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Piemonte in October, Day 1 ( 26/10/2012 )

It’s our first morning in Piemonte, cool and rainy one. Lots to do, we would like to enjoy picturesque views of the nature and Medieval villages as well as seasonal local foods ( especially after we had a wonderful dinner at La Libera yesterday evening, we are more curious about food! ) and the wines of the region. But today, our priority is wine! cause most of the wineries are closed on weekends. Our appointments are done in advance.

The first one is Paolo Scavino in Castiglione Falletto, 20 min. to Alba. Although our car navigator fails to show there – as it happens often at rural areas – we could arrived the winery on time by helping our mobile phone maps and luck.

First we take winery tour that;

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We see rotofermenters, are used for alcoholic fermentation and maceration at the same time for their Barolos.

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French Oak barrels for ageing and also malolactic fermentation takes place in them. Ageing takes 24 months; 12 months in barrels and additional 12 months in casks. As the quality of wine in all individual barrels are observed during the ageing period, so lesser qualities can be eliminated.

In vineyard they apply organic and biodynamic applications including harvesting their grapes according to the moon calendar.

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Tasting them;

  • 2011 Paolo Scavino Langhe Bianco

  • It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Fruity and refreshing style. Intense aromas of apricot and peach with good acidity.

  • 2011 Barbera D’Alba

  • Deep crimson. Cherry pie and cheesy notes. Medium tannin and acidity. Long.

  • 2008 Barolo

  • It’s a blend of 3 regions; Barolo, Castiglione Di Falleto and La Morra. After tasting Barbera, it’s distinctively deep and complex. Aromas of red berries, licorice, chocolate with delicate floral notes.

  • 2008 Bricco Ambrogio

  • From Roddi. Brown sugar, cherry and floral notes. Long mineral and medicinal ending.

  • 2008 Monvigliero

  • From Verduno. More delicate. Floral with white chocolate notes.

  • 2008 Bric del Fiasc

  • From Castiglione Falleto. Intenser than Monvigliero on the nose. Complex aromas of licorice, brown sugar, chocolate with earthy and fleshy edges.

    At the end of the tasting we are lucky enough to meet with Mr. Enrico Scavino, who is the owner and wine maker of Scavino wines. Scavino wines offer a knowledgable and sincere tasting atmosphere.

    Now we are on the way of La Morra, 10 min. to Scavino Wines. Before Osteria Veglia, the view is wonderful, so taking some photos;

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    We are at La Morra town. Unfortunately the view is not clear at the Piazzo Castello because of heavy rain. So we choose one of the wine bars for lunch, Viniera S.Giorgio on Via Umberto.

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    We order “Tajarin” ( homemade pasta prepared with lots of eggs) which is a local dish can be found widely in the region and their Barbaresco option served by the glass.

    Our second tasting appointment will be at Fratelli Revello at 2pm. Revellos produce La Morra wines that are elegant and perfumed style of fine Barolo. The style is result of its Calcareous-Marl soil type that is same in Barolo Docg as well, whereas less fertile and Sand-Limestone soil combination of Castiglione Falletto Docg, Mondorte d’Alba Docg and Seralunga d’Alba Docg produce beefier, more tannic and structured wines that are less approachable when young but have more aging capacity.

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    1999 Fratelli Revello Barolo was one of my random purchase at the free-shop of Ataturk Airport in Istanbul and was one of the best wines I’ve ever had up to then. So we are at their panoramic wine tasting room.

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  • Fratelli Revello Barolo 2008
  • Long with red fruit aromas and floral notes.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Gattera 2008
  • Sweeter on the nose. Carnation flavours are already perceivable.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Giachini 2008
  • Elegant with aromas of sweet red fruits, leather and Autumnal notes.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Conca 2008
  • More powerful expression of Barolo with coffee and meaty aromas. 2007 is Intenser and sweeter on the nose with smokey fruits. 2006 is less approachable and has aromas of sage, cherry and strawberry.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2008
  • Intence and delicate fruit is very well integrated with high tannin and acidity. Perfumed and already focused.

    Gattera is the only one aged in Slovenian oak and represents more traditional ageing approach. The others are more modernists and aged in French oak barrrels for 24 months.

    We are leaving there with pleasure of tasting their fine wines.

    It’s time to turn back to Alba for having some rest and be ready for having a local food experience at Il Falstaff !

    2008 La Rocca Bianco and Dining at La Libera, Alba, Piemonte!

    We arrived to Alba at the late afternoon and had some rest at our hotel. Before dinner, we had a short walk to Piazza Duomo to discover medieval old town of Alba.

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    Although there are hundreds of eateries in Piemonte region, we preferred to stay in Alba for our first dinner, cause the day after would be busy with winery visits! Anyway we were at Ristorante La Libera , is located in one of the narrow and tranquil street of Alba.

    20121105-153110.jpgLa Libera has a sleek decoration with warm colors.

    The menu is in Italian! But no problem, our waiter speaks English fluently and after her translation, we chose our meals. For the wine, the sommelier recommended us a white wine for our fist courses and she added that if we like the wine, we could continue with this bottle for the main courses as well ( so, we did !).

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    The wine was 2008 La Rocca Bianco, a surprisingly good white in very famous red wine region. The grape is Gavi’ s Cortese but the wine is made of Barbaresco grapes. Compare with more aromatic Gavi, the style of the wine is near to a good white Burgundy. On the nose complex aromas of daisy, lime, honey, toasted bread and butter are detectable and on the palate aromas are more intense, savory and long. It’s not heavy, well balanced and has smooth texture.

    Our first courses were quite original and prepared by seasonal ingredients. And we were lucky to be Piemonte on October, it’s white truffle season.

    20121106-170443.jpgSephia with Porcini mushroom cream and crocante

    20121106-171242.jpgPatato gnocchi with white truffles

    20121106-171505.jpgVeal with Tuna sauce – Raw meat – Russian Salad – Local ham

    Unusual combination of Porcini and Sephia and more traditional Gnocchi with white truffles dishes were our favorites.

    Our main courses were:

    Veal with caper sauce
    Veal was Juicy and delicious.

    Yellowtail fillet
    Crunchy surfaced Yellowtail was very well prepared.

    Rabbit dumping with Sweetbread
    Sweetbread was creamy but fried Rabbit was overcooked.

    And Tiramisu was stunning.

    The bill was fair for the attentive service, delicious food and wonderful wine.

    It was good beginning to our holiday!

    Tasting and Appreciating ” Old Ladies’s Drink ” ; Sherry!

    I’ ve been quite excited to taste the Sherries I bought from Vila Viniteca during my last trip to Barcelona. Especially, dry or off-dry Sherries, which are my favorites, such as Manzanilla, Fino, Amontilado and Oloroso. They amazes me with their very different aromas from all other red and white wines and their unique production method; Solera*.

    As Sherries are underappreciated and misunderstood by wine drinkers for years 😦

    – some can call them as “Old Ladies’s drink! ” , never mind 🙂

    maybe so that their prices are still reachable in the premium level !

    And before dinner, I would like to taste three different styles of sherry; Manzanilla ( which will be consumed at the dinner and I will try to pair it attentively, I hope! ), Amontillado and Oloroso.

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    While uncorking them, an accident happened! with Amontilado’ s cork, but luckily helping with Ah So cork puller, everything is under control again.

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    EQUIPO NAVAZOS La Bota De Manzanilla 32

    It has deep gold color with lemon rim. Nose is quite complex, fruity aromas; lemon and red apple peel, nutty; roasted nuts and refreshing edges; moss and mineral tones. On the palate bone-dry, beginning with lemon peel and salty-minerality, mid palate is rich with apple peel, lemon zest and chestnut, at the long finish, roasted nuts and ginger aromas are getting intenser. It has good acidity and medium (+) body. Revitalizing! 15% Vol.

    EMILIO LUSTAU Single Cask Amontillado

    Amber colored with orange rim. Harmoniously comlex and deep. Sweet on the nose; perfume-like aromas of green olive, moss, iodine, dried fig, chestnut candy. Round on the palate with quince marmalade, caramel, cajun, touch of saltiness and the long dry finish with persimmon and ginger flavours. Full (-) bodied with lots of acidity. 18,5% Vol.

    BARBADILLO Oloroso Seco – Aged 30 years

    Mahogany colored with gold rim. Intense aromas of roasted chestnut, raisin, peach and apricot marmalade, brown sugar, smoke, mineral edges, touch of ginger. On the palate good acidity, full- bodied,round texture and off-dry, touch of saltiness and ginger,ending with lemon cheese-cake flavours. Very Long. 22% Vol.

    FOOD PAIRING FOR MANZANILLA

    In order to complete appreciation of wine, my next step is preparing food for Manzanilla. Of course I’m not a pairing expert but also I like to play pairing game 🙂 , then home-made sushi! Why?

    I expect;

    – Medium (+) body of wine could be match the weights of salmon and overcooked rice,

    – Flavours of sushi roll and Manzanilla are almost equally intense ( also they have common flavours of moss, sea and ginger ).

    – Powerful taste of pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce will be refreshed by acidity of Manzanilla.

    Otherwise, we can easily back to the basics; there is some almond and green olives at home 🙂

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    It is quite fun to prepare simple sushi roll at home. Actually over cooked rice and wrapping them tightly are the keys. I’ll use avocado, cucumber and salmon ( Instead of fresh salmon, I use lightly smoked salmon )

    Looks like a good match 🙂

    And Old Ladies have obviously good taste!

    Sharing with friends is the next step!!!

    *Sherry is a fortified and non-vintage wine that aged in Solera – a very complex ageing technique that the wines belong to successive vintages ( also vineyards ) are blended on vertical and horizontal base with/without flor layer for years -.

    Kalecik Karasi, 2009 Vinkara Mahsen

    Kalecik Karasi is a native Turkish grape and its origin is Kalecik Village near to Ankara. It’s an aromatic grape variety that can produce wines in delicate red fruit character with good acidity and light tannin. Especially In cooler climate it produces fruity, subtle and more balanced wines. These characteristics are mostly shaded by using a vinification technique called ” Carbonic Maceration ” in order to get more colour and the resulted wines have dominant bubblegum aromas.

    Anyway now we have increasing number of opportunities to appreciate its capacity with tasting some premium examples such as 2009 Vinkara Mahsen Kalecik Karasi…

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    Tasting Note – 2009 Vinkara Mahsen Kalecik Karasi

    Appearance: Pale ruby, pink rim.

    Nose: Intense fresh red fruit flavours (raspberry, cherry and plum), touch of vanilla, cream, nutty, smokey and leather aromas. Also some dried herbs (sage) and white pepper are detectable.

    Palate: Confirms the aromas perceived at the nose but more intense flavours and the fruit is sweeter. Medium (+) Body, refreshing and lifting acidity with long dry peppery finish.

    Creamy and round texture, ample oaking, very lively.

    It has ability to evolve in the glass and offers surprises one in every sip that the flavours are getting more focused in ten minutes to a parfum-like deep fresh tomato aromas.

    Given Alcohol level on the label is quite high, 14,3 % vol. but not detectable.

    Vinkara vineyards are located on high altitude, 650m that probably helps to produce well-balanced wines with big temperature differences between day and night. Their vines are still young so I may expect to enjoy more intense vintages as they aged,

    Curious!

    Mourvedre, Monastrel, Mataro!!!

    Mourvedre is almost always blended with some other varieties in Its wines, so that I’m curious of tasting the varietal one.

    What I want to learn about it is ;

    -If It has certain qualities to contribute to blended wine, I should taste varietal one and see What are these qualities,

    -Is It only good in blended wine or the varietal one can be satisfactory for wine lovers?

    So, I bought a bottle of Bandol Domain Tempier 2007 from The Wine Society for £21. It’s not cheap because It’s been produced in limited places in Europe and Bandol is famous for producing fine varietal Mourvedre wines on the coast of Provence.

    Tasting Note:

    Colour is deep dark blackish crimson with brown hues.

    Nose is clean with medium intensity. Dried herbs ( Thyme, sage, mint and basil ) and animal flavours ( like lamp chops ) are intense and some blackberry notes detectable.

    On the palate , dry , full-bodied and quite tannic. But the acidity is low. Flavours of herbs and animal notes are more pronounced than the nose and there is more licorice instead of blackberry. Ending is spicy (cinnamon, cumin, cloves) and a bit bitter.Length is medium (-). One hour later some additional aromas were detectable such as chocolate and fig.

    As a result, It was quite useful experience for me to get some clues about its varietal balance and character.

    Cheers!!!