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Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2007

Date: Sun, May 20, 2012 Wine Tasting

Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2007


From a roundly touted vintage, the 2007 Testamatta is the flagship wine from the estate of full time winemaker/part time artist - Bibi Graetz. A trailblazer for 100% old vine Sangiovese, Bibi Graetz has put the town of Fiesole firmly on the international wine map within a few vintages with his single varietal Testamatta. Graetz's range of wines all come with an additional splash of colour as his own artwork adorns every bottle.

Shunning international varieties, Graetz uses local varieties throughout his range of wines including Canaiolo and Colorino for other reds and Ansonica (imported from the beautiful Tuscan island of Giglio) and Vermentino for his whites. If you're interesting in learning more about Tuscan varieties then the Bibi Graetz range would be an excellent (and guaranteed delicious) place to start.

Earning massive points in 2006, a 98 from James Suckling, the 2007, despite the A Rating vintage, didn't fair quite so well scooping a "lowly" 95 from the old Wine Spectator man and a disappointing 93 from Antonio Galloni. I also enjoyed the 06s, so, with such damning praise heaped upon the 2007, I was excited to bag a case myself and see if the dropped points were warranted.

Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2007 - BUY - £75 (easily £40 within Italy)
Intense dark purple to the rim. On the nose the wine offers concentrated & powerful aromas of cedar, leather, chocolate, prune, cherry and smoke but it is on the palate that the wine truly shines. Super silky smooth mouth feel combined with layers of dark fruit, the chocolate note continuing to the finish with a flutter (I'm going to use "flutter" - deal with it) of violet on the end. 95 Points

For those into instant Graetzification (ooo that's good) then opt for the 07, a tastier, more vibrant wine for drinking today will be hard to find. The 2006's score better for structure alone. The 2007 can be drunk, very happily, from 2012.

Do you have an opinion on the Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2007? Let me know.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Cesanese del Piglio DOCG

Date: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 Wine Tasting

Cesanese del Piglio DOCG


Cesanese del PiglioIf Maximus drunk wine you can bet your bippy it was Cesanese del Piglio. Leave the monks their Est! Est!! Est!!! and the senate their sweet Mulsum, Casanese del Piglio is a wine for tough guys and Lazio fans. Cesanese del Affile (90% min variety in Cesanese del Piglio) is a difficult, stubborn little grape, gesturing in its back yard yet unwilling to travel but; is he worthy of honour?

Since the year dot (well, Roman times, if anyone knows when the year dot was I'll send you this bottle, scroll down for competition) they've been producing wine on the red soils of
the Ernici mountains, yet it took until November 2011 for this plucky little wine, produced solely in Frosinone province to be awarded its very own DOCG and get the chance to show some true potential. For many, this was a DOCG too far and Cesanese del Piglio has some work to do to disprove the naysayers.

With DOCG status comes the responsibility to get these wines up to international snuff and emerge as THE Lazio wine.


However, the Italian Wine quality drive has arrived in Frosinone. In recent years these wines have gained some following in the capital (Rome, not London) but also in Germany and some unexpected notoriety in the USA, still currently enjoying its Italian Varietal fad. But what about Blighty? Sorry, no. To the best of my knowledge not one of the major wine retailers, even those specialising in Italian wine carries a Cesanese del Piglio, and considering its rich, long history and growing reputation I think that's a bit rubbish.

Learn a little about Cesanese del Piglio
From the province of Frosinone, around 100kms south-east of Rome covering around 15,000 hectares, Casanese del Piglio DOCG lies on the volcanic red slopes of the Ernici mountains.

The soils are, in general, severely lacking in nutrients but cover a large area so lots of variation exists within the general quality of the grapes from the region as a whole, with vines planted from 200 m to 1000 m above sea level the exposures also vary. As with any large appellation knowing which vineyards produce the best fruit and which producers control their yields effectively is important. One variable this region shares in common is climate, and it shares that climate with Rome. Hot summers that cause drought for 1-2 months of every year. Within DOCG regulations in Cesanese del Piglio it is permissible to use irrigation in times of stress.

So what's a Cesanese del Piglio like?

As a dry red it can be bitter and this is why several other grapes are permitted as a small part of the blend to add that touch of aroma/acidity. Currently it is permissible to add 10% Sangiovese, Barbera, Montepulciano, Trebbiano or Bombino Bianco. Cesanese del Piglio is available in a variety of styles including still, sparkling, dry and sweet. These wines are said to accompany smoked cheese and smoked meats rather well, traditionally they display blackberry and tobacco notes and can be rustic and tannic if handled poorly.

Who are the best producers of Cesanese del Piglio?

Tre Bicchiere Awards have gone to Antonello Coletti, but excellent and good value, reliable Cesanese del Piglio are produced each year by producers such as Casale della Iora, Marcella Giuliani, Colletonno, Giovanni Terenzi, Villa Simone and La Viscola.

Are these wines available in the UK?

You tell me? If you can find one, I'll throw up a link.

Win this bottle of Cesanese del Piglio DOCG?
Q1. When was the year dot?
Q2. Do you think the bottle in the photo is pronounced "dives" or "divvies"?

Best answer wins. Leave your mail address but space it or you could get spammed! (ex. wine90 @ gmail . com)
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Tignanello 2008

Date: Sun, Mar 25, 2012 Wine Tasting

Tignanello 2008

Tignanello 2008Antinori's Tignanello 2008 has officially reached the status of wine bling. One of a handful of Italian wines (particularly Super Tuscans) set to climb in price over the next 12-18 months, out of reach for the majority of UK wine buyers as Chinese collectors and oenophiles begin to buy up Italian "status" wines.

Was it only a year ago I was lamenting the price of Tignanello 2006? Too bad, the '06, '07 and '08 vintages can expect to reach and exceed £100 in the coming months according to all sources.

There's been plenty written about the potential for Italian "status" wines to go stratospheric in the press lately (see Decanter April 2012 and Vino Al Vino) but it wasn't until a Bordeaux wine investment company called my home number and tried to flog me a few cases of Sassicaia that I realised how hot these wines are right now.

How do these people get your number and know your interests? And if they know this much, why don't they know I'm not good for several cases of outrageously priced wine? They're not quite as irritating as the "Turn your computer on, you have a virus and must download some software from www.dodgybuggers.org" people, but they're still rather creepy.

Antinori Tignanello 2008So does this spell the end of Tignanello on every decent Italian restaurants wine list?

Will the demand be sufficient and the trend long enough to dampen my Italian city breaks for the foreseeable future?! (!)... (!!!)

Well, nah, the great thing about Tuscan wine in the 21st century is the amazing depth and breadth of fantastic quality wines available, as the older STs have inspired producers, old & new, to get into the game and produce blended wines of outstanding quality all hoping to be the next big thing in Tuscan wine.
So if you 're mad for Sangiovese based Super Tuscans but don't fancy the £80 price tag then there are plenty of great alternatives that fly a little further under the radar (for now!)

My three recommendations for Sangiovese based Super Tuscans that hit all the right notes are:

Il Blu by Brancaia - £40
Primamateria by Poggerino - £25
Il Futuro by Colombaio di Cencio - £35


Tignanello 2008 - Antinori - BUY - £80
Deep, intense ruby red. Aromatically very fruit forward with black fruits dominating hints of spice and earth. On the palate this wine is impressively smooth, with medium + acidity and layers of black fruit, particularly dark cherries unfolding easily and readily on the attack & through to the finish. Of course this wine is tannic right now but even for early drinking this Tig was well balanced. Tignanello 2008 has an elegant yet firm structure and great length. How it will unfold over the next 10-15 years? I'm afraid I'll only have to guess! 95 Points

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009

Date: Sat, Mar 24, 2012 Wine Tasting

Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009


Bugger! Walking away from Bermondsey Street, home of the WSET (wine skool), I was pretty sure I'd blown my latest round of exams on the WSET trail. Questions about Montepulciano d'Abruzzo I'm pretty sure I aced, but the 6 points allocated to "How do you open a bottle of Champagne" I have since found out (via frantically looking through my textbook as soon as I'd left the building), I got totally wrong.

Yet, somehow, I've managed to open countless bottles of Champagne in my time, when it comes to expertly knowing how to do it, I'm afraid I just "dont av di know how". Poor me. I await my result in 8 weeks time.


In the meantime, I am celebrating or commiserating with a firm friend, sod Champagne, Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo has always come through for me so I am excited to try the 2009.

Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009 - PASS - £9
A clear, deep ruby red. On the nose the wine presents youthful, intensely perfumed notes of dark cherry, dark chocolate, violets and blackcurrants. A dry and drying palate awaits with medium- acidity and medium+ tannins, alcohol level of 13% is held well in balance by a "semi-skimmed" body and gum chewing tannins. This is a big, flavoursome wine with some very raisened dark fruit notes, and kinda stalky (high yields much). The finish is quite short although those tannins will hang around your mouth all evening. 82 Points

Value for the €5 in Italy, not for the £9 in the UK. Served up with Spaghetti al Pomodoro - it's more than passable. Speaking of which...

And in case you were wondering:
  • Remove the foil and loosen the wire cage.
  • The cork must be held securely in place from the moment the wire cage is loosened.
  • Tilt the bottle at an angle of 30 degrees, gripping the cork, and use the other hand to grip the base of the bottle.
  • Turn the bottle, not the cork.
  • Hold the cork steady, resisting its tendency to fly out and ease it slowly out of the bottle.
  • The gas pressure should be released with a quiet "phut", not an explosion and flying cork.

"Give it a shake and aim it at yours friends" - is surely more fun?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Antinori - Castello della Sala - Cervaro della Sala 2009

Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 Wine Tasting

Antinori Cervaro della Sala 2009

Name: Antinori Cervaro della Sala
Grapes: 85% Chardonnay, 15% Grechetto*
Alchohol: 13%
Classification: IGT Umbria

While all the world's wine bloggers are enjoying a jolly good knees up in Perugia at the #iwinetc, I thought I would pay homage to the event with a quick note on one of the very best wines of the area, Antinori's Cervaro della Sala. Certainly one of the big names on the Umbrian wine landscape, along with the icons of Caprai & Lungarotti, Cervaro della Sala takes its rightful place in the line up of Umbrian wine superstars.

Benefiting from the huge experience of the Antinori family (who took over the estate in 1940), the Castello della Sala Chardonnay is certainly the most famous, and by some the most highly regarded, Chardonnay of Italy. Decorated by Gambero Rosso, seemingly year on year, the 2009 scooped another Tre Bicchieri award, one of only nine awards to be bestowed upon Umbria this year.

So how is the 2009 Antinori Cervaro della Sala any different from the similarly excellent Gambero Rosso award scooping 2008? Simply a matter of vintage? Well, not quite.

Although vintage did play an important role in the difference between the 2008 and the 2009, the most obvious difference is the reduction of oak on the nose and palate. 2009 is the first year since I've been tasting this Chardonnay that the wood, especially in the early phase of the wines life, has not made itself immediately known upon opening the bottle.

2009 is the first year that "new oak" has not been specified by Antinori and here we have a slightly different, possibly more interesting, Castello della Sala. We already know the critics are just as impressed, but what will your everyday Antinori fans make of the changes and will the 2010 follow suit? Time will tell.

Apart from the use of new oak (or not) - there were significant differences in the growing season. 2008 was a classic vintage in Umbria with ideal conditions, a good amount of water in spring and a long, steady beautiful summer with the harvest coming in late August.This balanced, systematic weather allowed for perfectly ripe bunches, making great wine in such a vintage, is child's play for the winemakers at Antinori. In comparison, 2009 was a little more challenging with earlier budding, a blisteringly hot August and an even earlier harvest in mid August left tight skinned berries though with zippy acidity.

Antinori Cervaro della Sala 2009 - BUY - £37.99
"An intense golden colour with satisfying aromas of butter and hazelnut, although the oak profile strikes a better balance in 2009 than 2008 with tropical fruits, banana and flowers on the nose. The palates hazelnut & pear twang and coating full bodied mouthfeel give way to a long pleasant finish where the acidity comes through strongly. A well balanced, weighty wine with another 5-6 years ahead of it.". 91 Points

Leave a Comment:
About Antinori, Oak in Chardonnay or this particular wine!

* No matter what Decanter Magazine may tell you.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Reserve 2009

Date: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 Wine Tasting

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Reserve 2009

I am incredibly suspicious of Zind Humbrecht, for it has joined the ranks of random phenomena that follow me around and make surprise appearances in my life. Like the number 47 or that "Express Yourself" song by Madonna, Zind Humbrecht is there, waiting in the shadows, ready to pop up and wave at me like an old friend you're possibly, maybe, perhaps... trying to avoid.

But secretly, as with Madonna and 47, there's always a part of me which is happy to see the familiar flute of this Alsatian number, its consistency and reliability make me feel secure, plus, it was on half price at Majestic round the corner so I figured, what the hell.

This isn't the first time Zind Humbrecht has made an appearance on the Wine90 blog (of course). With over 30 different wines produced each year the wines of Oliver Humbrecht receive praise not just for sheer variety, it's not simply a case of "A for Effort", they also run the gamut of price points whilst maintaining a strong quality brand, i.e, the lower priced wines also exhibit craftsmanship and attention to detail.

All Humbrechts wine, since 1997, have been produced biodynamically, care and attention to detail are the watchwords here. It is the well known philosophy of Oliver Humbrecht to let the quality of the terroir speak for itself, keep the yields low and let the work of winemaking take place in the vineyard. In other words, let the grapes express themselves. Hey Hey.

The Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Reserve 2009 is one of the entry level wines from Zind Humbrecht. The grapes come from an assortment of their own domaines rather than one individual clos or vineyard as with the Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer. Even so, this wine, just £12.99 at Majestic (in-store, they've run out online) displays all the tell-tale signs of Humbrecht perfectionism and the natural potential of Alsatian Pinot Gris.

Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Reserve 2009 - BUY - £12.99
Highly evocative, perfumed nose with spicy floral notes overlaid with a hint of pineapple and blossom. Mid bodied with zippy acidity and a streak of minerality on the palate. I'm assured this is totally dry but the tip of my tongue told me otherwise, if not, fruit is playing me for a fool once more! A lovely wine either way, nice length to the finish and certainly a bargain at £13. 88 Points

Leave a Comment:
Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Reserve 2009 - Is this dry? Go out and buy it and tell me I'm not going mad?

What random phenomena follows you around? Let's get spooky... it's that time of the year after all.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004

Date: Tue, Oct 18, 2011 Wine Tasting

Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004

In between the heat wave of '03 and the evangelising of '05 came the often dismissed Burgundy vintage of 2004, a brilliant year for nabbing choice bargains both in Burgundy and Bordeaux. Whenever I get a chance to taste Red Burgundy, which is sadly all too rare, I make sure I taste any 2004s in the line up, looking for a savvy purchase.

2004 Burgundy not only offers great value in 2011, we're also, well within for some and approaching for many, the optimum drinking window of these undervalued wines.

The wine I want to review today, the Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004, is not exactly a value driven wine by an unknown producer! It is still however, a bargain. Unlike so many other red burgundies of the vintage, we see no signs here of lack of concentration or green murky palates, in fact quite the opposite with a rich layer of quality, savoury fruit.

Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004 - BUY - £76
An enchanting nose with opulent notes of violets, minerals and intense cherries with a hint of nuttiness. The fruit and acidity seem to be perfectly in balance in 2011 and the tannins have not yet lost their grip. Longevity on the finish and a supple, rounded mouthfeel complete the experience. 94 Points - Drink Now - 2018

If you're prepared to trust in an Icelandic merchant, you can find the Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004 for just £76. The lower scoring "superior vintage" 2007 Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux is currently retailing for over double this price. So if you're looking for some quality Burgundy but still fancy a bargain then this 18 Point Jancis Echezeaux must be the way to go.

Leave a Comment:
2004 Red Burgundy - Any Recommendations? Tried the Joseph Drouhin Grand Cru Grands Echezeaux 2004?


Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Anselmet Wine

Date: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 Wine Tasting

Anselmet Wine

If you've found this page chances are you've recently been on holiday to Italy, had a bottle of Anselmet wine andimmediately arrived home andhit upGoogle to find your nearest retailer. Right?

Right! The good news is: huzzah, you found a page dedicated to Anselmet Wine, the even better news is that, if you scroll down, you'll probably find the exact bottle you tried. But alas, there is bad news. You can't buy these wines back home. If you're from the UK then just forget about it. If you're reading this in the USA you can buy the Muller-Thurgau, which is fab news as it's one of the best, but only the Muller-Thurgau, sorry.

Recognise this bottle? All Anselmet wines do look rather similar but I am very keen on this simple style and the type font sets the tone for the whole experience I find (she said in Trebuchet).

Who are Anselmet?
Between Saint Pierre and Villeneuve (very Italian) you can find the historicwine making areaof Torrette and the small but perfectly formed winery of Anselmet and it's owner Renato.

Producing 35,000 bottles and with just 5 hectares under vine, Anselmet are highly respected producers in the region, not only for the numerous awards and accolades they've accumulated over the years, but also for their dedication to the indigenous grapes of the Valle d'Aosta and their hearty flag waving for the wine region in general.

Recently I was lucky enough to try9 Anselmet wines in Italy at a tasting that comprised several of the best winemakers in the Valle d'Aosta including La Crotta di Vegneron, Les Cretes and, the up and coming, Elio Ottin. What follows is a set of adjectives, possible similes but certainly no hyperbole and9 wine reviews.

Anselmet - Muller-Thurgau 2009 - €15
Notes of pineapple, gooseberry and apricot. Mild acidity on the palate with a sumptuous mouthfeel but a touch hot on the end. Beautiful flavours and a surprisingly journey on the palate left me a bit confused. 86 Points

Anselmet - Muller-Thurgau 2010 - €15
As you'd expect, lighter and more vibrant than the '09 with hints of lime cordial on the nose and a nice little citrus kick on the finish. Tropical notes abound.Better acidity. Crisp and Fresh.89 Points

Anselmet -ArlineNV - €?
Just 900 bottles of Arline per year. Addictive nose, notes of honey, apricot,figs and candied lemon, lovely sweet wine suited perfectly to theblue cheese of the region. Loved it.89 Points

Anselmet - Chambave Muscat- €14
Sweet orange peel and candied notes on the nose give way to a palate that has filed for divorce. Bitter and herbaceous notes in the mouth but with great length, when that length brings nettles, you don't want it. You can tellthe wine iswell made and interesting but it was not to my personal tastes.84 Points

Anselmet - Chardonnay (Green Label)2010 - €15
Faulty.

Anselmet - Chardonnay (Eleve en Fut de Chene) 2009 - €30
The star of the show. Elegant nose,spicy and warm with a hint of banana, if Chardonnays were drunk at Xmas, this would be the one to pop. Well balanced, nice use of oak, some tropical flavours and a silky mouthfeel. Happy Chardonnay.91 Points


Anselmet -Torrette Superiore2009 - €?
Mid bodied, strawberries and cream and cranberry aromas. Fresh and far more interesting than I thought it would be, complex with afair few tanninsand a good vein of acidity. Surprised and impressed by this. 90 Points

Anselmet - Pinot Noir 2009 - €16
Strawberry, vanilla and hints o' Hubba Bubba.Interesting wine, really nice flavour profile but then fades to green at the end, full bodiedPinot and well structured if a little one dimensional.87 Points

Anselmet -Merlot Le Pellerin2009 - €?
Dark brooding purple and ready to give you what for.Chocolate, plums and some floralaromasjoin you on the palate for somefull on fruit and a bit of heat on the finish, feels like a baby bruiserwho needs a few years in the cellar. Still good fun today. 88 Points

Anselmet -Syrah Henri2009 - €?
Inky deep purple. Bramble, hedgerow, black forest gateau Syrah with an enchanting nose and asuper fruitdriven palate. My notes say Flavour Flavourandthe only underlining in the book reminds me that this must be aknockout wine!90 Points

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If you like Anselmet Wine - share the love.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Valle d'Aosta Wine

Date: Wed, Jul 27, 2011 Wine Tasting

Valle d'Aosta Wine

The Valle d'Aosta; currently synonymous with numerous oddities, skiing, snow, castles, Savoy, Italians speaking French, being tiny, many things, although the Valle d'Aosta produces fabulous wine, some extraordinary and celebrated, the UK wine radar does not pick up the Valle d'Aosta wine waves.

Having had a taste-tastic past experience with Les Cretes, the Gambero Rosso luvvy of the region, I thought I would organise a tasting of the best wines from the Valle d'Aosta from my family home in Umbria and host it at the house of my vintner near neighbour. Possibly a mistake...

Valle d'Aosta wine is nothing like Tuscan or Umbrian wine, its not even close, the grapes are different, the terroir is different, the weather is different.

Valle d'Aosta wines may be considered atypical in terms of our anglo-impressions of Italian wine, in fact blind, you may think these wines are from Germany or Eastern Europe.


Will a Sangiovese/Merlot winemaker, with a healthy dose of campanilismo give these wines a warm reception?

Not a chance. Is he wrong? Certainly.

Nowhere is it more obvious that wine evolves around the food of the region than in Italy, this IS a time when you can generalise about a country's wine. The wines of the Valle d'Aosta represents their region, of course its terroir and indigenous grapes, but also, it's food.

This wine was not made for the palates of Southern Italians or our English palates, so ingrained with Sangiovese and Sun when we do Italian. When trying the wines of the Valle d'Aosta for the first time you may need to do some mental readjustment (unless you are already au fait with the Piedmont). Certainly with the reds, less so with the whites. We Brits cope well with Muller Thurgau, Muscat and even Petit Arvine but it's the regions Chardonnays that will spark recognition and therefore often, enjoyment, for most.

Last month we tried 50 of the best Valle d'Aosta wines kindly provided by some of the very best producers in the region. Wines from Les Cretes, Anselmet, La Crotta and rising star Elio Ot
tin were kindly sent direct from the producers themselves and the next 4 blog posts will be dedicated to each producer in turn. But before this, let's get up to speed on this little region with big potential.

10 Valle d'Aosta Wine Facts!

1. Valle d'Aosta is Italy's smallest region and has a wine production of just 3 million litres per year.

2. Although 25 different wines are produced here, from Nebbiolo and Chardonnay to Petit Rouge and Pinor Noir there is but one DOC, the DOC Valle d'Aosta.

3. The Valle d'Aosta is home to the highest classified vineyards in Italy at Morgex.

4. The Valle d'Aosta's most celebrated/decorated wines are its Chardonany and Fumin.


5. Barolo fans may find something interesting in the wines of Donnas, a Nebbiolo wine just over the Piedmont border in the Valle d'Aosta, these wines have been steadily improving in quality over the last 10 years but are still relatively cheap and unknown outside Italy.

6. Although the Valle d'Aosta is located in the alps it has a continental climate with long, hot and dry summers with harvest time in early September.

7. The region is split into 3 main vineyard areas; the Valdigne, the Valle Centrale and the Bassa Valley (that's Upper Valley, Central Valley and Lower Valley to you).

8. You heard that Phylloxera wiped out the vineyards of Europe? Not so in the highest most reaches of the alps where, at over 3900 feet, those bugs took one look at the mountains and thought "nah".

9. Even in such a tiny and mountainous area, there are marked differences in the soils of the area. As a rule of thumb you can say the higher up you go the sandier the soil, the lower down, the more alluvial with clay and gravel featuring.

10. The region produces a diverse range of wines. Not only are their 25 different wines produced, these include light and bold red and whites, sweet and sparkling wines. It's an interesting and diverse region and one any wine lover should take some time to get to know.

Leave a Comment:
Favourite Valle d'Aosta Wine? Cant stand Valle d'Aosta wine? Never heard of Valle d'Aosta wine? Talk to me!


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Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Rivetto Barbera d'Alba 2008 Zio Nando

Date: Sat, Jul 16, 2011 Wine Tasting

Rivetto Barbera d'Alba 2008 Zio Nando

FACTFILE - Rivetto Barbera d'Alba Zio Nando 2008
Name: Rivetto Barbera d'Alba Zio Nando
Grapes: 100% Barbera
Alcohol: 14.00%
Classification: Barbera d'Alba DOC (Sinio)


Style: Barbera is food wine. High acid, with a black cherry profile and at their best capable of ageing. This Barbera is very well made with a sense of place due to some interesting forest floor notes. Maybe that's the 08 rain showing up! 18 Months in oak, manual harvest, stalk removal, partial 1944 vines = quality, care & attention.

Vintage: 2008 started poorly in the Piedmont with rain and cool weather bringing rot to some areas; there was much work to be done in the vineyard during the first half of the vintage. Rain continued into the summer months although the final ripening of the grapes was accompanied by some more stable warm weather. The vintage suited Nebbiolo rather than Barbera, although Barbera is a hardy grape and with loving care some fine Barbera wines were crafted.

Food Pairing: Meat and Pasta - naturally! Though such an acidic grape makes a wonderful pairing for many dishes including veal, lasagne and cheeses. What you really want to know... will Zio Nando go with actual Nando's? Surely a challenge begging to be taken?

Uncle Nando would be pretty chuffed with this wine. A 90 point Barbera d'Alba without hesitation with his name on the bottle and a % of the grapes from the vines he planted in 1944. Brothers, Alessandro and Enrico Rivetto currently produce 12 different wines at their Langhe estate which has been run by the Rivetto family since 1939 although the family story in wine goes back even further than that. These wines are all of a fairly small production, this 08 Barbera runs to just 10,000 bottles, their other wines, to similar low figures.

Total Rivetto Production
4 Barolo
3 Barbera d'Alba
1 Barbaresco
1 Dolcetto d'Alba
1 Langhe Nebbiolo
1 Moscato d'Asti
1 Langhe Nascetta

I wonder if the Rivetto estate is visited by slightly more females wine enthusiasts than male?

Rivetto Barbera d'Alba Zio Nando 2008 - BUY - £25
Thick dark ruby red in the glass. The perfume of this wine is divine, with forest fruits coming through strongly as well as sweet vanilla and a touch of chocolate, reminds me of a Mon Cherie chocolate. Evolves on the palate with a gentle attack, fruit forward mid palate (cherries) and a strong acidity that is well balanced. The fruit continues throughout the experience. Really strong effort especially considering the strife of '08. 91 Points

Where can I buy this wine? - Everywine

This Rivetto Barbera d'Alba 2008 Zio Nando, together with the Rivetto 2007 Barolo Serralunga, was very kindly sent to me by Rita Barbero who is in charge of their wine blog and marketing.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Germano Ettore Barolo Prapo 2005

Date: Tue, Jun 28, 2011 Wine Tasting

Germano Ettore Barolo Prapo 2005 - ENTER BAROLO COMPETITION HERE

The last I heard, there were only 12 more entries needed before the first draw of this competition so if you fancy bagging yourself the two previous Barolo wines I have reviewed (and this one) get yourself over to the Design Wine's Barolo competition. All you need to do is enter your email to stand a chance of winning all three of these Barolos. Design Wine are giving you four chances to win this Barolo trilogy and time is running out, so off you go, I'll wait here while you're doing it.

Finished? Okay, good. So onto this wine, the Germano Ettore Barolo Prapo 2005.

Germano Ettore Barolo Prapo 2005
A mid garnet red, the wine invites you to take in its aromas by teasing you from the cork pop. On the nose this Barolo offers plenty of oak but dies away a little to reveal strawberries, some herb notes (thyme) and a touch of graphite. The palate is full bodied, tight and tannic telling me we may need to wait a while to see the best of the Germano Ettore Barolo Prapo 2005. The finish is of good length and pleasantly persistent. 86 Points

For those wondering why anyone would call their wine "Prapo", this is a Barolo cru, like Ginestra or Rocche, it is not simply another mannered example of Italish.

Like the previous two wines, this is a low production example of Barolo and pretty rare. Not sold at all in the UK in fact except by Design Wines. Only 5000 bottles of the '05 exist and knowing the Italians half of them will have had their lives cut tragically short already. So this is your chance to take home a piece of Serralunga memorabilia and give a Barolo a good home.

Let me know if you win! Happy Wimbledon Ladies Quarter Finals Day.

*New Blog edited by me Smichov Hotels Prague

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2005

Date: Tue, Jun 14, 2011 Wine Tasting

Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2005 - ENTER FREE BAROLO COMPETITION

The second Barolo from the competition pack is the Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2005 another super Barolo not readily available in the UK and certainly well worth winning. Design Wines are a little bit different in the way they source and rotate their wines. Rather than simply going after famous name Italian wines that are often requested (and therefore often supplied) they have a direct relationship with the wineries and producers, hand selecting wines they feel offer superb value for money whilst offering something a little different. They are choices born of passion and so many of the wines, this one included, are not just tasty wines but also interesting wines.

The Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2005 is a pretty rare beast with only 6000 bottles of the 05 produced. This wine is not for those seeking a traditional Barolo in either taste or profile. In the glass the wine is alive with tiny little particles of Barolo flavour dancing around due to the lack of fining or filtration. This is a long haired, rock n roll, bad boy Barolo with a secret passion for Berlioz. Probably the most interesting of the three wines but likely the least classically styled, I love it, but Barolo traditionalists may not. You can win a bottle of this Barolo and also a GB Burlotto '05 and Germano Ettore '05 by entering the competition with Design Wines Here.


Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto 2005 - WIN - £25-£30
Alive, living, breathing garnet red, deep in colour. On the nose this wine gives acres of pronounced oak and sweet alcohol but below this you can find violets, coffee and plenty of dark fruit. On the palate the wine is bold and a bit rough with an aggressive attack and plump mouthfeel . The mid palate is jam packed with licorice. The wood is still prevalent on the palate and I'm not sure the wine offers up enough acidity to truly age into a long term cellaring option. A decent length to the finish but still too much bitter wood for my preference on the end. Many classic Barolo lovers may feel like they've had a bit of a punch up after a confrontation with this wine but it is tasty and it is different! 86 Points

Leave a Comment:
My Twitter feed tells me that the love affair with Barolo in the last decade has ended, with many younger drinkers preferring to explore the other varietal wines (including Nebbiolo based) that Italy has to offer. Has Barolo had its day?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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G B Burlotto Barolo Acclivi 2005 - Win It

Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 Wine Tasting

G B Burlotto Barolo Acclivi 2005 - Enter Competition to Win 3 Bottles of Barolo

Italian Wine Fans unite! This is the first of three Barolo entries on the run from DesignWine and one of the wines offered in their fabulous competition to win 3 bottles of Barolo for the terribly difficult task of entering your name and email here. There are 4 minipacks of Barolo to be won and the winners will be drawn at random every 250/500/750 and 1000th entry, thems are pretty good odds what not?

But, is this particular Barolo worth winning? Having had some experience of the three Barolos on offer I had a fair idea that this wine would give a pretty good show. 2005 was a super little Barolo vintage and the third in a run of five high class Barolo years but the 2005 G.B.Burlotto Acclivi was new to me and what surprised me was how well this wine is drinking today. I'm not sure this wine is really going to improve significantly over the next few years.

This wine, the Acclivi, is one of five different Barolo wines produced by G B Burlotto, their top wine being the Monvigliero which I'm sure is still a long way from being ready.

So to this wine, the 2005 G B Burlotto Barolo Acclivi ....

G B Burlotto Barolo Acclivi 2005
- WIN - £25-30 where sold.
Beautiful ruby red in the glass, takes a good hour to open up but when it does the intense aroma makes its way to you before you lift the glass. Typical and stunning Nebbiolo notes with strawberry, glazed cherry, marzipan, sweet spicy oak and a touch of orange peel. A silky mouth feel offers firm tannins that are gently washed away with perfect acidity although the finish is a little clipped. You are left with a somewhat watery finish and this is a surprise considering how enjoyable the first 30 seconds of this wine were. A good Barolo and fair for this price but not awesome, however, ready to drink and displaying good typicity. 89 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Why buy it when you can win it? I guess if you don't win the 3 pack you could buy it instead. This particular wine is easy to locate, available in the US, Italy, Europe and the UK from many online wine stores and of course, Design Wine. If you're still stuck may I suggest - wine-searcher.com

Leave a Comment:
As always, any reviews of Burlotto Barolo welcome and if you are one of the lucky 4 winners it would be really cool to hear from you and how you enjoyed (or didn't!) this Barolo.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Barolo 2005 - Design Wine Competition

Date: Sun, Jun 5, 2011 Wine Tasting

Barolo 2005 - Design Wine Competition - ENTER COMPETITION HERE - 4 Chances to Win!

Who fancies some Barolo? If you're like me the answer is "yes please" and "always". Italian wine fans generally agree that Nebbiolo is the Italian grape and Barolo, her finest expression, and so it's with great excitement that I can tell the readers of the Wine90 blog and its incessant Twitter feed that I, together with Design Wine, have created a fabulous competition allowing all wine fans FOUR chances to win 3 superb bottles of Barolo from the excellent 2005 vintage. Four lucky Wine90 readers will win these wines (worth £109) - Barolo 2005 Trilogy by doing nothing more than registering with Design Wine, which, if you're a UK Italian wine fan, you should deffo do anyway!

Design Wines (www.designwine.com) have established themselves very quickly in the online wine market within Italy offering hand selected Italian wines via a clean and informative website and are now ready to operate in the UK. Even though we, the British, are the second biggest importer of Italian wine, it can still be, as we at Wine90 know all too well, tough to source the finest Italian wines. So, I for one am really chuffed to see Design Wine now able to sell to us Brits especially as around 60% of their wines are just not available in the UK.

OK, you want to know how to win the wine? You don't want to hear how I am going to be reviewing a wine each day and that you can taste along with me? No, you don't want any of that, you just to want to know how to win? Pft

Fine. Very simply - sign up here -
http://www.designwine.co.uk/promotions/Wine_Competition_Barolo2005

We ar
e looking for just 1000 registrations, every 250th registration will win the 3 pack of Barolo, simple as that, you can get your friends to register, your mum, her mum, probably not her mum but maybe... there are but two snags,

1) You must be old enough to drink
2) You must live in the UK or Ireland

Tell your chums, tell everyone you know who likes wine and even if you don't win yourself, who knows, they may save you a glass (though probably not, I wouldn't).

Leave a Comment:
I will be tasting all 3 of these Barolo wines in the upcoming blog entries but what I would really like to know is... which competition for Italian wine would you be most interested in? Would you like to win wines from the Alto Adige, wines from 2001, wine books, how can I tempt thee?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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