December 14, 2007

December Wine Tasting - Italy vs. Australia

December's Wine Tasting!!!
Italy vs. Australia
(wines are described below)

Friday, Dec. 14th

Freeport Cheese & Wine
27 Bow Street
Freeport, ME
(207) 865-3993
We are repeating the "dueling distributors" format from last month!
  • Old World vs. New World!
  • Italy vs. Australia!
  • Mary Bridge from Winebow (my favorite Italian importer) vs. Doug and Cat from SOPO!
The Wines!!!
(the complete list!)

From Italy, the reigning champion!


Zardetto Prosecco Brut Conegliano (Veneto) $11.99 - One of my FAVORITE sparkling wines. One of the first to market and introduce Prosecco! Lemon, grapefruit and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Nice angular, lean minerality. Fresh. Clean, crisp, light. Soft in the mouth. Great bubbles. 100% Prosecco. Stainless steel fermentation. Minimal aging. Food pairing - Great for a party (wedding sparkler) or cocktail wine. Drink with seafood or just enjoy! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points

White wines

Botromagno Gravina DOC (Apulia) 2006 - Reg. $9.99, Sale $8.99 -We love this wine! A huge hit at a private wine tasting - nice, crisp, fresh, drinks great! Straw colored, clear, with green tints. Aromas of flowers and tropical fruit and lemons. Dry, medium-bodied, flavors of lemon & tropical fruit. Real nice soft texture without being "fat". Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 100% malolactic fermentation. Blend of 60% Greco & 40% Malvasia. The D'Agostino Family has helped restore this winemaking area and they are making one of the best white wines from Southern Italy! Food pairing - Great with oysters, shellfish, fish, spicy foods and savory soups. Drinks well without food.

Maculan Pinot & Toi IGT (Veneto) 2006 - $14.99 - This is a tasty wine from one of Northern Italy’s best wineries! Pale yellow color. Aromas of citrus, peaches and pears. Flavors of peaches, pears and minerals. Well-balanced acidity. Soft and round feeling at the start. Crisp, clean finish. Refreshing wine. Blend of 60% Tocai, 25% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Grigio from vineyards in-and-around Breganze in northeastern Italy. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in the bottle for 6 months before it is released. Food pairing - great as a cocktail wine, with antipasta, lighter white meat dishes, lighter pasta dishes, etc. Food & Wine, Italy’s Top Wines Under $20

Falesco Ferentano IGT (Lazium) 2005 - $29.99 - this white wine is the Big Daddy in the bunch - made from a red-skinned, obscure grape - Roscetto. This rivals excellent Burgundies! A great, unusual white wine! Aromas and flavors of pineapples, bananas, fresh herbs, vanilla, minerals & more. Rich & full-bodied. Long finish that is just complex as can be! From a rare grape unique to Umbria - 100% estate-grown Roscetto, a red grape that makes a full-bodied white wine. Aged 3 months in 2-year-old French oak barriques. Bottled unfined & unfiltered. Aged 3 months in the bottle. 750 cases made. Food pairing - This white wine screams for "big" meats dishes. Definitely a "red wine lover's" white wine!


Morgante Nero d'Avola IGT (Sicily) 2005 $16.99 - Riccardo Cotarella is the brilliant winemaker at Morgante - as well as at Falesco and elsewhere in Italy - he is a true ROCK STAR and genius when it comes to Italian winemaking! Morgante is a 5th generation vineyard that began making its own wines in 1994. This is full-bodied and wonderful. Smoky, earthy & dark fruit aromas! Flavors of dark berries, black cherries, earth and smoky meats. Long, full finish! Aged 4 months in moderately toasted French oak; aged another 4 months in the bottle. Food pairing - roasted meats, eggplant parmigiana, pasta, lasagna, etc. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

Coppo Barbera d'Asti Camp du Rouss DOC (Piedmont) 2004 - $21.99 - Another wine with Riccardo Cotarella's signature on it! Coppo is a wonderful, small producer in Piedmont - they are regarded as Barbera specialists! It’s rich, flavorful, soft, full-bodied…aromas and flavors of black and red fruit...hints of smoke, licorice (and I don’t like licorice candy), game, herbs, touch of spice. Silky, soft tannins. 20% is aged in new French oak for 12 months. 8,000 cases made. Food pairing - Goes well with osso buco, grilled meats, roast beef, roast duck, lamb or beef stew, sautéed mushrooms. Wine Spectator, 90 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT (Veronese) 2004 - Reg. $21.99, Sale $19.99 - Gambero Rosso, Italy's most important wine publication, named Allegrini a "Star" winery - one which has won at least ten "3-glass" awards (it's highest). Only a select few have won the "star" - which recognizes Italy's top producers who consistently produce outstanding wines across many vintages! Allegrini makes its mark with vineyard specific wines - this is one of them! What a rich, soft, elegant, great-tasting wine! A SPECIAL wine! For Amarone lovers, w/o the Amarone price tag! Velvet in a glass. Rich, complex nose – ripe fruit and spicy oak. Mouth-filling wine, but soft feel. Smooth tannins balance the dark berry and cherry flavors. Powerful. Long finish. Single vineyard blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella & 5% Sangiovese. Food pairing - Great food wine! Rich meals – game, mushroom risotto, lamb & more. For a special treat – try with GOOD bittersweet chocolate! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points


Maculan Dindarello Moscato IGT (Veneto) 2005 - $21.99 - Maculan is probably Italy's most esteemed producer of dessert wines! This is a tasty dessert wine! Aromas of honey and flowers. Full-bodied, sweet and with well-balanced acidity. Made from 100% Moscato Fior d'Arancio (orange blossom) from the Dindarello vineyard northeastern Italy. The grapes are dried for one-and-a-half months to concentrate the sugars and flavors in the grapes. Only 11% alcohol, this is a lighter dessert wine than a port or one of the Australian "stickies." Food pairing - Wonderful with fresh fruit such as sliced pears. Drinks great on its own!

From Australia, the "New World" Challenger!

White Wines

Hill of Content Benjamin’s Blend 2005 (Australia) $14.99 - Completely unoaked, this is a wonderful wine. This label has achieved cult status. Unlike many blends, you can taste the Chardonnay (green apple & pear) at the start, the Semillon (lush, rich) in the middle and the Sauvignon Blanc (crisp, clean, good acidity, herbaceous grassiness) at the finish. It has a real nice feel in the mouth, a pleasant, exciting nose. Well-balanced acidity. Food pairing - This wine goes well with a slew of foods, especially seafood.

Elderton Unwooded Chardonnay 2007 (Australia) $14.99 - This is a pretty, bright and fresh white! Aromas of bright, ripe tropical fruits, orchard fruits, mint and stony minerals. Flavors of green apple, pears & melons. Juicy feel to the wine. Clean at the finish! Unoaked Chardonnay. Bottle fresh, young and crisp! 100% Chardonnay. Food pairing - lighter poultry dishes, seafood, salads, etc. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points
Red Wines
Hill of Content Grenache Shiraz 2004 (Australia) $14.99 - Wonderful New World take on a classic combo from Southern France!!! Aromas and flavors of raspberries and strawberries (that’s the Grenache talking right out of the glass!). The Shiraz adds nice peppery notes and spices and gives the wine a little more weight! Well-balanced. Aged 24 months in old French oak. Clare Valley fruit. 90% Grenache, 10% Shiraz. Food pairing - Great as a cocktail wine when your guests first arrive! Drinks well with grilled foods, Provencal meals, etc.

Elderton Tantalus Shiraz/Cabernet/Malbec/Merlot 2005 (Australia) $13.99 - Bright, fresh, juicy and tasty! Aromas and flavors of dark and red berries….lots of fruit in the flavors! Nice spices in the aromas along with a little “brambly” note. Soft tannins. Easy-to-drink. Hints of spice, pepper and mocha. Blend of 59% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec & 6% Merlot. 12 months in American oak. Tantalus was punished by the Greek gods – he was kept perpetually hungry and thirsty! Food pairing – pizza, pasta, grilled foods! Drinks well without food! Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points

"Some Young Punks" Quickie Nebbiolo/Shiraz 2006 (Australia) $21.99 - Fabulous wine made by 3 young winemakers! The young woman in the team was in our store on May 31st. Aussie blends are GREAT VALUES! Big, red berry and cherry aromas with lots of minerals and baking spices. Lots of red fruit flavors & zesty minerals. Full-flavored. Juicy. Soft tannins at the finish. Soft, lingering finish with more red fruit! 50% Nebbiolo & 50% Shiraz. 200 cases made. The label is an old “pulp fiction” book cover (one of the winemakers collect them). 10% aged in new oak; 90% in older barriques. Food pairing - Excellent choice for grilled meats, roasts and just drinking! Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points

Shinas Estates “The Guilty” Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $22.99 - This is an EXCELLENT Shiraz! A great companion to “The Innocent” Viognier! Aromas of flowers, dark berries and plums and peppery spice. Loads of flavors – ripe dark fruit, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and more. Full-bodied. Well-balanced tannins. Long finish with lots of black cherries. Single vineyard old-vine grapes. Hand-harvested grapes. Aged 18 months in old French oak, concentrating the aromas & flavors. 2,500 cases made. Food pairing – steaks, grilled meats, lamb….drinks well on its own – I like big wines!