KINfolk raises funds with art auction and wine tasting – Cape Gazette

Cape Gazette

KINfolk raises funds with art auction and wine tasting
Cape Gazette
KINfolk, a charitable organization that provides laptops to children who are hospitalized or homebound, raised more than $10,000 with an art auction and wine tasting July 17 at the Cordrey Center in Millsboro. The event entertained about 150 people.

Source: wine tasting – Google News


Visits in Barbaresco May, 2013

On my recent visit to Piedmont I included five producers in the neighboring village of Barbaresco since I’ve often given them short shrift. Known as the Queen of Nebbiolo, in contrast to Barolo the King, Barbaresco has a reputation for being a softer, more elegantly styled example of Nebbiolo. While this is undoubtedly true, the accompanying sentiment, that because of this it can’t quite achieve the heights of Barolo, also seems somewhat ingrained in the marketplace, and that is of course terribly unfounded.

Barbaresco will rarely have the sheer power of Barolo, but the wines are simply different, not less good. While that may be true there is in fact a bit of factual information supporting the idea that great wines are harder to find. Simply put there are fewer of them.
Fewer producers, fewer bottles, and fewer Crus, all make buying Barbaresco a somewhat more difficult proposition than buying Barolo. Add in the fact that the Cooperative in Barbaresco, the Produttori del Barbaresco had for years a near monopoly on the wines from this commune and you’ll see why things are the way they are today; with numerous smaller producers sprouting up over the past two decades, still developing their styles and their understanding of their vineyards.

One additional point worth making about the dominance of Barolo in the region is that while these two regions are separated by a short distance they do experience distinctly different climatic conditions, with Barbaresco usually enjoying a harvest that precedes that of Barolo by a pair of weeks. We, even educated consumers, tend to think of the region as a whole and use the vague results of vintage assessments to help guide our buying in the region. That is a significant mistake.

After speaking with the producers and tasting the wines here it became clear to me that 2009 in Barbaresco clearly has an edge over Barolo, with wines that have all that upfront fruit that the wines of Barolo display but with a better balanced and riper structure. In contrast 2010, which looks to be epic in Barolo, is elegant and perfumed in Barbaresco but without the power of depth of it’s siblings. The 2011s, which seem to be very promising in Barolo might be even better here in Barbaresco. The wines from barrel are full bodied, ripe, and intense, and in the words of Produttori’s Aldo Vacca are ” the biggest Nebbiolo ever produced here, biggest fruit, biggest alcohol, biggest tannins, an over the top vintage, but not overripe”. And one last thought on vintages, the 2008s in Barbaresco seem to have outperformed their Barolo brothers.

Armed with this knowledge I continued my limited set of tastings in the region. It is always a challenge deciding where to visit when one has a limited amount of time in a region, and even when spending two weeks in Piedmont I sadly only found time for 5 visits in Barbaresco. As I have mentioned in previous postings on the Barolo producers visited this year, this year I was trying to visit Barolo producers whom I have yet had the opportunity to visit. That being done I look forward to broader coverage in Barbaresco next year. Having said, that the five producers I did visit offered a fascinating perspective into the  state of Barbaresco today.

Marchesi di Gresy

Cantina del Pino

Produttori del Barbaresco

Rivella Serafino

Cascina delle Rose


My first visit was at the Martinenga estate of the Marchesi di Gresy. These are well known and well regarded wines that come from an excellent slope within Barbaresco. Essentially surrounded by the crus of Asili and Rabaja, this is a fabulous spot, an amphitheater, steep and southwest facing. Spend some time in the vineyards and that steepness, and the accumulated heat of the day can become very apparent. This is reflected in the wines produced here, which tend to be on the richer, more powerful side of the Barbaresco scale.

There are three Barbarescos produced here, the Martinenga along with Gaiun, which sees 100% oak, of which 30% is new, and the Camp Gros which, like the Martinenga,  spends a bit of time in barrique before being moved to botte for 22 months, in contrast to 12 months for the Martinenga. While all of the wines here are well made, there is no doubt that many people will prefer one bottling over the other, primarily due to the impact of the differing wood treatments. Not surprisingly my preference was for the Camp Gros.

Next up on the agenda was a visit to the Cantina del Pino, ably run by Renato Vacca and reflecting Renato in their understated style. Quite the opposite of what one finds in the Marchesi di Gresy wines, here one finds very precisely made yet traditional wines with fruit sourced primarily from the family owned vineyards in Ovello, as well as a bottling from the Albesani cru of the Santo Stefano hillside, which lays several hundred meters east of Ovello in the commune of Neive.

The wines receive traditional fermentations stretching out between three weeks and 30 days in length and then are aged in large format wood for two years before bottling. I found these wines to be quite pretty but I have to admit to wanting a bit more from many of them. They are elegant almost to a fault, and stand in stark contrast to the more powerful wines created at the Marchesi di Gresy. Results of winemaking decisions as well as the difference in the crus, which is as important here as it is in Barolo.

If you want to really delve into the crus of the commune of Barbaresco there is no better place to go than to the Produttori del Barbaresco. Undoubtedly one of the finest coops in the world of wine, the Riserva Barbarescos of Produttori are among the handful of wines I regret not buying more of. These are, year in and year out, fabulous wines and among the best values in the world. And as I mentioned, they are a fabulous case study for the crus. Every cru receives essentially the same treatment in the cellar, a month of time on the skins followed by three years in botte before bottling. The classic Barbaresco, known as the Torre bottling due to the tower on the label sees only 24 months in botte but otherwise is produced in a very similar fashion.

While I was unable to taste all nine crus the day of my visit, I did taste a nice assortment of wines, each excellent in it’s own right. Interestingly there will be no Cru Riserva wines bottled here in 2010 as the Torre bottling was deemed to be not quite where the Produttori wanted it to be, so working within the constraints of their protocols, where they either bottle all of the crus or none of them, the cru wines were all blended back into the 2010 Torre. The result is a fabulous Torre bottling and one you should definitely try but based on the 2011 Langhe Nebbiolo tasted here one that might be soon upstaged! If you are interested in learning about Barbaresco the wines of the Produttori are not to be missed.


Moving on, yet staying within the commune of Barbaresco, my next visit brought me to the hill of Montestefano, where Teobaldo Rivella has been farming two hectares of Nebbiolo organically for decades. These are wines that were new to me and yet at the same time harken back to a time and style of wine that we are very close to losing. Rustic, earthy, complex and particularly honest, these are wines that clearly reflect their place. To be sure the natural winemaking that takes place here does leave an impression on the wine, one which you may or may not enjoy, but they are remarkable wines. With only a single Barbaresco produced each year, still under the brand founded by his father Serafino Rivella, getting a better feel for Teolbaldo’s wines might take a bit of time, but I look forward to better understanding how the wines age and develop in the bottle. If a 1989 recently enjoyed is any indication I would say quite well.

My final visit in Barbaresco, and of the whole trip in fact, brought me to the Cascina delle Rose, still in the village of Barbaresco. While I had enjoyed several vintages of their Barbaresco in the past, as part of large tastings, I was not fully prepared for the wines here. Starting with both Dolcetto and Barbera, stunning examples of each, and moving through their pair of Barbarescos I was struck by the detail and grace of these wines. To put things in perspective, the owners Giovanna and Italo opened a bottle of their 2004 Barbera Donna Elena and it could easily be the wine of the day on any given day tasting Barolo and Barbaresco!

The wines are made by their son Davide, and one might be tempted to call him a rising young star, which though technically true falls to capture the commitment this young man has made. Starting at the age of nine he began pruning the vines that lie in the Rio Sordo and Tre Stelle crus that back up against the family winery. Today at the age of 26 Davide is making some of the best wines in Barbaresco. Period. These are brilliant wines and they remain fabulous values. I don’t intend to regret not buying them further down the road when they receive the full attention that they deserve. The 2011s out of botte look to be a phenomenal pair of wines, be ready for them.

So that’s the short of my trip, the long follows with the detailed notes on the wines tasted. Stylistically Cantina del Pino, Marchese di Gresy, and Serafino Rivella each will find their audience, though I expect the overlap there to be a bit limited. Produttori stands on their over five decades of producing some of the finest wines in all of Italy, as they continue to produce benchmark wines. And then there is Cascina delle Rose, an exciting discovery that could turn just about anyone into a devoted lover of Nebbiolo. If you get the chance to visit Cascina delle Rose, I urge you to try their grappa as well. I almost passed on the opportunity but these two grappe, one of Barbera, which exploded with notes of chocolate and oranges, the other of Nebbiolo and full of fennel and lemon notes are the best grappa I’ve had in a very long time, and I do not shy away, usually, from indulging in my love of grappa!


Martinenga Marchese di Gresy

2009 Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Barbaresco

Normally 18 months in both small and then large oak but this saw a little more in botte, one year and two months in bottle

Shows some toast on the nose, Minty, with raw wood, small red fruits, and camphory white soil notes. Nicely firmer style on the palate with nice amplitude in a rather tannic, big fruit but not fruity style that shows lots earthy, mineral aspects that make the palate almost lean and elegant. The long finish shows lots of tannins, lots of fruit tannins, but also just a touch of drying wood tannin on the finish, which ends with a lightly toasty note. 89pts

2008 Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Barbaresco

2000 cases

The middle part of the vineyard

Lighter in character than the 2009 with dried citrus peels, tea leaf, rose petal, and barely ripe red berry fruit on the nose.  A bit narrow but fairly ripe on the palate,with fine grained tannins lending this a transparent and elegant feel with a nice silky texture. The palate reveals layers of leafy fennel, soil driven, and slightly umami flavors, with a lovely sweetness on the finish that contrasts the very precise tannins. 90pts

2008 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Gaiun Martinenga

100% barrique about one third new

Smells a bit marshmallow, vanilla, pencil lead rich in  a bit dull and heavy vein. Opening with sweet fruit and toast flavors in a broad style, this shows nice acidity making the midpalate bright and lively with lots of strawberry fruit and a little whipped creaminess from the oak. There is noticeable wood tannin all across the tongue and through the  short finish. This is a bit chunky and shows an inelegant use of wood. 87pts

2008 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Camp Gros

Two and half weeks fermentation, a little delestage, submerged cap, on the skins for thirty to thirty five days, in 2011 a tank was kept on the skins forty days

With perfumes of small strawberries in alcohol this exhibits more Nebbiolo fruit backed up with integrated wood, camphor and mint aromas.  The bright acids on entry are quickly covered by very subtly creamy and compact red fruits. Dense with tannins that are slightly austere yet polished,there is  still nice focus and detail here with a nice savory finish. This shows some vitality and elegance, and is quite classic but the oak is noticeable if not obtrusive on the nose and it adds a textural note on the palate. 90pts

2007 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Camp Gros

A bit pruny on the nose and intense with lots of soil tones, some minty spice, some prosciutto, and pencil shavings framing lots of strawberry fruit with a top notes of smoke and vanilla, and clay. Soft, rich, and powerful in the mouth this displays lots of red fruit even some watermelon, with nice slightly rustic and spicy  tannins. Fresh and powerful on the finish this is full of red cherry and earthy fruit and retains a sweetness on the long finish. This is pretty attractive 2007. 91pts

No Gaiun in 2007 because of hail, lots of it went into nebbiolo

2006 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Gaiun Martinenga

7500 bottles

Thirty five days on skins, two years in oak

Toasty on the nose with accents of toasted marshmallow, a bit of pencil shavings, rose petals, violets, red plum skins. There’s a little campfire here along with some old wood on the nose. Silky and focused on entry this remains fresh and youthful yet with a maturing feel on the palate. Elegant and cool with nice depth of flavor, super focus, a rather seamless feel and plenty of  lovely red cherry and red plum skin notes on the finish, with just a hint of wood tannin remaining on the finish. I would prefer less toastiness on the nose but this is coming together well. 91pts

2005 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Camp Gros

Lucky picking early, flowering was tough, small crop, cool season, rained for about nine days, directly after the harvest here

Ferments are slightly cooler today than in the past, two or three degrees

Tight on the nose with an earthy cast over cut cherry fruit, sweet herbal notes, a hint of sottobosco Bosco, sweet necco chocolate wafer and a touch of sweet wood showing cedary shadings. Silky and rather  small scaled in the mouth this is almost ready displaying nice frutto del Bosco flavors supported by small austere tannins which  appear on a finish lengthened by nice acid drive. perhaps a bit dry, there is still plenty of attractive burnished cherry fruit with a nice citrusy, dried rind notes adding detail, though the tannins do remain a touch youthful. 89pts


Cantina del Pino

2010 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco

Pretty on the nose with a hint of cheesiness and subtle layers of floral and minerals adding detail to the core of black raspberry fruit. A touch lean in the mouth, though with an edge of sweetness to the fruit, this shows off nice acids and  crisp if small tannins supporting bright wild raspberry fruit with a touch of wild cherry. The finish is modest showing a minty aspect and tannins that turn a touch drying. 87pts

2009 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco

Firmly and richly fruited on the nose with a tight core of sliced plum and wild cherry fruit framed by dusty soil notes and topped with a hint of mint.  Elegant on entry and a little sweetly fruity though clear on the palate with more depth and power than the 2010. The flavors lean a bit towards the balsamic end of the spectrum with a nice hint of rosemary on the backend. Fine acids and ripe tannins offering nice support right through the strong finish which shows good fruit and complexity,. This has a lovely flavor profile and a crisp texture but it is rather understated. 88pts

2008 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco

Lovely on the nose, still with a certain sweetness to the warm red berry slight jammy toned cherry fruit backed up by rose petals, and a nice limestone note. This is already easy to drink, soft and slightly creamy, rich without being weighty while delivering raspberry and wild berry fruit on the palate with a nice classic mineral accent. The tannins turn a touch dry on the backend which leads to an elegant yet powerful finish which shows fine fruit driven aromatics along with hints of coffee cream and a slightly roasted fruit character. 89pts

2004 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco

Richly fruited with an early touch of chocolate on the nose followed by hints of sotto bosco, woodsy wild red berry fruit and a touch of lead pencil. Still a touch reticent in the mouth, this shows how these wines might evolve.The fruitiness fades away a bit leaving fruit that is less sweet complemented by complex notes of soil, rust, and roses. Theres some raspberry coulis on the backend but this shows good clarity and  nice tension in the mouth with a long, though  slightly pasty finish. 89pts

2008 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello

A bit woody and mineral on the nose with spicy almost white pepper and limestone notes that are followed by a hint of dusty yet sweet rose petals. This opens nicely with thrust and depth on the palate offering up sandy, intense and softly sweet raspberry preserve flavors on entry with a faint bitter orange edge upfront, followed by some stepped tea character and a touch of licorice on the backend before this fades into a fairly tight though well fruited, finish which shows lots of rose hips and amarena cherry flavors. Fairly broad in the mouth with a nice base of ripe, supple tannins. 92pts

2008 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Albesani

A touch cedary on the nose with a complex cognac aspect to the  fine red fruit that picks up a touch of iron, a little spice with hints of camphor, rose petals and dried orange peel on the nose. Fresh and decisive on entry, this is rich yet transparent in the mouth with great depth of fresh fruit accented by the dried orange peel note found on the nose. Long and elegant with nice mineral notes on the long, savory and wood spiced finish, this is a refined wine with power,  a bit of iron fist inside of a velvet glove but it’s a woman’s hand. 91pts


Produttori del Barbaresco

In 2010 will bottle only Torre since the vintage is light, very aromatic and fresh but lacking backbone so the base wine needed the structure and depth of the crus. In 1995 they made single vineyards but the Torre turned out sharp and lean and really was the turning point for producing only the single torre bottling in edge case years.  

2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo

Very aromatic and really compelling on the nose with explosive wild berries, balsamic spices, cinnamon, and a gentle mintiness. On entry this is intense ripe, fresh and complex with lovely, lightly chewy and fresh fruit in the mouth supported by ripe tannins and nice acidity. This is Barbaresco quality wine, a huge Langhe Nebbiolo on the palate packed with  fresh herbal top. notes over masses of ripe fresh balsamic, cranberry and strawberry flavors. the finish is a bit of a let down, a bit short but perfumed with rose petals and bay leaf. Time might add more to the finish but this is already exciting to drink. 89pts

2010 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco “Torre”

Includes the crus

With a soft mineral laced nose, this turns quite floral in the glass picking up and hints of spice, underbrush, blood, herb and soil. Almost sweet on entry and showing fresh wild berry and blood orange, with a contrasting dash of bitter grapefruit pith and some slightly medicinal edges, this displays  lovely balance and freshness in an elegant style with slightly grainy tannins and a little bite of acidity on the wild cherry rich finish. Elegant, and refined, this is very pretty and will show well young and age well for twenty years. In a way it feel like 2008 Barolo, with excellent clarity and balance, and while qualitatively this is about at the same level as the 2009 and 2008 vintages I prefer this. 90pts

2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco “Torre”

High toned nose on the nose with edgy camphor, balsamic, rose petal, and black currant tinted cherry and raspberry fruit. Broad, a perhaps a little soft and chewy on the palate this is  weighty and deep with nice balsamic rose petal tones to the dark red wild berry fruit which shows some light astringency and a hint of orange peel. Long yet quite tannic on the finish, and showing fine sandalwood and cinnamon accents,  this has a soft sweetness but none of the over ripeness one finds in Barolo in 2009. 90pts

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco “Torre”

With a sweet herb tinged nose, this opens to show soil and spiced cherry fruit over a base of limestone. Additional air brings out a little briar, coffee and an Asian spice note. Broad and open, and almost ready to go in the mouth this is showing off fresh lively fruit supported by soft tannins and good acidity adding attractive cut on the palate.  A bit less well defined  on the back end,which carries with it some quite ripe fruit flavors that leads to a moderately long finish that shows soft, chewy tannins, Riper than 2010, this is a fairly big and slightly flamboyant wine. 90pts

2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello

Sweet raspberry fruit greets the nose along with  an strong leathery edge, dried herb notes and a touch of chamomile with high toned dried balsamic top notes. Firmly focused in the mouth with nice early acids adding a bit of cut and quite good clarity in the mouth. There is lovely definition to the cranberry/lingonberry toned tart cherry fruit that has a nice balsamic edge all supported by finely ripe tannins. With a  bit of licorice on the finish this turns chewy with tannins that close things down a bit though this does end with an elegant, floral inner mouth perfume. 92pts

2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano

Big, deep, wooly and earthy on the nose full of coffee tinged dark cherry that shows an attractive hint of torrefaction and gentle hints of blackberry all topped with hints of balsam and pollen. Really gorgeous on the nose. Powerful yet finely defined in the mouth with good clarity to the rich, slightly blocky blackberry fruit that is long and persistent in the mouth with a clear and intense mineral base. This really is lovely with a fantastic nose but it comes off as just a bit simple on the palate though it is packed with fresh, crisp fruit. This finishes with admirable power and it is a big wine, though so very young but with age this should blossom beautifully. 93pts

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello

Lovely purity of fragrance that is sweet and slightly candied with detailed cranberry and strawberry with hints of soil, graham cracker, and dried green herb adding detail. With big fruit on entry,this has a bit of a soft, broad and mouth filling feel to it, delivering super fresh fruit framed by nice mineral and dried herb tones in the mouth, though with less aromatic intensity than the 09. There’s nice tension on the  backend and this finishes a touch short but with good freshness. 91pts

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano

Wow this has a gorgeous nose, sweet and lightly fudgy,  tarry and full of dark oily spice notes wrapped in a touch of animal and toastiness. In the mouth this is powerful, a touch dense but not weighty, and chewy with tannin and excellent freshness of dark cherry fruit flecked with mineral and balsamic accent notes. The balance is terrific here and this shows an added level of refinement with tons of ripe tannins on the finish which shows off very ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit. A powerhouse to be sure, this should turn out to be stunning. 94pts

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico

Aldo’s pick of the vintage

Tight and  restrained on the nose with lots of cinnamon, a bit of bay leaf, still tight with floral top notes, a hint of jerky and menthol, and a sneaky rosebud top note. With a lovely blend of freshness and power in the mouth, this is complex and detailed, showing tension in the mouth while delivering a  broad palate impression. There’s an incipient hint of fungi adding complexity to the small wild cherry, strawberry fruit that picks up some black spice on the finish but maintains fine transparency from the start through the long finish. Seamless and firm with classic tannic structure, this is quite fine. 93pts

2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Paje

Spicy, tight, refined and focused on the nose with a little sweetly smoky, mesquite and hickory tone which is followed by  mineral and  candied herb notes that take on a bit of a cola elements. Fairly ripe and a bit soft in the mouth, this is a little chewy with lots of red fruit early on the palate then a bit of spiciness on the mid-palate but this lacks a bit of tension in the mouth with a loose knit structure and intriguing dried herb notes on the finish.  this lacks a touch of tension in the mouth, lots of fruit up front, the a bit of spiciness, easy with some tannins and chaparral herb flavors on the finish. 90pts


Rivella Serafino

Two hectares in Montestefano Organically farmed.

2009 Rivella Serafino Barbaresco Montestefano

Super complex on the nose with an array of  medicinal, woodsy, mushroomy, root berry notes all framing the core of dark berry, cherry fruit. Opening just a touch on the soft side this quickly turns very clear and precise on the palate exhibiting a fresh, very pure core of  stony, tart wild cherry with savory, slightly medicinal and licorice notes adding detail. This is very precise with lots of lift in the mouth in a tense and lean style. The ripe tannins add fine support and help to drive the persistence, dry small red berry flavors through the long finish. This is a bit on the earthy side, and perhaps not technically perfect but it is a very compelling wine.  91pts

2008 Rivella Serafino Barbaresco Montestefano

Earthy, leathery, and perhaps a little bretty on the deep, rich and high toned nose full of wild herbs, flowers, minerals and gorgeously framed fruit.Opening with a decidedly woodsy flavor profile this quickly shows off its seamless character showing fine structure and excellent integration in a totally old school style. This could have been made in 1978. Today it is a bit bricky already, and broad on the palate with an incipient gamy edge to the dark cherry fruit.  This is a  beautiful wine and a window into the past. I expect this will age very well. 93pts

2010 Rivella Serafino Barbaresco Montestefano

botte sample

A bit meaty and spicy on the nose with complex aromas of game, wild herbs, cooked savory goodness, a little fish sauce and a touch of porcini with some tomato sauce in an almost fruity way. Bright slightly chewy raspberry and lingonberry fruit greets the palate followed by lots of spice up front,  a touch of leafiness, and a bit of extra alcohol in the mouth followed by classic then cherries in alcohol on the back end, and gorgeous earth and herb notes on the moderately long finish. 91-94pts


Cascina delle Rose

Bottling since 1992

Left grass in the vineyard  because otherwise you couldn’t work with the mud, left more lateral shoots and top growth to offer protection from sun and hail, 15 years later people adopted the same techniques and they are revolutionary natural farming techniques!

2011 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle

botte sample

A little minty on the nose with subtle hints of  herbs, camphor, spicy soil tones in a high toned style. On entry this shows of decisive acids that offer fine cut to the core of juicy blue tinged wild berry fruit. Even with the powerful ripe tannins, this is a really elegant wine in the making, filled with juicy bright wild amarena cherry and wild raspberry flavors on the finish. The  clarity of fruit, mineral, and herbal flavors here is impressive and the gorgeous floral top notes add a very pretty accent to this fruit driven wine. 91-94pts

2011 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo

botte sample

Very precise and super floral on the nose which explodes with fresh picked flowers, aromas of  violets and a huge rose scent accented with a hint of cinnamon,stones, and a white clay notes. This is gorgeous, full of burnished fruit with a hint of chocolate in a powerful but refined style that features super ripe tannins that add a tactile impression to the mouthfeel. The finish shows lovely tobacco and briar notes over a huge, stony soil driven base. This is an awesome expression of place. 92-95pts

2010 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle

Classic cherries in alcohol on the nose gain complexity and  a little spice edge from notes of pollen, piercing floral notes and hints f exotic sandalwood and slightly vegetal spice notes.  Soft and broad on entry, this offers up bright acids and fine fruit tannins supporting fine strawberry fruit in an elegant and refined style, though there is an edge of rusticity here. Still this exhibits wonderful purity of flavor and a particularly clear expression of fruit and is flat out delicious. 93pts

2008 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle

Tight on the nose slowly revealing soil and dried grass aromas followed by hints of spice seeds, tar, and small red berry fruits before the intense rose petal aromas finally reveal themselves. Soft with densely packed fine grained tannins in the mouth, this feels so elegant with wonderfully pure flavors of wild cherry and raspberry fruit on the palate backed up with a terrific expression of soil. This is a touch chewy today, and shows a hint of alcohol as well, but with time both issues should resolve themselves completely leaving those lucky enough to have this wine in their cellar with a remarkably clear and precise expression of Nebbiolo. 92pts

Source: Snooth – Articles

Kettle Brand Pros vs Joes Grand Finale

I’ve just returned from Los Angeles where we enjoyed the company of over 100 Snooth users as we announced the winners of our Pros vs Joes Cook-off contest sponsored by Kettle Brand Chips.

Tucked away at the Whisper Lounge in the fashionable The Grove shopping complex, we enjoyed a fabulous evening of chips, drinks, and of course experiencing the recipes of professional chefs and amateurs alike.

Via: Snooth – Articles

Begging You

Can You Let Me Be Me? Be that me that only you can see Let me say what I want Feel what I need Let my heart fall out Watch as I unbutton slowly and step out from behind the cover of kindness Run your cold metal key along my armor and expose my gentle flesh Can You? Can you let me be the me I sometimes need to be? Will you run your tongue along my steel Let me shimmy and warm to your touch Hold my head while I tell you that I’m tired…. Tired of being strong A fighter Tough enough. Can you let me tuck myself into you Nurse from your soft and full nipple Remind me that I don’t care what they think Hold me tight while I writhe and curse Plant your calloused thumb across my lips Touch me just enough to inspire my legs, mind and heart to spread Can You? Will You? Won’t You… Please, I need you more than you know Now Tomorrow Yesterday Five seconds ago… I need You Now Hold me Fill me Reassure me Feed me Feel me Use me…. Kiss me goodnight Can You? Soon……

Source: Samantha Sans Dosage

Vintage Watch IV

This week the story in weather is of course the devastating hail storms and thunderous rains that plagued parts of Burgundy last week. Many of the  vineyards of the Cote de Beaune were shredded by an unprecedented 15 minute hail storm that barreled through Volnay, Pommard, Savigny, northern Meursault and the hill of Corton. Crop losses of between 50% and 90% were reported and while pockets of vines escaped the devastation it will be virtually impossible for most producers to bounce back from such a storm this year. Interestingly this was a very localized storm with little impact in the Cote de Nuits to the north. More information can be found here on Bloomberg.

On a more upbeat note, the harvest has begun in Lodi California as growers there begun to process fruit destined for sparkling wines and roses. As far as I know, this is the start of the vintage 2013 and it will be fascinating to watch the grapes come in around the globe over the next 12 weeks or so. This is crunch time, when the weather can make or break the year for a region so lets dive right in to the forecasts.

Via: Snooth – Articles

Kettle Brand Pros vs Joes Grand Finale

I’ve just returned from Los Angeles where we enjoyed the company of over 100 Snooth users as we announced the winners of our Pros vs Joes Cook-off contest sponsored by Kettle Brand Chips.

Tucked away at the Whisper Lounge in the fashionable The Grove shopping complex, we enjoyed a fabulous evening of chips, drinks, and of course experiencing the recipes of professional chefs and amateurs alike.

Credit: Snooth – Articles

Wine Library Annual Tasting: August 11, Napa

logo_winelib.gifDedicated wine lovers in the San Francisco Bay area get several opportunities each year to indulge their passions for wine. Large, themed tastings like the ZAP Zinfandel Festival are great opportunities to get a sense of a certain varietal and the quality of the recent vintage in California.

It is quite rare, however, despite the nearness of the appellation and the saturation of wine in the Bay Area, for consumers to get the opportunity to get an in-depth or comprehensive look at the wines of Napa Valley. Perhaps it’s just because Napa wines don’t need much marketing help, or perhaps it’s because the Napa Valley Vintners association can only put on a few major events each year, but there just isn’t a real good opportunity for members of the public to survey the breadth and depth of wines from the Napa valley.

Unless, that is, you happen to be a member of the Napa Valley Wine Library Association (Hint: you can become a member for just $80).

The Wine Library is just what it sounds like: a library with books about wine. Started in the early Sixties by a group of winery owners that realized the irony of having a public library in the heart of Napa Valley that possessed virtually no literature or resources about wine, the library association was built on donations of money and books from Napa’s wine families over four decades. Now occupying a special section of the St. Helena public library and even owning a small vineyard out behind the building, the Wine Library Association is a membership organization that gives its members access to these materials, some of which are rare and historic, as well as to annual tasting events.

These tasting events have been going on for more than fifty years, offering members the chance to sample wines from producers all over the valley. This year round 65 wineries will pour recent vintages and some library selections in the grove at the Silverado Country Club. If you’ve never been to the grove at the Silverado Country Club, it is an idyllic place for a wine tasting, even during a hot Napa day.

“That’s all well and good,” you may be saying, “but this is a members-only event and I’m not a member of the Napa Valley Wine Library Association.” That’s true. But a check for $80 sent in advance, or a check for $85 on the day of the tasting will do the trick. Membership is available on the spot, and covers the tasting plus any others that you choose to go to for the rest of the year.

Sound like a steal? It is. Unless you’re a member of the trade that attends Premiere Napa Valley, or someone willing to pay in the hundreds or even thousands for a package at the annual Auction Napa Valley, there is generally no other way to get the opportunity to taste so many Napa Valley wineries in a single setting. If you’re serious about learning more about Napa wines, especially if you’re interested in some of the less famous wines of the valley, this is an event you don’t want to miss.

For those of you who make decisions about such tastings based on what you think you’ll get a chance to taste, here is the list of wineries and the wines they’ll be pouring (PDF).

2013 Napa Valley Wine Library Association Member Tasting
Sunday August 11th
Silverado Resort and Country Club
1600 Atlas Peak Road
Napa, California 94558

Annual membership dues for the Association are $80 (you must join by Aug 3rd), or $85 if purchased at the door. Only checks and cash will be accepted, I believe, so stop at an ATM or bring your checkbook. Additional details on how to get membership in advance can be found on the Association’s web site.

My usual tips for such outdoor public tastings apply: wear loose fitting but dark colored clothing (but keep in mind that it may be very warm for the outdoor tasting). Eat a good meal before going and drink lots of water while there. Decide in advance which wineries you would like to visit, and make sure to spit rather than swallow the wine to make sure you get a chance to enjoy (and remember) a number of wines.

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Hat Tip To: Vinography: A Wine Blog

Vinography Images: Vineyard Stop


Vineyard Stop
McMINNVILLE, OR: Rolling vineyards of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ripen on the vine under a warm summer sun in the Dundee Hills near McMinnville, Oregon. The cities of McMinnville and Newburg, located in the Willamette Valley wine appellation, are the epicenter of Oregon’s wine production.

Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting “save link as” or “save target as” and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops.

To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users should follow these instructions, while PC users should follow these.

Fine art prints of this image and others are available at George Rose’s web site:

To purchase copies of George’s photos for editorial, web, or advertising use, please contact Getty Images.

Vinography regularly features images by photographer George Rose for readers’ personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images. These images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

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Via: Vinography: A Wine Blog

Pairing Summer’s Salmon

After writing this week’s article that focused on local food festivals I realized, perhaps almost too late, that the Copper River Salmon season is rapidly coming to a close. While salmon might not be thought of as a particularly summery dish, the light meaty flavor of salmon along with its firm texture makes it perfect for grilling, and the fact that Pacific salmon is in season right about now in fact does make salmon a quintessential summer time dish.

How you prepare your salmon can influence how summery it feels though, and grilling seems to be to be the quintessential summer time cooking technique, though it can be done year round of course. Salmon is a wonderfully adaptable fish, both in the kitchen as well in a wine sense, working well when paired with everything from virtually any white wine to some lighter reds like Pinot Noir, Frappato, and even Syrah. It all depends on the preparation of course so lets take a look at five particularly enticing salmon recipes and work out some suitable wine pairings for each!

Credit: Snooth – Articles

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 21, 2013

box_o_wine.jpgHello from the bottom of the samples pile. This is the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles of wine that have crossed my doorstep recently.

Let’s begin this week with the big surprise that came in the form of the Thomas Fogarty Pinot Noir. It’s been some time since I’ve had the estate’s wines, but let’s just say they’ve come a LONG way since I got married at their facilities 8 years ago. This wine knocked my socks off. Winemaking is now being done by the young Nathan Kandler, and if this bottle is any indication, this winery bears watching.

The set of Willakenzie bottlings I got from Oregon were all solid wines, but didn’t stand out in a crowd. My favorite is almost always the Pierre Leon, which proved true this time around, even though that isn’t their “top” wine technically.

Domaine Chandon has just released a new sparkling wine that they’re calling Etoile Tete de Cuvee (not to be confused with Etoile). The big, ugly gold medallion on the front ensures unlikely confusion, but don’t let the packaging turn you off. This is a serious, lees aged, late disgorged sparkling wine that anyone into vintage Champagne will truly enjoy. Whether it is worth its spendy price tag is for each of us to decide.

Finally, the real stars, if you’ll forgive the pun, of this week’s samples were, unsurprisingly, the two new releases from Cobb. If I hadn’t just reviewed a bunch of his wines recently I would have written them up on their own, but as that article was recent, they’re just getting lumped in here with the rest of the samples, but wow. These are stellar wines, and worth getting ahold of if you possibly can.

Look for these and more below.


2001 Domaine Chandon “Etoile Tete de Cuvee” Champagne Blend, California
Light yellow gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of baked apples, brewers yeast, and clover honey. In the mouth, honeyed flavors of butter biscuits, golden apples, and a hint of stony minerality have a nice balance and a soft, fine mousse. Good balance and very well integrated oak. Quite delicious. Score: around 9. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2009 Cobb “Coastlands Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in the glass with a touch of caramel to it, this wine smells of tangy raspberry and orange oil. In the mouth gorgeously bright raspberry and citrus flavors crackle with tete_de_cuvee.jpgelectric acidity on the tongue. Wonderful silky texture is backed by supple suede-like tannins that hang in the background but hesitantly advance as the wine finishes with tart raspberry and citrus. Outstanding. 13% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $80. click to buy.

2009 Cobb “Jack Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Pale garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright tangy raspberry fruit. In the mouth note of lavender mix with bright raspberry and citrus flavors. Stunning acidity makes this wine wonderfully bright and juicy. Long finish with citrus oil notes, as faint tannins scrabble at the edges of the mouth. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2011 Thomas Fogarty Winery “Rapley Trail Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of fantastic forest floor, cranberry, and exotic floral aromas. In the mouth, beautifully earthy notes of forest floor mix with raspberry and redcurrant flavors. Stunning balance and delicacy — the wine’s acidity makes the fruit juicy and tingly on the tongue.Faint tannins, great length. Certainly the best wine I’ve ever had from this producer. 12.8% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2011 Willakenzie Estate “Estate Cuvee” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light ruby in color, this wine smells of sweet raspberry and cranberry nectar, with a stonier wet chalkboard note underneath. In the mouth, lean flavors of raspberry and wet chalkboard mix with a nice mulling spice and cedar quality that lingers in the finish along with an earthier rumble. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2010 Willakenzie Estate “Aliette” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of smok, toasty oak and raspberries. In the mouth flavors of raspbery are somewhat short on the palate and overshadowed by flavors of new wood. The smokiness lingers through the finish. Good acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Willakenzie Estate “Kiana” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet sour cherry mixed with a hint of melted brown sugar and oak. In the mouth, flavors of raspberry and cedar are welded to a vanilla-laden wash of new oak that somewhat compromises the beauty of the fruit. Good acidity and nice balance, but as the wine finishes, all I taste is the wood. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2010 Willakenzie Estate “Emery” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet raspberry fruit and new oak. In the mouth the sweet raspberry fruit mixes in equal parts with the lightly bitter vanilla of new oak. That bitter, slightly woody note lingers through the finish. Great acidity and nice balance other than the preponderance of wood. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2010 Willakenzie Estate “Pierre Leon” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor, wet stones, sweet raspberry fruit and new wood. In the mouth tart sour cherry and raspberry fruit mixes with wet earth and forest floor notes, while the wood is much better integrated than the other wines in the portfolio in this vintage. Great acidity makes the fruit have a citrus zip on the palate. Tasty. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2007 Ackerman Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich black cherry and chocolate. In the mouth rich, quite ripe black cherry and cassis flavors have a thick weight to them, thanks to powerul mouth-coating tannins. Decent acidity, but way more oak signature than I’d like amidst the massive fruit. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2008 Shafer Vineyards “Relentless” Red Wine, Napa Valley, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cassis and floral notes. In the mouth expansive and rich flavors of cassis and black cherry mix sweetly under a gauze of powdery tannins. Rich, broad, and sweet. A blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Petite Sirah. 15.6% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $150. click to buy.

2010 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cassis and black cherry. In the mouth high toned flavors of cassis and black cherry are wrapped in muscular tannins. Bright acidity keeps the wine lively enough, but it comes across as slightly angular, with a short-ish finish. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40. click to buy.

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Credit: Vinography: A Wine Blog