Some whites have it all…

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Blanc, Cassis, 2009

I never tasted a wine from the AOC Cassis before and as I discovered last Friday, that’s a real shame.

The AOC Cassis, which dates from 1936  is situated between the sea and the mountains in the Provence-area. Twelve winegrowers share 180 hectares to make the Cassis wines. Eighty percent of the wines are white, the remainder, red and rosé wines. The white is well known as THE wine to go with “Bouillabaisse” the fish soup from Marseille.

The wine I drunk is from  Clos Sainte Magdelaine, who own 20 hectares,  all facing the Meditteranean Sea.

The blend  2009 exists of Marsanne 35%, Clairette 35%, Ugni Blanc 25% and Bourboulenc 5%. Generally you can say, Marsanne is being used for its roundness, Clairette and Bourboulenc for their aroma’s and Ugni Blanc for its acidity.

Well let’s forget about this, what really counts is that this really is a wine which has it all. Fennel, honey, abricot, mint are only a few of the aroma’s you will find in this wine. It’s creamy and fresh at the same time and last but not least, very drinkable. Let’s say that  complexity has never been so pleasant.

Maybe it was also the unusually hot weather in Holland in October, but while sipping this wine it wasn’t very hard to imagine myself sitting there watching, hearing and smelling the sea and okay, why not with a bowl of Bouillabaisse?

#barbera2

#barbera2

 

May 14th 2011, Nizza Monferrato, Piemonte, Italy

 

10 barbera’s, 5 from Piemonte and 5 from United States

Winetasting, sharing, learning, enjoying, winemakers, discussions, bloggers, journalists…but especially ..winelovers!

These are only a few ingredients of #barbera2…Stay tuned!

 

Nothing is what it seems..negroamaro

Like everyone else, also I have my prejudices on wines and grapes. One of the best things in wineworld is that wine can always surprise and amaze you. Actually, there are no certainties in winelife.

One of the grapes I wasn’t really fond of, was negroamaro. This is a grape from Puglia, Italy, famous for it’s dark colour. The wines you normally find in Holland, are the overfruity, jammy, tiring fruitjuices without any excitement at all.

A few weeks ago, I met the Puglian winemaker Paolo Cantele at a Piemonte winetasting. When I found out that he, and his wines would be at Prowein, I had to taste his wines. Actually because I was very curious about his wines. He came all the way from Puglia, Salento to Piemonte to find out about the Grignolino grape, so there must be real wine passion, at least.

I tasted all Cantele wines in Düsseldorf, which are all really good but the one that really blew me away, was the Teresamanara, negroamaro, 2008, 100% negroamaro, aged for 12 months in barrels.

This negroamaro, showed a spiciness, fruitiness and great minerality, combined with perfect acidity and was so elegant, I was really amazed. I think this is the way negroamaro should be. Fortunately this really was a classy wine, not a dull one, like the ones I’ve tasted before.. A wine I would like to drink during my summer BBQ !

So going back home, from Prowein, a few things were on my mind..

  •  Puglia is really an underestimated wine region
  •  I love good wine, because it can always help you change your ideas, open your mind.
  •  Imagine the world,  if we would spent a little bit more money on wines.

www.cantelewines.com

The perfect tasting…or notes on #grignolino1

As a winelover, sometimes you dream of how a tasting should be. For me it’s not important to have expensive wines, or a chique hotel where the tasting takes place. What I love is blindtasting, wines made with passion,  the attendance of the wineproducers and passionate people, not particularly wineprofessionals.

Allthough I consider myself a wineprofessional, I know we can be very annoying, by analyzing the wine, in a way that normal people look at you, as you have lost track. And maybe even more important, in the end,  wine is bought by non-wine experts! More and more I start believing wine has to be enjoyed and shared with eachother.

Last Saturday I attended the perfect tasting, which took place in a little “borgo” Portacomaro, near Asti, Piemonte, Italy. Ten producers of grignolino, attended this blindtasting of their bottles or vask samples. Nearly 70 people from all over Italy(bloggers, wineproducers, winelovers and wineprofessionals) and two Dutch people, Samuel Sanders and I, came all the way to Portocomaro, to taste, understand and enjoy the grignolino grape. There were a lot of opinions, discussions and also a lot of sentiments on the wine, the last thing is something typically Italian, which I love.

Grignolino is a tough,  local, Piemonte grape. It’s the grape which  rules, not its winemaker. In Piemonte there is a saying that if you want to tease a winemaker, you’ll give him a grignolino vine to make wine of.

They say there is no better “terroir”grape than grignolino.   The color of the wine seems a bit more orange than red. In general its fruity, raspberries, a bit of strawberry but with a surprisingly spiciness and tannins,  a lot of tannins. It needs food, but not too complicated food.  It seems pretty drinkable, but it is not an easy wine, I would say. Veronelli wine guide says it’s the whitest wine of the red wines and it is the reddest wine of the white wines. Food for thought, I would say.

This great tasting was perfectly organized by Fabrizio Gallino, on Twitter as @Enofaber, topblogger in Italy www.enofaber.com   La Stampa, an Italian newspaper put an article on this event in its newspaper, where they quote the Dutch wine importer, Samuel Sanders (see below)

I felt very lucky that I could attend a tasting like this, could meet all these Twitterfriends, old and new ones, and ofcourse the very brave producers. And I hope no one will ever say that Twitter  is only to say that you’ll have to pee. In a way Twitter can make dreams come true..

Grignolino [Gree-nyoh-LEE-noh]

Although I might know a few Italian grapes and some Italian words, the first time I read the word “grignolino” on Twitter, I had no idea what this word meant, and really no idea it could be a grape. I love the name of the grape, and start reading on it. The name grignolino, probably derives  from the the word “grignole” which is Asti dialect for pips, because grignolino has a quite a lot of seeds.

The description of the grape” anarchist, individualist, a bit foolish and stubborn”, sounded to me like it must be a very interesting grape , it sounds almost human.

This, low yield,  late ripening red grape variety, mostly planted in Piemonte, near Asti, is known for its fruity aromas. strong acidity and strong tannins. It’s also planted in California, where they also make a Portwine of it.

When I was in Turin last October, for Slow Food fair, Salone del Gusto, I finally tasted my first Grignolino, one of Cascina Tavijn. Maybe not the perfect circumstances for tasting, end of the day, tired, in a hurry , but the wine really surprised and amazed me.

In the beginning it seemed a rather  light,  red wine, but it turned out to be very spicy, refreshing, due to a pleasant acidity and ended with a surprising tannic structure. The only thing I could think of, was more..more and more..very interesting.

Well after this weekend, I’ll think I’ll know a lot more on grignolino grape variety and the wines.Thanks to Twitter,  I was invited to attend a tasting in Portocomaro (near Asti, Piemonte), #grignolino1, which will take place March 12.

This event is organized by @Enofaber, Fabrizio Gallino, a real grignolino lover and great Italian wine blogger. Ten producers of grignolino, will attend the tasting and let us taste their wines, old vintages and samples from the vask.

Afterwards,  there will be a seven-course Piemonte  lunch, so that we can taste the wines with the food and can have a chat with old and new Twitterfriends.

Ofcourse I’ll keep you posted on this tasting I’m really looking forward to!

picture: www.gigibianco.it

www.enofaber.com

www.cascinatavijn.it

The Long & Winding Road

 

Recently I visited the famous wine area Priorat, in Spain, a little two hours drive from Barcelona.

Don’t go there if :

1) you like crowded places

2) you prefer light and quick dining, or popping in somewhere for some fast food

 3) using Foursquare is one of your favorite hobbies, allthough if you will be able to check in somewhere, you will become mayor, that’s for sure.

4) you don’t like driving on  long and winding roads, like my travelmate said, this Beatles song has never been more suitable than in this area.

But if these former points don’t scare you off, go and visit this beautiful area! In Priorat area there are about 90 wineries, who produce Priorat DOQ wines( Denominació d’Origen Qualificada).This area is famous for its powerful red wines, made of garnacha tinta(which you will see in all the older vineyards, carinena and some foreign grape varieties like cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.

Most wines are blends of the grapes, mentioned before. The soil, which is of volcanic origin,  consists of reddish and black slate and quartz, in Spanish referred to as llicorella. The soil reminded me of the one I’ve seen in the Douro Valley. They say the name llicorella stems from the Catalan word for licorice, because it’s  black, somewhat shiny rocky, and is high in mineral content. The hard rock forces the vines to go deeper to find the water and limits the yields.

Most wineries use French oak barrels, all grapes are picked by hand, which you can imagine if you see the steep slopes, which is  problaby one of  the reasons that Priorat wines are rather expensive. Ofcourse the fact that Parker, discovered this area, will take part aswell. If you enter a wineshop, you’ll find the cheapest priorat for 10 euro’s, and the most expensive one I’ve seen so far was about 278 euros. Not very strange that most of these wines are not bought by locals, but find their ways into several countries all over the world.

But if you might not like the wines, which I can not imagine, then you can also go there for the amazing food, the very friendly people, medieval villages and the stunning nature, hiking there must be incredible!

If you ‘ll ever be in Falset, don’t forget to book a table in this restaurant http://www.cellerdelaspic.com/  Absolutely the best crema catalana, ever eaten, heavenly! They also have an impressive winelist.

And in case you’ll wonder, this was not sponsored by the tourism council of Priorat;-) Go there!!!

First picture: www.bodegasmasalta.com

If you would like to see some more pictures, visit my Facebook

The emptier the bottle..

I loved to find out about the JLF test, invented by a German guy. JLF means Je Leerer die Flasche (desto besser der wein), which is German for The Emptier the Bottle (the better the wine).

The test is about having a few bottles on the table and just drink them with friends, accompanied by some food. Everyone takes a first sip of each wine and tells what he thinks of it. After that, the normal drinking starts. You may not spit them, but you’ll have to drink them. 

The winning wines are the ones who are the most empty, measured in centimeters of wine left in the bottle. I love this idea, because I think most of the time it’s more important to just drink and enjoy the wine, than completely overanalyzing it, or judge it by giving points.

I had to think about this story, while I was drinking this wine with a friend during dinner: Cascina Garitina, Niades, Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG 2009, Piemonte

This wine is a red, fizzy Piemonte wine, made of 100 % brachetto grapes, a grape variety which you’ll only find in Italy, as far as I know.

Be prepared, that if you will ever taste this purple-red, fizzy sweet wine, it will cause a real fruit-explosion in your mouth. Never tasted so much concentration of blackberries, raspberries, rose-hip and elderberries before, without getting bored.

After my first sip, I couldn’t say it was very complex or really very elegant, but it turned out that we couldn’t stop drinking it. Needless to say there was not a millimeter left in the bottle.

It matched wonderfully well with my homemade chocolate truffles, with rosemary and seasalt. But why wait till dessert to drink this wine?

www.cascinagaritina.it

 

Cantine del Falco, Artiglio Salento, IGT 2009

Artiglio Salento Bianco IGT '09 One of the things I really like about wines, in general, is that often you’ ll  get rid of your own  prejudices . This wine really is a good example. I am not a big fan of oaked Chardonnays but this one, although it’s a blend and really oaky, surprised me that much I had to write about it..

It has a beautiful, intense golden color. You definitely smell the wood, no doubt about it.( 6 months of ageing in barriques) In the beginning I thought of just another overoaked white wine…, but after some time, you can smell lovely almonds, hints of vanilla and even some coconut, in a pleasant way. In your mouth, it’s has a velvety roundness, but also a nice acidity. It tastes like almonds, peaches and is easily drinkable, thanks to the nice acidity. And it sure has some ageing potential, I would love to try this wine again in let’s say, four more years.

But best of all, it is a nice wine to sit down with and relax, not too complicated, but just to enjoy! Its producer, Cantine del Falco http://www.cantinedelfalco.it/ is situated in the region of Lecce, Puglia, Italy.

This wine is made of 60 % Chardonnay and 40 % Verdeca. The last one is a local variety. Verdeca, also known as: Verdicchio femmina, Verdone, Verdisio, is being grown in Puglia and Campania. Both areas are relatively unknown here in Holland, except for some primitivo wines and a lost Greco di Tufo, you don’t see many of their wines here, unfortunately. Verdeca is mostly used in blends and to make Vermouth. If Verdeca is being used  in a single varietal wine, they say it shows delicate aromas. I did some internet  research, but haven’t find one yet. Would be interesting to taste a 100% Verdeca, anyone knows one, or tasted one?

 Available @Monegawijn  www.monega.nl  € 11,40