Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Filtering by Tag: Barbaresco

These Are A Few of His Favorite Things

Saturday is rapidly becoming one of my favorite days.  Yes, it's everybody's favorite, I know.  But Saturdays are when Del Posto holds its 5 for $5 classes. Beautiful space,  delicious wines, and a relaxed atmosphere; what's not to like? 

This week's topic was about sommelier Luke's favorite wines from the Del Posto list. He selected wines, with the exception of Champagne, that fall within the $60 - $70 range.  It's a smart way to find accessible, yet affordable, wines as a starting point to navigating a list. What I also appreciate, in addition to the education about the wines, is the discussion about food pairings, which is always a lively and hunger-inducing conversation.  I've added the ideas below for your eating pleasure. 

 

Menu, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Menu, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Per tradition, we started the class off with champagne. Agrapart et Fils "7 Crus", NV is from the southern Champagne region and is comprised of 90% chardonnay/10% pinot noir. The 7 Crus in the name refers to the 7 plots of land where the grapes are grown.  A little higher in residual sugar than other champagnes, the nose portrayed pear, honey, lemon and a eensy amount of yeast. The palate, though, had a gorgeous texture and more citrus fruits.  Still dry, still delicious. Pairing: anything!

Champagne, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Champagne, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

We moved on to the J. Hofstatter Pinot Blanc "Barthenau Vigne S. Michele", Trentino, IT, 2005. Guava, mango and passionfruit were immediately obvious on the nose and when drinking, a bit of honeysuckle and sweet almonds came out.  There was a richness to the texture and the somm pointed out the nuttiness and other notes of aging that slowly came through. Pairing: cheese plate.

Pinot blanc, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Pinot blanc, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Next up was the Marco De Bartoli Zibbibo  "Integer," Sicily, 2008. The somm told us how the producer is famous for his marsala wine and is a champion is moving that wine from a bulk-produced, low quality wine into an artisanal product and Zibbibo, an indigenous Sicilian grape, is the next project of his offspring. The wine sees a little bit of grape skin contact so it's slightly darker in color with a veil of cloudiness. It also spends a little bit of time in oak, giving it a completely unique quality. Honestly? Hated it.  If I ever ordered this, I would think it's corked and send it back.  It was nearly devoid of fruit except for a prickly rhubarb note.  Very earthy and salty, I had a rough time getting through it. This is one that maybe would fare a lot better with food, but I couldn't imagine sipping on it solo. Pairing:  Briny, umami-rich seafood pasta, such as squid ink fettucine with uni.

 

Zibbibo, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Zibbibo, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Onto the reds. He next poured us the Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, 2011.  Rosso di Montalcino is 100% sangiovese, but what distinguishes it from a Brunello (it's famous sibling) is it spends much less time aging, which produces a more fruit-forward wine. Blackberries, raspberries and cherries were very obvious as well as pepper and spice.  There was a very slight floral essence that also  came through, almost like a freesia.  There was quick a bit of acid and some structured, but not ovewhelming tannins. Pairing: pasta pomodoro.

 

Rosso di Montalcimo, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Rosso di Montalcimo, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

For the finale, the somm served us a Cappellano Dolcetto d'Alba "Gabutti", Piedmont, 2009. Story has it the winemaker would only let critics taste his wines if they didn't rate it on a point system when reviewed. Gotta love these strong personalities. This Dolcetto, a simpler wine to the region's famous Barolos and Barbarescos, had less fruit than the Rosso di Montalcino and what did come through were darker, plummier fruits. Earthiness and a slightly sour muskiness were also in the blend, along with a tingling spice. Structure-wise, again there was a high amount of acidicty and more noticeable tannins than previous red.  This was a red that could definitely work with meat.  Pairing: lamb ragu. 

 

Dolcetto, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

Dolcetto, photo by Shana Sokol of Shana Speaks Wine

I love Saturdays...

Tre Bicchieri - A Visual Report

Picture this. A college party in some frat house basement.  Hot and chaotic, everyone is jostling to get their turn at the keg, clutching the plastic cup of brewskie protectively to their chests as they muscle through the crowd.  Small knots of friends yell at the top of their voices in order to be heard over the roar of others.  Now, replace the basement with a large, white-walled hall, the t-shirts and baseball caps with suits and ties and the plastic cups with wine glasses and you have a pretty good idea of the madhouse that was the Tre Bicchieri tasting. 

Tre Bicchieri translates to three glasses and is the highest rating given to a wine given by Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine, publishing group, and sponsor of this event.  Many of the wines represented were beautiful, but damn, that was a shitshow to get a taste.  

In lieu of a written roundup of the best in show (I would have been trampled if I stopped to write anything down), I've pulled together a gallery of my favorites. 

 

 

Bubbles

Bubbles

Chianti

Chianti

 

Amarone

Amarone

Corvina clones, cab sauv and syrah blend

Corvina clones, cab sauv and syrah blend

More Amarone

More Amarone

Love this bottle shape

Love this bottle shape

Back in Piedmont territory

Back in Piedmont territory

The newest Barolo release from a good Piedmont producer

The newest Barolo release from a good Piedmont producer

Franciacorta, one of Italy's great sparkling wines

Franciacorta, one of Italy's great sparkling wines

More Barolo

More Barolo

This was a massive plum bomb - in the best way

This was a massive plum bomb - in the best way

 

More Piedmontese offerings - Barbera dAsti

More Piedmontese offerings - Barbera dAsti

And another Barbera for good measure

And another Barbera for good measure

Slow Wine Picks Up the Pace

What a difference a year makes.  Remember the Slow Wine/VInitaly tasting debacle a year ago? Maybe it was due to the new venue, or learnings from last year, or, more likely, the fact that this was the industry, not consumer tasting, but this year's event was spectacular. 

As a quick refesher, Slow Wine is part of the Slow Food Movement, an international organization the promotes clean, affordable and accesible food to all while preserving the traditions of the region and culture. Local and organic practices play a large part in their philosophy and the group, which started in Italy, now has global reach. 

The day started with a seminar on the aromas of prosecco.  It was simply illustrated with the key aromatics in glasses.  A rather basic lesson but still entertaining. 

 

Prosecco seminar. Photo by Shana Speaks Wine

Prosecco seminar. Photo by Shana Speaks Wine

Then, onto the tasting.  

The highlight of the event came at the very beginning.  One of my favorite producers, Marchesi di Gresy, whom I visited on my trip to Piedmont, and greatly influenced my passion for wine, was present at the event.  Even more exciting? Jeff, the cellar master who guided us through the tastings all those years ago, was at the table. So many memories came back to me and I felt my passion reignited once again. 

Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco and Jeff Chilcott, Cellarmaster.  Photo by Shana Speaks Wine.

Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco and Jeff Chilcott, Cellarmaster.  Photo by Shana Speaks Wine.

Of course, the wines were spectacular. He featured Barbaresco Camp Gros 2009, Barbaresco Gaiun 2008, and Barbaresco Martinenga 2010. All were elegant, balanced and finely structured.  

I primarily focused on the Piedmont wines as I wanted to delve even deeper into this favorite region. Much was tasted, much was noted, but these below are the other best in shows:

 La Spinetta Barolo Campe, Nebbiolo, 2009

Plums smoked with ash. Aromatic violets.  Tannins. Acid. Structure. Simply gorgeous.

 

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 Contratto Milliesimato 2009 

This estate is actually part of the La Spinetta portfolio and produces sparkling wines. This pinot nero/chardonnnay blend showcased pear, lemon, rose and a bit of buttered toast.  Very fresh, very crisp.

Contratto For England Rose 2008 

This 100% pinot nero was a very pretty sparkling rose option. Sweet cherry, strawberry and a hint of rose came through this berry-forward sparkler. 

 Casanova della Spinetta Sezzana 2004 

La Spinetta also owns property in Tuscany and creates Sangiovese-based wines from these vineyards.  The single-varietal Sangiovese was ripe with black cherry, plum and sweet baking spices.  

Wines from the La Spinetta portfolio

Wines from the La Spinetta portfolio

 La Gironda Barbera D'Asti La Lippa 2012

An easy-drinking option, this accessible Barbera was a bushel of mixed berries on the nose and the palate also oozed the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry fruits.  Quite a bit of earth also came through on this moderately acidic sipper.  

 Osvaldo Viberti Langhe Nascetta 2012

Nascetta, which is actually another name for Barbera, burst with overripe berries, freshly laid soil and wafts of mocha. 

Osvaldo Viberti Barolo 2007 

Rich and round, everything one could ask for in a Barolo. 

 Anna Maria Abbona Dogliani Superiore Majoli 2011

This dolcetto started with raspberry and strawberry but some baking spices and mocha gave it a little depth and intrigue.  

Keep tasting, friends... 

'inoteca's Last Days

While I'm working on recaps of the tastings from the past couple of weeks (Benvenuto Brunello, Vinitaly/Slow Wine and Tre Bicchhieri) I wanted to post this sad news as a public service announcement:  'inoteca on the Lower East Side is closing after 11 years after service on Saturday night.  Farewell, bruschetta and truffle egg toast.  Your pioneering ways will be sorely missed.

 

Truffle egg toast, photo by shanaspeakswine.com

Truffle egg toast, photo by shanaspeakswine.com

 But wait, there is a bit of a silver lining!

The restaurant is offering most of their reserve wine list at special prices.  I'm talking La Spinetta Barolos and Barbarescos.  '01 Brunellos for about a Benjamin.  Lots of goodies to be had.

You can thank me for this important notice by letting me have a glass (or two) from whatever bottles you get.  

Keep tasting!