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…)

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How on Earth Did I Forget About Italy?

For some odd reason, I haven’t written a single post about Italy, since I started this blog last July. I can’t explain why. I drink them regularly and enjoy them greatly Better yet, when I don’t know which wine I’d like to drink, my almost automatic choice is to go for an Italian wine.

This realization (about my unintentional un-Italian blog bias) dawned on me as I was drinking a delicious bottle of 1997 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva. From a fantastic vintage, it was just ripe and nicely opened up, with a great garnet color, bright aromas and flavors of cherry, cedar and cigar box, as well as those velvety yet firm tannins and astringent finals. Not terribly complex, but everything I expect from good sangiovese.

Italian wines from indigenous grapes like (more…)

More Pressing Matters at Matassa – and a walk through the vineyards

Instead of picking a few grapes in the vineyards of Domaine Matassa, I spent more time in the cellar making myself as useful as I could, and truly learning just how physical winemaking can be.
Let’s just talk about one of the many tasks I took part in during the end of my stay there : transferring a cuvee from its original tank and taking it off the marc (the grape skins, pulp and pips that are left to ferment with the red wines after the juice has originally been pressed out of them), before the wine is put into oak barrels to continue maturing over several months, often well over a year. The cuvée in question was El Sarrat, a combination of syrah and mourvèdre that is a new addition to the Matassa line-up (the first vintage, 2006, fruity, supple and balanced, was just bottled and a large shipment sent to UK chain Waitrose – lucky Brits !).
I assisted Cédric, a quiet, careful vigneron who has been working with Tom Lubbe at Matassa since the very beginning, in 2002, in first getting a new stainless steel tank ready, and a pump to transfer the wine from one tank to the next. While the wine was being pumped away, I also pulled some leftover juice from another tank of grenache, so that those few dozen liters could be added to the El Sarrat we were transferring.
After the fermenting juice was run out of the tank of El Sarrat, I climbed in and (more…)