Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Wine Of The Week – Tenuta Belguardo 2005

August 31, 2011 10:26 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

TenutaIGT Maremma Toscana, Italy


92 Points, Wine Spectator
This is deep red in color, with rich, ripe fruit and smoky, toasty oak. Full-bodied, with supervelvety tannins and a long, rich finish. Balanced. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best after 2011. 2,080 cases made. (Oct 15th 2008).

91 Points — Wine Advocate
The Cabernet-based 2005 Belguardo is a supple, layered wine with terrific energy. Dark cherries, toasted oak, mint and crushed flowers emerge as this outstanding wine reveals its elegant personality. There is quite a bit of upside here, but the wine requires another year or two to absorb its oak. This is another great example of a successful 2005 from Maremma. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020. (June 2008)


Have a Spring Fling With Verdicchio

April 20, 2011 2:13 pm - Posted by Countess Rose Perry in Drink

Those who are familiar with Verdicchio may [incorrectly] believe that it’s bitter/grassy notes equate to it being a poor quality wine. In actuality, the crispness, acidity and herbal notes coursing through the vines of this grape is perfectly matched with sultry spring days and sensual summer nights.

The home of Verdicchio is in Central Italy, The Marches. It is the principal grape behind two DOC wines produced in the Italian provinces of Ancona and Macerata and is used for both still and sparkling wines. Verdicchio is also the primary grape in a very sweet wine called straw wine [it’s similar to ice wine].

Even the location it comes from is reminiscent of warm weather, creativity, seduction and delight. This region boasts more than 200 museums, picture galleries and nude art collections. Some of the greatest works of Italy and of the world are found right there amongst the vines and grapes of Verdicchio. In addition to being wonderful winemakers and artists, the Italian people of Central and Southern Italy are well known for their for their passion, sensuality and warm, welcoming, loving hearts. It only makes sense they would make a wine that pairs so well with the warmth of the sun on a love filled spring day and the warmth of a passion filled evening.

I favor Gioacchino Garfoli Macrina for my Verdicchio fix. In the glass it looks like a bright ray of sunshine with a tint of greenish hue. The aroma is intoxicating itself, with a blending of thyme, rosemary and lemon peel. The nose prepares you for the pleasantly bitter taste of grassy notes, pineapple, Meyer lemon and Persian lime. The body on this Verdicchio is much fuller than you would expect, with a long, lingering feel of mineral on your tongue. It’s refreshingly acidic and smoothly soothing in an almost oxymoronic way. Rather you are a Verdicchio virgin who likes Sauvignon Blanc or haven’t had Verdicchio from this producer, I implore you to have a spring fling with this one. Drink alone, with friends or with your lover-Verdicchio will leave you titillated and ready to sip yourself seductively into Spring.

Written by Countess Rose Perry

Certified Sommelier, WSET, CM



March 29, 2011 9:45 am - Posted by Countess Rose Perry in Drink

What comes to mind when you hear “Marsala”? I’d bet my 401k you thought of something you eat, not drink. Your mouth waters when you hear Marsala because you associate it with some delicious Italian recipe that includes this Sicilian nectar.  When I hear it however, I immediately think of my grandfather, sipping a unique wine while eating hazelnut gelato. Or, I think of the many dinner parties I hosted and attended years ago where we would sip it as an aperitif.

Out of the 3 types/styles of Marsala, Amber (Ambra), Gold (Oro), and Ruby (Rubino), some can be syrupy sweet, as you may be accustomed to. It also comes dry as a bone. I want to focus on the often-overlooked high quality Marsala, instead of the stuff you cook with. I’ll lay a foundation for you, but it’s up to you to have fun building upon it and discovering Marsala on your own. Think of this as my Twitter-like 140 (give or take) Marsala class.

Marsala comes from the region of Marsala on the western bank of Sicily and made from various grapes like the red, Nero d’ Avola and the green, Inzolia. In the late 1700s, Englishman John Woodhouse came to Marsala, becoming enamored with regional wine. He shipped some back home and… here’s where the history gets a little fuzzy. Depending on who you talk to – Sicilians, Brits, Romans – they all have a slightly different spin. Since I’m part Sicilian, I’m biased toward the Sicilian version. That’s the one you’re going to get. read more


Wine Of The Week – Agostina Pieri Brunello di Montalcino 2005 DOCG

February 15, 2011 10:48 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

Montalcino 2005Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

Region: Tuscany, ITALY

Varietal: 100% Sangiovese

92 points, Wine Advocate

“The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a warm, radiant wine endowed with gorgeous fruit. Red cherries, flowers and minerals come together in this beautifully articulated, soft Brunello. The richness and density of the fruit carry through to a long, caressing finish. In keeping with the nature of the vintage, this is a relatively small scaled, feminine Brunello from Pieri but its graceful balance makes it a wine readers will not want to miss. I tasted the 2002 – from a much weaker vintage – next to the 2005 and it was still very much vibrant and alive. The estate gave the 2005 Brunello four weeks of maceration on the skins. The wine spent a year in equal parts 225-liter barrique and 600-liter demi-muid followed by a second year in 30 and 40-hectoliter casks. Consulting oenologist Fabrizio Moltard describes 2005 as a year with mostly stable temperatures. Expectations were running high until September, when rain became an issue. The fruit was harvested during the first week of October. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.”

Wine Advocate 188, April 2010


The Three Sisters of Barbera

November 26, 2010 5:43 pm - Posted by otta in Learn

Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety which is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy in around the thirteenth century. The wine is deep in color with low tannins and high levels of acidity, which is very unusual for a warm climate red grape. There are many old-vine vineyards with century old vines that produce a wine with enhanced tannin content, robust body and an intense dark cherry and berry fruit. These wines are made for aging.

The oldest is Barbera del Monferrato. Due to its harsh acidic content and rusticity, this wine is mainly used for blends with other local varieties. Rules allow dor up to 15% of Dolcetto, Freisa and Grignolino to be added to a wine labeled Monferrato DOC. Interestingly this wine can be slightly sparkling.

The Best known appellation of the sisters is the Barbera d’Asti DOCG. When young, the wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red and blackberries. In the lightest versions it exhibits notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries and with notes of blackberry and black cherries offered in the wines made of more ripe grapes.

Barbera d’Alba is the most under estimated of the three. Personally  it is my favorite, but don’t we always cheer for the loosing team? Stylistically this is a richer and more fruit forward wine than it’s Asti sister. The concentration reminds me of veal jus, with dark cherry and black fruit characteristics, finished with a touch of herb and spice. The notes that will remind you of freshly shaved truffles found in the same Alba region.

Barberas are known for their incredible value, amazing ability to pair with a range of foods and their easy to drink style. I recommend that wine lovers who haven’t tried Barbera visit a local wine store and pick up a bottle to see just how flexible and diverse these wines are. Start with a simple tomato salad with little bit of fresh mozarella di buffala and sprig of basil, continue with veal cannelloni in a light tomato sauce or a fillet of Branzino in a light caper and olives tomato sauce, and finish up with an aged piece of Grana Padano cheese with some honey and dried fruit.  You’ll find these great, diverse wines, will take you through the entire meal.

Blog by: Otta Zapotocky, General Manager  and Sommelier at Wildfire Steakhouse and Wine Bar