Wine of the Day, No. 503


This post is by Fredric Koeppel from Bigger Than Your Head


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The Bertarose 2018, Veneto, from the Bertani estate widely known for superb Amarone, may be the dreamiest rosé wine I’ve tried this year. A blend of 75 percent molinara — a standard red grape of the region — and 25 percent merlot, made all in stainless steel, the wine displays a very pale onion skin hue and ethereal aromas of strawberry and melon, with notes of lilac, flint and dried thyme; brisk as a cool lake breeze and fresh as a gentle rain touching your face, this delightful rosato offers subtle yet juicy flavors of red currant and peach expressed in a beautifully spare and elegant manner, all twined in a lithe, tensile, slightly talc-like texture that concludes in a finish of seashell delicacy and limestone minerality. 12 percent alcohol. Winemaker was Andrea Lonardi. Take this wine on picnics or to a park, sip it out on the porch or …

White Wines at the Top Italian Wines Road Show in Washington, DC


This post is by Kathy from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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Gambero Rosso wine tasting in Washington, DC

Earlier this week, June 3, 2019, Terry and I attended the Gambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road Show in Washington, DC. In an earlier blog, Terry wrote about the event and described many of the red wines we tasted. The following is a brief description of the white wines that we enjoyed at the wine tasting as well as suggestions for future wine tastings.

The Italian white wines we tasted were from several of Italy’s wine regions including Marche, Lazio, Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia, Emilia Romagna, and Abruzzo.

Gambero Rosso wine tasting in the US

The Offida Pecorino Pekò 2018 from La Canosa winery in the Marche region was  produced with the Pecorino grape. The Marche wine region is located along Italy’s border of the Adriatic Sea. The Offida Pecorino Pekò was a yellow color with a gold hue. The aroma was …

Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C.


This post is by Terry from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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The Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Road Show took place at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC

On Monday, June 3rd, we attended the Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C. held at the Embassy of Italy. The weather was beautiful for a June day in the nation’s capital. We had a mile walk to the Italian Embassy from the DuPont Circle Metro Station. The walk was easy passing many embassies along the way.

We were asked to arrive early for our scheduled 1:15 pm seminar on Italian wine. Unfortunately, we were informed that they were not ready so we had to wait outside the entrance gat for the embassy. At 1:40 pm we were let in, only to wait again. The session began at 2:15 pm. During this wait, I recalled the first day we were touring wineries in the country Georgia. We were quickly off …

Olek Bondonio Roncagliette Barbaresco 2015


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14%. Nebbiolo. Cork.

A trio of home cooked pizzas (potato, margherita and Tuscan kale with pancetta. The last being the crowd favourite.) called for a drought breaker from the cellar. I’ve forgot where I bought this, which seems reflective of the reduced priority wine has had for the last six months. A delicious if predictable example of Barbaresco. Large but well shaped, the tannins making it slim. . . almost. Medium in colour, v/a, wilted leaves, leather, something familiar and earthy. Throat grasping tannins, meaty, firm, and savoury – not unlike a sweet ham.

Image: liquid amber seed pod.

Top Italian Wines Road Show in 2019


This post is by Kathy from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


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Italian vineyards

On Monday, June 3, 2019, Gambero Rosso representing more than 60 wineries will be at the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.  Gambero Rosso will showcase 200 plus wines  for the Top Italian Wines Road Show.

Prior to the Top Italian Wines Road Show, some attendees will attend a Masterclass seminar. The Lorenzo Ruggeri, International Editor of Gambero Rosso, and Giuseppe Carrus, vice editor of Vini d’Italia 2019 will guide this special seminar.

The wine tasting includes a special ceremony that will be the awarding of the top Italian restaurants in town. These are awarded using the Gambero Rosso ranking procedures.

The wines available for tasting at the Italian embassy will be from:

Agricole Gussalli Beretta
Andreola
Assuli
Bellavista
Bortolomiol
Borgo Conventi
Ca’ Rugate
Canevel Spumanti
Cantina Tollo
Cantine Due Palme
Casale del Giglio
Colle Massari
Contadi Castaldi
Coppi
Cottanera
Cusumano
Enrico Serafino
Famiglia Cecchi
Famiglia Cottini …

La Collina Biodynamic Bubbles — Lambrusco!


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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modern lambrusco
La Collina Lambrusco at Rolf and Daughters in Nashville. Photo Credit: Jill Barth

On a recent trip to Nashville to cover the city’s wine scene for USA Today (you can read about it here) I had poured over lists and menus before making reservations.

A couple of things really stood out to me, one of them being the cool by the glass list at Rolf and Daughters in the Germantown neighborhood.

They had something I really wanted to try and I have to say, it was very appealing option: La Collina Quaresimo Lambrusco!

Biodynamic Italian wine, coop wine, organic wine
Photo Credit: Indie Wineries

Then I popped into Woodland Wine Merchant and there it was on the shelf. Wish I’d grabbed a couple of bottles.

This wine comes from a Demeter-certified biodynamic farm and native yeasts were used in the making. It contains 20% Lambrusco Salamino, 40% Maestri, 30% Grasparossa and 10% Malbo Gentile. The …

Wine of the Day, No. 501


This post is by Fredric Koeppel from Bigger Than Your Head


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Casting about for a wine to drink with a white bean soup — with bacon and pork belly — I picked up a bottle of the Bindi Sergardi “Al Canapo” 2016, Chianti Colli Senesi. It offered exactly the character we want with an inexpensive but well-made Chianti, this example 100 percent sangiovese grapes, produced all in stainless steel. Colli Senesi means “the hills of Siena,” marking one of the official sub-zones of Tuscany’s Chianti region. The color is a striking medium ruby-cherry with a hint of brick-red; the wine is pure sangiovese in the nose and on the palate: smoke, red cherries, graphite; sandalwood, violets and oolong tea; vibrant acidity propels the wine with lithe energy through to a finish that takes on a touched of cedar and mint. 13.5 percent alcohol. A perfect quaff with a variety of pasta dishes and pizzas. Now through 2021. Very Good+, About …

Wine of the Day, No. 495


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I’m not generally a fan of so-called “orange wines,” that is, wines made from white grapes fermented on the skins, as if they were red. Most of them smell and taste like sherry, and if you want something that smells and tastes like sherry, why not just tap your Cask of Amontillado? Here’s an example, however, that made a convert of me, at least in this singular case. The Wrath Wines Ex Dolio Falanghina 2016, Monterey, was made from the white grape indigenous to Italy’s Campania region, that gathers like a protective glove around the city of Naples. Falanghina has been cultivated since the early Roman empire. These grapes were fermented in dolium contemporary versions of ancient clay vessels, and the wine aged six months in those same containers, then was bottled unfined and unfiltered. (Don’t be surprised at a bit of sediment in the bottle.) The color is …

Alternative Reds: Not Cab., Mer., or P.N.


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No, friends, there’s not a darned thing wrong with cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir wines — unless they’re made in an overwrought, obtrusive manner — but they tend to dominate the discussion of the world’s red wines and so-called “noble” grapes. If you’re just a tad weary of those wines, I offer alternatives in today’s post, with grapes that include alicante bouschet, carignan, malbec, petite sirah, sangiovese, tempranillo, syrah/shiraz and tannat. Our Seven League Boots touch down in Mendoza, Tuscany, Paso Robles, Alentejo (Portugal), Chile’s Maule Valley, Apulia, Arroyo Seco, Oregon’s Umpqua Valley and Monterey County. Oh the things you’ll see! And the wines you’ll taste! Enjoy, in moderation, of course.

These wines were samples for review.

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Malbec is not exactly an unknown grape in the United States. One cannot go into a liquor store or big box venue without encountering shelves and boxes of malbec wines from …

Six Savory Whites


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Yes, we’re well into Spring and heading toward Summer. Here’s a roster of savory, spicy, saline white wines to ease the transition through the vagaries of changeable weather and shifting winds. In truth, of course, these six diverse wines might be consumed throughout the year. Call them eminently versatile. Also mostly excellent value. Of the six wines presented here, four offer terrific PQR — Price/Quality Ratio. All are from vintage 2017.

These wines were samples for review.

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The 15.2 percent alcohol on the Ricardo Santo Semillon 2018, Mendoza, may give one pause, but somehow this absolutely lovely wine comes across as inherently delicate and elegant. It sees no oak. The grapes grow on 75-year-old vines at about 2,950 feet above sea level. The color is pale straw-gold; the nose offers spiced pear inflected by apricot and figs, with notes of lanolin and bee’s-wax and a sunny-leafy element that …

‘300 Days of Sunshine’: The Vineyards of Sicilian DOC Interview with Alberto Tasca


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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Tenuta-Regaleali-1
Tenuta Regaleali in Sicily. Photo Credit: Tasca d’Almerita

Sicilia DOC is a consortium of 300 Sicilian+ wine producers with a rich history of winemaking and a connection to the ecology of the island via a significant commitment to organics. In fact, Sicily winemakers are responsible for 38% of organically cultivated wine in all of all Italy.

Alberto Tasca is a member of the board of Sicilia DOC. He’s also the seventh-generation of a winemaking family with a legendary history. In his work on his own estates as well as with the consortium, Tasca has a reputation for championing indigenous grapes and preservation of the Sicilian ecosystem. I had the opportunity to converse with Tasca about his perspective.

1-Tenuta-Tascante
Tenuta Tascante in Mt. Etna, Sicily. Photo Credit: Tasca D’Almerita

Jill Barth: What is the landscape for production of indigenous grapes in Sicily? Are producers tending towards native grapes or international varieties?

Alberto …

5-Tenuta-Tascante
Ospitalita-Tascante
Tenuta-Regaleali-5
Ospitalita-Regaleali-Mangiare
Tascante red
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Italian Island Wine: One Estate At A Time with Sicilian Organic Winery Feudo di Santa Tresa and #ItalianFWT


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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FST with cactus
The sights are evocative at Feudo di Santa Tresa in Sicily. Photo Credit: Feudo di Santa Tresa

Earlier this week I read an upsetting story about plastics in the ocean. By no means, the first or the last that will cross my desk, this piece was particularly haunting and it occurred to me that aside from lessening plastic use in my own life, I would make it my goal to highlight wine producers that have their hands in the clay on this issue.

Italian Food, Wine and Travel

Simultaneous to this contemplation, I am in the midst of covering Italian island wines, Sicily in particular, as part of a this month’s Italian Wine, Food and Travel (#ItalianWFT) event. Sicily has a lot going on right now, wine-wise, so I have stumbled upon several totally compelling stories to share with readers.

When I got the opportunity to interview the team from

FST vineyards
FST beehive
FST well
Sicilian bubbly, sparkling wine from Italy
FST cellar
FST cover crop
FST puppy

Wine of the Day, No. 485


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Our selection today is the wine I mentioned on Facebook a few days ago, the rosé being marketed for its radiant, dark color. Yes, this one is instantly Instagrammable, putting all those wimpy pale rosés in the shade. The wine is the Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2018, from the Masciarella estate in Abruzzo. The Cerasuolo area produces only rosé (or rosato) wines. The Villa Gemma 2018 was made solely from montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes, fermented and briefly aged in stainless steel. The color is indeed gorgeous, a totally transparent medium to light cerise hue that seems to glow in the glass. Striking aromas of pure cherry and raspberry are infused with notes of cloves and cinnamon and a wild bell-tone of cranberry; a few minutes in the glass unfurl touches of pomegranate, rose petal and lavender. The wine is quite dry but juicy and flavorful, lithe and sinewy, animated by …

Biodynamic and Organic Stories on Forbes


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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I’ve had the opportunity to cover several aspects of biodynamic and organic winemaking recently on Forbes. I try to cover biodynamics as much as I can, and I’d like to be sure readers of L’Occasion know these stories are available. Thanks for reading, here or at Forbes, and for sharing your stories with me.

pathway under clouds and blue sky
Photo by David on Pexels.com

Alois Lageder: Biodynamic Winemaking In Italy’s Alto Adige

Alois Lageder is a 54 hectare (135 acre) family winery in the stunning Alto Adige region of Italy. Here, every function is carried out biodynamically. “Quality is the fruit of many individual, mostly small, often unpredictable details. By paying close attention we can recognize these hidden connections,” says a video produced by the family.

Organic Vineyards Protect Bird Populations, And Birds Return The Favor

A recent study out of the Penedès wine region in Catalonia reveals that organic vineyard farming has …

clouds countryside cropland crops

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry


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Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry

We received three bottles of prosecco from Mionetto. We shared the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry with friends that enjoy prosecco. The wines we received were from the Mionetto Luxury Selection. The bottles were beautiful with an elegant black color and the word Mionetto embossed on the glass. The two other proseccos that we wrote about were the Cuvée Anniversario 1887 – 2017 and the Cartizze DOCG. Although I enjoyed all three, the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry was my favorite.

I like my sparkling wines to have tiny bubbles and showcase in a flute with multiple columns of bubbles forming a mousse on the surface of the wine. The Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry had the smallest of the bubbles of the three proseccos, and also formed multiple columns of bubbles and central and circumferential mousses. The sparkling wine had a …

Island Wines Of Italy: How Many Do You Know (#ItalianFWT)


This post is by Jill Barth from L'OCCASION


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landscape photography of gray rock formation
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

This month I’m hosting a wine writer’s event centered on the Island Wines of Italy. In researching for the event I’ve learned that there are more than 450 Italian islands. 350 of them are in the sea, either as an element of an archipelago or a singleton. There are 100 lake and lagoon islands, of which Venice comprises 32 of them.

Maybe, when I chose my topic, I should have been more specific?

There’s Sicily, a prominent and significant Italian wine region. There’s Sardinia, a mélange of French and Italian varieties and methods. But what else is out to sea?

Look in the Bay of Naples for Ischia and Capri and Pantelleria reaching off towards Tunisa. The Aeolian Islands produce a signature… but what else is out to sea?

If you know, here is your chance to join in our event which is …

amalfi coast bay beach blue
bay beach beautiful blue

Wine of the Day, No. 476


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A bottle of wine doesn’t always have to be great or profound or worthy of contemplation. Not many people can afford to drink that way in any case. Sometimes it’s enough that a bottle of wine be pleasant, useful, decent and enjoyable. Such a one is the Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2017, hailing from Italy’s southeast coast with the Adriatic. One hundred percent varietal and made completely in stainless steel, the wine offers a very pale straw color and attractive aromas of roasted lemon and spiced pear, smoke, mint and quince, heather and almond blossom. The wine flows across the palate with dense silkiness lightened by brisk acidity that leads to a scintillating limestone finish, all at the service of tasty lemon and pear flavors. Surprising depth and texture for the price. 12.5 percent alcohol. Buy this by the case for quaffing through the end of Summer 2019; a perfect …