Tim's Wine

Highlights from a Glorious Trip in Tuscany

by timswine on Thursday, October 4, 2018

For those who follow me on Instagram (@timswinemarket) and FaceBook (@timswinemarketorlando) you probably saw the amazing trip I helped to host in Tuscany, along with Art in Voyage (@travelinstyle).   We stayed at Villa Laura, which is the farm restored by Diane Lane’s character in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  It was a magical setting and a great home base for our travels.

     During this trip we visited six wineries, all in the middle of harvest.  All of our hosts were very gracious and showed tremendous patience with me as I guided our eleven guests through the process of converting grapes into wine.  We were lucky enough to visit small and large, family owned wineries and see the process through several different lenses.

     

At each visit we tasted several different wines, typically those available to us in the US.  We also purchased a few bottles, often those not available in the US, for dinner each night back at the villa.  It is always wonderful to taste the wines with the people who make them, but there is also a reward in seeing how they work with food as well.  After all, the essence of Italian wine is to compliment food.

      Below is a list of wines that were standouts for me during our trip.  They are all available at the Orange Avenue store and can be ordered by your local TWM if you want to try them. (To be fair to the wines not listed, many are not yet available so I will feature those later in different clubs and weekly features.)

2016 Felsina Chianti Classico ($29)

2013 Felsina Chianti Classico  Riserva “Rancia” ($59)

        

For many years this has been one of my favorite Chianti estates.  Their vineyards are in the southernmost zone of Chianti Classico, Castelnuovo Berardenga.  This area lies closest to Siena and is lower elevation than the rest of the Classico zone, so the wines typically show great power.      

    The 2016 just arrived and is an excellent introduction to the powerful side of these wines.  This bottling is aged in large botti for year, then bottled and held for an additional six months in bottle.   It offers a dynamic combination fresh and tart cherries, new car leather and forest floor mushrooms.  You can drink this wine now or cellar it for up to five years.

    The 2013 Rancia is a single vineyard bottling, at one of the highest elevations in the zone and a perfect southwest exposure.  This bottling is aged in new French oak barriques for eighteen-twenty months, then bottled and allowed to rest another six before release.  Here the fruit is darker, with notes of blackberries intertwined with the tart cherries, as well as dried straw, tamarind and spice cake aromas.  The feel on the palate is dense but framed quickly by firm tannins.  This wine will be best from 2020 through 2030.

2015 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina ($22)

2013 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Riserva “Bucherchiale” ($45)

       On our second day we traveled to the northern-most, and highest elevation, area for Chianti Classico, the sub-zone of Chianti Rufina.  This is in no way to be confused with the mass-production brand, Ruffino.  Selvapiana is one of the oldest, and most respected properties in the zone, with winemaking and management directed by Federico Giuntini, the sixth generation of the family.  The wines here are a little lighter than those of Felsina, but show incredible finesse.

     Their base level Chianti Rufina is aged in large, Slovenian casks for one year.  There was no Riserva Bucherciale made in this vintage so the bottling has a little more stuffing than their typical bottling. The nose is marasco cherries, violets, candied orange peel, dried blackberries and a very subtle hint of allspice.  On the palate it is very silky and balanced, with moderate weight, high acidity, and faintly obvious tannins.  Good 2018-2023.

     The impressive 2013 Bucherchiale, which Federico considers the best since 2009, is from a single vineyard, which faces southwest for perfect exposure.  This wine displays a sweeter, more obvious blackberry, raspberry jam quality, with notes of tarragon, chocolate covered orange peel and a kiss of porcini mushroom.  On the palate it is nicely dense, with intergrated but high tannins, moderate acidity.  Drink 2022-2033. (I have tasted several 20+ year old examples and this wine ages magnificently,)

2015 Podere Ciona Semifonte ($22)

     

     Made by the engaging Lorenzo Gatteschi, with help from his parents, this is a tiny estate producing incredible wines for the money.  Every offering is limited and this is the current wine to arrive in the US.  It is a blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Alicante Bouchet, aged in large oak for a year.

     As a “super Tuscan” this wine delivers a different nose than a wine made of Sangiovese.  The bouquet is red licorice, candied cherries, milk chocolate and rose petals.  On the palate it shows a nice concentration of fruit, with soft tannins and lowish acidity that frame it into the finish.  Only 120 bottles available.

     After visiting this estate and tasting through their impressive line-up again, I stand by my belief this is the best value in serious Tuscan wine you can buy for near term enjoyment.  Owner Federico Carletti has grown this from fifty acres he inherited from his father to now more than 900 acres, and yet every wine offers incredible quality, and value.

     Their flagship wine is produced from higher elevation vineyards near the village of Montepulciano, and aged in equal parts large botti, 400 liter tonneaux and 225 liter barriques for 14 months.   It is a blend of 85% Sangiovese and the balance in Colorino, Canaiolo and Merlot.   It shows notes of ripe black figs, candied cherries, sage, cedar, allspice and caramel.  On the palate it shows good texture, with moderate acidity and tannins.  Drink 2018-2028. 

2013 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino “White Label” ($79)

2013 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuto Nuovo” ($125)

2015 Casanova di Neri Pietradonice ($89)

    

I do not believe there is a hotter estate in Montalcino, and perhaps all of Tuscany, than Casanova di Neri.  Giacomo Neri and his sons oversee every step of the production of their wines, using only estate grown grapes from their extensive vineyard holdings.   

     Their White Label is the wine found Giovanni Neri first made in 1971.  It is produced from vineyards near the winery on the southeast side of the town of Montalcino.  This wine is aged for four years in botti, then a year in bottle before release.  It shows a rich nose of old leather books, cinnamon and clove, white chocolate, fennel seed, birch syrup and luxardo cherries.  The feel on the palate is very dense and concentrated, with firm but integrated tannins and moderate acidity.  Drink 2023-2033.

     Their highly rated Tenuto Nuovo is a single vineyard bottling from a vineyard Giacomo purchased in 1985, in defiance of his mother.  It is a site located north of the town of Montalcino and was not considered ideal for ripening Sangiovese.  Twenty years later, various vintages have received numerous 100 point ratings and the 2004 was the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year.  Talk about a bet paying off!   This bottling is aged for 48 months in French tonneaux (400 liter barrels) and a year in bottle.  It is a bigger wine than above, with rich notes of dark chocolate, caramel, graham cracker, cinnamon, baked dark cherries, clove, dried figs and a kiss of balsamic syrup.  On the palate it is very dense and powerful, with firm tannins that are nicely integrated, with moderate acidity.  Drink 2023-2043.

      Finally, and new to our lineup, is their Cabernet Sauvignon, Pietradonice.  This wine is a single vineyard site south of the town and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is aged for 18 months in barriques, of which 25% are new.  It shows an enticing combination of cooked black currants and black cherries, herbs de Provence, lavender and dark chocolate.  Texturally it is extremely dense and broad, with firm tannins but bright acidity.

         

Poll: Americans Reach Wine Awakening at Age 29

by timswine on Friday, July 27, 2018

Source: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/

The average American has their “wine awakening” at age 29, according to new research.

A new study of 2,000 wine drinkers showed that the average Americans will only start to fully appreciate a good bottle of vino toward the tail end of their 20s, but how they get into it, and what they prefer, varies greatly.

The most common way Americans get into wine is from a friend, with 30 percent reporting that’s how they originally tried it. One in five (21 percent) discovered it on their own, and 17 percent were drawn into wine by a partner.

The average American can also name four wine types off the top of their head, and is most familiar with chardonnay (69 percent), merlot (62 percent), and rosé (58 percent).

According to the results, Americans are embracing wine and becoming knowledgeable on the subject earlier and earlier, with millennial respondents being able to name the most wine varietals off the top of their head compared to those older.

They could name five on average, whereas those aged 55 or older could only name three. Millennials are also appreciating wine at the youngest average age at 23 years old, compared to those aged 55 and older coming around to wine at age 34.

The new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jordan Winery, found that zinfandel was the most popular first wine that awakened a person’s wine senses, with 17 percent saying it was the first they knew they liked.

Americans prefer their wine to be smooth (56 percent), fruity (48 percent), and sweet (47 percent), with chardonnay being voted tops as the wine that Americans are drinking most frequently.

Wine can be a rewarding treat after a long day, and according to the results, Americans will typically pour themselves two glasses a night, two nights a week. But one in four (23 percent) tend to wind down with a glass of wine four or more nights a week.

But how much of a connoisseur are Americans exactly?

Well they certainly act the part, as over half (56 percent) of American wine drinkers will sniff the glass before taking a drink, and another 48 percent will even give the glass a swirl before indulging.

One in four Americans (25 percent) even prefer wine over every other alcoholic beverage.

Why? Taste, mostly. Forty-six percent of all survey respondents think wine simply tastes better than other drinks, whereas another 43 percent say it better helps them relax at the end of the day.

And the reasons why wine is superior don’t stop there. Forty-three percent say it pairs best with food, and a third (34 percent) enjoy the health benefits that come with wine.

“It’s always great to be reminded that we’ve been on the right path with making wines specifically to pair with a broad range of foods,” said John Jordan, owner of Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. “I’m still surprised so many California winemakers have chosen to produce over-the-top wines that are high in alcohol and tannin, making them destructive at the dinner table.”

They say home is where the heart is, but according to the study, it’s also where the bottle is, as 64 percent of Americans are more likely to drink wine at home rather than at a restaurant.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in winery direct purchases for home consumption over the last five years,” said Jordan, whose parents founded the winery in 1972. “But, we’ve also seen a resurgence in wine sales at restaurants. Restaurants don’t seem to be losing business to at-home drinkers.”

Dealing with long wine menus at restaurants can be enough to frustrate and confuse 30 percent of Americans, and while having a sommelier provide insight as to what to order is nice for some people, one in five (19 percent) report they’re intimidated by them.

But when choosing a wine at a restaurant, familiarity with a brand is the biggest factor determining what people end up with a glass of, with 46 percent saying they will most likely order a wine they’ve had before rather than branch out into uncharted waters.

“This is precisely why we have focused on making quality wines of balance for four decades,” Jordan said. “Once you earn the trust of your customer, if you keep your promise, if you always deliver a quality product, they will remember you.”

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Madeira Diary – Day 3 – Grapes, Winemaking & Aging

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If you are following these posts then you know by now that Madeira is a very special place.  The climate, geography and history alone make Madeira fascinating enough that serious wine fans should want to understand more.  This post will … Continued

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On our first full day on Madeira my travel companions and I were treated to a tour of the south side of the island on a fishing boat.  Although I am prone to sea sickness the waters were calm and … Continued

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Madeira Diary – Day 1 – The fun is just getting there

Friday, September 11, 2015

If you found this blog based on my social media posts then probably the first question you are asking is, “why is Madeira so special that Tim is flying 19 hours to get there.”  The second  question you probably should … Continued

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