Tasting No. 198 – April 30, 2018 – Zinfandel

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Zinfandel Grapes

 1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Mario Aguilar, Alfonso Sanchez

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Marcello Averbug, Emilio Bernal Labrada, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Jaime Jaramillo, Peter Lapera, Orlando Mason, Italo Mirkow, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Cristian Santelices, Ginger Smart, German Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview

Zinfandel wines are produced in various styles from light and medium-bodied to full-bodied, bold and fruit forward with grapes from very old vines that give low volumes and concentrated flavors. The character of the Zinfandels depends not only on the quality of the fruit  and age and care of the vines but very importantly on the elaboration techniques set by the winemaker. The objective of this tasting is to compare three styles of Zinfandel from California and assess their differences and similarities. There is also a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile that combines features from the new and old world relatives. These are the wines:

  1. 2016 Errazuriz Max Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc, Aconcagua Costa, Chile 
  2. 2014 Mount Peak Rattle Snake Zinfandel, Sonoma, California
  3. 2014 Carlisle Du Pratt Zinfandel, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino, California
  4. 2015 Black Chicken Zinfandel, Robert Biale, Napa, California

3. The Menu

  1. Asparagus and goat cheese salad
  2. Eggplant parmigiana
  3. Pasta with bolognese sauce
  4. Grilled lamb with roasted vegetables
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

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

2016 Errazuriz Max Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc, Aconcagua Costa, Chile

The Wine: Wine Enthusiast: Pungent stony citrus aromas include a distinct whiff of passion fruit. This feels tight, crisp and elegant on the palate, while slightly salty citrus flavors suggest grapefruit and sea brine. A briny finish retains snap and freshness.

The Winery: Don Maximiano Errazuriz founded Viña Errazuriz in 1870 in the Aconcagua Valley, north of Santiago. This valley has cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes–ideal for growing grapes. Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world-class vineyard. Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano’s descendant, Eduardo Chadwick–the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernization of the winemaking technology at this historic estate while maintaining a distinct identity for its wines, dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality.

Read more at: http://www.errazuriz.com/en/who-we-are/history/

 2014 Mount Peak Rattle Snake Zinfandel, Sonoma, California

The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Rattlesnake Zinfandel is tribute to the crest called Rattlesnake Hill, the highest point of the Monte Rosso Vineyard and a site famous rattlesnakes living among the vines. During the day, the snakes seek the abundant sunshine and in the evening, they coil inside and around the vines. This Zinfandel is filled with an alluring mouthwatering quality with robust flavors that includes ripe blueberries, blackberries, cherry jam and fig all tied together by a brambly undertone. Accents of white pepper, licorice and smoke weave through wine, deepening throughout the luscious finish.

Robert Parker: Take, for example, the 2014 Zinfandel Rattlesnake, a blend of 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah with 85% from the Monte Rosso Vineyard and the balance from other Gallo vineyards. It is aged in all French oak, of which 23% is new. A whopper at 16% natural alcohol, the wine has classic Zinfandel characteristics of Provençal spices, roasted herbs, pepper and oodles of briary black raspberry and black cherry fruit. It cuts a big swath across the palate with loads of glycerin and an unctuous, thick, juicy quality that is provocative. The wine is rich, ripe and ideal for drinking over the next 7-8 years. 5,000+ cases were produced.

The Winery:  Built in 1886, Mount Peak was a marvel of innovation. The three-story, gravity-flow winery was built from the rocks pulled from the dry-farmed Monte Rosso Vineyard. It quickly emerged as one of California’s top ten producers, but the start of Prohibition in 1920 forced the winery to shutter its doors. Like many of California’s pioneering wineries, Mount Peak was abandoned to the elements, a true ghost winery never to reopen. For decades the winery lays silent, as wild vines and towering fig trees seek to reclaim it stone by stone. Over 130 years later only the ruins of the winery remain, yet the vineyard’s still-thriving vines have persisted—standing silent above the fog line, occupying the space between earth and sky. The ghost winery and the world-class Monte Rosso Vineyard are perched at nearly 1,300 feet along the spine of the Mayacamas Mountains, just straddling Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Read more at: http://www.mountpeakwinery.com/home.php

 2014 Carlisle Du Pratt Zinfandel, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino, California

The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Medium-dark to dark garnet-ruby. A fascinating, complex nose of red cherry, cranberry, pine forest, and orange rind. On the palate, an explosion of red cherry liqueur, briar, and cracked black pepper. Classic DuPratt Finishes very clean and long with plenty of verve and snap. For a Zinfandel, this will have a long life. Drink anytime from 2019 through 2030.

Vinous: One of the most distinctive wines in this range, the 2014 Zinfandel DuPratt Vineyard, from a site in Mendocino Ridge, is wonderfully aromatic, nuanced and lifted. Bright red and bluish-hued fruits, violet, lavender and sage are some of the signatures in this beautifully delineated, vibrant, mid-weight Zinfandel. The gorgeous, restrained Zinfandel is showing very well today.

Wine Enthusisast: An amazing amalgam of berry flavors fills this full-bodied and intensely fruity wine. It gushes with blackberry, raspberry and strawberry in the aromas and on the palate, supported by good acidity and moderate tannins. It may be high in alcohol but it’s so jam-packed with red and black fruit that it tastes balanced and appetizing.

The Winery: Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County winery best known for its single-vineyard, old-vine Zinfandel, while also specializing in reds from the Rhône varieties. More recently the estate has added two vineyard-blend white wines, and a varietal Grüner Veltliner – the first made in Sonoma County. Many of the wines are produced in limited quantities and are initially only available via the twice-yearly mailing list – for which there is a waiting list.The company was founded in 1998, although owners Mike and Kendall Officer had been making “garagiste” wines for several years before that. Carlisle works with a select band of vineyard owners to source fruit, including multiple old-vine Zinfandel vineyards.

Read more at: http://www.carlislewinery.com/index.html

 2015 Black Chicken Zinfandel, Robert Biale, Napa, California

 

The Wine: Winemaker Notes Dark color, ripe aromatics and juicy acidity. The nose is full of vibrant black cherry, strawberries, crème fresh, dried flowers, brown and black spices and bread pudding. The entry is soft and weighty and gives way to supple round tannins.

Wine Spectator: Zesty and tightly focused, with cherry, licorice and cedar aromas opening to plum and pepper flavors, finishing with dusty tannins.

Wine Enthusiast:  This perennial favorite lives up to its word-of-mouth goodness, offering fistfuls of blueberry and huckleberry with a juicy length and throughput of acidity. Soft and strong, it’s supple, floral and memorable in its deliciousness.

The Winery: It all started in the 1940’s when 14 year-old Aldo Biale helped his mother to make ends meet by selling to insider Napans – along with eggs and produce -some of the family’s homemade Zinfandel. Over the old “party line” phone system, the code words “a Black Chicken” signified a jug of bootleg wine… and kept nosy neighbors and the authorities from finding out about Aldo’s underground Zinfandel operation!

(Taken from wine-searcher.comRobert Biale Vineyards is a Californian wine producer with vineyards located in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. The majority of the portfolio is dedicated to California’s iconic red wine grape variety, Zinfandel – the original grape variety planted by founder Pietro Biale in 1937.

Aldo Biale took on the management of these Zinfandel vines after his father’s death in 1942. Due to strict government regulations on the sale of alcohol at that time, Aldo was not able to legally sell his “homemade” wine. To get around this issue he sold his wine under the code name “Gallina Nera”, or Black Chicken, a name he adapted from Chianti’s symbolic Gallo Nero rooster. In this way, customers were able to ring up and order jugs of Gallina Nera, along with other produce from Aldo’s ranch, right under the noses of the authorities.

In 1991, Robert Biale carried on his family’s winemaking history with the establishment of Robert Biale Vineyards. To this day the estate still produces its flagship Black Chicken Zinfandel wine primarily from the Biale Winery vineyard in the heart of Oak Knoll District. Robert Biale Vineyards also sources Oak Knoll District-grown Zinfandel grapes from its Aldo’s and Black Chicken vineyards and works with established winegrowers and producers across Napa Valley and Sonoma County to supplement its own vineyard yields.

A small selection of varietal Petite Sirah and Sangiovese wines complement the estate’s extensive Zinfandel portfolio, along with red blends of grape varieties including Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Syrah grown on estate-partnered vineyards in California.

Read more at: http://biale.com/

4.  CV Members Rating

View full evaluation here: 198 summary of scores

Best Rated Wine: 2016 Errazuriz Max Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc, Aconcagua Costa, Chile 

Best Buy: 2016 Errazuriz Max Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc, Aconcagua Costa, Chile

 

5. Technical Notes 

The Zinfandel grape is the quintessential California grape where it has beautifully adapted.  Genetic studies identify it as a mutation of the Crijenak originally from Croatia.  Some say they are descended from the Primitivo Italian grape, but the evidence gives that the Zinfandel and the Primitivo are both mutations of the first although there is still some discussion.

Zinfandel is an extremely versatile grape that can produce from low quality sweet wines to outstanding quality wines.  For example, in the 1980s, white Zinfandel began to show up in California, and many believed that there was a white grape variety, but it was not.  This wine was produced by minimizing the contact of the juice with the skin of the grape resulting a light rosé wine.  The high-quality reds of the Zinfandel are produced with the best techniques and result in intense flavors of red and black fruits, spices and large body.  Wines made of the Zinfandel grape can range in style from those like Beaujolais to strong high alcohol wines reminiscent of Oporto passing through styles similar to Cabernet that age well.  The versatility of the grape therefore gives the winemaker much flexibility in its handling and therefore the quality depends on his/her expertise and tastes.

The grape is resistant, high production and vigorous and likes warm climates, so it reaches high levels of sugar and therefore alcohol.  Its management in the vineyard is difficult because the bunches are very tight and can get sick with fungi.  In addition, the grapes tend to ripen unevenly in the same cluster.  This trend can be aggravated by poor water management.  The harvest must be done frequently in several passes through the vineyard for quality wines adding to cost.

Because of its resilience, there are vineyards over 100 years old in various parts of the world.  Its cultivation has spread to South Africa, South America and Australia mainly.

The wines tend to lose their fruit from three or four years and spices and alcohol tends to become more pronounced.  It is therefore recommended to drink them between the three and five years of ageing in the bottle.  They are excellent for accompanying strong roasts and avocado like lamb stew.

 

 

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reflexion de la Semana

Felices Pascuas a todos!

 

.o0o.

Posted in Humor | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 

 

 

Posted in Meeting Abstract | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment