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Posts Tagged ‘Veneto

Cause for regret

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Bardolino Classico 2014, Tacchetto, Guerrieri Rizzardi ($19.50, 12132465)
Corvina (80%), Merlot (10%) and Rondinella (10%) from vines averaging five to 42 years old and grown in the dry-farmed Tachetto vineyard. The grapes are picked by machine and hand and destemmed. Fermentation at 25-30°C with selected yeasts lasts 10 to 15 days. Matured three to six months off the lees. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Filtered. Reducing sugar: 3.8 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Valmonti.
Lilting nose of funky cherry, fall leaves and sandalwood spice. In the mouth, it’s a featherweight, a caress of faintly sweet-and-sour fruit, fluid acidity and gossamer tannins that lend an ephemeral astringency to the finish. A light wash of mineral and wood flavours adds interest but not enough to stop you from thinking there’s not much there there. Serve lightly chilled. (Buy again? Probably not but… see below.)

While I didn’t taste them side by side, this 2014 initially seemed paler, sweeter and less alluring than the 2013, which I rather liked (“dry, tart, supple tannins, clean finish, moreish” per my May 2015 note). After Sunday dinner, I transferred the remaining wine into a half bottle (filling it right up), corked the bottle and stuck it in the fridge overnight. And lo, the wine was better the next day – slightly rounder and more vibrant, with the morello cherry to the fore – maybe even better enough to convince me to buy a second bottle.

And yet, as enjoyable as this and similar wines can be, I increasingly find drinking them a cause for regret – regret at what might have been. That point was driven home by a bottle of Ca’ de Noci‘s Sottobosco, a “natural” Lambrusco in everything but name, savoured the evening before I opened the Rizzardi. Though similar in weight and application, the Sottobosco delivered energy, refreshment, personality, engagement, charm and satisfaction that made the Bardolino pale in comparison. Imagine what the Tacchetto could be if the vineyard was farmed organically, if the yields were less than 85 hl/ha, if the grapes were picked only by hand, if native yeasts were used for fermentation, if intervention in the cellar was minimized, if the wine was bottled unfiltered and unsulphured. Unfortunately, at this point, imagine is all we can do.

Written by carswell

November 27, 2015 at 13:27

A fascinating Soave

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Soave Classico 2012, La Froscà, Gini ($26.80, 12132107)
Organically farmed Garganega from 57-year-old vines. The manually harvested grapes are soft-pressed and the must is cold-macerated on the skins. Temperature-controlled alcoholic fermentation is in a mix of stainless steel and neutral French oak casks. Does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured on the lees for at least eight months, partly in stainless steel tanks, partly in 228-litre “seasoned” oak barrels. Sulphur is added only at bottling. Reducing sugar: 3.4 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Beautiful, fragrant nose: pear and a little peach, loads of chalky minerals, hints of spring honey, white flowers and almonds. In the mouth, the wine is as much about minerals as fruit – in fact, there’s a real tension between them. Intertwining threads of honey and bitterness add intrigue, while a fine acidity animates a density that might otherwise border on lethargic. The long kaleidoscopic finish is marked by saline notes and a faint Szechuan pepper-like numbingness. Fascinating. The most savoury Soave I’ve ever tasted. Unless you’re a wine geek, probably best thought of as a food wine (recipe after the jump), which role it will play stupendously. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

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Written by carswell

August 30, 2015 at 16:33

Get ’em while you’re hot

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Will be posting notes on the COS wines soon. In the meantime, a heads-up on a couple of newly arrived, perfect summer wines that also happen to be in short supply. Interested? Act fast.

Niederösterreich 2014, Grüner Veltliner, Am Berg, Weingut Bernhard Ott ($20.85, 12646520)
(Not currently listed on SAQ.com. Reportedly part of an experiment involving a few wines stocked in fairly large quantities exclusively at the Atwater SAQ Sélection store, where you’ll find it in front of the organic wine section.) Am Berg translates as hillside. Ott’s wines are usually organic and biodynamic but this, a cuvée made from grapes grown in the estate’s and nearby vineyards, may be neither. In any case it’s 100% Grüner Veltliner from vines averaging 25 years old. Manually harvested and whole-cluster pressed. Fermented (with selected yeasts) and matured, on its lees, in stainless steel tanks. Screwcapped. Residual sugar (according to the estate): 1.6 g/l. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Avant-Garde.
Textbook nose: lime, green apple, lemon grass, chalk and white pepper. In the piehole, it’s fresh and fruity from the get-go. Clean and bracing with acidity so crisp it feels almost like spritz. Minerals galore, especially on the tangy finish, whose overtones of salt marsh grass linger long. A beguiling GV at a great price. Fine on its own as an aperitif, very enjoyable with a salad of cucumbers, red onion, fresh dill, lemon juice and crème fraîche. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Valpolicella 2013, Borgomarcellise, Marion ($20.00, 12328311)
Corvina (60%) and Rondinella (40%) according to the SAQ (while Corvina-dominated, earlier vintages have involved four or five varieties, so you might want to take this info with a grain of salt). Reportedly from young vines. The only winemaking info I’ve been able to find is that this is the estate’s only wine that doesn’t incorporate raisinated grapes. Reducing sugar: 4.8 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: L’Enoteca di Moreno De Marchi.
Pale ruby in the glass. Wafting nose of fresh cherry, red Twizzlers, dried earth, dried herbs and sandalwood. Light and bright on the palate, an alluring combination of gossamer fruit, juicy acidity and slender tannins. The sweet-tart cherry dries as it moves through the mouth, while minerals and a faint astringency inflect the lip-smacking finish. Serve lightly chilled. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

July 31, 2015 at 14:48

A not quite classic Classico?

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Will get back to regular posting as soon as work lets up a little. In the meantime, a sop to quell the clamouring masses.

Soave Classico 2012, Calvarino, Pieropan ($26.30, 741058)
Sustainably farmed Garganega (90%) and Trebbiano di Soave (aka Verdicchio, 10%) from 30- to 60-year-old vines grown in the Calvarino vineyard. The grapes were manually harvested, destemmed and crushed. The free-run juice was fermented separately. Fermented at 16-18°C in glass-lined concrete tanks. Matured on the lees for 12 months in glass-lined concrete tanks. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Enotria.
Subdued nose: yellow apple just beginning to brown, lemon oil, rain on limestone, a hint of marzipan. In the mouth, it’s dry, medium-bodied, as much about extract as flavour. The soto vocce fruit is encased in a quartz matrix while the sleek acidity turns a little lemony as the wine traverses the palate. Bitter almond – or at least a touch of bitterness – colours the long, yellow apple-scented finish.  Understated almost to a fault, this reveals more with vigorous chewing and could be passing through a closed phase. Perhaps not the best choice for chicken braised with white wine, rosemary and garlic though probably the best-suited of my neighbourhood SAQ’s newly “improved” (read “category-managed and severely dumbed-down”) offer of Italian whites. Better on its own, at least for now, or maybe with a pristine piece of fine white fish broiled and drizzled with melted butter and a few drops of lemon juice. (Buy again? Maybe. Or look instead for the beginning-to-arrive 2013 vintage.)

Written by carswell

March 23, 2015 at 22:47

MWG January 8th tasting: A pair of organic Soaves

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Soave Classico 2013, Inama ($20.65, 00908004)
100% Garganega from organically farmed 30-year-old vines. The grapes are manually havested, destemmed, crushed, macerated on the skins for four to 12 hours, then pressed. The must is chilled and allowed to settle for 12 to 14 hours followed by alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The fermented wine is racked into vats for eight months’ maturation. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Bergeron-les-vins.
Lovely, delicate, nuanced nose of lemon, white peach and just mowed flowery fields. Subtle and nuanced in the mouth too, fine-grained and dry. The pure fruit is infused with a rainwater minerality and soft-glow acidity. A faint carbon dioxide tingle only adds to the impression of freshness, while hints of almond and honey colour the bitter-threaded finish. (Buy again? Gladly.)

Soave Colli Scaligeri 2013, Castelcerino, Cantina Filippi ($20.10, 12129119)
100% Garganega from organically farmed vines most of which average 45 years old. Manually harvested. After pressing, the must is gravity-fed into stainless steel tanks. Temperature control is used sparingly if at all. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured on the fine lees for about six months, with occasional stirring, and an additional year in the bottle. Minimally sulphured before bottling. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Lemony and a bit Sauvignon Blanc-like with pear, limestone and faint floral notes. Clean and business-like on the palate, a delicate complex of minerals, white fruit and citrus that fade into a telltale bitter-almond finish. There’s acid aplenty but, oddly, the wine stays earthbound (“ça manque d’éclat,” in the words of one taster), which is surprising given its excellence in earlier vintages and the reception the 2013 has been getting from local restaurateurs and sommeliers. Perhaps ours was a slightly off bottle? (Buy again? At least another bottle for research purposes.)

(Flight: 2/8)

Written by carswell

January 22, 2015 at 18:19

MWG June 12th tasting: A sweet, sparkling, natural Garganega

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Veneto 2011, Dolce Racrei, Davide Spillare ($40.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Garganega from organically farmed (though apparently not certified as such) vines. Manually harvested and placed on wooden frames for about four months to partially raisinate. Fermented in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts for six months. The wine is then bottled unfiltered, unfined and with no added sulphur. In the spring and summer, as the cellar warms up, the wine resumes fermenting, converting some of the residual sugar into alcohol, producing carbon dioxide gas as a by-product and thereby creating the sparkle (see méthode ancestral). 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Hazy pale gold with a fine bead. Intriguing, aromatic nose: orange marzipan, brioche, pear clafoutis and a whiff of something lactic. In the mouth, it’s a softly effervescent middleweight, a tad sweeter than demi-sec but with the sugar checked by abundant acidity. Flavours? Baked apple dominates, hay field and chalk chime in. An orange wine-like hint of bitter tannins colour the finish. Odd but interesting – a great way to end a great tasting. (Buy again? Sure.)

Written by carswell

July 9, 2014 at 11:56

oenopole workshop: picnic wines (1/4)

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Earlier this week, oenopole held another of its workshops for wine writers and bloggers. Titled Atelier pique-nique, the workshop was devoted to wines that would lend themselves to picnic-friendly sandwiches. While waiting for the hordes to assemble, we sipped a sparkler.

Brut rosé 2005, Talento Metodo Classico, Bisol ($32.00, 11612598)
100% Pinot Noir from low-yielding vineyards. Manually harvested. Prior to fermentation, the must is macerated on the skins at low temperature until it turns pink. Unlike Bisol’s renowned Prosecco, this is made like champagne, using the traditional method with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. 12.5% ABV.
Pale coppery salmon pink, with little foam or visible bead. Nuanced nose of oxidizing apple, red berries, peach and brioche. Finely effervescent in the mouth. Dry but rounded by subtle fruit. Chalky minerals and an elusive strawberry overtone add complexity. The long finish brings a faint bitter almond note. Crisp, clean, elegant and delicious. (Buy again? Yes.)

Tasted in 2009 alongside rosé champagnes costing twice as much, the 2003 – a private import retailing for $39 – came across as somewhat stern and austere. Don’t know if it’s the different vintage or different context, but neither of those descriptors apply to the 2005. On its own, it made a fine aperitif. I can also see it working with light fare such as chicken salad or salmon tartare.

Written by carswell

May 9, 2014 at 15:07