Spain’s Great Match New York 2021

On November 15th I attended the 27th annual Spain’s Great Match, a food & wine event in which importers and distributors showcased the new vintages in their portfolios to members of the trade and to consumers. Over 300 wines were available to sample.

The event was held at Mercado Little Spain at 10 Hudson Yards. Mercado is essentially the Spanish version of Eataly, a food and wine theme park. It was opened by Chef José Andrés and the Adrian Brothers to showcase “the best of Spanish food, drink and culture”.

Spain is one of the world’s leading producers of wine and some of their top wine regions include Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rias Baixas, Penedes and Jerez.

There were two sessions, an afternoon session for the trade and an evening session for consumers. I attended the trade session in the afternoon. As usual there were more wines available than I could have sampled in one afternoon, so I decided to focus my attention on one region and type of wine. At this event that focus was on the Reserva and Gran Reserva wines from Rioja. Those wines are primarily made from the Tempranillo grape and the Reserva must be age for three years with at least one year in oak and the Gran Reserva for five years with at least two in oak before release. I would have liked to sample wines from the other regions but perhaps another time.

It was an afternoon of good wine and plenty of tasty tapas (especially the ham).

Some of what I sampled:

2005 Martinez Lacuesta Campeador Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, silky fruit with a nice balance.

2008 Bodegas Frontaura Reserva (Toro): Opaque dark brick, mint and tar on the nose, dusty and tight with firm tannins.

2009 Manzanos Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red, black pepper, mint and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, dusty and silky fruit with a good grip and some heat at the end.

2010 Felix Martinez Lacuesta Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, bright red fruit with a bitter, chewy finish.

2010 Bodegas Añaras Gran Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red with a brick rim, crushed rocks on the nose, tight and silky with earth notes on the fruit followed with crisp acids.

2011 Cerro Añon Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, black leather on the nose with chewy bright red fruit.

2012 Marquis de Caceres Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, perfume of red flowers, crushed red fruit with tight, bright red fruit on the finish.

2014 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva (Rioja): Black in color, slate notes on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2015 Lopez E Haro Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with a spicy nose and silky red fruit.

2015 Bodegas Añaras Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with crushed rocks on the nose, tight red fruit and nicely balanced.

2015 Vina Pomal Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, red leather and tar on the nose, chewy, dusty fruit, nice grip with some citrusy acids on the finish.

2015 Vina Lanciano Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a purple rim, camphor and crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty and tight with slate notes on the firm finish.

2015 Culmen Reserva (Rioja): Black with a purple rim, crushed ripe black fruit and mint on the nose, juicy, chewy and silky minerally fruit ending with a long finish.

2015 Bodegas Ugalde “Ugalde” Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, black pepper and crushed plum on the nose, nice silky fruit with mint notes on the firm finish.

2015 Bodegas LLeiroso Reserva (Ribero del Duero): Dark red, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with bitter almonds on the finish, nice balance.

2016 Baron De Lay Reserva (Rioja): Dark red, tar and crushed black fruit on the nose, bright, silky black fruit, firm finish.

2017 Cerro Añon Reserva (Rioja): Opaque medium brick, tar and mint on the nose, chewy tarry fruit with a nice balance.

2017 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with floral and tobacco notes on the nose, silky dark fruit with good acidity on the finish.

2017 Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Penedes): Dark red with tar and leather on the nose, juicy red fruit with a mouthwatering tannic finish.

Wines of Uruguay Tasting

On November 11th I attended a tasting of wines from Uruguay sponsored by Uruguay Wines. This is the first time I’ve been to a comprehensive wine tasting of wines from Uruguay, in the past I’ve had a bottle of Tannat here and there but never a tasting where I could try several.

Tannat is the star grape in Uruguay, the varietal is a native of South West France and the main grape in the Madiran AOC of that country. It was brought into Uruguay by Basque settlers. This tasting was a great opportunity to sample several in one sitting.

The tasting was held at Estancia 460, a cozy Argentinian restaurant at 460 Greenwich Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and the event was open to consumers.

Most of the reds were of course Tannat or Tannat blended wines, though I did try a couple of Cabernet Franc bottled on their own. They were pouring a few whites, it seemed that Viognier and Albarino are the trending whites, I also sampled a couple of Orange wines and interestingly, a red and a rosé vermouth from Vermuth Flores.

If you like California style fruit forward and accessible wines you will love the Tannats coming out of Uruguay. Generally black in color with aromas of crushed rock, slate, gun-metal and blueberries with good structure that are ready to drink.

Some of the wines I sampled:

2018 Antigua Bodega Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Medium purple with a dusty nose, juicy dark fruit with red licorice and dusty notes on the nice balance.

2020 El Capricho Aguara Tannat: Clear red with a purple rim, crushed red fruit and slate on the nose, bright fruit with forest floor and slate on the fruit, good grip at the end.

2017 El Capricho Tannat Reserve: Clear red fruit, crushed rocks and forest floor on the nose, bright red fruit with slate and earth notes on the fruit with a nice grip at the finish.

2018 Bouza Monte Vide Eu Tannat/Merlot: Opaque dark black, crushed red berry and gun metal on the nose, chewy, thick with dark chocolate notes, nice balance.

2018 Bouza Tannat A6 Parcela Unica: Black in color, closed nose of green herbs, chewy and thick with dark chocolate notes on the nice balance.

2019 Familia Traversa Tannat: Clear medium, crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and bitter almond notes on the balanced finish.

2018 Pedregal Roble Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Clear medium red, dusty slate, earth on the nose, silky red fruit and balanced.

2018 Pedregal Prima Donna Tannat: Dark red to black, bright red fruit and earth on the nose with tobacco notes on the balanced finish.

2017 Artesana Tannat/Merlot/Zinfandel: Opaque dark red to black in color, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, silky black licorice fruit with green olives and a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2016 Alto de la Ballena Tannat/Viognier: Opaque dark red, overripe fruit on the nose, chewy fruit with crisp acids

2020 Bracco Bosca Tannat Clasico: Opaque medium red with some stinky notes on the nose, clean bright red fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids

2019 Bracco Bosca Cabernet Franc: Opaque medium red, cigar box and red fruit on the nose, sweet dusty red fruit, nice balance.

2019 Famiglia Deicas Bizarra Extravaganza Orange: Cloudy rusty orange, tangerine notes on the nose, chewy fruit with good balance at the end.

Grand Crus of St-Emilion Tasting

The Association De Grand Crus Classes De Saint-Emillion held their 2021 tasting tour in the USA on November 8th in New York City and in San Francisco on the 10th.

In New York the event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion event space at 123 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Bordeaux is one of the most famous wine regions in the world with many well known classified growth wines. The Appellations and vineyards are on the right and left bank of the Gironde estuary. The wines are blends of legally permitted varietals but mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.

On the Right Bank the most famous communes are Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. While they are permitted to use the classic Bordeaux varietals, a distinguishable characteristic of the wines of the Right Bank is that Merlot is the predominate grape in the blend.

At the tasting the Chateau were showcasing their 2018’s along with another older vintage. I was getting a lot of nice aromatics but not surprisingly the wines were hard as nails at this point. Like most Bordeaux they will need a few more years in the bottle to become approciable.

Some of the wines I sampled:

Chateau Chauvin

2015: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with an amber rim, black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, silky fruit with green olive notes on the dusty finish.

2018: 88% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and spices on the nose, juicy black fruit with firm tannins.

Clos des Jacobins

2016: 80% Merlot. Clear medium brick, perfume of black olives and oak, tight dusty tannins on the red fruit.

2018: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, graphite and crushed red fruit on the nose, peppery black fruit with firm tannins.

Couvent des Jacobins

2015: 85% Merlot. Dark red to black with a purple rim, sweet perfume of tar and tobacco, silky black fruit with bitter almonds on the firm finish.

Chateau Dassault

2016: 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, tar and black plum on the nose, chewy black fruit with olive notes on the firm but balanced finish.

2018:75% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume with burnt notes with ripe vegetable on the finish.

Chateau de Ferrand

2016: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, crushed rocks and graphite on the nose, chewy black fruit followed by big tannins.

2018 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, green olives on the fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Faugeres

2011 85% Merlot. Opaque dark red, black olives, mint and tar on the nose, minty red fruit, getting some heat at the end.

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

2016 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, ripe fruit notes on the nose, silky red fruit, moderate long balanced finish.

2018 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, perfume of crushed red fruit, juicy with bitter almonds and firm tannins on the finish.

Chateau Fonplégade

2015 95% Merlot. Clear dark brick with an amber rim, black olives and tar on the nose, tight, dark fruit with a mouthful of tannin.

2018 90% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume of violets, tight red licorice fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Franc Mayne

2011 90% Merlot. Opaque dark brick with an amber rim, perfume of black olives and violets, dusty firm tannins with gun metal notes on the fruit.

2018 90% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed dark fruit and black licorice on the nose, juicy and tannic.

Chateau La Marzelle

2012 75% Merlot. Black in color with a purple rim, toasty notes on the nose, chewy, juicy dark fruit with firm tannins on the long finish.

2018 75% Merlot. Dark red with a purple rim, cooked fruit and crushed rocks on the nose with red fruit on the crisp finish.

Chateau Villemaurine

2016 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, perfume of tobacco and crushed dark plums, green herbs on the red fruit with firm tannins.

2018 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, red flowers on the nose, concentrated red fruit with firm tannins.

Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2021

After cancelling last year, the best consumer wine tasting event of the year was back. The 40th anniversary Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience was held on October 21-23. The event featured wine seminars given by some of the leading wine makers/owners in the world and a Grand Tasting held on Thursday and Friday evenings that had over 200 participating international wineries pouring wines rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator magazine.

The first Wine Experience was held in 1981 in San Francisco. For many years the event alternated between San Francisco and New York City until they made the decision a few years ago to have New York City and the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square as the permanent host city and venue for the event.

The Wine Experience is sponsored by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

This year for the first time I was fortunate enough to attend both nights of the tasting. With such a staggering amount of good juice I had to focus my efforts on the red wines of Bordeaux and Napa Valley with few outliers thrown in.

That only put small dent in the amount of wines that were offered, I could have easily spent a couple more evenings sampling the rest of the wines. There were plenty of Italy’s finest, Brunello’s, Super Tuscans, Barolos and Barbaresco’s to sample and a copious amount of wines from the other wine producing countries.

In years past they would end the event with an award banquet that included live music from the likes of Chicago, The Beach Boys, Huey Lewis and the News, John Legend and Neal Sedaka to name a few but they forgo the banquet this year.

Some of my highlights:

Napa Valley

1995 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “S.L.V.” (Napa Valley): Medium brick, warm baking spices, tar and leather on the nose, tight with dried leaf notes on the finish.

2006 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Selection” (Napa Valley): Black in color, crushed black fruit, mint and strawberry on the nose, thick dark chocolate and coffee notes on the fruit, bitter dark chocolate on the long finish. Nice.

2007 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon “Howell Mt” (Napa Valley): Black with a purple rim, ripe red fruit on the nose, silky, chewy with a nice grip at the end.

2013 Opus One Red Blend (Napa Valley): Thick black in color, crushed black fruit, cedar and pickle juice on the nose, silky dark chocolate fruit with a chewy finish, nice balance.

2014 Promontory Red Blend (Napa Valley): Opaque dark purple, raspberry and cooked vegetable on the nose, sweet fruit finishing with bitter cherry notes.

2015 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon “Trailside Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Clear medium red, sweet tar on the nose, juicy black fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids.

2016 Kerr Cellars Red Blend “Reserve” (Napa Valley): Thick black in color, crushed rocks and black fruit on the nose, thick and chewy dark chocolate and mint on the fruit, good grip on the medium to long finish.

2016 Bond St Eden Red Wine (Napa Valley): Cloudy dark red with an amber rim, warm spices on the nose, silky bitter almonds on the fruit with a long finish.

2016 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley): Black in color, sweet dried leaf on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit with a nice grip on the chocolatey finish.

2016 Pahlmeyer Red Blend (Napa Valley): Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with tight tannins on the finish

2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “The Reserve” (Napa Valley): Dark red, crushed raspberry and oak on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice grip on the finish.

2017 Staglin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Black in color, smoky bacon fat and red licorice on the nose, tight concentrated fruit with some earth notes with lip smacking, firm balanced finish.

2017 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Dark red to black, closed nose of cherry and dirt, firm tannins.

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Clear dark red, red licorice and toasted earth on the nose, tight and concentrated with green herbs on the finish.

2018 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Dark red to black in color, toasted green herbs on the nose, tight red berry fruit with youthful firm acids.

2018 Ovid Red Blend (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, slate and crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with a nice grip at the end.

2018 Continuum Estate Sage Mt Vineyard (Napa Valley): Cloudy dark red with a purple rim, dried herbs and crushed red fruit on the nose, tight, dusty silky fruit with a firm, long finish.

2018 Diamond Creek “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley): Dark red with a purple rim, tea, sweet red candy, crushed red berry on the nose, chewy red fruit, nice tannin grip on the long finish.

2018 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, smoky cooked asparagus on the nose, tight red fruit with fresh herbs on the finish.

2018 Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Black with purple rim, toasted oak on the nose, tight black fruit with crisp acids at the end.

Other California

2001 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello ( Santa Cruz Mts): Cloudy brick with an amber rim, sweet tar on the nose, silky fruit, grippy tannings and great balance on the long finish. Tasty.

2018 Peter Michael Winery “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley): Clear medium red, toasted red fruit on the nose, tight, sweet black fruit with a firm, balanced finish.

Bordeaux

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Brick in color with a pretty perfume of tar and leather, silky, chewy dark fruit with tree bark on the nicely balanced, long finish.

2010 Chateau La Fleur-Petrus (Pomerol): Clear dark red with an amber rim, tobacco and tar on the nose with tight black fruit.

2010 Chateau Pichon Longueville Lalande (Pauillac): Opaque dark red with sweet red fruit on the nose, tight with dusty tannins.

2011 Chateau Cheval Blanc (St Emilion): Opaque medium red, sweet smoke on the nose, firm red fruit that tightens up with a smoky notes on the balanced finish.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Opaque dark brick in color, cedar and sweet tar on the nose, tight with firm tannins.

2014 Chateau Leoville Barton (St Julien): Medium purple with a perfume of black licorice and tree bark, tight with firm acids on the finish

2015 Chateau Leoville Las Cases (St Julien): Dark black with mint and red cherry on the nose with crisp red fruit on the finish.

2015 Chateau Montrose (St Estephe): Medium purple with an amber rim, toasted, sweet wood notes on the nose, tight red berry fruit with a moderate to light finish.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St Emilion): Clear medium purple, stewed vegetable on the nose, nice silky black fruit with bitter almonds on the finish. Nice balance.

2016 Chateau Canon-La Gaffeliere (St Emilion): Dark red to black, bacon fat on the nose, tight silky fruit with green herbs on the finish.

2016 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac): Dark red to black, stinky, tar, floral nose, tight, silky dark fruit, firm finish.

2016 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac): Brick with an amber rim, pretty perfume of cedar, tar and cigar box, tight bell pepper fruit with a long peppery finish.

2016 Chateau Pichon Baron (Pauillac): Opaque dark red, roasted meat and sweet violets on the nose, silky black fruit with a velvety finish and great balance.

Others

2001 Gaja Barberesco (Piedmont): Medium brick, sweet tar and leather on the nose, silky, tarry, smoky green herbs on the fruit with a mouthful, long finish. Tasty.

2010 Marquis de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick closed nose of baking spices, silky cooked fruit with a firm finish.

2011 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico (Ribera del Duero): Clear medium red color, green blueberries and crushed red fruit on the nose, tight with bitter cherry on the finish.

2015 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Light brick with a closed nose of crushed blueberries and black licorice, tight with green herbs on the fruit and crisp acids at the end.

2015 Penfolds Shiraz Grange (South Australia): Dark red with a brick rim, warm cherry tar on the nose, tight black fruit, crisp acids.

Milano Wine Week Chianti Tasting

Milano Wine Week was held on October 2-10. It was a series of wine related events based in Milan, Italy. One of the many events that week was the International Master Class Programs which was a series of classes held in various cities around the world that was coordinated with a live video feed from Milan.

In New York City those classes were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant located at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

On October 4th I attended a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Vino Chianti, “Chianti D.O.C.G.: Quintessence of Tuscany”. It was a blind tasting of seven 2019 Chianti from each of the seven sub districts in Chianti, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli. Chianti Classico, another sub district was granted its own DOCG.

All of the wines were from the 2019 vintage and were tasted blind and at this point still young.

Artimino Chianti Montalbano

Opaque dark purple with red candy, roast meat and wood notes on the nose, tight, red citrus and red candy fruit notes ending with crisp and crunchy acids.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti Fiorentini

Opaque dark purple, tree bark, black licorice and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight, black licorice and cherry on the tight fruit with bitter almonds on the finish.

Badia Di Morrona Chianti Pisane

Opaque dark purple with a sweet perfume of toasted oak on the nose, red licorice on the fruit with firm acids.

Poggio Al Vento Chianti Senesi

Opaque dark purple, red cherry and tree bark on the nose, firm dusty leather fruit, balanced with a tarry finish.

Podere Dell’Anselmo Chianti Montespertoli

Dark purple to black in color with sweet tar, earth and toast notes on the nose, silky fruit with graphite notes, good balance with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

Il Palazzo Chianti Arentini

Opaque dark purple, sweet roast meat on the nose, dusty fruit with green herbs on the finish with a firm grip on the end.

Fattoria Lavaccio Chianti Rufina

Opaque dark purple, closed nose of violets and red leather, black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm, dusty grip at the end with bitter almond notes.

Finally Brunello 2021

The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino is hosting Brunello week June 14-20. The theme is “Finally Brunello, The destiny of every bottle of Brunello di Montalcino is to wait for years”.

That refers to the fact that for Brunello’s according to the DOCG laws, the wines cannot be released for a minimum of 4 years for the regular bottling and 5 years for the Riserva. That means the wines from the outstanding 2016 vintage have recently been coming to the US market. And I suppose the “finally” was for the fact that they can begin having live tastings again.

For the Brunello week that means 40 restaurants and 2 clubs will be featuring special menus paired with wines from any of the 56 wineries that are participating in the Brunello week.

Prior to that week they hosted several webinars and events. On June 9th I was able to attend the Brunello Week Press Release Luncheon where we were served six wines from Montalcino paired with a three course lunch.

That lunch was held at Il Fiorista restaurant at 17 West 26th Street in Manhattan. This has to be one of the most unique restaurants in the City. Il Fiorista which means “The Florist” in English has a Florist theme with many plants and plant products that are on sale in the restaurant. They also use various locally sourced edible plants in their cooking. The lunch was excellent and went well with the wines that were served with them.

Four Rosso di Montalcino and two Brunello’s were served.

The Menu

Tagliatelli

Sun-gold tomatoes, tarragon, flowering arugula

Pork Belly

Cherry, farro, basil blosssoms

Sorbet

Blackberry, lap sang su chang (smoke-dried black tea)

The Wines

2016 Poggio Antica Brunello di Montalcino: Opaque dark red, closed nose at first then opened up with floral wood, petroleum and dark fruit notes, silky and juicy black leather fruit with bitter cherry on the finish.

2016 Cortenesi “La Mannella” Brunello di Montalcino: Opaque dark brick with floral green herbs and black leather on the nose, silky dark fruit and red licorice ending with silky tannins with excellent balance.

2019 Argiano Rosso di Montalcino: Dark purple with dusty, crushed red fruit on the nose, dusty tannins, black licorice and bitter cherry on the finish.

2019 Talenti Rosso di Montalcino: Opaque dark red, dusty crushed black fruit, green herbs on the nose, juicy red leather fruit, bitter cherry with a silky finish.

2019 Cortenesi “La Mannella” Rosso di Montalcino: Dark purple in color, tar, damp earth and floral violets on the nose with juicy red leather fruit and black licorice notes on the finish.

2019 Patrizia Cencioni Rosso di Montalcino: Clear medium red with tar and dried herbs on the nose, tight with crisp acids, a little unbalanced.

I.E.E.M. Chianti Classico Collection

On May 20 & 21st the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) held another of its series of tastings where they showcase a particular wine to wine professionals and look for importers/distributor for the wines. This time around it was the Chianti Classico Collection. They were wines from the Black Rooster (gallo nero) Chianti Classico DOCG in Tuscany.

There are seven subzones in the Chianti DOCG, Colli Arentini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Pisane, Rufina, Montespertoli and Montalano. Classico was a subzone but became its own DOCG in 1996.

This was a live tasting but modified for current conditions. You sat at a table and via smartphone would order 4 wines from their 200+ bottle list on hand and a Sommelier would come over and pour the wines.

It was a vertical tasting of the 2015-2019 vintages and all of the three quality tiers were represented including Gran Selezione, Riserva and the basic Classico. The formula for Chianti has changed in recent years and they are no longer required to use a small percentage of white grapes and they can now use foreign varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In general, of the five vintages I would say that the 2016’s were showing well with the strongest concentration of fruit from the vintages. The 2019’s were for the most part still young and unbalanced, these are some of my highlights.

2015 Cantina Castelvecchi “Madonnino della Pieve” Gran Selezione: Opaque dark red, pretty perfume of sweet violets, tar and dried sage, silky fruit with firm tannins on the medium to long finish.

2015 Castello di Radda “Vigna il Corno”Gran Selezione: Clear medium brick, closed nose of toasted nuts with red cherry fruit and gritty, mouth coating tannins at the end.

2015 Piemaggio “Le Fioraie”: Riserva: Clear light red, red licorice, mint and violets on the nose, earth notes on the bright fruit, firm finish.

2015 Castello di Raddo Riserva: Light brick, closed nose of cooked vegetables, juicy black licorice fruit ending with a firm and balanced long finish.

2015 Istine “Levigne” Riserva: Clear light red, closed nose of dried herbs, bright red fruit with slate and toast notes, ending with firm tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Contessa di Radda” Riserva: Opaque dark red with a purple rim with crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy with toasty notes on the fruit.

2016 Castello di Verrazzano Riserva: Clear dark brick in color, sweet violets and dried herbs on the nose, dusty earth on the fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Canoica a Cerreto Riserva: Clear medium red with dried leaf on the nose, tight with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Montegiachi” Riserva: Clear dark red, perfume of violets and roasted meat, concentrate dark fruit with slate notes, nice balance with dried herbs on the long finish.

2016 Castello di Radda Riserva: Clear medium red, tar, roasted nuts and camphor on the nose, juicy fruit with silky tannins, nice balance.

2017 Banfi Riserva: Opaque medium brick, pretty sweet nose, starts out with juicy fruit that drops at the end with black licorice notes.

2017 Brancaia Riserva: Clear medium red with roasted nuts on the nose, firm red fruit and a balanced finish.

2018 Badia & Coltibuono Classico: Clear light brick, pencil shavings and forest floor on the nose, delicate and light bodied.

2018 Pasolini dall’Onda “Sicelle” Classico: Clear medium red with toasted notes on the nose with silky fruit and a nice a nice balance.

2018 Castello di Radda Classico: Clear medium red, pretty nose of violets, tar, graphite with moderate to light fruit and light tannins at the end.

2019 Marchese Antinori “Peppoli” Classico: Clear light red with dried herbs on the nose, bright fruit.

2019 Felsina “Beradenga” Chianti Classico: Clear light red, bacon fat and roasted nuts on the nose, bright fruit with silky tannins.

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD Sonoma Coast

Decoy wines are part of the extensive Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio which includes the Paraduxx, Canvasback, Migration, Calera and Goldeneye brands.

This Pinot Noir was made with grapes from the Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Carneros AVA’s.

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD

Clear, bright red in color, floral, tobacco and wood notes on the nose with bright red fruit, cherry, cola, some earth notes and firm acids on the finish. Nothing flawed about the wine but it’s a little one dimensional.

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.