This Week’s Wine Tasting

Italian Wine

Various Regions

Belstar– “The 3 hectares managed by the Bisol family on the Cartizze hill, the most precious vineyard in Italy, is their crowning glory. By means of a continuous change of generations the Bisol family keep on handing down the scepter from father to son and dividing management responsibilities between the family members: a solid family unit continuously reinforcing the history of the company. 

The owners are the two brothers, Antonio and Eliseo, along with their respective sons, Gianluca, Desiderio, Claudio and Alberto. Claudio Bisol, production manager comments: “… the anxious wait for the arrival of the bunches of grapes in the winery, handling the fruit as if it were alive and then allowing it to pass safely into the bottles … a cycle that repeats itself, year after year, in our company supported by immense passion and state-of-the-art technology”.”

Belstar Prosecco NV– Veneto, Italy. 100% Glera. “Belstar- a lovely name for a vineyard on the threshold of the historical production area of Prosecco. It was right here in these immaculate hills with unparalleled landscapes that the sovereign grape variety of Northern Veneto found its niche, a place to express its natural elegance. Belstar is a Prosecco with a fruity scent and a floral bouquet enhanced during vinification by the protection of the must from the action of oxygen and by a light pressing. An extremely delicate and elegant Prosecco thanks to the great attention paid during the maceration, pressing and slow fermentation stages.” $11.99


Tiefenbrunner– “The “Linticlar estate” is first mentioned in records dating from 1225 A.D. A hundred years later, the Cathedral Chapter of Trento, was being supplied with wine from the estate “auf dem Püchel”, also known as “mansu a coste”, on the orders of the Counts of Tyrol. Then, in 1537, the name “Turnhof” was first used, and later there are occurrences of the designation “Thurner Hof”. With the drawing up of a new land register in 1848, the name finally became officially “Turmhof”. The estate has belonged to the family since 1675.

In 1857, Karl Pardatscher, the owner of the Turmhof wine estate at the time, took part in the first Imperial Austrian agricultural and forestry exhibition in Vienna, with eight different types of wine. Hilde and Herbert Tiefenbrunner set off a new direction in 1968 with the opening of a wine outlet at the Turmhof. Wines intended for sale off the premises were now bottled. Gradually, new markets were found at home and abroad, and production of bottled wines increased accordingly. The Tiefenbrunner family is still fully committed to the wine-growing tradition.

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2014– Alto Adige, Italy. 100% Pinot Gris. Vineyard location:  hillside vineyards in Kurtatsch and sites in the plain of Margreid and Cortina. Soil: chalk gravel moraine soil in the hills of Kurtatsch, sandy alluvial soil in Margreid and Cortina. Vinification: fermented at a constant temperature of 20 °C in stainless steel tanks; maturation on the fine lees for 4 months; one filtration before bottling. Aging: stainless steel tank and concrete vat. Tasting note: Light yellow to sandy-coloured in appearance, with an unobtrusive bouquet, and hints of pear and candied fruit. The strong harmonious structure emphasizes its dry full-bodied taste and round finish. Food pairing: lightly appetizers, fish dishes and South Tyrolean specialties.” $13.99


“The Zenato winery possesses a strong link to the richness of its local history and culture, and continues to develop this connection today. The estate is based in a territory that surrounds Lake Garda, with an extraordinary microclimate that allows for an optimal growing season. Cherishing a ‘frank and simple’ approach to life, Zenato is committed to producing affordable wine of exceptional quality. With a passion for the land and a dedication to vigorous research, innovation and quality improvement, Sergio Zenato strived to eclipse past results. He crafted wines that are known for their quality and consistency.

Founded in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato, the Zenato winery was originally based on the production of quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana. Over time, the winery has been passed to Sergio and Carla’s children, who have maintained and expanded upon this vision. Their daughter Nadia currently handles the marketing and promotional activity for the company, while their son Alberto oversees all aspects of production, from the growing of the vines to the completion of the bottling process. Zenato has also explored another important area of Italian wine production — Valpolicella. It is here that they have dedicated endless efforts to the improvement and success of Amarone production, a wine of noble attributes and prestige.”

Zenato Valpolicella 2012– Veneto, Italy. A blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, and 10% Sangiovese. Aged in 5 year old French oak barrels for 12 months. “Although the Superiore designation requires that the grapes that go into this wine are harvested at a slightly higher sugar level than standard Valpolicella—thus producing a wine of potential higher alcohol—this Valpolicella is a soft, supple example of this classic wine.  Made predominately from Corvina, this wine displays the ripe black cherry flavors for which the grape is known. Ruby red in color, this Valpolicella Superiore offers fleshy aromas of wild berries, black currants, black cherries, and spices, with hints of chocolate. On the palate, the wine is dry and robust with velvety texture.” $14.99

Zenato Alanera Rosso 2012– Veneto, Italy. 55% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in 2-3 year old French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for 12 months. “Alanera translates as “black wing,” a reference to the raven, “corvino” in Italian, and an homage to the Valpolicella region’s treasured indigenous grape, “Corvina”.  Alanera is a seductive wine that derives extra richness from an innovative variation on the traditional appassimento method practiced throughout the zone.  50% of all the grapes harvested to produce this wine are partially dried for 45-60 days.  The classic Valpolicella varieties are dried in the main drying facility in Sant’ Ambrogio where the Zenato family dry their Amarone grapes, while the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are dried at Zenato’s Santa Cristina winery. The highly concentrated juice from these partially dried grapes adds an unusually complex spectrum of aromas and flavors to the blend.  12 months in barrel round out the tannin structure in this eminently drinkable red.”

“Brilliant ruby in color, Alanera delights the senses with a variety of aromas and flavors that include fresh and dried cherries and prunes, sweet spice, and hints of coffee and tobacco.  On the palate, Alanera is full-bodied with elegant and velvety tannins.  Vibrant acidity brings balance and freshness, and supports a long and harmonious finish.” $18.99


Borgo Scopeto– “The area of vineyard of Borgo Scopeto consists of 70 hectares, 40 of which is Chianti Classico with various clones of Sangiovese. We also have other vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. The yield per hectare is approximately 50/60 Quintals. The vineyards of Borgo Scopeto lie at an altitude of between 350 and 420 meters above sea level with a South to South – West exposure. The soil is typical of the Chianti classico region; sandy, shingly, stony and like clay. Of the different vines present on the Estate The Misciano Vineyard merits attention; it lies in fact at more than 400 meters above sea level with a South to South-East exposure.

The vines that lie on the Stony, Clay soil are mainly Sangiovese (90%), Syrah and Canaiolo (10%). The Sangiovese of the Vigna Misciano, due to its particularity is used to produce our “Cru” (Single Vineyard): Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Misciano.”

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2012– Tuscany, Italy. A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, and 5% Colorino. “Aged for 1 year in Slavonian casks. Aroma: full and intense but at the same time sweet and fruity, with hints of black soft fruit. Pleasant overtone of noble wood, vanilla and cocoa and a surprising cherry finish. Flavor: dry, firmly structured, austere and elegant; well balanced. Excellent persistence of the flavour on the palate. Pairing: wine to accompany the entire meal, especially thick soups, all kinds of meat and half-mature cheese.” $15.99


“Since 1956, the Piedmont winemaker Michele Chiarlo has foreshadowed the continuing quest for quality on the part of so many of Italy’s conscientious producers. From the beginning, the Chiarlo family winery has made superior Barberas and high quality Barolos that today are consistently among the most renowned expressions of these wines. Now, additional varieties help carry the firm’s reputation for purity of grape variety and terroir.

Over the years, Michele Chiarlo has realized a success and recognition brought by constant pursuit of quality. Today’s winery was built on the business of Chiarlo’s father: the estate vineyards and family home in Calamandrana and the cellars and bottling facility in nearby Susa. But the firm’s early years were difficult ones. Prior to the establishment of the DOC laws, establishing a reputation for consistently superior quality was a long proposition for a new producer. Excellent, small-production wines often went unrecognized in the absence of a universal and uniform system of classification to set forth methods, varieties and zones—even if that system today has been outdistanced by many producers.”

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti 2011– Piedmont, Italy. Barbera. “Michele Chiarlo sources grapes from strictly selected Barbera vineyards with excellent exposure to produce a superb, balanced wine. The choice vineyards are in the southern area of Asti province, especially the hills around Nizza Monferrato. Temperature controlled maceration and fermentation on the skins yields the dark, rich color that is typical of great Barberas. The wine is aged in large French oak casks before release. Medium bodied and robust with rich, ripe fruit on the nose and an elegant palate. Pairs well with chicken, mushrooms, pork and grilled or roasted red meats. A classic Barbera from choice terroir. Matured for 8 months in large oak casks for greater complexity. With relatively high acidity with low tannins, Barbera’s tart red berry aromas and flavors have spicy, herbal notes. Styles range from light quaffers to dense, concentrated wines for aging.” $13.99

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