September 29, 2011: Great Values from Spain, Italy and Germany
These days there are lots of great values to be found, and believe it or not, many of the best values come from Europe. For this week’s tasting we will explore a variety of wine from Spain, Italy, and Germany that present excellent value and offer outstanding “bang for the buck.”
Cune Winery of Rioja in Spain is one of the most renowned and historic bodegas in the country. Cune, or C.V.N.E. rather, stands for Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana or Northern Spanish Wine Company. They have been an integral part of the Rioja regions ascendence in the world of fine wine as well as one of the most reliable sources in the appellation for high-quality wine. Cune is still run by descendants of the founders, the Real de Asua brothers, fifth generation current CEO Victor Urrutia Ybarra. For the tasting we will explore their entry-level Blanco, Rosado, and Crianza Rioja, priced at $9.99 and $10.99
From Italy we will sample wine from two producers; Argiolas of Sardinia (the island south of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea), and Li Veli of Salento in Puglia (the southeastern area of the “heel” of Italy’s boot). Argiolas is family-owned and located amid a breathtaking landscape of granite rocks and rugged cliffs, unspoiled beaches and fascinating stone relics. They exclusively plant and cultivate indigenous Sardinian varieties, such as the red Cannonau (same as Grenache), which makes up the majority of the blend that we will sample tomorrow night ($15.99). Li Veli Winery was founded in 1999. The property is located in the area of Salice Salentino, in the heart of the Salento region. The Li Veli project was the realization of the Falvo family, proprietors of Avignonesi in Tuscany, who have strong ties to the region. For the tasting we will try a blend of 50/50 Primitivo and Negroamaro; an excellent value red for $8.99.
Lastly we will taste a Gewurztraminer made by J.L. Wolf of the Pfalz region in Germany. Its from their entry-level label called Villa Wolf, which is a value-priced line of varietal wines that combine estate-grown J.L. Wolf fruit with grapes from contracted growers. The 2010 Gewurztraminer is an excellent value at $8.99 tomorrow night.
We hope you will join us!
The specific wines for the tasting are:
Cune Blanco 2010– Rioja, Spain. 100% Viura from the “Rioja Alta” subzone, where higher altitude and Atlantic influences make for an ideal environment for wines of elegance and finesse. The wine aged in tank to preserve freshness of fruit. Fresh, fruity aromas of green apple and lemon are complemented with fresh, clean acidity and a round finish.
Cune Rosado 2010– Rioja, Spain. 100% Tempranillo made in the saignee method (juice is drawn off the skins) after 24 to 48 hours. Aged in stainless steel tank. The wine is bright strawberry-pink in color with elegant floral aromas that mingle with berry fruit notes of strawberries, raspberries and currants. It is fresh and fruity on the palate with nicely balanced acid and a juicy finish.
Cune Crianza 2008– Rioja, Spain. 80% Tempranillo blended with Mazuelo and Garnacha. The wine ages for two years prior to bottling, spending at least 12 months in American oak. It is bright cherry-red in color with aromas of red berry fruit, elegant spice, and subtle oaky notes. It is elegant, yet lively on the palate with undertones of spice, cedar, and mineral and lots of savory black cherry and blackberry fruit. The finish is nicely balanced and lengthy. An excellent value.
Argiolas Costera 2008– Sardinia, Italy. Made from 90% Cannonau (which is the same as Grenache), 5% Bovale, and 5% Carnignano grown in the Costera vineyard. The wine is aged in French oak for 6 months prior to bottling. It is intense ruby-red in color with a full bouquet of black cherry, pepper and licorice and hints of earthiness, herbs, and bacon fat. It is full-bodied and very hearty on the palate with excellent texture and fine tannins. Another excellent red for the money.
Li Veli Primonero 2008– Salento, Italy, a subdistrict of Puglia (the “heel” of Italy’s boot). A blend of 50% Primitivo and 50% Negroamaro that aged in large French barriques. Deep ruby/purple in color with aromas of fresh fruit and flowers. The Primitivo gives the wine fresh, delicious fruity characteristics, while the Negroamaro provides dark fruit and earthy qualities. The two grapes, although contrasting in many ways, combine to create a balanced wine with rich, velvety fruit, great acidity, and a pleasant finish that’s “full of finesse.”
Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer 2010– Pfalz, Germany. A light, clean, and fruity Gewurz with pretty, aromatic scents of flowers, spice, and pear fruit. It is charming and deliciously fruity on the palate with a juicy texture and a refreshing, lightly sweet finish.