Saturday, May 30, 2009

2003 Azienda Agricola La Torre Brunello di Montalcino

2003 Azienda Agricola La Torre Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany Italy

Brunello di Montalcino is literally a red Tuscan wine made with Brunello grapes (a clone of the Sangiovese grape variety also known as Sangiovese Grosso) from vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino, located roughly 110 km (70 miles) south of Florence and 40 km south of Siena.

In 1980, the Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first "Denominazione di origine Controllata e Garantina" (DOCG) designation. Today, it remains one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines, along with its 2 other siblings: Chianti Classico DOCG and IGT Super Tuscan.

Montalcino is a small town situated on a hill covered with olive groves and the famous Brunello vineyards dominating the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valley.

The Anania family originally comes from Calabria in the south of Italy and owns a farm that produces "bufala mozzarella" as well as other farm products. Luigi Anania, the owner and winemaker at La Torre, purchased this property in 1977. The estate is located in the commune of La Sesta, approximately 8 km south of Montalcino, towards the town of San Angelo in Colle. The first vintage at La Torre was the fabled 1982 which set a fine precedent for the future work.

The original domaine was 5.5 hectares, but several years ago an additional 1.5 hectares of adjoining property was added. The vineyards are planted entirely to the Sangiovese Grosso grape and have a full southern exposure. Wines from three appellations are produced: Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, and Rosso di Toscano.

La Torre Brunello is fermented in stainless steel for three weeks. It is then racked into large oak barrels (called "botte" made by Gargalotto) and left to age in barrel for three years. The wine for the Brunello is selected from the oldest vines and the best vineyards. It is bottled without filtration and rest for a few more months in bottle before release.

They also produce a Rosso di Montalcino which is handled just like their Brunello but is aged in large barrels for only one year instead of three.

Rarely produced, they also craft a Rosso di Toscano made from Sangiovese resulting in a friendlier, less tannic wine. This wine spends three months in small barrel before being bottled.

2003 Azienda Agricola La Torre Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany Italy
Suggested retail price $47-$50
Distributed by Rosenthal/Madrose in NYC

The 2003 La Torre Brunello di Montalcino is a great wine, despite my dislike of the 2003 vintage (overall in Europe). The nose delivers quite ripe dark wild berry aromas (nothing surprising for the vintage) enhanced by great minerality bringing a touch of freshness. After a few minutes in the glass, it opens even more with some slightly floral notes (rose, violette) and more blackberry intermingled with oak hints. The palate is ripe, dark, earthy, woody and a bit tannic. In the mid-palate, the oak notes are quite present yet integrated, pronounced but not hard or dry. The finish lingers with earthy, ripe, oaky, chocolate, moccha flavors. Well made wine overall, with great smooth, ripe, earthy mouthfeel and depth.

In conclusion, I need to say that, despite its ripeness due to the 2003 vintage, it also has very good acidity and balance which make it more approachable and drinkable despite its young age.


LeDom du Vin

Info and picture taken from (Rosenthal)

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Abbazia di Novacella Sylvaner Praepositus Alto Adige Italy

Abbazia di Novacella Sylvaner Praepositus Alto Adige Italy

The Alto-Adige borders on Austria where mountains dominate the landscape of this Tyrolean region, leaving space for vineyards only on the banks of the rivers Adige and Isarco, around lakes such as Caldaro and on slopes of porphyritic soils of volcanic origin at the foot of the mountains.

Located in Alto Adige, Italy’s most northern part touching Austria to the North, and surrounded by Veneto from East to South and Lombardy to the West, Abbazia di Novacella has many faces: it is a winery, but also a Monastery or Abbey, a farm, and a scenic stop for many tourists.

Above Bressano, more precisely in Varna, a small Abbey-village of the beautiful Isarco Valley overlooked and protected by the foothills of the alps, Abbazia di Novacella is specializing in cool-climate white wines, many of which are made from German and Austrian grapes like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner and Kerner.

Part of the Sud-Tirol–Trentino-Alto Adige patrimony, the Abbey was founded in 1142 by the Augustinian order of monks. As of today, the Abbey-monastery-farm-winery is still run by the Augustinian monks, about 25 of them included with the many other employees and
seasonal workers. Despite producing wines and growing apples, they also grow all sorts of fruit and vegetables.

Abbazia di Novacella's most planted grape variety is the Sylvaner. They also produce a great Kerner, both wines are highly preferred and suggested as the perfect examples of what the Abbey can do by Urban von Klebelsberg, the Administrator of Abbazia di Novacella.

Other white varieties grown include Müller Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, and Veltliner (also known as Grüner Veltliner). All of these varietal whites are labeled under the DOC appellation, "Alto Adige Valle Isarco".

Abbazia di Novacella also produces a blended white wine made of Sylvaner, Pinot Grigio, and a touch of Chardonnay, called Weiss.

The steep hill slopes soil consists mainly of granitic schist under only a few inches of dirt, created by ancient glaciers. With ever-changing microclimates and rough diurnal temperatures, in addition to little space for their roots and small amount of dirt to hang on to for nutrition, the vines do not last as long as in more temperate climates, 35-40 years at the max. The high altitude vineyards’ rugged soil and extreme climate changes produce low quantity of fresh, aromatic, vivid yet rich and mineral, inviting, summery white wines.

Abbazia di Novacella produces many whites divided in two categories of wines: the standard category and the premium category, labeled under the name of Praepositus, usually more expensive than the former. Compared to the standard category which only undergoes his vinification in stainless steel tanks, the Praepositus category can sometimes be aged afte fermentation in old, large oak fut (or foudres or bottes) to add more dimension, character and fullness to the wines.

Difficult grape to grow, Sylvaner is often called "the white Pinot Noir" for its weather affected moody attitude. The German examples of Sylvaner are usually quite simple and often lack in complexity.

2007 Abbazia di Novacella Sylvaner "Praepositus" Alto-Adige Italy
Suggested retail price $28-$31
Distributed by Vias in NYC

The 2007 Abbazia di Novacella Sylvaner "Praepositus" is an excellent, fresh, mineral and crisp white wine. Dry, yet viscous, well rounded and packed with zesty, rich yet vivid white fruits and mineral flavors, this beautifully crafted Sylvaner will surely enhances all of your summery salads and nicely complement any fish and white meat dishes.

You should also try the 2007 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner which is also a great summer white in the same tone of aromas and flavors, yet a touch brighter and juicier than its sibling Sylvaner (in my opinion).


LeDom du Vin

Info partly collected from the distributor website and partly translated from the Italian from the winery website at

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2006 Piandibugnano Nanerone Toscana IGT Italy Sweet red dessert wine

Piandibugnano Nanerone Toscana IGT Italy Sweet red dessert wine

Piandibugnano winery is nestled in the small hill top village of Seggiano, located in the Province of Grosseto, southern Tuscany, about 100 km south of Florence.

Three friends and co-investors created Piandibugnano. Giorgio Bucelli, a veteran wine salesman and now in charge of marketing; Paolo Trappolini, the eonologue for Avignonesi winery as well as this venture; and Carlo Filippeschi, a restaurateur who manages the business end. They joined forces to create a promising new name in southern Tuscany.

Founded in 2002, this 3.5 hectare (9 acre) winery sits at the uppermost zone of grape and olive cultivation in the chilly Montecucco zone, where the climate and terrain are dominated by the 1800 metre / 5400 foot Mount Amiata.

Piandibugnano wines exhibit a dynamic combination of warm- and cool-weather characteristics: big and rich, yet always held in check by a bracing line of acidity and intriguing scents and flavors of the Mediterranean maquis (macchia in Italian or Garrigue in French).
Nanerone is made of 100 % Aleatico, a rare and wonderful red grape variety mainly grown in the island of Elba, west of Tuscany, to produce the famous Aleatico di Portoferraio but also found in Lazio and Puglia.

The grapes come from vineyards planted at 400-520 metres / 1300-1650 feet above sea level, on slopes with north and northeast exposure, and mix of calcareous and volcanic soils.

The vinification is quite traditional: the grapes are handpicked then transported to the cantina in small plastic basket. After destemming and crushing, fermentation lasts around 3 weeks, with pumping over 3 times daily to maximize the concentration and optimize skin contact. Once racked off, the malolactic fermentation takes places in barriques (barrels), where the wine remains for 9 months before bottling. Nanerone is aged in bottle for at least 6 months before released.

2006 Piandibugnano Nanerone Toscana IGT
Suggested retail price $37-$40
Distributed by Domenico Selections in NYC

Made 100% Aleatico red grape, the 2006 Piandibugnano Nanerone boasts rich and complex aromas of red ripe wild cherry and blackberry with floral and nutty notes. On the expanding palate, this wine imposes harmonious flavors of luscious dark fruits deepening to chocolate, mocha and cloves. The long finish is persistent and delectable.

Usually, sweet Aleatico wine is made by drying the grapes prior to fermentation. The resulting wine is a rich, luscious end to any cool night dinner and outside BBQ as a digestif. It is also superb with seasoned cheeses and chocolate dessert.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken from the importer website

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Azienda Agricola Ferghettina Franciacorta Rosé Lombardy Italy

Azienda Agricola Ferghettina

The territory of Franciacorta is a section of the Province of Brescia in the Italian Region of Lombardy. Lombardy is the central-northern region of Italy, touching Austria to the North, and surrounded by Trentino-Alto Adige & Veneto to the East, Emilia Romagna to the South and Piedmont to the West.

Shaped during the ice age and, especially after, during the melt down and the slow erosion process of the glacial era (and even now with global warming and rise of temperature), Lombardy’s geography exposes a landscape of small mountains and gentle rolling hills. The soil flourishes of glacial moraines, which consist of unconsolidated gravel and sand over limestone, allowing great drainage, ideal for the cultivation of grapes and winemaking.

The weather is mild and constant due to its location south of the foothills of the Alps, with optimum sun exposition for the vineyards and the tempering presence of large lakes: Lago di Guarda & Lago d’Idro.

Born in 1953, Winemaker Roberto Gatti, son of a winemaker from a rural family in Cazzago San Martino, moved a few years later with his family in Erbusco, true heart of the Franciacorta wine area. While young, he worked with his father in a popular winery producing Franciacorta wines. After the departure of his father, for almost 20 years, he continued to work as a cellar and vineyards manager for the same winery. During those years, he increased his skills and became seriously acquainted with the traditional Franciacorta viticulture and its peculiarities. Meanwhile, he also learnt and experienced the latest wine-growing techniques.

In 1975, he married Andreina and together in 1990 they bought 10.000 acres of land in the districts on Adro and Erbusco. Also in 1990, he was offered the chance to run a small winery, previously abandoned by its old owners, and started to make his own wine, initially sold in bulk. With the harvest of 1991, strong of his 20-years experience and confident to succeed, Roberto introduced two bottled wines, a Terre Di Franciacorta red, and a white. The Ferghettina winery was born, with only one aim: to always produce high quality Franciacorta wines!
Currently, the company manages 100 hectares (247.000 acres) of vineyard, planted in the 6 districts of the Franciacorta area to get the most from the different type of soils, in order to get unquestionable advantage in terms of diversity, complexity and quality.

Roberto is now assisted by his daughter Laura who has a degree in Winemaking, his son Matteo also studying in the same field, his wife and 15 employees. In his newly built, state of the art winery, Roberto produces about 300,000 bottles including 4 types of Franciacorta DOCG Brut, Satén, Extra Brut and Rosé (sparkling wines) and 4 types of DOC (still wines) including two Terre Di Franciacorta white, one red and an I.G.T. Merlot. Even to this day, his first produced Franciacorta Brut remains the top of the line wine of the winery. The positive reputation of Mr. Gatti and his nearly 40 years dedicated to this appellation, tremendously help this region to grew at fast pace and to gain vivid recognition from the press and the amateurs.

2003 Ferghettina Franciacorta Rosè Brut D.O.C.G. Lombardy Italy
Suggested retail price $32-$35
Distributed by VOS in NYC

Made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, the 2003 Ferghettina Franciacorta Rosè Brut D.O.C.G presents a very intriguing yet attractive pale onionskin pink color with many reflects, and fine minuscule bubbles. Left in contact with the yeast for 36 months in bottle, it exposes pleasant aromas of fresh raspberry and red wild berry mixed with rose petal, mineral, and light yeasty, bready notes. The palate is elegant, harmonious, fresh and inviting. Very integrated, focus and persistent combined with a pleasant softness, this wine reflects delicacy, freshness and elegance with a bright and versatile yet solid structure that will allow you to serve it with every course of the meal, from the aperitif to the desert.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken from the winery website at

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

2006 Chateau Paveil de Luze Margaux Bordeaux France

2006 Chateau Paveil de Luze Margaux Bordeaux France
Suggested retail price $28-$32
Distributed by Baron Francois in NYC

Chateau Paveil de Luze is a Cru Bourgeois Superieur du Médoc, which belongs to the Barons de Luze since 1862. This small, historic family estate, located in the village Soussans in the Médoc (one of the commune of the Margaux appellation), is one of the oldest properties in the area, and dates back to the early 17th century.

With vineyards planted of three-quarters Cabernet Sauvignon grape and one quarter Merlot, this is a typically fragrant, feminine Margaux. The grapes are picked by hand, followed by a traditional vinification process. Fermentation for 3 to 4 weeks depending on the year. Ageing and conditioning in oak barrels for 12 to 14 months depending on the vintage.

Made of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the 2006 Chateau Paveil de Luze is a charming and classic Margaux displaying juicy fruit characters with a good underlying acidity. The palate is fine and balanced with fairly ripe, slightly spicy yet gentle red and dark fruit flavors with firm yet integrated tannins. It displays good potential for further ageing in bottle. A very enjoyable and approachable Margaux for less than $35 on the shelves, which is a rare thing.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken from the distributor website:

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2007 De Forville Barbera d'Alba Piedmont Italy

2007 De Forville Barbera d'Alba Piedmont Italy
Suggested retail price $13-$15
Distributed by Rosenthal in NYC

The DeForville family emigrated to Piedmont from Belgium in 1848 and established themselves in the village of Barbaresco in 1860. Here, the family started to grow Nebbiolo grapes. In 1907 Paolo Anfosso married into the DeForville family and took over the reins of the family business. For five generations, the Anfosso family has lived in the nearby town of Castagnole Lanze and, to this day, vineyards are maintained in Castagnole. In the early part of the 20th century, the DeForvilles sold their wine in bulk directly to restaurants and to retailers who then bottled the wine. In 1940 the Anfossos bottled their first wine and now virtually their entire production is bottled at the estate. Valter and Paolo Anfosso, sons of Bruno, now manage the estate.

The 10 hectare Domaine is divided between holdings in the villages of Barbaresco [3.5 hectare] and Castagnole Lanze [6.5 hectare]. Within Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is planted in the "cru" vineyards of Rabaja, Loreto and Pozzo. Dolcetto is also planted in the Loreto site and Barbera is cultivated within the "cru" of "Ca'Grossa".

These wines are particularly age worthy and, after receiving sufficient bottle age, develop the complex aromas of fruit, earth and flowers that can only result from wines that are vinified in this traditional manner. Beginning with the 1997 vintage a special parcel of old vines Barbera is vinified in small oak barrels.

2007 De Forville Barbera d'Alba is a lovely, earthy, juicy example of what a good traditional Barbera can taste like. Beautiful ruby color. The nose offers earthy, slightly smoky bright fruit tones. The palate is really juicy in the attack, exposing red cherry and unripe strawberry notes. The mid-palate expands gently toward the earthy, touch dry, finish. Hints of integrated oak and vivid acidity bring structure and freshness to this constantly good, quaffable, traditional Barbera. Crisp and easy drinking. Love it, as always.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken from

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2007 Pascal Granger Beaujolais Villages Red France

2007 Pascal Granger Beaujolais Villages red France

Suggested retail price $11-$13

Distributed by Rosenthal in NYC

The Granger family has been involved in the production of grapes and the making of wine from father to son for over 200 years. Originally from the village of Chenas, for the last century the Grangers have lived and worked in Julienas. Pascal Granger, born in 1961, is now the owner and winemaker and guiding spirit behind the Domaine. He mainly produces

Julienas where he possesses about 8 hectares, plus a small amount of Chenas, Moulin a Vent and Beaujolais Villages. After a careful selection from his best parcels of vines, he separates the wine destined to be the "Grande Reserve" from the cuvee designated "Cuvee Speciale". These special wines are usually aged longer in barrel, the Grande Reserve remains in small oak barrels for two years prior to being bottled without filtration.

His 2007 Beaujolais Villages is amazingly attractive, bright, balanced, harmonious and delicate. Its juicy, red fruit character intermingled nicely with elegant acidity and pure mineral texture. Like most of his wines, this Beaujolais Villages has high quality profile and taste. Love it.


LeDom du Vin

Info partly taken from

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Monday, May 4, 2009

2008 Jean-Paul Brun Rosé d’Folie Beaujolais Rosé France

2008 Jean-Paul Brun Rosé d’Folie Beaujolais Rosé France

Suggested retail price $12-$15
Distibuted by Polaner Selections in NYC

Jean-Paul Brun, one of Beaujolais best winemakers, is the man behind “Terres Dorées” label.

“Domaine des Terres Dorées” is located in the Southern Beaujolais, just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the "Region of the Golden Stones" (or “Pierres Dorées” in French).

Jean-Paul Brun, the owner and winemaker, runs this 40-acre family estate, in a non-conformist way. He believes in traditional, old style wines and winemaking. Only using indigenous yeast, with barely any chaptélisation or any other unnecessary manipulation in the vineyards and in the cellar.

Brun has attracted the attention of the French and American press for the wonderfully fruity and delicate wines he produces. His wines are the perfect expression of their terroir of origin, revealing complexity, high acidity and earthiness, complemented by juicy fruit character. Most of his wines are crafted from old vines, some may say that they are somewhat rustic depending on the vintage, however, good year / bad year, I just found them very attractive, true to their terroir and layered with earthy components that bring texture and structure.

His "Rosé d'Folie" is a Rosé "de Saignée" made from 100% Gamay "must", extracted from his Beaujolais red tanks at the beginning of the maceration and fermented separetly from his regular Beaujolais red. The 2008 Jean-Paul Brun Rosé de Folie gives off essence of red currants and spice intermingled with vivid acidity and minerals that nicely enhance and carry the bright, ripe red fruit character of this friendly wine until the finish.


LeDom du Vin

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2007 Chateau du Chatelard Beaujolais Blanc Cuvée Vieilles Vignes France

2007 Chateau du Chatelard Beaujolais Blanc Cuvée Vieilles Vignes France
Suggested retail price $15-$17
Distributed by Wineberry in NYC

The Chateau is nestled in the small village of Lancie, located south east of Fleurie and Chiroubles, in the northern part of the Beaujolais appellation where some of the best soils and terroirs lay on gentle slopes of the rolling hills of the land of the "Crus".

Chateau du Chatelard has a long established wine reputation and history. The Chateau, rebuilt in the XVIIIth century after being destroyed during the French Revolution, now belongs to Sylvain and Isabelle Rosier.

This young couple is passionate about wine and terroir, making beautifully crafted Beaujolais with old vines, some were planted around 1955, under sustainable and Biodynamic culture: no herbicide, respect of the biological life of the soil, short pruning on accordance to the moon, working the soil, leaving the grass and maximum foliage completed by selected hand harvest at full maturity, to obtain the best, healthy grapes. The resulting wines are great, balanced, fruity and gentle, yet rich and complex without being too opulent.

Boasting aromas of green apple, white fruit and lemon zest minerals on the nose, their 2007 Chateau du Chatelard Beaujolais Blanc is soft and plump, somewhat elegant, creamy and bright in the same time. The palate reveals pear, golden apple flavors with great acidity and refreshing, round finish.


LeDom du vin

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