Italian International Wines

Wine(s) of the Week

The theme of this week’s Italian wines class was regions that have International influence. The following regions in Italy border other countries:

Liguria- France

Piedmont- France/Switzerland

Valle d’Aosta- France/Switzerland

Lombardy- Switzerland

Trentino- Alto Adige- Switzerland/Austria

Veneto- Austria

Friuli-Venezia Giulia- Austria/Slovenia

Wines chosen:

SanMichele_ai_Pianoni2003 San Michele al Pianoni Profondo di San Michele Riserva Oltrepo Pavese– $30

A beautiful wine with earthy, rusty elements but also great acidity and fresh red fruit flavors. An excellent, aged wine for the money– From Lombardy

 

GrosJean_Gamay2013 Grosjean Gamay Valle d’Aosta – $18

An interesting producer that uses French varietalswhere else are you going to find “Beaujolais” in Italy. Very nice cranberry, tea flavors. Good value compared to Cru Beaujolais. Notice the different spelling of the region “Valée d’Aoste.”

 

Thanksgiving wines! It’s that time of year, again…

Tomatoes shriveled on the vine

Thanksgiving is one of the toughest meals to pair with a single wine. At a traditional meal you have savory elements (stuffing/gravy), and sweet elements (cranberry dressing), as well as a good amount of fat (flavor) but also delicate white meat.

In addition, throw in some items that are hard to pair with anything (Brussels sprouts, turnips) and you have a challenge on your hand.

 Challenge accepted!

First off, Thanksgiving is really about your loved ones, around the table, and you should serve wines that your family/friends enjoy drinking.  Secondly, the food is really the star, and in my opinion wines should take a backseat.

 Safe Bets for Thanksgiving if you can only serve ONE wine… Continue reading

Beaujolais- you should be drinking it more than once a year…

“Introductory” Beaujolais is labeled Beaujolais Nouveau. All Beaujolais is made from 100% Gamay grapes, but Nouveau (which means new) is specifically produced to be drunk young (within a year of release).

Hint: If you buy Nouveau make sure it has the current vintage year on the bottle, older is definitely not better with this wine!

What many don’t realize is that Beaujolais is actually part of Burgundy (where all those great Pinot Noirs are grown). Pinot lovers should give them a try!

The wines of Beaujolais are produced in levels- the lower level vineyards produce generic Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau. Next up in elevation, and quality of soil is the Villages designation. These wines are better, although often mass-produced. At the top of the hierarchy are the Beaujolais Cru wines.

For serious, food worthy, and age worthy wines, look for one of these Cru regions on the bottle: Moulin-A-Vent, Chenas, Julienas, Morgon, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Cote-de-Brouilly, Chiroubles, and Regnie.

Because Gamay is fruity and lower in tannin, these are great wines for white wine drinkers switching over to reds.

Georges Dubœuf is probably the king of Beaujolais wine producers, these wines are a good value, well made, and easy to find.

Here are a couple (both under $15) I can recommend for your Thanksgiving table…

Georges Dubœuf Morgon Jean Descombes

 

 

 

 

 

Georges Dubœuf – Moulin-à-Vent Domaine des Rosiers

 

If you have a quality wine shop near you, the best Beaujolais are brought in by the following importers: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, Louis/Dressner, Alain Junguenet, and Kermit Lynch-look for their names on the bottle (usually on the back).