Friday, January 30, 2015

Week #3 brings us Salice Salentino Riserva, 2010 by Cantele

It's nice to get 2 in a row!  I liked this from the cork.  I find it to be very "Italianate," if I may say so?  I taste the Negroamaro grape along with clove and tobacco undertones, accompanied by a rich, and ripe plum flavor as well.  I find the balance to be excellent - gracing my pallet lightly to start, but finishing long, showcasing it's well cultivated tannins and acidity, bringing even a little vanilla and light cream to my tongue.  For all this flavor, it retains a light, clean, and crisp nature that I liked, and enjoyed with every sip.

I find it to be a very versatile wine, I'd pair it with lamb, veal, duck and even some seafood, specifically a chilean sea bass in a solid and flavorful preparation.  To me, the Salice Salentino quickly reveals it's Italian heritage, of young love out for a picnic, rewarded with a warm day on a hillside overlooking the ocean far below them, one laying upon the other, sharing a day neither will forget.  I'll bring the Salice on such a picnic, the next time I am fortunate enough to plan one.  Ah, salut.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bottle #2 - Langhe Nebbiolo 2012, by Guidobono

Guidobono Langhe Nebbiolo, 2012
Now THIS is a great value, wow. I guess I'm obligated to share that information, but I didn't know it until just now!  This bottle was a gift from paisan David Fornaro, that I decided to hold onto until I really needed a good glass. I fully expected this "Baby Barolo" to deliver but as a gift I had no idea the value proposition it brought too - I'm impressed.

A little quick background on me and Italian wines... I grew up drinking ONLY Italian wine and thinking it was the only worthwhile choice! Imagine my surprise when a project landed me in Paris and I tasted my first French wine?! Suffice to say, I was blown away.  It's not that our family frowned on other wine "Oh, I'm sure it's good" we'd say, we just loved our Chianti and Valpolicella so much! My mother pushed the envelope with some Concha y Toro and took no small amount of grief for it! For all the love at the table - Sicilians can be a bit ruthless too!

As I grew older, my horizons broadened further and quite a lot of time went by that I nearly forgot about Italian wine; as I sought to taste and learn about South America, Europe, and of course California. And when I went back for Italian, I went back to what I knew - Valpolicella and Chianti Riserva. Until one day... I met Rick Simone - it was time to be blown away again. Rick taught me in 1 fell swoop about Barolo, Barbaresco, Sangiovese, and the tremendous Super Tuscan. From there I struck out in search of more and discovered Nero d'Avola, Primitivo, and the varietal featured here: Nebbiolo, just to name a few. Such a tasty journey it's been!

Which brings us back to this bottle, and my tasting notes.  Thank you for enduring my stroll down memory lane, and without further adieu:

Tasting Notes: I find the GLN to have strong character. It's very aromatic, even alluring, and gave me no hint of alcohol. I sensed a deep dark cherry forward, followed by soft leather notes and a very light tobacco undertone. As the aroma lingered, I got just the most subtle sense of roses that I found to be fantastic. When I personally imagine a wine's balance I'm focused on what it does to my tongue when the first drop hits - do the buds pucker up? Some wines as we all know bite back! Does my tongue go all leathery, or does a sense of alcohol pervade the first taste? Is the second taste the same, similar, or completely different? By taste 3 or 4, am I smiling? This Nebbiolo was smooth from the first sip - it tread lightly on my pallet, but was far from timid in expressing it's personality, quietly and confidently you might say. So expressive was this wine that if she were a woman, I'd have smiled stupidly and asked her to dance. Instead "we danced" our way through 2 glasses and her subtle complexity surprised me every so often with another nuance I hadn't noticed before: delicate, fresh, crisp, but with strong taste and character, leaving no question that this "baby barolo" is a Nebbiolo true to it's heritage.

I hope you can find it. My quick web research puts it in the low to mid $20 range and I will be adding several more bottles to my cellar as soon as possible! Grazie, Dave!

As we begin to get into the coldest days of winter - please remember, that to know good food is to be close to God - a truth which properly indulged in will warm your heart, body, and soul all at once.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Expanding to Wine Tasting - Bottle #1, La Petite Perrier Pinot Noir

La Petite Perriere, Pinot Noir - 2012
One of my new year's resolutions (I haven't been a big fan of resolutions as of late, but I'm trying again) is to try a new bottle of wine every week this year.  52 bottles of wine on the wall, 52 bottles of wine... if you will.

Remembering that opinions are like @$$holes, everyone's got one... I started with this Pinot Noir as recommended by my local retailer. They do a really nice job stocking a wide variety of wine, from the very expensive to MD20/20, and I'm lucky to have them and their excellent staff as my primary local source.

This wine was recommended as a "great value" by one of the staff members.  To me, if you're after quaffable, it fits the bill.  It's tasty, light, very drinkable and at about $14, easy on the wallet.  I'd say it's a "good value."  But I think "GREAT" implies more; something quite more than you bargained for, in a positive way.  I don't mean to be a snob on bottle #1, but I can't go "great" for LPP Pinot Noir.

Tasting Notes:  I found it's character delicate, so much so I'd almost say "meek."  I found it expressively timid, not that I was expecting Barolo, but I've been wow'd by a few Pinots (and not just because Paul Giamatti likes it.)  The complexity just wasn't there either - most prominently, I tasted some vanilla and berries like the ones we used to eat off the bushes at my Grandmother's house in Bay Shore, NY, and after a full glass and much thought, I convinced myself I sensed some subtleness of sage.  After that, I found it tastily drinkable - or, as a wine snob would say, "quaffable."  I have to say an upside for me was a general softness on the palate, it wasn't watery, just "too light" for my taste.  It was a reasonable partner to the hard belgian goat cheese I broke into as I started into my second glass - though I've heard it said that the best friend to wine is cheese, but the reason that's true is a subject for another day.  By no fault of the wine, I would have never guessed France in a blind taste-test, but this was bottle #1 and my ability to recognize terroir has some serious developmental need!

So there you have it, I give La Petite Perriere a "good" rating and am likely to buy again.

As you muddle through this thing we call life, please remember that to know good food (and wine) is to be close to God.