a cross pollination of the Syrah and Peloursin grape varietals. 

It’s relatively rare varietal with less than 10,000 planted acres in the world with the majority in California. 

It was brought into California in the early 20th century and became a workhorse grape with winemakers adding it to a blend to beef up the wine. 

Ridge Vineyards is know for their Zinfandel (and a good Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon as well) which are often blended with Rhone varietals . This wine is from their Lytton Springs vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.  The oldest vines in the vineyard date back to 1901.

 

2017 Lytton Springs Petite Sirah

Opaque dark purple with a purple rim, dill pickle, bacon fat and slate notes on the nose, concentrated meaty black fruit, chalky tannins on the peppery, balanced finish. Very enjoyable glass of wine.  

 

 

 

2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

 

 

Beringer Vineyards is an iconic winery in Napa Valley with a 144 year history.

They produce a wide range of wines from basic bottlings to high-end single vineyard and reserve wines.

This one comes from the Knights Valley appellation which is located in North-East Sonoma County.

 

2016 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. 

Opaque dark red with a purple rim, with roast meat, metal shavings, tobacco and red licorice on the nose, thick with black silky fruit with mint notes on the nicely balanced finish. 

 

 

2017 Peachy Canyon Zinfandel Westside Paso Robles

 

 

I’ve been to the Paso Robles wine region and I had visited this winery when I was there. This is their flagship wine and the fruit was sourced from multiple vineyards on the West side of Paso Robles. Highway 46 bisects the wine region with the hilly Westside of the highway and the flat as a pancake Eastside of the highway.

The Paso Robles wine region is about the same drive time time (4 hours) either going North from Los Angeles or South from San Francisco.  This is a laid back wine region with many interesting wineries pouring some nice juice. It is a hot wine region, when I visited in October the temperature got up to 100°!  

 

2017 Zinfandel “Westside”

A blend of 77% Zinfandel, 8% Primativo, 8% Alicante Bouchet and 7% Petite Sirah. Clear medium red, nose of ripe plums, red cherry and black  pepper, jammy red fruit with bitter cherry and dark chocolate on the long finish with just enough acidity to make it interesting. 

 

 

2018 Belles Grives Beaujolais Morgon

 

 

Beaujolais is the southernmost district in Burgundy. While Pinot Noir is king in most of Burgundy, here the Gamay grape is the primary red varietal. In the hierarchy of Beaujolais the Crus are at the top of the quality pyramid. There are ten: Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-A-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Cote de Brouilly and Brouilly. I think that the Cru Beaujolais are underated wines with a good price to quality ratio.

 

2018 Belles Grives Beaujolais “Morgon

Clear medium red, dusty red fruit and cherry candy on the nose, juicy with green herb notes on the fruit, tightens at the end with silky tannins. Feeling some heat at 14.5%.

 

 

2016 Felsina Winery Chianti Classico Riserva “Berardenga” Tuscany

 

 

Felsina is a thousand year old estate in the hills of Tuscany. The estate was bought in 1966 and turned into the present winery.

As a Riserva, the DOCG rules mandates that it must be aged a minimum of two years in barrel and three months in bottle before release.  

The Berardenga is one of several Chianti this estate produces from the Classico district. In addition to Classico, there are also seven sub-districts in Chianti; Arentini, Fiorentini, Senesi, Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rufina. 

 

2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga

100% Sangiovese. Clear, medium red in color, classic nose of sweet violets, graphite, tar and leather, silky, tight tannins with some wood notes, firm acidity. Still hard edged at this point, needs some more time in the bottle.

 

 

2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” Napa Valley

 

 

Robert Mondavi was one of the most famous wine makers of Napa Valley. This is from their Oakville appellation series of wines which is in the heart of Napa Valley. 

The wine is a Bordeaux blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot rounding out the rest of the blend. 

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville”

Dark red to black in color with a purple rim, on the nose, notes of slate, roasted nuts and meat and crushed black fruit. Silky black fruit and tannins, and crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the fruit. A bit astringent on the long finish. Opened a couple of hours before the tasting. 

 

 

 

I.E.E.M. Italian Tasting Day 3

 

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This was day three of the I.E.E.M. three-day seminar event. Each day they ran three seminars, this day I attended two of them.

 

Prosecco DOC: More Than Just A Sparkling Wine!

NV Masottina Extra Brut: Light gold, honey nose, crisp lime notes on the finish. 

NV Ruggeri Treviso Brut “Argeo”: 100% Glera grape. Light gold, cooked asparagus and honey on the nose, sweet fruit followed with moderate acidity. 

NV La Gioiosa Treviso Brut: Light gold, lemony asparagus on the nose, peachy fruit with mouth watering acids, nice finish.

NV Val d’Ora Treviso Extra Brut: Light gold, white flowers and tree bark on the nose, moderate tart lemon-lime fruit ending with crisp acids. 

NV Le Rughe Extra Dry: Light gold, dried herbs and cooked fruit on the nose, tight and firm with big acids. 

NV La Marca Extra Dry “Blue Label”: Medium gold, sweet peaches and cooked asparagus on the nose, moderate fruit with a “dirty” finish. 

 

Discovering the unique taste of wines from North-East Italy.

2017 Sant ‘Andrea Riesling (Oltrepo Pavese): Medium gold, with  a fragrance of lychee and white flowers, moderate fruit with a bitter melon finish. 

2019 Poderi dal Nespoli “Pagadebit” (Romagna): Pagadebit is the local grape varietal. Light gold with a stinky, grassy nose of white flowers and slate, tongue tightening acids with a lingering finish. 

2018 Sant’ Andrea Pinot Nero Spumante (Oltrepo Pavese): Medium gold, very stinky nose of rotting fruit with a stinky, crisp finish. 

NV Matteo Soria Extra Dry “Bric Prima Bella” (Asti): Light gold, canned peaches on the nose, floral fruit with crisp green apples on the finish. 

2018 Sant’ Andrea Bonarda Frizzante (Oltrepo Pavese): Opaque dark purple with a purple rim, sea air and barnyard on the nose, juicy, grapey with bitter cherry cola on the finish. 

2018 Sant’ Andrea Barbera (Oltrepo Pavese): Opaque dark red with a dark purple rim, closed nose of black cherry and leather, juicy red fruit with bitter red fruit and some earth at the end. 

2019 Ricossa Barbera “Appassimento” (Piedmont): Opaque dark red, black cherry and barnyard on the nose, chewy black fruit with smoky tree bark on the firm finish, balanced. 

 

 

I.E.E.M. Italian Tasting Day 2

 

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This was the second day of the series of Masterclasses from the I.E.E.M. I attended two of the three classes.

Prosecco is a sparkling wine produced in North-East Italy in the providences of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Guilia. It’s one of the ingredients in the classic cocktails of a Bellini and an Aperol Spritz.

Since it’s made using the less expensive Charmat process in which the bubbles are added in bulk compared to the more time consuming Methode Champinoise which is when a secondary fermentation is introduced in the the bottle, much Prosecco are commercially produced inexpensive sippers.

There are two sub districts within the DOC of Prosecco, Conegliano/Valdobbiadene and Asolo that are granted Superiore DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status. Wines from these zones are usually a notch up in quality from the wines produced in the DOC zones. 

Prosecco must be made with a minimum of 85% Glera grape with the rest indigenous varieties.

 

Masterclass: “Asolo Calling” by Montelvini

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Extra Dry”

Light yellow, canned peaches and cantaloupe on the nose, crisp with lemon curd notes on the fruit, nice balance of sweet and tart. 

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Brut”

Light yellow, white flowers and honeydew on the nose, bone dry and crisp finishing a little closed. 

NV Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Millesimato-Extra Brut”

About half the sugar per liter as the Brut. Very light yellow, sweet floral nose, bone dry and crisp with floral stone notes on the finish. 

 

Friuli is a providence in North-East Italy. It’s borders have been very fluid in the past centuries and the area has a Germanic/Slavic influence.

They are well know for their whites and their signature white is Friulano. 

 

Masterclass: “When Fruili Gives Its Best” by Genagricola

2019 Torre Rosazza Pinot Grigio (Colli Orientali)

100% Pinot Grigio. Very light gold, floral melon on the nose, moderate, lycee fruit with lime notes on the nice balance. 

2019 Torre Rosazza Friulano (Colli Orientali)

100% Friulano grape variety. Medium gold, somewhat closed nose of earth, moderate, juicy fruit finishing dry and light. 

2016 Torre Rossazza Altromerlot (Colli Orientali)

100% Merlot. Opaque dark red to black, very aromatic with bell pepper, tar and prunes, chewy at first and ends with bitter black cherry tannins.