Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 28, 2017

Vinted on August 28, 2017 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 14 Dutton Goldfield Redwood Ridge Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Apparently they're making delicious, rose-infused black tea on the Coast $62 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Onward Malvasia Bianca Petillant Naturel (Suisan Valley): Funky, fresh, & bolstering the reasons why the cool kids want to sip it. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Turina Lugana (Lombardy): Pithy and salty in demeanor, but there's little doubting that this feisty one is full of potential. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Castrini Lugana (Lombardy): New players off to rousing start, favoring the ripe tropical side but showing off raciness when needed $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Corte Sermana Cromalgo (Lugana): Crisp, clean, eminently pure; you wouldn't mind a dash of white pepper on your papaya, would you? $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Zenato Sergio Zenato Lugana Riserva (Veneto): A heady, floral, complex bargain that isn't anywhere near adulthood just yet. $25 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Zenato S. Cristina Vigneto Massoni Lugana (Veneto): Almonds, toast, lemons, apples, & mango all go swimming in the ocean…. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Zenato Spumante Lugana Pas Dose (Veneto): Disgorged in 2013, but thoroughly ass-kicking in the present, with brioche to spare. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Montonale Orestilla Lugana (Lombardy): Mineral but honeyed, ripe but subtle, round but vivacious; this is Lugana donning pearls. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Montonale Montunal Lugana (Lombardy): Flint, saline, and wild flowers, somehow all brought together into polished deliciousness. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
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The People’s Republic (Highlights From “Authentic Alentejo”)

Vinted on August 24, 2017 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review
union theological seminary

Tasting Alentejo at the Christian Hogwarts…

In the grand scheme of the wine world, Portugal appears to be the county that stands tall, despite its relatively small size (about 575 miles long, and just under 140 miles wide). In Napoleonic-complex fashion, it makes up for its stature in other ways; Portugal is in the top ten worldwide in vineyard acreage, per capita wine consumption, wine exports to the USA, and almost squeaks into that list for wine production (coming in at number 11).

Given that, we tend to forget that Portugal’s land mass isn’t actually all that tiny; one of its largest production areas – Alentejo – is responsible for half of the world’s wine cork production, takes up approximately one-third of the country, and has portions in the south that stretch all the way out to the coast. Alentejo has eight sub-regions, over 35,000 acres of PDO wine production, and is about the size of Belgium.

Joshua Greene Alentejo NYC

Wine & Spirits’ Josh Greene, doing his best religious statue impersonation

The host of a recent Wines of Alentejo “Authentic Alentejo” event held (I was a media guest), Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein summed it up this way: “‘the People’s Republic of Alentejo,’ if you will.”

Wine has deep roots (ha ha) in Alentejo, stretching back about 4,000 years. The pre-Roman-era Tartessians likely introduced winemaking to the region, and the Romans cemented it into its DNA (including the amphorae methods of talhas de barro, still in use today). The region has more or less been making wine ever since, with only a brief decline during Moorish occupation in the 8th Century. In modern terms, tourism-stimulating attention from National Geographic and a nearly seven-fold increase in wine producers in the late 1990s have brought renewed vinous attention to the region.

Well, that and the fact that several of the wineries became known for the fruit-forward, full-throttle, probably-overblown style of winemaking popular with major wine critics during the last couple of decades.

But Alentejo wines don’t have to be overblown; at least, that’s the takeaway that I got from the wines presented by Goldstein and co-host Joshua Greene in the refractory of NYC’s Union Theological Seminary (best imagined as the Christian version of the main hall at Hogwarts)…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 21, 2017

Vinted on August 21, 2017 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 16 Cascina Feliciana 'Felugan' Bianco Lugana (Lombardy): Stony in aroma, and stony in countenance; balance & spiciness wine the day. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 G.D. Vajra Ravera (Barolo): Peppery, sinewy, plummy, herbal, and savory; a red that's not at all f*cking around in any way. $69 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 G.D. Vajra Albe (Barolo): Stark in structure, dark in fruit, and lifted in just about every other possible way that it could be. $37 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba (Piedmont): You'll want sausage pasta to tame that raging energy; be prepared to be blue-fruit-beguiled $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 G.D. Vajra Rosabella Rosato (Piedmont): Take those roses with a side of pomegranate and wild raspberries? Sure, why the hell not? $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Luigi Baudana Dragon Langhe Bianco (Piedmont): This dragon has a playful astringent bite, & spicy attitude, but a floral soul. $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Bastianich Vini Orsone Schioppettino (Colli Orientali del Friuli): Which will you notice 1st, bright personality, or loveliness? $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Bastianich Vigne Orsone Ribolla (Colli Orientali del Friuli): Conversation that keeps you both entertained and enlightened. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Garbole Heletto Rosso (Veneto): What happens when caramel, licorice, & black plums get to take the wheel at full throttle. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Hedges Family Estate La Haute Cuvee (Red Mountain): Just a bit too much burn to be felt here, but time will disperse the smoke. $59 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Contact Points (A Decade Of Cà Maiol’s Molin Lugana)

Vinted on August 17, 2017 binned in elegant wines, Italian Wine, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Cà Maiol sparkling on lees

Lugana bubbles on the riddling rack at Cà Maiol

Walter Contato knew potential when he saw it.

Like an inordinate number of Italians before and after him, this successful Milan-born businessman took holidays in the sometimes-too-charming-for-words (as in, how-the-hell-are-we-gonna-get-the-car-through-these-narrow-Medieval-streets?!?? levels of charming) Lake Garda town of Sirmione. As an inordinate number of successful white businessmen seem to want to still do, Contato eventually decided that he wanted to become a wine producer, and chose the site of his presumably favorite vacation spot – home to the Lugana wine region – as the place he would try his vinous hand.

It worked out; Contato eventually went on to help establish the Consorzio Tutela Lugana (still in existence today). In the 1990s, he handed over the reigns of his wine venture, Cà Maiol, to his mellifluously-named sons Fabio and Patrizia.

Contato picked a great spot, from a wine-growing perspective; the nearby Dolomites protect the vineyard area (now measuring about 100 hectares in Lugana) from the cold winds coming out of the north. They vineyards sit on enviable calcareous soils. They even have the requisite Older Building, erected in the early 1700s.

I visited Cà Maiol as part of a Lugana-area media jaunt, but I’d had ample access to one of the company’s flagship Lugana releases – Molin – long before that, during previous visits to the region, L’Anteprima Lazise, and even as part of library tastings during that most recent tour. And so I thought that I’d share a bit of perspective on how the Molin fares in bottle over a decade or more (SPOILER ALERT: it fares well)…

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