This week we will sample a variety of Italian wine; most are imported by Regal Wine Imports (formerly Montecastelli Selections) and one by Indigenous Selections. Altogether there will be one dry white, four dry reds, and two semi-sweet, semi-sparkling (one white, one red) wines. Almost all are new to our selection.
We are especially excited about the semi-sweet, semi-sparkling white and red wines that will be featured this week. Perhaps historically thought to be “non-serious,” the Moscato and Lambrusco that we will taste are serious, quality-driven, artisanally crafted products that will definitely change your mind about these styles. We can’t wait to see what you think!
The wines are from regions including the Friuli, Emilia-Romagna (where the capital is Bologna), Tuscany, Piedmont and Abruzzo. Come and join us this Thursday for an outstanding Italian tasting!
La Spinetta– “The Rivetti family story begins in the 1890s, when Giovanni Rivetti, grandfather of the three Rivetti brothers, Carlo, Bruno and Giorgio, left Piedmont for Argentina. Like many Italians of that time, he dreamed of returning rich and a powerful man, perhaps even one day able to make a great wine in his homeland. He never did, though his son, Giuseppe (nicknamed Pin) did. Pin married Lidia, bought vineyards and began to make wine. In 1977 the family took up residence at LA SPINETTA (top of the hill) in Castagnole Lanze. It was the heart of the Moscato d’Asti country, home of a rather light and simple dessert wine. But the Rivettis believed that Moscato had the potential for greatness and set out to prove it by making Moscato Bricco Quaglia and Biancospino.
In 1985 LA SPINETTA made its first red wine, Barbera Cà di Pian. After this many great reds followed: In 1989 the Rivettis dedicated their red blend Pin to their father. In 1995 they started to make their first Barbaresco, Gallina. In 1996 and 1997 the Barbarescos Starderi, Barbera d’Alba Gallina and Barbaresco Valeirano follow. In 1998 premiered the Barbera d’Asti Superiore. In 2000 the family’s ambition of also making a Barolo became reality. The Rivettis acquired vineyards in Grinzane Cavour and built a state of the art cellar, Barolo Campè.
In 2001 LA SPINETTA expanded over the borders of Piedmont and acquired 65 hectares of vineyards in Tuscany, between Pisa and Volterra, to make three different 100% Sangiovese wines, as Sangiovese to La Spinetta is the true ambassador of the Tuscan terrain.”
La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti “Bricco Quaglia” DOCG 2012– Piedmont, Italy. 100% Moscato. Vineyard: Bricco Quaglia. “Yellow with green reflections. Crisp, sparkling, delicious, delicately sweet, yet light. A wine that surprises by its remarkable freshness and brilliant honey and pear flavors. Traditionally as a desert wine, but also for aperitif, afternoon refreshment or with Sunday brunch. Jen’s note- Straw yellow color. Lacey perlage. Sweet apples and pear on nose with floral notes. Floral entry- tastes like the smell of stargazer lillies. Persistent; not overly sweet. Honeyed finish. $18.99
Monteflor– “The viticultural Domaine of Monteflor is located just below the Friulian pre-Alps. Situated in three different locations, the main vineyards are spread over 100 hectares of the gravel drenched soil closest to the Alps. These vineyards are exclusively composed of fist size and bigger stones, left behind as the end morane of a glacier which pushed down from the Alps several million years ago. Here, and only here true Pinot Grigio of Italy can be produced that distinguishes itself from what this grape cannot do elsewhere.
A partnership of two men, Gianfranco Bianchini and Enzo Deana, who represent a fusion of Friuli’s traditional and adventurous spirits. Value winemaking with true connection to the soil was their quest, and they have reached far beyond their aims without compromising their principles.”
Monteflor Velio Pinot Grigio 2011– Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. “With 60 hectares planted to Pinot Grigio, Monteflor is located at the lower part of the Friulian Alpine foothills, where a glacier spread out a vast field of fist size stone pushed down by the ice from the Mountain above. Here a true minerality driven style of Pinot Grigio can be produced, pronouncing a fuller midpalate and plenty of full aroma from the blush variety. Rose petals and a hint of candied fruit, as well as white flowers are the décor of this wine at the nose. Well balanced mid-palate and a minerality pronounced juicy finish.” Jen’s note- Grassy nose, lime/citrus- tangy notes. Pineapple and floral emerge. Zesty entry. Good, leesy texture. Good value. $9.99
Alfredo Bertolani– “Bertolani winery was set up in 1925 when Alfredo Bertolani decided to put his energies into the winemaker’s art, supported by his passion for grapes and by the knowledge of Emilia-Romagna. Soon, the accuracy in selecting grapes and his careful wine making process had taken the firm to excellence. The winery puts special focus on low environmental impact and sustainability. It has paid particular attention to energy conservation and renewability. Family owned and operated and now in its fourth generation, this winery is well known for the superior nature of its wines.”
Alfredo Bertolani Lambrusco Dolce Fiore 2012– Emilia-Romagna, Italy. “Notes of strawberries and a hint of coffee, a succulent finish in perfect balance between sweet and salty components.” “Lambrusco is the name of both a red wine grape and an Italian wine made principally from the grape. The grapes and the wine originate from four zones in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy. The grape has a long winemaking history with archaeological evidence indicating that the Etruscans cultivated the vine.The most highly rated of its wines are the frothy, frizzante(slightly sparkling) red wines that are designed to be drunk young Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Lambrusco was the biggest selling import wine in the United States.” Jen’s note- Pretty magenta color. Light “head and foam.” Very floral aroma- sweet flowers. Sweet entry, more violet/mumm/floral notes. Sweet and juicy finish. $14.99
Fattoria Nicodemi– “Fattoria Nicodemi is located in the Teramo district in Abruzzo, a hilly province bordering the Adriatic sea in central Italy. It was founded by Bruno Nicodemi, and today is run by brother and sister team Alessandro and Elena Nicodemi. High up in these chalky, clay-rich hills, the Nicodemi estate couldn’t be better located—and any more different than bulk producers in the Abruzzo lowlands. The family’s vineyards, at more than 900 feet above sea level, enjoy a slow cook, with warm afternoons and cool evenings. “We try to work in a simple way,” says Elena, “to let the estate’s terroir speak clearly; all field work, including the harvest, is done by hand.””
Nicodemi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Terrana 2011– Abruzzo, Italy. 100% Montepulciano. “Fresh, rather savory spicy red fruits on the nose shows some leather and earth complexity. There’s a bright dusty sort of character here [often found] in Italian reds, and it’s quite attractive. The palate shows spicy cherry and plum fruit with some earthy tannins and fresh acidity. A well-proportioned savory, food-friendly red of real appeal.” Jen’s note- Beautiful deep color, attractive nose of sweet spice/strawberry. Plummy/dark undertones, toasty notes but not oaky (unoaked). Spice/rustic notes. Quite good. $11.99
Collelceto– “We [Regal Imports] are very excited to welcome this new Producer of small boutique Brunello from the southernmost slopes of Montalcino. Collecto is located not far from some of the best known producers in the Montalcino area! Catching the midday heat, full-bodied and jammy wines are produced here. A Brunello for long cellaring and a Rosso that challenges many Brunellos.”
Collelceto was a traditionally run farmer’s operation, but has now been taken over by the younger generation represented by Elia Palazzesi, with the help of Enologist Lorenzo Landi.”
Collelceto Rosso di Montalcino 2010– Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. 100% Sangiovese. “A big rosso conceived by Elia Palazzesi by using a variety of storage and aging containers: cask, barrique, stainless steel, vat and even the old fashioned but still very highly regarded cement vat, emphasizing a classic style with guts! Total production: 4,000 bottles. Lots of bitter chocolate already at the nose, blackberry jam with hints of bitter oranges, even fresh tangerines emerges on the finish to melt with the chocolate sensation.” Jen’s note- Light color, rust/garnet. Deep nose- dried fruits, raisin/savory. Sweet/juicy entry. Good texture. Savory/woody notes. Great value. $18.99
Rocca di Castagnoli– “The first cultivations around the farm of Rocca di Castagnoli date back to the Etruscan period. [Years later] in the eighteenth century, under the guidance of the Tempi family, Castagnoli is one of the most celebrated estates of the area, as is testified by the compliments of the Grand duke Pietro Leopoldo who, in 1773, on a visit to the Chianti area, boasts its illuminated management, underlining the excellent state of the farms and the excellent living conditions of the farmers. At the end of the nineteenth century, with the extinction of the Tempi family, Castagnoli passes to the Ricasoli. In 1924 the Rocca di Castagnoli farm, together with the most celebrated farms of the area, founds the Consortium of the Classic Chianti wine.
Naturally, much has changed since then: since 1981, the year in which the current ownership settled in, important restoration work has been carried out on the villa and the fortress. Many modern working criteria have also been introduced in the vines and cellar. A modern wine-making cellar has been designed and built, while the cellars of the famous medieval fortress have been used to age wine in wood.”
Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico 2009– Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy. “90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino, aged in a combination of barriques and tonneaux. Dark red cherries, mint, spices and licorice are some of the many notes that emerge from this beautifully delineated, energetic Chianti Classico.” Jen’s note- Cloudy brick/garnet color. Sweet nose- cherry/berry- deep notes with spice and nutty qualitites and underlying smoked meat. Gentle, juicy and soft. Very good. Good grip. $16.99