Sunday, 10 August 2014

RAW Wine Fair novelties







 The RAW wine Fair is a great place for novelties. Sparkling Sake anyone? This may have been around for ages (the Dakushu has the tag 'medieval') but it was new on us.


Other discoveries included an Italian grape called Malbo Gentile. Now we have to be forgiven for referring readers to D'Agata's 'Native Wine Grapes of Italy' for every Italian grape variety we come across. Just read his entry on this grape to see why. It must be the last word on Malbo Gentile - magisterial and curiously riveting, at least to us, and with a touch of humour. A few nuggets include the following information on Malbo Gentile;

It appears to be a domesticated wild grapevine from Emilia Romagna
It has been documented in Emilia since 1800
It is also found in Romagna where it has assumed a different phenotype due to more fertile soils
It is used to add power and sweetness to Lambrusco
It is also known as Amabile di Genova
It is a hardy grape to grow but can produce some of the most tannic wines around
It grows almost everywhere in Emilia Romagna if in sporadic plots. There may be as little at 10 hectares overall





Thanks to this gentleman from Cinque Campi we were able to taste Malbo Gentile in purezza and can say that his  initiative is thoroughly well worthwhile.



The Barsanti brothers from Macea (near Altopascio between Firenze and Lucca) have 3 hectares of fascinating varieties including Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, 'Tannet' (Tannat?), Bracciola and something they refer to as Montanina e Barghigiana. Nether Montanina nor Barghigiana can be found in D'Agata's index although Montanara and Montanera are there. This is unlikely to be the same as Montanina because it hails from the Veneto. Their Campo Caturesi (far left) is a blend of these. Fantastic.





 This image of their strange vineyard has come out a bit blurred but you get the picture. Is it man-made like Silbury Hill?


This dessert wine from Podere Praderolo in Emilia Romagna is made from another rare creature, Temarina Rossa. D'Agata rightly praises Alberto and Claudia Peretti for deciding to take up making wine from this variety after what seems to have been a long period of neglect. As can be seen they are an appropriately sweet couple to make this particular wine.


 Prejudice can be fun if one likes to have one's views re-enforced or overturned but mostly it is sinister as hell we hardly need say. on this occasion we passed by Podere Scurtarola on the grounds that it was from Toscana and as we all know, there's not a huge amount of diversity in that region. Falso, falso, falso! D'Agata writes up 30 obscure Tuscan varieties and as we have seen in the case of Macea there are other varieties to be found. If we had been less prejudiced we might have read Pierpaolo Lorieri's thumbnail for Podere Scurtarola in the RAW catalogue in which he says "I have a collection of 51 local grapes: 11 born only in Massa Carrara and 4 are unknown."



We were finally alerted to Podere Scurtarola by Fred Plotkin who enthuses about the Scurtarola Agriturismo in his wonderful, if now no longer quite up-to-date 'Italy for the Gourmet Traveller". We were actually researching Massaretto - a promising variety local to Massa near to our old stomping ground of Lucca/Viareggio. So thanks to Plotkin we have discovered the wines of the Alpi Apuani, Candia, Colli di Luni and Massa Carrara. Lunigiana wines had been in evidence for ever but we had no idea how interesting they could be until the moment when we decided to take a 30 minute trip up the Autostrada while on our hols in the Versilia of which more in a future post.


While with the Italians, we just have to mention Casa Caterina whose thumbnail is more of a V sign and a glorious one at that:

"Despite  being situated in some of Franciacorta's top crus, Aurelio and Emilio del Bono have decided not to bother with the DOCG. The wines are certainly atypical for the area and we think all the better for it. The family have called these hills home for the past 12 generations and their 7 hectares are tended biodynamically."

They grow Chardonnay (for their Spumante Brut Nature wine) Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier among others plus Rebo. Rebo is a Teroldego/Marzemino cross surprisingly common in Trentino but Casa Caterina is true to type in growing it in Lombardia and making a 100% red wine from it alongside their highly rated white and sparkling wines.


There were plenty of familiar names at RAW including Amiel, Cotar, Cornelissen, Dettori, Foradori, Gauby, la Grange Tiphaine, Malibran, Maurer, Meinklang, Radikon, Riecine, Strohmeier etc. but how often do you meet someone who actually remembers sending you some wine? This charming lady from Hirschhorner Weinkontor either has only a handful of customers or a prodigious memory (we think the latter). Our German expert Eytan Pessen had sent us a case of Hirschhorner in the hope of converting us to his (enthusiastic) view on Riesling. The wines certainly converted us to Hirschhorn Riesling and here they were at the RAW fair. If you are impelled to rush out and order your own case of these wines on reading this, you may need to know they are changing their name to 'Frank John' for some reason.


2Naturkinder is the name of the small winery belonging to Michael Voelker and Melanie Drese in Franken. They make only 2 wines, a Silvaner and this Regent called Kleine Wanderlust. This was really interesting because unlike other German Regents it is light at only 11.5% and made to be served chilled. We happen to think Regent is the most promising fungus resistant (Piwi) hybrid and have planted a few vines of our own.






Melanie Drese is also an enthusiast of course and this product was completely convincing. Gratuliere!








If our photos of this nice Kiralyanika seem to have been taken on the slant it might have been that by this time we has 'appreciated' rather too much wine at this always excellent event.



















Monday, 28 July 2014

Bordeaux 725



Technical ignoramuses as we are, it has taken us all these years to work out that there is a figure beside each post which shows the number of hits there have been. Our little blog is not aimed at a mass market to say the least. Our main purpose is to have an aide memoire to help us recall our experiences as the more we drink the less we remember.

Slotovino posts typically get low double-figure hits which is fine by us. A good number of hits are are probably from us anyway. However our sole mention of Bordeaux stands head and shoulders above any other topic we have covered with 725 hits. The nearest most visited post has half that.Why should this be? We were not particularly proud of our Bordeaux post. In it we revised our attitudes (upwards) to White Bordeaux and Bordeaux Clairet (a well overdue correction we thought) and did some personal musing over our last visit there 47 years ago. Hardly of universal interest.

Bordeaux is vast of course. Bigger than the combined vine-growing areas of some entire countries but it has a quality imbalance. The vast majority of produce is under-achieving in spite of recent progress. 47 years ago, there was no Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superieur worth drinking as far as we could tell. Now there seems to be at least some good wine to be had from those denominations.

Thanks to a long-time Slotovino correspondent we were set the task of finding a good Red Bordeaux for around the £10 mark at under 13% recently. Our friend had had no luck in this quest so we gave it a try and for what it is worth here are the results from a very limited survey; originally 12 bottles (with one breakage so 11 bottles in the end) from 2 main sources - The Wine Society and Laithwaites plus one each from Amathus and Berry Bros. & Rudd. Why these suppliers? We thought they would know their Bordeaux and the first two were expert in finding value for money wines.

Overall winner:



Chateau Mouret, Graves. 2010 (Berry Bros £12.25) 12.5%

Our expert writes: 

a good mix of purple colour, very fruity and utterly dry, an energetic
wine which makes for great drinking.
I cannot find a source for it on the
net, strangely - but if it is in the price range you indicated then it
is a good buy indeed.


Other wines he particularly liked:



Reserve Bordeaux Special 2011. (Wine Society, £7.25). 12.5%

When one sees the words reserve and speciale one is well prepared for a
mediocre wine. However this is really lovely - intense, dark,
blackberry and other things, I taste cherry (maybe because it is cherry
season now and I just picked a good few kilos of tarry black
heart-shaped cherries yesterday). Wine experts may say hint of licorice
or anis or some such thing about these kind of wines. what the nose
promises it keeps, and the aftertaste is balanced and very pleasant.
The only thing preventing it from being spectacular is that it is a
tiny tad sour - but this is really nitpicking. I would buy this for
sure. I had it with a pasta of grano saraceno in ground turkey and
tarragon. Really nice.




Chateau Le Ferreau Belair, Cotes de Bourg 2008. (Laithwaites £11.99). 12.5%

The first wine I tried was and is an instant hit: Chateau Le Ferreau
Belair, 2008. It is very well balanced, has a perfect mix of fruit and
wood and tanins. I firmed it up a bit in the fridge since the heat wave
made the apartment and the wine a bit  lax,  so that is why perhaps the
wine tasted a bit younger and fresher than 2008. I am keeping the bottle
and will keep it as a good contender for my house wine.


Controversial



La Chateau vieux Tuquet Bordeaux 2011. (Amathus, £7.90). 12.5%


This one was heftily objected to by two guests, who claimed it is too
dry, to tannic, and not 'tasty'. I attribute most of this to the fact
that this one is anything but an australian shiraz or some such. I then
opened them a 14.5% nebbiolo which I had here and that kept them happy,
while I happily had the Vieux Tuquet all to myself to finish. I liked
it, it does have immense tannins, and has a tad an unpleasant sour
taste. But when squatting on the tongue there is a moment of French
glory, a berry and chocolate (perhaps) mix. Dry and straight but with
poetry. I would drink this again for sure, but it is a bit too extreme
for popular use I'd say.
 

This is all for the moment. Now Bordeaux lovers, do your worst and let's see those numbers take off!
 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

D'Agata "Native Wine Grapes of Italy"


There is a lot to say about Ian D'Agata's marvellous new book and we look forward to gathering our thoughts in due course.

As well as being able to award it Slotovino Book of the year 2013/14, we would just like to list here the more obscure grape varieties covered in this essential publication.

Most if not all are entries in 'Wine Grapes' (Slotovino winner in 2012/13) but as mentioned in our 13/14 winners blog, D'Agata's book should be read in conjunction with that volume by anyone interested in Italian varieties.

NB. Under TRENTINO, there is an important omission. Yes the variety named Wanderbara is  conspicuous by its absence. Do we get a free bottle for reporting this? Try entering Wanderbara in Google Images by the way...



ABRUZZO


Cococciola
Maiolica
Passarina






BASILICATA


Guarnaccino
Tamurro Nero






CALABRIA


Guardavalle
Marsigliana Nera
Pecorello Bianco
Roviello





CAMPANIA


Aglianicone
Arilla
Barbera del Sannio
Bariletta
Bianco Antico
Cacamosca
Caprettone
Castagnara
Coda di Cavallo
Coda di Pecora
Coglionara
Fenile
Ginestra
Janese
Olivella Nera
Pepilla
Ripoli
Sanginella Bianca
San Antonio
San Lunardo
San Pietro
Sciascinoso
Serpentara
Sirica
Suppezza
Tronto





EMILIA ROMAGNA


Albana Nera
Alionza
Angela
Barbesino
Balzamino
Bertinora
Bervedino
Bsolla
Calbanesco
Canina Nera
Canino
Cargarello
Cordusel
Cornacchia
Crova
Fogarina
Forcella
Fortana
Lanzesa
Malbo Gentile
Maligia
Marzabino
Melara
Molinelli
Montu
Mostarino
Mostosa
Paradisa
Pelagos
Pela dei Vivi
Ruggine
Santa Maria
Scarsafoglia
Scroccona
Sgavetta
Termarina Nera
Uva del Fanrini
Uve del Tunde
Uva Tosca
Varano Bianco
Varano Rosa
Verdetto = Verdello






FRIULI VENEZIE GIULIA


Aghedene
Corvino
Fumat
Negrat
Pignolo
Sagrestana
Terrano






LAZIO


Abbuoto
Bellone
Campolongo
Giacche
Lecinara
Maturano
Pampanaro
Rosciola
Rossetto




LIGURIA

Albarola
Barbarossa
Crovino
Lumassina
Pollera Nera
Rollo
Ruzzese = Rossese Bianco
Scimiscia






LOMBARDIA


Brugnola
Chiavannesca Bianca
Croa
Invernenga
Merlina
Moradella
Pignola
Rossola Nera
Uva della Cascina







MARCHE


Albanella
Galioppo
Garofanata
Maceratino Bianco





PUGLIA


Bianco d'Alessano
Bombino Nero
Cococciola
Francavilla
Lupigno
Marchione
Maresco
Negro Amaro Precoce
Notardomenico
Pampanuto






PIEMONTE


Avana
Avarengo
Baratuciat
Barbera Bianca
Becuet
Bian Ver
Bonarda Piemontese
Brachettone del Roero
Brunetta di Rivoli
Bubbierasco
Bundula
Cardin
Carica l'Asino
Cascarolo
Celerina
Chatus
Doux d'Henry
Durasa
Gambe Rossa
Grisa Nera
Grisa Rousa
Lambrusca d'Alessandria
Lambrusca di Vittona
Lambruschetta
Montanera di Perosa
Neretto di Bairo
Neretta Cuneese
Neretta di Marengo
Neretto Duro
Parporio
Plassa
Preverail
Quagliano
Rossese Bianco
Uvalino
Zanello





SARDEGNA


Albarenzeuli Bianco
Abarennzeuli Nero
Alvarega
Arvesiniadu
Barbera Sarda
Caddiu
Caricagiola
Giro
Nasco
Nieddera
Nieddu Mannu
Nuragus
Pascale
Retagliado Bianco
Semidano





SICILIA


Acitana
Albanello
Calabrese di Montenero
Catanese Nero
Corinto Nero
Damaschino
Minella Bianca
Nocera






TOSCANA


Abrostine
Abrusco
Albarola Nera
Barsaglina
Biancone
Bonamico
Bracciola Nera
Buriano
Canaiolo Bianco
Colombara Nera
Foglia Tonda
Grane
Granoir
Gratena
Lacrima del Valdarno
Livornese Bianca
Mammolo
Mazzese
Morone
Negratino
Nereto
Occhio del Pernice
Occhiorosso
Orpicchio
Primaticcio
Raspo Rosso
Sanforte
Verduschia
Verrucciese
Volpola





TRENTINO



Enantio

Fruhroter Veltliner

Lagarino
Negrone
Nero di Baisi
Nosiola
Paolina
Pavana
Peverella
Rossara
Verdealbara

 


UMBRIA

Cornetta
Grero





VALLE D'AOSTA


Bianco Comune
Bonda
Crovassa
Ner d'Ala
Neyret
Prie
Prie Rouge
Roussin
Roussin de Morgex
Theilly
Vuillermin



VENETO

Bianca Capriana
Bianchetta Trevigiana
Bigolona
Boschesa
Cabrusina
Cavrara
Cenerente
Corbina
Denela
Forselina
Gruaja
Marzemina Bianca
Marzemina Nera
Pattaresca
Pedevenda
Perera
Pinella
Pomella
Quaiara
Recantina
Rosetta di Montagna
Rossignola
Simesara
Trevigiana Nera
Turca
Turchetta
Verdiso






















Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Permitted additives

At London's RAW Wine Fair recently our eye was caught by this page lying on the table of a Spanish Natural Wine producer, Esencia Rural. It is a list of additives permitted in winemaking. Esencia Rural proudly proclaims that their wine is made only with grapes. The list is in Spanish but the gist is plain enough to cause queasiness in anyone - especially those who denigrate natural winemaking, we would have thought.


Levaduras, Fosfato de diamonio y sulfato de amonia, Bisulfato de amonia, Diclorhidrato de tiamina, Anhidrido sulferoso, Bisulfito de potasio, Metabisulfato de potasio, Carbones, Gelatina, Cola de Pescado, Caseina, Caseinatos de potasio, Albumina de huevo, Bentonita, Dioxido de silicio, Caolin, Tanino, Enzinas pectoliticas, Prepardos enzimaticos de la betaglucanasa, acido tartarica, Acido malico, Acido lactica, Tartrato neutro de potasio, bicarbanato de potasio, Carbonato de calcio, Resina de pino carrasco, Preparados de paredes celulares de leveduras polivinilpirrolidona, Bacterias lacticas, Lisozima, Acido ascorbico, Resinas de intercambio idrico, Acido citrico, Acido metatartarico, Goma arabica, Tartrato, Acido de potasio, Tartrato de calcio, Sulfato de cobre, Citrato de cobre, Carmelo, Dicarbonato de dimetilo, Manoproteinas, Tratamiento por electrolisis, Ureata, Alginato de calcio, Alginato de potasio, Copolimeros depolivilimidazoi-polivinilpirrolidona, Carborimeticelulose, Tratimento con intercambiadores de cationes, Oxigeno gaseoso, Perlita, La tierra diatomeceous, Nitrogena, Dioxido de carbona, Di-fosfate de amonia, Tiamina clorhidrata, Bisulfito de potasio o metabisulfito, Las proteinas vegetales de trigo o de guisante, Bicarbonate de potasio, Resina de pinos halepensis, Metatartarico, Citrato coprico, Virutas de roble, Alginato de potasio.

Ingredientes: solo uva/only grapes

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New in New York



The New York Frieze week is a good time to catch up on novelties of all kinds. At Chambers Street Wines, they had a whole lot of Rare Creatures, some we had never heard of;

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So good to know where to get our Forlorn Hopes in New York even if some are quite a bit more expensive than others.



 Other bottles we bore away in triumph included this out of focus Pineau d'Aunis from Louis/Dressner - a name often seen on back labels of Organic, Bio-dynamic or Natural wines from New York merchants, especially Chambers St. They deserve their own post one day, and from a better blogger than Slotovino of course but we will celebrate them in our own way in full expectation they will survive.



This didn't last long once unpacked at home. If Jamie Hutchinson (The Sampler) can measure time by how long it takes him to neck a bottle of Beaujolais then we can use this beauty for the same purpose.

 


Bernabe Navarro's 'La Amistad' is made from Rojal as we have commented in a previous post. We were delighted to see it at Chambers St. and served it for friends back home. They didn't say much about it but it went down pdq. We might have over-chilled it (overkilled it?).


Over at Randall's Island there was an enormous place with rather more pictures on the walls than wine.



What wine there was, was a bit wierrrd.





The Gotham Project Red and White was just what Vino Sfuso should be: light, fruity and refreshing. The white was a New York Finger Lakes Riesling and the red may have been a NY Cabernet Franc. The Gotham Project is really interesting and we wish them the very best of luck. May they cause the revolution they seek and consign the glass bottle at least to a proportion of sales with Keg wine of this interest and quality finding its way to Restaurants and yes, Pubs! That would be a revolution indeed. English wine on tap? Why not?


As well as weird wine there were interesting operatic references at Randall's Island

Richard Wagner chasing a Leimotif
Re-assurance for the customers
Astor Wines and Spirits are not to be outdone these days and there we couldn't resist these gems;

at the risk of repeating ourselves, a Croatina




and repeating ourselves, but in this case, we never tire of Heitz's Grignolino


an OK Rossese
 Over the river at Willamsburg, we re-visited Uva and were impressed:


new converts to Petite Arvine, this one went down well

and ever a soft touch for a Poulsard, we fell for this Demeter accredited example
 They were also sporting, mirabile dictu Fabbrica San Martino's Arcipressi (Colline di Lucca).

Yes, nothing ever happens in New York