Next stop might be New Zealand. Stay tuned!
With the much-needed rain pouring down, it’s a perfect time to catch up on writing and sample a few wines.
Let’s travel to Italy. Astoria Wines is located 50 miles north of Venice in one of the most beautiful wine-growing regions, the Veneto. This northeastern region of Italy stretches from the Dolomite Mountains to the Adriatic Sea. The Alps and the sea protect the region from harsh northern winds which in turn provide ideal conditions for growing grapes and producing wine.
Astoria Wines is owned by the Polegato family and represents four generations of winemaking. The first winery, Vinicola Polegato, was established in the 1950s. Several decades later, Vittorino Polegato found an ideal location in the heart of the DOCG area to launch the next stage of the family business, the Val De Brun estate in Refrontolo. In 1987 Vittorino renovated an old 18th century home and converted it into Astoria’s headquarters. Giorgio and Paolo Polegato, (Vittorino’s sons) along with the next generation of Polegatos, led by Filippo, Carlotta and Giorgia, uphold the family name and winemaking tradition.
Although Astoria Wines is noted for being the largest private producer of Prosecco DOCG in Italy, their portfolio includes Pinot Grigio, Moscatos (both red and white), Pinot Noir and a Red Blend.
The first thing I noticed when unpacking the wines was the unusual shape of the bottles. The packaging is eye-catching and original.
The 2014 Alisia Pinot Grigio I.G.T is light yellow in color with intriguing aromas of fruit, floral and stone fruit. This 100% Pinot Grigio surprises the palate with fruit, peach and lemon. It is medium-bodied and dry but still fruity and nicely balanced. The long lemon zest finish is a treat! This wine would pair well with pasta, cheese & fruit, grilled vegetables and light fish.
The 2012 Primo Rosso Red Blend I.G.T is made with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Merlot. The color is dark ruby. It is quite aromatic with berries, herbs and spice tickling the nose. The palate offers red berries, fennel, pepper and hints of plum. The finish has hints of cocoa and dark cherry. Medium-bodied with soft tannins make this an easy wine to pair with most foods.
The wines are priced well and would make great little gifts to give out at holiday time. Keep a few bottles around for that spur of the moment party as well!
Next stop might be New Zealand. Stay tuned!
This week was tossed into a shaker and what poured out was nothing like I had originally planned! I was all set to attend the Consorzio Valpolicella Tasting & Seminars in NYC yesterday. Unfortunately, a client pre-empted my plans and the day took a different direction.
I have been to several Italian wine tastings that have included the Veneto Region. Valpolicella comes from the Veneto region of northeastern Italy and is the most famous wine district in that region. Valpolicella is a blended wine. The Corvina grape makes up most of the blend (usually up to 75%) with Rondinella and Molinara rounding out the mix. Sangiovese, Negrara or Barbera are other grapes that are used as well. Corvina is the grape of choice for higher quality Valpolicella.
Since I didn’t make it to the event, a sweet friend found a bottle of 2013 Folonari Valpolicella for me to taste. This red blend is a mix of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. The aromas were subtle with fresh fruit and pine. The palate offered cherry, cranberry, pepper and herbs. It was light and smooth with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla bean on the finish. Very easy to drink.
Founded in 1825 by Francesco Folonari, the winery is located in the heart of the Veneto region
The sun is shining and I’m going to try and reconstruct the rest of this week!
Due to my busy schedule today, I’m squeezing in a quick post about Masi Agricola Spa in the Valpolicella Classico region (Veneto). I attended a wine tasting this past September where I sampled a few vintages of their Amarone. I think my post about it is worth sharing again.
“I made my way to Veneto, where Tony Apostolakos, the U.S. Director of Masi Agricola was waiting to guide me through a tasting of Amarone. It is interesting to note that Sandro Boscaini, the owner of Masi, is referred to as “ Mr. Amarone” due to the unique crafting of his wines. He uses the appassimento method to concentrate aromas and flavors in wine. The Appaxximento symbol can be found on his labels guaranteeing the authenticity and quality of Masi Wine. I’ll highlight a few of the wines I tasted. The 2011 Costasera Amarone was full-bodied with cherry, plum and spices. The 2008 Vaio Armaron Amarone, aged in cherry wood casks for four months, was amazing. The aroma and flavor of cherries, spices and fruit lingered on the palate. Before I departed I was treated to a taste of 1999 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. It had a beautiful bouquet of fruit and earth, with dark fruit and spice on the palate."
On Tuesday, at the Grandi Marchi Seminar, Sandro Boscaini’s son, Raffaele led us through a guided tasting of 2009 Riserva di Costasera. It is made with 70% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 10% Oseleta and 5% Molinara grapes. Oak Maturation is 38-40 months with 6 months in the bottle. The color was deep ruby with aromas of cherry, plum and a touch of earth. The palate offered rich black cherry, spice and a hint of pepper. It was elegant and full-bodied with smooth tannins. Alcohol 15.5%.
I will definitely add this wine to my collection. http://www.masi.it
Yesterday I began my review of the Kobrand Tour d’Italia 2015 eight-city tour of Italy. We explored some wonderful vineyards and tasted interesting wines. I now have three more stops to make.
I made my way to Veneto, where Tony Apostolakos, the U.S. Director of Masi Agricola was waiting to guide me through a tasting of Amarone. It is interesting to note that Sandro Boscaini, the owner of Masi, is referred to as “ Mr. Amarone” due to the unique crafting of his wines. He uses the appassimento method to concentrate aromas and flavors in wine. The Appaxximento symbol can be found on his labels guaranteeing the authenticity and quality of Masi Wine. I’ll highlight a few of the wines I tasted. The 2011 Costasera Amarone was full-bodied with cherry, plum and spices. The 2008 Vaio Armaron Amarone, aged in cherry wood casks for four months, was amazing. The aroma and flavor of cherries, spices and fruit lingered on the palate. Before I departed I was treated to a taste of 1999 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. It had a beautiful bouquet of fruit and earth, with dark fruit and spice on the palate. http://www.masi.it
The next stop was Piedmont to visit Michele Chiarlo, a family owned and run winery. Their grape varieties are Moscato, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cortese. It is interesting to note that the wines are never blended. I tried a 2011 Reyna, Barbaresco, 100% Nebbiolo. It was flowing with dark fruit, spice and licorice. The 2007 Cannubi Barolo, also 100% Nebbiolo was full-bodied with notes of licorice, spice and firm tannins. Although I didn’t have a chance to taste the light sparkling wine Nivole, Moscato d’Asti, 100% Moscato, I was told the wine is so delicate that, Michele Chiarlo named it Nivole after the Piedmontese word for clouds.
My final destination was back in Tuscany with Ambrogio E Giovanni Folonari. The Folonari family began their wine making in the 1700’s and are considered among Tuscany’s top winemakers. Their portfolio is vast and with the array of bottles set before me, I knew that I didn’t have time to sample them all. So I asked Claudio Andreani to guide me through a few of the wines. We started with the 2010 Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino. It was full-bodied and robust with dark berry and tobacco. The 2012 Tenute del Cabreo Il Borgo was smooth and earthy. Tannins were a bit chewy. Next was Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva, 100% Sangiovese. Aged for 16 months in Slavonian oak vats, the wine was earthy with firm tannins. My last taste was a 1997 Tenuta Campo al Mare, Rosso, Bolgheri. This wonderful Bordeaux-style blend was rich in flavor. Dark fruit, licorice and a long smooth finish completed my day of tasting. http://tenutefolonari.com
Have a great Friday!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I think I lost a day somewhere and forgot to post something yesterday. Life has been hectic and this weekend is no exception!
So, I will get right to my review of a lovely wine I had last evening while out to dinner. It was a 2009 Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella. The blend is Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone & Negrara grapes. This full-bodied wine was a dark ruby color. It had aromas of blackberries, leather and dark currents. It carried over to the palate with plum and a hint of nuts and vanilla. It was a smooth and silky finish. It paired well with my Branzini! http://www.pasqua.it/
We’re bracing for another snow event here. It looks like it will be an “indoor” Valentine’s evening. Works for me!!
It has been a few days since last posting. There has been so much activity and not much time to write anything. Before I hit the road, I’ll take a quick moment to tell you about a wine I had the other evening.
The wine was a 2012 Torre del Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso. This Corvina blend had fruity aromas of cherry and plum with hints of chocolate. It had intense fruit on the palate with blackberry, cherry and mocha to finish. The wine went well with a variety of cheeses and carried through to all the main dishes. It is an affordable and very drinkable wine without having to spend a lot of $$.
I expect to be drinking a “big” wine this evening! I’ll be back!