Chianti In Chelsea

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This year is the 300th anniversary of what is considered the first wine region in the world. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III set the borders of the Black Rooster production zone for Chianti Classico. The “Classico” zone is one of the eight sub-zones of Chianti in Tuscany.

This past Sunday, Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Manhattan held a Chianti fundraiser/tasting for the Wheeling Forward organization. It was a sit-down tasting of nine Chianti Classico and Riserva with commentary by wine educator, Robin Kelly O’Connor.


2014 Castellare Chianti Classico

Medium red with a purple rim, toast and a sweet perfume of violets on the nose, tight with light fruit and low tannins and acids.

2014 Santo Stefano Chianti Classico

Dark red with a light brick rim, crushed black fruit and wood notes on the nose, dusty black cherry fruit with moderate tannins and acid.

2013 Lorano Chianti Classico

Medium red, purple rim, big perfume of red cherry and baking spices, moderate red cherry fruit, balanced tannin and acids on the finish. Very drinkable.

2012 Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico

Medium red, big perfume of tar and sweet cherry, moderate red cherry fruit upfront and finishes with lip smacking tannins.

2013 Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva “Montonello”

Dark red with a pretty perfume of tar and violets, big black cherry fruit with firm tannins on the finish.

2013 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a brick rim with tar, leather and pencil shavings on the nose, moderate juicy fruit, sour cherry notes on the finish, moderate tannin and acid.

2013 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva “Agostino Petri”

Medium red, toasty oak notes on the nose with red and black cherry notes on the fruit, good balance.

2012 Rocca Della Macie Chianti Classico Riserva “Famiglia Zingarelli”

Dark red with a slightly closed nose of black fruit and spice, chunky red fruit with bitter cherry notes and a nice balance of tannins and acids on the finish.

2012 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a perfume of tar, graphite, tight fruit finishing with firm tannins and tart fruit.




Cal-Ital At The Golden Nugget

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This past Saturday evening I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City to attend the Cal-Ital Summer Winefest, “a celebration of California and Italian wine”. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is located off the boardwalk on the Marina at Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard. It celebrated Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritage with more than 120 poured while a band played light jazz in the background.  Much of the early California wine industry was started by Italian immigrants who brought their wine culture and winemaking skills to the New World.

A wine tasting in a casino is a fun venue and I had some time to kill before the event so I decided to try my hand at the tables and perhaps recoup the cost of the bus ride down. It was not to be. But I did learn my lesson from the first time I attended this event and that lesson was gamble before the wine event and not after it.


2013 Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) Yellow with classic melon and grass notes on the nose, lemony tartness but not too much, easy drinking.

2013 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay (Sonoma County) Gold in color, honey on the nose with ripe melon on the fruit and good acidity.

2012 Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay (Carneros) Ripe mango on the nose with lime notes on the fruit.

2013 Terra d’Ora Winery Chenin Blanc/Viognier (Clarksburg) Gold in color with a honeyed nose with nice, clean acidity.

2013 Simi Winery Chardonnay Reserve (Russian River) Gold in color with toasty honey on the nose with oak flavors on the fruit.

2014 Planeta “La Segreta Blanco” (Sicily) Gold, turned earth on the nose with melon notes on the moderate to light fruit.


2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville District” (Napa Valley) Medium red to black, roasted nuts on the nose, chunky.

2011 Robert Mondavi BDX “Oakville District (Napa Valley) Medium red with ripe black cherry on the nose and dried herbs on the chewy finish with silky acidity.

2012 Ferrari-Carano “Siena” (Sonoma County) Medium red, bottle must of been off, getting sour, cooked fruit notes.

2010 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack” (Napa Valley) Dark red with crushed red berries on the nose, chunky and dusty with nice firm acidity on the finish.

2012 Parducci Petite Sirah “True Grit” (Mendocino County) Dark red to black with black herbs on the nose, tight and firm.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) Light red with ripe vegetable and earth on the nose and crisp acids.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards “Gravel Bed Red” (Sonoma County) Medium red with juicy red berry on the nose with juicy dried herbs on the fruit.

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione (Tuscany) An old standby, medium red with an amber robe, smoky, turned earth on the nose, tight with dried herbs, tar and bitter cherry on the finish. Tasty.

2010 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Classico (Tuscany) Medium red, dried herbs on the moderate fruit, firm.

2011 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) Medium red, white flowers and dark chocolate on the nose, chunky and chewy with great balance. One of my favorites of the night.

2013 Brancaia “Tre” (Tuscany) From grapes from three of their estates, medium red, bubblegum on the nose, silky with earth notes on the finish, balanced.

2010 Brancaia “Ilatraia” (Tuscany) A Bordeaux blend, dark red with a big nose of violet and dark chocolate, silky with firm acids on the finish.

2008 Brancaia “Il Blu” (Tuscany) First bottle I tried was corked, second bottle much better, dark red, tar and violet on the nose, deep, chewy, balanced, long finish. Very nice.

2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium red, tar and cooked fruit on the nose, tight with dark chocolate on the fruit with firm acids.

2011 Castello Banfi “Belnero” (Tuscany) Dark red, warm, crushed slate on the nose, crushed rock on the moderate fruit with a firm finish.

2013 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany) Light red, cooked fruit on the nose, light and tart.

2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Brick in color with smoky violet on the nose, tight and tart.

Livio Felluga Terre Alte Vertical

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like going to night wine tastings. The vibe is more casual that the day tastings and they end up being a lot of fun. Thursday night I attended one of those tastings. The Friulian wines of Livio Felluga who is celebrating the 30th vintage of their signature wine, Terre Alte. They’re doing the celebrating with a vertical tasting of the wines. Terre Alte is a white wine from Friuli that is a blend of the varietals, Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon mature in stainless steel while the Friulano stays in small oak casks.

The event was held at Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark restaurant at 450 E 29 Street with the congenial winemaker, Andrea Felluga in attendance to talk about his wines. The wines in the vertical were all poured from magnums.


2011 Rozzato. The starter wine, a blend of five white varietles with a pretty nose, very floral with dried mushroom, balanced with good acidity.

2011 Terre Alte. First wine of the vertical, ripe white flowers, lychee and cinnamon on the nose with moderate fruit, some lime notes, crisp and balance with touch of heat at the end.

2009 Terre Alte.  Moderate yellow with burnt rubber notes on the nose with tight, light fruit, crisp, a little one-dimensional but drinkable. My least favorite in the vertical.

2007 Terre Alte. Dark gold in color with a very pretty nose of aromatic white peaches with mouth filling fruit, balanced with nice mouth-watering acidity on the moderate to long finish.

2006 Terre Alte. Medium gold with white flowers and canned peaches on the nose with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhoneyed fruit, well-balanced with nice acidity on the long, honey finish. Lots of layers of flavors going on. My favorite of the flight.

2001 Terre Alte. Medium yellow with a complex nose of spice and earth, moderate body with some lime and earth on the crisp finish, tight on the back end. Tasty.

1998 Terre Alte. Golden in color with dusty, barnyard on the nose with moderate, complex fruit, tight, tart, mouth puckering at the finish with some of the alcohol peeking through at the end. Still an interesting wine at this stage.

Very enjoyable vertical of nice juice.


Tuscany In The City

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I attended an event on Saturday afternoon presented by wine writer Antonio Galloni and his wine blog Vinous. The event was titled “Tuscany in the City, Tuscany: A Study in Terroir”.

Fifteen wines were poured with the owners and or wine makers from those properties on hand to talk about their respective wines and properties. The event was held at Del Posto restaurant located at 85 10th Avenue. The wines were poured by several of the city’s top Sommeliers that were in attendance.

It was a sit-down tasting and the wines were poured and tasted in four flights with each flight a different expression of Tuscan wines.

Flight 1: Chianti Classico Reserva

2010 Fontadi Chianti Classico Reserva “Vigna del Sorbo”. Dark red with a nose of violets and toasted sweet cherries with dusty fruit and firm tannin on the finish.

2010 Fattoria di Felisina Chianti Classico Reserva “Rancia”. Dark red with an amber robe with grapey, black licorice and a bit of cooked fruit on the nose, I thought the grapiness blew off after a few minutes. It was tight with a dusty finish. In my opinion the wine needs some more time to come together.

2008 Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Reserva. Medium red with a nose of dried herbs, thyme and was very tight with crisp acids on the finish.

Flight 2: 100% Sangiovese

2010 Isole e Olena “Cepparello”. Dark red with a big nose of black cherry with toasty and dried herbs notes on the fruit.

2010 San Guisto a Rentennano “Percario”. Dark red with a floral perfume of red cherry and cooked vegetable with tight and dusty fruit with a mouth-full of tannin with mineral and salty notes.

2010 Poggio Scalette “Il Carbonaione”. Dark red to black with notes of roasted meat and burnt rubber on the nose and was chunky and somewhat unbalanced.

2010 Podere Forte “Petrucci”. Medium red with a perfume of red cherry and dried herbs with juicy fruit framed with balanced tannin and acid.

Flight 3: Sangiovese & Bordeaux Blends

2010 Antinori “Tignanello”. Dark red to black with black cherry and mint with a dash of barnyard on the nose.

2009 Castello dei Rampolla “Sammarco”. Medium to dark red with a big perfume, floral, tar, slate with some barnyard, tight with a big hit of mouth puckering tannin, a bit jarring.

2010 Agricola Querciabella “Camartina”. Dark red with red cherry, mint and dried herbs with some barnyard on the nose, chunky, tight with firm and balanced tannin and acid at the end.

 2010 Castello di Ama “L’Apparita”. Dark red with prunes, dark plums and mint on the nose with bright, tart fruit.

Flight 4: Bordeaux Blends

2010 Tenuta San Guido “Sassicaia”. Dark red with red cherry and roasted meat on the nose and was plummy with tart cherry on the finish.  A little disappointed in the wine.

2010 Le Macchiole “Paleo Rosso”. 100% Cabernet Franc, dark red to black in color with bell pepper and tar on the nose and was chewy and dusty with mint notes and a big grip at the end.

2010 Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia “Ornellaia”. Dark red to black with roasted coffee and dark chocolate on the nose, velvety with notes of crushed rock, slate and dark berries on the fruit with mouth filling tannin on the finish.

2011 Tenuta di Trinoro “Rosso Toscana”. Dark red with a purple robe with roasted, ripe vegetable on the nose with bright cherry fruit that was chewy and chunky with tight tannin and firm acids on the finish.