NYC Bound!

I apologize for the relative silence around here. I’ve been a bit under the weather and feeling uninspired to write about wine when I was on the mend. I’m better now, and off on my next wine adventure. I’m headed to NYC this morning to attend the Snooth The People’s Voice Wine Awards event.

A weekend in my favorite US city with my wine people and a dozen different exciting wine events should get things rolling around Wannabe Wino again. I’ll be attending everything from a Wines of Austria Master Class to an Oregon Wine Board dinner.

Look for lots of upcoming posts on all the new wines I discover while on this adventure.

Next up, Drink Local Wines in Baltimore in April, then the Wine Blogger Conference in Penticton, BC in June! Spring has sprung with tons of wine events. I couldn’t be more delighted.


Lunch with Sella & Mosca

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a wine lunch with Beppe Caviola, the consulting winemaker with Sella & Mosca at Acqua Al in DC. Sadly, I forgot my camera and my phone pictures didn’t really turn out. I hadn’t been to Acqua Al before so getting a chance to try it out was also an excellent side benefit to attending the lunch. I’m fairly certain the restaurant simply has a standard menu when people reserve the back room, which, while the food was tasty, it didn’t feel like any thought was put into how the food would actually match with the wine. Generally, red sauce with a white wine doesn’t do much for me…or the wine!

However, the wines themselves were interesting. As was the company. Since I took the whole afternoon off from work I was in no hurry to rush out of the lunch and go to enjoy some extra one on one time with Beppe and the team from Pam Bay Int’l.  We tried 9 wines over the course of lunch and dessert, which I believe is most of the portfolio from Sella & Mosca. I got to add yet another grape to my list of unique grapes tasted, with the winery’s 100% Torbato, which I understand might be the only 100% Torbato produced in the world.

2011 Teruzzi & Puthod Terre di tufi Toscana (80% Vernaccia, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc): $15. Lime and other citrus on the nose, heavier on the palate with toasted coconut, nuts, lemon, green apple, good acidity. The oak influence seemed to dissipate quickly.

2011 “La Cala” Vermentino di Sardegna: $12. Light nose with lemon, honeysuckle and melon. Tropical notes, spices, lemon, lime, and some sort of orange citrus on the palate with good acidity.

2011 “Terre Bianche” Alghero Torbato: $21. Stones and a light fruit I couldn’t identify on the nose. Light citrus, rocks, minerals and flowers on the palate. I really can’t even compare this grape to anything else as I couldn’t pinpoint what I thought it tasted like.

2007 “Terre Rare” Carignano del Sulcis Riserva: $15. Dark fruit, oak, plums, very dry, spice, black cherry, dusty earth (I wrote that down as dusty dirt in my notes…), chocolate, almost port-like.

2008 Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva: $16. Spice, earth, black fruit, plum, dry, olives, pencil lead, barnyard.

2006 “Tanca Farra (50% Cannonau, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon): $30. Fruit nose, darker palate, plum, blackberry, earth, drying tannins, very dark overall.

Up last was the comparison of 3 vintages of Sella & Mosca’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which is aged for 18 months in small casks, then 18 months in oak barrels, and finally 18 more months in bottle before being released. We tried the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Marchese di Villamarina Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which retail for $75.

2004: Mint, cherry, plum, red fruit, berries, earth, slight green notes, spice, good acidity, and firm tannins on the finish.

2005: More reserved, barnyard, spice, black raspberry, softer, fruitier, cocoa, espresso, spice, black cherry, black fruit. This was my favorite of the 3 vintages.

2006: Mocha, red fruit, red cherry, very soft overall, soft tannins, sage, ripe fruit.

Sometimes Size Matters

When we are talking about wine, that is. Large format bottles are fun to open when you have a big group over for tasting and they impact the way that wine ages in a bottle. I particularly enjoy large format bottles for sparkling wines, though I buy them with all sorts of wine inside. I think I currently have about a dozen Magnum format bottles in the basement, mostly of Petite Sirah (which often has great aging potential) and of sparkling wine. We busted one open when an old friend came to town recently.  After perusing the options, we settled on the 2000 Roederer Estates L’Ermitage Brut.  I purchased this wine directly from the winery a few years ago and it’s been resting alongside its siblings in our basement every since. I think it retails for around $100 for the bottle, but I can’t recall what I paid for it.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Having a Magnum of sparkling wine makes you feel like you actually got enough glasses as you can never have too much sparkling wine.

2.) I’ve had this wine in a regular sized bottle before. You can read my notes from that and compare here.

3.) Nearly 3 years later and the large format bottle (not sure which or if both of those factors contributed) gave this bottle a heft on the palate that I didn’t find before along with a creaminess.

4.) I need to drink more bubbles.

On the nose I got toast, bread, lemon, pear, and apple. In the mouth I found apple, toast, pear, yeast, and bread. Overall the wine had a heft and creaminess on the palate I really enjoyed, especially on the finish.