Reflexion de la Semana

Felices Pascuas a todos!

 

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Tasting No. 197 – March 26, 2018- Beaujolais

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Beaujolais Wine Country – Source: Commons.Wikimendia.org

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Peter Lapera, Ricardo Zavaleta

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Peter Lapera, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Cristian Santelices, Ricardo Santiago, Pedro Turina, Xavi Vila, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

This is the first time we have a tasting session devoted to Beaujolais.  This appellation is located near Lyon, between Cotes de Rhone to the south and Burgundy to the North.  The wines are made from Gamay grapes and are light bodied, with lots of young fruit and high acidity. The objective is then to assess three different Beaujolais and learn the character and traits of this wine.

These are the wines:

  1. 2016, Argami, Old Vines Verdejo , Rueda
  2. 2015 Chateau des Deduits – Fleurie
  3. 2017 Jean-Claude Debeaune- Beaujolais
  4. 2015 Domain Lathuiliere Gravallon- Morgon

3. The Menu

  1. Vegetable soup
  2. Cheese Ravioli in Aurora Sauce
  3. Greens salad
  4. Grilled Salmon, fried potatoes and vegetables
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2016, Argami, Old Vines Verdejo Rueda  

The Wine: (Wine Enthusiast) Melon and apple aromas are at first stony, then more mealy. This feels sturdy enough, with dry yeasty white-fruit flavors. On the finish, this turns increasingly bready, yeasty and less fresh.

(From Wine Searcher) Verdejo is the aromatic grape variety behind the crisp white wines of Rueda in central Spain. It is by far the most planted variety in this part of the country, and is produced both varietally and as the major component of a blend with either Viura or Sauvignon Blanc. Full-bodied Verdejo wines are held in high regard, displaying herbaceous, nutty characters with balanced acidity and some cellaring potential.

The Winery:  There is no information about this producer.

  2015 Chateau des Deduits – Fleurie

The Wine: (Wine Enthusiast) More tannic structure than fruit at this stage, this is a firm, mineral-textured wine. A smoky, spicy character gives complexity, but also is still masks the red-currant fruits. Drink from 2016.

(Wine Advocate): Wine Advocate-Fleurie, Beaujolais, France – “..Offers simple, clean blackberry and blueberry fruit on the nose, a touch of vanilla pod in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with sweet red fruit, a pleasant salinity at the back of the throat with fine definition and brightness on the finish.”

(From Wine Searcher)Gamay (Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc in full) is a grape variety that is most famous for producing the light, fruit-driven red wines of Beaujolais. While the variety offers fresh, red-fruit and candied aromas, it typically delivers little in the way of flavor concentration and body weight, giving light, simple wines. That said, some well-made examples can be deep and complex.

The Winery:  (Wine Searcher) Georges Duboeuf is one of the largest and most familiar negociant and winemaking businesses in France. It had its origins in the Maconnais region of Burgundy, but today calls the slightly more southern region of Beaujolais its home.

Duboeuf produces a staggering 3 million cases of wine annually. One fifth of that is dedicated solely to Beaujolais Nouveau, the wine released just after harvest every year. The grapes are sourced from all over Beaujolais, including from some of the cru villages: Brouilly, Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent and Saint-Amour, to name a few. Gamay is the dominant grape here, as well as Chardonnay for the white wines.

Georges Duboeuf founded his winery on land that had been cultivated with vines for more than three centuries. Today, the estate works with more than 400 winegrowers in the Beaujolais region alone to ensure the quality of the fruit. Production is overseen by Franck Deboeuf, who is considered to be one of the key specialists in Beaujolais, its terroir and its wine. He has shifted production to focus more on Beaujolais Nouveau.

There are two parts of the Georges duBoeuf portfolio: the estate wines produced under his name and label, and the wines produced from surrounding domaines under their own labels, but as part of the wider Duboeuf portfolio. Deboeuf also produces wines under the generic Bourgogne and Vin de Pays – IGP appellations and therefore can use a wealth of other varieties including Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Read more at: http://www.duboeuf.com/

 2017 Jean-Claude Debeaune- Beaujolais

The Wine: Beaujolais, Burgundy, France- Le Nouveau est arrivée! Bursting with fresh berry notes, this delicious quaffer is fresh, easy-drinking and designed for fun. Perfect for your holiday parties and dinners, it will pair well with appetizers and poultry dishes

The Winery: There is little information about this specific winery. Beaujolais Villages is the appellation for red, white and rosé wines from an area made up of 38 villages in the north of the Beaujolais region. The hilly, granitic terroir here is considered superior to that of the flatter lands in the south of Beaujolais and, as a result, Beaujolais Villages wines are considered to be of a higher quality than those of the straight Beaujolais appellation. These light, juicy wines, based overwhelmingly on the Gamay grape variety, display varietal characters of red fruit and spice.

The Beaujolais Villages appellation accounts for around a quarter of the Beaujolais region’s total annual output, most of which is red wine, with just small amounts of white and rosé wine produced. The appellation law has slightly different rules surrounding vinification and permitted yields than the more generic Beaujolais appellation, giving rise to a slightly fuller-bodied, more concentrated style of wine. While most Beaujolais Villages wines are made for immediate consumption, some of the best examples can be cellared for up to five years.

Most Beaujolais Villages wines are produced by negociants, and are made up of grapes that come from a number of the official villages. However, if the wine is made from grapes that come solely from one village, then that wine may have the village name appended to the Beaujolais Villages title. This condition does not apply to the villages of the ten Beaujolais crus, however, as they each have their own separate appellations.

Read more at: https://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-beaujolais+villages

  2015 Domain Lathuiliere Gravallon- Morgon

The Wine: The wine has just the right density and weight for a Morgon. It comes from an 18-acre vineyard that gives a dark rich wine that is packed with tannins as well as black-cherry fruit. It is a complex wine, firm while also fruity. Drink starting from 2017.

The Winery: (From the Producer) Below are a few facts and figures about the estate : 15 ha of vineyards in the heart of the Beaujolais region, in six different appellation areas

Red, White or Rosé Beaujolais: 2 ha

Beaujolais villages : 1 ha 24 ares
Beaujolais Crus :
Chiroubles : 50 ares
Fleurie : 1ha 91 ares
Morgon : 7 ha 64 ares
Brouilly Pisse Vieille : 1 ha 82 ares (1st harvest in 2009)

I refuse to slot in to one pigeon hole or another as far as viticulture is concerned. The way I see vine growing is my very own; it isn’t conventional, organic or biodynamic. My philosophy is simple: “to produce the very best grapes possible”. What I do then is to tend my vines in a “reasoned” way, where observation is my main guide. Any work I can do in the vines as a means to getting top quality grapes is done. Our vines mainly grow on slopes of 20 to 40%, this makes some mechanization quite difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, most of the work in the vines is done by hand (pruning, weeding, tying-up and trimming etc.). The harvest is also manual, with strict sorting to only keep the very best of what the vines have to offer.
As far as treatments are concerned, the use of plant health products is a requisite to producing quality grapes. Our vines are protected using eco-friendly or ‘integrated’ vine growing techniques. We try to minimize treatments and have banished chemical products for treatment and fertilizing. For the last three years, in our plots where mechanization is easiest, we have totally stopped the use of herbicides, replacing it with shallow ploughing or simply allowing the grass to grow between the vines.

Read more at: http://www.lathuiliere.fr/en/

4.  CV Members Rating

View full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting Scores 197

Best Rated Wine: 2017 Jean-Claude Debeaune- Beaujolais

Best Buy: 2017 Jean-Claude Debeaune- Beaujolais

 

5. Technical Notes 

TBA

 

 

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Tasting No. 196 – February 26, 2017- The Effect of Aging

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Alberto Gomez, Jorge Requena, Germán Zincke

Participants: Mario Aguilar¸ Jorge Claro, Clara Estrada, Alberto Gómez, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez, Ricardo Santiago, Pedro Turina, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

This tasting includes two reds Gran Cru Classé Chateau Giscours Margaux, Medoc  from different years elaborated following the same techniques and variety blends. The basic difference is their aging. There is a third red Appellation Margaux Controlee form the same Chateau but made from younger vines and subject to shorter aging time than the  other two.  The  main objectives of this tasting are to assess the differences among these wines and identify them individually.

These are the wines:

  1. 2016 Château Côte Montpezat Cuvee Compostelle Blanc
  2. 2014 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé
  3. 2010 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé
  4. 2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Appellation Margaux Controlee

3. The Menu

  1. Sea Food Salad
  2. Cheese Platter
  3. Pasta aglio e olio
  4. Grilled Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Brown Sauce
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2016 Château Côte Montpezat Cuvee Compostelle Blanc

The Wine: Indicative Blend: 40% sauvignon blanc, 30% sauvignon gris, 30% sémillon.  Elegant and fleshy, fresh and fruity, mineral.
In the mouth, we discover citrus aromas accompanied by exotic or menthol.

The Winery: Fourty kms to the east of Bordeaux, in the extension of the Saint-Emilion appellation extend designations Puisseguin St Emilion and Côtes de Castillon appellation become since 2008 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux.It is on these lands in clay and limestone which are born great wines that are planted the vines of Bessineau Vineyards:

– the  Castle Coast MONTPEZAT (30 hectares)  located Belves Castillon – AOC Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux

– the CASTLE HIGH BERNAT (5.5 Hectares) located in Puisseguin – AOC Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

Read more at: http://www.cote-montpezat.com/

2014 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé

The Wine: A complex nose of earth, tobacco, mint, black cherry and raspberries, this wine is soft and polished and there is a fresh, unadulterated plum and fresh, black raspberry sensation in the silky finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot.

Polished tannins, pure, ripe, fresh,  sweet, dark, red fruits, and a silky textured, fresh finish are really already showing well, with little effort. As this ages, it could score higher.

The Winery:  The 102 hectare vineyard of Chateau Giscours is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The current plantings show a marked increase in Cabernet Sauvignon. Previously, more than 50% of their vineyards were planted to Merlot in the mid 1990’s.

The terroir is mostly gravel with sand and some limestone in the soil. The vineyard has 3 peaks, with the highest level of elevation reaching 32 meters. On average, the vines are close to 45 years of age. However, the estate has old vines that are up to 70 years of age, which are both Cabernet Sauvignon and some Merlot. The vine density is on average 10,000 vines per hectare. The higher levels of density represent the new plantings.

The vineyard of Chateau Giscours is divided into 43 separate plots. Today, 20% of their vineyards are farmed using biodynamic techniques. That is expected to continue increasing over the next few years. The best terroir is located directly in front of the chateau, which is also where you find their oldest vines.

To produce the wine of Chateau Giscours, vinification takes place in a combination of stainless steel vats and concrete tanks. There are 26 stainless steel tanks and 42 concrete vats that range in size from 20 hectoliters all the way up to 250 hectoliters. 80% of the Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank and 20% occurs in barrel. The wine of Chateau Giscours is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for an average of 18 months.

While Chateau Giscours is a traditional Bordeaux estate, they were one of the first properties in the Medoc to embrace optical sorting technology. In fact, they were also one of the first estates to employ gravity to filling the vats in the late 1800’s as you read earlier. The production of Chateau Giscours is close to 25,000 cases per year. There is a second wine, La Sirene de Giscours.

Read more about this winery here: Chateau Giscours Margaux Bordeaux

2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Appellation Margaux Controlee

The Wine: Grape varieties: 60 % Cabernet Sauvignon – 32 % Merlot – 5 % Cabernet Franc – 3% Petit Verdot .

(WS) “A second wine is not created by taking the leftovers that you can’t use for your first wine and making something out of it. That’s not at all how it’s done. You have to see your wines as a family tree.”

 2010 Chateau Giscours, Gran Cru Classé

The Wine: A complex nose of earth, tobacco, mint, black cherry and raspberries, this wine is soft and polished and there is a fresh, unadulterated plum and fresh, black raspberry sensation in the silky finish.

The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot.Polished tannins, pure, ripe, fresh,  sweet,  dark,  red fruits, and a silky textured, fresh finish are really already showing well, with little effort. As this ages,  it could score higher.  – Tasted Feb 4, 2017

 4.  CV Members Rating

View full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting Scores 196

The participants chose the 2010 Chateau Guscours as the best wine by a large majority. The identified the wine as being more elegant, integrated, less fruity  and having more complex earthly, coffee, wood and chocolate flavors than the other two reds.

Best Rated Wine: 2010 Chateau Guiscours, Margaux

Best Buy: 2012 La Sirene de Giscours, Margaux

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled the following technical notes mosstly from Wkipedia.

Margaux AOC.  

Margaux is a wine growing commune and Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) within Haut-Médoc in Bordeaux, centred on the village of Margaux. Its leading (premier cru) château is also called Margaux. It contains 21 cru classé châteaux, more than any other commune in Bordeaux. It is on the left bank of the Gironde. It is the southernmost appellation in the Médoc. The soil is the thinnest in the Médoc, with the highest proportion of gravel. The gravel provides good drainage. The forest to the west shelters the vines from Atlantic breezes. Margaux contains 1413 hectares of vineyards, making it the second largest appellation in the Haut-Médoc (after Saint-Estèphe).

Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant grape, but it is invariably blended with other grapes. As with all red Bordeaux, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec may also be included in the blend.   The wine is known for its perfumed fragrance. The dominant fruit flavour is blackcurrant. The wine from the southern part of the appellation (i.e. Cantenac, Arsac and Labarde) tends to be more powerful but less fragrant and leans more towards plum. Wine from Margaux may be labelled as Haut-Médoc (usually wine which the château considers inferior to its main offering and wishes to market under a different label). It would also be possible (though unusual) for the wine to be labelled using the Médoc AOC or one of the Regional Bordeaux AOCs.

The Aging of Wine ( Source: Wkipedia)

As red wine ages, the harsh tannins of its youth gradually give way to a softer mouthfeel. An inky dark color will eventually lose its depth of color and begin to appear orange at the edges, and then later eventually turning brown. These changes occur due to the complex chemical reactions of the phenolic compounds of the wine. In processes that begin during fermentation and continue after bottling, these compounds bind together and aggregate. Eventually these particles reach a certain size where they are too large to stay suspended in the solution and precipitate out. The presence of visible sediment in a bottle will usually indicate a mature wine. The resulting wine, with this loss of tannins and pigment, will have a paler color and taste softer, less astringent. The sediment, while harmless, can have an unpleasant taste and is often separated from the wine by decanting.

During the aging process, the perception of a wine’s acidity may change even though the total measurable amount of acidity is more or less constant throughout a wine’s life. This is due to the esterification of the acids, combining with alcohols in complex array to form esters. In addition to making a wine taste less acidic, these esters introduce a range of possible aromas. Eventually the wine may age to a point where other components of the wine (such as a tannins and fruit) are less noticeable themselves, which will then bring back a heightened perception of wine acidity. Other chemical processes that occur during aging include the hydrolysis of flavor precursors which detach themselves from glucose molecules and introduce new flavor notes in the older wine and aldehydes become oxidized. The interaction of certain phenolics develops what is known as tertiary aromas which are different from the primary aromas that are derived from the grape and during fermentation.

As a wine starts to mature, its bouquet will become more developed and multi-layered. While a taster may be able to pick out a few fruit notes in a young wine, a more complex wine will have several distinct fruit, floral, earthy, mineral and oak derived notes. The lingering finish of a wine will lengthen. Eventually the wine will reach a point of maturity, when it is said to be at its “peak”. This is the point when the wine has the maximum amount of complexity, most pleasing mouthfeel and softening of tannins and has not yet started to decay. When this point will occur is not yet predictable and can vary from bottle to bottle. If a wine is aged for too long, it will start to descend into decrepitude where the fruit tastes hollow and weak while the wine’s acidity becomes dominant.

The natural esterification that takes place in wines and other alcoholic beverages during the aging process is an example of acid-catalysed esterification. Over time, the acidity of the acetic acid and tannins in an aging wine will catalytically protranate other organic acids (including acetic acid itself), encouraging ethanol to react as a nucleophile. As a result, ethyl acetate – the ester of ethanol and acetic acid—is the most abundant ester in wines. Other combinations of organic alcohols (such as phenol-containing compounds) and organic acids lead to a variety of different esters in wines, contributing to their different flavours, smells and tastes. Of course, when compared to sulfuric acid conditions, the acid conditions in a wine are mild, so yield is low (often in tenths or hundredths of a percentage point by volume) and take years for ester to accumulate.

Read more about the aging of wine here: The aging of wine

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Tasting No. 195– January 29, 2018 – Less Known Italian Reds

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Clara Estrada and Jorge García- García

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alberto Gomez, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sanchez, Ricardo Santiago, Xavi Vila, Ricardo Zavaleta, Germán Zincke.

Guests: Patricia García, Aberra Zerabruk

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

The  main objective of this tasting is to explore and assess less known red wines for Italy It also includes a white form Sicily made of the Fiano variety.

These are the wines:

  1. 2016 Planeta – Cometa, Fiano, Menfi, Sicily
  2. 2013 Morgante Nero D’Avola, Don Antonio, Sicily
  3. 2013 Agricola Punica, Barrua, Red Blend, Sardinia 
  4. 2014 Odoardi – Scavigna Vigna Garrone, Calabria

3. The Menu

  1. Capri Salad
  2. Fried Fresh Calamari and Zucchini
  3. Agnolotti with Fresh Spinach
  4. Veal Scallopine with Mushrooms Sauce, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2016 Planeta – Cometa, Fiano, Menfi, Sicily

The Wine: Fiano is a high-quality, white-wine grape variety used widely in southern Italy, particularly in Campania. Used mainly as a varietal wine, Fiano is nutty and textured with floral and honeyed notes, spice and tropical fruit flavors like pineapple. Its main incarnation is as Fiano di Avellino DOCG wine.

Intense and full of character, with integrated aromatic notes of citrus and tropical fruit, white peach, pink grapefruit and wisteria. On the palate it has plenty of character with elegantly mineral elements. The acidity is well integrated with the fruit, making for a harmonious whole which is without a doubt one of the finest examples of this variety.

The Winery:  (Taken from WineSearcher. com) Planeta is a wine producer with vineyards all over Sicily. It produces a range of high-end wines across the IGT level as well as DOCG wines from select appellations. It was founded by cousins Alessio and Santi Planeta with their uncle Diego, who originally owned the Settesoli wine cooperative. At Planeta, there are six different wine-producing estates spread across the island, producing wines from local grapes Fiano and Nero d’Avola, as well as international varieties like Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah

Read more at: https://planeta.it/en/wine/cometa-en/

  •  2013 Morgante Nero D’Avola, Don Antonio, Sicily

    The Wine: (Wine Spectator) This Nero d’Avola suggests mature black-skinned berry, carob and toast on the nose. Concentrated and chewy on the palate, it offers ripe black cherry, raspberry jam, clove and cocoa flavors framed by velvety, polished tannins. Thanks to its fruit richness, it’s not overwhelmed by the warmth of evident alcohol. Enjoy through 2021.

    Winery Notes: Don Antonio is a fine Nero d’Avola, with a deep purple colour suggesting an aroma of voluptuous ripe cherries, rose, sweet spices, liquorice and cocoa. It is a silky red wine but with an imposing structure enhancing a blend of persuasive and refined tannins. Don Antonio is a perfect match for matured cheeses, roasted red meat and braised wild game.

    Nero d’Avola (also known as Calabrese) is the most important and widely planted red wine grape variety in Sicily. Vast volumes of Nero d’Avola are produced on the island every year, and have been for centuries. The dark-skinned grape is of great historical importance to Sicily and takes its present-day name from the town of Avola on the island’s southeast coast. The area was a hotbed of trade and population movement during the Middle Ages and Nero d’Avola was frequently used to add color and body to lesser wines in mainland Italy. Nero d’Avola typically has high tannins, medium acid and a strong body. However, it can also be very smooth if grown at higher elevations where cooler temperatures restrict the alcohol levels. It thrives on the eastern part of Sicily and is being trialed in Australia and California. Because of its generous color, Nero d’Avola is sometimes produced as rosé wine. (Read more at : https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-323-nero-d-avola)

    This variety of vine is grown almost exclusively in Sicily, a supposition is that the name Calarvisi comes from Calauria, a Greek island, and that it was imported during the Hellenic colonization in Sicily

    The Winery:  The Morgante Company is situated in Grotte, a small town in the province of Agrigento, found about 21 kilometres from the coast and the Valley of the Temples. The various vines are scattered amongst a charming landscape interspersed with natural hills and small valleys placed at different altitudes varying from 350 to 550 metres above sea level. Thanks to the favouring Mediterranean climatic conditions, the terroir is ideal for viticulture, with a temperature ranging between the day and the night from 10-15 °C, and the particular clayey and calcareous soil. The terroir is fascinating and captivating, not only for its natural scenery, its colours and the peace it diffuses, but also for the history and the tradition that distinguish it.

    Read more at: http://www.morgantevini.it/

    2013 Agricola Punica, Barrua Isola de Nuraghi, Red Blend, Sardinia

    The Wine:Winemaker Notes: With a deep violet color, the wine displays clean; on the nose elegant aromas of spices, wild herbs and mature red fruits. On the palate, the wine is soft and elegant, a unique blend of sage, myrtle, rosemary, vanilla flavors and fine tannins. Notes of red fruits, pepper and liquorice add an interesting spiciness before a harmonious and persistent finish.

    Wine Spectator: Sleek and mouthwatering, this harmonious red features creamy tannins and layers of flavor, with black currant pâte de fruit, dried marjoram and smoky mineral notes accented by abundant ground white pepper, star anise and graphite details that play out on the finish. Carignano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2025.

    Blend: 85% Carignano, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot.

     

    The Winery: (Taken from Wine-Searcher.com) Agricola Punica is a Sardinian estate formed as a joint venture between Sardinian co-operative Cantina di Santadi and Tenuta San Guido, the makers of one of Italy’s most famous wines, Sassacaia. It makes two key wines based on the Carignano grape – Barrua and Montessu.The company was started in 2002, after noted Italian winemaker Giacomo Tachis became interested in Sardinia and persuaded Sassacaia’s winemaker, Sebastiano Rosa, to buy land there. In conjunction with Santadi, Rosa bought two estates, Barrua and Narcao, located in the southwest of the island. The estates fall within the Carignano del Sulcis DOC zone, although the wines are made under the Isola dei Nuraghi IGT to give more options when it comes to blending.

    Barrua is Punica’s flagship wine, and is made from 85 percent Carignano, with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, 30 percent new. Punica’s other red wine, Montessu, is also Carignano-dominant, but is blended with higher percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. The single white wine, Samas, is a blend of Vermentino and Chardonnay. It is fermented in stainless steel and aged in small concrete vats.

    In 2002, Agripunica purchased a 370 acres estate divided betewwn two sites: Barrua and Narcao, located in the soutwest region of Sardinia, in the area known as Basso Sulcis. Even though the vineyards are situated in the DOC Carignano Del Sulcis area, the wine falls under the I.G.T. Appelation of Isola dei Nuraghi, a name referencing the ancient stone buildings built by the Nuragic civilization which shaped the island’s development from the Neolithic age until 238 B.C. when Sardinia was brought under the Roman Empire.Agripunica vineyards lie inland from the coast and are planted to 65 hectares counter espalier trained vines, comprising Carignano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah for the reds, while further 5 hecatares are currently planted to Vermentino and Chardonnay white grapes, for an overall of 70 hecatares.

    The Southwest corner of Sardinia is a near perfect environment for the hot climate traits of the Carignano vine. Winters are mild and summers are hot and dry, with temperatures sometimes stoked by the fierce Scirocco African winds blowing across the Sardinian Sea, among the hottest in Italy. An extraordinary average of seven hours of sunlight daily anable the fruit to reach a level of ripeness such that polymerization of the tannins begins within the berry while it is still on the vine. “It is the amount of light that makes this the perfect region of Carignano based wines! – The sun provides heat and light which causes grapes to mature very well. The Cabernet and Merlot mature much faster than they would in Bordeaux for example; on top of that, the wonderful influence from the sea regulates the extreme summer heat and stabilizes the climate”, recounts Giacomo Tachis.

    Read more at: http://www.agripunica.it/en/agripunica.html

     2014 Odoardi – Scavigna Vigna Garrone, Calabria

    The Wine: (WA) Odoardi’s 2004 Vigna Garrone is fleshy and vibrant in its perfumed violets, black cherries, jammy blackberries, earthiness and sweet toasted oak. It offers superb balance and poise, with elegant, refined tannins that round out the close. Today it comes across as youthful and powerful but it should settle down in another year or two. This blend of 80% Gaglioppo, 10% Nerello Capuccio, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot spent 14 months in French oak. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. (Wine Advocate Review)

    (WS) Inviting from nose to finish, this dense red sports layers of sun-dried wild berry, plum paste and grilled fig notes wound with layers of espresso bean, rosemary and brick dust on the long, rustic finish. Gaglioppo, Nerello Cappuccio, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2020. 400 cases made.

    Gaglioppo is a southern Italian grape variety best known for producing soft red wines from the mountainous Ciro DOC in Calabria. The variety is the main grape in this part of Italy and has been used in the region for centuries. It produces varietal red wine that is typified by a range of crushed berry flavors, often accented by cherry and spicy secondary notes.

    The origins of Gaglioppo are unclear. The traditional theory is that the variety arrived with Aglianico at the time of the ancient Greeks. However, recent DNA testing suggests that it is more likely to be one of the many descendents of Sangiovese. A third theory is that both are true but that it is the result of a cross-pollination between Sangiovese and an unknown variety from Greece. Read More at: https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-179-gaglioppo

    The Winery: (Taken from Wine Searcher) Cantina Odoardi is an estate situated in Calabria in southern Italy. The Odoardi family is thought to have arrived in this region in 1480, and today Gregorio Odoardi and Barbara Spalletta cultivate vines on the 270-hectare (670-acre) family-owned estate. Production is focused on the wines under the Scavigna and Savuto DOCregional titles, as well as several Calabria IGT-classified wines. The estate itself stretches from the banks of the Savuto river to the town of Falerna, with the vineyards ranging in altitude as high as 2000ft (610m) above sea level. Odoardi’s Savuto vineyard is located at the mouth of the Savuto river and is the source of its two Savuto rosso wines. These are made from a blend of typical Calabrian grape varieties, including Gaglioppo, Aglianico, Magliocco Canino, Greco Nero and Nerello Cappuccio, and are fermented and then aged for four months in stainless steel tanks.

    Read more at: http://www.cantineodoardi.it/home.do?lang=en

    4.  CV Members Rating

    View full evaluation here:Tasting summary 195

Best Rated: 2016 Planeta – Cometa, Fiano, Menfi, Sicily

Best Buy: 2016 Planeta – Cometa, Fiano, Menfi, Sicily

 

5. Technical Notes 

Jairo Sanchez compiled a more detailed description of the wines, varieties and regions of origin included in this tasting.  The sources are Wine Folly, Wine-Searcher and Wikipedia.

Less commom reds Italy -Tasting 195

 

 

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Tasting No. 194 – December 6, 2017 – Sparkling Wines

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Jaime Jaramillo, Xavi Vila

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jaime Jaramillo, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Ricardo Santiago, Xavi Vila, Ricardo Zavaleta, Germán Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview  

The  main objective of this tasting is to evaluate four different styles of sparkling wines, contrast their characteristics and rank them in order of preference.  The Presenters thought that it would be interesting to test how sparkling wines perform as the chosen wine for a full meal, especially one conceived as a holiday gathering with family or friends. It’s not that usual having only sparkling wine for dining, although this is a growing trend in some areas, and well consolidated in others like Catalonia.

These are the wines:

  1. Louis Bouillot – Blanc de Noirs, Brut – Crémant de Bourgogne, Cotes de Nuits St. Georges
  2. Albrecht Tradition – Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Crémant d’Alsace
  3. La Marca Prosecco – D.O.C. Italy
  4. Juvé y Camps Cinta Púrpura – Reserva, Brut – Cava – Penedés -Catalonia

3. The Menu

  1. Arugula and goat cheese salad
  2. Lobster soup
  3. Mushroom ravioli with cream
  4. Grilled salmon with vegetables
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

Louis Bouillot – Blanc de Noirs, Brut – Crémant de Bourgogne, Cotes de Nuits St. Georges

The Wine: The blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay gives a wine with weight and richness as well as a tight, mineral character. The wine is full in the mouth with its creamy mousse and fine pear and citrus fruits. A wine for food rather than apéritif.

Perle de Nuit has the characteristic pale mother-of-pearl hue of blanc de noirs sparkling wine. The nose is expansive, with delicate notes of small red berries evolving towards fruit in eau-de-vie. In the mouth, it’s all about the powerful, vinous structure provided by the Pinot Noir. Rich and balanced, it has a sustained fruity finish.

Perle de Nuit is made exclusively from the white juice of black grapes fro the north of Burgundy, mainly from vineyards in the Yonne, Couchois, Châtillonnais, and Côte d’Or areas. The Pinot Noir provides structure, while the Gamay packs the fruity punch. Gentle pneumatic pressing is carried out immediately after harvesting to conserve the maximum aromas. Ageing for 18 months allows Perle de Nuit to express all its power and elegance.

The Winery: Crémant de Bourgogne has been an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1975. It covers a particularly large territory that stretches from the north of Burgundy to the south, covering the Chablis region, the Châtillonnais, the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte Mâconnaise, and into the Beaujolais. Such diversity means that a wide range of different base wines can be created that reflect their terroir. This allows for the creation of subtle blends to achieve the perfect balance for each cuvée and to bring out the qualities of each varietal: Pinot Noir for fruit, structure and vinosity; Chardonnay for freshness and elegance; Gamay for tastiness; and Aligoté for vivacity. In fact it was in Rully, back in 1826 that the Petiot brothers made the first sparkling wines called ‘Fleur de Champagne’. It was a lightening success and other producers soon followed. Louis Bouillot has been producing the bubbly since 1877 in Nuits-St-Georges.

Read more at: http://www.louis-bouillot.com/en/

 Albrecht Tradition – Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Crémant d’Alsace

The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Lucien Albrecht, Jean’s father, pioneered Crémant production in 1971 and helped gain an Appellation Contrôlêe for the wine and for Alsace. The wines vinified by the classic Champagne Method from 100% free run juice, are the best sparkling wines in France outside of Champagne itself. Recently Maison Lucien Albrecht was awarded four gold medals at a comprehensive National I.N.A.O. tasting of all sparkling wines in France, giving the firm more gold medals than any other Crémant producer in France. This Blanc de Blancs is made from 100% Pinot Blanc. The Blanc de Blancs is distinguished by a fine and elegant bead, a beautiful straw color; a light, delicate palate. It is delicious at any time of the day and with many foods.

This is a nice, soft and clean sparkling wine.  Up front it has a slightly floral aroma, along with apple, fig and a touch of citrus.  On the palate it’s creamy-smooth and delicious.  It has a nice crisp apple flavor and a perfect level of acidity. Bubble-wise, it’s medium fizzy.  The finish is a little on the short side, but that just means you won’t want to wait to take another sip of this superb sparkler.

The Winery:  The Maison Lucien Albrecht’s origins can be traced back to 1698, when Balthazar Albrecht settles in Orschwihr, to the south of Colmar (Haut-Rhin – Alsace), a small Alsatian village in an ideal location for growing vines. Eight generations continue to work the soils of this unique terroir with the same tenacity and passion, creating the reputation and authentic character of Alsace wines which are enjoyed and renowned worldwide. The Lucien Albrecht vineyards are mainly situated in Orschwihr, a wine-growing village in southern Alsace. From 728, Orschwihr is known under the name of Otalesvilare.

The exceptional sunshine on this hill favours the growth of rare flora and the proliferation of exclusive fauna, which give this wine-growing terroir an almost Mediterranean-type climate that is very hot and thus supports rare, unique and very precocious wildlife. The presence of numerous rare and medicinal plants has attracted herbalists and healers from time immemorial. It should be noted that the hill is now a protected area.  The soils of this very dry and calcareous type of terroir, which are also occasionally clayey and heavy, play a major role in defining the authentic character of Lucien Albrecht wines.

Read more at: https://www.lucien-albrecht.com/

 La Marca Prosecco – D.O.C. Italy

The Wine: Winemaker Notes: This sparkling wine is a pale, golden straw in color. Bubbles are full textured and persistent. On the nose the wine brings fresh citrus with hints of honey and white flowers. The flavor is fresh and clean, with ripe citrus, lemon, green apple, and touches of grapefruit, minerality, and some toast. The finish is light, refreshing, and crisp.

Prosecco is made of Glera grapes, formerly known also as prosecco. Glera, a white grape that has been grown in the Veneto and Friuli regions for hundreds of years. It’s a grape with high acidity, which makes it perfect for bubbly. Other grape varieties may be include in a prosecco, up to a maximum of 15% of the total, such as Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir. Prosecco can be lightly sparkling (frizzante) or fully sparkling (spumante) and can also vary based on the amount of residual sugar in the wine. While prosecco is not a sweet wine it can be categorized depending on the amount of residual sugar left and, therefore, the degree of dryness. From driest to sweetest we will find Brut, Extra Dry, Dry and Demi-Sec.

Prosecco, the wine is made using what is known as the Charmat or Martinotti method. Looking for a faster and less expensive way to create quality sparkling wine, Frenchman Eugene Charmat and, separately, Federico Martinotti in Italy, discovered what is now known as the Charmat-Martinotti method. In this method, the wine is transferred from its first fermentation vat to a large sealed pressurized tank where it undergoes secondary fermentation to create the carbonation. Then the carbonated wine is bottled and shipped to market.

The La Marca comes from Italy’s lush village of Prosecco, near Trieste, where the grape and wine originated. Prosecco Denomination of Origin is produced in nine provinces spanning the Veneto and Friuli, Venezia and Guilia areas.

The Winery: La Marca came into being in 1968 from the intuition of a noteworthy group of winegrowers who felt the need to introduce the quality of their local wines to the world. They came together to pool their energies and experience to protect and represent their wines with greater strength.

It was of the utmost importance to create a technical and commercial organization able to support the winegrowers in growing grapes and serve as a commercial platform to promote awareness of the area’s quality wines. The company continued to grow year after year working with high levels of professionalism on the quality, the image and typical characteristics of the territory.

La Marca is today a wine producing company representing the products of 9 cooperative wineries in the Province of Treviso with over 5000 winegrowers on vineyards extending over approximately 10.000 hectares. The majority of these lands is cultivated with Glera, named after the historic variety from which Prosecco is obtained.

The company is named for its place of origin, La Marca Trevigiana (March of Treviso), located in the heart of the Province of Treviso, between the plains and hills of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Doc and DOCG areas (Controlled Designation of Origin and Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin), where its grapes are grown.

Know-how handed down through the years, experience and winegrowing professionalism, sectorial expertise and dynamic commercial strategies are the keystones that make it one of the most representative and visible companies in the Prosecco world. In 2009 the Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene region was promoted to DOCG status and the Italian authorities decided that Prosecco should only be used as a geographical indication. Prosecco may only be produced in the Prosecco DOC region and two Prosecco DOCG areas (Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Asolo). Anything else made from the same variety must be referred to as Glera.

Read more at:

https://www.lamarca.it/PROSECCOWINE/winegrowers/proseccoWineGrowers.aspx

 

Juvé y Camps Cinta Púrpura – Reserva, Brut – Cava – Penedés -Catalonia

The Wine: Winemaker Notes:  Golden yellow in color with ripe fruit aromas over a light floral background with hints of toasted bread. The crisp acidity of this wine is complemented by a gentle creaminess that leads into a long and satisfying finish. This is an extremely agreeable wine with a vibrant and attractive effervescence. Pairs well with savory appetizers, grilled seafood or fresh fruit desserts.

This wine is made of three traditional varieties, Xarello, Macabeu and Parellada grapes (33% each). The combination brings a brightly coloured product with greenish hues.  On the palate is bright, lively and pleasant. It has a 12% graduation, with an average of 24 months ageing in bottle. The traditional method of elaboration for cava is the same one as used for champagne, the so called “methode champenoise” but adapted to the local varieties.

The Winery: Espiells is the largest of the estates, with 200 hectares of vineyards in what is recognised as the best winemaking zone in the Alt Penedès, on the slopes of Montserrat, a mountain that emerged from the sea millions of years ago and presides over the country, protecting it from the cold north winds. Old vines, full of history -Espiells is the name of a small Romanesque chapel dating back to the 9th century- planted in well-drained clay and limestone soil at an altitude of between 180 and 245 metres. Perfect land for growing the traditional macabeu and xarel·lo varieties, and to which the chardonnay and pinot noir have adapted perfectly.

Mediona is located on the steep mountainside at 500 to 750 metres above sea level that gives a continental touch to the Mediterranean climate. There is a big difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures, which is essential for quality winemaking. The different vineyards are called Can Massana, Alzinetes, El Prat, Mas Pagès and Can Soler, where the vines, some very old, planted in rocky soil, yield the local parellada variety of grapes with notable refinement and balance. An ecosystem that is also good for growing Bordeaux reds, such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

La Cuscona  is a small, strong vineyard with 17 hectares of flat land to the south of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. Its deep limestone soil enriches the estates as a whole with their diverse microclimates. Artisan growing and limited production to produce Macabeu grapes of extraordinary quality, great aromatic richness, nuanced and balanced in structure. The grapes from this estate are essential for making top-quality cava.

The wine is produced with grapes hand harvested and organic certified from these three vineyards.

Read more at: http://www.juveycamps.com/

 

4.  CV Members Rating

Best Rated Wine:  Albrecht Tradition – Blanc de Blancs, Brut – Crémant d’Alsace

Best Buy: Juvé y Camps Cinta Púrpura – Reserva, Brut – Cava – Penedés -Catalonia

View full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting Scores 194

5. Technical Notes 

For additional information prepared by the presenters, click here: Notes Club del Vino-December 2017

SPARKLING WINES

Compiled by Alfonso Sanchez

Sparkling wines have always been a symbol of luxury, celebration and romance. From the explosive sound of its opening, to its golden color and festive bubbles everything seems to brighten the occasion. Napoleon, however, said: “In victory I deserve it in defeat, I need it”, thus also awarding him his ability to lift his spirits.

A French monk, Dom Perignon made in 1690 the first important discovery trying to eliminate the bubbles that were produced in the natural fermentation of the wines. Convinced that the grapes of the same variety with uneven maturation produced the foam, he decided to try mixtures of different grapes harvested on different days to select only the mature grains. Because of these experiments, a very pleasant sparkling wine was produced at some point in the process. From then on Champagne was developed. “I’m drinking the stars” exclaimed Dom Perignon, who is said to be an excellent taster. To this day the Moet & Chandon house still follows its production system called cuvee (the style of the house) used by Dom Perignon.

The French mainly use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes to make the most famous sparkling wine, Champagne, but in other countries rosé, white and even red wines are produced based on other varieties. For example, the Cava de España based on Macabeo and Xarel-lo, the Prosecco or the Lambrusco produced with the grapes of the same names in Italy, the Muscat (Asti), the French Crémmant (produced outside of Champagne), which use other varieties like Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc and in Australia they produce sparkling wines based on Shiraz.

In 1801 Mme. Clicquot invented the system to remove the Champagne sediment by placing the bottles in shelves upside down (riddling) and their elimination (degorgement) by freezing the neck of the bottles afterwards submerging it in very cold water and uncovering each bottle so that by pressure internal expelled the ice cap with the sediment. Adolphe Jacqueson invented the muzzle (musselet) in 1844 to avoid the spontaneous expulsion of the cork during fermentation, storage or transport. The bottles of sparkling wines can reach an internal pressure of up to almost 7 atmospheres and therefore are thick and heavy. Now they are trying to lose weight to lower packaging costs and transportation.

The grapes for the sparkling wine are harvested by hand for uniformity and before the others for normal wine to achieve a low sugar content (afterwards it is reinforced during fermentation) and pressed immediately to avoid oxidation and coloring.

The champagnoise or classic method of production is based on the fermentation in the bottle. First the juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks (concrete or barrels sometimes) for about three weeks as for a white wine. Afterwards, reserved wines from the house are added to maintain the cuvee (style), sugar (to promote CO2) and yeasts. It is bottled and left around two years in secondary fermentation with the bottles placed upside down. The bottles must be turned over periodically (riddling – manual or mechanized) every 8 to 10 weeks. When ready, the bottles are “disgorged”, the content is completed with reserved wines, covered and packaged for distribution. The other method is bulk or transfer mediate which the whole process of fermentation is done in steel tanks and is packaged at the end adding CO2 if necessary. This method ensures more consistency but less integration and quality.

The tasting of sparkling wines requires appreciating, in addition to the characteristics of any other wine, the bubbles, their size, persistence and integration with wine. Small and durable bubbles in the glass are a sign of good integration and that the sparkling does not become “flat” when served or moments later. Some recommend serving it as a beer, with the glass tilted so that the wine slides down the wall of the glass and thus preserve the CO2 instead of serving it as a normal wine by cascading it from the top of the glass.

There are several types of sparkling wines from very dry to sweet as well, depending on the sugar content. – Brut Nature (less than 0.5%), Brut (.5-1.5%), Extra Dry (1.2% -2%), Sec (1.7-3.5%), Demi Sec (3.3-3.5%), Doux (more than 5%). In the USA, cheaper is sweeter. As white wines, you have to drink it young. There are “vintage” harvests (exceptional years) that are left in the cellar for several years but when it goes on the market you have to drink it soon.

Sparkling wines are known by many names such as: Vins Mousseux, Spumante, Prosecco, Sket, Cava and Sparkling.

 

 

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Tasting No. 193 – October 30, 2017 – Selection of the Top 100 of Wine Spectator

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

TOP 100

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Clarita Estrada, Jorge García-Grarcía

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jaime Estupiñán, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alberto Gómez, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez, Cristian Santelices, Germán Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. Tasting Overview  

The  main objective of this tasting is to assess a sample of wines taken from the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of various years. These are the wines:

  1. 2014 Alpha Estate Turtles Vineyard, Malagouzia Florina
  2. 2014 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole RossoToscana
  3. 2013 Zisola Nero d’Avola, Noto, Sicilia
  4. 2012 Abadía Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Selección Especial, Sardón de Duero

3. The Menu

  1. Seafood salad
  2. Sausage, olives and cheese
  3. Vegetables Risotto
  4. Grilled medallion with roasted potatoes
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2014 Alpha Estate Turtles Vineyard, Malagouzia, Florina

The Wine: Brilliantly, light yellow in color with greenish tints. Strong and lively nose, typical Malagouzia, suggesting rose petal with floral aromas and sweet spices, melon, litchi with a note of honeysuckle. Round and mellow on the palate, fat but balanced, high in alcohol with plenty of finesse. Well structured, reminding the nose aromas with a hint of rosemary. A richly textured wine with superb length and balance. A classy wine with long finish and persistent aromas. Excellently married with green salads, baked vegetables, pasta, low fat fishes and a wide variety of Greek sea food “Meze”.

Malagouzia is an aromatic white variety grown primarily in Central Greece and Greek Macedonia. The variety was rescued from near extinction in 1983 by the winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou, after he planted out his vineyard at Epanomi, on the Halkidiki peninsula, with the variety. Malagousia is best known for its citrus and peach characteristics, often showing various melon flavors on the palate. It is often used as a blending agent, most notably with Assyrtiko, to which it adds middle body weight.

The Winery: ALPHA ESTATE is located at the northwest part of Greece, in the Amyndeon, Florina region. Alpha Estate was founded in 1997 by the experienced viticulturist Makis Mavridis and chemist-oenologist Angelos Iatridis, who, after years of experience in various locations of Greece, chose the Amyndeon region to create his own wine.

(Wine Searcher) The climate in the region is one of the most continental in Greece, with temperate summers and cold, rainy winters. During the growing season, warm sunshine during the day is followed by colder nights that shut down the production of sugar in the grapes, lengthening the ripening period. As a result, acidity is preserved as the berries reach phenolic ripeness, and the Xinomavro from Amyndaio is often brighter and fresher than that from other parts of Greek Macedonia. This retention of acidity is important for the production of sparkling wine, and Amyntaio is one of only two sparkling-wine appellations in Greece (the other being Zitsa in Epirus).

Several lakes surround Amyntaio, offering some cooling influences, and the region is characterized by its sandy, alluvial soils deposited by the movement of water over time. Heavy rainfall during winter provides enough water in the ground to keep the vines hydrated throughout the dry summers, although the rapid drainage of these soils ensures this is not excessive. This lessens the vigor of the vines, leading to smaller, more-concentrated grapes.

Alpha Estate was named Winery of the Year 2013 by the Wine & Spirits magazine on September 17th 2013. Τhis prestigious award comes in a year where Wine & Spirits magazine celebrates its 10th anniversary of naming the world’s best wineries. As noted by Joshua Greene, publisher and editor, ‘’Alpha Estate’s range of exceptional wines makes it a great ambassador for Greece’’. Each year in April, Wine & Spirits publishes its Annual Restaurant Poll, where a large number of restaurant wine specialists, from sommeliers to wine buyers evaluate wines with the best performance per label, variety and country of origin.

Read more at: http://alpha-estate.com/homepage

 2014 Tenuta di Le Cupole Rosso, Toscana

The Wine: The second label of Tenuta di Trinoro, Le Cupole was first produced in 1995. It is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, with percentages varying with each vintage (2014: Blend 42% Cabernet Franc; 48% Merlot; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.) Fermented in stainless steel and aged in one to three year old barriques and cement, Le Cupole is velvety and approachable. This wine hits the palate with exuberance, full of fleshy, bright fruit, extracted tannins, and rich color.

WS: Alluring scents of ripe cherry, mulberry and fresh herbs complement concentrated flavors of cherry and sweet spice in this red. Offers a backbone of mouthcoating tannins and remains integrated as the finish lingers. Best from 2018 through 2027.

RP: The gorgeous 2014 Le Cupole defies the difficulties of the vintage thanks to extreme fruit selection (executed over numerous individual harvests). Andrea Franchetti is a perfectionist when it comes to fruit selection. This Bordeaux-inspired Tuscan blend opens to dark concentration and a full bouquet that is redolent of dark fruit, spice and tobacco. The aromas are delivered in seamless fashion and with noteworthy intensity. Those are the qualities that ultimately distinguish this wine among the many choices you have from Tuscany today. One thing Tenuta di Trinoro always delivers is distinct personality.

The Winery:  Tenuta di Trinoro is considered one of the most iconic wines produced in Italy today. The estate, planted on virgin soil following the vision of owner and winemaker Andrea Franchetti, is planted solely with Bordelais grapes, with a strong preponderance of Cabernet Franc. The isolated estate occupies an area of about 200 hectares, of which 22 are planted with vines. It is located in the Val d’Orcia, between 450 and 600 meters above sea level, where the eroded rock of the mountain gives way to the limestone and clay of an ancient sea floor. These Super Tuscan wines are unique in their area, expressing the particular conditions of this elevated, inland valley.

Tenuta di Trinoro is the flagship wine of its namesake winery, and only several hundred cases are produced each vintage, making it highly sought-after by collectors. The flagship blend varies based on the vintage, but it is predominantly Cabernet Franc and Merlot, along with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Trinoro also produces other distinctive red wines focused on single varieties including Palazzi, a selection of 100% Merlot; the Campi, three single vineyard wines of 100% Cabernet Franc; and Le Cupole, the second wine to Tenuta di Trinoro.

Read more at: http://www.vinifranchetti.com/tenuta-di-trinoro/

2013 Zisola Nero d’Avola, Noto, Sicilia

The Wine:  Winemaker Notes: Deep ruby red. Aromas of wild berries and hints of spice. Medium-bodied, intense flavors of blackberry and dark cherry, accented by notes of violet, pepper and exotic spices.

WS: A lovely, medium-bodied red, with a pure beam of ripe cherry and fresh acidity layered with supple tannins and accents of star anise, dried thyme, loamy earth and mocha. Drink now through 2023.  Ten thousand cases made.

Wine -Searcher: Nero d’Avola (also known as Calabrese) is the most important and widely planted red wine grape variety in Sicily. Vast volumes of Nero d’Avola are produced on the island every year, and have been for centuries. The dark-skinned grape is of great historical importance to Sicily and takes its present-day name from the town of Avola on the island’s southeast coast. The area was a hotbed of trade and population movement during the Middle Ages and Nero d’Avola was frequently used to add color and body to lesser wines in mainland Italy.

The Winery: Zisola is an Italian estate situated close to the city of Noto in southeast Sicily. It is one of three estates owned by the wine producer Mazzei and specializes in the production of some of Sicily’s most notable regional wines – Noto Rosso, Terre Siciliane IGT and Sicilia DOC. Of particular note is Zisola’s Doppiozeta, which is a Noto Rosso blend of native Nero d’Avola and Syrah. The estate was founded in 2003 and encompasses 21 hectares (52 acres) of vineyard planted mainly to Nero d’Avola, with smaller quantities of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Grillo and Catarratto. The soils are largely composed of limestone and provide the perfect grape-growing conditions in combination with the region’s Mediterranean climate.

Read more at: http://www.mazzei.it/en/The-estates/Zisola/The-estate/ were there is an interesting history of the Mazzei family as wine makres since the 14th century and the relation between Thomas Jefferson and Filippo Mazei that led to wine making in Virginia.

2012 Abadía Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Selección Especial, Sardón de Duero

The Wine: Winemaker Notes: (No. 12 Wine Spectator Top 100 2016)‘.  Mature nose with mineral aromas that give way to black fruit, such as blackberry and blackcurrant. Hints of licorice, red currant and cherries in liqueur on a backdrop of dark chocolate and subtle hints of a well-structured wood. Elegant in the mouth, well-balanced, voluptuous and silky, polished tannins with a well balanced acidity, long and lasting.

This is produced as a blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah from the 54 separate plots that they have identified in their 180 hectares of vineyards. This 2012 matured in French (60%) and American (40%) oak barrels for 14 months, a slightly shorter time than in previous vintages. The casks were one third new, one third second use and one third third use.

The Winery: Wine -Searcher:  Sardon de Duero is a wine-growing area in northern Spain, to the west of Ribera del Duero. It is part of the prestigious ‘Golden Mile’ (La Milla de Oro) of wineries located along the Duero river in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon. La Milla de Oro is said to have a special microclimate and is home to some of Spain’s most renowned wineries, including Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Pingus and Bodegas Mauro. The area has an ancient winemaking tradition, established by the Romans, but Sardon de Duero’s name has really only recently gained a reputation, despite not being an official appellation.

Sardon de Duero is home to the award-winning Abadia Retuerta winery, one of Spain’s most high-tech producers. The company has been critical in raising the profile of the area and have encouraged other growers to establish themselves here. Abadia Retuerta is located in the grounds of a 12th-century monastery, Santa Maria de Atuerta, 20 miles (32km) southeast of the historic city of Valladolid. Its highly regarded red wines are classified as Vino de la Tierra.

The estate has over 200 hectares (500 acres) under vine with the majority planted to Tempranillo. A total of 54 different plots are each planted with individual varieties. Vineyards are spread across the property from the banks of the Duero River to hillside slopes at elevations of 2700ft (825m) above sea level. The climate is strongly continental with high diurnal and seasonal temperature ranges. The soil composition also varies from plot to plot from gravel, alluvium, limestone, sand and clay.

Although red wines make up the bulk of the portfolio, a white blend is made from a mistaken planting of Sauvignon Blanc. Experimenting with the fruit was a success and 2011 became the first commercial vintage. Verdejo has been added along with small amounts of Gewürztraminer, Godello and Riesling.

The Duero Valley is house for some of Spain top wines. In this region, winters are cold and summers baking hot, there are sharp temperature differences between day and night; sunshine is plentiful and rain is scarce, creating the ideal conditions for grape growing.

The river basin where the Retuerta vines grow is the product of thousands of years of erosion, alluvium, sedimentations and changes in soil composition. This has created a very diverse terroir in this unique wine region, where the texture, the proportion of minerals and water absorbed or retained by each plot in the estate varies.

The philosophy is based on winemaking by plot. The composition of the soil of each of our 54 plots is different: clay by the riverbank, pebbles and sand on the slopes, gravel in the lower parts of the estate, and limestone on the higher ground. Therefore, each terroir contains only one grape variety, which is carefully selected to extract the best the land has to offer to make Spain top wines.

Read more at: https://www.abadia-retuerta.com/en/abadia-retuerta/

 4.  CV Members Rating

  • 2014 Alpha Estate Turtles Vineyard, Malagouzia Florina – CV Rating: Excellent –  Experts Rating: 90 Pts. – Price: $22
  • 2014 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Rosso, Toscana – CV Rating:  Very Good –  Experts Rating: 93 Pts. – Price: $35
  • 2013 Zisola Nero d’Avola, Noto, Sicilia  – CV Rating: Very Good–  Experts Rating: 90 Pts. – Price: $35
  • 2012 Abadía Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Selección Especial Sardón de Duero  – CV Rating:  Excellent–  Experts Rating: 93 Pts. – Price: $35

View full evaluation here: WE.TASTING SUMMARY 193

Best Rated Wine: 2012 Abadía Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Selección Especial Sardón de Duero

Best Buy: 2012 Abadía Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Selección Especial Sardón de Duero

 

5. Technical Notes 

How the Top 100 are selected, Video: http://top100.winespectator.com/video/how-wine-spectator-picks-the-top-100/

To read about the WS approach to wine testing and their methodology see: http://www.winespectator.com/display/show/id/tasting-format 

 

 

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Tasting No. 192 – September 25, 2017 – Middle East New Wines

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Qsarnaba Grapes – Bekaa Valley – Lebanon Source: Wikimedia Commons

 1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro

Participants: Marcello Averbug, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clarita Estrada, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alberto Gómez, Jaime Jaramillo, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Jairo Sánchez, Ricardo Santiago, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke, Cristian Santelices

Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview  

The  main objective of this tasting is to explore wines from Lebanon, Israel made of french traditional varieties and a wine made of a blend of Turkish of two native varieties. These are the wines:

  1. 2013 – Yarden Katzrin, Chardonnay – Golan Heights Winery, Israel
  2. 2012 – Gush Etzion, Lone Oak Cabernet Sauvignon  Reserve, Judea Hills, Israel
  3. 2011 Domain des Tourelles, Marquis de Reys Red, Pierre L. Brun, Lebanon
  4. 2012 Buyulubag Okuzgozu & Bogaskere, Turkey 

3. The Menu

  1. Seafood sautéed with white wine sauce
  2. Mushroom soup
  3. Eggplant served with light tomato sauce
  4. Braised lamb leg with red wine sauce, served with roasted potatoes and broccoli
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

2013 – Yarden Katzrin, Chardonnay – Golan Heights Winery, Israel

The Wine: The Yarden Chardonnay is the flagship wine of the Golan Heights Winery, whose philosophy lies in the details and perfection. The wine aged in French oak barrels, of which some 50% were new, for seven months. Critics have scored this as one of the top five Galilee wines: Wine Spectator gave the 2014 vintage a score of 91. This is one of the most popular wines from the region.

The Winery: The Galilee is the most northern, and generally considered the best, appellation in Israel. The highest quality area within the appellation is the Golan Heights, the coldest region in Israel. The vineyards on this volcanic plateau rise from 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level to 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) and receive snowfall in the winter.One place in Israel enjoys ideal conditions, as in Bordeaux or Tuscany, for producing internationally renowned wines: the Golan Heights. In this breathtaking strip of land, everything begins with the right conditions – volcanic basaltic soil, suitable topography and cool high-altitude climate. This unique combination is what gives the Golan Heights its second name – “wine country.” Over the years, this area has become well known for producing outstanding Chardonnay. Golan Heights Winery, founded in 1983, is located in the town of Katzrin.

From the day it was founded, Golan Heights Winery, in both philosophy and actions, has focused on in-depth study and research of the terroir of its region and vineyards. The Winery is continuously analyzing the impact of our local terroir on the way various varieties grow and realize their latent potential. This is done in a continuous, multifaceted and dynamic learning process requiring significant investment, including the development of unique technological methods, while leveraging our experience and creativity.

The 28 vineyards, which cover over 600 hectares (1,500 acres) are divided into some 430 blocks (as of the 2016 harvest). The fruit of each block is cared for individually as the grapes are grown, harvested and brought to the winery. The grapes from each block is stored and handled separately throughout the winemaking process until the wine’s character and final blend are determined.

Read more at: http://www.golanwines.co.il/english

2012 – Gush Etzion, Lone Oak Cabernet Sauvignon  Reserve, Judea Hills, Israel

The Wine: This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon captures the essence of grapes grown at the latitude of 900 meters in the unique, cool climate of the Gush Etzion region. For 19 months, the wine matures in oak barrels until attaining a flavor that is complex and elegant, with fragrances of cassis and berries. Deep, dark red, toward black. Intense aroma, dominated by ripe carob and pecan. Full-bodied with firm tannins and a long finish with subtle fruit. Alcohol contents: 14.5%.

The Winery:  Located in Katzrin, built on the site of an agricultural village from the Mishnaic period in the Golan Heights. It is Israel’s third largest winery. In 2012, was named New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, it incorporates sophisticated technology using pneumatic membrane presses, must chiller and computer-controlled cooling of stainless steel tanks. The winery also has an elaborate “experimental winery” for research and quality control of new wines and improvement of existing lines. Techniques include maturation in French and American oak barrels for premium red and white wines.

The Golan Heights Winery is credited with starting the “quality revolution” in Israeli wine, creating a brand identity for the country’s vintages, spurring the creation of new wineries and motivating existing wineries to improve the quality of their wines. In partnership with Entav of France, the winery is developing disease-resistant clones and the world’s first insect-free “mother block” and nursery.

The winery has won worldwide acclaim and awards at the most prestigious festivals, including wine shows in France. Golan Heights Winery was named Best Foreign Winery at the Prague Trophy 2008 international wine competition. At a ceremony on January 16, 2009, received the award after winning seven medals at the competition. In 2011, won the Gran Vinitaly Special Award as the best wine producer at the 19th International Vinitaly Competition in Italy. The winery earned two Gold Medals for its 2009 Yarden Chardonnay Organic Vineyard and its 2008 Yarden Heights Wine. Its 2004 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine from Israel to be listed on the Wine Spectator Top 100.

Read more at: http://www.gushetzion-winery.co.il/home-page

 2011 Domain des Tourelles Marquis de Reys, Red Wine, Pierre L. Brun, Lebanon

The Wine:  This wine is a blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  The best parcels are selected yearly to create this premium wine which stands as an illustrious ambassador of what Lebanon has to offer; with its dark purple color and cedar aromas, this is a powerful wine that will reward the patience of those who cellar it for 5 to 8 years and even more. Decant it and enjoy it with braised lamb, Moroccan Merguez tagines or even a vegetarian lentil and smoky eggplant stew.

The Winery: “When Frenchman François-Eugène Brun laid the foundation stone of Domaine des Tourelles in Chtaura back in 1868, he couldn’t have known that he had just begun to write the story of a marvelous Lebanese wine. Honoring this great heritage of artisan know-how and quality, Domaine des Tourelles produces today the best of wine, arak (its famous label “Arak Brun”) and liqueur. The prestigious Property is classified among the finest boutique wineries of the Middle-East, described in the Financial Times as “the most seductive winery” in Lebanon. Domaine des Tourelles’ bottles have ever then conquered admirers all around the world with more than 10 countries proposing its labels. Discovering Domaine des Tourelles is a must to enter the charming world of Lebanese wines.

Built in 1868 with stone walls and wood ceilings following the traditional Lebanese architecture, the winery knew several expansions throughout the years. In the 20th century, red roof tiles were added and the edifice took its final form that remains till today. The winery was built following an intelligent ancestral design that takes advantage of the best outdoors’ factors (keeping an ideal ambient temperature all year long).

These are some of the highest altitude vineyards in the Northern Hemisphere at 3,280 feet above sea level. Benefiting from 240 days of reliable sunshine and the dry climate in the Bekaa where most fungal diseases are not a real threat, all grapes are grown organically.

Our philosophy in the winery follows the same low interventionist approach we practice in the vineyards. Only indigenous yeasts are responsible for the fermentation, the white and rosé wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks while the red wines ferment and rest in the beautiful concrete tanks that line the walls of this historic winery.”

Read more at: http://www.domainedestourelles.com/

 2012 Buyulubag Okuzgozu & Bogaskere, Turkey

The Wine: Powerful aromatic bouquet dominated by aniseed, grinded fresh whole black peppercorn and prune. Long finish with exotic spices. Strong texture. The wine is blend of equal parts of two turkish native varieties, Öküzgözü and Bogaskere.

Öküzgözü grape is one of the two native grape varieties of Elazığ province (the other one is Boğazkere), located on the Anatolian plateau at the north of the Taurus Mountains. The various sources of the Euphrates River in this region soften the normally harsh climate of Eastern Turkey.  Öküzgözü has rounded, dark colored grapes, which are the largest among the grape varieties grown in Turkey. The Turkish word öküzgözü literally means “ox eye”. On the palate, it is medium bodied, producing round, fruity wines, with some tannins and rather lively acidity. Alcohol level is usually between 12.5% and 13.5 %. Öküzgözü is high in acidity, medium to low in alcohol content and its medium body offers a delicate bouquet. It has fruit and floral flavours, makes a soft and easy to drink wines. Due to its acidity, it can age well. Wines from the Öküzgözü grape have a light red colour like Pinot Noir.

Boğazkere is a grape variety and a Turkish wine originated from Diyarbakır Province near the Tigris river in the southeastern region of Turkey. It is a dark red rich grape and the wine is well structured with dried fruit and fig flavors. It also gives its name to a wine produced from the grape by the certified Boğazkere vineyards in Diyarbakır.  The characteristics of this wine are strong body, very enjoyable long finish, dark red color with dark blue hue, and rich and strong aromas of dried red fruits and spices. It is good for aging up to 10 years. It is recommended with red meat kebabs, turkey, salmon and cheese, especially eastern Anatolian cheddar or Gruyere cheese.

The Winery: The Büyülübağ winery is on the Avşa Island, Marmara Sea in Turkey. The island with a history of viticulture and wine making since 1800’s, has a unique microclimate and sandy-loam soil. Buyulubag winery & vineyards has been founded by Mr. Alp Toruner at 2003 in Avsa Island / Turkey to produce top quality wines.  With its unique microclimate Avsa Island is located on inland Marmara Sea and has a history of winemaking since 1800s. Mr. Toruner knew that in order to produce top quality wines, the most gentle winemaking techniques should be used and also the grapes and the wine should be handled with utmost care.  Mr. Toruner made a long research for designing the winery together with the Architects Mr. Erdal Tasayul, Mr. Engin Yenal and the Oenologist Mr. Francois-Xaviyer Gaboriaud focusing on the product quality. As a result, at 2005, Turkey’s first and only Gravity Flow Winery construction is completed and the production has started. The winery is located in the middle of vineyards, and has wine producing capacity of 200.000 liters annually.

Read more at: http://www.buyulubag.com/eng/

 4.  CV Members Rating

Participants ratings:

  • 2013 – Yarden Katzrin, Chardonnay – Golan Heights Winery, Israel – Very Good ($43)
  • 2012 – Gush Etzion, Lone Oak Cabernet Sauvignon  Reserve, Judea Hills, Israel- Very Good ($50)
  • 2011 Domain des Tourelles, Marquis de Reys Red, Pierre L. Brun, Lebanon – Very Good ($20)
  • 2012 Buyulubag Okuzgozu & Bogaskere, Turkey – Good ($18)

View full evaluation here: EastMediterraneanwinesTASTING SUMMARY

Best Rated: 2011 Domain des Tourelles, Marquis de Reys Red, Pierre L. Brun, Lebanon

Best Buy: 2011 Domain des Tourelles, Marquis de Reys Red, Pierre L. Brun, Lebanon

 

5. Technical Notes 

The following note offers an overview of the wines of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey and was compiled from various sources by Jairo Sánchez, Jorge Claro, Macello Averbuga and Alfonso Sánchez.

 Technical Note Tasting 192.

 

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