Three weeks ago the tasting was canceled due to the Tuscaloosa “snow day” so this week we will serve the wines that were planned for that night, plus a new white that we’ve received since then for a total of seven wines altogether- one sparkling, two whites, and four reds.
Three of them, the Chianti, Montepulciano/Sangiovese blend and Barbera are brand-new to Spirits, while the Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Trebbiano and Dolcetto are “old” favorites. The wines come from various regions including Piedmont, the Veneto, Abruzzo, Tuscany and Marche.
They are imported by a variety of companies including Indigenous Selections, Regal Wine Imports (who recently attained the Montecastelli portfolio), Michael Skurnik Wines, Cantina del Pino (our Alabama vendor Grassroots Wines imports these) and VinUS.
This selection of hearty Italian reds will warm you up (on a chilly February evening) while the whites offer promise of the Spring months ahead. We hope you will join us for an excellent Italian tasting this Thursday night (plus, we have a tasty “bonus wine” in store)!
VinUS is “the National Importer and Agent for a number of leading foreign wineries in the United States with an extended distribution Coast to Coast. All wineries that VinUS carries are estate vineyards and generally family owned and managed. VinUS pays special attention to ensure the quality and typicality of the wines we represent. Therefore, before adding a winery to our portfolio, we make sure that vine growing and wine making practices are banning every “artificial” intervention that would spoil the wine of its natural characteristics and would damage the vines and its soil over the time.“
“Tenuta Santome is located in the Veneto, a land of rivers, cities of art and fertile plains. Tenuta Santomè, a 19th century farmhouse lovingly reconstructed to include a state of the art wine cellar and a comfortable and elegant adjoining Agriturismo, blossomed right here, in the “Marca Trevigiana,” along the river Piave, in the heart of Prosecco and Rabosocountry. The winery is easy to reach and it is close to two important historical-artistic towns such us Treviso and Venice. The property extends over 63 hectares of vineyards.”
La Tenuta Santome Prosecco Extra Dry NV– Treviso, Italy. 100% Glera. This sparkling wine in made in the Charmat method (the wine undergoes second fermentation in tank, as opposed to in the bottle- the Champagne method). The nose is “intense, sweet and fruity with predominant apple. A floral component with a delicate hint of acacia flowers.” The palate is “pleasant, light, fresh and smooth with distinct harmonious acidity. Balanced, elegant and persistent. The pleasant fruity sensations perceived by the nose are replicated in the finish.” Tasting $11.99
Michael Skurnik Wines “is an importer and distributor of fine wines based in Syosset, New York. We taste, select and offer for sale (to the trade only) an excellent portfolio of wines from around the world. The company began with just a handful of relatively unknown estates in 1987 and has since grown to represent over 450 estates, from the traditional to the cutting edge. We are the exclusive representatives for these wines in our home markets of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and are the national importer for many wines, as well.”
“In 1925, brothers Natale, Nicola, Riccardo and Umberto Pasqua moved from Puglia to Veneto and established their company, Vigneti del Sole, in Verona. Their philosophy, based on constant attention to quality in all aspects of viticulture and winemaking, carried over to the second generation of Pasqua brothers, Carlo, Giorgio and Umberto, who, along with their now grown sons and daughters, continue to run the prosperous wine company. In 2000, the family decided to return to their southern roots and set up winemaking operations back in Puglia, where they cultivate local varietals. This independent, family-owned winery has, for years, been successfully producing wines packed with fruit, liveliness and the superb characteristics of their region while remaining uncomplicated wines that are easy to drink and easy on the wallet.”
Pasqua Vigneti del Sole Pinot Grigio 2011– Tre Venezie, Italy. “Vigneti del Sole is a lighter-style Pinot Grigio with plenty of fruit and acidity for a well-balanced wine. This popular Italian white has crisp acidity and a nose of lemons, green apples and almonds. With no oak, the wine shows the best of the Pinot Grigio varietal flavors. Well-balanced with a fresh, clean finish.” Tasting $9.99
Regal Wine Imports “is an importer and wholesale distributor of fine wines and craft beers based in Moorestown, New Jersey. Our philosophy is simple: find and represent the top examples of viniculture and viticulture from around the world. For over 30 years, Regal has held true to that vision. We seek to have a deep and diverse portfolio. We search the globe for the best offerings we can find in the world of wine and artisinal beer.”
Nicodemi– “Founded by Bruno Nicodemi, the property has now passed into the hands of the second generation and is currently being revamped by Elena and Alessandro Nicodemi. The typical “tendone” vineyard management prevalent in the area, is being abandoned at Nicodemi in favor of the lower yielding “cordone” or cordon method of vine training. Additional experiments include tendone trellising at an opener shape and of lower yields, preserving the old vine Montepulciano viticultural material. The full potential of this area, not yet fully explored, will surely find the forefront of revelation in the hands of this ambitious brother and sister team in the Teramo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo appellation!”
Nicodemi Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2010– Abruzzo, Italy. 100% Trebbiano. Straw yellow in color with fresh aromas of spring flowers, lemon/lime undertones and mild sweet honey notes. It is soft on the palate with a nice, mouthcoating texture and savory, herbaceous flavors within a dry framework. “White peaches and fresh herbs show on the delicate yet aromatic nose; the mouth is a citrus festival, with wave upon wave of juicy concentration and persistence. Impressive balance throughout. A lively, always pleasing Trebbiano from Abruzzo’s leading family estate. All tank made.” Tasting $11.99
“Our home at Villa Montecastelli in Tuscany has not only opened its doors for guests keen to explore wine and food around the region, but also offers evening fun, great meals and comfortable overnight accommodations. For these purposes a house wine was needed. We all love to enjoy Brunello and Barolo, but we don’t want to drink BIG every night. Fun summertime activities often call for a fine wine that is easy, true to its core and available without limits. No competition, no points, no sophistication, we seek out the best of our local grapes to make a wine we cannot live without any longer – just like bread! Made on the vineyards of the Tenuta Bicchi Borghese, literally just a stones throw from Montecastelli towards the nature reserve called Montagnola, the vinification is overseen by Paolo Caciorgna and the final blend is selected by Montecastelli!”
Montecastelli Chianti DOCG 2011– Tuscany, Italy. Sangiovese. Light garnet, rusty red in color with brown edges. Its savory, herbaceous nose offers rustic qualities with sweet spice notes. Light bodied on the palate, yet quite flavorful. Great quality for the price; an outstanding value. “Light rose/ruby red, perfumed nose almost Barolo-like, cherry, violets and soft spices. Light and lean on its feet with some nice earthy undertones.” Tasting $11.99
Fattoria Laila “in Corinaldo, lies in the rolling hills of the Marche, overlooking the Adriatic Sea on the east coast of Italy. Verdicchio and Montepulciano, indigenous varieties in our ‘Il Libretto” project, are cultivated here under the guidance of Lorenzo Landi, enologist, who has helped to establish strict limits in the vineyard in order to craft excellent wines. Today, Laila is the leading vineyard project in all of the Marches, with densities that reach 8,000 plants per hectare, based on viticultural research not practiced anywhere else in this region.
In 1990, Andrea Crocenzi took over the Fattoria Laila preserving many of the traditional methods of farming, but introducing new technology into the cellar and improved vineyard plantings to bring a centuries old estate up to date. His wines reflect the characteristics of his own charismatic and hard working personality: Elegance and Exuberance! An important momentum has been added with the arrival of Lorenzo Landi, winemaker with great experience, who has helped Andrea Croscenzi focus on a style unique to this winery.”
Fattoria Laila Rosso Piceno ‘Neroscuro’ 2011– Marche, Italy (“a large area of Marche including the province of Ancona, Macerata and Ascoli Piceno”). A blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% Sangiovese grapes “grown in the rolling hills over the Adriatic coast. After a soft grapes pressing and a slow fermentation follows a long maceration and the aging in oak barrels. Ruby red [in color with] fruit fragrance with a fine and selected bouquet. [Palate is] dry, sapid and acceptably tannic. The maturation in oak barrel and after in bottles accentuates its smooth taste as well its rich bouquet.” Tasting $10.99
Indigenous Selections: “is a highly-specialized import firm owned by Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta.The company represents a collection of carefully selected Italian wineries that produce the finest, most authentic Italian wines with an emphasis on competitive pricing and unmatched customer support.” Their mission: “to showcase some of Italy’s most captivating winemakers who produce outstanding, terroir driven wines from their respective regions.” Their goal: “to provide customers, as well as Italian wine enthusiasts, wines that truly honor indigenous Italian grape varieties and Italian winemaking.”
“In 1977 Giuseppe Rivetti and his 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. 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 Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian 2009– Piedmont, Italy. 100% Barbera. Aged in a combination of new and used toasted French oak barrels for 12 months. Ruby/rust in color with deep scents of dark berry fruit and rose petal. Gentle and elegant on the palate with good complexity, rustic flavors and sweet fruit undertones. “Beautiful and complex aromas of black currant, dried plums and Indian tea, complex, vibrant, focused wine with refreshing acidity and ripe fruit.” Tasting $26.99
Cantina del Pino is “located in a part of the Piedmont Region called the Langhe where some of Italy’s most famous wines are produced. The vineyards and winery are just one hour from Torino and situated in a unique area an equal distance to the Mediterranean and the part of the Alps that separate Italy and France. The mountains provide not just majestic views but also a protection from severe weather throughout the year.
“My father is the youngest son of Natale and Teresa Vacca. Our family has lived in this region for generations. Like many families in the Langhe, we speak Piemontese as our first language and Italian second. Some of the grapevines we manage today were planted 70 years ago by my great grandfather.” -Renato Vacca winemaker & owner Cantina del Pino
All of Cantina del Pino’s vineyards are located in the Barbaresco appellation. “This land has been in my family for generations and these vineyards are some of the best in Barbaresco. From the time I was a young boy I worked year round in these vineyards and I understand that without superior grapes you can’t make superior wine. I know how lucky I am.”- Renato Vacca”
“Humble, down-to-earth, yet intensely driven, Renato Vacca is making some of the most exciting wines in the region. Vacca’s holdings are concentrated in and around the Ovello vineyard, a site long noted for its combination of cooler microclimate and poor soils, which give structured, age-worthy Barbarescos. Not only were the wines from Cantina del Pino among the standouts of my tastings, they also happen to be among the best values in Barbaresco. In short, I can’t say enough good things about the wines of Renato Vacca. Readers owe it to themselves to check out this up-and-coming producer.”- Antionio Galloni – Robert Parker’s – The Wine Advocate.
Cantina del Pino Dolcetto 2011– Piedmont, Italy. Dolcetto literally translates to little sweet one, although the wines are almost always dry and tannic. It makes a dark-colored wine with deep fruit flavors of blackberry and black cherry with herbal notes of licorice and a sometimes nutty finish. “The Cantina del Pino Dolcetto has splendid perfume with ruby and garnet colors with a finesse and an intense and interesting nose… with jammy flavor and a hint of black pepper and soft background of mineral. Bouquet of fresh summer fruit with good acidity and a full round finish that makes this wine perfect for serving with food.” Tasting $16.99