Tuesday 30 December 2008

A great site for Italian varieties

Estimates say there are 22,200 grape varieties in the world so Italy has 10% at 2,200. here's a great site for those varieties prepared by Cinzia Forino:


Check it out: it's amazing how many unknown varieties there are in the Veneto and even Toscana

Monday 29 December 2008

The last to know; Slotovino discovers Vilana

Are we the last to have discovered Vilana, the white grape from Crete? Oddbins have been carrying Xerolithia produced from 100% Vilana by Creta Olympias in the Peza area for some time without Slotovino being aware of this tremendous find. The 2006 costs £6.99 (£5.59 case price) and is one of the best value white wines you could expect to buy at the price. Not since we 'discovered' Pecorino, the white variety from Abruzzo has there been such enthusiasm for a 'new' variety.

For the last 7 years there has been enough recognition in the press so why is this beauty still not widely known?

* WEINGUIDE 2006 - FRANKFURT / HESSEN. At the annual journal edition (Rhein-Main geht aus 2006) in the extra supplement "Weinguide 2006" the top Masters of Wine, journalists, restaurateurs & wine experts present & rank the best white wines from indigenous & cosmopolitan grape varieties.
Among them "Xerolithia" appears as the favourite Greek white wine.
* VINO MAGAZINE - BELGIUM (October 2005 Issue) "Vin de Crete" (White - Vilana) participated in an international wine tasting and scored at the top category "Tres Bon".
* JANCIS ROBINSON: In her web site (www.jancisrobinson.com) she selects XEROLITHIA for her column "Wines of the week", and writes: "Here is a real bargain, a white wine with lots of ripe fruit and character..."
* INSIDE OUT (The City Magazine of Athens), December - January 2003: "Best of Class 2002", Nico Manessis writes: "XEROLITHIA, Creta Olympias. Finally, Cretan wine is playing catch up in the qualitative race among modern Greek wines. Vibrant with fruit, it is made from Vilana grapes and has raised many an eyebrow with wine commentators. This re-launched label represents this year's best value for money white wine."
* INSIDE OUT (The City Magazine of Athens), June 2002: "Island Wines", Nico Manessis writes: "Crete. Most stylish 2001 whites emerge from the hugely capitalized Creta-Olympias winery, above Iraklio, including a very modern variety from the Vilana grape, sporting the Nea Ghi label. My preference leans towards the more complete XEROLITHIA with its fresh kumkuat flavor.
* DAILY MIRROR, 25TH of May 2002: "Beer & Wine, Tim Curran's choice": "It’s hard for Greek wines to shake off the image of Retsina, but they have improved greatly over the last decade and Oddbins has the best selection on the High Street. Try XEROLITHIA dry white wine from Crete made from the native Vilana grape. It has crisp, fresh acidity, a slight sparkle, clean-lasting just ripe peach fruitiness-and no pine resin. I'll serve it at this weekend's barbecue, weather permitting."
* OBSERVER, 19TH of May 2002: "Wines of the week, Five wines to enjoy without the oak", by Tim Atkin. "XEROLITHIA, White, Peza. One of an outstanding array of new Greek wines at Oddbins, this richly textured, honeysuckle and peach - scented Cretian white is made from the local Vilana grape. Crisp acidity makes this a great accompaniment to food."
* DAILY EXPRESS: "Great Greek Wines": "Here are a few of my favourites: XEROLITHIA white, has refreshing tastes of zesty limes."
* SUNDAY TIMES, April 2001: "What Wine? - d is for... dolmades": "Stuffed vine leaves with a flavour that needs to be offset by an equally sharp Greek or Cyprus white. XEROLITHIA White, Crete, Greece."
* YORKSHIRE POST, Tony Fox, April 2001: "Don't Be A Wine Wimp, Give Greek Wines A Try": "Try the XEROLITHIA, made from Vilana grapes, for a new taste experience. This is a delicious, dry white, smelling of freshly squeesed lemons, which would accompany all types of seafood."
* DECANTER magazine, September 1999: "Greek Dry Whites", Recommended ***, CRETA NOBILE PEZA 1998, Creta Olympias: "Intense, fruity, perfumed nose. Smokey palate, with a slight orangey tang. Beautifully balanced."

Tuesday 9 December 2008

American diversity after all

There's diversity in America after all. You can offset the miles of Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays in US supermarkets by clicking onto www.AmericanWinery.com who will give you access to "great small producers that you just don't find on retail shelves." The wines come from practically every region and were being offered at 1 cent delivery charge in the USA. Slotovino cannot vouch for the quality of these wines but a few of them are Parker rated and the sheer boldness of some of the choices is worth patronising.

How about a Limberger (Lemberger) aka Blaufraenkisch from Washington or California, a Chambourcin from Pennsylvania or Missouri, a Corvina Amarone from Texas, Carneros Pinot Meunier, North Californian Fiano, Malbec or Counoise ("this wine goes with everything on every occasion") from Washington, a Californian Rose from Alicante Bouschet (a teinturier!)?

And how would we ever have discovered the wonderful Peter Fanucchi of Fanucchi Vineyards who writes of his Trousseau Gris (which he styles "99 Points!") that it "often retains some of it’s natural effervescence-CO2-which also keeps the wine a little fresher & can show more bubbles then most still wines"? He also has a most whimsical Philosophy Statement:

It is as much my deepest hope & prayer that all who taste Fanucchi Vineyards Wines, thoroughly enjoy a wine that treats the senses with something very special adding to your good meal and/or time with your friends, as it is my hope & prayer (& I hope yours, if not a prayer a resolution) that Fanucchi Vineyards' and all wines be enjoyed with the highest regards towards health & safety of EVERYONE, always.

You really can't find that on retail shelves!

Red Blend (341)
Cabernet Sauvignon (296)
Syrah (226)
Chardonnay (206)
Pinot Noir (183)
Zinfandel (173)
Merlot (153)
Fruit Wine (104)
White Blend (91)
Sauvignon Blanc (Fumé Blanc) (68)
Riesling (White Riesling) (63)
Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) (51)
Sangiovese (49)
Cabernet Franc (40)
Petite Sirah (39)
Viognier (36)
Red Table Wine (35)
Barbera (28)
Gewürztraminer (27)
White Table Wine (26)
Tempranillo (Valdepeñas) (19)
Grenache (16)
Malbec (14)
Shiraz (Syrah) (12)
Muscat Blanc (Muscat Canelli) (10)
Mead (8)
Nebbiolo (8)
Chenin Blanc (7)
Concord (7)
Dolcetto (7)
Vidal Blanc (7)
Semillon (6)
Alicante Bouschet (6)
Maréchal Foch (6)
Roussanne (6)
Ice Wine (5)
Limberger (Lemberger) (5)
Albariño (Alvarinho) (4)
Catawba (4)
Mourvèdre (Mataro) (4)
Norton (Cynthiana) (4)
Orange Muscat (4)
Petit Verdot (4)
Primitivo (4)
Red & White Blend (3)
Carignane (3)
Chambourcin (3)
Grenache Noir (3)
Muscat (3)
Sauvignon Blanc Musque (3)
Steuben (3)
Agave (2)
Frontenac (2)
Malvasia Bianca (2)
Niagara (2)
Pinot Blanc (2)
Pinotage (2)
Ruby Cabernet (2)
Seyval (Seyval blanc) (2)
Tinto Cão (2)
Touriga (2)
Touriga Nacional (2)
Trousseau Gris (2)
Verdelho (2)
Carmenere (1)
Aglianico (1)
Arneis (1)
Blanc Du Bois (1)
Cayuga White (1)
Charbono (1)
Chardonel (1)
Colombard (French Colombard) (1)
Conquistador (1)
Corvina (1)
Counoise (1)
Cynthiana (Norton) (1)
De Chaunac (1)
Dornfelder (1)
Edelweiss (1)
Fiano (1)
Grenache Gris (1)
Kerner (1)
Léon Millot (1)
Marsanne (1)
Melon de Bourgogne (Melon) (1)
Muscat Hamburg (Black Muscat) (1)
Müller-Thurgau (1)
Noble (1)
Pinot Meunier (1)
Siegfried (1)
Souzão (1)
Tannat (1)
Traminette (1)
Vignoles (1)

Monday 1 December 2008

L'Ancelotta est arivee

Thanks to Slotovino's ever increasing roaming scout force, Brazilian Ancelotta was first of all tested in Brazil and subsequently rushed to headquarters in London for tasting on November 16th.

Initial reports were not encouraging;

Hmn. Well, we 'enjoyed' a bottle of Identidade 2006 Ancelotta last night over rather too much red meat in our local churrascaria..We found it to be gutsy, and tannic, with lots of fruit but also a slightly bitter aftertaste that led us to wonder if it could be off. Very dark colour, and lots of 'legs'... Pretty heavy head this morning...

so a Reserva was purchased; Don Laurindo 2005 Vale dos Vinhedos - Serra Gaucha - Brasil 13%. This turned out to be a perfectly pleasant rustic wine, dark in colour and no bitter aftertaste. However, only mildly resembling the Italian Ancelotta we has tasted 'sfuso' in Venice (see 'The Reds' below). It may be, as so often happened that an inferior clone was imported originally. If that is the impression over all Brazilian Ancelottas it will be a pity.