Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella 2007

Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella 2007


– Dante Alighieri, Inferno

When the Italian poet Dante wrote those words opening CANTO III of his INFERNO, he could have been referring to the under $15.00 wine market: I have many times been burned by wines in that category.

That said, I can also tell you that there are real gems to be found and enjoyed for under $15.00.

santantonio-valpolicella-2007There IS Hope 🙂 — a fact of which I am most recently assured by a bottle of Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella 2007.

Having spent their early years looking after father Antonio’s vineyards, the four brothers Castagnedi – Tiziano, Paolo, Armando and Massimo – have guided Tenuta Sant’Antonio since 1995, quickly establishing a reputation as a respected producer of Veneto wines.

Tenuta Sant’Antonio produces its Valpolicella from 100% hand-harvested estate grown fruit. Vineyards are located in the eastern Valpolicella zone of Italy’s Veneto, situated at an average altitude of 1,000 feet with a predominately calcareous, chalky, alluvial soil.

Fermented in stainless steel for approximately 14 days.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Vivid ruby red color. Fragrant, incense-like aromas of cherry, smoke, hisbiscus. Good transfer to a refined and silky palate. Very balanced medium weight tannins. Finishes with a tasty note of hazelnut. What good Valpolicella is all about.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Two things of note when pairing this wine: first, consider marrying its delicious, wonderfully balanced smokiness to a similarly smoke-y ingredient such as pancetta or bacon: pasta with crumbled bacon and peas would be superb. Second, this is one of those red wines that totally works with fish – try wild caught salmon sauced with ginger, scallion and Chinese preserved black bean. Roast chicken, pork, and cured meats will be always good when served with this wine. Vegetarians will find a toasted sandwich of melted taleggio and finely chopped porcini mushroom a delicious pairing.

Viberti Barbera D’Alba Vigna Clara 1999

Viberti Barbera D’Alba Vigna Clara 1999

A summer sun dissolves into rose-colored atmosphere over the water off Menemsha, yellow moon rising from behind above Chilmark: end of day and beginning of night are trading places.

viberti-barbera-dalba-vigna-clara-1999While such beauty inspires some to thoughts of elemental origins, I drift to afterimages of a wine that immerses me in origins of its own: Viberti Barbera D’Alba Vigna Clara 1999.

Having delivered its first vintage in 1987, the family estate of Az. Agricola Viberti produces wines from six or so evenly divided hectares of Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo. Vineyards are located in the village of Santa Maria in the commune of La Morra in Italy’s Piedmont region. Viberti uses only organic soil and conducts all work by hand.

Produced from Barbera grapes grown in soil of tufa and marl, Viberti Barbera D’Alba Vigna Clara is fermented in stainless steel and sees about 12 months of small oak.

Tasting Notes:

Intensely colored dark ruby with fluting aromas of berry and herb, hints of dusty mocha. The wine’s fruit is still gloriously fresh and present, embraced by round, elegant tannins. Incredible integration of flavor components makes this Barbera D’Alba sing in a way that seems to adhere to principles of music more so than of wine. Silky and smooth on the palate, the wine impresses with ample authority of structure and still somehow seems as weightless as air. A monument to the land and great people which produced it.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

This is an elegantly expressive Barbera deserving of food pairings that go beyond pizza or burgers.

MEATS: duck breast sautéed with cherries; medallions of veal or lamb, perhaps sautéed with apples. VEGETARIAN palates will enjoy this wine with pan-fried triangles of polenta served with sautéed swiss chard and bitter oranges. The wine is superb with cheeses of character – was immensely good with Brie and Stilton.

We loved this wine with an entrée of farro pasta served with mushroom cream sauce.

PS: Don’t miss the stunning photo gallery at the Viberti website


Wines of Veneto, NYC

wines-of-veneto-taste-of-italian-passionWhen considering the many wine roads to be discovered, Italy’s Veneto beckons to wine lovers with a wide range of stunning wines.

I recently had the pleasure of tasting the quality and uniqueness of Veneto wines at Wines of Veneto, an initiative organized with the cooperation of the Italian Trade Commission intending to encourage US consumers to appreciate Veneto wines and wine culture.

Held at New York’s Le Cirque restaurant, the Wines of Veneto program included a morning presentation followed by lunch and that evening, Cena Veneta, a special dinner featuring food and wines from Veneto. Italian sommelier and wine personality Aurora Endrici (seen below) was superb at illuminating Veneto wine culture during the formal presentation with good help from tasting panel colleagues Anthony Dias, Tasting Panel magazine; Gary Grunner, Grapes on the Go; and restaurateur Paolo Secondo of I Tre Merli and Barolo fame.

wines-of-veneto-aurora-endriciFeatured Wines / General Tasting Notes:

Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene Conegliano
Sparkling wine with a crisp, clean, fruity nose and silky bubbles. Made from the Glera varietal. Great alone or with food.

Elegant floral nose, dry, hints of almond on the finish. Varietal Tocai Italico.

Delicately floral, flavorful and fruity, good minerality. Grape Trebbiano di Lugana. Serve with fish, risotto, white meats, cheeses.

Tai Rosso dei Colli Berici
Aromas of mixed berries, good transfer to the palate, soft tannins. Varietal Tai Rosso. Lovers of Pinot Noir will appreciate. Try with salmon, spicy food, fish soups, baccala.

Raboso Piave
Violets, prune, black plum, and spice, full bodied with good acidity. Grape is Raboso Piave.

Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Lison Pramaggiore
Bouquet of mixed berries that transfer to a full and round palate, finishes with pleasant bitter notes. Grape is Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. Good “complete meal” wine.

Friularo Bagnoli
Violets, cherries and spice on the nose, big on the palate, firm tannins and persistent finish. Varietal is Friularo. Try with cured meat panini, sausages, etc.

Amarone della Valpolicella
Cherries, herbs, hints of raisin and spice, full bodied on the palate, round tannins, persistent finish. Varietals Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella. A wine for important meals or alone as a meditation wine.

Colli Euganei Fior D’Arancio Spumante
Sparkling wine, sweet, hints of citrus. Grape Moscato Giallo.

Torcolato di Breganze
Complex tropical fruit layers, hints of herb, honey and almond. Varietal Vespaiola.

Recioto di Gambellara
Intensely fruity balanced by typical bitter almond notes. Dessert.

I would be remiss not to mention the gracious hospitality at Le Cirque which proved a wonderful venue for this event.

…Encourage US consumers to appreciate Veneto wines and wine culture???
Mission Accomplished !

I suggest you immediately point your browser to www.winesofveneto.com and begin the journey 🙂