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. 

 

 

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)