Italian & Sicilian Wine- Various Regions
This Thursday we will sample a variety of wine from Italy. Altogether there will be one semi-sparkling (Moscato), two whites, and three reds from various regions including the Veneto, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Campania, as well as the island of Sicily, that is considered an autonomous “wine region” of Italy.
Four of the wines are imported by Montecastelli Selections, one by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, and one, the Moscato, is part of Charles Smith’s (the “larger than life” Washington State producer and owner of K Vintners) portfolio. We have an excellent line-up for this week, all priced between $10.99-$18.99 for the tasting; we hope you will come and join us for a fantastic tasting!
“Secco Italian Bubbles is made by Sorelle Casa Fine Wines which was started by sisters Ginevra Casa Smith and Olivia Casa. Grower-driven, vintage-dated, pure and fresh, Secco Italian Bubbles defines the dolce vita. Growing up in Rome, Genevra and Olivia always had an infatuation for Italian bubbles. In 2010, after the change in laws pertaining to Prosecco production, the Casa sisters jumped on the opportunity to champion both the noble varietals and the growers of Chardonnay and created a new category of sparkling wine called Secco Italian Bubbles.
Enter Charles Smith, Washington state’s rock star winemaker and fellow lover of Prosecco [and husband of Ginevra]. “Who can resist a big fat glass of cold Italian bubbles?” said Smith. This year, Charles and the Casa sisters decided to increase production and add Moscato to the current Secco lineup with Bianco and Rosé. Next year we will see the release of a Manzoni Moscato Rosé. As Ginevra Casa advises, “Drink Secco to celebrate every day life!””
Secco Italian Bubbles Moscato DOC 2011– Colli Eugani, Veneto, Italy. 100% Moscato Bianco. Fresh fruity scents of apple and pear with white peach, lychee and floral/jasmine hints. It is quite appealing and flavorful with up-front apple and pear fruit on the palate. It is tasty and delicious with sweet fruits and crisp flavors and “at 5% alcohol, one glass is never enough!” Tasting $12.99
“Luigi, of the third generation of Verdis, was the first to transform the family’s grapes into wine. However, it was Bruno who, after World War II, was the first to bottle his wine at the estate. He put his own name on the label and Bruno Verdi wines were born. His son, Paolo, now carries on the tradition skillfully bringing the estate into the modern era.
Paolo Verdi has instituted an extensive program to modernize the winery based on the strong belief that the Oltrepo Pavese can produce world class wines. His winemaking philosophy combines the best of the classic methods with modern oenology to create wines with the distinctive features that bring out the best in the local grape varieties. All the grapes are harvested by hand into small lugs to prevent crushing and bruising.
Verdi’s vineyards are spread over four separate plots of land on the hillsides surrounding the village of Canneto Pavese which itself is located in the hills immediately south of the towns of Broni and Stradella. The cantina is situated in the hamlet of Vergomberra within the limits of Canneto Pavese”
Bruno Verdi Pinot Grigio 2011– Canneto Pavese and Castana Vineyards, Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardy, Italy. “The grapes are harvested by hand from vineyards in both Canneto Pavese and the adjacent commune of Castana. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel at a low temperature and the wine is bottled at the end of winter to capture its freshness. Verdi’s Pinot Grigio is a fine, elegant wine of great balance and relatively low alcohol (11.5%).” Tawny, deep yellow/gold in color with an aromatic nose that is savory and complex with herbaceous undertones. The lively palate offers good acidity and texture and flavors of sweet fruit such as peach and nectarine. It is juicy and fresh with a complex finish. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Tasting $18.99
“The Cesani Winery is located in the Tuscan hills, in San Gimignano just 20 km from Siena, in one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas of Tuscany. The Cesani family’s story started at the beginning of the 1950s in the splendid Tuscan countryside , just 6 km from San Gimignano. In that difficult period when people preferred to abandon the countryside for a presumably better life in the towns, Cesani, on the contrary, refused that philosophy, deciding to renew faith and hope in that very nature that had given them sustenance up until then. Vincenzo Cesani grew up with this spirit and idea, always looking for new proposals and methods of work to realize his dream.
Vicenzo Cesani migrated to Tuscany from his native Marche, attracted by the congenial, fun-loving attitude toward work of the Tuscans. “Every activity on the farm became a community festa, from raising a new barn to the harvest of the olives in autumn.”
He never forgot the importance of respect for nature and he continued to grow only those cultivations typical to the territory, trying at the same time to obtain a final product of very high quality. Many years of loving sacrifice had to pass before seeing any results but finally they came!! Today the farm, still run by the family, extends over 19 hectares (approx 40 acres) and is cultivated principally with the red Sangiovese grapes and the famous white Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Cesani Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2011– San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. “Pale yellow [in color] with greenish reflections. [The scent is] fruity and fresh reminding the green apple. [The taste is] fresh and dry with the typical aftertaste of almond.” The savory, leesy nose offers scents of herbs and orchard fruit. It is nicely textured and complex with good acidity followed by a juicy and tangy finish with lingering mineral notes. Very good! Imported by Montecastelli Selections. Tasting $10.99
Cesani Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2009– Colli Senesi, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy. A blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo. “Colli Senesi [is] built on classical varieties from the area with a modern winemaking approach. Aged first in tanks, then in the second use barrels of the top cuvée [which is called] Luenzo, benefiting from the nobility of wood, opening and softening this Colli Senesi making it the most pleasurable wine of its kind.” “Light ruby red, brilliant [in color]. [The nose and palate is] intensely fruity with blackberry and iris flavors; spicy. [The finish is] fresh and smooth, [reminiscent of] the nose scents. Imported by Montecastelli Selections. Tasting $15.99
“In the region between Castel Campagnano and the Conca della Campania, an area where great wines have been made since Roman times, then still part of the Falernum, the Barletta family has developed their passion for historical grape varieties. Being the first winery to develop research on the almost extinct Pallagrello, red and white, and Casavecchia clones make theirs the most unique project from the Campania region. The recent arrival of enologist Paolo Caciorgna lent the finishing touches and great elegance to the wines made here!
The Vestini Campagnano project began in 1990 with garage style research and only a few vines growing in the backyard. Stimulated by the idea that Pallagrello once belonged to the noblest varieties of Europe, held in high esteem by the Bourbon kings, enabled the estate to enlist Luigi Moio as their scientific support. By 2000 Vestini Campagnano had planted vineyards based on the original viticultural material discovered here and was producing 6,000 liters of wine divided between Pallagrello Bianco and Rosso, and Casavecchia (Rosso), all Terre al Volturno IGT. Today Alberto Barletta is continuing the direction of this unique estate, with the help of his sons, Amedeo and Luigi.”
Vestini Campangano Kajanero IGT 2010– Terre del Volturno, Campania, Italy. A blend of the indigenous grapes Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. “This beautiful, pure wine impresses for its depth and overall sense of harmony. Sweet licorice, spices and new leather add complexity on the finish.” “This rich, expressive red displays bold notes of cherry, black currant, juniper and spice on both the nose and palate. Well-balanced with full tannins and lively acidity, Kajanero will pair well with beef, game, hearty pasta dishes and rich cheeses.” Juicy bright scents are complemented with underlying rustic, dark fruits of blackberry and plum. The Kajanero offers a nice flavor profile with tannin and acid restrained but present and in harmony. Spice and floral hints linger on the gentle finish. Imported by Montecastelli Selections. Tasting $11.99
“Sicily produces more wine than New Zealand, Austria and Hungary combined, but was previously known mainly for fortified Marsala wines. In recent decades the wine industry has improved, new winemakers are experimenting with less-known native varietals, and Sicilian wines have become better known.
Nero d’Avola (“black of Avola” in Italian) is the main variety in Sicily, a winemaking region much talked about these days. To find good wine however remains a challenge, as the abundant sunshine and existing farming techniques pronounce more frequently the bitter components in wine and are less successful rendering an idea of what Sicily truly can achieve. At Poggionotte the attempt to keep the vineyards in good balance and produce a medium bodied wine with good fruit, not pretending to search for the big blockbuster. Pleasure trumps power!
A super Nero di Avola from outside of Caltanisetta in the center of Sicily, under the guidance of enologist extraordinaire, Paolo Caciorgna! At Poggionotte Paolo fell in love with the beautiful vineyards, and suggested to the owners to invest initially in their viticultural development, while preferring to vinify these grapes in an outside facility, as the necessary space and technology do not yet exist at this location. Vinified in Sicily and bottled in a modern bottling line in Tuscany.”
Poggionotte Nero d’Avola IGT 2008– Nero d’Avola, Sicily; bottled in Tuscany. “Inky blackish-purple color, showing violet glints against the light. Mixed-berry fruit aromas of blackberries and blueberries are marred at first by [a hint of] volatile acidity, but this soon blows off to reveal the fruit-forward, “blueberry milkshake” character that’s typical in modern Sicilian reds. Big and full on the palate, berries and just-sufficient acidity. A whiff of earthy “barnyard” adds a hint of complexity to what would otherwise be a monolithic “Shiraz-style” Italian wine, but it’s still made for those who like blockbuster, fruit-forward reds.” “Chocolate covered cherries, silky mouth feel and soft tannins, and a juicy finish round out our perfect everyday drinking wine.” Imported by Montecastelli Selections. Tasting $12.99