Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Terre di Valbona 2009

Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Terre di Valbona 2009

What can one say of beautifully simple, delicious wines, except to pity the people who do not appreciate them?

belisario-verdicchio-di-matelica-terre-valbona-2009Belisario’s Verdicchio di Matelica Terre di Valbona is a wine of uncomplicated, delicious dignity, owing to its own honest style.

Founded in the ‘70’s as a cooperative, Belisario has since become the largest producer of Verdicchio di Matelica. Located within the Alta Valle Esina of Italy’s Marche, Belisario vineyards are a maximum of 10 minutes from its cellars.

Belisario’s Verdicchio di Matelica Terre di Valbona is made from 100% Verdicchio grapes selected from its best vineyards.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Pale straw yellow with aromatics of peaches, white flowers and lemon zest. Warm in the mouth with apricot and honey on the palate, notes of lemon zest and sea salt on a flavorful finish. Well structured and refreshing. Great quality / price ratio.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Classic Verdicchio pairings like hot and cold hors d’oeurves, fish, white meats, cheeses, and pasta will all work super well, though we loved this wine with stir fried squid and ginger with the Sichuan pepper spice known as “Hua Jiao”; roast taro with black mushroom, wheat gluten and carrot; baby Chinese broccoli; and “straw vegetable” called Kong Xin Cai (water spinach).

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iGreco Catà Gaglioppo Rosso 2007

iGreco Catà Gaglioppo Rosso 2007

A flow of humid air lifts gauzy curtains from the open window.
Somewhere, thunder.
Lazy, quiet, stillness.
And…
I. Am. Bored.

I’m especially bored with wine / food pairings that leave me needing adventure.

igreco-cata-gaglioppo-rosso-2007Seeking to sate my culinary wanderlust, I order a couple of Indian dishes, grab a volume of Pablo Neruda poems from the bookshelf and head to the cellar…let’s see… looking, looking… yes…a bottle of Gaglioppo it shall be!

I am not disappointed.

iGreco’s Catà Gaglioppo Rosso 2007 was superb with the Indian dishes, countering their spice with ripe fruit and soft tannins, complimenting the dish with its own spice notes and just the right amount of complexity.

An oil mill family for generations, iGreco is run by seven children of Tomasso Greco who produce wines from lands and traditions inherited from their father, using Gaglioppo, Nero d’Avola (known locally as Calabrese), Greco and Malvasia varietals.

iGreco Catà Gaglioppo Rosso is produced from 100% Gaglioppo – a varietal native to Italy’s Calabria – grown in the Cirò zone and fermented in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in barrique (six months).

Tasting Notes:

Medium-bodied and deeply flavored with fruity red berry and spice notes, this Calabrian rosso expresses a soft contour on the palate along with sweet, vanilla-inflected tannins and a long finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Yes, pair this wine with grilled or roasted meats, pasta with red sauces or pizza and it will be delicious! But, I encourage you toward adventure 🙂 :try the wine slightly cooled with spicy tuna maki; enjoy it with Indian channa masala or dal makhani. Too far from your comfort zone? Serve this wine with a dish of penne “arrabiata” or eggplant parm and it will leave you smiling.

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Santadi Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna 2009

Santadi Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna 2009

A piece of consumer “wisdom” recently offered to me – a suggestion that Italy’s cooperatives produce wines of inferior quality – I find to be rather démodé bullshit.

Once upon a time…perhaps. But, as Bob Dylan once wrote, “The times, they are-a changin’.

santadi-villa-solais-vermentino-di-sardegna-2009In fact, I continue to be impressed by the quality standard set by certain of Italy’s co-op producers, finding their wines at times superior to many single estate bottlings. One recent and delicious surprise I totally enjoyed is Santadi Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna.

A producer co-op on the island of Sardegna founded during the ‘60’s, Cantina Santadi sources their Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna from vineyards in five municipalities of the lower Sulcis district located on the southwestern coast of the island.

A blend of Vermentino and Nuragus, the wine is produced from hand-picked grapes grown in a medium mix volcanic soil with clay and sand. Fermented in stainless steel and left in contact with the lees for several months before bottling.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Stunningly fresh aromas of pear, apple, cantaloupe and orange blossom transfer well to a sensuously round and delicately viscous palate that is set alive by piquant impressions of sea salt and crisp minerality. Simply delicious.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

You will not be disappointed when pairing this wine with fish, white meat, or alone as an aperitivo. As a first choice, let the wine’s luscious palate flatter the rich flesh of fish like tuna, sword fish, or blue fish, its saline notes providing good, balancing counterpoint.

Vegetarians might consider serving this wine with an entrée salad of couscous or quinoa flecked with sliced cashew and almond, mango, papaya, minced shallots and tempeh dressed with a favorite vinaigrette.

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