Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2012

Now that I’m back in the trenches sipping vino, I hope to continue my exploration of the Sangiovese varietal.  I will continue exploring other wines as well, of course.  Still, the renown and venerable Sangiovese has somehow caught my interest.

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Sangiovese Grapes by Francesco Sgroi

Oenophilogical_DiMajoNoranteSangiovese2012Winemaker: Di Majo Norante
Varietal: Sangiovese
Vintage: 2012
Appellation: Terre degli Osci IGT, Italy
Price: $9.99

 

Notes: This southern Italian was a bit like opening an old cedar chest with mothballs in it.  Those were the scents that immediately struck me – cedar resin and menthol.  A dark wine in the glass, it was medium-bodied with good acidity.  The tannins were quite present, verging on high.  Alcohol was at 13%.  On the palate I tasted rubber, blackberry, resin, menthol, pepper and woody tannins that lingered.  Pretty decent, I’d say.  In fact, given the tannic structure, I think it might have been a good candidate for cellaring.

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Trentatre Rosso

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to be taking it slow these days. In other words, I won’t be tasting as many wines as I might otherwise. Luckily, I do have some notes left from prior experiences, so I think I’ll go ahead and publish those now as well. While the particular vintage may no longer be available, the wine producers will surely have something on store shelves currently for our consumption.  Here is one of those notes.

Winemaker: Trentatre
Varietal: Rosso (Red Blend)
Appellation: Salento IGT, Italy
Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

Notes: This lovely Italian reminded me of a Bordeaux. A blend of 33.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33.3% Merlot, and 33.4% Montepulciano, this wine had a distinct purplish hue in the glass with a very present bouquet of forest floor (sous bois). It was on the cusp of medium-bodied with good acidity and gentle tannins. Alcohol was at 14%. Flavors I detected included brambly blackberry, leather and tea leaf. I think I see another bottle of the Trentatre in my future.

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Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find my photo of the bottle.  So instead the photo above is of a town (or more precisely a portion thereof) called Castro in the Apulia region – the area in southern Italy where this wine comes from.

It’s A Head Snapper Prosecco

I know the bubbles/bubbly wine writing challenge is past, but I wanted to post this anyway.  First, though, many congratulations to Traveling Wine Chick for coming out on top in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #27!  Her entry is quite an enjoyable piece.  If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.  Click HERE to view.  This post won’t be as fullsome or as well phrased, but it will be about bubbles nonetheless.

Winemaker:  It’s A Headsnapper
Varietal:  Prosecco
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Prosecco DOC, Italy
Price:  $12.00

Notes:  At 11% alcohol, this light straw-colored bubbly was a tad sweet.  It had good acidity, a light heft on the palate, and a bouquet of nectarine with floral notes and a hint of cream.  At least that’s what I smelled.  I can only share with you what my nose told me.  Flavors were gentle as was the effervescence.  It seemed like a light citrusade to my taste buds – a mix of citrus.  It was pleasant, and I actually thought the tart flavors balanced the sweetness pretty well.  It’s simple.  It’s easy to drink.

Fontana Candida Frascati 2013

I love the name of this winery – a member of the Banfi family of brands – because it elicits in me personal memories/connections.

I have only had one other selection from this vintner – their Pinot Grigio delle Venezie.  At the time, I had just finished reading a biography of the modernist composer John Cage who wrote a piece called “Fontana Mix”, composed while he was living in a flat in Italy.

But the second part of their name – Candida – which can mean white, pale, naive or innocent – reminds me of the satire Candide written by Voltaire and the derivative operetta of the same name with music by Leonard Bernstein and libretto by Lillian Hellman.  What memories that word brings to the fore!!

You see, some years ago I had the honor of being a swing for a professional production of the operetta Candide here in my local town.  The production began elsewhere and then transferred to my town for a couple of months.  When they arrived, they had everyone in tow but their swings – understudies who learn and cover chorus and small roles (usually 5 or 6 roles at a time).  They called me to audition, I got the part, and then I had just over 2 weeks to learn music, lines, blocking (placement/movement on stage) and dance.  Holy cow!  Even more enjoyable was the fact that the dance captain who was supposed to be teaching the swings (2 male, one female) their movement and dance, didn’t actually know the dances. Oh, he knew HIS movement and dance.  But he didn’t know OUR movement and dance.  So we spent quite a bit of time watching him watch the archival recordings of the show in order to then be able to teach us.  Not surprisingly, we all felt a little behind when opening night came around.  Eventually I did get to go on for one of the roles, and it went well.  Whew!

Oenophilogical_FontanaCandidaFrascati2013Winemaker:  Fontana Candida
Varietal:  White Blend
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Frascati DOC, Italy
Price:  $11.41

Notes:  According to the Fontana Candida website, this Frascati is made from Malvasia Bianca Di Candia, Trebbiano Toscano, and Malvasia del Lazio grapes.  At 12.5% alcohol, it was light-bodied and brisk in it’s acidity.  Light yellow in the glass, it exhibited plenty of lemon and chrysanthemum in the bouquet.  On the tongue I tasted lemon, grass, some citrus zest near the close and a nutty note on the finish. I enjoyed it quite a bit (despite the memories it may have dredged up) and think this wine’s overarching citrus will make it a great companion for many fish and seafood dishes.

* The video trailer above is not from the production in which I participated.

A Toast!

It has been quite awhile since last I posted.  I apologize profusely for the extreme delay, but I had a darned good (some might say extreme) reason.  I was presented with a surprise – a big surprise – health challenge.  Thus, as you might imagine, that subject has taken pretty much all my focus for a time.  It also prevented me from enjoying adult beverages for a bit.

Now that things are looking a tad brighter, I thought I’d pop a bottle of bubbly stuff to celebrate.  (Don’t worry, I have the doctors’ blessings) So ….  Cheers!

Oenophilogical_AvissiProseccoWinemaker:  Avissi
Varietal:  Prosecco (Glera)
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Prosecco DOC, Italy
Price:  $12.49

Notes:  On the nose of this extremely pale sparkling wine I caught a very sharp citrus scent.  On the tongue I thought acidity was good and the body characteristically light.  Flavors consisted of a citrus core with hints of almond and toast.  It was quite bubbly.  I’d even call it aggressively effervescent – almost too much for me.  Even so, I was more than pleased to have the opportunity to let it prick my tongue and tickle my nose.

La Cappuccina Soave 2014

This Soave is made from 100% Garganega grapes.  The varietal produces a light white wine.  According to Jancis Robinson it is a “Veneto vine capable of making fine, lemon and almond-scented wines, notably but not exclusively from low-yielding vines in Soave, also Gambellara, Bianco di Custoza etc.”  It is also called Grecanico in Sicily where it is late-ripening and can result in a tangy vino.

Oenophilogical_LaCappuccinaSoave2014Winemaker:  La Cappuccina
Wine: Soave
Varietal:  Garganega
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Soave DOC, Italy
Price:  $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This light-bodied Italian white was very pale yellow with an abundant bouquet of citrus and spice.  I thought acidity quite vibrant, and alcohol was off-dry a 12%.  Flavors I tasted were a bracing citrus with honey and grass.  It was a refreshing glass of wine.  I enjoyed it and can certainly see this with hearty seafood dishes or perhaps contrapuntal to a rich cheese.

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio 2014

According to Mezzacorona, their Pinot Grigio vines are grown in estate-owned vineyards in an alpine valley carved into the Dolomite Mountains by the Adige River which has it’s beginnings in the Italian Alps.  In addition, the grapes are cultivated in a traditional pergola style and completely hand-harvested.  Sounds romantic in an old world kind of way, doesn’t it?  Evidently, their location in the Dolomites affords them a variety of microclimates which allows them to choose plant several grape varieties in vineyards best suited to each.

Winemaker:  Mezzacorona
Varietal:  Pinot Grigio
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Dolomiti IGT, Italy
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  The bouquet of the Mezzacorona held faint whiffs of citrus and peach with hints of summer flowers.  Color was a typical light straw.  It was light-bodied, and acidity was good.  In this PG I tasted primarily nectarine with additional warm spice notes.  As it drew to a close it brought lemongrass to the fore with touches of mineral on the finish.  I found it a perfectly good Pinot Grigio.  I think it should be a nice accompaniment for light entree dishes and young cheese courses.