Chablis:The Spirit of Chardonnay – In The Glass And At The Table

I love minerally, acid-driven white wines. They are refreshing and delicious on their own, and a great companion for a wide variety of foods at the table.

So, I was thrilled when I received four sample bottles of Chablis from Pure Chablis a couple of months back.

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About Chablis

Pure Chablis is a trade organization that promotes and strengthens the image of Chablis wine in the US. Their motto is “Pure Chablis, one grape, one region, one of a kind. Pure Chablis, only from France”

The groups advocacy for Chablis is necessary because here in the US, there are cheap jug wines labeled as either “Chablis” or “White Burgundy”  that are misleading consumers and giving the Chablis “brand” a bad name.

So what, exactly is Chablis? Here’s an overview of the region…

Chablis Map

  • Wine has been made in Chablis for centuries.  The founding of the village of Chablis dates back to Roman times, as do Chablis’ wines.
  • It’s the northernmost subregion of Burgundy.  It located in the Yonne department between Paris and Beaune, a short hop from the Champagne region.
  • Chardonnay is the only grape variety permitted in Chablis
  • Granted AOC (appellation) status in 1938
  • What gives the region its unique “terroir” is a combination of its climate (harsh, cold and wet), and its clay soil referred to as Kimmeridge clay, that is composed of limestone, clay and fossilized oyster shells.

A unique territory and terroir - Image courtesy of Pure Chablis

A unique territory and terroir – Image courtesy of Pure Chablis

  • Chablis has four appellations (in ascending order of quality, power and depth)
    1. Petit Chablis – Represents an entry-level Chablis.  Intended to be consumed young. Vineyards are located on flat ground.
    2. Chablis – The grapes for this level are grown on north and east-facing hills.  These wines tend to show a bit more minerality, due to the high limestone content in the soil of the region.
    3. Chablis Premier Cru – The grapes for this level are grown on south and west-facing hills.  As the name suggests, this level of quality takes it up a notch and produces wine with better aging potential.
    4. Chablis Grand Cru – This is the upper echelon of Chablis, with only about 230 acres situated on one hill, on the north bank of the Serein River.  There are only seven vineyards from which to source the Grand Cru Chablis grapes. This level has the greatest potential for aging.

And in my mind, nowhere in the world does the spirit of Chardonnay manifest itself better than Chablis.  That’s because of its unique terroir and because the wines rarely reveal any oak.   Instead Chablis is strongly influenced by its Kimmeridge soil that was a seabed some 150 million years ago. The result is wines that show a distinct sense of place and a minerality that I love.  I also think most of the wines end to be wonderfully undervalued.  There are plenty of very good to outstanding bottles to be had for under $20, and even the more expense Premier and Grand Cru bottles excellent relative value.

Chablis is Chardonnay, but not every Chardonnay is Chablis“ – Rosemary George,MW

 

Chablis In The Glass And At The Table

In the past I’ve mostly enjoyed Chablis as an aperitif, or with a typical food pairing for such as oysters, snails, light seafood dishes, and poultry.  But with its high acidity, I wanted to try it with some other food.

So, over the course of a couple of months, I paired it with a variety of foods/cuisines.  My tasting notes and the results of the pairings follow:

2014 Domaine Servin Chablis Les Pargues – France, Burgundy, Chablis
Very pale yellow-green color with beautiful hay, white flower, green apple, citrus and wet stone aromas. On the palate, it’s taut, and focused with mouth-watering acidity, and wonderful minerality with green apple, lemon and a hint of peach flavors. Long finish. (90 pts.)  Great QPR at $20 SRP!

The wine paired well with a homemade Salmon Burger.  Pairing the wine with a Chablis rather than a lighter bodied  Petit Chablis was a good choice.  

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A homemade Salmon burger! Yum!

2014 Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Petit Chablis
Very pale yello-green color with restrained apple, citrus and slate aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied and fresh with apple, lime, a hint of grapefruit and under ripe white peach flavors and a solid satisfying finish. (87 pts.)

The wine was a very good paired with a few sushi rolls from our local favorite Japanese restaurant

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Take out sushi from our favorite Japanese restaurant

2014 Domaine Bernard Defaix Petit Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis, Petit Chablis
Very pale green color with wet clay, bruised apple, chalk and lime aromas. On the palate it’s very fresh with an appealing minerality, and green apple, lime and a hint of white peach peeking through. (88 pts.)

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We paired this wine with take out Thai food. It paired especially well with pad Thai and crab fried rice.  And it found what I call “peaceful coexistence” with yellow curry and lemon fish.  This was a bit of an eye-opener. In the past I’ve typically paired Thai food with Riesling, Gewürztraminer or perhaps a Viognier. Chablis is now on my list too!

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Thai take out with Pad Thai, crab-fried rice and lemon fish

2014 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis – France, Burgundy, Chablis
Very pale green color with buttered toast, green apple, lemon, lime and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s approaches medium-bodied and is very fresh with green apple, mixed citrus and a hint of white peach flavors and an appealing minerality with a lingering finish. (90 pts.) Great QPR at $20!

We paired this with take out savory crepes from a local creperie.  It was an excellent match for both a Greek crepe of grilled eggplant, asparagus and tomatoes with feta cheese in pesto sauce, and a Florentine crepe of spinach and mushroom with mozzarella in pesto sauce

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A Greek crepe – grilled eggplant, asparagus and tomatoes with feta cheese in pesto sauce

My takeaway?  While Chablis has a well deserved reputation for being a great aperitif and an excellent match with fish, shellfish and light poultry dishes, it’s a more than capable partner at the table for a wide variety of dishes.  

For some great tips on matching food and Chablis click here

Check out the video below for more information about Chablis!

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Pure Chablis, the Chablis Commission and the BIVB!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW

We’re pairing fresh, seasonal spring foods with wines from the diverse and fascinating Southern Rhône region of France.

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work (or learn from the ones that don’t); along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic. Jill Barth of from L’occasion is hosting this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.  

On my plate

It was a sunny warm day in the Bay Area last weekend. And I was in the mood for smoked meat!  When I’m in such mood, I usually smoke pork ribs in my Weber.  But I was looking for a healthier option and I wanted to try something new.

I decided to smoke some chicken (which I’ve always barbecued).

The wine was no brainer for me.  I adore rosé, which I drink year-round, so that was my choice for my Spring BBQ plate of Smoked chicken, Potato Salad, and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Chips.

In my glass

Provence was top of mind, but when I think of rose from Provence I think of light-bodied rose with a character that is closer to a white wine than a red wine.  With the smoked chicken, I wanted a more substantial rose that was closer in character to a red wine.

My thoughts then shifted to Bandol and Tavel. Then I learned (I’d not really thought about it before given the the fact that Provence and the Southern Rhone share geographic proximity) that Provence isn’t considered to be part of the Rhone.  And since Bandol is in Provence…Tavel was the last man standing so to speak.  And that was just fine with me! I’m a big fan of Tavel.

Image source; http://www.goodfoodrevolution.com/tavel-rose-intro/

Image courtesy of goodfoodrevolution.com

About Tavel

Tavel is a tiny, sleepy town of less than 2,000 sandwiched between the Languedoc and Provence in the southern Rhône Valley across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and just north of Avignon.

Tavel’s vineyards date back to the Greek era and the 5th Century BC.  During the middle ages, wines from the region were a staple of the ancient papal court in nearby Avignon and a favorite of Louis XIV and Philippe le Bel  – so much so that they decreed that nothing else should be produced. To this day, Tavel is synonymous with rosé.  In fact, this AOC created in 1936, has dubbed themselves “Le Roi des Rosés” – “ The King of Roses”.

Gorgeous Tavel dresses in a thousand shades of pink to seduce and captivate the senses. Luminous like no other wine, it inspires the chef, the eater and the eaten. – Christophe Tassan; Sommelier and Rhone Ambassador

It is one of the 18 crus (meaning it truly express their individual ‘terroir’) of Rhone, putting in on par with the likes of the more renown crus such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Côte-Rôtie. It  is the only communal appellation in France exclusively for rosé wines.

Grenache reigns as the primary varietal for the Tavel blends. Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah & a few other Rhone varieties are often used in smaller amounts.  The wines contain a maximum 60% Grenache, and have a maximum alcohol content of 13.5%. The best examples of Tavel – always bone dry – combine freshness with complexity of fruit and intensity.  And most, when cellared correctly, will improve for several years in bottle.

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My tasting notes:

2014 Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  Blend of  50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre.  A steal for $10 (no doubt because it’s from the 2014 vintage)  Very Good ; 88-89 pts.  Will buy more!

The food and wine pairing

In a word pairing of my Spring BBQ plate of smoked chicken, potato salad, and potato chips was “Scrumdiddlyumptious! It was a great pairing. I love a robust rose with some weight for BBQ. And this Tavel is was great example of the weight of the wine being a match for the weight of the food.  It is truly un vin gastronomique!

Check out the other food and wine pairing put together by the other Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers for this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.

If you’re up early join us Saturday, April 9th at 11 am EST/8 PST for a live Twitter chatter using #WinePW.  Anyone interested in food and wine pairing is welcome to join the chat.  For a list of past and upcoming #winePW events, visit the Wine Pairing Weekend calendar here. We’d love to have you online with us!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Molise: Authentic Italy

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  I think a place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We are taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Molise!

The thing I love about the “Old World” is its rich history.  Much of it unfolds before us like an epic drama rife with  epic battles for territories, assassinations, and self-proclaimed kingdoms.

For example, take Molise.  It’s the ancestral home of the Samnites – fierce gladiators would regularly take on, and defeat Roman legions.  But after the fall of the Roman Empire, Goths and Lombards invaded the territory, which was part of Abruzzo. But it’s also been part of Campania, and Puglia (Apulia) neighbors to the South.  It’s as if no one wanted the place.  It was eventually absorbed with Abruzzo to create the overarching Abruzzi region. It remained part of this combined region until 1963.

molise map

Image courtesy of http://www.e-rcps.com/

It’s a mountainous and sparsely populated region sandwiched between the Apennine ridge to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It’s Italy’s second smallest region after the Aosta Valley, and certainly not top of mind for visitors to Italy.

It’s a remote land of immense natural beauty, history, art and age-old traditions that will take you on a journey off the beaten path to experience another kind of Italy – a largely undiscovered Italy.  Though its cities lack the luster of Italy’s more renowned areas, they possess a humble authenticity and charm that provide a window into old-fashioned Italian life and culture.

Wine has been made in Molise as far back as 500 BC with influences coming from the Samnites, Etruscans and Romans.  In the 18th and 19th century Molise’s boasted the most extensive vineyards in the Kingdom of Naples.  But the region extremely mountainous terrain discourage production of quality wine (I’m sure WWII didn’t help either) Today there are approximately 7,700 hectares under vine, including a mix of native and international grapes. The most common red varieties are Montepulciano and Sangiovese, but Aglianico, Barbera, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grow too. White grapes include Trebbiano Abruzzese (and Bombino Bianco, with which it was long confused), Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia Bianca Lunga, Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Falanghina, Greco, Chardonnay, and Pinot Bianco. About 10% of the region’s total wine production is of DOC wines ( Biferno, Molise and Pentro di Isernia).  Of the three Biferno is the most well-known.

In my glass

From producer Di Majo Norante comes the 2011 Di Majo Norante Molise Biferno Ramitello.   It’s a  wine made from a selection of the best Montepulciano (80%) and Aglianico (20%) grapes grown in the Ramitello vineyard. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine was aged in a combination of stainless steel tank s and barriques for eighteen months.  It was ranked #74 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014.

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My tasting notes follow:

The wine is a deep black red color with appealing black fruit and floral aromas.  On the palate it medium-bodied, and fresh with a rustic edge, showing blackberry, plum, black cherry, black currant, spice and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering satisfying finish.

On my plate

As I was checking out the cuisine of Molise, quite naturally given its agricultural tradition, I keep coming across either pork or lamb dishes. Or seafood dishes.  I’ve been limiting my intake of meat since last year, so I wanted something vegetarian that would pair well with the red wine.  These days eating less (or no) meat is motivated by healthy lifestyle choices.  It hasn’t always been that way.  Molise has historically tended to be less prosperous than Abruzzo.  As a result, the currency in Molise was not money, but livestock. Because of this, the livestock that was raised was more valuable to sell in Abruzzo than it was to eat. This is why many of the dishes typically served in Molise were vegetarian.  I don’t know if it’s still that way today, but certainly there was a time when la cucina povera (“cooking of the poor”) was born of out of necessity rather choice.

With that in mind, I opted for Portobello Parmesan recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

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Portobello Parmesan

The dish was a perfect weeknight vegetarian meal.  It’s definitely one I will make again. Portobello mushrooms have an inherently meaty quality.  The addition of Parmigiano Reggiano and Mozzarella cheese up the umami quotient which made for a wonderful pairing with the wine!

Check out more Molisan food and wine delight from my fellow bloggers:

If you’re up early enough, join us live on Twitter Saturday March 5th at 8am PST @ #ItalianFWT to chat about Molise.  Next month we travel to Puglia on April 2nd!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Cross-Cultural Food and Alscace Wine Pairings with Trimbach Riesling

I can hardly believe it, but after giving it much thought, I came to realize that I’ve never had a still wine from Alsace!  I’ve always wanted to because when it comes to dry white wines made from Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris, Alsace has a reputation for being the preeminent wine region in the world!  And I’m a big fan of all the aforementioned grape varieties, especially Riesling and Pinot Gris! 

Which is why I’m excited the French Winophiles (#Winophiles) virtual tour of France takes us to Alsace this month

Alsace Region 1

Image courtesy of Wines Of Alsace

While I’ve not had any still Alsatian wines, I’ve had quite a few Cremant d’Alsace, which is the sparkling wine produced in the region using the same painstaking traditional method used in Champagne.  Indeed, my current favorite under $20 sparkling rosé is the  Allimant Laugner Cremant d’Alsace Rosé.  If you’re looking for a sophisticated sparkling rose wine that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend checking out a pink Cremant d’Alsace!

About the Alsace

Alsace is tucked into the northeast corner of France.  It lies between the Vosges mountains and the French border with Germany, marked by the Rhine river.  Because of its strategic location, the region has switched back and forth between French and German sovereignty in recent centuries.  As a result, Alsace is a mish-mash of both cultures, as evidenced by its architecture,  and language (though mostly French is spoken these days, German, and other Alsatian dialects may be heard)

alsace-france-map

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that Alsace wines are dominated by German grape varieties, (Alsace is the only French wine region to grow significant quantities of Riesling and Gewürztraminer), but crafted in a distinctive style.

Think German grapes with a French soul!

The Alsace wine-growing region is long and narrow.  Its wines are produced under three AOCs (aka Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée): Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru for still white wines (both sweet and dry), and Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling.  White varietal wines make up 90% of production.  The Riesling is the dominant grape variety, but Pinot Blanc is a close second, followed by Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Alsace AOC wines make up 74% of the wines produced in the region followed by Cremant d’Alsace (22%) and Alsace Grand Cru (4%). All Alsace wines are bottled in a tall thin bottle known as a Flûte d’Alsace.

In my glass

Because Riesling is the signature grape of the region, and Trimbach arguably the region’s most renown producer, I chose the 2012 Trimbach Riesling.  It was ranked  of Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of 2014. And the The price was certainly right at $17!

Everything about Trimbach, from its charming estate to its sleek wines to the family that makes them, is elegant, understated, and classic. – Ed Comstock; The Terroirist

Trimbach is a family owned and operated winery that has been making wine since 1626!

2012 Trimbach Riesling Alsace

My tasting notes follow:

The wine pours a pale golden yellow color with promising petrol, ocean spray, citrus, peach and touch of honey aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, and dry with mouthwatering acidity. It’s sleek, understated and impeccably structured with a great texture. It shows white peach, honey, and citrus (sometimes lime, sometime lemon, even a whisper of mandarin orange) flavors with a long concentrated finish.

The Food Pairings

I was all set to prepare an Alsatian dish – Choucroute au poisson –Sauerkraut with Fish in Cream Sauce, when my wife announced she was planning to prepare Chicken Estofado.

Sauerkraut, or choucroute as it is known in Alsace, along with pork are major players in Alsatian cuisine.  I’m not a huge sauerkraut fan, but I like to keep an open mind to new culinary experiences.  But I wasn’t bitterly disappointed when my wife told me of her plans.

Chicken Estofado is similar to Chicken Adobo, but the use of plantain and star anise gives the dish a distinctive flavor while adding a bit of spice and sweetness.

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Chicken Estofado – A Filipino dish I enjoyed for the first time during my first visit to the Philippines last month.

I had this dish for the first time when we visited the Philippines last month. It was my first visit. And this was one of the more memorable dishes for me.

My sister-in-law passed along the recipe (sort of a recipe really – more like an Ole Skool “here’s the stuff the goes into it with no specific measurements) to my wife.

Chicken Estofado
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 Servings
 
A variation of Chicken Adobo that uses plantain and star anise to create a distinctive variation on the Filipino classic
Ingredients
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ c pineapple juice
  • 2 Star anise pods
  • 2TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP vinegar
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 1lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Plantain
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Season chicken chunks with salt and pepper.
  2. Pan fry in a non-stick pan in 1 or 2 TBSP of olive oil until browned. Set aside chicken pieces
  3. In the same pan, garlic until fragrant and slightly brown. Add chopped onion and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes until soft.
  4. Add chicken back to pan
  5. Add soy sauce, vinegar, pineapple, bay leaves, and star anise pods.
  6. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. While chicken simmering, in a separate pan , brown sliced plantain in 3 TBSP of olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add plantain to chicken and simmer for the last 10 min or so of the simmering chicken.
  9. Serve over rice

The other dish we prepared was Seafood (Shrimp & Oyster), Chicken, and Andouille Sausage Gumbo(you’ll find my “base” recipe here). We usually make the dish every New Year’s day, but we were in the Philippines this year, so we didn’t get around to it until now.

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My Seafood, Chicken, and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. Since the Dungeness crab season has been postponed indefinitely, I topped with crab meat

The wine paired wonderfully with both dishes.  The wine’s crackling acidity provided cleansed the palate, and the weight and texture of the wine complimented both dishes.  If I While both pairings were very good, if I had to choose one over the other, I’d give the edge to wine with the Chicken Estofado.

Check out these other wonderful food and wine pairings my fellow French #Winophiles are featuring for this week’s Alsace theme!

If you’re reading this early enough, join us Saturday, February 18th for a live Twitter Chat at 10 am CST using #Winophiles.

Upcoming #Winophiles events: Loire Valley Tour

  • March 19th  – Pays/Nantes
  • April 16th – Anjou/Saumer
  • May 21st – Touraine/Vouvray
  • June 18th  – Upper Loire – Cheverny, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume/Pouilly-Sur-Loire

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Nieto Senetiner Wines

As a wine writer, I receive offers for free wine samples from time to time (a nice perk since making any meaningful money is almost impossible – but then again, I do it for love…). Most of the offers are for a bottle or two. Rarely do I receive more than three or four bottles of wine.  So, imagine my surprise when I received eight bottles of Nieto Senetiner wine from  Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines!

About Nieto Senentiner

The history of Bodegas Nieto Senetiner dates back to 1888, when Italian immigrants founded it and planted the first vineyards to European grape varieties in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, a province of Mendoza.
Over the first decades of the last century, the winery was run by several families including Spanish immigrant Don Nicanor Nieto, who succeeded in passing on the secret of fine winemaking and the love for their land.  These families gave the winery an architectural style of the Italian countryside that still remains today.
Over the years, the European grape varieties gave way to Malbec, and Bonarda (a.k.a. Charbono), which dominate the region’s vineyards today.
In 1969 it is acquired by the families Nieto and Senetiner, who expanded the facilities signalling the beginning of a new stage of growth and brand development. In 1998 it becomes part of the Grupo de Negocios de Molinos Río de la Plata. The winery is a leader in production of Malbec and Bonarda.  holds a consolidated leadership position, committed to the highest production and quality standards, backed by a continuous investment plan both in estates and process technology.

Nieto Senetiner has 400 hectares of vineyards in their three Estates (Fincas), all situated in the Lujan de Cuyo area.  The estates include:

  • Finca Villa Blanca in Vistalba – planted in 1900; 3,300 ft elevation
  • Finca Agrelo in Las Tortugas- planted in 1900; 3,100 ft elevation
  • Finca Alto Agrelo in Las Torcazas – planted in 2005; 3,300 ft elevation

The winemaking team includes Head Winemaker, Roberto Gonzalez, and consulting winemaker, Paul Hobbs. Nieto Senetiner was the first Argentine winery to receive ISO 9002 certification in 2002.  The wines are fermented with native yeasts, minimum SO2 and no acidifications.

Their state-of-the-art, sustainable winery and estate vineyards produce richly textured, interesting Malbec and Bonarda, the other red star of Argentina.  At the foot of the Andes Mountains Lujan de Cuyo (a.k.a.the “Primera Zona” for producing high quality grapes) is renown for its low rainfall, high altitude, and diurnal temperature swings that stress the vines, developing the highly concentrated flavors.

The Wines

Nieto Senentiner has three tiers of wine – Camila is their entry-level wine, the Nieto Senentiner are their flagship wines, and the Don Nicanor is a step up in sophistication, and complexity in terms of barrel blending and additional oak aging.  The wines I sampled were:

Camila

  • 2014 Malbec – SRP;$10
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$15

Nieto Senentiner

  • 2014 Torrontes – SRP;$15
  • 2013 Bonarda- SRP;$13
  • 2014 Pinot Noir- SRP;$13
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$13
  • 2013 Malbec- SRP; $13

Don Nicanor

  • 2012 Malbec – SRP;$19

My tasting notes follow:

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec – Garnet color with subtle plum, blackberry aromas with hints of smoke and spice. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with an appealing supple texture and good acidity, and ample fruit with plum, blackberry, fig, vanilla and bittersweet chocolate flavors and a lingering finish. 100% Malbec. Aged in French Oak for 6 months – Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon Emilia – Dark ruby color with subtle red fruit and sandal wood aromas.  On the palate it’s full-bodied, and fruity with solid acidity with easy, and juicy with red currant, blackberry, cherry, vanilla and hints of dark chocolate and spice flavors. Very Good; 86-87pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Bonarda – Violet color with blackberry, black currant, plum and perfumed spicy aromas. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, and fresh with easy, and enjoyable blackberry, black currant, plum, vanilla and a bit of spice flavors. Aged for 6 months in French  and American Oak. Pair with grilled beef, mushroom risotto or cheese ravioli. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Pinot Noir – Ruby color with promising red fruit, spice and vanilla aromas. On the palate, its light-bodied, and fresh showing a bit of savoriness with cherry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors.  Aged for 6 months in French Oak. Pair with grilled or roasted chicken, grilled salmon, mild cheese and dishes with tomato based sauces. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner TorrontésYellow color with subdued greenish shades with intense, appealing dried peach, citrus, and white flower aromas.  On the palate it’s fresh and easy with peach, and citrus flavors with an appealing hint of minerality. Raised in stainless steel. Pair with grilled chicken or white fish. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep ruby color with promising cassis, vanilla, and a bit of graphite aromas.    On the palate it’s medium-bodied, with medium-acidity and well-integrated soft tannins with generous black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors showing nice depth at this price point.  Aged for 6 months in French and American oak.Pair with roasted lamb, grilled pork, or heavy sauces.  Very Good; 87-88pts

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2012 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Don Nicanor – Inky black violet color with plum, blackberry, cassis, and roast coffee aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with a harmonious, persistent character and well-integrated firm tannins and black cherry, cassis, vanilla, and a bit of baked blueberry flavors, and a lingering graphite laced finish. 14.5% alcohol Fruit from vineyard planted at 3,450 feet altitude. Aged for 12 months in French Oak.  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Emilia – Intense dark red with low-key plum, raspberry and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, smooth, juicy and straight forward with plum, raspberry, and a hint of red currant flavors that are surprisingly persistent at this price point. Aged in French and American Oak for 12 months.  Very Good; 86-87pts

Since I typically taste sample wines organically (i.e., I work them into my daily wine drinking – almost always with a meal), it took what turned out to be a few months to taste these wines.  And I can tell you this about Nieto Senentiner wines. They are food friendly wines that offer strong value for every day drinking wines!  

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the wine samples from Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Burgundy #winophiles

Welcome to this month’s French Winophiles!  We’re group a food and wine bloggers pulled together by Christy of Adventures of a Culinary Diva.  We’re taking a virtual tour of France region by region and learning about French cuisine, wine and travel.  This month we’re exploring legendary Burgundy (a.k.a. Bourgogne)

 About Burgundy

Steeped in centuries of history, tradition, and mystique, Burgundy is an exemplar for world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  It is one of the world’s most renown wine regions.

In spite of, or perhaps more accurately because of, its reputation (the wines can be prohibitively expensive and premox can an issue with white Burgundy), my only experience with Burgundy has been Chablis(love it), Beaujolais, and Crémant de Bourgogne.

I simply had to try at least a red Premier Cru Burgundy!

“You admire great Bordeaux but you fall in love with great Burgundy”  Neal Martin

For the uninitiated , white Burgundies are made from 100% Chardonnay. Red Burgundies are made from 100% Pinot Noir. You won’t see the name of the grape variety on the labels.

Located in the east-central part of France, Burgundy has 5 principal wine growing areas (excluding Beaujolais and Châtillonnais):

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Source: Decanter (http://goo.gl/I7lIVJ)

The most renown of the wine growing regions are Chablis and Côte d’ Or – home to Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. 

Burgundy is all about terroir.  And The Climats  and lieux-dits are the ultimate expression of the notion of terroir.  Climat is a traditional Bourgogne word for a precisely delimited plots of land that enjoy specific geographical and climatic conditions.

A Taste of Burgundy

Image courtesy of Bourgogne Wines

Last year Burgundy was awarded Unesco World Heritage Status for its viticultural heritage, its 1,247 Climats, or individual terroirs, of the Côte d’Or, and the historic centres of Beaune and Dijon .

Though the word may remind you of climate, it comes from the Greek “klima”, and then the Latin “climatis”, which means slope. Lieux-dit are also plots recognized for their own topographic or historical specificities.  But they are not registered by the INAO (Be sure to check out the excellent Bourgogne Wines website for more info)  One may find several lieux-dit within a Climat, or a Climat may only cover part of a lieux-dit.  One can see how that might be confusing.

I think I’ll just stick to main levels of Burgundy classifications, in descending order of perceived quality, Grand crusPremier crus, village appellations, and finally regional (Bourgogne) appellations

Ah, but Burgundy is not just about wine.  The region’s famous vineyards are bookmarked by two  of France’s food capitals – Dijon (the mustard capital of the world)   and Lyon.  Many classic French dishes originate from the region including Coq Au Vin, Escargot a la Bourguignonne,and Boeuf Bourguignon (did Julia Child just pop into any else’s head?). Not to mention other gastronomic delights including cheese (Epoisses de Bourgogne) and bread ( pain d’epice)

Let Paris be France’s head, Champagne her soul; Burgundy her stomach – The Concise World Atlas of Wine

 

On Plate and In My Glass

I received, as a sample, a book entitled Chablis; A Geographical Lexicon from  by Jean-Paul Droin.  The idea was to learn more about Chablis, then taste a wine from one of a Chablis Premier Cru.  In this case, it was the wine the 2012 Sebastien Dampt Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons.

The book was informative (e.g., I didn’t know there Chablis winegrowing region covers 20 communes with the River Serein running through it.  And that the river divides it into two distinct parts left bank and right bank)   It’s a must read if you have an interest in the etymology and history behind the names of Chablis Climats.

Chablis Escargot

My tasting notes on the wine follow: 

Pale yellow-green color with green reflections. It’s  aromatic with buttered bread, oyster shell, baked green apple, white flower and a hint of spice aromas. On the palate it medium bodied, fresh, focused,  and harmonious with green apple , pear, bit of Meyer lemon and spice flavors. Long finish. Highly recommended.

I paired the wine with a Chablisien classic – Escargots a la Bourguignonne (Snails in Garlic-Herb Butter), and sautéed garlic asparagus accompanied by a loaf of crusty french bread. We topped our the meal with a fabulous Saint Angel triple cream cheese from Fromagerie Guilloteau in the Cotes du Rhone region of France.

(Note: I’ve included a link to the escargot recipe, but I found an oven ready escargot in garlic-herb sauce at my local Whole Foods Market)

The wine was fantastic with the entrée. And I especially enjoyed crusty french bread dipped in the garlic herb sauce with a sip of the Chablis.  In a word – divine! The wine was a very good complement to the buttery notes and chalky texture of the cheese.  

I simply couldn’t take a virtual tour of Burgundy with trying a red wine.  In keeping with the Premier Cru theme established with the Chablis, I chose the 2012 Domaine Bart “Hervelets” Fixin 1er Cru.  It my first Premier Cru Burgundy!

The Fixin appellation, which received official recognition in 1936, produces both appellations Village and Premier Cru. There are six Premier Cru Climats.

Fixin

Image courtesy of the Burgundy Report

From the Bourgogne website – Fixin (pronounced “Fissin”) is situated in the Côte de Nuits region between Dijon and Gevrey-Chambertin. In 1860 it merged with the neighbouring hamlet of Fixey. As well as wine-cellars, attractions for visitors include the 10th century church of Saint-Antoine, the manor of La Perrière where once the monks of Cîteaux came to enjoy the good air and the good wine, François Rude’s famous statue in the Parc Noisot of Napoleon in the process of becoming immortal, a particularly handsome communal laundry and the slate-covered village breadoven. Here there are a thousand things to see, not to mention many welcoming wine cellars.

Here’s where things may get confusing – the Premier Cru Climats of Les Meix Bas, and Les Arvelets may be labeled as Les Hervelets. But Les Hervelets cannot be sold as Les Arvelets or Les Meix Bas!

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My tasting notes follow:

A subtle touch of pencil shavings sets off ripe and relatively elegant notes of black and red cherry, earth, warm spice with pretty floral notes. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and layered with intense mixed red and black cherry, red currant flavors with ample minerality, and a subtle rustic character wrapped around dusty well-integrated tannins and bright acidity.Approachable now, but would benefit from further aging.  Highly recommended and a very good value at $40!

We paired the wine with a quick weeknight dinner of grilled salmon and sautéed spinach.  Again we capped off our meal with another double cream cheese from France. This one was the decadent Fromager d’Affinois with Truffles.   Pinot Noir is the most food friendly red wine in my book and it paired very well with our meal.  And it was other worldly with the cheese! 

Check out what my fellow French #winophiles are bringing to the table this month!

Don’t forget to join the live Twitter Chat this Saturday (Jan. 16, 2016) at 8 am PST (1700 hours in Beaune, France!) Just search for the hashtag #winophiles. We love new participants, if you would like to join us, just let us know.  Stay tuned for our February visit to Alsace. Au revoir!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the bottle of Chablis and book at no cost from Sopexa on behalf of the Chablis Commission.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Greece: Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono Paired with Hatzidakis Assyrtiko

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work (or learn from the ones that don’t); along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.  Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting “Let’s Talk Scorched Terroir – and Volcanic Wines – for this month’s #WinePW

The Volcanic Island of Santorini

As I began to consider this month’s theme, my initial thoughts turned to the Napa Valley (which has a fascinating geology that includes a vast array of soils of volcanic origin).  But I was leaning toward a white wine rather than a red.  Then as fate would have it, I saw a post from Camilla, our host for this month’s theme that featured an Assyrtiko (one of my favorites – Domaine Sigalas) from the Greek island of Santorini.

Bingo!

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed one. In fact, my second post for #winePW was a fabulous blend of Assyrtiko and Malagouzia last summer.  And I’ve not had any since then!

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The breathtaking beauty that is Santorini seems to have risen from it’s volcanic ashes quite nicely…Thank you!

I hadn’t really given much thought to Santorini being a volcanic region. I’m more familiar with the Santorini pictured above.

But Santorini is a part of a volcanic island group at the central south end of Aegean Sea. The island caresses the vast crater left by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history – the Minoan eruption of 1613.  Thus, the island is also renown for its spectacular sea-filled volcanic caldera, which are surrounded by steep colorful cliffs. One of the island’s most fascinating sites is ruins at the Minoan site of Akrotiri. Click here for a cool video about the volcano!

On My Plate

One of my favorite restaurant’s in the Bay Area is a Greek restaurant in Palo Alto, Evvia. They serve a delicious oven roasted Branzino that is fantastic.  Inspired by that dish, I, decided to make Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono.

Branzino (plural, branzini),  is a European sea bass that is low in fat, but with a  wonderful richness when cooked on the bone. That’s because the fish has lots of cartilage.  So, when the flesh gets hot, it stays succulent long after the fish has hit the right temperature.

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono

I purchased the Branzini from our local Whole Foods market,  The fish is farm-raised in Greece and was reasonably priced at $12.99/lb.

Ladolemono, with its one-to-one acid-to-oil ratio (as opposed to the usual one-to-three), is a classic Greek vinaigrette that gives a flash of brightness to the smoky, crispy skin of the branzino (would also be wonderful with  grilled octopus, shrimp, or squid)

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 2-4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole bone-in branzini, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Ladolemono
  • 2 lemon thyme or thyme sprigs
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lemon—1 thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Season the fish cavities with salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. Stuff each cavity with a thyme sprig, and 2 lemon slices. Rub the outside of the branzini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the branzino over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp and just cooked through, about 7 minutes per side.
  3. Remove the lemon slices and thyme before plating, and discard. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with Ladolemono , and serve.
Notes
This is recipe is very simple and offers a very high taste/effort ratio

The fish turned out perfectly.  It had tender well flavored flesh (the Old Bay makes it pop), with  a hint of the lemon thyme and lemon placed inside the fish prior to grilling, And the Ladolemono was the perfect complement.  If you  haven’t tried whole Branzini on the grill, what are you waiting for?  

In My Glass

The 2013 Hatzidakis Winery Assyrtiko Santorini is a blend of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri

My tasting notes follow:

Pale green color with gold highlights and apple, lemon zest, chalk aromas with a dusty note. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with zesty acidity. It shows apple, lemon, white peach, and mineral flavors with a dusty grip and a lemony mineral driven finish.

The wine was fantastic with the Grilled Branzini.  The lemony minerality of the wine was a great compliment to the Ladelmono.  It was as if the wine was a bit of  spritz of lemon on the grilled fish.  And after taking a sip of the wine the grilled Branzini tasted better.  

The wine was very good on its own, but was better with food.  We had leftovers of the Branzini the next night and paired the wine with a homemade salsa, that included chunks of avocado on a bed of spinach.  It was a wonderful partner with at the table for both the fish and the salad!

Here’s what the #winePW crew posted about volcanic wines…
Come chat with us…

#winePW Twitter Chat September 12,  8 a.m. PT: Connect with us on twitter, using hashtag #winePW. We’ll chat for an hour about volcanic wines, food pairings, and #scorchedterroir. “October’s #winePW is hosted by @foodwineclick. Stay tuned for Jeff’s invitation that might have something to do with #MerlotMe Month.  Cheers!

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, yoga, hiking, and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine. Since I’m a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! Follow my reviews on Vivino and Delectable This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

A Taste of Alto Adige – Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Trentino-Alto Adige!

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

The Region

map-of-trentino-alto-adige

Map of Trentino-Alto Adige courtesy of beviamo.com

Trentino-Alto Adige is Italy’s northernmost wine region.  Notwithstanding it’s hyphenated name, it’s really two autonomous provinces. Alto Adige, nestled in Alps, is bordered by Veneto to the east, Lombardy to the west, and the Tirol region of Austria to the north. Alto Adige or Südtirol, as it is known in German,  has a predominately German speaking population. This is due to the region’s former status as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  It was re-claimed by Italy in 1919.  To its south is Trentino, which is almost entirely Italian speaking.

Here’s an overview of what I learned about Alto Adige:

  • Winemaking in the region pre-dates Roman occupation of the Adige Valley
  • The Alto Adige DOC, which covers the majority of wines made here, was granted in 1975
  • One of the smallest wine-growing areas in Italy (approximately 13,000 acres), producing only 0.7% of Italy’s total production
  • It leads Italy in wines meriting a DOC designation: 98% of its wines fall into this category
  • The vineyards are tiny and ownership is impossibly fragmented. Typical vineyards are about a hectare; which is probably why…
  • Most wine made here is produced by co-operatives (15 co-ops produce about 70% of the wine)
  • The major green grapes varieties, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc account for over 20% of the total wine production and are a hallmark of the region.
  • The native Schiava black grape variety dominates red wine production accounting for almost 25% of total vineyard area. The velvety Lagrein, also a native variety, is also widely planted.
  • Surrounded by the Dolomites and Rhaetian Alps Alto Adige is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Europe.
  • The Gewürztraminer grape owes its name to the village of Tramin (Termeno in Italian) about 12 miles south of the region’s major city Bolzano.

Cantina Terlano

Founded in 1893, the Cantina Terlano winery is now one of the leading wine growers’ cooperatives in Alto Adige. It’s current membership is composed of 143 growers working a total area of 165 hectares. Seventy percent of their production is white wines.

“The most impressive wines I tasted this year from Alto Adige came from Cantina Terlano. Simply put, these are reference point wines. I can’t imagine these wines not being represented in any serious cellar.” – Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 2011

Cantina Terlano winery has a traditional focus on long-lived wines. In fact, Terlano has a Wine Archive located about 13 meters underground which contains over 20,000 bottles.  It’s quite a collection of rarities comprising various vintages from 1955 to the present. Some of the wines actually date from 1893, the year the winery was founded!

The Wine

From Cantina Terlano (Kellerie Terlaner in German)… A composition of Terlano’s three most traditional white varieties, namely Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon, this old cuvée, which was one of the wines produced when the winery was founded, is an extremely complex wine. Pinot Bianco, as the main variety used in the cuvée, provides the freshness and a good acid structure, while Chardonnay delivers a pleasing warmth and mellowness and Sauvignon adds the fine aromatic character.

The fruit for this wine come from the Alto Adige Terlano  sub-region of Alto Adige, a region renown for its high quality white wines.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow-green color with pear, lemon, white flower and lemongrass aromas. On the palate, it’s dense, and tangy with bright acidity, and white peach, lemon, hint of apple flavors with a wonderful mineral note and a lingering sweet finish. Blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. 13.5% alcohol. Retail $22 >>Find this wine<<

I paired the wine with a fabulous Seafood Lasagna (recipe here) I prepared. (Note: I substituted seafood stock for the clam juice and chicken stock and used real crab meat)

What a fabulous pairing! The wine’s bright acidity was a welcome counterpoint to the richness of the Bechamel sauce in the Lasagna, while the “weight” of the wine was a perfect complement of the weight of the dish.  And in the mouth each made the other taste better!

A Taste of Alto Adige - Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

Much to my surprise, I’ve yet to try an Italian red wine for #ItalianFWT.  But , so far I’ve been captivated by Italian white wines.  I think my choices have (mostly) been driven by the foods I’ve been pairing with the wines.  But the whites have been memorable (and repeat purchases), including the Cantina Terlano Classico!

Don’t stop here.  We have lots more great information to share with you on the Trentino-Alto Adige region.  Join the rest of our Italian bloggers group:

Make sure to join us live on Twitter today and throughout the weekend at #ItalianFWT to chat about the Trentino-Alto Adige region and your experiences.  We can’t wait to hear from you.  Check back at #ItalianFWT throughout the month as well for additional blogs on food, wine and travel of Italy.  Next month on April 4th we feature Sicily so stay tuned.  Ciao ciao!

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  This week’s wine is the 2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto Colli Bolognesi Classico Vigna del Grotto.

The Winery

Federico Orsi & Carola Orsi Pallavicino founded Orsi – Vigneto San Vito in 2005 with the intent of revitalizing Bolognese wines. They found a site on the hills (200m above sea level) outside of Bologna  in Emilia Romagna.  They tend to 15 hectares of 50-year-old vines, with a focus on grapes and traditions that are indigenous to this area.

Their vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic.  They take that some “slow wine”, minimal intervention approach in the cellar utilizing native yeast, and bottling their wine unfiltered and unfined.  They do so because they seek to elaborate wines indicative of their land and to highlight the region’s unique style.

In addition to this wine, Orsi-San Vito also produces a sparkling Pignoletto, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Grappa

The Wine

This was my first time trying Pignoletto, a Italian white grape variety indigenous Emilia-Romagna, which has has two DOCGs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – the highest classification for Italian wines)Albana di Romagna, and Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto.

This wine is from the latter. It is 100 % Pignoletto.  Fermented in large oak cask.  After fermentation, the wine was aged 9 months sur lie with occasional battonage. Aging sur lie imparts some complexity and a wonderful creaminess to the wine.  It was aged in bottle for another 6 months before release.  Bottled unfiltered and unfined.

.13% alcohol; Retail – $22.99

IMG_1451 (1)My tasting notes follow:

Slightly cloudy gold color (unfiltered) with lime zest, honeysuckle,and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, and very persistent with a wonderfully supple texture. Flavor-wise it shows white peach, lime, honey, and a suggestion of persimmon flavors with a long mineral laced finish. 

Rating: A-; I really enjoyed this wine!  It was a nice change of pace, and a great winter white wine!I  Will buy more! >>Find this wine<<
Pair with: Pasta dishes prepared with fish, or chicken, mushroom risotto or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings. Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva.

The Winery

Cantele is a family run winery founded by Giovanni (“Gianni”) Battista Cantele, and his two sons Augusto and Domenico in 1979.  The winery is located between the villages of Fra Guagnano and Salice Salentino.

Today, the Cantele family owns 50 hectares planted to vine and the family’s current winemaker Gianni (one of Augusto’s sons) and agronomist Cataldo Ferrari manage another 150 hectares owned by other growers. Augusto’s other son Paolo is the winery’s brand manager and Domenico’s son Umberto is head of sales. Domenico’s daughter Luisa also works in the estate’s corporate offices together with Gianni’s wife Gabriella. The business remains to this day a true “family affair.”

Cantele produces about 2 million bottles/year, including indigenous Pugliese grapes such as Primitive and Negroamaro, along with international grape varieties like Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.

The Wine

Cantele produces wine in Salice Salentino DOC of Puglia, which is located in “the heel” of the boot in peninsular Italy.  Puglia has had a reputation for producing mostly low-quality bulk wines (a.k.a. “plonk”).  In the 21st century though, a growing number of winemakers are more focused on quality rather than quantity.  For example, Puglia is the second largest producer (after Sicily) of organic wines.  And there have been substantial investments by the iconic Italian producer Antinori.

The flagship red grape of the Salice Salentino DOC is Negroamaro , which translated to English means dark (negro), and bitter (amaro).

This wine is made from 100% Negroamaro fermented in stainless steel and aged in 1-2 year old barrique for 6 months.

13% alcohol Retail – $9.99

Wine of the Week; 2010 Cantele Salice Salentino

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with inviting black and red fruits, bramble, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, vibrant, and deliciously spicy with plum, dried cherry, black raspberry flavors, dusty tannins and a supple texture. Medium+ finish. >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-; Fabulous QPR on this wine!  And if you’re looking to try a different grape variety – give Negroamaro a try!

Pair with: Carne alla pizzaiola, meat lovers pizza, roast veal and beef, game, lamb, and ripe aged cheeses.

Sample purchased for review

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Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings. Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.