Tasting note: Masi Campofiorin 2005, Rosso del Veronese IGT

It’s always interesting – and often fun – to re-taste wines you enjoyed often, a while back, but had somewhat set aside and forgotten.

That’s what happened to me when a good friend of mine brought me a bottle of Masi Campofiorin, a unique wine from the Veneto, in Northern Italy. When I first started drinking wine seriously, in the early 90s…

The rest of this tasting note is now on this blog’s new address, winecase.ca. Click here to read it in its new location.

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Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 9:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Wine Blogging Wednesday 54: How do I love Piedmont? Let me count the ways

There are so many good things about Piedmont that I could hardly have been more excited about the 54th edition of the Wine Blogging Wednesday. David McDuff’s theme, A Passion for Piedmont, was really my kind of thing.

I love just about everything about Piedmont, in every color and style. Recently, I wrote about Moscato, this Northern Italian region’s sweet little treasure, which I can’t get enough of. I keep going back to barbera, with its refreshing acidity and bright fruit that makes it such a terrific food wine. And the Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo from the 1998 vintage remains one of my best wine tasting memories ever: incredible depth, intensity, yet subtlety and softness as well.

Just last week, (more…)

Tasting Note: Pignolo 2003, Castello di Buttrio, Veneto

Italy certainly is a treasure trove of unique grape varieties. Often, these varieties were almost forgotten and lost before being revived, in the last couple of decades, by some dedicated winemakers who just knew that they could provide great wines with distinctive characteristics.

Think of the Arneis of Piedmont, this tasty white grape that hardly only Bruno Giacosa cultivated, at the turn of the 80s, before some producers decided to show what it could do. Or Falanghina, a refreshing and aromatic white grape from Campania. Or the solid wines made from Frappato in Sicily. Or my latest discovery, Pignolo, a traditional venetian grape that definitely has a lot going for it.

The Pignolo I tasted came to me as a sample from Castello di Buttrio, an estate owned by the family of Marco Felluga, and managed by his daughter Alessandra, who are seeking to expand distribution in North America – and would well deserve it.

Beyond the Pignolo, whose name (and bunch shape) evokes a pine cone, they do some very impressive whites, like a lean, bright, mineral chardonnay, and a clean, aromatic and refreshing Friulano.

The Pignolo, Buttrio’s top bottling, (more…)

Tasting Note: Capitel Croce 2002, Veneto IGT, Anselmi

Roberto Anselmi is one of the great prides of the Veneto region, and especially, of the Soave appellation. So much so that he left the appellattion.

Indeed, Anselmi thought that the authorities were not hard enough on Soave producers, when it came to ensuring quality. So instead of being associated with a level of wines he thought unsatisfactory, he moved away from the DOC and turned his wines, made from 100% garganega, into Veneto IGTs (Indicazione Geografica Tipica, a paradoxically less demanding level of appellation).

The wines remain as good, if not better, as demonstrated by the 2002 Capitel Croce, a single-vineyard wine aged in oak, that felt clearly at its peak. With its golden color, still showing a slightly greenish hue, it showed intense aromas and matching flavors of hay, honey, lime and toasted bread. Quite a mouthful, it still displayed good acidity, creating an interesting balance between a refreshing side and a full-bodied, silky texture, feeling a little waxy on the tongue. Very yummy.

This mix of fullness and acidity make it a good match for grilled salmon, with the acidity cutting through the fat and the richness wrapping around it in a lovely way.

Sold between 20 and 25$, it’s a great quality price ratio, good to drink from its release (the 2005 is currently on sale) and over several years of cellaring.

Published in: on January 11, 2009 at 11:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gravner in the morning, arvine at noon, Sagrantino for dinner – and some thoughts about Swiss drinking and driving laws.

What an interesting day in wine tasting yesterday was.

It started out almost accidentally, when I stopped by the tasting room of Christophe Abbet, an excellent vigneron based in Martigny, in Switzerland, to get a couple of bottles of his wines to bring home to Quebec (including a bottle of the delightful Ambre, a slowly-matured dessert wine made from arvine and marsanne – but more on that later).

Christophe and I, along with my father-in-law and my brother-in-law and other friends and guests of his, had tasted several of his wines, two days earlier, and (more…)

Moscato for the Holidays

It’s a little late for Christmas wine recommendations, I realize. But it’s still early for New Year’s, so that’s still all right.

Especially when you suggest a wine that is as festive as it is (relatively) inexpensive, so much so that it could be pulled out for any excuse for a celebration.

The wine is moscato, or more precisely, moscato d’asti, the low-alcohol, sparkling, refreshing, fruity wine that is a specialty of Piemont, in Northern Italy. Made from that most aromatic of grapes, muscat, (more…)

Twitter Recipe #1: Wine suggestions for Anthony’s white bean sunchoke purée crostini (and another recipe)

The other day, I was getting ready to cook some white beans, and wanted to take the dish in a different direction than what I usually do. So knowing that I have many friends on Twitter who are well-versed in the culinary arts of the Mediterranean, I tweeted for suggestions while the beans simmered and got many good ideas.

Caroline (aka @gastrolinguista) suggested a Fabada, a bean dish with chorizo and saffron, among other things. I wound up doing a kind of fabada, that evening, with some of my homemade chorizo and dry-cured bacon.

There was also this very simple one from Anthony Nicalo, of Farmstead Wines:

@RemyCharest sweat onion & garlic, add chopped tomato, lightly color, deglaze w wht wine; add beans, and simmer w po rk stock, rosemary, salt

And then, as I dug through the fridge (more…)

Death in the Vineyards

Reading the wine news, these days, it seems like the Grim Reaper is in harvest mode. Three significant figures have died in recent days: Didier Dagueneau, rebel vigneron from the Loire, Anthony Perrin, from Château Carbonnieux in Pessac-Léognan, as well as Bailey Carrodus, founder of Yarra Yerring, in Australia.

All three were credited with bringing their estates to the forefront, and being driving forces for improvement in the wines of their respective regions.

Beyond the sad news themselves, these deaths beg the question (more…)

Wine on the air: time for the barbecue

Last week, I got an invitation from Sharman Yarnell, host of Showtime, a Saturday morning show on Montreal station CJAD, to talk about summer wines and, more specifically good wines for the barbecue. Sharman was charming and fun to work with, and I certainly hope to do it again some time. I have to say it’s always nice, when you’re blogging, to reach towards other media. And I’ve always loved doing radio.

I put together a list of accessible wines that could come in handy for the grilling season (more…)

Tasting Note: Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 1998, Antinori

This Chianti was a classic indeed. Bearing the old vertical, Swiss Bank Note style label (a lot more interesting than the very classy current sepia version), my 1998 Badia, made from a 50-hectare vineyard on an estate bought by Piero Antinori in 1987, was brought out to celebrate an anniversary – and it was worth it.

Right from the opening, (more…)