Vallana Spanna Colline Novaresi 2008

Vallana Spanna Colline Novaresi 2008

It is Halloween week here in the US and for many trick-or-treaters there is magic in the air.

So, let me tell you about magic:

vallana-colline-novaresi-spanna-2008Magic is what happens when the Vallana family of the village Maggiora in Italy’s Alto Piemonte ferments Nebbiolo grapes. And their potion known as Vallana Spanna Colline Novaresi 2008 will certainly cast a delicious spell upon you.

The wine is made with super-selected Nebbiolo grapes (95%) along with a splash of Vespolina and Bonarda sourced from high-altitude vineyards in sub-regions Gattinara and Boca. Vines were planted during the late ‘60’s.

Grapes are cold soaked for 24 hours, then fermented in cement tanks with attentive decision-making overseeing the evolution of every batch. The wine spends 6 months in large oak before bottling.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Intense, beautifully articulated pure berry fruit shows great depth, earthy and elegant with notes of smoke, flowers and herbs. Delicious acidity; cough medicine on the finish. Distinctively Italian, yet summons recollections of good Burgundy. Drinking super well right now, this wine is like a fine young prince, noble in its youth and sure to develop magnificently.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Broad-brush picture: you won’t go wrong pairing this wine with roasted meats, aged cheeses or hearty pasta entrees. But, to keep it interesting: I would not hesitate to pair this Spanna with mild-medium spicy Indian dishes or hearty lentil soup with or without meat (sausage would be my choice ! ).

Related Posts: Vallana Gattinara 1999
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Bera Barbera d’Asti Ronco Malo 2009

Bera Barbera d’Asti Ronco Malo 2009

Trees along the Massachusetts Turnpike have turned their leaves vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows.

There are pumpkins in the field and apples in the pie.

It is autumn in New England and although Barbera is a great all-year wine, I seem to especially enjoy it during this season.

One Barbera that I particularly enjoyed recently is Bera Barbera d’Asti Ronco Malo 2009:

p1020039Founder of the Bera estate Vittorio works alongside his children Alessandra and Gianluigi making natural wines in the commune of Canelli in Italy’s Piemonte. The Bera family works traditionally, eschewing herbicides and chemicals, doing vineyard work manually. The estate has been certified organic since 2000.

The wine is produced using concrete tank, with a good deal of time on the lees, no filtering or fining.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Beautifully articulated classic cherry, hints of almond, tobacco, florals. A sense of purity and naturalness in the mouth, finishes with earthy spice. An expressive, big-framed Barbera made in an elegant, classic style. Top shelf Barbera IMHO and a great Italian crossover for French wine lovers.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Enjoy this wine with all the usual Barbera-pairing suspects such as pasta served with meat or mushroom sauce, cured meats, medium cheeses, etc. But, it will be superb served alongside sautéed duck breast with cherries. And I encourage you to push borders a bit by pairing this Barbera to elegantly spiced dishes from your favorite international cuisines.

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Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga 2010

Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga 2010

I’m standing on a train platform in Munich where S-Bahn trains clatter by me toward their destinations, one after the other, in a blur of alternating color:

redwhiteredwhiteredwhite.

redwhiteredwhiteredwhite.

A rather timely visual – I am, at the moment, considering whether it’ll be a red or white wine with the fish entrée I plan to order later tonight.

biologica-giobatta-vio-rossese-di-albenga-2010Actually, this year, I have met several red wines that drank fantastically when paired to fish entrees, exceptional among them: Az. Agr. Biologica / Giobatta Vio “U Bastio” Rossese di Albenga.

Az. Agr. Biologica is to be found in Italy’s Liguria, a region famous for gorgeous beaches and sensational pesto, a region whose list of things celebrated should, I am convinced, include this super bottle of red greatness.

Proprietor Giobatta Vio, called Aimone, established the estate in 2000 and quickly gained a cult following among wine appassionati. Az. Agr. Biologica is certified organic and produces its wines without use of herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.

The wine is made from 100% Rossese grapes grown at 100m altitude in the production area of Coasco Bastia d’Albenga. Fermented in stainless steel, the wine sees 4 months of time on the lees and additional refinement in bottle for 2 months.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Intriguing garnet color. On day 1, ripe berries and floral tones with forest floor, ripe strawberries and hints of pepper. Tannins are low, but more than I expected. Day 2, the wine developed a bit more bottom with darker notes of fruit and herb. Day 3, showing roses and herbs, suggestions of raisin and eucalyptus. An amazing evolution. Would love to taste another day or two but can’t make it last any longer ;-). Sensational.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Loved this wine with pan fried flounder, pasta “puttanesca”, and spinach with garlic / olive oil. Consider serving this wine with baked chicken breast with oil-cured herbed olives, capers, and orange slices. Young cheeses and cured meats.

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