Tag: fine wine

Sangiovese Tasting – Round One

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] We often share our favorite Italian foods and wines with friends who love Italian wine almost as much as we do.  One night, as we were sipping a wonderful 1997 Brunello (Siro Pacenti), we began talking about sangiovese – it’s many expressions, it’s status as one of the best wines with food, and the fact that none of us had ever done a sangiovese tasting across Italy’s many sangiovese wine regions.  We decided that this last fact needed to be changed. There are twenty regions in Italy, and sangiovese is grown in eight (Liguria, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marches, Abruzzo, and Molise).   The other regions are either too cold or too hot – the weather and the soil in central Italy is perfect for sangiovese. Within these eight regions, sangiovese is most often blended with other grapes. We did the research, and assembled a core team of tasters to try out this idea.  We picked only six wines for this initial effort, focusing mostly on Tuscan sangiovese wines, and picking wines that were at least 80% sangiovese. Our first tasting included: Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montelcino (2011) – Tuscany Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva (2008) – Tuscany Tenuta […]

The California Versus Oregon Pinot Noir Battle

We recently overheard an argument between a sommelier and a couple at a high-end restaurant.  The couple was trying to order a California Pinot Noir, and the sommelier was working hard to have the couple try an Oregon Pinot. The sommelier was adamant that the Oregon Pinot matched with the food, while the two customers argued that the California Pinot had much more flavor.  Where they both right? The Pinot Passion fight between the California advocates versus the Oregon  folks does sometimes turn into more of an WWF event.  Before we put our hat into the ring, here are a few points to keep in mind that might help in your choice: California Pinot Noir The dominant style of California pinot noir has been, and for the majority of wine, is round, ripe and extravagant taste, with sweet flavors of dark fruit and high alcohol levels approaching and sometimes surpassing 15 percent.  Wines from Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, and Merry Edwards make wonderfully sophisticated wines that can be sipped on their own, or matched with oily, rich meals of fowl or fish.  Duck and boar match perfectly with these wines. Warm weather provides intensely flavored fruit, especially in Sonoma – […]

WH Smith Pinot Noir

While doing a reorganization of our wine cellar, we noticed a few bottles of W.H.Smith Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast Maritime Vineyard 2003) that got “lost” somehow – shoved to the back to make room for newer vintages of our favorite pinots.  We forgot how great the W.H. Smith wines can be – and were worried that this wine might be past its prime. To our delight, we found out why W.H. Smith has many followers – the 2003 Sonoma Coast Maritime rose to a 97 on the Wine Spectator scale, and for good reason.  To quote Wine Spectator, “A gorgeous wine, rich, smooth and seamless, with layers of complex creamy cherry, wild berry and plum shaded by mocha-laced oak that is neatly integrated. The tannins are ripe and supple, the aftertaste fascinating.”  This wine was even better than that description.  This beauty indeed had all the red berry aspects of a great pinot, but was refined and subtle.  The aging drew out the best part of the oak, and the tannins were subdued.  We drank this wine with a nice piece of grilled halibut, using a leek/pancetta sauce along with a spring pea risotto.  We’ve seen the 2007 and 2008 […]