Special Monthly Tastings
New Vintages and New Releases
Conte Brandolini 2005 Pinot Grigio Friuli ($13) 89
Conte Brandolini 2003 Vistorta Friuli ($23) 90
Conte Brandolini NV Treanni Friuli ($18) 91
Count Brandino Brandolini is a passionate owner-winemaker producing some very fine wines in Friuli. His wines are sourced from two large family estates: the 323 acre Cordignano Estate and the 500-acre Vistorta Estate; both estates are planted with high-density low yield vineyards of clay and limestone. The wines are produced in a modern state-of-the art winery; winemaking, under the watchful eye of Georges Pauli, consultant winemaker from Chateau Gruaud-Larose, is Bordeaulaise in orientation and is reflected in the elegance, refinement, and style of these wines. The 2005 Pinot Grigio sourced from the Cordignano Estate, is lemon gold in color and offers fragrant aromas of Acacia blossoms stone fruits and green apples. On the palate it displays a bright fruit character with a touch of minerality, excellent acidity and a long tasty finish. 9,000 cases produced. The 2003 Vistorta is a 100 percent dark ruby Merlot. It is a beautifully made wine that is Bordeaux-like in character displaying aromas of plum, black currant and cedar. It offers an elegant palate of concentrated ripe black fruits with touches of vanilla bean, lovely balance, and nicely wrought tannins on a long finish. 6,300 cases produced. The NV Treanni is some ways an even more interesting and attractive wine especially for the price. The Treanni, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Refosco, and Merlot from three consecutive vintages is dark ruby in color and offers aromas of black cherry and other dark fruits with a touch of vanilla. Elegant and Bordeaux-like in character, it displays rich and concentrated black currant fruit with notes of cigar-box and ash on the mid palate and a long and flavorful finish. Importer: Palmbay Imports, Boca Raton, Florida www.palmbayimports.com
Feudo Principi di Butera 2001 Calat Siciliy ($30) 93
Feudo Principi di Butera 2001 Deliella Sicily ($30) 91
Feudo Principi di Butera 2001 Sanrocco Sicily ($30) 91
Feduo Principi di Butera is a large commercial estate in Sicily, owned and operated by the Zonin family. In our Report #6 the Wines of Southern Italy: From Quantity to Quality we favorably reviewed several mid-priced wines of this estate. The three wines reviewed here are part of the “Gianni Zonin Vineyards” selections and they are world class. The 2001 Calat, produced from 100% Merlot, has a dark garnet opaque robe with a very ripe, earthy character of smoke, dried currants, leather and oak. On the palate, it is elegant with excellent acidity and rounded tannins. A superb wine in the same class as Planeta's benchmark Merlot. The 2001 Deliella, made of 100% Nero d"Avola is dark ruby opaque in color and offers a ripe black raspberry elegant nose with light notes of oak. On the palate, it is round and lush with lots of spice, herbs and well wrought tannins. This is a very fine Nero d'Avola. The 2001 Sanrocco is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is opaque ruby garnet and displays sweet savory aromas with blackcurrant and hints of bell pepper. On the palate it offers lovely mouth feel with ripe fruit, sweet vanilla oak, good acidity and nicely wrought tannins. There are unfortunately very small quantities of these wines available. Importer: Zonin USA Inc. Charlottesville, VA www.zoninusa.com
Tenuta Poggio Verano 2003 Dròmos IGT Maremma Toscana ($60) 90
Tenuta Poggio Verano 2004 Dròmos IGT Maremma Toscana ($60) 92
Dròmos is a modern and elegant blend of Sangiovese, Alicante, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is produced by Francesco Bolla of Tenuta Poggio Verano, a winery located in the Estrucan Maremma on the Tuscan Coast. The grapes for this wine are sourced from a 67 acre low-yielding vineyard estate. The 2003 Dròmos is dark ruby garnet and displays a lovely aroma of sweet black cherry, violets, earth and game. On the palate it offers nicely concentrated black cherry fruit with notes of licorice and sweet oak and chewy tannins on the finish. The 2004 Dròmos is a bigger and more intensely flavored bottling than the 2003 Dromos It reveals an opaque ruby garnet color, spicy oak and densely concentrated blue and black fruit. on the palate. Still quite young with gripping tannins, it shows great potential for aging and will doubtlessly improve in the bottle. Importer: Cape Wine Ventures, Atlanta, GA (404) 843-0747
German Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Baden
The i-WineReview recently reviewed the wines of several small producers of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in Baden Germany. These German wines are being imported to the United States by Bjoern Lanwer of Ingenium Wines of Huntsville, Alabama. Tel. (256) 883-2011. We first tasted the WG Obergeren wines at the Washington Wine Expo in February 2007 and because we liked them so much we invited Bjoern Lanwer to submit samples of these and other wines in his portfolio for review.
These wines are mainly from the Kaiserstuhl in Baden which is located in the Upper Rhine Valley in southwest Germany near Freiburg. The region consists of a small group of volcanic hills which have the soils and climate (the warmest in Germany) ideally suited for wine production. One third of all wines from Baden come from this region and the Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) are among the top wines.
This is a small family winery founded in 1924 WG Obergeren produces both Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The 2005 Pinot Gris ($19) 87 pts has a rich gold color, earthy nose of wet straw and honey and a palate that is ripe, leesy and mineral in character. WG Obergeren produces four Pinots: 2005 Pinot Noir ($19) 87pts, 2005 Pinot Noir Select ($ 24) 89 and 2005 Pinot Noir Reserve ($32) 88 All of these Pinots are competently made with good overall phenolic ripeness, acidity, balance and flavor. While each has distinctive features, they all offer lovely cherry and dried cherry fruit, notes of minerals and slate, and a somewhat earthy characteristics.
The WV Oberrotweil winery has been producing small quantities of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in the small village of Oberrotweil since its founding in 1935. It produces two Pinot Gris, of which the 2005 Kaesleberg Pinot Gris Spaetlese ($19) 90 pts. is especially noteworthy. Amber in color it displays ripe and spicy tropical fruits with rich round mouth feel, lovely acidity and terrific balance. The WV Oberrotweil 2005 Pinot Noir QBA, ($18) 89, the 2005 Pinot Noir Kabinett, ($21) 87 and the Obergen Pinot Noir Selection ($23) 90 offer flavors mainly of pomegranate and raspberry with some spice and earthiness, good phenolic ripeness, and acidity and balance. We especially liked the Obergen Pinot Noir selection with its sweet and concentrated fruit and nicely integrated oak. These wines and the others reviewed below will soon be available in the United States through Ingenium.
This estate, established in 1950. is also located in the village of Oberrotweil. The 2005 Salwey Oberrotweiller Eichberg “RS” Pinot Noir ($56) 91 is a delicious Pinot Noir revealing a brick color and aromas of dried cherry, leather, earth and oak nuances. On the palate it is light and elegant with fruit and slate, sweet and spicy oak and terrific balance.
Founded in 1951, this small family winery’s 2005 Pinot Gris QBA ($18) 86, 2005 Pinot Noir Kabinett ($21) 87, 2005 Vinum Nobile ($20 )86 and 2005 Pinot Noir QBA ($19) 88 are all competently made. The 2005 Pinot Noir QBA bottling is our favorite of this producer with its dried cherry fruit, light oak, touch of minerality and good acidity.
The 2005 Pinot Noir QBA Barrique ($60) 91 is a lovely wine produced by Karl-Heinz Johner whose wines are modern and well crafted. This bottling offers aromas and flavors of ripe raspberry, pomegranate and black currants, toasty oak with a touch of caramel, excellent acidity and a fine long-lasting finish.
Here are three noteworthy bottlings from the Alentejo, a region producing wines of quality and value. See the i-WineReview’s Report #2 Red Table Wines of Portugal for more information.
Herdade do Perdigão 2004 Vinha do Almo Alentejo ($9) 86
The 2004 Vinha do Almo is dark ruby in color and offers aromas of black cherry. ripe plums and loam. On the palate it displays smooth mouth feel, good structure and fine balance with a slightly tannic and dry finish. A good value for money wine. Importer: LGL Imports, Fall River, MA (508) 673-1917
Adega Cooperative de Borba 2004 Trincadeira & Alicante Bouschet Alentejo ($13) 87
This 50-50 blend of Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet displays a dark ruby color with aromas of plum, black fruits, spice and a touch of strawberry. Medium-bodied and earthy in character, it offers ripe fruit on the mid-palate, good balance, and big tannins on the finish..800 cases produced. Importer: LGL Imports, Fall River, MA (508) 673-1917
Herdade do Perdigão 2001 Reserva Alentejo ($45) 89
The 2001 Reserva is a dark ruby earthy wine offering aromas of black cherry, raspberry, a touch of black currant and oak. On the palate it displays complex, earthy and tart fruit flavors with big tannins on the finish. An intriguing wine produced by the talented winemaker, Paulo Laureano.. Importer: LGL Imports, Fall River, MA (508) 673-1917
In report #7, the i-WineReview is taking an in-depth look at New Zealand’s Pinot Noir. However, New Zealand is a good source for crisp and flavorful white wines such as those reviewed here.
Nautilus Estate 2005 Marlborough Pinot Gris Marlborough ($23) 87 Nautilus Estate 2006 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($15) 90
The 2005 Pinot Gris is light green yellow in color and offers aromas of fresh green apples. On the medium-bodied palate it reveals fresh flavors of ripe apples with moderate acidity and a short pleasant finish. The 2005 Sauvignon blanc is light straw colored with attractive aromas of quince and herbs. This is textbook New Zealand Sauvignon blanc revealing crisp, clean citrus, tangerine and lime flavors on the palate and good acidity on the finish.
Palliser Estate 2006 Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough ($15) 86
Palliser Estate 2006 Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough ($12) 87
The 2006 Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc is straw colored with a of green apple, melon. and green herbs. On the palate it displays good acidity and freshness with a crisp pleasant finish. The 2006 Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc displays aromas of web straw, light citrus and floral notes. On the palate it reveals medium high acidity with flavors of passion fruit and melon and a crisp finish.