What's a WineWonk?

Wine Blogs by Wonk


Recent Blogs


Wine Articles by Blog

Write about Wine. Read about Life. WineWonks, the Wine Blog Community.

Dover Street Restaurant London

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting

Dover Street Restaurant London

I'm rarely moved to write restaurant reviews. My hesitancy stems partly from my fervid fear of foodies but mostly because neither texture, colour nor presentation put me off my grub. I eat everything. Aside from fish bones and egg shells there isn't a whole lot that would make me push my plate to one side. However, my experience at the Dover Street Restaurant may be about to change all that.

Before we get onto that, I have to say, the wine list here was truly dreadful, as was the music at this "jazz bar" (Blame it on the Boogie and Like a Prayer do not a relaxed dining experience make). There was one shining star in the dismal haze that passed for a wine list - a Serge Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé. I ordered two bottles, one for the food, the other to numb the pain.

OK OK I'll be fair, apart from the dated disco numbers, dire wine lists and being forced to sit in the corner behind a pillar experience; the food was delivered with a smile and the inevitable pepper mill mime artistry and all was well. More than well. For the pound in your pocket and considering we're in a Green Park location this has to be one of the best meals I've had for under £30 per head.

Though I've been told that all the dishes here are excellent and my dining partner was lavishing praise upon her Roast lamb, I found myself enjoying my first course more than my main. Maybe because I was ridiculously hungry or maybe because Dover Street gravadlax, wonderfully fresh Salmon, seasoned to perfection with dill, brandy and mustard, was quite simply, one of the best salmon dishes I've ever had. The main course, Pot Roast Duck, was also excellent with a sweet and strong orange sauce as well as beautifully braised parsnips and sauteed potatoes.

Food aside, the Dover Street Restaurant is a strange place. Not strange bad. Not strange good. Just strange. Squatting in one of wealthiest areas in London, you descend these elegant surroundings (of the street!) into an art deco style cavern which would be cozy were it not gargantuan. Where old timers play jazz classics while you relax and enjoy your cocktails or first sips of Pouilly Fume and then, serene and peaceful with the last strains of the sax in the air, they blast out disco classics over your main course while you and your date take up your own mime artistry and get a good look at one anothers main courses... in situ.

My favourite peculiarity of the evening though was arriving at my table to find that the Italian commission for sliced meats (or so I presume!) had placed an 8 page information leaflet about mortadella, prosciutto, speck and all the other hams... and believe me, there are many, on my table. Stranger still, none of these were on the menu!

I get the feeling the Dover Street Restaurant and Jazz Bar doesn't quite know what it wants to be when it grows up. It oscillates between the sublime and the ridiculous several times throughout the evening. What this place really is though, is great fun. Who says restaurants shouldn't keep you on your toes? So what if only one bottle of wine on the list is any good... at least there is one right? If the food is great and the price is fair who cares if people are grabbing their crotches and moonwalking past your table? Not I.

Serge Dagueneau Pouilly Fume 2008 - BUY - £10
A zippy little wine, fresh and more fruity than flinty on the nose and a real nice cut through that mustard and salmon. The palate gave great acidity, with some pear notes with melon and lime on the back end. Strong finish too. A real QPR top ranking wine. 90 Points.

Leave a Comment
Favourites from the Loire? Ever eaten at the Dover Street Restaurant and Jazz Bar?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Tua Rita Syrah 2006

Date: Mon, May 17, 2010 Wine Tasting

Tua Rita Syrah 2006

Sorry for the extended sabbatical, I fell unconscious under a pile of tasting notes, but I'm back now so let's say no more about it. Instead, let's say some more about this, the Tua Rita Syrah 2006.
The love affair between myself and Tua Rita continues, so in lust with the soft, voluptuous Redigaffi I never imagined there would be a place in my heart for a second Rita.
The Tua Rita Syrah 2006, while lacking the punchy alter ego title of her Merlot sister, is clearly the more extrovert and stylish knocking your palate for six and making no apology for it. Subtle she aint.
Tua Rita produces some of the best single varietal wines in Tuscany proving time and again that there is more to this varied region than the irrepressible Sangiovese. Created in 1984, Tua Rita never courted Sangiovese at all, 100m above sea level and resting in the clay soil, they went straight to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and like to argue that, despite ignoring typical local grape varieties, the Tuscan terroir still shone bright in the glass. A little fanciful perhaps, but a glass of the Redigaffi, Syrah or Guisto de Notri and you'll soon be forgiving the flowery assertions, and after a bottle you'll find yourself agreeing totally!
This bottle of Tua Rita Syrah 2006 came to my door on a snowy freezing cold March morning in South London along with another 11 great bottles that will be blogged up this month. I have decided to review 12 blockbuster reds from 2006, a vintage with such incredibly mixed reviews that I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast regions from producers who are consistently on their game and wines that rarely miss. So how did Tuscany and Tua Rita fair? Well. Incredibly well. So well in fact I'm worried I've started with the best bottle and it could all be down hill from here. Drama & Suspense... I haz it.
Tua Rita Syrah 2006 - BUY - €100
Deep, dark and full of promise, if it's possible to fall for a wine based on looks alone then well, I liked it, and if I could, I'd have put a ring on it. Aromatically forward and seductive with generous notes of blackberries, chocolate and vanilla. On the palate this wine continues its fruit and chocolate seduction with a full bodied hit of jammy fruit. A big wine, forceful wine yet smooth and perfectly balanced. Winner. 98 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Wijncuriosa - €100
Americans -Vinopolis - $164
Brits - Fine and Rare - £113
Leave a Comment
The fall and fall of the €. Good or bad for wine in your country?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

The Sampler Islington

Date: Mon, Jan 4, 2010 Wine Tasting

The Sampler Islington

The Sampler Islington is unlike any wine shop on this fair isle. Not because it carries the most exclusive range (though it does), not because it has the most special offers (that too) and not even because the walls are covered with enomatics (as the walls of Heaven).

The Sampler Islington is my favourite wine shop in the world because it allows, nay encourages, wine geeks like myself to stay for hour upon hour sampling great wines, genning up on Parker and Jancis and, most crucially, making new wine buddies. Forget Corkd and Snooth, if you want IRL wine chums then head up (or down) to The Sampler and make your way through the world of wine from as little as 30p a sample.

So it was, on a snowy, Pre-Xmas hike up to Islington, battling train delays and the snow that myself and The Wine Sleuth spent three solid hours working our way excitedly through 25+ wines from all over the world. The enomatics are handily split up into regions and grape varieties allowing you to taste correctly, going from white to light reds and finally onto the serious "fine wine" selections or, you can stand in the middle, dazzled by the variety and just amble over haphazard from Vouvray to Sangiovese to Pinot as I did until Denise kindly set the rules for the tasting! "Rules help control the fun", cheers Monica!

Eyes Left. This is a standard issue Sampler card. Don't lose it, don't leave it on the table and don't entrust it to your best friend. This is what goes for currency around these parts, no card; no vino. Let the staff know how much paper money you'd like this card to represent, they combobulate their till machines and, as if by magic, you have full access to the enomatics and all the wines within them. Tidy.

There's a range of 800-1000 wines at the Sampler, at any one times 80 of these will be available for sample, the rest available to buy. As samples start from as little as 30p, even if you just have a crisp £10 note you can still sample several great wines and have a great hours worth of fun.

To get an idea of the current range of wines available for sampling click here.

Look how shiny! Tasting samples are available in three different sizes. However the smallest size is certainly good enough for a sample and as variety is the spice of life, I'd recommend sticking to the 25ml and trying as many wines as possible. As the 1000 strong range are on rotation, you can come back the following month and be faced with a whole new set of wines. So, rule #1, stick to the small samples, more for your money innit.

Rule 2: If somethings worth doing it's worth doing right. The fine wines!

It's not often your eyes pass over the 1978 Chateau Cheval Blanc but with the 1998 Chateau Mouton Rothschild by it's side you must be careful to give all the "icons" their props. At any one time there are six "Icons" available, and in December those included these two greats plus JL Chave's Hermitage 1998, Conterno's Barolo Gran Bussia Riserva 1997, Screaming Eagle 1996 and Penfolds Grange 1978.

During my three hour visit I managed to taste my way through 27 different wines the most interesting of which have tasting notes to follow.

You can purchase Sampler gift vouchers and these would be perfect for any London based wine fan for Christmas next year, a Birthday or any other event where the swapping of gifts is customary.

The Sampler is located on 266 Upper Street, Islington and enquiries can be made on 020 7226 9500. However, I wont lie to you, by the end, Christmas or not, we were proper steaming. So, Rule 3 - if you do want to emulate myself and Sleuthy and enjoy yourself at The Sampler you might want to brush up on the art of spitting.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1998
Dense ruby red in colour. This wine is a monster from the first whiff on the nose till the finish, power all the way. Quickly developed aromas of tobacco, leather, blackcurrant and bitter chocolate. The palate is ultra drying with massive tannins but also shows good blackberry fruit. Hugely concentrated wine with a truly long satisfying finish. 95 Points

Chateau Guiraud 1er Cru Sauternes 2001
A beautiful mid golden colour, on the nose the wine was all oranges, creme and even smoke. To me it smelt like an orange pudding of sorts. On the palate this wine is beautifully rounded, thick and heavy with a long showstopping finish. Niiiiiiice. 95 Points

JL Chave Hermitage Rouge 1998
Touch lighter than expected but still a dense ruby red despite the 11 years. On the nose acres of spice, smoke, olives and blackberry. The palate shows exceptional balance with a full rounded mouthfeel, still tannic but smooth and pleasant. Super powerful and thick from start to lingering finish. 94 Points

Gilet Vouvray 1976
Deep golden colour. Aromatically gorgeous and expressive with a honeyed nut profile. On the palate the wine reminded me strongly of Lyons golden syrup drizzled over Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Corkflakes. Full bodied with hints of marmalade on the finish. This is desert in a glass but not sickly sweet. 93 Points

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1976
A garnet red tinging brick on the rim. Another blockbuster nose, rich and desert like with notes of glazed cherries, tobacco and marzipan. Wonderfully fresh and lively still today on the attack but the midpalate does hollow out with the flavours coming back with gusto on the finish. 94 Points

Leave a Comment
Christmas is always a chance to try many new wines and find a passion for new varities. I had a very Tuscan/Umbrian new year with loads of IGT Umbrian wines on show that I'll report on the next entry. What did you drink over the Xmas/New Year period? Any comments on these wines also appreiciated.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Yarden Gewurztraminer

Date: Sun, Dec 20, 2009 Wine Tasting

Yarden Gewurztraminer

Yarden Gewurztraminer? Yes. There's something spellbinding about Krakow and it's old Jewish quarter. It was here on a warm summer's evening that I got my first taste of Kosher Gewurztraminer and of gefilte fish.
I look spellbound there dont I? Gazing off into the distance romanticising about my very own wine bar in Krakow?
Well, the camera tells dirty lies, cos I'm actually watching a stray cat eating the fish I threw at it not moments before. Ahhhh memories. Gefilte fish, hands down, the most vile, strangely textured food item to ever pass my lips but the wine was a wonderful surprise.
Now, I don't know about you but whenever I take a weekend break or holiday I use it as a chance to feed my wine addiction. It's not just me, all serious winos do this. We will talk to our partners and romantically suggest "The Dordogne" so we can slope off to Bordeaux, or "Tuscany" to visit Chianti, I even managed to convince one partner that Frankfurt was lovely at this time of year only to find ourselves boating down the Rhine and into the Assmanhausen 100 year wine festival! Look how that turned out, I had no idea. However, I hadn't realised that Krakow would provide the same opportunity.

The Polish interest in wine, and especially Italian wine is growing fast and while I was there the central square of Krakow (Rynek Glowny) had been turned into a fairground for a Hungarian Wine event and of course, in the Jewish quarter every restaurant and bar was offering Kosher wines. I don't see the Poles giving up their flavoured vodkas anytime soon but the tide is turning and they're even knocking out some decent wine themselves. If I could set up a wine bar anywhere, I'd choose Krakow. Dreams....

There's been a revolution in Israeli wines and in no small part thanks to Golan Heights (the crew behind Yarden). Israel now produces fantastic QPR wines but not simply Gewurztraminer but also the usual suspects, international reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot and, more surprisingly, Sangiovese and Gamay! Whites include Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and even sweet whites and blanc de blancs sparklers. Israel can bring such a variety of grapes to fine expression due to its range of climatic conditions and Israel itself is getting into wine in a big way. There is a national committee for the promotion of Israeli wines within Israel and a movement to push the country's indigenous grapes. I'm afraid I can't list them, because I don't know them, I have quite enough to contend with in the world of Italian indigenous grapes but if you know them, feel free to post a comment!

Does this wine taste like the Gewurztraminers we all know and love? Actually, Yes. Like most of you, my experience of Gewurztraminer is limited to Alsace and Germany with the odd US, Italian, New Zealand and Aussie bottle thrown in here and there making it terribly difficult to say what an Israeli, Galilee Region Gewurztraminer should taste like. However, if this is what it should taste like, I'm in.

Yarden Gewurztraminer 2007 - BUY - £12.79
Golden yellow in colour. The wine is aromatically gorgeous and offers up many typical Gewurztraminer notes including lychee, almonds and flowers but also a an unexpected showing of peach blossom. The wine has a detectable sweetness on the palate, is rich but with firm acidity, rounded, mid to full bodied. This is a real find and only let down by a slightly clipped finish. However, if you keep drinking then you don't notice ;) 89 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Winectar - €13
Americans - Gordons - $16.99
Brits - Yayin V'Simcha - £12.79
Leave a Comment
Favourite Kosher wine? Favourite Israeli Wine? Best place you managed to convince your girlfriend or boyfriend to go pretending it was for them... when secretly it was for the vino?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Vinoteca Farringdon

Date: Sat, Dec 19, 2009 Wine Tasting

Vinoteca Farringdon

Vinoteca Restaurant in Farringdon has been my go to spot for a fair few months now. I've spent so many hours here over the past 3-4 months and tweeted my experiences so often that it's kinda bonkers that this is the first mention on the Wine90 blog.

Vinoteca is one of those wine bars that, due to the sheer variety of wines on offer, makes it a perfect stop for your lunch hour or for a mid afternoon wine by the glass option or even for a pre-dinner sherry. Yet, it's taken me a full year back in my hometown of London, to get my glad rags on and eat here.

It's confession time. I don't often write restaurant reviews. I find myself crippled with the same affliction which hit my dining partner that evening, I'm going to call it the palate collywobbles. Whilst she became obviously nervous at the pre-dinner wine flights fearing I would subject her every comment to full on scrutiny, I, by the same token, can start to doubt my own palate and description thereof, when it comes to food.

This may shock some readers, but I've been eating food since I was a toddler, that I should question my ability to taste food, I reassured my friend, is exactly as ridiculous as her fear that she might taste the wines incorrectly. As long as you have four of your five senses working for you on any given day, you can taste wine. Even I draw the line at listening to the wine, but if you do hear a whistle or a slight popping to your wine, then you're probably a little under the weather and should consult your GP.

So the scene is set, Vinoteca, wine flights, full meal, wine tasting virgin as dining companion, OK we're good so far? Great.

For any self confessed wine novice Vinoteca makes your life pretty easy. Food and wine matching can be a fun game to play but if you get it wrong, and you're stumping up plenty 'o pounds for your food, it can also be a perilous game. Fear not. At Vinoteca they have paired all the meals on the menu with a carefully thought out by the glass suggestion. However, I like to play fast and wild and Vinoteca's 280 strong by the bottle selection was too tempting so I opted for the very fairly priced 01 Borgogno Barolo Riserva. Not at all predictable behaviour on my part.
As this is no Tarantino movie, let's review the wines and the food in chronological order.

Pre Dinner Wine Selection

You can view all of Vinoteca's wines by the glass here. I chose;

Schloss Vollrads Erstes Gewachs Riesling 2004
A vibrant golden colour in the glass. Fast and fruity on the nose with acres of melon, honeysuckle and peach on the initial sniff with a lasting honey aroma towards the end. On the palate the wine is rich, juicy and more tropical than expected. Starts out quite fat with the acid rushing forth just before a fair finish that continues in that tropical theme. Rhinegau texture but colour and palate?! Not typical perhaps but enjoyable. 87 Points

Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico 2005
A deep ruby red to the rim. Simple profile to the nose with straight and expected cherry and vanilla though also a little dusty with hints of chocolate and coffee or to be fanciful, a cherry Bakewell tart with cappuccino sprinkles. Same focused approach to the palate, definite Chianti though not complex, high acid, firm tannins, mid bodied with a balanced finish. 88 Points

La Guita Manzanilla
A light golden green colour but getting a touch of those "past it's primes" you can get when your Sherry is just that month too long in the tooth. Still retained great salt and nut flavours on the palate. On the nose detectable cantaloupe, hints of grass and lemon. Focus has diminished a touch perhaps due to being a month too old or a.n.other fault? As such can't rate the wine fairly.


I like to think of myself as fairly unpretentious at least in the world of wine. In the food world however I know well enough what I want and that is..

A generous portion
Fresh ingredients
Tastes and textures that compliment one another
Lastly, I hate, with a passion detest, food that is overly dry or ... too moist.

I have to hand it to Vinoteca, there are so many restaurants trying to double as wine bars, and, wine bars trying to double as restaurants that fall so far short it's red cheeked embarrassing, but not here. The food outshone the wine. The food outshone the Barolo. The Italian Wine Blogger says the Food@Vinoteca outshone a Barolo. That's huge news.

To Begin: Selection of Spanish cured meats, almonds & olives - £7.25
Full size plate covered in typical Spanish meats which paired up really well with the sherry. These were not overly fatty cuts that you can find in many London restaurants, well presented.
Main Course: Gressingham duck breast, chanterelles & trompettes, farro, cimi di rape - £16
Succulent duck breast with the most mop-up-able jus I've had for a long while and once again generous portions and well presented.
There was no room for dessert. I don't think I've ever said or written those words before. Weird.
Borgogno Barolo Riserva 2001
A classic ruby red fading tawny to the rim. A sweet violet nose with touches of marzipan, tar and wild strawberries even. Still a little young, the palate is still a touch tannic and bitter but loosening up over time. A good freshness here though and a balance of force and elegance that showed toward the latter as the evening wore on. Didn't blow me away but still a solid 90 points for my palate.
Leave a Comment
Where is your current go to restaurant or wine bar? Any city.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Prager Gruner Veltliner

Date: Tue, Dec 15, 2009 Wine Tasting

Prager Gruner Veltliner

Prager Gruner Veltliner goes with everything. Or to be more precise Prager Gruner Veltiner Achleiten Smaragd 2007 goes with everything. From the bitter Olly Murs to the sweet Joe McElderry through a pepperoni pizza via butter popcorn and during the marmite-esque foulness that we call Twiglets, this bottle of wine tasted delicious throughout and even seemed to compliment this array of Saturday night junk.
Don't get it twisted though, Gruner Veltliner is a serious grape and Prager a top producer that deserve to be enjoyed alongside light meats/white fish. However,
if you hate food and wine matching and just want an easygoing, delicious and fruity white then Gruner is your buddy. GV is the most versatile wine in the land for food and wine matching.

So who are Prager?
Prager are among the top producers of Gruner Veltliner in Austria. Prager's Gruner Veltliner wines are produced in the Wachau area of Austria, which, together with Kamptal and Kremstal are considered the best regions to grow Austria's most famous grape. Franz Prager, was a trailblazer in Wachau helping to establish the area as a top region for dry whites. Gruner Veltliner is traditionally considered a wine that is best drunk young, although the new cheifs at Prager, daughter of Franz, Isle and her husband Toni Bodenstein are trying to push the envelope on an aged Groovy.
Prager are dedicated to two grapes actually and are just as famous for their Riesling as their Gruner Veltliner. Both varieties share a clarity of fruit and richness of texture in the hands of Prager and they are one of the most reliable producers year in year out.
Top Wines from Prager
Weissenkirchen Achleiten Riesling Smaragd
Wiessenkirchen Klaus Riesling Smaragd
Wiessenkirchen Achleiten Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
For those of you who have yet to try a Gruner Veltliner, like any variety, they can run the gamut of quality. These are served as jug wines in Austria and can be, at their lowest price/highest yield end, nice, fresh, peppery young wines.
While at the Prager end the wines can be massively complex and throw out all kinds of subtle aromas and flavours including citrus, lime, rhubarb, flint, white flowers but often keeping that peppery palate.
Traditionally Gruner is not thought to be particularly aromatic however this Prager effort was blowing our nasal passages from the uncork and with some pretty intriguing notes too.
Prager Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Smaragd 2007 - BUY - £26
A rich hay colour. Aromatically very forward with mixed and interesting notes including lime rind, rhubarb, white pepper and wet stones. The palate is full bodied, rounded and with fairly low acidity still avoids "flabby", the fruit is excellent on the midpalate and the finish is acceptable. Think tropical smoothie mixed watered down with cordial lime juice, same texture too. Fine balance, 13.5% alcohol never an issue. 91 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Vinothek - €24
American - Hart David Hart - $39
Brits - AG Wines - £26
Leave a Comment
Do you have a wine that seems to go with all food? Do you like the Groovy?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Wine90's Wine of the Year

Date: Mon, Dec 14, 2009 Wine Tasting

Wine90's Wine of the Year

If you're a member of any of the major wine message boards you've seen the habitual "wine of the year" threads that populate them at this time of year. Partly inspired by the need to bash Wine Spectator's Annual Top 100 but also because these topics seem to embrace a human need; the need to categorise, file and rank experience. This phenomena is clearly visible in the countless retelling of the year shows that dominate the TV listings around this time (Sports Personality of the Year, Comedy Awards, Music, etc). The desire to recount the year is no less prevalent amongst us wine drinkers.

This "Wine of the Year" choice is a very personal matter. For some, their wine of the year will be connected to a special memory, an anniversary, a birth, a date with a new love or the wine they celebrated their first birdie (or in my case even making par) with. My choice for wine of the year is similarly sentimental but unconnected to events in my personal life.

For me a great wine, a truly great wine, is more than just a flavour, colour or an aroma, more even than a composite of all three. The wine has to feel well made and that is altogether a more difficult thing to assess. Sure the fruit has to be of the highest quality for a memorable finish but as with all great wines the key is balance and to achieve the perfect balance the skills of the winemaker coupled with the perfect year and the quality of the fruit must come together in perfect harmony.
When this happens, you have a truly great wine and for me there was only one contender in my tasting year - Romano Del Forno's Amarone della Valpolicella 1996.

Not even inside the traditional Classico area, Dal Forno is still unquestionably the King of Amarone. No other Amarone producer manages to pull off such mouthwatering ripeness of fruit. The new oak employed, the ripe fruit and the skill in creating balance by the winemakers allows Dal Forno to stand alone at the top of Amarone production and, as you can imagine, such attention to detail does not come cheap for the consumer. Dal Forno's Amarone della Valpolicella estate is minuscule, at 8 hectares there are only around 1000 cases produced annually meaning even the most recent vintage will set you back £200 a bottle.

1996 isn't really considered one of the top years for Amarone yet this wine, just about coming into it's drinking window, shows fantastically well. The colour just starting to tinge lighter at the rim and the complex bouquet beginning to show telltale signs of maturity the Amarone hasn't even reached your lips and you're on tenterhooks, grinning and looking around for a friend to say "hey, hey, just put your nose in this".
As an aside, I also did this last week when (wine that shall remain nameless) had a nose exactly, and I mean bang on the money exactly, like Cif (Jif for everyone over 30).

Although the wine doesn't actually have a 350 day finish, I sampled this wine in January of 2009 and despite countless competitors it is a wine I can recount with pinpoint clarity, an experience I will always remember and my 2009 wine of the year. If anyone wishes to test that theory I am available for more Dal Forno tastings any time any place.

Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Vapolicella 1996 - BUY - £350
A thick lush dark purple and only just fading lighter on the rim. This nose is killer. Rushing notes of blueberry, blackcurrant, vanilla and a creamy coffee. If you've experienced the Italian confectionary "pocket coffee" there are a few packets of these mixed into the blend it would seem. The palate is the real joy, full bodied, huge structure, fruit forward, perfect balance, tannins caressing and the real showmanship in this wine? 17.5% alcohol resting perfectly within the structure and never overtaking or leaving a hot finish. 98 Points

I don't know if you'll be more shocked at the £350 pricing, the 17.5% alcohol or the 98 Points, fact is, this wine is what it's all about, that it happens to be Italian? What can I say?

Where can I buy this Wine?
Europeans - Arvi - €396
Americans - Vinfolio - $599
Brits - Arvi - £350

Leave a Comment
G'wan then, what is your wine of the year?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Up the Dry Creek without a paddle

Date: Sun, Dec 13, 2009 Wine Tasting

Up the Dry Creek without a paddle

The world of Californian Wines is large, varied and daunting and even with my Official AVA maps and guides I still find myself lost in a sea of Valleys, Coasts and Creeks. There are a handful of wine bloggers out there who really do know their Oakville from their Oak Knoll and High Valley from their Hames Valley and all this week they've been offering guidance to the Italian Wine Blogger in return for tips on my equally confusing but endlessly rewarding chosen subject for 10; Italian vino.

So it was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation to go along to the official Wine Institute of California's first Social Media event in Hoxton on Thursday to get a taste of the different varieties coming out of California that are available in the UK. Speaking with the organisers it seems there are real problems getting the Brits to drink mid range Californian wine but no problem at all enticing them with 3 for 10 Blossom Hill/Gallo wines.

It's frankly impossible to generalise when it comes to Californian wines. The area is huge and 4th only to Italy, France and Spain in terms of growing area, has a massively changeable climate north to south, coast to mountains also making vintage generalisations nigh on impossible and the grapes grown change like the dickens!

There is half as much Chenin coming out of California as there was five years ago and Pinot Grigio vines have sprung up 480% in the same time. Pinot Noir and Syrah are being newly planted and traditional Zinfandel vines are being torn up. However the stalwarts we come to associate with California continue to prosper and, even with this small 12 wine sample from Thursday night we can see that wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc continue to flourish and real quality can be found in the mid priced range.

If you like tasting notes... you're gonna love this! *flexes fingers* - Here we go! Remember folks, like always, if I am passing a wine it is only because I personally wouldn't buy it again for my own personal consumption, a party or a friend, it doesn't mean you will not like it. If you like, sweet apple notes and nettle finishes then you'll love the first wine. The Beringer burning banana plantation Chardonnay I gave just 84 points to yet I requested a bottle to take home because I knew my flatmate would love it. Always read the tasting notes. If your palate is actually identical to mine then... kudos!

Loredona Monterey County Pinot Grigio 2007 - PASS - £9
Sits straw yellow. A fresh, clean, crisp wine with a sweet green apple nose. On the palate good acidity with a distinctive nettle like bitter finish but refreshing. 86 Points

Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - PASS - £9
A straw yellow colour and aromatic from 12 inches! Exaggerated notes of pineapple, fig and melon, very tropical and "starburst-esque". A mid bodied wine with a fruit forward flavour profile that left my tongue tingling on the finish, not in an acid way, in a sharp pointy needles way. Basic fruit explosion but good fun. 86 Points

Beringer Vineyards Founder's Estate Chardonnay 2007 - BORDERLINE - £9
vibrant mid straw yellow and a nose of a burning banana plantation makes this wine distinctive for $11. Luscious mouth feel and solid fruit on the palate with apricots and papaya in play. An extreme wine both on the nose and in the mouth, a case of knowing when you've been tango'd. 84 Points

Bonterra Vineyards Viognier 2007 - BUY - £10
Mid straw yellow. A really intriguing wine on the nose producing notes that make for a strange mix. Peach and lime intermingle along a tropical sugary theme with the lime flavours coming to the fore on the palate, strong finish, strong acidity making this wine a real QPR doozy. 89 Points

Hahn Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - BUY - £10
A deep dark ruby red and thick in the glass. Aromatically obvious Cabernet Sauvignon with blackberries, a touch of graphite and a little smoky. Velvet texture and solid tannincs, fine balance, well done. 88 Points.
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 - BUY - £15
Light ruby red with orange hues. Notes of bacon and cherry unfold quickly and on the palate the wine has a good balance with fine tannins. Good actually. 86 Points
And the Star of the Show... amazingly a wine I have written about already on the Wine90 blog. Only 3 Californian wines have ever shown up here and low and behold, my favourite mid priced, UK available, Californian Red was sat on the table. The EOS Petite-Sirah.
EOS Paso Robles Petite Sirah 2005 - BUY - £10
Deep purple in the glass and right off the bat you are hit with a blockbuster nose of cherries, spices and pepper. On the palate the wine is thick and jammy with a lustrous mouthfeel, flavourful and smooth with acres of blackcurrant in the mid palate. 14% alcohol held with absolute style, nothing harsh or hot in the finish which goes on and on with notes of chocolate. Not really complex just simply delicious. 90 Points
Leave a Comment
Why is it that mid range Californian wines haven't really made it over the Atlantic? Or do you think they have? Also, please leave any tips for great Californian wines for me to check out to help expand my knowledge? Or, that are simply dee-lische?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Chianti Classico 2006

Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 Wine Tasting

Chianti Classico 2006

2006 was a superb year for Chianti and Tuscany in general. For once, Tuscany could revel in it's 55 Tre Bicchiere awards while the usually undisputed King of Italian wine making regions, Piedmont, had to settle for a paltry 52. Within Italy sales of Chianti are on the rise and internationally there is growing demand for Chianti Classico which is now world renowned for offering fantastic QPR and has shed it's straw covered/tourist image. It's hard to generalise a vintage across an area as wide as Chianti but these wines are of high alcohol, good acidity and with a fine tannic structure so should age beautifully.

2006 is thought to be the second best Chianti Classico vintage in the last 15 years, coming two years after the best vintage, 2004. As is often the case when you have a great vintage, the second brilliant vintage in quick succession can offer great opportunities for those looking to invest in wine. It is often forgotten that the mighty Sangiovese, even outside of Brunello di Montalcino is capable of ageing and any one of the four wines in this review will be drinking beautifully in 2016 and some even possibly up to 2030.

Reliable and Excellent Producers of Chianti Classico
There are some producers who can be relied upon year in year out with their Chianti Classico wines being among the best of the vintage, however, I can't guarantee any of these wines will be excellent in any given vintage, I'm not Matt Skinner. These are four of my favourites from 2006 that you should be able to easily locate.

  • Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia £20-25
  • Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio - £15-20
  • Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo - £25-35
  • Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva - £12-16
The top two wines here are among my personal top five wines of the year and I'm not just talking about Chianti, or Tuscany, or Italy, I'm talking unbeatable value, two of the best wine bargains of the year anywhere. Capiche?

You may notice a glaring omission from this list, Castello di Ama. While there is no denying that both the Bellavista and Casuccia bottlings are extraordinary I can't recommend these wines as great value both retailing around the £100 mark.

Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 2006 - BUY - £25
A deep brooding ruby red the wine takes a while to express itself on the nose however when it does the bouquet has sumptuous notes, spice and earthy with blackberries and cherries mingling with floral tones too. This is a full bodied Chianti that is fresh with strong acidity, drying tannins and a great structure for ageing potential. Powerful and vibrant give this wine some respect and another five years at least. 94 Points

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio 2006 - BUY - £15
Almost purple in colour this wine is stunningly aromatic and typically Chianti Classico. Dried fruits, spices, cherries and chocolate on the nose. The wine is mid-full bodied, tannic and with a bitter finish. This wine won the best Italian wine of the year with Wine Spectator magazine and so the price has gone up since my video review you can see here. 89 Points

Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo 2006 - BUY - £30
A deep purple wine and full bodied, this Chianti Classico takes hours and hours to open up and really should be cellared for a further 10 years to get close to its best expression. However, today the wine is bringing a sour cherry, tobacco and chocolate nose if decanted for several hours. On the palate the wine is high on both tannins and acidity and the structure and power here is immense. Some red fruits on the palate but mostly earth and just dense. One of those wines where drinking today is pleasurable but not a patch on having a little patience, it's gonna be a monster! 94 Points

Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 - BUY - £14
The lightest of the four, a medium ruby red and also the least dense this Chianti Classico is made in a smooth style and is medium bodied. On the nose the wine has classic sour cherry, some vanilla but also a heap of earth too. The wine can be drunk today but will improve, is smooth in style with the typical high acidity and great fruits on the palate. A touch watery and clipped on the finish. 89 Points

Where can I buy this wine? (the lowest price available - just click the link on the country)
Felsina - USA - EUROPE - UK
Barone Ricasoli - USA - EUROPE - UK
Fontodi - USA - EUROPE - UK
Castello di Volpaia - USA - EUROPE - UK

Leave a Comment
Chianti Classico recommendations, stories, tales of woe, all things Chianti Classico! Where did you have your first Chianti? Food match-ups?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Beaujolais 2007

Date: Mon, Nov 30, 2009 Wine Tasting

Beaujolais 2007

And now for something completely different. A Beaujolais 2007 taste off, Morgon Vs Fleurie with my good friend and wine blogger, the Wine Sleuth.

A great way to finish off this November's final blog entry as we turn our attentions away from the Italian wine for just a moment and focus on Beaujolais. A few days ago I was sent a couple of Beaujolais wines from the very famous British wine company Berry Bros and Rudd and decided to do a blog entry for Beaujolais which has never really been covered here.

So, a quick round up on Beaujolais for those who are not familiar with the region.

Beaujolais is the southern most wine region of Burgundy. Within Beaujolais exists 10 cru denominations, Beaujolais-Villages, regular Beaujolais and Beaujolais Superieur. It's generally agreed that the best examples of Beaujolais come from the 10 cru areas and each of these cru provide their own distinctive take on Gamay (the grape that makes Beaujolais).

Stylistically Beaujolais wines can generally be defined as fresh 'n' fruity light red wines and in most cases with an over-riding cherry fruit profile. Each of the 10 cru wines however impart their own distinctive characteristics on the wine and, as you can see in the VT for example, Morgon, while just down the road from Fleurie is easily distinguishable even by the likes of myself and the wine sleuth!

If you're hankering to get into Beaujolais you will find it a hard task indeed if you don't memorise the 10 cru regions of the appellation. Many of the cru Beaujolais wines are not marked "Beaujolais" at all, simply "Morgon" or "Fleurie". Below is a guide to help you.... and to remind me and that American chick.
A quick guide to the 10 Beaujolais Crus
Chiroubles - Producing one of the lightest and most elegant Beaujolais wines and the best of the bunch to be drunk young.

St Amour - Northernmost Cru whose wines benefit from a few years age. Dull when young the wines grow into supple, spicy wines with a few years on the clock.

Brouilly - The largest of Beaujolais' areas, the wines are fruity and best drunk young unlike...

Cote de Brouilly - A more concentrated Beaujolais, grapey and rich, that also benefits from some time.

Fleurie - The most famous Cru on the street Fleurie has a huge following. The wines are typically flowered in aroma, cherry in flavour, feminine in style and easy drinking.

Morgon - The second largest cru and perhaps the most complex and distinctive Beaujolais. Can fool you with gooseberry flavours you're not expecting from a Beaujolais. The terroir here is decomposing slate quite unlike the other crus and this impacts on the wine. Not to be drunk young, lacks fruitiness of other Beaujolais wines in its youth.

Juliénas - Distinctive cru with solid structure and distinctive fruits including peach, blackcurrants and raspberries. Depending on the producer Juliénas can be drunk young or take a few years to develop to it's full potential.

Moulin à Vent - The most robust, tannic and full bodied of all the Beaujolais cru. Moulin a Vent wines are usually the most expensive and with age become Pinot-esque and in their youth are still superb examples of Beaujolais.

Chénas - Next door to Moulin a Vent, the wines need at least three years to develop and when they do this is one of the most complex and strongly perfumed Beaujolais wines.
Régnié - Light, supple and a great example of young Beaujolais. The latest of all the Beaujolais crus (incorporated in 1988) the wines of Regnie can be a little diverse in style.
Domaine Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon La Voûte St.Vincent 2007 - BUY - £10.95
Ruby red in colour, the wine starts off a little dumb on the nose with basic spice and cherries. After an hour or so the wine opens up big time and all kinds of aromas come to the fore including blackberries and wet stones. On the palate the wine is a little bitter but with a great texture, sound acidity, fine tannins, good structure and balance. Good example. 88 Points
Domaine Métrat Fleurie Vieilles Vignes La Roilette 2007 - PASS - £12.65
Identical ruby red in colour, on the nose the wine is simply raspberries and hints of cherry. The palate follows this identical and simple profile, the balance is good and the acidity is fine and this is a typical example of Fleurie with more fruit on the palate but still too watery and one dimensional for my personal taste. As a Fleurie Beaujolais it's very good but this style of wine is not to my personal taste. 85 Points

Where can I buy this Wine?
Both available at Berry Bros and Rudd

Leave a Comment
Simply, Beaujolais, love it or loathe it?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Jean Leon Wine

Date: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 Wine Tasting

Jean Leon Wine

The Torres owned Jean Leon wine range are a peculiar brand to spark an interest in wines for an Italian wine blogger yet so it was, four years ago, that I visited my very first vineyard as part of a "team building" trip for the travel company I worked for. Readers of this blog will know that I have spent two of the last three years in Italy, working in the wine and travel trade but before this I spent a year in Barcelona solely in Travel having not yet stirred any interest in my heart for wine.

So by happy coincidence a trip to the Jean Leon vineyards was organised by our industrious office manager who loved the wines of the Penedes region (and also the cheap Cava awash in Barcelona) and we all set forth in our mini van quite unprepared for the scale of the vineyards or the size of the personality of Señor Jean Leon.

The wine game, in itself, is a pretty glitzy and glamourous business and all of us bloggers light up any room we enter but Jean Leon takes wine glamour to a whole new level. Born in northern Spain, in the port of Santander in 1928, Jean Leon's story is like the pheonix from the flames (quite literally as his family home burned to the ground in 1941) as his childhood set backs toughened the young Ceferino Carrion (you can't really be called Jean Leon and live a life so cool, that's not fair) and led him to try his luck in Paris, New York and Hollywood.

With no immigration papers in New York he took manual work but soon found himself in trouble with authorities and crossed the USA to Hollywood *jazz hands*. To become a legal immigrant Leon enrolled in the US Army during the Koreon War. After the war Leon found work in the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, owned by Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra. Making friends with the screen legends who frequented Ol' Blue Eyes establishment came easy to Leon and, due to his friendship with James Dean, he eventually opened the La Scala restaurant in Beverley Hills *jazz hands*. This restaurant was immediately popular with the Hollywood film stars and sports stars alike.

Jean Leon threw his passions wholeheartedly into his restaurant and chose the wine list himself but could never find, as he would say "that perfect wine" or "el vino perfecto" depending on his audience I suppose. So, Jean Leon began the quest to find a perfect piece of land upon which to start his own winery. Leon travelled to France and Italy and eventually landed in Catalonia, Spain and in the Penedes wine region just outside of Barcelona and bought his 150 hectare estate in the hills.

It's uncanny how similar our lives are really. Back to me.

We arrived at the Jean Leon estate and were quite unprepared for this incredible story and after our group asked the usual cringe-worthy questions (which seemed quite reasonable at the time) "Can you get white wine from red grapes", "You only get 1 litre of juice from all those grapes, hurumpf, I wouldn't bother, why do you bother?" we went on to try his wines and were taught how to taste and giggled along at how ridiculous the whole swirling, sniffing and slurping was.

We all came away with wine though and for me at least, I remember being remarkably impressed at the effort that goes into producing vino, and the different levels on which it can be appreciated and all these different grapes! Amazing!

Since this mini adventure I've retried a few of the Jean Leon wines and both the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay can be good value but not always terroir expressif*. Though I do find many of his wines to be way over-oaked for my personal tastes these wines have a big following all over the world.

Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva 2002 - PASS - €20
The wine sits a deep ruby red verging on purple and is initially very good and happily expressive on the nose, too much wood hides the fruit though there are some good blackberry notes and touches of graphite too. The palate is dense and woody, tannic and a bit bitter perhaps needs a lot more time, not sure where they are going with this or what it is trying to be. Not badly made just not a great taste to it. 81 Points

Jean Leon Terrasola Syrah 2005 - BUY -€10
A mid ruby red the nose is punchy and fragrant with lots of interesting notes, still a little too much wood here. The bouquet is blueberries, caramel and redcurrants however it is on the palate that this wine pleases with great fruit following through to a good length on the end. Rarely do you get this kind of balance and solid fruit on a €10 bottle of wine. 87 Points

Where can I buy this Wine?
The Jean Leon range of Pago and Terrasola wines are quite readily available. Cabrini Wines in the US, KWM in the UK and FinestWine in Europe.

Leave a Comment
First vineyard you ever visited? Most stupid wine question you ever asked? Or anything about Jean Leon wines or wines from Penedes.

* Terroir expressif is my phrase. I just invented it today. No, you may not use it.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997

Date: Tue, Nov 24, 2009 Wine Tasting

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997

The Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997 is one of the best examples of an Italian red that gets frequently overlooked based on it's DOCG. Taurasi, along with Sagrantino di Montefalco is one of those excellent, age worthy power house reds that simply gets lost in the melee of great Italian varieties. Were Taurasi in any other country it would surely be one of the jewels in its crown but in a country where Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino are so internationally lauded Taurasi, sadly, falls by the wayside. Not so for the indigenousness population.

It's a well known fact that Italians are prone to extreme bouts of campanilismo (translation: a deep affection for your own bell tower), that is, they champion, drink and eat local produce believing that it's the best just because it's local. This isn't just an Italian thing, we all do this, just like your mum's Sunday Roasts are the best or Bolton Wanderers are the best. For the people of Lazio, lacking a great red anywhere around Rome I found that the most popular serious red among my friends and featuring proudly on most of the good restaurant wine lists, is Taurasi (yes even compared with Barolo) and three million people are rarely wrong excluding Jedward fans.

However, this is not simply home bias, Taurasi is, at its best, the finest example of the Aglianico grape. Aglianico has a marvellous time in the rich volcanic soil of Irpinia in Campania and in Taurasi, at high altitude, Aglianico can produce one of the world's best kept red wines secrets capable of mind blowing ageing and going through impressive and radical changes through that ageing curve.

Standard Taurasi is aged for three years, but the Riserva must be released after four. The wines are allowed to contain a small % of another grape (usually Barbera). The Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici is 100% Aglianico and considered to be one of the best example of Taurasi year on year together with Feudi di San Gregorio (reviewed last year) and Salvatore Molettieri.
Food Match: Venison, Game and roasted red meat dishes.

Best Wines from this Producer: Consistently excellent wines year on year.
Taurasi Riserva Radici
Naturalis Historia
Avellanio Aglianico
Avalon (both white and red)
Fiano di Avellino Radici
Greco di Tufo Nova Serra
Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997 - BUY - €28
Ruby red with an orange hue this wine sits thick in the glass. The bouquet is beautifully floral (violet) and at the same time a little rough and leathery, gardeners gloves maybe! There is lots of good fruit on the nose as the wine continues to open up including cherry, dark berries and hints of licorice. On the palate the wine is hitting a peak, losing some baby fat and becoming more approachable with great balance but still drying especially on the finish which is long, puckering and peppery. Still going to have to leave this number alone, come back in five more years. 91 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Europeans - Divine Golosita Toscane - €28 - (2003 Vintage)
Americans - PJ Wine - $74 (2000 vintage)
Brits - AG Wines - £29 (1997 vintage)
Leave a Comment:
Simply have you every tried a Taurasi or Aglianico wine and what did you think?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Bravo Wine Spectator Top 100

Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 Wine Tasting

Wine Spectator Top 100

I'm a week late on the Wine Spectator Top 100 wines, they went ahead and released the results before telling me and I'm mighty peeved. Luckily, they have redeemed themselves by placing 4 Italian wines in the Top 10 and 2 of those I've reviewed this year!

Wine90! Finger on da pulse! See the full Wine Spectator Top 100 Wine List Here

It is brilliant to see Brancaia in the top 10 - I self ordained their Il Blu my Top QPR Italian wine of the year, and also, another home boy winner, my favourite Chianti Classico, Barone Ricasoli at number 5 and is the top ranking Italian wine of the year. Nicely done WineSpectator.

Every year it is argued on what criteria Wine Spectator are evaluating these wines but it would appear it is certainly price/quality ratio and availability in the States. Although these wine awards do have their critics they are far and away a better guide to the best wines of the world than the Decanter awards which I find utterly baffling and completely misleading.

Italian Wines that made the list:

#5 - Baron Ricasoli - Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio 2006 - $54
#7 - Renato Ratti - Barolo Marcenasco 2005 - $44
#8 - Fontodi - Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello 2006 - $110

#10 - Brancaia - Toscana Tre 2007 - $20
#11 - Poggio Il Castellare - Brunello di Montalcino 2004 - $50
#13 - Fattoria di Felsina - Toscana Fontalloro 2006 - $52
#15 - Marchesi de' Frescobaldi - Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo 2004 - $65
#16 - Uccelliera - Brunello di Montalcino 2004 - $65
#27 - La Massa - Toscana Giorgio Primo 2007 - $65
#30 - Setti Ponti - Toscana Crognolo 2007 - $35
#35 - Viticcio - Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 - $32
#37 - Petrolo - Toscana Torrione 2007 - $40
#46 - I Greppi - Bolgheri Greppicante 2007 - $28
#61 - Monte Antico - Sangiovese-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana 2006 - $12
#70 - St Michael Eppan - Pinot Grigio Alto Adige 2008 - $15
#79 - Livio Felluga - Pinot Grigio Collio 2008 - $24
#80 - Argiano - Toscana Non Confunditur 2007 - $25
#81 - Paolo Scavino - Barolo Carorbic 2005 - $90

Leave a Comment:
Which is your wine of the year?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Castel de Paolis Muffa Nobile 2005

Date: Sun, Nov 22, 2009 Wine Tasting

Castel de Paolis Muffa Nobile 2005

Castel de Paolis Muffa Nobile is one of my personal favourite Italian wines as it typifies the changes in Italian wine (especially white) and perhaps best exemplifies the phenomenal increase in quality coming from areas of Italy that have long been thought of as areas of mass production and little else. Castel de Paolis is a Lazio producer coming straight out of Castelli Romani, the home of Frascati.

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I had a fantastic time living in Rome for two years in 2006 and 2007 where Frascati and Est! Est!! Est!!! enjoy a big following among the younger drinkers. Frascati is made in the wine producing area just outside Rome, "Castelli Romani" and is regarded, among both Romans and Ex-pats as something of a poor mans wine region with the focus being on quantity only. The Romans of 2000 years ago held exactly this view, that Frascati and all wines from this area were strictly for the proles.

It's amazing really, that a country so prolific in wine production can still be undergoing mass regeneration. The area of Castelli Romani has been in wine production for 2000 years and yet it is only lately that, as with many other parts of Italy, it is now being considered as a region that can grow premium wine. Only in the last 40 years was the potential of large parts of Tuscany realised with the planting of Bordeaux grapes (along with Sangiovese) to create the Super-Tuscan. It's remarkable to think that so much of Italy's vine growing potential is still yet untapped. These are exciting times indeed for Italian wine.

Castel de Paolis Muffa Nobile is nowhere close to the Frascati wines you know and love, made from 80% Semillion and 20% Sauvignon Blanc with grapes completely affected by Botrytis, here, in the back yard of the great emperors, you have a sweet wine that can compete with many from Barsac or Sauternes and of course, half the price.
Castel de Paolis themselves are considered the leading light in top end Frascati and have led the charge in bringing the wines of Lazio to the international arena. All the wines here are also organically cultivated.

Is that not exciting? Are you not entertained?
Castel de Paolis Muffa Nobile 2005 - BUY - €19
Pale amber in the glass the nose is exquisite with pronounced notes of both honey, apricot and pine nuts. Soft texture but mightily intense on the palate, the wine has a non-cloying sweetness that is difficult to achieve, great acidity and freshness. A total winner of a sweet Italian wine from a great vintage. Brava - 92 Points
Stilton and Sauternes move over for Maytag and Muffa.
Where can I buy this wine?
Very few outlets but you can get the wine sent over from Trimani for €19.
Leave a Comment?
I am ridiculed for drinking sweet wines all times of day, all times of year, what's your opinion? Dessert wines for puds only or work them into rotation like any other wine?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Friends of Winewonks

Wine Spectator Online

#1 Online Wine Store

Manage Your Cellar

PokerStars Bonus Code

PokerStars Marketing Code

Check out some More Wonks Blog Communities!

Whether you like Baseball Blogs, Basketball Blogs, Beer Blogs, Car Blogs, Football Blogs, Poker Blogs, Wine Blogs....there is a Wonks Community you will enjoy!

WineWonks.com is owned and operated by Dimat Enterprises.

More about Dimat
"Dimat" is a major Poker Book publisher, with a popular Poker Forum, which originated from the book Internet Texas Holdem, by Matthew Hilger. Internet Poker Rankings tracks the top online poker players. Poker Bonos Gratis was designed to bring Free Poker Gifts to the Spanish Speaking Market.