A Taste of Europe- New Wine from Germany, Spain, France & Italy

This week we will sample six wines from major regions of Europe that are brand-new to the Spirits selection. Altogether there will be one sparkling, two whites and three reds including a Prosecco from the Veneto in Italy, Riesling from the Rheinhessen in Germany, a white Burgundy from the Macconais commune called Chardonnay, Barbera from Piedmont in Italy, and two from Spain, a Monastrell from Jumilla and Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero. The wines are imported by various companies including Ole Imports, Rare Wine Company, Dalla Terra, Vintus, and Loosen Brothers USA.

Delicious hors d’oeuvres to sample with the wine selection will be provided by Peter Schmidt (Food and Beverage Director) and the Hotel Capstone.

Adami– “From 1980, it is the third generation, Franco and Armando Adami (both winemakers), that is managing the estate, ably combining family traditions with the most advanced technologies. A modern sparkling-wine cellar is being built, while the brand is developing new markets and winning a prestigious reputation.

Adami produces about 700,000 bottles a year, with grapes sourced from approx 50 hectares of vineyards. Eleven hectares are from Adami estate vineyards, while many long-time individual grape-growers, focused on producing quality fruit, provide the remainder of Adami’s grapes.

‘Garbèl’ in the ancient local dialect means “crisp and dry”. This wine has a fine, delicate bead, youthful, fruity aromas, and a palate that is smooth, rounded, and dry. It is an extremely versatile sparkling wine, to be enjoyed at any time of day.”

Adami Prosecco Brut ‘Garbèl’ Treviso DOC NV– Veneto, Italy. 100% Glera. Melon and tropical fruit with mild floral undertones is present on the nose that speaks of prosecco- it is very aromatic and pleasant. The persistent palate is filled with floral notes and flavors of pineapple and citrus. The crisp palate is drier than expected, but quite tasty! Overall a dry, friendly, more serious style. “Creamy mousse and delicate, persistent cascade of bubbles. Nose: Very ample and generous, releasing notes of ripe fruit, such as pear, yellow apple, and melon. Superb balance and finesse complement crisp, refreshing aromas. Palate: Pleasantly tart and full-flavoured, with a crisp fruitiness. Admirable fullness, balance, and length, closely mirroring the aromatics of the nose.” Tasting $13.99

Domaine Talmard– “Founded in 1971, the original estate of brothers Paul and Philibert Talmard comprised about 100 acres overlapping two communes, Uchizy and Chardonnay [note: Chardonny is actually a place], two of the higher-quality named villages within the Mâconnais. Although they sold their wine initially to the co-op, the brothers started to domaine bottle and export in 1978. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, the brothers divided their domain in order to prepare for the future for their sons. Philibert and his son Gerald built a new cellar next to the original one, completely modern and efficient, all stainless, designed for producing one wine. Their 50 acres of vineyards lie predominantly within the commune of Chardonnay – thought to be the geographical origin of the variety – and thus are entitled to use the AOC “Mâcon-Chardonnay.” Their wine is the essence of pure, crystalline, varietal Chardonnay, un-marked by any oak, exhibiting all the subtle minerality and invigorating acidity that makes these wines such perfect partners with cuisines of all sorts. The wine is now bottled with a Stelvin closure to protect and enhance its freshness and character.”

Domaine Talmard Macon-Chardonnay 2011– Burgundy, France. 100% Chardonnay, unoaked. The village is named Chardonnay. All of the fruit is from the Talmard’s Estate Vineyard. Very toasty nose. Surprising toasty character for an unoaked wine. Savory undertones of herbs and petrol are enhanced with bright minerality. On the palate, this excellent value offers good texture and mild acid; it is very approachable. “The sole wine of the estate, this Mâcon-Chardonnay is pure and refreshing, achieved by early picking of ripe grapes while they still have good levels of acidity. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks only. It is notable for its freshness, purity of Chardonnay fruit and consistency from vintage to vintage.” Tasting $13.99

Dr. Loosen– “The Dr. Loosen estate has been in the same family for over 200 years. When Ernst Loosen assumed ownership in 1988, he realized that with ungrafted vines averaging 60 years old in some of Germany’s best-rated vineyards, he had the raw materials to create stunningly intense, world-class wines. To achieve this, Ernst dramatically restricts crop size, prohibits chemical fertilization, insists on very strict fruit selection, and employs gentle cellar practices that allow the wine to develop its full potential with a minimum of handling.”

Dr. Loosen ‘Loosen Up’ Riesling 2010– Rheinhessen, Germany. A crisp and fruity Riesling with a nose of peach and nectarine fruit. Lots of sweet and tart fruit flavors and high acidity. A good value. “It is refreshing and fruity, with a fine mineral edge that is typical of the region. Dr. L Riesling is made with fruit that comes exclusively from traditional vineyards with steep slopes and slate soil. By working closely with local growers on long-term contract, brothers Ernst and Thomas Loosen are able to maintain excellent quality in every vintage. Dr. L Loosen Up Riesling is bottled with a screwcap to avoid cork problems and to preserve freshness.” Tasting $9.99

Vietti– “The Vietti winery, now owned by the family’s fourth generation, is based in the small medieval village of Castiglione Falletto, the heart of Piedmont’s famous “Langhe” wine region. Here the Currado family carefully and patiently handcrafts lauded wines that are the result of a unique combination of sun and soil.

Although the family has made wine for two centuries, the first Vietti-labeled wines were produced by third-generation Mario, who transformed the family’s farm into a grape growing winery. In 1952 Alfredo Currado married Mario’s daughter Luciana and made a name for Vietti’s single-vineyard Barbera and Barolo. He also put the native Piedmont varietal Arneis on the wine map. In 1990 Alfredo and Luciana’s son Luca joined the family business as winemaker after working at California’s Simi Winery, Opus One, Long Vineyards and Bordeaux’s Mouton-Rothschild. His innovative winemaking utilizes a unique combination of the modern and traditional. Luca’s focus on terroir is reflected in his careful cultivation and organic farming of more than 25 single vineyards. Recently he eliminated equipment that measures acid and tannin levels in favor of a more intuitive, and wine-specific approach, and also stopped publishing tasting notes, preferring that wine critics and drinkers apply their own perceptions and preferences to his wines.”

Vietti Barbera d’Asti ‘Tre Vigne’ 2009– Piedmont, Italy. 100% Barbera. “The grapes are selected from young vineyards, approximately 10 years old, At the end of the malolactic fermentation, the wine is moved into French oak barrels or Slavonian oak casks for 14 months, then into steel tanks 2 months before bottling. The wine is bottled unfiltered to retain complexity.” ‘Tre Vigne’ means three vineyards. All estate fruit. The perfumed, lively nose offers briary fruit, plum and sour jam with suggestions of spice, savory qualities, and floral undertones. It is medium-bodied and soft on the palate with good acid, lively, juicy fruit flavors and a robust finish with tart raspberry fruit qualities, gentle tannin. It is quite approachable and soft with a berry/coffee/chocolate aftertaste. “Ruby purple color with ripe red cherry aromas with hints of mineral and vanilla. A dry, medium bodied red wine with refreshing acidity (making it perfect to pair with food) and soft tannins, the Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne is well balanced with good integration of oak, good complexity and a finish of more red cherries.” Tasting $16.99

Olivares Altos de la Hoya– “As Spain’s winemaking revolution matures, [the region of] Jumilla continues to produce some of the world’s great wine values. The region’s native Monastrell — Mourvèdre elsewhere — is one of the most prized varieties of Mediterranean Europe. And on account of the reliably hot, dry summers, ripeness is rarely an issue. Yet Jumilla has a diversity of terroirs, certain of which clearly transcend mere “value.” And the wines of Paco Selva’s Bodegas Olivares have done just that, thanks to a singular terroir and the perspective necessary to give it a meaningful voice.

Olivares’ estate vineyard, Finca Hoya de Santa Ana, is located in Jumilla’s northwestern quadrant, whose unique characteristics distinguish it from the rest of the appellation. For example, this special zone lies at over 800 meters elevation, where nights cool down quickly, resulting in wines with astounding freshness and equilibrium. But, perhaps more importantly, Paco’s 65 hectare here boasts incredibly sandy soil and ungrafted vines, of which this may be the world’s largest individual holding. The former provides the wine with a rich perfume; the latter depth and complexity.”

Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell 2010– Jumilla, Spain. A blend of 92% Monastrell and 8% Garnacha that aged in a “combination of barrique and demi-muid [large oak barrel that holds 600 liters]. A few barrels are new, but most are 2nd & 3rd passage barrels from elite Burgundy producers.” The fruit is sourced from an 11-hectare vineyard of ungrafted vines planted between 1872 and present and was hand-harvested. Scents of deep berry fruits exude from the soft, approachable nose (especially for a grape such as Monastrell, that can sometimes be masculine and muscular).This gentle, balanced offering tastes of briary fruits and spice within a friendly, balanced framework. An excellent value that offers good complexity for its modest price; it is not too dry, but still structured. Tasting $11.99

Barco de Piedra– “Estate-owned small production wine; a singular location in the most prestigious district of Ribera del Duero (Vineyard is located 1.5 km north of the Duero River, 7 km east of legendary Vega Sicilia and 4 km west of Pesquera). Organic viticulture; minimal oak ageing; a Ribera del Duero wine that shows depth and drinkability while young; an extraordinary value!

The vineyards of El Quiñón, a single estate of 72 hectares (178 acres), are located in the heart of the western district of Ribera del Duero. The soils are 90% limestone and 10% sandy clay near the surface. For climate, the cool nights and hot days of this vineyard result in berries with thicker skins. Nowhere in Spain does Tempranillo show more intensity in aroma and color. Of the two main areas in Ribera, the western area is lower in elevation, has slightly more moderate temperatures and consistent quality because it is not as exposed to frost as the eastern side. Ribera del Duero’s cooler nights bestow abundant aromas, vibrant freshness and great expression of fruit.”

Barco de Piedra 2010– Ribera del Duero, Spain. 100% Tempranillo (25-year-old vines), organically farmed, estate-owned. The wine is aged for 5 months in 300-liter 85% French and 15% American oak barrels that are 3 years old. Densely opaque and pretty purple in color, this Ribera del Duero Tempranillo differs from those of Rioja with its deep aromas of dark berry fruits of blueberry and black cherry. The palate is not overwhelming, but very good with gentle acidity and medium-body. Another great value. “A glass-staining opaque purple, it offers up an enticing bouquet cedar, spice box, violets, cassis, and black cherry. This is followed by a rich, flavorful, firm wine that will evolve for 1-2 years. This lengthy bargain will drink well through 2015. It is what over-delivering is all about.” Tasting $12.99

Talmard Macon Vietti Barbera Barco de Piedra

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