2016 Brancaia “Tre” Rosso Toscana

 

 

2016 Brancaia Rosso Toscana “Tre”

Juice from three of their Tuscan estates with 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Clear medium brick, complicated aromas of gun metal, tar, roast meat and sweet red fruit on the nose, starts out with dark fruit notes and ends with bitter cherry, dark chocolate and firm tannins at the finish. 

 

 

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.

 

 

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
 
 

 

2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva

 

 

The Frescobaldi family have been involved in the political and social life of Tuscany for over 700 years. They’ve been making wine as well.

They produce wine from their six estates in Tuscany as well as producing famous wines such as Ornellaia from outside the region.

This wine is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantitia) that comes from Rufina which is the smallest of the seven sub-zones of the Chianti region. As a Riserva it’s aged a minimum of 24 months in oak before release.

 

2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva:  Opaque medium brick, perfume of camphor, black olives and roast meat, moderate fruit with big, silky tannins on the finish. 

 

 

2016 Allegrini “Palazzo della Torre” Red Blend

 

 

The Allegrini family has been making wine in the Veneto region of Italy since the 16th century. The most famous red wines from that area are Valpolicella and Amarone, both red blends made from indigenous grape varietals.

Allegrini produces both Valpolicella and Amarone as well as single vineyard and proprietary wines. Their Palazzo della Torre wine is stylistically somewhat in the middle of those two wines. It’s made in the “ripasso” method in which some of the grapes are set aside to partially dry out and then blended with the finished wine to undergo a second fermentation. This adds body to the wine.

 

2016 Palazzo della Torre

40% Corvina Veronese, 30% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese

Clear dark red in color, perfume of violets and dark cherry, dusty red fruit with gunmetal notes with bitter dark cherry and dark chocolate notes on the finish. 

 

 

IWM Holiday Grand Tasting 2019

 

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Italian Wine Merchants (IWM) is a wine shop that, not surprisingly, specializes in Italian wines. It’s located at 108 East 16th Street across from Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Unusual for a wine store, they have a small room and a dedicated kitchen in the back of the shop that they use as a venue where they host wine dinners and wine tastings.

On the weekend after Thanksgiving Day they hosted their Black Friday mini grand tasting. On this Saturday afternoon, it was a casual walk-around tasting of 32 Italian wines. I’ve been to a few tastings at this venue and I know they pour quality juice. It was a mostly a red wine list with a couple of sparking wines, a rosé and a handful of whites thrown in. They poured a good representation of Italian wines from the North to the South of the boot.

As usual they put out a nice spread of food with good bread and an excellent selection of charcuterie. The kitchen cooked up a couple of tasty pasta dishes as well.

It’s a popular event and the crowd became a little thick at times but I was able to sample as many wines as I wanted, everyone was in a festive mood. My favorites of the afternoon were a couple of Nebbiolo based wines, the 2015 Luigi Giordano Barbaresco Asili and the 2015 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia.

Wines poured:

NV Cima da Conegliano Prosecco Extra Dry 2011 Castello Bonomi Franciacorta Brut Cru Perdu
2018 Cornarea Roero Arneis 2015 Drago Collio Friulano
2018 De Concilus Falanghia 2018 Masut da Rive Maurus Chardonnay
2015 Per Luna Cerasuolo 2016 Hilberg-Pasquero Vareij
2016 Hilberg-Pasquero 29.5 Per Alessandra Barbera d’Alba 2016 San Giuliano Barbera Fiore di Marcorino
2015 San Giuliano Barbaresco 2017 Scarzello Langhe Nebbiolo
2013 Scarzello Barolo 2015 Luigi Giordano Barbaresco Asili
2015 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia 2013 Gaja Costa Russi
2017 Masut da Rive Maurus Pinot Noir 2018 Per Linda Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
2017 Schiena Vini Salento Enneoro Negroamaro 2017 Schiena Vini Impero Primitivo di Manduria

2017 De Conciliis Donnaluna Anglianico

2010 De Conciliis Naima
2017 Begali Valpolicella Classico 2012 Nicolis Amarone dell Valpolicella Classico
2008 Giuseppe Quintarelli Rosso del Bepi 2014 La Corsa Settefinestre
2014 La Corsa Teroldego 2015 Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva
2017 Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino 2016 Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma
2011 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino

2012 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

 

 

Italian Heritage On Long Island

 

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Italy is one of the great wine-producing countries, vacillating between itself and France as the largest wine producer in the world. With a climate ideally suited to viticulture, wine had been a part of the country’s culture and everyday life for thousands of years. With more than 350 varieties, the peninsula is one big vineyard.

With millions of Italians migrating the New World and many to the New York City area, it was only natural that some of the ancestors of those immigrants would be a part of the burgeoning wine industry on Long Island.  

With that, Italian wine varietals are very rare at the north and south fork wineries. You would think with many varietals grown in the cooler areas of the Italian peninsula, that wine makers would adapt those grapes for Long Island. Channing Daughters Winery on the south fork grows several such as tocai friulano, lagrein, teroldego and ribolla gialla but on the north fork there is practically none grown. The only winery I remember making an effort to grow Italian varieties on the north fork was Southhold Farm + Cellars but they closed down and moved on to greener pastures in Texas.

I spent one Sunday afternoon stopping at some of the wineries owned by Italian-Americans.

 

 

Macari Vineyards  150 Bergen Avenue, Mattitiuck

Owners: Joseph and Alexandra Macari

This is one of two tasting rooms they have on the north fork. As with a typical Italian-American experience, in his youth Mr. Macari made wine with his grandfather in the basement of his grandfathers home in Corona, Queens. On this Sunday, the tasting was decked out in Christmas decorations and a good crowd of people.

2014 Red Blend “Dos Aquas” A blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, roast coffee and crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with some hazelnut notes, moderate tannins and acids.

 

 

Raphael Vineyards  39390 Main Road, Peconic

Owners: Jack and Joan Petrocelli

A family built, owned and operated winery named for the owners father and that “continues a centuries old family tradition of winemaking”. There are tasting rooms in the north fork that are cozy and rustic but this is not one of them. This is a huge facility built to look like an Italian villa that often serves as a wedding venue.

2015 White Reserve “Primo” An interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Riesling.  Dark gold with a honeyed nose with ripe tropical fruit though dry. The wine is starting to show its age and I think it’s past its prime.

 

 

Pugliese Vineyards  34515 Main Road, Cutchogue

Owner: The Pugliese Family

One of the original wineries out East established in 1980 and family owned and operated since. They were one of the first to make sparkling wines out East and the only winery I know on Long Island that grows Sangiovese (3-4 acres). They specialize in hand painted bottles and gift baskets which are on display in the understated tasting room.

2012 Sangiovese Clear medium red, crushed red fruit, black licorice and rosemary on the nose, soft red fruit with moderate to low tannins and some tartness at the end.

 

 

 

Fall Food & Wine Festa At Eataly

 

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On Friday October 5th I attended the Eataly Fall Food & Wine Fest which was held at the downtown store at 4 World Trade Center. That’s second Eataly to open in New York City, the first in 2010 at the former Toy Building on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. I’ve been to the Flatiron store many times but this was my first visit to the downtown store. Both stores are food theme parks where you can spend the entire day wandering around the store aisles eating and drinking.

Eataly is an Italian marketplace and mega store founded in 2007 in a former vermouth factory in Turin, Italy (A store I’ve been to). They now have stores worldwide and in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.

The food and wine festa featured over 40 regional Italian wines which were paired with small dishes from specific regions in Italy. I was an interesting mix of wines from several appellations and not surprisingly given the venue, the food was excellent.

I like the way the tasting was laid out. Instead of everyone crammed into a room, the wine and food stations were sprinkled throughout the store so you would have to stroll throughout the store to sample everything.

Some of my favorites:

 

Eats

Gnocchi con salsiccia e cime di rapa (Friuli) Gnocchi with sausage and broccoli rabe. (very delicious)

Halibut Barcaccia (Calabria) Halibut marinated in red wine vinegar, ginger and lime with Calabrian chilis. (loved the sweet, sour, salty combo on this)

Polenta Fritta (Trentino) Fried polenta with Parmigiano and rosemary.

Octopus Barcaccasi (Sardegna) Octopus marinated in extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar with potato, celery, chili flakes and sea salt.

Pane con Fonduta (Liguria) Housemade bread with a Parmigiano and Fontina dip.

 

Wines

Barone Pizzini: 2014 Saten Franciacorta,  NV Anima Extra Brut

Altesino: 2016 Rosso IGT,  2016 Rosso di Montalcino

Castello de Neive: 2013 Dolcetto d’Alba,  2015 Barberesco

Secodo Marco: 2013 Valpolicella Ripasso,  2011 Amarone

Boroli: 2012 Barolo Classico,  2012 Barolo Vittero

Tua Rita: 2016 Rosso dei Notri,  2014 Perlato del Bosco

Rainoldi: 2017 Rosso di Valtellina,  2017 Grumello

Colle Massari: 2014 Montecucco Riserva

Galardi: 2012 & 2013 Terra di Lavoro