It’s a perfect day for a trip into the Big Apple. I’m attending Spain’s Great Match: Wine Food Design. In addition to a walk around tasting, I will be attending a few seminars as well.
I’m sure I will have lots to share with you upon my return from “Spain”.
Have a great Wine Wednesday!
Monday was a rainy day. And, what better way to spend it than sampling wines of The House of Burgundy’s 2016 Grand Annual Tasting inside the ballroom of The Harmonie Club in NYC.
Many countries and producers were represented at the event. I began my tour tasting wines from countries that I had never tried before, such as Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon and Japan. I then explored wines from Argentina, France, Greece, Italy and the USA. In addition to the wines, I tried a wonderful spirit from Turkey called Efe Raki.
I heard countless and fascinating stories about wineries steeped in history and I tasted some memorable wines that I would love to share with you. Since I am short on time today, I’ll tell you about a few wines/spirit and save the rest of my stories for future posts.
I was quite impressed with Vini Wines from Bulgaria. Imported by Bulgarian Masters Vintners and produced specifically for them, Vini Wines is the best-selling Bulgarian wine brand in the U.S. The wines are produced in Bulgaria’s Southern Thracian Valley, an area that has a long history of wine production. The 2015 Vini Sauvignon Blanc (100%) was crisp with notes of citrus and peach. Nice acidity and a pleasing finish make this an easy wine to pair with many foods. The 2015 Vini Pinot Noir (100%) was full of dark fruit and spice with hints of cherry. The tannins were ripe. Spice and hints of vanilla lingered on the finish. All the Vini wines have an alcohol content that ranges from 12% to 13%. The price point is around $8.99 and worth exploring!
Heading over to Turkey, I was dazzled and intrigued by the Efe Raki display. Efe Raki is an unsweetened alcoholic drink made from dried or fresh grapes and flavored with anise seeds. It is similar in taste to Ouzo. Raki is also called Lions Milk due to the fact that the clear liquid turns milky when water is added. Served in typical Raki glasses, this is a drink that goes well with light appetizers or mixed in cocktails. I tasted the Efe Fresh Grapes Raki (Green bottle) The aroma of aniseed was quite strong and pleasantly intoxicating but was softer on the palate than ouzo or Pernod. Alcohol is 45% and the price range is $15 to $21 depending on which bottle you buy. Check out their website which has lots of interesting information about Raki history and tradition.
Have a happy Wednesday!
In my last post I reviewed nine bottles of wines from Chile. Needless to say, I had a lot of wine remaining in the bottles.
One of the perks of reviewing wine is sharing the leftovers with my “wine lover” friends. So, when word went out, they were lined up at the door with wine glasses and wine tote bags in hand! It was a fun weekend!
I’ll be back this week with more adventures and wine reviews. However, it’s a beautiful day and I’m off to embrace it!
Last week I attended the Descorchados (uncorked in Spanish) Wine Tasting in NY. Seventy-three wineries were represented from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. In addition to tasting some outstanding wines, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with many of the winemakers one on one. There were stories to be told and wines to be shared. Many of the wine labels were quite whimsical, capturing the history and stories of the wineries.
So…let me start with Argentina and one winemaker.
When one thinks of wine from Argentina, Malbec is usually the first wine that comes to mind. Mendoza, Argentina is considered the “heart of wine growing” in this country. Over 70% of all Argentine wine comes from Mendoza, which includes about 85% of its Malbec! In addition, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah and a small amount of Cabernet Franc are among the grapes that are grown there. The Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc are eye openers, as well as the recent comeback of Semillón.
At the wine tasting, I “toured” around Argentina from north to south and in between. The most significant wine valleys of Argentina are The Calchaquies Valleys, La Famatina Valleys, San Juan and of course, Mendoza. Each wine valley produces a particular grape, style and flavor. Depending on the terroir, a grape can have completely different or distinct characteristics when grown in just a slightly higher or lower elevation.
Matias Riccitelli is the proprietor and winemaker of Riccitelli Wines, located in Mendoza. Born and raised in Argentina, he is the son of renowned Norton winemaker Jorge Riccatelli. Using traditional techniques as well as the newest technology, Matias has created some exceptional wines.
He poured four unique wines for me, starting with “Hey Malbec!” a 100% Malbec grown in Luján de Cuyo. It was soft, juicy and pure. He then poured “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree”, another 100% Malbec harvested from three different vineyards. This was more complex, yielding a richer palate and more pronounced tannins. And I quote from his website “Just as an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, a wine cannot be made without a story. My winemaking reflects what I was taught by my family and reflects the passion that characterizes each one of us”. The third 100% Malbec he poured was República Del Malbec. The grapes were grown in Vistabula and Luján de Cuyo. The wine was concentrated and smooth with lush berries and spices. “We made this wine in honor of all those immigrants who planted, worked and taught us, gave us the blessing of our flagship varietal who for over 100 years lives in this land, which has taken a unique identity in the world.” The last wine Matias poured was a 2015 Old Vines Semillón that is a new addition to his portfolio. The vineyards are located in Rio Negro and are said to be around seventy years old, which is key to the quality and natural balance of the wines. The wine was lively, fresh and had just the right amount of “sweet”. It was a treat to taste it. Matias’s enthusiasm and passion for his wines is contagious! I look forward to trying more of his wines soon! http://www.matiasriccitelli.com
As I was leaving the event, I was given a copy of “Descorchados 2016 Guide to the Wines of Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay”. Written by Patricio Tapia a noted wine critic, this comprehensive 960-page book (weighing 4 pounds) is the 17th edition.
I will write about more of the Argentine winemakers I met in future posts. There is also more to come with regard to Chile, Brazil and Uruguay!