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Forget the Gold! Go For the Red…AND the White: Italian Nebbiolo d’Alba and Soave

I promised myself I would review wines from the countries that were cleaning up on the gold medals each day. I have come to the conclusion that I would need to be a wino of Olympic proportions to consume that much wine on a daily basis, but I am at least going to make an attempt to give you a taste of some of the top winners as we go along.

Today’s selections come from Italy, who currently sits in the number 10 position for gold medals won. They have 7 golds and 20 overall, which I feel is nothing to sneeze at. Their wines are equally exceptional.

The first winner to take the platform today is a powerhouse red variety coming out of Northwestern Italy in the Piedmont is the 2009 San Silvestro Brumo Nebbiolo d’Alba.

The Nebbiolo grape is used for some of Italy’s most expensive and luxurious wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. These wines are the giants of red, typically being very tannic and bold. Typically you need to age them for quite some time before they’re ready to drink. They are definitely not for the timid at heart.

This wine, however, is what I would call a fabulous ‘starter Nebbiolo.’ It is softer, and full of ripe fruit…much more of an approachable wine because they only aged it in oak barrels for 12 months.

The San Silvestro Brumo is a medium-bodied red, full of strawberry, red licorice, and vanilla on the nose. You can expect those same flavors to shine through when you take a sip, along with black pepper and maybe even a hint of green olive, with moderate tannins. The tannins are what make you feel like you’ve got velvet coating your tongue, if you’re new to the wine drinking scene. This wine would be perfect with grilled meats or game, mushroom dishes, and what I like to refer to as ‘stinky’ cheeses. I actually paired it up with green olives and marinated bleu cheese. It worked perfectly.

The other thing that makes this wine more approachable is the price. Instead of paying $80 or more for a good Barolo or Barbaresco, the 2009 San Silvestro Nebbiolo d’Alba runs right around $13. Get one for the weekend, and one to store, since it will age another 3-5 years.

For the white wine lovers, I have an equally wonderful winner out of the Northeastern region of Veneto. You are missing out if you don’t try the 2010 Terre di Terrossa Soave. The name of it alone makes me like it better…’swah.vay’…like some exotic foreign lover…and quite frankly, I DO love it.

The Soave is made from the Garganega grape, a native of Veneto. If you ever go to Venice, you won’t find so much Pinot Grigio even though they grow it out the ears (they typically export it to us!), you will instead find the locals sipping Soave. It’s typically a bit richer in flavor and more aromatic on the nose than a Pinot Grigio, but it’s not cloying. It still is quite refreshing and wonderful for summer sipping.

The 2010 Terre di Terrossa Soave is a beautiful straw colored wine with a little more mouth feel than you might expect. Lovely aromas of lemon curd, sugar cookies, and a hint of spice escape from the glass. Delicious with flavors of melon, lemon, a touch of white pepper, and a certain minerality that keeps this wonderfully refreshing. I would pair this hands down with sushi, crab cakes, or a shrimp fettucine. This is a killer white…one I’ll be drinking much more of…especially when it’s priced around $13 as well!

Value wines with luxury taste…that makes them of ‘Olympic’ quality in my books.

Go for the gold this weekend and give them a try yourself.

Cheers!

~CC

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Wine With A Dual Personality (and lots of it!): 2009 Kris Pinot Noir

Another holiday season has come and gone. Time to put away the decorations, break all of the new resolutions I’ve made, and reflect on which traditions are outdated, and which are worth keeping. As I wearily walk down the lane of recent memories made, I laugh a bit at the dual personality I don during the holiday season: I’m happy, excited, and full of love and a giving spirit, all while I’m cussing, stressing, and absolutely HATING all of the work, rushing around, cleaning, cooking, and struggling to find the perfect gifts in an over-commercialized cacophony of forced generosity. I decide that perhaps it’s time to pick one personality and stick with it…until I remember the KRIS Pinot Noir I tried for the first time over Christmas.

If ever there was a dual personality wine, this is it. Even as I write, I’m still not exactly sure how to describe this wine, other than to say I am truly smitten.

When you think of Pinot Noir, you don’t think of Italy. You think of the big, bold Super Tuscans, or the brazen Sangioveses and Nebbiolos. You don’t think of subtleties or light fruits. You think of wines that will wrangle you into submission. Pinot Noirs are subtle and delicate and complicated and oh-so-very French. If not French, then they at least have the savvy and sophistication of Northern California, Washington, and Oregon…they just don’t have the boisterous Italian ‘personality.’

Apparently no one told KRIS wines that.

Ruby red in the glass, a little lighter than I’d have expected, and lovely Pinot aromas of black cherry, and something reminiscent of wet stone.

It’s the taste that’s got me wondering what wine I’m drinking.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s DIVINE, but it’s unlike any Pinot Noir I’ve ever had before. Tart cherries, cranberries, balanced tannins, and what I can only describe as ‘red dirt.’ I don’t know how to explain it. Rusty? Dusty? That doesn’t sound good, and yet, it IS. The only way to describe it is to say it tastes like ‘Italy.’ That certain characteristic flavor you find only in Italian wines…it’s in this one…but yet, it’s still got all of the characteristics of a delightful, light, Pinot Noir.

It’s got a dual personality…a double secret life, if you will.

And with that duality comes an incredible ability to pair it with darn near anything! I paired it with the Christmas spaghetti…ground beef and sausage, rich marinara sauce with mushrooms…and OH how it works with mushrooms. I could just as easily pair it with salmon, chicken, veal, steak, pork chops…well, you get the idea…and OH how it works with cheese…lots of glorious cheese.

To say this wine has versatility is an understatement. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this wine???

Unlike the majority of Italian wines, or good Pinot Noirs for that matter, you won’t have to sell your first born child to enjoy this romantic taste of heaven. At right around $13 a bottle, heaven just became an affordable luxury.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Italian Wines, Pinot Noir, Red Wines

 

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