Sunday, September 14, 2014

TUSCAN WINES in MAINE - with Mirco Biliorsi

We were visited one recent Sunday by Mirco Biliorsi, Export Manager for wines from three Tuscan Estates owned by Elizabetta Gnudi Angelini, with winemaker Massimo Bracalente - namely, Doga delle Clavule (Maremma), Borgo Scopeto (Chianti Classico) and Caparzo (Montalcino). The occasion was a wine dinner presented at the beautiful oceanside setting of Joseph's By The Sea in Old Orchard Beach, ME.

Located a mere 10 miles from the Tyrrhenian sea and nearly due south of the town of Montalcino, the region of Maremma is home to the Estate of Doga delle Clavule, where a vast reserve called the Parco della Maremma located nearby hugs the coastline. Vineyards are influenced mainly by the cool breezes of the Tyrrhenian sea and soil is sandy and clay loam. From the beginning, Mirco pointed out Elizabetta's practice of respecting nature and use of clean energy such as solar panels; as well as the fact that all wines made at her estates truly begin working in the vineyards.  

Doga delle Clavule Vermentino Toscana IGT

We were greeted this beautiful day with a glass of Vermentino Toscana from Doga delle Clavule. A lovely light straw yellow in color, this one had a delicious minerality and salinity with first whiff, reflecting its proximity to the Tyrrhenian sea. With a luscious mid-palate of light tropical fruit and peaches, it finished absolutely clean. Divine as an aperitif as we experienced, but also recommended with white meat, roasted fish and shellfish. 

Sheila McGovern, Vineyard Brands & Terry O'Brien, Nappi Distributors
The Estate of Caparzo, located in Montalcino, a walled medieval village south of Chianti Classico and north of the Maremma was one of the first wineries in Montalcino and also the first to produce single vineyards of Brunello (1977) and Rosso di Montalcino (1991). The only estate bottled producer of Brunello di Montalcino to have estate vineyards on all five sides of the hill, this gives added assurance despite challenges of climate. This vineyard stresses "elegance", from entry level to the top, with tradition and innovation carrying equal weight. Here, says Mirco, one finds precise wines with finesse. 

Mirco Biliorsi sharing his knowledge of the wines and estates
Tasters engrossed in the wines
Line-up of Wines!
The Brunello di Montalcino we tasted, made from Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello) was an autumnal deep sienna red in color. Austere. With notes of wood/cedar on the nose; sweet cider apples and warm hint of chocolate on the palate. Subtly resounding. Aged 2 years in traditional Slavonian oak casks. Serve with roasted meats, such as the lamb chop we tasted with it, or ripe cheeses. 

Mirco also made mention of two small production wines from Caparzo; A white blend worthy of aging, comprised of 75% Chardonnay, 20% Sauvignon Blanc & 5% Gewurtztraminer. This purported to be the first white of quality produced in Montalcino. Also a Burgundy style red called Le Grance. I for one would love to try these as well, as I have a soft spot for small production wines!

The estate producer, Borgo Scopeto is located in the region of Chianti Classico, in the center of Tuscany and considered the heart of the Chianti wine producing region. The name "Borgo" refers to a town center with its own church, post office and residences. They are also known for making straw brooms and olive oil as well as for their vineyards. 

Certain rules and production codes characterize a Chianti Classico such as limited yields, limited yields per vine, minimum aging and refining requirements and release dates not prior to Oct 1 of the year following harvest. The aim is to arrive at a more superior wine. 

Mirco Biliorsi & Lisa Dombek (WINE 24/7)

The Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico is comprised of 90% Sangiovese, (with 80% being the minimum required in Chianti Classico), 5% Merlot & 5% Colorino. Beautifully deep garnet/ruby red in color, this had aromas of plum, wild berries and cherry, with bark/twigs, spice and nicely integrated tannins, later hints of dark cocoa, dry finish. I enjoyed this one a lot, and its distinct expression of terroir. Soil is clay and limestone. Aged 1 year in big barrels, then Slavonian oak.

These wines are brought to us by the Importer Vineyard Brands and distributed through Nappi Distributors, Gorham, ME. You may find the wines at Whole Foods & RSVP in Portland; Bow Street Market, Freeport; The CLOWN, York; The Wine Sellar, Rockport; in some New Hampshire Liquor Stores and upon request at your local retailer.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Château d'Oupia Les Hérétique - Languedoc Red

Château d'Oupia
Les Hérétiques 2013

Vin de Pays de l'Hérault
Minervois, France

100% old vine Carignan.

Deep, brilliant scarlet garnet in color, one is immediately met with cassis, boysenberry and chocolate/bark on the nose. Soft on the tongue at once and then an emergence of spice ... even as the softness stays - with a syrah-like feel. Subtle undercurrants of fig continue on the nose, while a woody herbaceousness lingers on the palate. Lush, clean, stewed fruits appear as velvety notes of black licorice, blackberry, cranberry and bramble, coming through like a galaxy to a long finish. Love this one. And an amazing value ...  at around $10.99.

Located in the Minervois region in Languedoc southwestern France, this wine was made by Le Famille André Iché at the 13th century castle/large estate that was his inheritance. Tending his very old vines, he had always made his own wine but initially sold everything in bulk to local négociants. Further, taking pride in doing all the work himself he never joined the local co-op. However, around fifteen years ago a winemaker from Burgundy tasted Iché's wines par chance, while he was in Oupia. He was so moved by the wine that he convinced Iché to bottle and market production himself. The rest is history!

His daughter Marie-Pierre presently runs the estate, as André passed away in 2007. Further, she has been working with oenologist Laurent Batlle since 2008, continuing to make wine in as he says, "André's way". 

This is bistro wine with depth of soul ... 

Brought to us by LOUIS/DRESSNER SELECTIONS, imported by LDM Wines, New York, NY and locally through Devenish Wines, Portland, ME. 

Available in Greater Portland at Flock and Vine - Cape Elizabeth;  Rosemont Market - Munjoy Hill & Commercial St; In Downeast Maine at Blue Hill Wine Shop - Blue Hill, Great Cranberry General Store, Great Cranberry Island, Wind and Wine - Bar Harbor. In Southern Maine at The Cheese Iron - Scarborough; Morning Glory Natural Foods - Brunswick; Vic and Whit's - Saco.