Saturday, October 30, 2010

Damilano Barolo, 2001

Barolo wines are made from 100% Nebbiolo and carry a reputation of being some of the best wines in the world. Damilano makes Barolos with single vineyard designations from their prestigious estate vineyards in Liste and Cannubi, but they also buy grapes from other areas of Barolo to make this non-designated Barolo. This Damilano Barolo made the Wine Spectator “Top 100” list, back in 2005 and was recognized as a great value from Barolo coming in at about $33. Tonight we decided to open a bottle of this Barolo that has been resting in our wine cellar for the past 5 years. The wine has a dark ruby color with a purple rim. On the nose is pleasant aromas of blackberries, cherries, mushrooms and some cellar floor. This is a full bodied wine with flavors of black plum, black raspberry, cranberry, cola, tobacco, tea and red cherry. There are abundant velvety tannins that are will integrated with the vibrant fruit and earthy flavors. This wine is drinking well now, but should continue to evolve for the next 5 to 10 years. We enjoyed this excellent Barolo with an outstanding dinner at Cantinetta in Bellevue. This wine paired well with some Ricotta Gnocchi with Braised Lamb and the Wild Boar Ossobuco...Yum!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

La Cattura, 2006

This red wine comes from Poggio al Casone, located in Tuscany, near the famous town of Pisa. This red wine is 90% Teroldego and 10% Syrah. The Teroldego grape is a lesser known Italian variety that is usually grown in northern Italy’s Trentino-Alto-Adige zone. Recent genetic testing has shown a close relationship between Teroldego and the Syrah grape. In the glass, this wine has a dark ruby color with a purple rim. This is a medium to full bodied wine with rich flavors of black plum, red raspberry, cola, black pepper and earth. There are abundant smooth tannins and crisp acidity that complete the package. There is no evidence of vanilla or oak. This is an interesting wine that is fruity and earthy with a bold profile, but still an excellent wine with food. We enjoyed this 2006 La Caturra with some Braised Pork Loin Back Ribs, Basil-Garlic Mashed Potatoes and some Parmesan Crusted Asparagus.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paso A Paso, 2008

Bodegas Volver, under the direction of Spanish oenologist, Rafael CaƱizares seeks to create "new world" wines with the maximum expression of the Tempranillo grape. This winery is located in La Mancha and the 40 year old vineyards are planted in harsh sandy soil with a river rock base. These grapes benefit from hot dry days and cool nights of central Spain. The Paso A Paso is 100% Tempranillo that is hand picked and slowly macerated and fermented, then aged for 6 months in French oak barrels. In the glass this wine has a dark black/purple color and is nearly opaque. There is an expressive bouquet of spicy cherry, pencil lead, wild blueberry, black raspberry and violets. This is a full bodied wine with chewy dark concentrated black fruit, sweet tobacco, deep minerality and considerable tannins. Firm, focused and fresh, there is impressive concentration and opulence with an oak and mineral accented finish. This is a exceptional value for big Tempranillo wine. The 2008 Paso A Paso can be found at Esquin Wines, in Seattle, for about $11. This wine will pair well with hearty stews, grilled meats and sharp cheeses.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zenato Valpolicella Superiore, 2007

The Zenato winery has about 175 acres of vineyard located in Lugana, northwest of Verona, in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. For over 50 years, Zenato has been producing wines that showcase the lovely wines of the region. This pleasant Zalpolicella is made from 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, and 5% Sangiovese. This wine is produced in a traditional method by de-stemming and crushing, followed by 6-7 days maceration with the skins. The wine is kept in temperature controlled steel tanks for malolactic fermentation then matured in Slovenian oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling. The color is a deep, dark red with a crimson hue. The nose offers fragrances red cherry, dried cranberries, sage, leather and some dusty earth. This is a medium bodied wine with flavors of chocolate covered cherries, red raspberry, toasted almonds, coco and violets and baking spice. There is a nice structure with a velvety texture from smooth tannins and a crisp edge from vibrant acidity. The finish is long and flavorful. This Zenato is ready to enjoy now, but can be cellared for a few years. Consider this wine with a Herb Crusted Pork Roast or an Autumn Mushroom Risotto. We purchased this Valpolicella fron Esquin Wines, in Seattle, for about $12.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Six Prong Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, 2007

This new release from Six Prong is a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of Washington’s Columbia Valley. The Alder Ridge Vineyard was first planted in 1996 and is now a site that produces excellent grapes for many excellent wines from that region. The list of wineries using these grapes include Columbia Winery, Betz Family, Hightower, Novelty Hill, Syncline, Matthews Cellars, Andrew Rich, Owen Roe, Maryhill, Chatter Creek, Ash Hollow, Forgeron Cellars, Long Shadows, Ste. Michelle, and Covey Run. This Six Prong Cabernet has a deep ruby/purple color that is nearly opaque. A heady bouquet evokes ripe blackberry, cassis, plum, chocolate and wet rocks. This is a full bodied wine that displays bold, intense flavors of spicy cherry, cassis, black raspberry, licorice and cedar. This wine is still quite young and burly. There are aggressive chewy tannins that seem to compete with the layer upon layer of ripe fruit. There is a decent level of acidity that is trying to get things to balance. This wine might be very rewarding if laid down in the cellar for 3-5 years. We purchased this bold Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon from Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $14.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paolo Manzone Fiorenza Barbera d'Alba, 2007

The Paolo Manzone winery is located in the Piedmont district of Northern Italy amongst the rolling hills between Alba and Dogliani. This small producer grows estate Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiola on south-facing slopes of clay and limestone. All their grapes are picked by hand and the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and refined in mature French oak barrels. The Fiorenza Barbera is 100% Barbera from 20-25 year old vines and is made in the typical style of the region. Barbera is known as the “King of Food Wines” due to its abundant acidity, medium body and smooth tannins. This is a medium bodied wine with a deep ruby color and pleasant aromas of cherry, blueberry, prune and cellar floor. Very flavorful in the mouth, the Fiorenza shows abundant red and black fruit with black cherry, red raspberry, cranberry and plum. There are additional flavors of tar, light oak and dried herbs framed by zesty acidity and smooth, subtle tannins. This wine will pair well with any hearty Italian dinner or some good sausage or sharp cheese. We purchased this excellent value Barbera d’Alba at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $10.