Italian Wine, Various Regions

“Each vintner grows up with the dream that one day the grapes that he produces will become a wine that he can sign with his name. Stefano Caruso knew to share this dream with his father, Nino. But it wasn’t until the deal with Mario Minini was sealed that they decided to launch the project of building the winery. Minini brought over 80 years of experience and maturity in managing and developing the Brescian winery, a determination to achieve the common objective with Caruso: produce wines that can charm and surprise the palate for their originality, character and elegance.”

Caruso & Minini Tasari Grillo 2012– Marsala, Sicily. Made from the Grillo grape. “Straw yellow color with green reflections. Notes of apricots and honey. On the palate, exotic fruit, tastiness and softness unite.” Jen’s note- Subtle nose of tropical and fleshy fruits and floral undertones; mild and easy entry with some tart green apple notes and a fresh finish.


Caruso & Minini Tasari Nero d’Avola 2011– Marsala, Sicily. Made from the Nero d’Avola grape. “Deep red with purple color reflections. The impact on the nose is typical of the territory, notes of plum and black cherry. In the mouth harmony and softness are the protagonist of this easy-to-drink wine.” Jen’s note- Dark in color with ripe strawberry and plum suggestions on the nose. The palate is friendly and not overly heavy with hints of spice.



Paitin Estate history started in 1796 when Benedetto Elia purchased from Luigi Pellissero the farmstead with outlying wine cellar and vineyards. His son Giuseppe extended later vineyards and acquired the underground cellar, dating back to XV century. Since 1898 it started wine foreign exportation, while since 1893 Barbaresco del Sori Paitin has been produced.

Estate started full activity in 1965 again with Secondo Pasquero-Elia, who built a new wine cellar, by [gradually] replanting vineyards and acquiring new vines. At present Secondo Pasquero is working in the cellar together with his sons Giovanni and Silvano.

Very good bottles are produced from 17 hectares land.”

Sori’ Paitin Dolcetto d’Alba 2011– Alba, Piedmont. 100% Dolcetto. “Before malolactic [fermentation] the wine is moved to old Slavonian oak casks for 6 months. The wine is held in stainless steel tanks for 2 months before bottling. Unfiltered, unfined. Colour intense ruby red. Fragrance concentrated, rich, blackberry, cassis, brushwood, herbal.” “Purple red color, the Dolcetto has aromas of black cherry, raspberry and hint of   blueberries and minerals. This medium-bodied red has soft tannins, moderate acidity and good balance.”

90 points Wine Advocate- “The 2011 Dolcetto d’Alba Sori’ Paitin opens with gorgeous, sweet aromatics. Tar, smoke, and blueberries emerge from the glass in a Dolcetto with surprising structure and power. There is no shortage of character and personality here. This is a terrific showing from the Pasquero brothers. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.”



“The history of the Vietti winery traces its roots back to the 19th Century. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, however, did the Vietti name become a winery offering its own wines in bottle. Patriarch Mario Vietti, starting from 1919 made the first Vietti wines, selling most of the production in Italy. His most significant achievement was to transform the family farm, engaged in many fields, into a grape-growing and wine-producing business.

Then, in 1952, Alfredo Currado (Luciana Vietti’s husband) continued to produce high quality wines from their own vineyards and purchased grapes. The Vietti winery grew to one of the top-level producers in Piemonte and was one of the first wineries to export its products to the USA market.

[Today] With 35 hectares of vineyards, Vietti expects to not only increase production, but having greater control over the vineyards, looks to continually improve from a qualitative perspective.”

Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne 2011– Asti, Piedmont. Estate-bottled Barbera d’Asti DOC. 100% Barbera. “The grapes are selected from young vineyards, approximately 10 years old, in Agliano d’Asti. 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. 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.”



“Originally trained as a stone mason, Tommaso took over over his uncle’s Valpolicella estate-with its prized old vineyards in the heart of the Classico zone-in the mid-1980’s. While vineyard work came naturally to him, he experimented relentlessly, and absorbed information and ideas from every source available. With each passing vintage, his wines came to show more polish, finesse, intensity, and personality.

By the late nineties, his style had matured, and his wines had become world-famous for their incredible intensity of fruit. Like other top Veneto winemakers, he uses new barrels, but any hint of new wood is hidden by cascades of lush, opulent fruit.

[The vineyards are planted to] Corvinone (40%), Corvina Grossa (25%) and Rondinella (20%).”

Tommaso Bussola Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Ca’ del Laito 2009– Valpolicella, Veneto. A blend of 60% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 10% Molinara. “Despite being the estate’s standard wines, the Ca’ del Laito selections are near the summit of the Valpolicella pyramid. Only estate fruit is used, including declassified wine from top sites like Alto, Soto el Barbi, Casali and Ca’ del Laito. The Ca’ del Laito Valpolicella is made in a bold, Ripasso style that highlights the quality of Tommaso’s raw materials.”

“The grapes were crushed towards the middle of October and fermentation was initiated immediately via inoculation of selected yeasts. Following a fermentation of 10 days at ambient temperature the wine was racked with a residual sugar of 20 g/l. It was then, after another 10 days, racked again off the gross deposit. In March 90% of the wine underwent a week-long refermentation on skins of the Amarone. It was then racked again, assembled with the remaining 10% and placed in 700-litre second-passage tonneaux of Styrian oak.
After 17 months in wood it was assembled in a single mass, undergoing a light fining with egg-whites.
It was bottled in September 2004 and allowed to age for three months before release onto the market.”

88 points Wine Advocate- “an irresistibly thick and densely concentrated wine that is immensely soft and pleasurable in the mouth. It imparts dark berry, tar, black licorice, spice, brown sugar and leather… the wine ages 30 months in traditional botte grande. The wine wraps thickly over the palate. Drink 2014-2018.”



Locations is a simple concept made complicated that ultimately became a great deal of fun.

• The Simple: Make the best possible wine from a given country or location.

• The Complex: Going out and tracking down the vineyards which are capable of delivering the quality of wine needed.

• The Fun: Travelling the world to visit incredible sites and meet amazing people that challenge each other to make the best wine possible.”

From Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate- “This new project, called Locations, is the brainchild of Dave Phinney of Orin-Swift Cellars. It is anti-vintage and anti-terroir, but most importantly, bullish on quality. Essentially, what Phinney is doing is making the finest wine possible from different grape varieties grown in different regions, in this case France and Spain. This project is not limited to these two countries and in the future will include Italy, South America and the United States, and possibly Australia, New Zealand, etc. Phinney has accessed some terrific fruit for these two debut releases, and, at these prices, no one will be unhappy with these wines. Of course, if you’re going to yak terroir, transparency, and all the insufferable and pretentious wine speak that makes some wine tastings unbearable, these offerings will not “float your boat.” However, from a qualitative standpoint, they are top red wines. There are 40,000 cases of each wine and presumably the market will let us know if they are consistent from bottle to bottle. If that’s the case, these wines could be some of the finest values money can buy. Doug Polaner is his name, and high quality wines in all price ranges is his game. I have been tasting with Polaner over a number of years, and these notes represent his very finest value selections.”

Locations I-1 NV– Italy. “A blend of Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola, Barbera and native varietals from Puglia. Barrel aged 10 months prior to release.” “Beginning in the south near the townships of Torricella and Manduria in Puglia, we finished up north at Alba in Piemonte. Diverse components were meticulously assembled that represent the finest from each region. The result is a vibrant wine that captures the spirit of Italy with a touch of new world bravado.”

“The wine explodes with aromas of macerated raspberries, dried lavender, plum tart and toasty oak accents. The palate is immediately hit with super lush flavors of ripe berries and spice, supported with a dense core that has just the right amount of characteristic acidity. The tannins are already velvety and soft which provide for a lingering finish with hints of minerality and some herbal notes.”



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