lunedì 29 dicembre 2014

Arcari e Danesi + Azienda agricola Solouva: two interesting projects

I got impressed and fascinated by these two realities, that's why I would like to speak about them in the same post.
Let's start with the first one.
Arcari e Danesi is basically the assembly of three friends, a terroir and a project driven by passion: Giovanni Arcari, Nico Danesi and the producer Andrea Arici.
Giovanni Arcari and Nico Danesi were and are working in the wine field with different roles. Giovanni in the communication and as a wine blogger, a "wine talent scout" (as the notorious wine journalist Franco Ziliani defined him). Nico an oenologist  instead. Both vivid consultants in the field, helping in the promotion of some smaller wine companies in the Franciacorta area, in all the steps of the production chain.
TERRAUOMOCIELO is actually a project born in the Franciacorta area from the meeting of the three men during the 2002 grape harvesting of Andrea Arici producer.  TERRAUOMOCIELO is a project for the safeguard of the small agriculture in the wine world. It's a manifesto against the standardization and homogenisation. Successful I would say.
And ...  a part of advicing other producers, Giovanni & Nico challenged themselves with the realization of their wines. The dosage zero is what I have personally tried and I have found it extremely enjoyable. 100% Chardonnay, fermentation in steel, 30 months on the yeasts. White flowers and citrus notes. Sapid, vertical, crispy, direct. Ideal with raw fish.

Let's continue with Solouva.
It's a small reality which took part to the TERRAUOMOCIELO project, property of Andrea Rudelli. Only 1,5 ha and around 10.000 bottles produced per year. The name Solouva (Only Grape) derives from the production method: in no step of the process are added any sugars. @ONLY GRAPE. The grape is picked up fully riped and the wine is bottled when fermentation has not ended yet, so that there are still some sugars left. For the dosage the must previously frozen is used. Again 100% Chardonnay. Yellow fruits. Pleasant acidity notes on the finish.


domenica 14 dicembre 2014

#Sandro Sangiorgi: a unique experience!

I had the chance to attend some wines classes held by Sandro Sangiorgi, a guru in the field. Director of the Porthos magazine, sommelier, wine writer and expert, supporter of natural wines, the only ones who deserve to exist.
I entered the class and I had the feeling he was a little bit presumptuous. I changed my mind. Ok, he likes provocations, especially if directed to women (I guess he has a weakness for beautiful women ;-)). But he is definitely an open-minded character, he loves to listen to the "naive" opinions of people who do not know as much as him about wines and are not affected by external influences like whoever is in the field. And he genuinely loves PIZZA and often use it in his "wine-food" pairing quotes!
He started the lesson with the extract of a poetry, called  the "Cipolla"/ the "Onion". I guess the message is that the wine has different substratum and that you need to discover them one by one to understand its essence. But that is just my personal interpretation.
We tasted 7 different wines. I enjoyed the first part when we were served exactly the same wine, the same grape but coming from different parcels, the only difference from the fact that one started to be grown byodinamically in a second stage.
In Sandro classes you taste natural wines basically. Because for him the only wine is the natural one, with no exception. It has a strong identity, able to overstep the boundaries of its territory. And to be natural it's not enough the lack of use of sulphites (SO2). Long maceration is not a sign that a wine is natural either, nor the fact that it  tends to the orange color. It's a multitude of factors that need to be combined. In conventional wines "universality" fades.
A real natural wine producer cannot have a unique commercial objective but it needs firstly to be a custodian of its land. He has a big responsibility towards the community, because wine is a form of cultural and spiritual nourishment, before everything else. Nothing to deal with nutrition. Just "if and when" we speak about natural wines. And, I stress it again, natural doesn't mean only lack of sulphites. 
I loved when he defined the knowledge of wine as a journey inside ourselves. And it comes with experience. I totally agree. Day after day. We do not need to rush. We will learn by discovering places, meeting men and women who hoe the ground. Discover unsual beauties. Choose the wine because we love it and not to show it to friends.
If you seriously want to know something about wine because you have a passion, I recommend to read his book: "L'invenzione della Gioia"  ("The invention of joy").  No other title could be better spot-on!

To conclude my post I want to write about an episode who touched Sandro, which is one of the first arguments you find on the web when you Google his name. That's why I wanted to start my article with a different and more enthusiastic topic.

People in the field know actually Sandro also for a story behind the scene, who involved him and the Porthos edition, being arraigned both from Gambero Rosso Holding and Slow Food edition. Accused of defamation, Sandro & Porthos won the case in the 2nd stage of the legal process. Responsible from 1993 until 1999 of the tastings and reviews for the "Vini d'Italia" guide (at that time co-edition between the Gambero Rosso and Slow food), it happened that Sandro left his role suddenly.
During a session of the TV program Report focused on wines ("In Vino Veritas" special edition), Sangiorgi revealed the truth about his leaving, declaring the pression received from the two organizations in order to favour in his reviews some wineries who stongly invested in advertisment, to the detriment of others . Specifically he signaled the publication of a review he never made on a wine company he thought was not deserving it. This declaration provoked the Gambero Rosso and Slow Food edition reaction and the consequences I wrote abut before.
I let yourself express your own opinion.

I thank instead Sangiorgi for the beautiful classes and for the great wines I had the chance to taste. Cheers!



domenica 7 dicembre 2014

Fulvio Bressan: the rebel winemaker

I had no clue about the controversy on Fulvio Bressan before they presented me his wines during a tasting. Expelled from Slow Wine due to his racist comments in Facebook against Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s Minister for Integration.

Difficult fellow. Direct, overheated, polemic. After the FB episod, his wines got  boycotted. A case of #web-reputation? Did he drink too much maybe ? His philosophy is "to hate moralists. In front of you they make the purist and criticize you. But then, they stab you in the back and make the most revolting things in the world". For sure he applied this philosophy (to be direct and not moralist), he shouted his thoughts in front of everybody (in the web) and he got punished. I don't have a clear position on that. I totally disagree of such a direct and offensive way of shouting furiously and with racism ideology. On the other side, I fully disagree on the boycott positions taken in the wine world and business. Especially after he excused himself. Especially because it looked quite evident that he did it in a naive way driven by his hot temperament.
That he was a rebel personality was quite clear. That he got easily overheated too. So I see as an outsider too strong the positions taken against him and his wines. Like a sort of "moralist" attitude to take advantage of someone else mistakes, an excess of righteousness? Maybe.
Anyway, I tasted his wines before knowing all this story, so my judgement was 100% naive  & still is impartial

The Schioppettino or #ribolla nera was spicy and full of wild aromas, quite complex. Moss, wood, mulberry. I liked it.

His pinot noir is atypical. White pepper and vanilla. Ripe fruit. It reminds to his other wines I tasted, despite the non-autoctonous grape variety. I liked it too.
From a rare and noble grape  the Pignol 2001 has a great potential. Served after oxygenation. woodlands undergrowth as well as with aromatic herbs.  Honestly, I found it amazing.

sabato 6 dicembre 2014

A nonconformist winemaker: Jean-Pierre Robinot and his (bio)-dynamic

I have fallen in love with this wine during a tasting class with Sangiorgi, the natural wine "guru". I will speak about him.

Jean-Pierre is an alternative character,  passionate about wine since he was very young. In the 1980’s he opened L'Ange Vin, one of Paris’ first wine bars with only natural wine. After that, not satisfied enough,  he undertook the experience of the magazine “Le Rouge et Blanc”, created by himself,  a bible of information on natural wine growers in France.
The moment arrived when he realized that the real substantial way to understand natural wine was actually making it.  So, in 2001, he started with his own biodynamic (of course!) winery in his native village in the Loire. Still running the wine bar in Paris and travelling to and from the winery, he gave birth to his first “Cuvee TGV”, in memory of the high speed train he took between Paris and the Loire, until the moment he decided to move definitively to Chahaignes and focus his life on grape growing and winemaking.
Pineau d' Aunis, Chenin Blanc and Gamay are responsible for the "Domaine de L'Ange Vin", indicating those wines made from grapes grown on his own vineyards. "L'Opera des Vins" indicate wines which are instead made from the grapes he purchases from nearby vignerons, but that he selects personally and carefully. The #Pineau d' Aunis is not the Brother or the Sister of the Pinot, be careful :). The name Pineau comes from the French word pin and refers to the pine cone shape that clusters of grapes can resemble!
Robinot’s wines can take a long while to ferment, 2 to even 4 years (if not longer), enchanted by the changes that the wines experience during this time. His products are unquestionably without sulfur (VINS S.A.I.N.S in the lables indicate in fact "sans aucun intrant ni sulfites ajoutes"). This winemaking process may seem chaotic from the outside, but it is totally under his control and it makes fully sense. It is simply natural.
Even more, to make this wine producer unique (to my eyes at least), comes the fact that the labels on each wine are changed every year, sometimes based on his own paintings or photographs.

I have tried just one wine (as I said before during a tasting class), Les Vignes De L'Ange Vin Nocturne 2009 and I got fascinted, not only for its story. Vivid. Red fruit, balsamic notes, roses. A good potential for aging. "Un vin tout en finesse et en délicatesse qui se rapproche de la cuvée Camille sur ce grand millésime solaire qu'est 2009".



domenica 30 novembre 2014

"Le Guaite" farm and their Amarone!

This a very interesting company. Rural farm in the heart of the Valpolicella territory who started a family-run acitivity in 1997 with the production of extravergin olive oil of first quality. 
What's better in life than a toasted slice of fresh bread with some extravirgin olive oil on it? I would find it difficult to meet somebody who disagree with that.
The name of the founder is Stefano. In 2002, with the help of his wife and daughter, he started to produce wines from the local varieties of the territory: corvina, corvinone and rondinella. They work hard to guarantee natural products and great wine. From sunrise to sunset. With passione.
Here below some notes on the wine I tasted and enjoyed.
Amarone della Valpolicella 2005-2006: after 3 years resting in new french oak barriques, 6 months in steel and 4 years in bottle, a 16,5% in alcohol wine was born. It's definitely an intense product, both for the olfaction (dry fruits, cherries under alcohol, pepper, chestnuts) that for the palate. In the mouth it's silky and rounded, warm.
Recioto della Valpolicella 2006: it's a great dessert wine. After 6 months of withering it rests 3 years in new french oak barriques, 6  months in steel and 3 years in bottle. At the nose it's intense, sweet, delicate. I love it with seasoned cheeses.

Valpolicella Ripasso 2007: after 40 days of withering  in november comes vinification. It's then passed again on the marc of the Amarone. It's then ledt maturing in french oak barriques (already used once) for 30 months, 6 months in steel and 2 years in bottle. It's 100% fruity and balsamic. I loved it.

domenica 23 novembre 2014

Bartolo Mascarello: the last of the Mohicans!

I came through this wine during a spiritual tasting led by Sandro Sangiorgi.  I got impressed by it, because I liked it, very simple. I enjoyed it more than the other wines tasted during the evening. Sandro didn't spend too much words on it, I believe for one basic reason: Bartolo Mascarello IS the patriarch of Barolo, everybody should know him. He IS even if Bartolo passed away in 2005. The winery is now managed by the daughter Maria Teresa, the typical skinny woman who behind that minute figure conceals a very strong personality. 

Before 2005 I was still too young and not so involved in the wine world to ring the doorbell at number 15 of Via Roma in Barolo village and meet Bartolo. If he was still alive I would take my car, drive to the Langhe and knocked that door to fulfill "a must" in winelover agendas. To listen, watch and learn about their Barolos, Barberas and Dolcettos.
Bartolo has always been a traditionalist, convinced of his theory of winemaking, against all alternative ideologies on Barolos.
Long macerations and smoothing out in big oak botti, and not in barriques; preserving the Barolo tradition of assembling blends of the grapes from different vineyards in order to ensure a more harmonic wine. Why to preserve? Because in the late 1980's there has been a "revolution" against traditional Barolo in favor of a darker, more dense bottlings derived from aging in new barriques, with the subsequent feelings of vanilla quite strongly invading the wine. Bartolo began a long battle to defend classically crafted Barolos.  "I don't make wines with fantasy names. I don't make crus, I don't make wine in barriques, my wines don't have perfume of vanilla and Limousin oak. I'm the last of the Mohicans".
After spending his entire life in the vineyards,  in his later years due to illness and obliged to stay in his office Bartolo became a sort of artist, designing his own wine labels. His most famous one is the "No Barrique No Berlusconi", nowadays a real collectors’ piece.
During the 2001 elections a bottle was confiscated from a wine shop, for “displaying political propaganda in a not authorized place”.
By the way, if you look on the Internet be aware that they do not have a website and they do not promote themselves. They don't need it! They are simply perfect.

lunedì 17 novembre 2014

Emidio Pepe: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo tasting

I have spoken about Emidio in my previous post, where I have described his wonderful Trebbiano wines. To go into the winery history and curiosity I remind you to

2005 Vintage:

Deep colour even though it's not fully clear due to the natural filtration. At the beginning the sensation it transmits is very ferrous but you need to wait a ittle bit obvsiouly and let the wine breath.

Once it will open it will reveals itself: mineral notes, red fruits, black cherry and other fruits under alcohol. What it's sure is that you cannot take this wine nonchalantly. The taste is sober at the start and then rich, always richer as time passes.

The 2007 is less sober than the 2005 one. The  spectrum of perfumes is quite wide. Ripe fruits, like cheery, red fruits. Roses and violets, a charming bouquet. Yes, charming. It needs some oxygen, but then it's perfect, natural, generous. The taste is confirming the nose, with a "wilder" note, something from the soil is captured here. I also had some licorice glares. 100% approved. 100% recommended.   

2008 Vintage: Winy and fruity but also evident spicy, like black pepper, also at the first smell. It's an excellent product, natural, rustic, genuine, vivid. In my opinion is less intriguing than the other older vintages I tried.


domenica 16 novembre 2014

Emidio Pepe: with the Pepe wine you have “LIFE” inside

Everybody who is passionate about wine cannot disregard the Pepe winery. In Torano Nuovo, Abruzzo, mineral soils, with the perfect combination of light, wind and water, give birth to the excellence: the most iconic Italian grapes, Montepulciano for the red and Trebbiano for the whites, who generate some exceptional wines, within an implicit simplicity which is what make them special.

The Pepe family, or better, the Pepper family ;-), has been making wine in Abruzzo since the end of the last century. Since 1964 it is the Emidio Pepe (that all us passionate of wines know & MUST know) who took over the winery becoming an icon, a symbol, a genuine “guru” in the wine world.

From an organic method, the Pepe winery moved to the biodymanic principles, constantly aware simultaneously of the importance of nature. Despite a fully natural process, most of Pepe’s wines can age for many many years. Vintage tastings is what make happy wine enthusiasts. You all know that!

White grapes are still pressed by hand while the red ones are de-stemmed by hand. No chemical products are used. No correction. Fermentation with indigenous and natural yeasts.

You wouldn’t be surprised to know that behind a great man, there is always a great woman. Rosa Pepe. Emidio Pepe has also three daughters and one of them, Sofia, is an enologist with her own winery. Women power in this circumstance: the future of the winery will be in their hands. They are very energetic and full of love for life, therefore I am confident that they will elegantly preserve the winery identity also in the future.

Emidio is a great person; he passed the 80s and he still looks in his 40s spirit. That’s the lesson you have to learn: drink good wine, in a moderate manner, can only bring you benefits and make you age in the most respectful way.

 In fact, if you read the back label of his bottles you will find two key messages. The first one is:
“with the Pepe wine you have “LIFE” inside”. The second one is: “the Pepe wine is produced in an artisanal way, in the respect of the nature, to preserve your and our health”.
Pepe’s battle has always been to look for the authenticity, to preserve the genuineness of the grape, in the respect of the terroir and of nature cycles.
It’s wines are extremely rustic and the same time elegant. They make you feel really good and healthy.
I have tried three Vintage of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo: 2007, 2008 and 2009. I shoot them!

 The 2007 has a plain yellow colour, brilliant, intense, vivid, full of light. You can feel yellow ripe fruits and flowers, hazelnut, something more wild at the finish. Very light spicy, white pepper. It’s amazingly balanced.

 The 2008 has a yellow colour, brilliant but not explosive. Ripe yellow fruits and flowers, hay, rustic flavor. Savory and mineral. Rustic.
The 2009 has a golden colour with some darker shades. Ripe apricot more than peach. Prunes, ripe yellow prunes. Balsamic background. Less bilance than 2007 and 2008. It will improve with aging, like women ;)

Zind-Humbrecht winery - Alsace - Byodinamic winery

Zind-Humbrecht is one of the most prestigious winery in Alsace. During our trip to Alsace one and a half year ago (time flies!), we were recommended this company while purchasing its wines in a wineshop in Colmar. Everything started because we asked the wine merchant some organic/biodynamic recommendation: I know it’s an obsession. There are people obsessed with naturalness of food. Other with naturalness of wine. I am a little bit of both!
At the end we purchased a series of bottles, being guaranteed that we had the same price as buying them at the winery cellar.

Despite of that, we decided to visit it but the problem was that, being August, everything was closed and we had to stay happy with what we had: just the bottles :). Treating them as pearls, taking away the dust every week, we finally decided to have a tasting sharing this jewel.

Just some notes about the company to keep them in my jotter. The Domaine Zind-Humbrecht was born in 1959 from the merger of two families. The “guru” of the winery, or better “the mind”, was Léonard, who is now operating with the son Olivier. Their principles is to not use the sugar in the must, to keep very low yeld per hectare and, since 2002, to adopt biodynamic viticulture to grow Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.

 The estate has 3 Grand Crus: the Hengst, dedicated fully to the Gewürztraminer; the Brand, where the Riesling better expresses itself; the Goldert: this area is suitable for tardive ripening, donating its grapes a good acidity on the other side – the protagonists are here Muscat and Gewürztraminer.

 The other vineyards, in few words, are:
Herrenweg: it’s the most expanded due to its favorable climate which allows the growing of all the different grapes. This is where most of the company production takes place.
Clos Hauserer: it’s a very small one and its terroir is quite similar to the Brand Grand Cru.
Clos Windsbuhl: they say it’s the best lot not classified as Grand Cru. It is a vineyard site with lots of seashells The grapes cultivated here generate Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer with excellent aromatic quality, always in balance with a good acidity.
Clos Jebsal: this small Vineyard is inclined for the development of the Botrytis cinerea and its tardive grape harvests originate the best Pinot Gris Sélection de grain nobles.
 Heimbourg: small area where, thanks to the climate, the Botrytis develops later.

The wines I have bought (and therefore tasted :-)): 

 @ Pinot Gris “Clos Windsbuhl” 2010 : very intense aromatic quality. No botrytis. Bold, richly fruity (pear, matured apple, melon), mineral.

@ Riesling “Clos Windsbuhl” 2010 : I liked the deep yellow colour. Rather than creamy notes here you find more citrus fruits, some white fruits as well. Again good acidity and minerality.

@ Gewürztraminer “Clos St Urbain” - Grand Cru Rangen 2010 : also here exotic fruits, richness in taste well balanced by a good minerality. I couldn’t feel particular smoky notes. It’s a rounded wine, a little bit fat. They say that 2010 was a bad year for Gewürztraminer in Alsace, but I didn’t notice particularly in this wine.

@ Pinot Gris “Herrenweg” 2010: I am a little bit repetitive J But again excellent aromatic quality. In this wine I could feel more toasty notes, almond, honey and a good acidity to balance the sugar and keeping it extremely pleasant.

 And after those, two wines from 2011 vintages:

@@ Riesling “Herrenweg” 2011 : it’s one of the most vivid in terms of freshness. Citrus, green apple, white fruits.

 @@ Gewürztraminer 2011: perfumed with pear and grape notes. Not my favourite.

venerdì 14 novembre 2014

The Beaujolais (Not Noveau)!

The Beaujolais is a wine region which belongs to Borgougne. Even though, it has nothing in common with it. The climate is different, the way of producing wines and also the grapes. The rest of Borgougne is identifiable with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while the Beaujolais is the home of Gamay. The biggest portion of production is focused on the red wines even if, in small quantities, also white wines are produced, from Chardonnay and Aligoté grapes. The wines from this area are classified in three categories of increasing quality: Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais-Cru. Differently from other regions of France, in the Beaujolais the word “cru” is not used to defined specific vineyards but it indicates one of the 10 villages reckoned as the best of the area. This 10 villages are: Broully, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Broully, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour. One element that these villages have in
common is the granite soil but the flavor and characteristics of the related wines vary significantly due to other factors. Just to give an example, wines from Morgon have a deep GRANATO colour and are quite structured with ripe fruits notes, spices and “mild” tannins. In Broully the colour tends to the ruby one, the structure is less “important” and the notes are more those of red fruits and plums.
I had a very special tastings about Beaujolais wines, an experience that have enriched me a lot. A recommendation. When you are going to make a similar tasting, always start with the non-crus and proceed with the crus. And, obviously, the white wines first.
Beaujolais Blanc, Clos de Rochebonne 2013
Chateau Thivin, Claude Geoffray
Some curiosity: grapes, 100% Chardonnay, are grown in the most natural way; the fermentation occurs in barrels where have rested before 1 to 10 wines. After one year in the bottle you can taste stone fruits like the apricot (love it). I also found some honey notes. The Chateu Thivin is located on the slope of Broully Mont.


Beaujolais 2013 Les Griottes
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine Du Vissoux
“L’art de faire le vin au plus près du raisin”
Some curiosity: gamay grapes are produced from 15-35 years old vines. Les Griottes means “small cherries”, so it’s easy to get that the most dominant tasting notes are those of red fruits. The wine itself it’s light, it’s almost refreshing. The fruit acidity plays its role.

Beaujolais Saint-Amour 2012 Jean-Francois Trichard
Domaine Des Pierres
Some curiosity: the palate is plainly fresh thanks to the good acidity of raspberry and cherry fruits. Just a point: the soil of Saint Amour is a little bit different from the rest of the region because the granite gives room to the clay and limestone.

Beaujolais Chénas 2012 Cuvée Vieilles Vignes
Hubert Lapierre
Some curiosity: family run estates on two crus: Chénas and Moulin-à-Vent. Of the Chénas they own 280 ha which give birth to wines with “cassis and framboises” aromas, depending also on the aging (from 3 to 5 years). This wine is ideal in my opinion with seasoned cheeses and has to be served at a temperature of 15° (I would avoid at 17° as it’s recommended but it depends on the taste!)

Beaujolais Chirobles 2013 Domaine Cheysson
Some curiosity: honestly I didn’t like it 100%. I just wrote in my notebook that fruity notes were very rich and also the intensity of the wine was notable but I didn’t write down specific notes. Maybe I should try it again to remodulate my judgment?

Beaujolais Brouilly “Pierreux” 2013
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine Du Vissouxù
Some curiosity: this is one of the most popular wines in Brouilly. There are plenty of 2008 and 2013 vintages and I have tried 2013. Pierreux is located at the foot of the Mount Brouilly and the name comes from “pierres” (stones). As traditional Gamay grape you can find some floreal notes (violet) and then riped red fruits, nothing new but tasty. Pierre-Marie Chermette is a great oenologist from Dijon university. Lucky him ;)

Beaujolais Juliénas 2011  Clos de Haute-Combe – V.Audras
Some curiosity: Juliénas, the flagship of Beaujolais. It’s said that wines from this region age like Burgundy? Floreal and ripe fruits. Good structure. Well done Vincent!





venerdì 7 novembre 2014

Vins de vignerons: when wine is about @culture

What the "Vins the vignerons" fair (if fair can be defined) aims at is to transmit the concept that wine is  about culture (I totally agree!). It's important to be able to choose your wine and that's the purpose of the exhibitions.
During this occasion Italian and French winemakers meet themselves. But they are not whatever type of winemakers. They are only those who work with autoctonous grapes and which propose a personal interpretation of their terroir. They are those who opt for natural methods. They are those who have a passion. Those who I love!
I really enjoyed the fair and with it some of the wine I had the chance to taste. I don't like to try ALL the wines proposed, otherwise I get lost.
I like to try the ones that catch my attention for one reason which can be completely random. The smile that I see on their faces, the passion, the label design...I am like that! Passionate for nature, I follow my instinct.

Here below some memories: 
Asinoi, byodinamic wine made by a couple: Luigi & Bruna. Their byodinamic philosophy is against chemical products at all, only minimum amount of sulphites is allowed. I have tried their Rosso DOC, made 100% from Barbera grape. The label reproduces a donkey, animals they love because of the "complex simplicity" they transmit, like their wines in my opinion. The Rosso DOC it's a quite "frank" wine, simple and genuine; I would define it as a wonderful table wine. Violet, cheeries, mixed berries. Let yourself get led by it.

It's Rolf Pretterebner with his wife that since 20 years ago grow mainly local grapes in a vocated Austrian terroir. They use natural method. Rolf doesn't want to be called a byodinamic producer but ecodinamic. They love aging their wines. I have tried the St-Laurent 1997, from a traditional Austrian variety. Plain colour; dark berry fruit nose but also spicy notes. On the palate it is silky and tannins are very polite :) I would pair it with some lamb meat!


Gérard and Christine produce their vines southwest Nîmes. The grand cru wines are labeled “Costières de Nîmes”. Their philosophy is to bottle as Grand Signature only the Vintages they most like. The Rapatel Blanc 2011 has butter notes, quince, almond, dried fruits and walnuts. At the tasting has a good freshness and it's a persistent silky wine. Good quality for price!

domenica 2 novembre 2014

Vivino: a wonderful application!

For those who are passionate of wines or those that simply want to discover a new field I strongly recommend Vivino, an app that gives you the possibility to surf into the wine world and get in touch with passionate users from all over the world. It's a sort of "wine advisor" but much more for people that really love wine and want to share their thoughts, their feelings, their opinions, their ideas, with the community. 
You upload your wine, assign a rating, give an indication of the price (not mandatory) and make a review of the wine itself and of the emotions it gave you overall. You share it with people and exchange opinions. It's really nice! Especially because you interact with people from different nationalities. I am really a passionate of byodinamic and less famous labels, so if you follow me you will find curious products!

Then, obviously, there is a rating that put you in aclassification, based on how many reviews you made, how many wines you have but especially on your actual contribution to the network. It's funny! You will enjoy it for sure!

martedì 21 ottobre 2014

Soul and passion, driving your wine choice...Only if you call yourself into question! Sandro Sangiorgi docet!

Walking around a wine shop during a normal day, after long working hours, can make you understand that the real parameter to choose wine is your soul instinct. Indipendently if you are a Sommelier or not; indipendently if you are a wine expert or a fellow working in the wine business, what counts at the end of the day is the emotional feeling you have while choosing the bottle you are going to taste tonight or during the weekend or whenever you feel it's worthed. I personally think that every day can be the right day if you think so. There is no special occasion to wait, no need to look forward your birthday to open a special bottle. No need to open a special bottle during your birthday, you can simply toast with a beer stein, with the same ease you drink a Vintage Champagne or an aged Barolo on a regular Monday evening or, why not, during a business lunch.
All this foreword to say that tonight I decided to choose a wine based on the label I liked most, having a moderate budget, honestly speaking. I spent nearly half an hour snooping around the wine shop, having the owners's spotlight on me (it was 10 past seven and they remarked that closing time was 7.30!), perfectly aware that my choice needed to be fast.
That's why I decided to follow my instinct and choose the label that most inspired me. While driving home I was really looking forward to read on the Internet what the hell I had grabbed. And I realized that I was right. The label was exactly reflecting my expectations, confirmed reading the story about Cirelli.
Agricola Cirelli is an organic farm, whose production respects the natural cycles of the olive trees, vineyards, horticultural crops and the animal breedings. Their motto is "to live in harmony with nature". It looks like a predicted idea, but I am convinced they actually do so.
Tasting the wine I felt immediately a
simplicity touch, a genuine taste, reminding red fruits notes coming out from Montepulciano grapes. The short six month aging takes place in steel tanks, making evident the strong character of the tannins. Even though, they do not attack you, They gently cope with your toungue, softly decreasing their presence as long as you get in sympathy with them.
The main message of this article is just one: you need to follow your instinct. And not on purpose, while stating that, I realized that Sandro Sangiorgi (one of the few truly influential free-standing wine reviewer) has more (or less) the same opinion. On the back of his book "The invention of joy", he states the following:
"I address to those who are browsing in-between the pages of this book, attracted from the title, from the cover or, even better, from the subject: The invention of Joy", which requires a person willing to commit himself, both in the lecture and in the practice  (and in the writing, I would add). It is an important request that could discourage who is approaching for the first time the world of wine and expect immediate answers. It's highly probable he will find them (and with them precious advices) but at one unique condition: the ability and willingness to take a challenge. As I did".


domenica 19 ottobre 2014

Kobe beef drinks beer!

What would you expect from a beef massaged with Sakè, which drinks every day a large amount of beer? Ok, the myth is that they drink beer as party animals, but the reality is that beer is supplied especially during hot season to stimolate their appetite. Poor animals!:) Regarding the massaging it's done to relieve their stress and keep them calm ... I have always said that I should go to the SPA more often!!! I would come tastier as well :)
The result of all this attention is that the meat is extraordinarily tender, finely marbled, and full-flavored.
The less attractive part of all this topic is the price: to eat a fillet of 125 gr I spent more than 100 euro (to be precise the rate was 750 euro per kg). But it was worthed.
My advice is to pair it with a reasonable amount of beer. Being a little bit tipsy you will appreciate it more, forgetting the fortune you are spending :) Or, as we did, try a local wine:
I went to a restaurant in .apan called Misono, in Kyoto. Kyoto is a wonderful city, it's much more traditional than Tokyo. Amazing the two, from different perspectives.
Going back to Misono, If you read Trip Advisor reviews as usual you will find contradictory opinions. My evaluation to that restaurant is 4/5. Not less because the quality of the meat and the service were high-level as per my modest opinion. The chef cooked in front of us in the #Teppanyaki style (鉄板焼きfrom Japanese teppan (鉄板) = griddle, and yaki (焼き) = grilled), both the meat and the vegetables. I didn't like too much the fact that before grilling the meat he massaged it with some garlic. The meat is good enough and it doesn't need anything, being enriched by its own fat! Gnammy!
I didn't feel to evaluate it with 5 stars because the waiters were somehow "cold", not making any difference to our experience. But the Chef (see picture), was a great human being!
Not to feel alone we socialized anyway with some Spanish people sitting in our same table and sharing with us the same griddle (and also the experience, of course!). We had such a good night, which ended up with a magnum of Sakè. Served cold (Japan in August is extremely hot). At the end of the day Italian and Spanish Always get on well!
But is the Kobe meat raised exclusively in Japan? Because of the high cost and increasing demand, there are now some Kobe-style beef-cattle being raised in the U.S. using the same techniques.  I believe they do it well. But being a traditionalist I wanted to try it during my stay in Japan (in US I will leave some space for cheesburgers)!
If you want to read more about US Kobe beef and the controversy around this topic I found this interesting article on Forbes:
Enoy! The article and life in general!

sabato 11 ottobre 2014

Cheese and wine pairing!

Cheese is the best invention man has ever made. And wine too. So the best thing in life, after the first one that everybody knows, ;), is pairing cheese with wine. I am not going to be boring but I want to summarize the main tips that will make your life wonderful.
With soft cheese characterized by a delicate milk aroma you should go for a fresh white wine like a young Chardonnay or, why not, some bubbles with a shy personality, like a Prosecco?
"Caprini"are cheeses made mainly from goat milk (there are in commerce also some from cow milk) with a stronger flavor. Many times they are conserved in oil with aromatic herbs or spices which makes them quite persistent in terms of taste and demanding in terms of wine. So, if you go for a white, be sure it's enough silky and perfumed. A barrique resting period would be welcome, otherwise, if at home you just have a red wine, be sure it has a medium structure. For my personal taste I prefer white wine combination, like a Verdicchio from Matelica!

Another category of cheese is the one with "washed crust". They are seasoned products (Taleggio and Robiola are an example) whose surface is washed with saulty water to avoid the mould and allowing the growing of batteria of red colour, which produce aromatic aromas reminding fermented fruit, sometimes very intense. I definetly love this type of cheese, I confess...technically speaking they need a strong wine to cope with their strong personality, but mellow enough to balance the  fatness and sweetness notes of the cheese. In this hard circumstances I love a Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige region. It's almost a dream!
The real dream and the most playful pairing come with seasoned cheeses. Playful because you can stretch the pairing from red wines with a really good structure, like a Barbera from Piemonte, up to sparkling wine made with champenois method, like a Franciacorta Brut. Let imagine yourself picking some bites of Parmesan or Grana cheese (for the difference between the two read my post parmigiano-reggiano-or-grana-padano) with a glass of sparkling wine, cleaning perfectly your mouth from the saulty and delicate fatness sensations left from the cheese swallowing....would you ask something more from life?:)

The problem of cheese are two: you are never tired of eating them (from starter to dessert) and you are never tired to pair them with wine because the variety of pairings is endless, depending on the cheese you choose or on the wine you have in your canteen. That actually wouldn't be a problem if in life calories were not existing! Who invented them!!? In any case when it comes to dessert forget about them, especially if your sweet treat will consist of "erborinati" cheeses with some jams and honey. A Passito wine is the perfect  pairing in my opinion. You can also dare with a fortified wine. As an example a Passito from Pantelleria, a Vin Santo from Tuscany or a Sauternes if you are in France.
But...Which is my favourite cheese? Definetly the Castelmagno, a paradise for senses, strong but at the same time elegant, the king of cheeses (il-re-dei-formaggi)!