Tag: italian wine

What kind of Wine is Amarone?

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Amarone della Valpolicella it’s a very particular wine, made from raisins, previously dried in the sun, as is done with the variety Pedro Ximénez to get the sweet wine of the same name. For this wine, and contrary to what is usually done in most raisin wines, local red varieties are used first instead of white, and secondly, the result would be dry wine with different organoleptic characteristics.

Its color is dark red, which tends to garnet as the wine ages. It has an accentuated odor, a full, warm and velvety flavor and a touch of ripe fruit, cherry and raspberry as its aroma

As they age, you can also identify some moss and tar aromas. The residual sugars are of a maximum of 12 g/l, whereas the alcoholic graduation oscillates between 14 and 16 degrees. The production area is located in the province of Verona, in the Veneto region of northern Italy, and the varieties normally used are corvina veronese, corvinone and rondinella, with a limited presence of other red varieties.

The particular elaboration of the Amarone follows the same principle as that of other wines in which the concentration of sugar is raised and the aromas and acidity are enhanced, as in the German Eiswein or Strohwein, The French Vin de Paille, and other wines from Greece, Cyprus or Italy, almost always paired with desserts.

Amarone, on the other hand, is usually combined with autumn and winter dishes, such as roasts, meat, cheese, risottos and other typical dishes of the region, and it can also be drunk alone as the culmination of a good dinner. It is served in a large glass, to favor its oxygenation at a temperature of 18 to 20 ºC.

The process of drying the grapes takes about 120 days or more, according to the water content of the fruit, under a strict control of ventilation and humidity, to avoid the appearance of fungi and take care of the correct drying when external climate changes as winter arrives. At the beginning of February, the grape is pressed and the skins macerated until 30-50 days, so that the sugars, as a result of the yeast, are gradually converted into alcohol, until reaching the degree determined for the Amarone. If the concentration of sugars remains above the marked, the resulting wine is renamed Recioto della Valpolicella, a sweet red wine that has different characteristics.

Do you want to try Valpolicella wines? We suggest an Amarone or a Reciotto:

 TAGS:Zenato Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella 2011Zenato Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella 2011

Zenato Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella 2011

 

 

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Zenato Amarone Della Valpolicella 2011

In Italy, they are very clever: free wine from a reservoir 24/365

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It is true: in Italy, there is a fountain that provides red wine for free 24 hours a day throughout the year. This is an initiative of the winery Dora Sarchese, with the purpose of offering a comforting glass of wine to the pilgrims who stop in the region of Abruzzo during their trajectory on the Cammino di San Tommaso.

In Italy there are other sources of wine such as Carosino (Taranto), San Floriano del Collio (Gorizia) or Marino (Rome). However, you can only enjoy their wines during special occasions like their respective patron saint festivities. In fact, a technical error in the preparation of the Marino fountain for the 2008 Grape Festival in Marino made wine come from the taps of all the houses in this town during one season. What differentiates the Fontana from the Abruzzo Wine is that it is the first source that offers wine throughout the year in a completely free way and without any restrictions of schedule.

Inspired by the Irache Fountain, which offers wine from the Navarra Irache winery to the pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago, this fountain welcomes those who walk from Rome to the Cathedral of Santo Tomás de Ortona to visit the holy remains. In this way they carry on an old European tradition, in which monasteries and abbeys gave wine to those pilgrims who sought refuge during their journey following the steps of saints. From the time of Charlemagne to the French Revolution, the monks who inhabited these spaces quenched the thirst of travellers, penitents and religious who came to their doors, with wines made from the fruits of their ancient vineyards.

In spite of its short existence, the source is already a tourist success of the region. Visitors are starting to see queues to admire the design of the famous Italian architect Rocco Valentini, as well as taste the red wine that comes from it. An excellent option to taste a glass of delicious local red wine with D.O. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, while enjoying the beautiful landscape of this region bathed by ancient vineyards.

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Tenuta Ulisse Nativae Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2013

 

 

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Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2013

 

 

Buon appetito! Italian food for beginners

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Yes, in Italy there is life beyond pizza. And also much color: green basil, white, red . And is actually so that Italian cuisine is full of joy and flavors. What are some of the most common dishes? We will mention some of them.

Pasta – It is always a delicious dish, especially if you serve with sauces made from fresh tomatoes or mushrooms, you can pair with wines made of many varieties Merlot, Carmenere and Shiraz, and rose wines prepared with Syrah. These wines also go excellent with other pastas such as gnocchi alla romana with cream and mushrooms, Rigatoni ragout of blueberry jam, the cappellacci di Zucca and penne rigate with lamb ragout, or pasta with chickpeas and zucchini. Oh. And if you prefer the lasagna, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a must on the side.

Rice – Rice in Italy is synonymous with risotto. Its traditional preparation requires a special type of rice cooked in broth. One of the most famous recipes for risotto is part of the typical food of the Veneto region, and it is called risi e bisi, meaning rice and peas, as well as the risotto ai funghi. Good alternatives on pairing with wine are white wines made from Chardonnay basis, Pinot Grigio and varieties of Pinot Blanc.

Polenta – Polenta is a recipe from the north of Italy, made with cornmeal. The dish is a very versatile one, and to serve it mixed with mushrooms is very good. Do not hesitate to accompany polenta for wines made from Malbec or Syrah.

Soups – When winter never forget you of Italian soups. One of the favorites is chickpea soup with chestnuts, from the center of Italy and cooked with fresh chestnuts. Another option is the famous minestrone. Enjoy them with a young red wine made from Pinot Noir and Merlot.

Desserts – Do you have a sweet tooth? Do not miss the biscuits Meini, the Schiacciata all uva (focaccia with typical grapes of the region of Tuscany made during the month of September) Shwarzplententorte (buckwheat and Apple Cake made from wheat and apple, typical of northern Italy) and the Panna Cotta (means cream and of Piedmontese origin). Which is nicely combined with white wine, both sweet and dry.

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Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 2012

 

 

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Castello Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2012

Football and wine: A passionate combination

 TAGS:undefinedAlthough at first sight it might seem that wine and sports do not have a lot in common, there are well-known sports persons who have taken seriously their passion for wine and have built up business on it.

Michael Laudrup, distribution entrepreneur

Michael Laudrup is an ex-football player and coach of the Welsh club of Swansea. He became famous in the 1990s when he played for the FC Barcelona, where he started to try and enjoy Spanish gastronomy and wine. Following his own website, Laudrup got to know another Danish family, the Buhls. Out of nostalgy for all these discovered delights, he founded a small business to import wine, almost exclusively for himself and some family and friends.

Like this, Laudrup Win & Gastronomi came to live in 1993. This business grew step by step and became later the most important importing company for wine and gourmet products from Spain to the Scandinavian country. Among its biggest sales there are some of the most famous Spanish wines: Muga, Allende, Artadi, Viña Pedrosa, Toro Albalá, Can Rafols del Caus and many more.

David Ginola, from ball artist to wine lover

Frenchman David Ginola became famous when he played for Paris Saint Germain. During this time he started to collect bottles. His passion made him meet Philippe Faure-Brac, former world champion sommelier and owner of Le Bistrot du Sommelier in Paris. He made him go into this interesting passion and thus he started to try and buy some of the best wines in the world. He soaked more and more knowledge about wine and different wine regions and today is a real expert.

Andrés Iniesta, the crazy heart (corazón loco) of wine

Andrés Iniesta, the famous player at Barça, opened his own winery in his native town Fuentealbilla, owning already some vineyards in the family. The winery is attached to the D.O. Manchuela and following the medals it has won in various competitions we can conclude that it is succeeding. His white wine elaborated from Verdejo stands out especially.

Andrea Pirlo, a passion since childhood

Pirlo started playing for Brescia in the mid-1990s and has remained faithful to his football roots with the purchase of a vineyard located in the hills of the city. Pirlo grew up in a wine-loving family and went to the vineyards already as a child. This vineyard Pratum Coller (which means ‘meadow hill’ in Latin) produces between 15.000 and 20.000 bottles of wine a year. Currently, they produce two kinds of red wine, one rosé and one white wine. They are planning to expand their range and volume of production.

The wine that crosses borders and sports

American football also has its representatives in the world of wine. The ex quarterback Dan Marino and Joe Montana are the two most famous ones who own their own wineries (Marino States and Montagia Wines respectively). Ice hockey also counts with some wine representatives: former Canadian star Wayne Gretzky has his own winery in the Niagara area, well known for producing outstanding ice wines.

 

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Corazón Loco 2014: a red wine from the Manchuela DO made with graciano and syrah of 2014. 

 

 

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Corazón Loco Blanco 2015: a white wine of the VT Castilla DO based on verdejo and sauvignon blanc of 2015. 

 

*Picture: Pratur Coller Wines 

5 places in Italy for food lovers

 TAGS:undefinedThere a special places you don’t want to miss knowing if you are a fan of good food and you like traveling Italy. Today we present you 5 locations to give you an idea.

1) Romagna

Being surrounded by impressive woods, they stand out for their hospitality for about two decades now: Giovanni and Cristina welcome travelers with breakfast, homemade cakes, pies and jams made from organic fruit of their own orchard. Furthermore, their subtly sweet licors, Parma sausages, zucchini filled pasta, amaretti cookies among others. The hosts are always ready to suggest hidden, unknown places to have dinner. During mushroom season, Giovanni offers field trips to visitors from around the world.

2) Agriturismo Corte d’Aibo, Emilia-Romagna

Autumn in Emilia-Romagna means wine, truffles, mushroomes, and chestnuts. The Agroturismo Corte d’Aibo is an organic farm and vineyard, located 25 kilometers west of Bologna, in the hills of the Apennines. The vineyard produces 6 red wines and 6 white wines, made from grapes of its own backyard. The recommendation is to take a bottle of Pignoletto with lunch and a tour of the winery. The menu includes specialties like tagliatelle with ragout and risotto with truffles and Parmigiano-Reggiano such as local dishes.

3) Masseria Il Frantoio, Puglia

Before lunch and dinner, Armando Balestrazzi gives a tour around Masseria Il Frantoio, close to Ostuni. They own 4.000 olive trees – many of them planted by the ancient Romans -, a citrus orchard from the 17th century, and a Moorish style garden. Armando and his wife Rosalba bought this 500-year-old property 15 years ago and turned it into a restaurant and a hotel with 19 rooms. Rosalba takes care of the cooking, and her 8 courses lunch paired ip with wines from Puglia and different olive oils is a real challenge. One of her typical meals could consist of: pizzelle (discs of fried pasta similar to Indian puris) with fresh tomato sauce, zucchini and shrimp fritters, green beans, baked goat cheese with saffron and pear jam, homemade pasta laganelle with zucchini and carrots, roast lamb with potatoes, garden salad with fresh almonds and rose petals, and lemon pie.

4) Le Campestre, Campania

After living in Belgium for decades, the Lombardi family returned to Italy to build up organic Agroturism. Le Campestre is a farm with rooms and a restaurant, a property located in the region of Campania Alto Casertano, that is famous for its olive oil, the buffalo, goat chees and its rustic breads. Meals are served on a terrace overlooking the nearby valley and mountainsides. The guests stay in simple rooms and participate in the daily tasks of the farm, such as the olive harvest. They also offer vooking classes.

5) Bio Agriturismo Valle Scannese, Abruzzo

Gregorio Rotolo is famous for his cheese: round blocks of pecorino, flat ashlers of aromatic stracchino and tender ricotta, each of them with a distinctive green and silver label. Gregorio and his family hava a biodynamic farm, more that 1.500 sheep and agroturism. The location is excellent, on the edge of the Abruzzo National Park, it is run by the family itself and has 17 cozy and comfortable rooms, and the food is wonderful.

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Quota 29 Primitivo 2012: a red wine with Salento DO with the best bunches of 2012 primitivo and 14º of volume of alcohol. 

 

 

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Cantine San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni I Giganti 2012:  red wine from Puglia DO with primitivo of 2012 and 14.5º of alcohol. 

 

 

What they mean when they talk about Super Tuscan Wine?

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The term “Super Tuscan” originated in the 1980s to describe a mix of Tuscan reds. What makes “Super Tuscan” a wine, unlike other Tuscan wines, is the use of non-indigenous grapes.

Super Tuscan wines differ from the Tuscan ones since they can be made from other different grapes than Sangiovese, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The creation of super Tuscan wines was the result of blending unauthorized varieties in order to achieve high quality wines, which were labelled as table wine or “vino da tavola”. Since the 1970s the Tuscan producers began to develop this new wine.

The legal system finally gave up in 1992 by creating IGT (Typical Geographical Indication), a new designation that gave oenologists the ability to be more creative in their elaborations and launch to the market wine with a higher level of quality than a table wine.

The most famous Super Tuscan wine is called “Tignanello”, and was created by the Marquis Piero Antinori in 1971. This was the first Super Tuscan wine and is made with a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. After the release of Tignanello, other producers imitated Antinori and embraced the task of creating wines with these mixtures.

Although the first two super Tuscan were born in Bolgheri and the Chianti Classico area, they now have spread to all areas of Tuscany: Chianti Classico and other Chianti subzones, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, Carmignano and Montecarlo. In areas such as Chianti, super Tuscans have become the cellars’ most important wines.

Super Tuscan wines are fine and highly rated wines. Some well-known in the world are: Sassicaia di Tenuta San Guido (developed by Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta) and Gaja, from Felsina, among others.

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Tignanello 2011: a red wine from Tuscany DO of Antinori cellar with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc of 2011 and 14º of alcohol strength.

 

 

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Brancaia Tre 2012 is a red wine with Tuscany DO based on the best of cabernet sauvignon and merlot from 2012.

 

Sicily, land of wine

 - Sicily is one of the most genuinely Mediterranean lands of Italy, and so its agriculture, from ancient times, perfectly sums up the purest essences of the culture, the climate and the character of the island.

With ideal physical characteristics for the elaboration, among others, of products such as citrus fruits, olive oil and of course, wine, Sicily has a tradition of vine cultivation which is lost in antiquity, although it seems that Greeks and Phoenicians were responsible respectively for planting the first vines in the hills of Sicily and market them around the Mare Nostrum, which they found perfect for it because of their mild temperature, the sea breeze that runs its coast and the vast amount of sunlight that still makes the autochthonous grapes particularly suited for the different varieties grown in it.

With an area of about 150,000 hectares of vineyards, three quarters of them for white grapes (mainly in the west) and the rest to red grapes (especially in the east of the island), Sicily produces one of the world’s most famous wines, the Marsala, a fortified wine similar to Port, which shares with it the British origins of the wineries that produce them. This is an ideal wine as an aperitif or with cheese, fruit or dessert, competing for this purpose with other local products such as Passito di Pantelleria, made with raisins, the Malvasia delle Lipari, the Moscato di Noto and Syracuse or the Zibibbo.

Among the table varieties, are internationally known the Nero d’Avola, one of the more popular by its contribution to the Sicilian viticulture and placed among the best Italian wines. This wine takes its name from the most famous local red grape variety. The Bianco d’Alcamo, white and red Eloro, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Etna, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato are also remarkable, the same way that other wines produced with autochthonous white grapes, such as Carricante, Cataratto or Grecanico. Many of these wines are protected by local geographical indications DOCG, DOC and IGT.

Wines with their own appellation of origin

 TAGS:Many times we are guided by the Denomination of Origin when buying a wine, but there are cases when the opposite happens, that first taste of a wine leads us to the rewarding experience of discovering a whole new appellation which was unknown for us before. Such events still deserve more attention when we realize that the whole Appellation of Origin consists only in one cellar. X-Files.

How can you make such a progress from having just your little vineyards to get your own Denomination of Origin? Or still more intriguing: How to make your cellar -Designation of Origin- microcosme become world famous?

I think that I will not be able to answer any of these interesting questions and the truth is that if I could and I would have embarked on that venture, that?s how I am. But I’m sure that the responsible of Dominio de Valdepusa in Spain and Bolgheri Sassicaia in Italy know what this is about, since they are some who have succeeded doing it.

Sassicaia marketed its first vintage in 1968, although the family owners were producing wine since the forties. Their passion for the wine world and especially for the French wines from the Bordeaux region led them to plant the first vines with the intention of using them just for their personal consumption.

The obsession with the pursuit of quality drove them to consider the business. Thus, excellent wine and persistence led to the inevitable: as in 1983 this small area of Livorno, in the middle region of Tuscany, was declared appellation of origin.

The case Dominio de Valdepusa is even trickier. The plot of land where the vineyards are placed is property and belong to the family of the Marquis de Griñón since 1292. These fifty acres in Malpica de Tajo (Toledo) enjoy the special features of a terroir that gives to this family success in the wine.

Each year they produce around 300,000 bottles of different wines, two of which are among my favorites: Caliza and Marqués de Griñón Petit Verdot. Also their essence has to do with Bordeaux as happened with Sassiscaia, although in this case the relationship with the French region is given by the house winemaker, Michel Rolland, who comes from there.

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Summa Varietalis 2006

 

 

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Sassicaia 2008

Cold wines for the summer

 TAGS:Summer this year with temperatures high enough to make us fear the worst for July, force us start looking for fresh wines as a light option to our regular wine choices. People like me, looking deep into the red flavors and intense aromas without half measures, should change their minds, for their own sake, and make their way towards new experiences, less direct and more evocative, less aged and a little younger.

For this temporary amendment purpose, I have prepared a list of wines that I would like to try, because of their freshness, novelty and also just because. During the colder months I have been postponing these tastings, preferring the security that knowing what will happen after uncorking gives to you, but spring is in the air and this saying also applies to wines. Let?s taste.

White wines. I would start by a Palacio de Menade Verdejo 2011 or the same wine but in its Sauvignon Blanc version. Try them because after learning a little better what’s behind these wines, reading their website they have seduced me with their adventurous nature, their passion for things well done and their dedication.

I am also determined to take home a Blue Nun Eiswein Riesling 2008, because seeing the bottle so stylized and original with that blue color has been like love at first sight. I will not resist to it.

And by the way, this winery also has a version, low cost, low fat and low alcohol of this very wine called Blue Nun Low Alcohol 0.5%: the ideal choice for those who have started their pre summer diet, pregnant women and anyone looking for low alcohol wines.

I must confess that pink wines are my unresolved matter, but with this heat its refreshing taste and spring color I must admit that they seem the best claim to pour a drink. I propose two of the ones I’ll try in the coming weeks. A Sparkling Italian: Canti Pinot Grigio Rosé Brut, with a pale tone that gives an irresistible vintage touch to it and a Californian one, the Big House Pink, which has me crazy after a look at its great illustrated label (that all wines from this winery have).

And as I can never say no to discover a new red wine, on my list for this spring there is a Chilean wine: 35 South Carmenere 2010, a slightly lower speed than the ones I usually like, but with that touch of wood that always seek. It replaces the bitterness by sweet notes at the end and surprises with those green pepper notes that Carmenere grape gives to wines, in addition to the Cabernet Sauvignon that is also in its composition. I’ll keep you informed.

And if you need further suggestions, we recommend you these 2:

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Viña Albali Gran Reserva 2006, a great, affordable spanish wine

 

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Black Tower Classic Riesling 2009, a smooth and fresh white wine

Italian wines

Italian winesItaly is a country with one of the most important cultures of wine, making it one of the leading producers in the world of wine. The Italian wines enjoy of a well deserved reputation as well as the Italian wineries, and have a large and extensive wine territory. Wine in Italy date back to the time when Mycenaean Greek stepped on the land of Romulus and Remus, it was them who introduced viticulture in 800 BC But it was not until 200 BC, when the wine started to gain leverage in the Roman Empire. Even the emperor Domitian destroyed some vineyards to replace it with food crops back on 90 BC.

Italian wine history 

At that time wine was forbidden outside the Roman Empire, in what they called “Roman law.” This led to a significant raise of the wine trade. Over the years and while the Roman Empire and its laws weakened, viticulture began to expand in Europe, especially in Gaul (France). 

In modern Italy, its vineyards flourished as never before, becoming the largest producer of wine, but the reign was soon taken by France, shifted in the recent years. Today Italy is the second largest producer, its wines are world-famous, as well as wineries and all the culture that exists around the wine. 

Italian wines, appellations, grape varieties and strain

Italy is divided administratively into 20 regions, and they all produce wines. Its territories include the Alps, extensive coastal areas (as a peninsula), high mountains and hills, different climates and soils, make the perfect setting for wine in all its forms. 

In Italy there are 4 types of designations of origin, 2 called VCPRD (quality wines produced in a specific region or regions), which are the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) and Denomination of Origin Controlled and Garantita (DOCG). Y 2 called table wines: Vino da Tavola e Indicazione Geographic Tipica (IGT) 

According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIRAF), in Italy there are 350 varieties of grapes, but actually they assure that there probably are about 500. This large number makes the range of wines be extraordinary. However, some of them were highlighted by fame and quality. Among them we can distinguish the better strains of Italy:

Sangiovese (red) found in larger quantities in the Tuscan countryside.
Verdicchio (white) found mostly in Marches. 
Nebbiolo (red) found mostly in Barolo and Barbaresco. 
Trebbiano (white) found mostly in Lazio and Abruzzo. 
Montepulciano (red) found mostly in Abruzzo. 
Dolcetto (red) found mostly in Piedmont. 
Moscato (white) found mostly in Piedmont. 
I will recommend 2 very special wines from Italy, so you’ll have the complete picture and see what you think … 

Gaja Barbaresco 2006: Barbaresco is one of the most interesting and a recognized type of wine in Italy, and Gaja winery is probably the best to makes it. This Gaja 2006 is spectacular, and shows the best of the Nebbiolo grape. 

Canti Pinot Grigio Rosé Brut: Sparkling wine made from the distinctive ‘pink Pinot Grigio. Amazing and so very different from anything you’ve ever tryed. And the price, is unbeatable. Cheer up!