Tag Archives: Nebbiolo

Arneis & Nebbiolo: The Real Roero!

19 May

Arneis is a white wine grape whose origin is from the Piedmont region of Italy. Some of the finest examples of this wine are from the DOCG region of Roero, just northwest of Alba. Arneis wines tend to be crisp, dry, and floral; full-bodied wines with notes of white pear, apple, and apricot, with a strong mineral backbone. These wines should be available in high end wine stores in the $16-25 range and run slightly high in alcohol, usually 13-13.5% ABV.

Arneis 3

 

Arneis1

 

Arneis2

2015 was an excellent year in the Roero thanks to a snowy winter, mild spring, and rainy-but-hot summer. This combination of weather in the Roero region produced often perfect or near-perfect quality grapes with the traditional mineral-focused mouthfeel plus intense aromas and flavors of fruit with excellent aging potential.

I worked my way through the #RealRoero tasting of Roero wines held in New York City, enjoying myself thoroughly, first tasting recent vintages from 2011-2015. The Arneis wines show beautiful floral aromas with delicate fruit, mineral backbone and a sturdy finish that is absolutely delightful and makes me wonder why I haven’t sought these wines out previously.

The red counterparts, largely 100% nebbiolo Roero reds, are stunning in their own perspective. In these nebbiolos, bright fruit is in the background, while beautiful aromas mystify the nose and complex flavors bathe the tongue. My tasting notes included african violet, red plum, black cherry, pencil shavings, eucalyptus, forest floor and saddle leather. Colors range from bright ruby to muted garnet.


RR1 Deltetto

 

R3 vibrant nebb

 

R Nebb 1998

 

Like the Arneis wines, Roero reds vary from season to season with flavor profiles but show great consistency in quality and equal enjoyment between cooler and warmer years. It was a delight to taste 2011- 2012 reds alongside 1998 and 2001 vintages, demonstrating the aging potential these wines have and the beauty and complexity that is available for those willing to wait the test of time by cellaring. These wines should price in the $18-35 range on shelves and are usually 13-14.5% ABV.

2Deltetto 2001

 

sergentin

 

hold bottle

 

mal

I hope you are able to find wines from the Roero region in your local wine stores and try them for yourself, please leave a note if you are! I am excited to include wines from the Roero region in my next Italian wine tasting, and am struggling with which ones I should add to my personal cellar (can you say #FirstWorldProblems?). But know that you should expect to see more of them here on JvBUnCorked!

à votre santé!

Piedmont Beauty: La Ca Nova 2011

8 Jan

La Ca Nova Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy. 14.5% ABV; Priced around $30/bottle online. 

Bright ruby in color with medium opacity. A luxurious and intoxicating nose of dried flowers, sage, red plum, cigar box, and rose bush. Depth and complexity are on the palate: bright red fruit is dominant while delightful acidity and darker fruit round out the side palate with herbaceous notes. Hints of violet, stewed plums, cherry compote, truffle and tar. White pepper, burnt orange peel, limestone and chalky soil with gentle but firm tannins round out a medium-long, taut and dry finish.

With such a complex nose and flavor profile, the wine easily complemented a silver tip roast, salmon, pasta, and cheese. This 100% Nebbiolo benefits from decanting as it opens up slowly, showing beauty after several hours of air, and continuing to drink beautifully for three days with no refrigeration (on purpose, my experiment to learn how the wine aged with time and exposure). By the third day a noticeable shift in fruit was finally evident, but I was thoroughly impressed.  I am working this year to spend more time with Italian wines. Based on this Barbaresco, I think I’m going to be enjoying myself.

la ca nova

 

à votre santé!

 

 

My Superbowl 2015 Picks (in Wine)

2 Feb

For the Superbowl, I tend to go with what I know: Bordeaux! This year however, I changed up my game plan. I made a pile of bruschetta and picked these three bottles, two from Tuscany and one from Piedmont:

Pian dell’Orino Rosso di Montalcino 2011 (found online $30-40/bottle, 14%ABV)

Roagna Langhe Rosso Nebbiolo 2006 (Crush Wine $30/bottle, 13.4%ABV)

Brunello di Montalcino “Il Marroneto” 2000 ($40-70 online; 14% ABV)

 

italian bowl

 

Needless to say, both the bruschetta and all three wines were hits! I decanted the Tuscan 2000 Brunello sangiovese and although it showed a hint of browning on the edges this wine is a stunner with plenty of life left to go. It has the most muted fruit and was the most subtle of the three, but those who drank it raved and championed its delicacy, depth and balance. The in between wine is the Pian dell’Orini Rosso di Montalcino, which is a sangiovese from Tuscany with delicate color, vibrant nose and fruit, and good balance of acidity. Rosso di Montalcino is the baby brother to Brunello, and even in a listed off-year, shows magnificent value. This wine compares well to Burgundy pinot noir, not shocking given that both Tuscany and Burgundy are on the 43rd parallel with similar topography.

The Langhe Rosso, a delightful nebbiolo from Piedmont, had the darkest color, fullest nose, and the most body of the three wines. While they all were made by different producers,  many guests who tasted the range suspected a vertical and either a name-changing winery, or neighboring vineyards.

Nope, these three wines demonstrate wonderful Italian winemaking, plain and simple. They worked wonders with the vegetarian chili as well as pizza, baked ziti, and the various appetizers that were served. For the wine drinkers, the choices were an obvious Super Bowl win.

What did you drink for the Superbowl this year?

à votre santé!

Baby Barolo from Piedmont without Peers

30 Aug

Roagna Langhe Rosso, Piedmont, Italy, 2006. From Crush Wine & Spirits, $30/bottle. 13.5% ABV.

OK, I’m a French wine snob. But I’m also a huge fan of nebbiolo. So when I saw Crush advertise a “back up the truck nebbiolo”, I thought I’d take a chance. Now I’m so glad that I did, as the only place in NYC to buy this wine off the shelf is Astor Wines, at $32, but that is still a bargain for this wine. Here’s why:

Color is violet in the center with russet-orange edges. A powerful nose features plum wine, forest floor, tar, and eucalyptus. On the palate, dark black fruit just past perfection is delightful in this 8 year old wine that is drinking like two decades have passed.  A hint of zing on the black plum and blackberry fruit is matched with rose petals, menthol, leather, and marlstone. On back palate we meet the Herschel Walker of tannins- the fullback that drives thru the defensive line, and POW, a team is left wondering what hit them. The finish is a prolonged experience of dark flavors with mushroom, red peppercorn, and old dried fruit; tar is a distant memory as the leather evolves back to the forest floor, old wood, fall leaves, a hint of bret and more marl appears as the acid shifts to the upper palate and your tongue begs for the next sip.

Wow.

So…do you love older barolos and barbarescos? Then this may be the wine for you. At this price, it’s worth buying, for it drinks like a $100+  Piedmont wine. If you don’t love Italian wines, then buy a bottle for the person in your life who does. I can think of three of my dear friends who are Italian wine lovers, and I wish I had extra bottles to give them. Well, maybe I’ll share… if they are really nice!

The hype was right, this is a back-the-truck-up wine. If you’re serious about Italian wine, this is one for you. Chill it lightly, then decant for an hour before serving. Three days later, it’s still drinking marvelously. You can thank me later, but remember to invite me to the dinner party where you serve this. 

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à votre santé!

Barolo: The Italian Margaux!

7 Jul

Michele Chiarlo “Tortoniano” Barolo, DOCG, Italy 2007

Sample provided by Wine Chateau. $37/bottle (List at $65) 13.5% ABV

I’d been waiting for the perfect storm- a free evening and an Italian dinner- to crack open this Barolo and taste it. I’m a huge fan of the nebbiolo grape, and was nervous about giving the wine a good flavor set to complement. The good news is that I paired it several times, and each was an easy success.

With a fading ruby color and a perfumed nose of wild roses with menthol, this wine hits the palate hard with a full body of red and black fruit and a host of secondary flavors: vegetation, leather, earth, spice box, eucalyptus, and cedar. It leaves a delightfully long, lingering finish on the back and top palates.

photo-7

After the initial rush of red fruit, the acidity cleans the palate nicely and soft tannins invite you back for another sip, luxuriously -which shows obvious care in the winemaking to have such wonderful structure. The depths of flavor becomes obvious with air or being held in the mouth-which is when I realized how easy pairing this wine would be, and it shone nicely with pasta and meat sauce, turkey with stuffing and cranberries, and cheeses from savory to strong. Best pairings  will obviously be with stronger flavors.

What I learned is that I didn’t need to wait to pair this wine. It was seemingly made to complement food and is delicious both at room temperature and slightly chilled.  The bottle kept beautifully over a week with refrigeration and normal aeration, I enjoyed it thoroughly every time.

If you’re a French wine snob, you should know that this wine shares many attributes from the wines of the Margaux region: feminine (soft) in nature, with nice depth, similar flavor palate and structure. The Barolo, however, has better acidity to cleanse the palate and is much lower in price.

If the cost is still a concern, it might be useful to know that wines like this one- DOCG certified, 100% nebbiolo grapes from the Piedmont region and consistently rated in the ‘90’s- I’d normally expect prices in the mid $60 to $90 range for a bottle. Listing at $65, this one can be had under $40/bottle, which is a wonderful value in good Italian wine! If that seems pricey, then tuck away in your mind that this is an ideal bottle for a special meal/occasion or as a reasonably priced gift for someone who adores Italian wine, and you will be thrilled when you open and enjoy it.

Here is a link to the winemaker’s website:

You can also buy it direct from Wine Chateau.

à votre santé!

Win, Place, or Show

20 Mar

Cantine Povero Barolo DOCG 2008, sample from Wine Chateau, $20/bottle.

Cantine Barolo

From the Asti region of Piedmont: the color is deep ruby, evolving into garnet with clear edging. The nose on this wine should only be referred to as “aroma” as I find it intoxicating: rose petals, violet, and hibiscus. Made with 100% nebbiolo grapes, this wine has a surprising initial start. While I expected a more powerful set of flavors, I found this wine to feature gentle red currants and cherry as predominant flavors, medium to delicate in body that still retains enough acidity and tannins to hold its own against a heavy meat sauce or rich cheese. (I actually made spaghetti with a mushroom, onion & meat sauce to try this on my second day with this wine as I expected it would be an ideal pairing. It was!)  I had consistent tasting notes & response over three days and three tastings of this wine.

There is obviously good value in this nebbiolo, a well cared for and crafted wine with a hefty DOCG stamp.  While it works well as is, part of me wishes it had more flavors and some additional notes to allow for more complexity, but I enjoyed it with food in spite of the absence of notes of terroir or wood barrels. At $20 this is a wonderful deal on Barolo and perfect to balance heavier dishes and rich sauces, and worth your consideration.

This wine is like a two year-old racehorse, spirited and agile, needing the next step in guidance to achieve greatness, assuming the owner or vineyard is interested in further development. With some calculation and work, this wine could go from a local track winner to a household name.

You can check out Cantine Povero’s website here, and the direct link to the Barolo here. You can also order this wine direct from Wine Chateau on their page linked here.

à votre santé!

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