All my wine blogs, All wine reviews, Italy, Red wine, Sangiovese, Tuscany

Montellassi IL CANNETO 2011

Winemaker/Director of Eonology: Marco Stefanini  Mantellassi Il Canneto
Variety: 100% Sangiovese
Region: Tuscany, Italy

One of those lucky finds, when for $8 you get a perfect Sangiovese to accompany your tortellini dinner.

IL CANNETO is made from a blend of various clones of Sangiovese, cultivated on the hills of Maremma. The hot and dry climate in the province of Grosseto, with a very low rainfall, results in limited yield. Therefore the Sangiovese here has the premium concentration of flavors and color.

The wine aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness of the fruit.

The Montellassi winery makes a number of wines, red, white and rose – and I am looking forward to grab some other bottles of their portfolio the next time.

moje logo small3Tasting notes:

Bright, ruby color and fresh aroma of dark cherries. On the palate, this is medium body red with lively fruit, bright flavors. I like the fact that the wine has enough weight on its own to accommodate even heavier meals, although it’s not supported with oak.  An excellent value!!! I will definitely go back for more!

All wine reviews, Italy, Umbria, White blends, White wines

Bellini Orvieto Classico 2011

On my mission to find a new, exciting, and – most importantly – affordable white wines, I browsed the isles of my favorite wine shop once again. Italian whites almost never disappointed me, so I was confident to grab a bottle of Bellini ORVIETO Classico 2011, although I never had it before.

Photo: Wikipedia

The zone of Orvieto Classico is located around Orvieto town itself, in Umbria, a very traditional and beautiful wine region in the central Italy.

The Orvieto Classico title is exclusively given to white wines from this region, which could be made in sweet or dry style, standard or higher-quality superiore versions.

As I wasn’t able to find any more detailed info about this particular producer, I have to assume that this delicious white wine was traditionally made from a blend of Procanico (Trebbiano Toscano) and Grechetto. By Italian law, both grapes must jointly account for at least 60% of the finished wine. If there is more Grechetto used in the blend,the wine will get more body and fruttines.
For the remaining 40% of the blend the winemaker is free to use any combination of other white grape varieties, found within the Viterbo province. It could be Malvasia Toscana, Drupeggio, Verdello and Canaiolo Bianco grapes.

Whatever the blend of Bellini Orvieto Classico was, I loved it. Clean, sunny yellow color and lovely lemony aroma was an inviting first impression. The wine was a light bodied, crisp and refreshing summer wine, a perfect company for my seafood dinner.

Although it showed a lot of fruit, it was still delicate with an acidity in perfect balance. Light, almost bubbly sensation on my tongue expressed the characteristic typical limestone and volcanic soils of Orvieto Classico region.

Very pleasant, pretty wine was such a steal for $ 8.99!  I will definitely buy it again. This is a lovely wine for hot summer, a great opportunity to try something new and exciting. My mouth is watering right now, when I am just writing about it.

All wine reviews, Italy, Tuscany, Uncategorized

Aia Vecchia LAGONE 2007

Owners: Filippo and Alessandro Pellegrini 
Winemaker: Nicola Scottini
Grape: Merlot 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Cabernet Franc 5%.
Region: Tuscany, Italy

When I was on the road selling wines, it sometimes happened that I would come across a real steal, and present it to all my favorite customers (the wine store owners).

They loved the wine, or the idea behind it – but not all of them were then capable of passing that enthusiasm on their own customers. Or, they simply forgot about that particular wine, because somebody else showed them something else.

Maybe I should feel sad when walking to my former customer’s store just to find out that some wine, I sold them 3 years ago, still sits there. Or, at least part of the case. But instead of feeling sad, it’s just the opposite. Especially when it comes to treasures that are already sold out on the market, and the wine store (and therefore his customers) doesn’t have the clue what they sit on.

That’s how I found some rare vintages of wines that I loved and got the oportunity to buy them. Like buying your own staff back (but it really wasn’t my staff to begin with). And that’s where I recently discovered last 2 bottles of 2007 Aia Vecchia LAGONE. A beautiful wine, super Tuscan, that is truly a steal for the price!

Aia Vecchia is the name of an old building (where the company resides), located deep in the Tuscany countryside between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci. This is a place with perfect soil, sunlight exposure, elevation –  all those elements that, when combined, allow to grow a high quality fruit.

Family Pellegrini, who grows grapes n the area for several generations, owns 69 hectares of the land here. 48 hectares out of it are planted with vines (and most of it belongs under the Bolgheri DOC).

The blend of LAGONE was aged in various types of barriques for at least 12 months and  refined in bottle for an additional 6 months.

Tasting notes:

When I opened this ruby colored wine, and sniffed it the first thing that came to my mind was: pretty and clean. It may sound weird, like I expect the wine to be dirty but that’s not it. This wine is clean of any elements that may interfere with it. Oak, spice… all you smell is true wine.

On the palate it displayed a youthful fruit reminding me of wild berries. Medium body offers plenty of slightly spiced flavor, great acidity – and I must say it again,  nothing disturbs the beautiful fines. Velvety, elegant, perfect match to large scale of food. Finish is pleasantly long. Bordeaux blend as a super Tuscan, without any Sangiovese present? Yes, yes and yes. If you come across some, buy it. It’s worth it!

Excellent job, and even more, affordable to anybody who will appreciate it!

Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $16.00

Suggested food pairing:

Great wines under $10, Italy, Red wine, Rosso, Sicily

Ajello Majus Nero d’Avola 2008

Producer: Ajello
Grape: Nero D’Avola
Region: Sicily, Italy

Ajello family, in the southwestern region of Sicily is one of the most recognized producers in the region. The family owns 124 hectares of land in total, 65 hectares of vineyards to grow some native varieties such as Nero D’Avola, Grillo, Insolia, Cataratto or Grecanico, but also popular varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay.

“It was my grandfather who planted the first vines, and my father passed on the same passion that I, today, try to transmit to my own children. Our philosophy is simple: “We leave nature to do most of the work, trying to capture in bottles the wealth, the vitality and the structure of the magnificent grapes that our vines produce, knowing that our role is merely that of guardian of these intrinsic qualities.”    Salvatore Ajello

Dalla Terra, a wine broker, who imports their wines to the United States, also carry Ajello Furat, an impressive blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Nero D’Avola and Syrah. Besides Furat, the Ajello family produces two other delicious and very reasonably priced wines, the Majus Bianco (Inzolia. Catarata) and Majus Rosso (Nero d’Avola).

Don’t miss a chance to taste Ajello’s flagship wine Furat, if possible. It is wine worth to buy for your wine cellar.
Ajello Majus Nero D’Avola grew in calcareous-clay soils in southwestern Sicily and aged 6 months in oak with 3 additional months in concrete tanks. Wine is then left for another 3 months for refinement in the bottle before it’s released to the market.

Tasting notes:
Ruby red color and beautiful aroma of dried plum and dark cherries. On the palate you can taste hints of ripe red fruit, even strawberries a notes of green herbs. It will open up even more after half an hour or so.

Hot Sicilian terroire makes this wine very fruit forward and ripe, yet it stays balanced and complex with the right amount of acidity. Tannins are smooth and satisfying finish leaves a pleasant clean taste of fruit in your mouth. Great value for around $ 10.00 per bottle!

Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: about $ 10.00

Ideal food pairing:
Lasagna, Greek MusakaPork chops with onions and peppers, Flank steak with shitakee mushrooms, Stuffed peppers

Italy, Montepulciano, Red wine

La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007

Winemaker: Luca D’Attoma
Grape: Montepulciano
Region: Abruzzo, Italy

When Sabatino Di Properzio founded La Valentina in 1990 in Spoltore, Abruzzo region was historically known for producing industrial bulk wines. But this terrain, that is two-thirds mountains, was far more interesting for producing quality wines – and several artisan producers, who arrived on the scene in recent years, realized that.
“La Valentina is a young winery. The estate makes richly flavored, modern-styled wines under the guidance of oenologist Luca d’Attoma. These delicious wines are sure to find many fans… I found it impossible to resist [the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo]…great value too.” -The Wine Advocate, February 29, 2008
Five acres of Trebbiano and 12-1/2 of Montepulciano vines on the Spoltore hillside vineyard, near the Adriatic Sea were planted 27 years ago. Surrounded by mountains over 6,600 ft high, along with proximity to the sea, it defines the typical characteristics of the vine varieties planted here.

Now, there is a better understanding of the terroire to obtain healthier, more authentic wines – with the use of traditional farming methods, limiting use of chemicals and with a minimal intervention in the land’s natural processes. La Valentina staff respects the fruit of the land both in the vineyard and in the bottle.

After the fermentation, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo aged for 15 months in large oak barrels.

Tasting notes:
Although many wine drinkers argue that Montepulciano is generally light wine with not enough body, that wouldn’t be an issue with this vintage of La Valentina. Deep ruby color in the glass promises a lot of fruit flavors. Wine has a beautiful aromas of ripe dark fruit like black cherries, blackberries and spices.

On the palate it is super fruity, smooth and clean with lovely spicy notes and well balanced with an acidity. Notes of dark cherries, currant or even plums on the palate. Very generous finish. This is an excellent example of modern Montepulciano, surprisingly rich in flavors. Wine like this could easily stand even to grilled meats.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 14.00

Ideal food pairing:

grilled meat, prosciutto, medium aged cheeses, Chicken and shrimp skewers, Chicken thighs in mushroom gravy, Tilapia loin with spicy sweet potato hash, Roasted salmon with spring spinach, Pork chops with wine and capers and many more