OMG, I am heartily sorry, BUT….

Argiolas Costamolino 2010 Vermentino (Sardinia)

Vermentino Grapes

This light, crisp expression of the Vermentino grape comes from the hills above Caliguiri, Sardinia. Vermentino, a grape that comes with a number of synonyms (in Southern France it’s “Rolle” and in Corsica “Malvasoie de Corse”), is grown throughout the Western Mediterranean, with plantings in Northwestern Italy around Genoa – and, increasingly, coastal Tuscany; Provence and the Languedoc in France; Spain, and the Mediterranean islands Corsica and, of course, Sardinia.  Its history dates back at least 700 years, and grape historians debate whether it got its start in Northern Italy, Sardinia or Spain; certainly it was widely traded as far back as the 13th century, earning it a place of respect in the grape family tree on the basis of longevity alone.  It is a large leaved vine with big triangular shaped clusters of grapes.

Our lovely example today has straw yellow color with some extremely light green reflections.  The nose shows citrus, pear and a touch of honey, no doubt due to its partial malolactic fermentation and an obvious small amount of time on its lees.  On the palate the wine is zippy, crisp and lively.  The citrus flavors carry through with kefir lime and pineapple as well as other softer tropical fruits and some ripe Bosch pear which give this wine a lush soft mouthfeel.  Flavorful, crisp and lush are the three words to describe this baby.  We paired it with Pasta Putanesca with prosciutto.  The 2010 is becomming hard to find, and runs about $14 a bottle.  The 2011 is what you will find on shelves and seems to be priced lower, around $12 to $13 per bottle.  Just for the shear flexibility of this wine (yes, it make an AWESOME pour on its own on a cool autumn or cold winter afternoon!) I would rate it a 15+ (out of 20). I really recommend you trying to find it.

Coming up: , Pasta Putanesca recipe posting in a few hours to subscribers, Greek Lamb Ragu posting tomorrow, and Sunday before Sandy at Sharpe Hill Vineyards ^ Restaurant coming very soon!
My apologies for the lag in posting.  It was a Superstorm, or something like that! Also, I was out working them streets for the election.

Wineguy’s Wine #4 – Grechetto Bianco

Santa Cristina Umbria IGT 2011 (Villa Antinori – Tuscany/Umbria – Italy)
Price Point: $8 – $10
Availability: 9
Color: White
Varietal(s): Grechetto Bianco with Procanico (Trebbiano clone)
Weight: Medium Light
Professional Rating: Unrated
My Rating: 14

Santa Cristina Bianco is an very pale straw yellow color, almost clear color at the edges wine, with remarkable viscosity (legs) nice for an Italian white (central Italy was a scorcher last summer). The aromas are fresh, bright and vividly sweet – redolent with orange blossom, honeysuckle, cinnamon, and exotic citrus notes that are just on the tip of your tongue but out of mind’s reach. The first taste is soft and ambrosial (Grechetto is the grape often used for desert wines from the region including a delicious Vin Santo), later on you get a cascade of ripe Bosch pear, Granny Smith apples and summertime floral notes. The acidity on this wine is bright and clean. It mellows out midpalate and you begin to taste white stone fruits, i.e., peaches, apricots, with just a bit of minerality and a lingering floral hint, but only a hint. The finish and aftertaste is crisp and savory and reinforces in the mouth the floral and citrus aroma notes first felt on the nose.

What is Grechetto? Grechetto Bianco (commonly abbreviated to Grechetto) is a white wine grape variety grown in central Italy. While also planted in Lazio and Tuscany, the grape is most strongly associated with Umbria and is used in the production of the cheerful peach-scented wines of Orvieto DOC.

Although it is believed to have its origins in Greece, Grechetto has been grown in Italy for so long that it is now widely regarded as being native to Umbria. Since the late 20th century, its reputation has significantly improved and Grechetto is now regarded as one of the finest white wine grapes in the region.

This wine is great on its own.  I loved it with some crab/lobster ravioli in a creamy white clam sauce.  Its acididty and fruitiness actually cut through the cream and was a wonderful seafood match. 

Enjoy!  Larry Patrick

Wineguy’s Wine #3 – Pinot Grigio


Borgo Magredo Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio 2010, (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy)

Price Point: $13-14
Availability: 5-6
Color: White
Varietal(s): Pinot Grigio
Weight: Light
Professional Rating: 85-86 (50-100 scale)
My Rating: 13 (1-20 scale)

Clean, crisp & dry, just like the packaging says. By packaging, I mean the Pinot Grigio varietal labeling. After all, that is what a Pinot Grigio should be. The color is light yellow, darker than straw, but a very clean bright lemon color. The nose is stone fruit, a hint of lanolin and tons of minerality, no doubt the typical Pinot Grigio one would find from from the Friuli Grave region east of Venice it originated in. Once this ice maiden hits your mouth (and do pour this cold, please) you are overwhelmed by tons of cantaloupe, apricots, and white peaches, and a touch of those white raisins we loved as kids! The finish has some sweet spices which are quickly swept away by the clean briskness and desire to drink some more. Forget the food, this wine needs some friends OR just a nice afternoon on social media.

Pinot Grigio is the Italian name for the Pinot Gris grape variety. The style in which Pinot Grigio is typically made is so distinctive that Gris and Grigio are typically treated as two different varieties (even if they do have identical DNA). The international marketing behind Pinot Grigio is so strong that for many consumers its name is more recognizable than the original, Pinot Gris. The Italian style has been successfully adopted in the USA, and to a lesser extent Australia, where some wineries produce both a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Gris, in contrasting styles.

‘Light’, ‘crisp’ and ‘dry’ are the key descriptors used when talking about Pinot Grigio wines. The style is achieved by harvesting the grapes relatively early, which helps retain the variety’s naturally high acidity (for example, harvesting of Pinto Grigio is going on now, and has been going on for weeks!). Fermentation most often occurs in stainless steel tanks to keep the wine fresh and ready for consumption soon after harvest. Also, the influences of barrel ageing would add palate weight and vanilla aromas, detracting significantly from fresh, zingy Pinot Grigio style (so NO oak). Some sparkling wines are made from Pinot Grigio, and in Italy the grape is blended with various other white grape varieties on occasion.

Friuli Grave (or Grave del Friuli) is situated in Italy’s most north-eastern region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The area, divided by the Tagliamento river, extends from the province of Udine in the east towards the province of Pordenone in the west. The west stretches from the foothills of the Julian Alps to the sea and borders Veneto, while the eastern side covers a huge area of the central Friuli plains.

This area is the largest DOC in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, made up of approximately 16,000 acres of vineyards (which is HUGE for northern Italy). Soil, climate and situation (situation means how the vines are planted in relation to the sun, say an east facing slope or the south side of a hillside) combine to make the terroir excellent for vine growing. The soil is similar to the Graves in Bordeaux; the name Friuli Grave derives from the alluvial, often gravelly soil that characterizes the zone. The extensive stretch of stones beneath the vines reflects heat and light during the day to help the grapes ripen, as well as acting like a radiator during the night to maintain a constant and even microclimate. The east offers cooler temperatures and higher rainfall, while the west has a more maritime climate. The nearby Adriatic Sea tempers the heat, and the vineyards on the plains are also protected from the cold air currents coming from the north by the curve of the foothills of the Alps.

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