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!