October 20, 2011: Compare & Contrast: White Burgundy, Valpolicella, 10-Year Tawny Port
This week we will sample six wines that will be presented in pairs and tasted in a compare/contrast manner. Specifically these will include two white Burgundies from different appellations that are made by Domaine Roger Luquet, two Valpolicellas made by Tenuta Sant’Antonio, a “classic” and Ripasso, and two 10-year old tawny ports from different producers, Warre’s and Taylor Fladgate.
In Burgundy, France, two grape varieties dominate; Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Therefore the white Burgundies we will taste tomorrow night are both Chardonnays but differ in that they are from neighboring appellations within the region; Saint-Veran and Pouilly-Fuisse. The appellations are next to one another in the Maconnais district and share similar geography, terroir, and soils that are a mixture of chalk and clay. These areas are known for good-value (Pouilly-Fuisse better known that Saint-Veran) and wines of substantial flavor and approachability.
Valpolicella is the name of a viticultural zone and red Italian wine that comes from The Veneto (Venice) region in the Northeastern part of the country. The wines are blends, typically of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, although other grapes may be included in the cuvee. For the tasting we will try a “classic” Valpolicella and a Ripasso Valpolicella, which is made by macerating Valpolicella juice with the dried pomace (grape skins and seeds) from the Amarone wine- thereby creating an extracted, complex, fruit-forward wine.
Ports come from the Douro Valley in Portugal. They are fortified wines, which means that neutral alcohol is added to wine during fermentation, stopping the fermentation process, boosting the alcohol content and preserving its high sugar content. The two that we will sample tomorrow are both 10-year tawnys- this means that the wine aged in wooden barrels and were exposed, over time, to evaporation and oxidation. A 10-year tawny is not made from wine that is 10 years old, but from a blend of aged tawny port that taste as one that aged for 10 years should ideally taste. They are delicious!
We hope you will join us tomorrow night.
The specific wines for the tasting are:
Domaine Luquet Saint-Veran Vers les Monts 2009– Saint-Veran, Burgundy, France. 100% Chardonnay. The Saint-Veran is made from select grapes from 25-30 year-old vines, planted in the villages of Chasselas and Solutre-Pouilly. It is fermented in a traditional style in neutral containers- in this case stainless steel- which preserves the fresh fruit characters and the stony terroir. Aromas and flavors of citrus and lemon curd are enhanced with notes of nuts and hints of fennel spice within a textured, lengthy presentation.
Domaine Luquet Pouilly-Fuisse Bois Seguin 2009– Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy, France. 100% Chardonnay planted on chalky-clay soils that are very rich in limestone. Almost all parcels are located in the village of Fuisse, from vineyards that average 50 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested in the traditional manner then the wine is vinified in stainless steel. This example is generous and rich with earthy mineral/stone aromatics and notes of hazelnuts, almonds, and exotic tropical fruits. Has potential to age for 5-6 years.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Nanfre 2009– Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy. A blend of mostly Corvina (70%) and Rondinella (20%) from estate vineyards. The wine fermented and aged in stainless steel tank to maintain bright fruit characteristics. An intense fruity nose of red and black cherries, licorice, spice and herbs is complemented with undertones of cedar and tobacco. It is medium-bodied and very approachable on the palate with a balanced, lingering finish.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Ripasso Monti Garbi 2008– Monti Garbi, Valpolicella Superiore, Veneto, Italy. A blend of Corvina and Corvinone (70%), Rondinella (20%), Croatina and Oseleta (10%) from vines that average 20 years. After fermentation the juice is “re-passed” through the pumace of Amarone. The wine aged in French oak for approximately 15 months, 30% new and 70% once-used. Bold, inviting aromas of ripe, juicy red fruits are followed by a complex and mouthwatering palate with mild tannins and nice balance. The appealing finish offers lingering spicy fruit flavors.
Warre’s Otima 10-Year Tawny Port– Douro Valley, Portugal. The 10-year Otima matured in seasoned oak barrels for an average of 10 years. It is ripe and rich with generous caramel, toffee, and honey aromas, enhanced with hints of spicy vanilla-oak and dried fruit undertones. The palate is very full-bodied and sweet, with a mellow, super-long, lip-smacking finish. The Otima packaging was designed to appeal to the new, younger generation of Port enthusiasts. 90 Wine Spectator (500ml)
Taylor Fladgate 10-Year Old Tawny Porto– Douro Valley, Portugal. This rich, aged tawny offers an intense and complex nose of almonds, custard, pie crust, and caramel/toffee hints. Its sweetness is gentle and appealing combined with mouth-coating viscosity and delicious flavors of toasted nuts, vanilla, and hints of spice. The generous finish is harmonious and lingers on and on. This refined, excellent-quality tawny tastes older than 10 years.