Colledoro Solaluce 2005

colledoro-solaluce-2-2005My mind flashes to one of the most famous movie lines ever, Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry asking, “…feelin’ lucky, punk?”

“Yeah, actually, I do”, I’m thinking, having stumbled upon some very discounted bottles of Colledoro Solaluce 2005, remembering how good this wine drank last time I’d opened a bottle for dinner.

So, like a good little shopper, I buy a few bottles and head for home. That’s when I realize just what a lucky punk I am: the wine is drinking superbly, better even than I remember, entering into that window of prime time where a wine can really open the door to a different space.

I have written briefly on Colledoro Solaluce before and didn’t find much info about the producer available then. A VINIX friend ( thanks Giuliano !) was nice enough to forward me a link where I learned that the Colledoro estate is located in Italy’s Piedmont region, in the hilly area of Alto Monferrato, where they produce 3 wines from approximately 10 hectares under vine.

Colledoro Solaluce – the name means only light – is produced from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Tasting Notes:
Straw yellow with deeper golden highlights. The wine still has that fresh, round, elegant palate that I appreciated in earlier tastings. But, it has developed a maturity that seems to unlock the wine’s internal doors: with a bit of air, it opens up into rooms of golden fruit …honey…walnut… herbs…petrol. Refined acidity races through an herby finish ending beautifully with a slightly bitterish grace note.

Food Pairing Suggestions:
Tailor-made for seafood, vegetable soups, all manner of salads and vegetable antipasti. Guessing room temperature chicken salad would also rock with this wine.

Related post on Vinix

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2 Wines from Luce Della Vite

Note: Luce Della Vite “Luce” and “Lucente” were provided to me as tasting samples. If interested, see Vintrospective policy about wine samples here.

To set the mood, allow me a moment to share what are, IMHO, a couple of great collaborations:

Lennon / McCartney
DeNiro / Scorsese
Pasta / Fagioli 😉

luce-della-vite-luce-lucenteAfter tasting Luce Della Vite’s “Luce” and “Lucente”, I am inclined to add the names Frescobaldi / Mondavi to that brief list of names linked together in successful alliance.

Responsible for Tenuta Luce Della Vite, the collaborative project resulting in Luce and Lucente, the families Frescobaldi and Mondavi need no introduction to anyone interested enough in wine to be reading this blog. Suffice it to say only that these families have been leading forces in the world of winemaking.

(If you truly are unaware of the Frescobaldi / Mondavi histories, consider performing 30 minutes penitential research which you are hereby given.)

Luce Della Vite “Luce” 2008

Opaque, deep ruby color radiates warmth and vitality. Polished, rich scents of berry jelly, cherry tobacco, mint and black pepper. Suggestions of dark chocolate. Round and soft in the mouth underscored with exhilarating minerality / acidity. Excellent suite of sophisticated tannins come on like the stick attack of NYC bucket drummers. Long, meditative finish that seems to take you to tomorrow.

Luce is produced from Sangiovese (45%) and Merlot (55%) with long maceration on skins, aged in hand-split oak barrique (90% new, 10% used once) for 24 months.

Luce Della Vite “Lucente” 2009

Dense, clear ruby with amaranth reflections. Aromatic mélange of cherries, red berries, and strawberries, showing, as in Luce, suggestions of black pepper, chocolate. Red fruits transfer to a round, elegant palate. Deliciously silky, fine-grained tannins. Long, flavorful fruit-driven finish with hints of anise.

It is Merlot (75%) and Sangiovese (25%) that go into Lucente, fermented in stainless steel and aged for 12 months in 55% new French oak, 5% American oak, 40% French oak used once.

Luce and Lucente are stylish art wines that bring something of interest to the table for lovers of either traditional or international styles. Especially easy entry points into Italian wine for Cali lovers and vice-versa.

A Toast to Broadband

photo3In the midst of some chocolate frenzy, I empty out my laptop bag trying to locate the Ritter Sport Marzipan for a fix. I happen to pull out a retractable modem cord which I had kept in tow for some occasion when fast access to the Internet would be unavailable. Luckily, I haven’t needed to use it. But, while stuffing the Ritter Sport into my mouth, a scary thought occurs to me: what would the wine blog life be like over a dial-up speed connection?

Talk about inspiration to drink more and write less: can you imagine the wait for website graphics to render? For digital photos or video to upload?? And OMG, losing the connection because of time-outs after waiting waiting waiting ???

Yes, the Internet has grown and computers have gotten more horsepower, applause applause, but I submit that the real unsung hero here is broadband ! Rock that broadband speed test and all that the Internet has to offer is just a few keystrokes, a few moments away.

Come to think of it, there is not much about keeping up this blog that doesn’t require the speed and persistent availability of broadband. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still the work I enjoy, but I am very pleased with having to spend less time to complete it.

Oops. That nice red Ritter Sport wrapper is empty. Oh well. I pull the cork on a bottle of red and get ready to taste, make a few notes, and do a bit of producer research knowing my browser will render all those website graphics in … heck, they are rendered now.

Chianti Grand Tasting Event 2012, NYC

chianti-nyc-2012If you still believe that Italian Chianti wines all drink the same then the Chianti 2012 event held in New York City April 16th would have changed your mind.

Chianti wines from 50 producers demonstrated that one can – and should – experience Chianti wines as unique and representative of the different zones, soil types and micro climates (read: terroir) that comprise the region.

In fact, the diversity of Chianti wines I tasted was so great as to impress one that there is a Chianti for any time of day: light and fresh for antipasti or lunch; sophisticated, complex and structured for the dinner table. I even found one Chianti that I would like to drink in the morning with brunch 😉

Generally speaking, the Chianti wines I tasted seem to reflect a trend away from big oak, deep colors, and high alcohol toward lighter, fresher, more aromatic styles.

A few inquiries I made regarding retail pricing convinced me that Chianti wines are bringing US consumers real quality at fair prices.

That Chianti wines offer a level of acidity perfect for foods of all types, and are delivering quality at incredibly fair prices, one cannot doubt that the denomination has the potential to be #1 here in the US.

Some well-deserved producer mentions:

Beconcini
Loved the rich fruit and velvety palate of this producer’s traditional styled Chianti Riserva.

Cignozza
Here is a producer using French oak with real style and balance. If ever you desire a Chianti to pair with grilled steak … 😉

Castelvecchio

Tasted this producer’s Chianti during the Chianti Master Class segment. Traditional aromas with just a touch of wood from last passage barrique. Delicious and sophisticated.

Fattoria Polvereto
From Montespertoli in the heart of Chianti, a lovely, traditional Chianti full of verve and harmony.

Manetti

Another tasting from the Chianti Master Class segment, one of the day’s favorites. Traditional, with no oak at all, showing great typicity. Superbly fresh with bright cherry aromatics and good tannic grip.

Malenchini
Tasting with this producer inspired me to a daydream: a free morning, late brunch and this producer’s Chianti normale. Bright, fresh fruit, spot on acidity and good structure. Loved it.

Podere Volpaio
If you are of the mind that organic wines are lackluster, think again. Podere Volpaio’s organic wines will convince you otherwise, The estate’s organic Chianti normale / riserva wines, perfumed with classic cherries, violets and forest floor show with elegant intensity and good structure.

Tenute di Fraternita
Fresh and immensely drinkable, the Chianti “Priore” bottling presented by Tenute di Fraternita is deliciously harmonic in its red cherry, violets, saddle leather and spice. Incidentally, if you like your wine with passionate narrative: Tenute di Fraternita is intimately linked to Fraternita dei Laici, a benevolent fraternity founded in the 1200’s to help the poor and needy.

Villa Lucia
This producer’s Chianti normale impressed with its elegant personality and balance of the counterpoint between delicate aromatics and good intensity in the mouth.

Special applause to Consorzio Vino Chianti for sponsoring this event.