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. 

 

 

Italian Tastings: I.E.E.M. Master Classes Day 1

 

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October 3-11 was Milano Wine Week 2020. The event was curated by the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management), a PR agency for the wine industry.  Promoted as “the first international event of 2020” they ran tastings, exhibitions and seminars in Milan and several international cities. In New York they held a series of sit-down “master classes” during the course of three days which were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. 

Master class: “Discover The Unique Expression of Pinot Noir From Oltrepò Pavese” 

The wines were from the Confagricoltura Pavia, an agricultural trade organization. 

Oltrepò Pavese which translate into “Pavia across the Po” is one of Italy’s 329 DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) zones and is located about 50 miles south of the city of Milan in the region of Lombardy.

The flagship wines from that region are Spumante but they were one of the first regions in Italy to plant Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero).

As Lombardy is in North Italy, these are cool weather Pinot Noirs and I wasn’t expecting the type of lush, fruit forward Pinot Noirs that  you would get from warmer weather wine regions such as California.  The wines were young and for the most part hard as nails with tight fruit and high acidity. 

 

2017 Marchese Adorno “Rile Nero”

2015 Conte Vistarino “Pernice”

2018 Conte Vistarino “Costa del Nero”

2017 Tenuta Travaglino “Poggia della Buttinera” Riserva

2018 Frecciarossa “Carillo”

2016 Frecciarossa “Giorgio Odero”

2017 Mazzolino “Noir”

2019 Mazzolino “Terrazze”

 

Master Class: Vermentino Phenomenon: Discovering The Top 10 Vermentino.

 

Vermentino is a white grape varietal grown around the Mediterranean.

The Maremma is on the western coast of Tuscany and in a country where grapes have been planted for centuries, a relatively new vinicultural area.  Viticulture was introduced in the 19th century after the drainage of the swampland in the region. 

At this tasting we sampled ten Vermentino from Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana. They are an association of wine grape growers, wine makers and wine bottlers which was established “to protect the quality of Maremma Toscana DOC wines and to promote them in Italy and abroad”. They poured wines from the Grand Prix 2020 and the new low sugar versions. 

For the most part the wines were bone-dry, delicate, crisp whites that would go well with shellfish and other seafood. 

 

2019 Balbino 2019 Vermentino
2019 Nudo Vermintino 2018 Leardo
2018 Balbinvs 2018 Codice V
2017 Montero 2017 Matan
2019 Scalandrino 2018 Cobalto
 
 

 

Cava Tasting

 

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I was able to squeeze in this tasting the night before the lockdown on March 15th and it was held at Corkbuzz wine bar and restaurant at 13 East 13th Street, just south of Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Cava is a sparking wine produced in Spain. It comes from the Penedès wine region in Catalonia and is not far from the city of Barcelona.

To be called Cava, the wine  must be made using the methode champenoise. The traditional grape varietals used in making Cava are the indigenous Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada varietals with the non native varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir now used as well.

It might be heresy for me to say, but if I’m looking for a budget sparkler I much rather have a glass of Cava than a glass of Prosecco.

 

NV Barcino Brut “Belle Epoque”

(50% Macabeo, 30% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada)

 

NV Casas del Mar Brut Blanc de Blanc

(40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 30% Parellada)

 

2016 Juvé & Camps Brut “Essential Reserva”

(100% Xarel-lo)

 

2018 Naveran Brut “Dama”

(85% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada)

 

2017 Alta Alella Mirgin Reserva Brut Nature

(40% Pansa Bianca, 30% Parellada, 30% Macabeu)

 

2013 Agusti Torelló Mata Gran Reserva Brut Nature

(38% Macabeo, 34% Parellada, 28% Xarel-lo)

 

NV Eudald Massana Noya Reserva Brut Nature

(Macabeu, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Chardonnay)

 

NV Josep Foraster Rosat Reserva

(100% Trepat)

 

NV Conquilla Brut Rosé

(100% Pinot Noir)

 

NV Pere Mata Rosé Brut Nature “Cupada”

(70% Garnatxa, 30% Parellada)

 

NV Dibon Brut Rosé

(100% Garnacha)

 

 

2016 Muga Reserva Rioja

 

This is my first Spanish red wine of the “lockdown” season and after a string of mediocre red wines, it was nice to finally drink something interesting.

The wine is from Rioja and is a reserva. The aging requirements for a Reserva from this vintage (which have since been modified) dictate three years of aging, two years in bottle and one year in oak before release.  This wine was aged for two years in oak casks before release.

70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo

 

2016 Muga Reserva Rioja:  Opaque dark red in color, pretty perfume of roast meat, roasted nuts, and raspberry filled dark chocolate, chewy, dusty fruit with silky, crunchy tannins on the finish. Some heat on the back end. 

 

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California

 

 

Now that the warmer weather is upon us, it’s rosé time. I like a glass of rosé on a warm day. To me they are the casual wear of the wine world, nothing serious to make a fuss about and as long as it’s not sweet, I’ll drink it.

Josh Cellars was founded in 2007 by Joseph Carr and named as a tribute to his Dad, Josh. They produce wines sourced from across the California winegrowing regions.

 

2018 Josh Cellars Rosé California:  Clear copper in color, nose of watermelon and sweet strawberry, dry with light cherry notes and some earthiness on the finish, easy drinking. 

 

 

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley

 

Markham Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, founded in 1874 by French immigrant, Jean Laurent.

The 2015 vintage in Napa was another drought year in wine country that produced a small crop but good quality wines.

 

2015 Markham Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley:  Clear medium red with a purple rim, nice perfume of earthy raspberries and violets. dusty, chewy, crushed black fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids, nice balance.

 

 

2015 Andrew Rich “Glacial” GSM Columbia Valley

 

This wine is from Washington State and is a Rhone blend of 52% Syrah, 26% Mourvedre and 22% Grenache.

Washington State is the second largest producer of premium wines in the United State with over 1,000 wineries with most in the Eastern part of the State. This is the first time I’ve drank something from this producer.

 

2015 Andrew Rich Glacial GSM: Opaque dark red with a purple rim, crushed stone, cigar smoke and ripe raspberry on the nose, dense black fruit with crushed blueberry and toast notes on the finish with moderate tannins and mouth watering acids. After the bottle has been opened overnight, I got roast meat notes on the nose. 

 

 

2016 Beringer Chardonnay Luminus Oak Knoll District

 

 

Beringer is an historic vineyard that has been producing wines in Napa Valley since 1869 and maintains a large portfolio of wines. This is a single vineyard Chardonnay from their “Distinction Series” of wines.

 

2016 Chardonnay “Luminus” Oak Knoll DistrictDark gold in color, ripe melon and pineapple on the nose, not as juicy as it looks, tight lemon/lime notes on the fruit with coconut and glycerin on the finish . 

 

 

2016 Juggernaut Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

 

Juggernaut Wine Company is a division of Bogle Vineyards which is a family owned and operated winery that produces drinkable budget friendly wines. Their Juggernaut brand focuses on small production wines.

I’ve never had a wine from this brand before and even before tasting the wine I was impressed by the cool label and hefty bottle.

 

2016 Juggernaut Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Clear, medium to light red in color, cola, cinnamon, red licorice and some earth notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with moderate to low tannins. Easy drinking. Going back to the bottle the next day I was getting pencil shavings on the nose.