Tag Archives: Carpene Malvolti Prosecco

On Borders and The Sparkling Daily Slosh

27 Jan
border-wall

And the French will pay for it!

The other day I opened a bottle of red Bordeaux only to find that the bottle was corked, bad, stinky. It ruined my week of sipping! And, it frightened me – I have a bunch of red Bordeaux in my cellar. Do I need to fear them all? So, I’m penning this post to warn you. Oh, I know it’s a broad brush and I’m sure there are red Bordeaux that are good bottles – it really has nothing to do with all Bordeaux. In fact, I have friends that are Bordeaux. Let’s face it, though – Bordeaux are the predominant wines that lean to corkiness – those few can bastardize the true meaning and message of Bordeaux for their nefarious goals. The only way to ensure that we aren’t savaged by tainted bottles is to: 1) take an accurate inventory of the red Bordeaux in all cellars – I’ll set up a central database (please use form below) – if we know where they lurk, we can protect ourselves; and, 2) bar our borders to any more red Bordeaux coming into the country. What’s that you say? You’ve had “a corked bottle of California Chardonnay. Isn’t it winest to discriminate against a single wine?” No, don’t fall for that false equivalency. Let me explain – that’s an alternative fact that the Bordelais sow to get us to relax our vigilance on the red menace. Following that logic, soon all we will be able to drink is red Bordeaux to be………PC. California Chardonnay won’t be able to get a job. Then, the red Bordeaux get into Canada and voilà (to use our other official language – so you see it’s already working), we get corked.

Now, let’s get in to recommendations for the release of February 4th..

Having a few bottles of reasonably priced sparkling wine around is key to…………drinking reasonably priced sparkling wine. I usually have a enough bottles of Cremant de Something, Niagara bubbles, Cava, carpene-malvoltiand/or Prosecco to meet the requirement of a non financially painful fizzy to start the evening. And, I really love two of the sparkling wines featured in the February 4th release. The Carpene Malvolti 1868 Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $18.95 should become your ‘go to’ Prosecco. It’s drier than a popcorn fart. How’s that for evocative description? It has a great amount of energy bursting from the glass – apples, peaches and a bit of sea salt – great acidity and the bubbles are softer than most Prosecco for me. Classy stuff for the price.
louis-bouillotThen, there’s the Louis Bouillot Perle d’Ivoire Blanc de Blancs Crémant de Bourgogne #048801 $19.95. This is a Chardonnay with the typical green apples and citrus character of the fruit. Much more citrusy and fuller bodied than the Prosecco. A hint of yeast like a good Champagne. Carries a lot of flavour on the swallow. I have a couple of these down below and, if it wasn’t 10 am, I’d be tempted to pop a cork on one of them right now. A perfect wine for brunch? You bet. This doesn’t always end well.

Cheers.

Bill

You didn’t expect a Bordeaux registration form here, did you?

The Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità Grandi Marchi – Toronto, October 18th #SundaySips

13 Nov

grandi-marchi

On October 18th, I attended the Grandi Marchi at the Royal Ontario Museum. I was going to break this into two posts to avoid readers nodding off but…..

What is the Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualita Grandi Marchi? I had the same question. From the event pamphlet: “The Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualita Grandi Marchi is the result of determination and enthusiasm of some of Italy’s most important producers to promote premium quality Italian wines to the world……..One of the Institute’s major goals is to provide leadership and direction in the development of quality Italian wine in world markets.” It’s kind of the Italian equivalent to the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux, it seems. And I suppose that, since the mother ship is the largest purchaser of wines and spirits, an appearance in Toronto was in order.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Just a quick word about the venue. If you’ve been, I don’t need to say much. But, if you haven’t, think of a grand hall with marble statuary, a spectacular crystal treatment on Bloor, columns (Corinthian?), and old shit scattered about inside. Why don’t I just show you a picture of our host.

fuggy

Now, the wines. Most Italian DOC’s and DOCG’s were represented. I’m only going to talk about the highlights and/or wines generally available in wider distribution. They are in no particular order but the more cryptic my notes get, the later in the evening they probably were. Sorry, but I did swallow much of it and it’s awkward holding your glass, juggling the tasting notes book, making notes, dropping your pen, picking it up, spilling your wine, stumbling into a well dressed woman – you get the picture.

The wines:

Carpene Malvolti

carpeneCarpene Malvolti 1868 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Brut #727438 $18.95 this is a wine that I’ve recommended before and it was a great start to the evening. Extremely dry, toasty notes. Great value and a Prosecco to celebrate not berate. Available starting February 4, 2017

Carpene Malvolti Spumante Brut Rose #474460 $19.95 Liked this wine. Quite dry as well. Hint of red fruits – strawberries. Perfect holiday season bubbly. Available starting December 10, 2016. I’m going to get a few for the holidays.

Donnafugata

sedara2014 Donnafugata Sedara #900274 $16.95 A blend with Nero d’Avola and native varieties. Very dry, as in, “Please drink me with food”. Despite the fact that I had no food, I liked this medium-bodied red. Great value, particularly on a night like this. Available starting December 10, 2016. I’ll try to remember to recommend for you before that release.

2014 Donnafugata Ben Ryé #568063 $42.00 (375 ml) This is a wine from the DOC Passito di Pantelleria. Where is that, you ask? It’s a small historically strategically important island between Sicily and Tunisia. My archaeologist son has dug there and tells me that it’s particularly beautiful. The wine is a dessert wine – nutty, dried fruits, apricots. I’m not a big dessert wine fan but this was nice – just wish I’d waited until I was actually through with the others. Only available at the event.

Gaja

2013 Gaja Barberesco #92080 $279.00 Here’s the thing: The Director was with me and she only drinks white wines due to a red wine headache issue. She sniffs the ones that I rave about and usually says, “Cannot see what you’re raving about. Smells awful.” The strategy that night when we went to a table that only had red wines was for her to ask for a sample of a red too, we’d step aside and I’d get to sample both. At Gaja, I suggested she get the Barberesco while I sampled the one below. She swirled the Barberesco, sniffed and said (I kid you not), “This smells very nice.” Ventured a sip and said, “If I didn’t get headaches, I think that I’d like to drink this.” Sure. The $279 wine, she likes! This wine was as promised. Powerful elegance if that”s possible. Perhaps the nicest wine of the night. Just wish I could pull the trigger on a wine this pricey.

2013 Gaja Ca’Marcanda Camarcanda #174342 $184.00 This is a wine from DOC Bolgheri in Tuscany. Like many people, I know Gaja as Langhe, Barolo, and Barberesco primarily. So, I was particularly interested in trying this wine and seeing if he brought the same attention to terroir to this effort. Bingo. This is a Super Tuscan – so Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other international grapes rather than Sangiovese. Cassis overflowing on the swirl but hiding a bit on the sip and swish. Very present tannins and a nice acid kick on the finish. A food wine that requires a decent time in the basement. Only available at event.

Lungarotti

lungarotti2I chatted up a guy at this table that had already tasted the Lungaotti offerings. I asked him what he thought of the four offerings. He said, “I’m going to wait until you taste, then we’ll talk.” I tasted and well we were in agreement on the best wine for us and it wasn’t what most others were expecting and assuming. A cool moment to be sympatico with another geek in front of thousands. Well, in front of The Director and this guy’s eye candy, at least.

2009 Lungarotti Rubesco Monticchio Riserva #51771 $51.00 This is a DOCG Torgiano Rosso Reserve wine and if that doesn’t get your heart racing, let me say that it is beautifully crafted. In the swish and swallow – spices, liquorice, and chocolate. Is that even possible? Man, I love this wine! And it still has loads of stuffing to get you through the next 10 years. Who am I kidding, this won’t last that long at my place. Only available at event.

1997 Lungarotti Rubesco Torgiano Riserva #473975 $51.00 As I stood at this table, people stepped up and were jonesing to try the oldest wine there – the 1997. Age is as seductive in wine as it is in male wine bloggers. The older we get, the more attractive we become. I can’t explain it – weird but true. Anyway, everyone wanted the 1997 – it had to be great, right? Many even seemed to nod and spit appreciatively. They were wrong. Oh, it is mature, spicy, but seemed to be getting to dried fruit a bit too much for me. It was very good but the 2009……… Only available at event.

Marchesi Antinori

antinoriI have several Antinori wines in my basement (Tignanello, Badia a Passignano among others). I like this family winery. But, this was a bit of a disappointment from a service perspective. The rep was buddying up with a crowd of guys off to the side (you wine geeks know what I mean – the guys that buy a shitload and know not what they buy aside from the badge). But I could be wrong. Well, that’s silly to say – I’m never wrong. Regardless, that didn’t detract from the wines.

2013 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano #473694 $25.00 This is another special wine I tasted. And, it’s not just because it was later in the night. I still had loads of palate agility and sensitivity left. Well, loads is overstating it a bit. This Sangiovese with a bit of Merlot had cherries – not the red sour type that seem to come with sangiovese but the black sweetish ones. Toasty notes. My notes say, “Cherries, cherries, cherries – and coffee.” This is a great value Tuscan. Only available at event.

2014 Prunotto Mompertone Monferrato Rosso #388587 $18.95 Quick review – burn some burgers or other red meats and pop a cork on this. Barbera and some other stuff. Available starting February 4, 2017.

Mastroberardino

This was the table that I was most interested in. We get a ton of wine from other Italian regions but Campania is underrepresented. I don’t get much opportunity to taste this stuff. Plus, I had a boatload of it two years ago when I was in Camopania. FYI, a ‘boatload’ is just a ‘tich’ less than a ‘shitload’. Never mind what a ‘tich’ is.

greco2014 Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo #568105 $19.95 This is a grape that even California doesn’t try to monetize. It must be difficult to manage and the payoff would require a massive marketing campaign – “greco de what?” This is a perfect summer white wine. Perfect is strong praise and this particular wine carries that label proudly. Light, yet flavourful. Crisp, yet cool and refreshing. Bring on the seafood! Love it! Available at LCBO locations now.

2009 Mastroberardino Radici Riserva Taurasi #683615 $56.00 I really like Taurasi. I’m not sure what it is that does it for me but it just seems to best represent the volcanic soils, mountains and beauty of Campania. It can be rough – Anglianico is like that, but I like it rough – wink, wink, nudge, nudge. However, this particular wine was a long, long way from ready to drink. I’m thinking 5 to 10. Liked the hint of dark fruits that it showed but wanted a little less obfuscation before it made the grade. Only available at event.

2011 Matroberardino Radici Taurasi #340562 $53.00 Now, here is the weird thing. This 2011 is good right friggin’ now while the more mature cuvée is many years off. I know the older one is a riserva but it shouldn’t make that much difference. This is an Aglianico bomb! Big, dark, earthy, anisey. Muscular, full-bodied and bringing little heat as it’s only 13.5% ABV. Now, we’re talking.  I want this wine in my cellar. Only available at event.

Tasca d’Almerita

Have I told you that a bucket list wine trip is Sicily? Well, it is. Cannot wait.

maria2014 Tasca d’Almerita Guarnaccio Perricone #473934 $21.00 This is a Sicilian beauty like Maria Grazia Cucinotta (at left). Only you get to actually keep this in your basement. That didn’t come out right but hopefully you get it. I wondered why they called it ‘Perricone’ until the penny dropped and I realized that the variety of grape is ‘Perricone”. This is full on. Loads of spunk from the alcohol (15% ABV) and dark, dark fruits. I loved this wine and felt at this price point – it’s great value. Super spicy and ready for some marinated grilled portobellos or red meat. Only available at event.

Umani Ronchi

This table was a pleasant surprise! So, what does a white wine only drinker do at these events? Particularly when the bulk of the ‘cool’ wines are red? Well, they mill around at the tables that promote white wines – like Umani Ronchi. And, The Director did just that. This table was great in all areas. The rep was educational to a deep, deep (did I say it was deep?) level and the wines were just what the doctor or Director ordered.

umani-ronchi2015 Casal di Serra Verdicchio Dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore #268169 $18.00 This wine was the hit of the night. Given that we were tasting Pio Cesare Barolos, Gaja Barberescos, Sassicaia, Chiarlo Barolos, it’s a stretch to say that an $18 wine won the night. But, I am nothing if not attentive to the needs and wants of my wife. This particular wine was floral on the nose, round enough for a Chardonnay hound and ethereally light. I gave it three check marks on my scoring scheme of check marks and ‘blahs’. Pears and citrus are my main notes on this. Lovely sipping wine for white wine aficionados. Only available at the event.

So that’s it. What did I buy, you ask? Well, I had to have me (apologies to grammar teachers everywhere) the Umani Ronchi Verdicchio, the Mastroberardino Taurasi 2011, the Perricone, the Antinori La Braccesca, and the 2009 Lungarotti. I mean they took Visa and I have 21 days to clear the account, right?

In summary, if you get a chance to partake in this event in your hamlet, don’t hesitate. There are some wines that don’t show well in this type of event, as usual, and there will be human wine nuisances at many tables. But, plow through and enjoy the wines of the best wine country in the world, IMHO.

Cheers.

Bill

Wine As a Depilatory – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

11 Jun

I found an interesting and little known wine fact in one of my readings this week. Around 1000 BC, a white wine, that has DNA similar to Greek Assyrtiko, was used by the Phoenicians to wax their legs. Apparently, the acid and alcohol in the wine cleanly removed all leg hair. Smooth legs were revered by women and leg hair on a woman was seen as a negative class distinction back then. Vines were planted throughout the Levant to provide sufficient wine to render most Phoenician women smooth legged. All this explains the familiar Phoenician morning-after phrase – “Hair of the Leg.” Interesting.

This week, there’s a just a handful of recos, so I’ll just wrap all the colours of the wine rainbow together in one post.

carpeneThis time of year is great for cheap but cheerful bubbly. Is there really a time of year that isn’t? And Prosecco can be a good option. However, there so much Prosecco out there now that the category is a bit watered down IMHO. So, I tend to stay with one or two labels because bad Prosecco is, well, very disappointing. Ever since my friend Andrew introduced me to it, my ‘go-to’ Prosecco is Carpenè Malvolti 1868 Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore #727438 $16.95. I find it has the proper balance of fruit, tight fizz, and weight for me. It is maybe a bit more stony than you’re used to but that’s why I like it. Pop a cold one of these when Suzie or Nicole comes over. They luv Prosecco! Question: do you say PRO seek o, or pro SEK o, or PRO sek o? I kind of interchange them just in case. That way I’m right part of the time.

frcchardonnayWe visited Flat Rock Cellars last September and I wrote about them here. They are, for my money, one of the most consistent producers of reasonably priced wines from Niagara. The 2012 Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay #286278 $18.95 is a perfect example of that. This isn’t your over-oaked, buttery vanilla bomb Chardonnay. But, neither is it one of those stern, minerally, unoaked varieties. It’s kind of what Goldilocks wanted – “just right”. It’s fruit first and fresh. Although this would be called a cool climate Chardonnay, I’d say that it will appeal to those that also like the warmer styles such as those from California, say. Confused? Don’t be. Get a bunch for the patio, deck, dock, table, bed, balcony, or sidewalk. Did I say it was just right?

trespicosWell, what have we here? It can’t be. Yes, it’s 2012 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha #273748 $19.95. This was one of the better values in the store for several years when it was priced about $3 – $4 cheaper. Not sure what drove the price up. Lenin would say it’s the greedy capitalists. My friend, Tim would say it’s the unions. But, I bet it’s just a typo by an overworked LCBO employee. And, now they have to live with it. They must make a zillion cases of this stuff. You can’t go into a wine store in Canada or the continental US without seeing it. This vintage will be ‘released’ several times this calendar year at the mother ship. Don’t let that fact dissuade you from purchase. It’s pure Northern Spain  Garnacha – intense, full-bodied, cherries, woody things, and herbs. I wondered why so big and found out upon inquiry (Wikipedia – I know, I previously pledged not to Google wine stuff – but I caved) that the DO Campo de Borja gets very little rain, meaning fewer berries and it’s hot which combines to make it full-bodied and assertive. It needs food really to be appreciated. Great BBQ wine.

langaA cheap Garnacha – 2012 Langa Tradicion Centenaria #194795 $14.95 arrives this Saturday as well – a tiche less large than the one above. Provides good value. As well from a dry zone – DO Catalayud. It is a substantial wine as well. These wines really reflect the stony, scrubby ground they come from. This one has less complexity, more straight forward than the Tres Picos but at $14.95 it rocks. This would work with burgers.

fptavelFrom last release there’s the 2014 Famille Perrin Tavel #680801 $19.95. Tavel is the red drinker’s pink and this one definitely will appeal to those that prefer red wines. It’s substantive for a rosé but still carries that refreshing cleansing sensation in your mouth. Good and dry – darker fruits – no strawberries here. A hit of acid on the finish. I recommended this wine to a friend to accompany dinner and it was a winner. Great cottage wine with fresh tomatoes, olives, shrimp, avocados, and bread – that kind of stuff. Inventory is getting low – so get a move on.

castellodamaFor a wee bit of a splurge pick up the 2009 Castello di Ama Riserva Chianti Classico #039768 $34.95. This is all Chianti – cherries, earthy, mustiness. Lovely wine. As a fellow wine drinker tweeted yesterday about a different wine, “Wow, Wow, Wow.” That’s a triple Wow! And, as a former math major, I know that that’s just one Wow removed from a top score of 4 Wows. If this is the 2009, how great will the 2010 be? I’m betting 4 Wows. Cellar this one for a few years or pop and pour.

Oh yeah, the part above about the Phoenicians – just made that up. Not sure why. But, how many women out there thought for a minute that it would provide a great excuse to buy wine? And, those wine geeks were getting ready to reveal this interesting fact at their next tasting. Admit it.

Cheers!

Bill

 

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