Super Uber Deal – Jim Barry Wine Dinner

The heat in Singapore may have drove us crazy… here we are, releasing an ultra super deal – Jim Barry Wine Dinner with Peter Barry (the man himself will be here) featuring wines that are at least 90 pointers (by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate) including the famed Armagh Shiraz at the very chic Clifford Restuarant (of The Fullerton Bay Hotel), all at a delicious price of $155nett per person.

That’s not all! We are throwing in a complimentary bottle of Lodge Hill Shiraz as a give-away* for every two seats booked. Crazy deal, eh? Anyway, here’s the details (Click here for PDF version Jim Barry Wine Dinner (22 Jun 2012) ):

Super Uber Deal

Jim Barry Wine Dinner with Peter Barry

Date: Friday, 22 June 2012

Time: Pre-dinner – 7:00pm, Dinner dtarts: 7:30pm

Venue: Clifford – The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Price: S$155.00nett per person

For reservations, please emailchristine@monopole.com.sg 

Please note that pre-payment is required for confirmation of booking. *Terms & conditions apply

Like we always say:

Drink Better.
cheers 🙂
Posted in Grape Vine | Leave a comment

Changing Landscape of Singapore Heartlands

A random blurp on Singapore Wine Culture

Life on this little island has been sufficiently exciting for the last two years, with the two integrated resorts (a.k.a. casinos which is term equivalent to profanity by standards of the Singapore government, but essentially that’s what they are), and an onslaught of new trendy watering holes, michelin-starred/celebrity chefs outposts, swanky Spanish Tapas bars, Italian pizzerias and local entrepreneurs (usually lawyers/bankers/doctors turned restaurateurs) that burst into the scene so quickly before you can say ‘popcorn’!

Just look at how the urban skyline at Marina Bay has changed… in say, less than 2.5 years? The changes have been electrifying, mind-numbing even. Such vibrancy and energy is almost as addictive as a glass of beautifully-made Pinot Noir. One glass is never enough!

Marina Bay Skyline

Taken from Level 33 at Marina Bay Financial Centre, with a glass of Le Sentinelle in hand…

Marina Bay Skyline 2

Marina Bay Singapore – Nightview

 

All of a sudden, this thirst for better dining experiences, better service standards and better quality wines starts to manifest. Even the lifestyle of an average working-class Singaporean and the living space of ‘heartlanders’ are not spared – better looking shopping malls with better facilities, high fashion boutiques and fancy restaurants start creeping into the suburban zones.

Even successful wine retailers like 1855 Bottle Shop is opening their latest outlet, right in the middle of Toa Payoh (one of Singapore’s oldest heartlands*). Perhaps, a proof of how life for the man-on-the street is making a turn – have a chicken rice lunch, pop into wine shop for a tasting, decide if you like to buy a bottle of two for the weekend chill-out?

And back in those not-so-early days, didn’t one say its always about ‘location, location, location’? Not anymore it seems. On this little island where you can get around quickly anywhere and everyone seems to own a car, accessibility seems to be irrelevant. In fact, the more difficult and hidden the place is, the better. Look at what came up at a private housing area where its street name is unheard of, and clearly hidden from all kinds of traffic (motor or humans… majority of them at least) – La Pizzaiola! And next to it, some boutique patisserie, an Aussie-themed bistro – Jules Cafe and The Fat Cat – a joint serving upmarket local fare.

La Pizzaiola at Jalan Riang. Quite a yummy place serving affordable pizzas!

Perhaps very soon, we will also have our good o’ kopitiam uncles selling a glass of prosecco to go with your kaya (coconut jam) toast or bak zhor mee (minced pork noodles)?

“Peeeenong Nuahh Yi Bei? Dai Zou!” (Say it in colloquial Hokkien-accented Chinese: One glass of Pinot Noir? ‘To-go’ please!)

🙂 Drink Well! Drink Better!

*Heartlands – suburban living zones that mainly consist of subsidised housing
Posted in Events, Singapore Wine Culture, Special Offers | Leave a comment

“We Make A Living By What We Get; We Make A Life By What We Give.”

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

With this lofty quote from one of Champagne Pol Roger‘s most illustrious devotees, we are giving away a super introductory offer for the stash of Champagne Pol Roger that we have just gotten. (And hope that we are able to make a living by doing so…. hah) Anyhow, we are all super excited with these Champagnes, can’t wait to crack a bottle of the 2000 Blanc de Blancs. Maybe our boss will get the hint with the ‘making a living by what we get…’ and grant us a Portfolio Champagne Tasting that includes the 99′ Winston Churchill soon.

Here’s a snapshot of these beauties:

NV Brut Reserve (or affectionately known as ‘white foil’)

  • 33% Pinot Noir – 33% Pinot Meurier – 33% Chardonnay
  • At least 3 years of age
  • Like a breathe of fresh air in a glass; pretty and cheery with a touch of Spring

NV Pure Extra Brut

  • Zero dosage
  • 33% Pinot Noir – 33% Pinot Meurier – 33% Chardonnay%
  • Straight and sharp, yet with a svelte body – and a hint of citrus, honey and cloves

2000 Brut Vintage

  • 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
  • Fruits from 20 Grand Cru and Premier Crus vineyards of Montagne de Reims with 8 years of cellarage
  • Charming and shapely, with an expressive scent of apricots,  poached pears and generous length

2000 Blanc de Blancs

  • 100% Chardonnay
  • Fruits only from the Grand Cru vineyards with 9 years of cellarage
  • Beautiful, elegant and poised –  with refined aromas of ripe fruits of lemon, grapefruits, vanilla and cream

(Vintage on image differs from actual product.)


2004 Rose Vintage

  • 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay & 15% Red wine of Champagne
  • Chardonnays from 20 Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards
  • Sensual and cheeky – Soft, lively pink with strawberries and cream

1999 Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill

  • Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – Assemblage is a royal secret
  • Made only in the best vintages, from specially selected Grand Crus vineyards. 1999 is the 12th vintage made
  • Sir Winston Churchill – do we need to say more?

Back to the introductory offer for Champagne Pol Roger; do drop us an email at: info@monopole.com.sg if you are interested!

Posted in Tasting Notes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Redefining Alsace wines for the New Century

Alsace is probably like a fairy tale or a great storyline for an epic drama movie. Cloaked with a troubled political past (France-Germany-France), the Alsace region has nonetheless retained a genuine simplicity and evolved with a unique personality. It was also highlighted in Lonely Planet as one of the Top Destination in 2010!

Riquewhir - Where Hugel et Fils headquarters is located

Riquewhir - Where Hugel et Fils headquarters is located

As introduced by Etienne Hugel, dynamic ambassador of Hugel et Fils – one of Alsace’s most respected wineries – Alsace is sheltered from oceanic influence by the Vosges mountains, enjoys practically the lowest rainfall in France (only 400-500mm per year) and is blessed with a semi-continental climate, sunny, hot and dry. Situated at an altitude of from 200 and 400 metres, the vineyards take maximum advantage of their exposure to the sun, particularly as the vines are trained along high wires. These specific advantages of the Alsace vineyards favours the slow, extended ripening of the grapes, giving wines with very elegant, complex aromas.

The geology of Alsace is a real mosaic of soils, made up of granite, limestone, gneiss, schist, sandstone and many more. Such a wide variety of soils, covering about 15,000 hectares, helps to bring out the finest characteristics of each grape variety, while the imprint of a particular terroir gives each Alsace wine its individuality, complexity and own unique hallmark.

Founded in 1639 in Riquewihr, Hugel et Fils is still 100% family-owned and managed by the 12th generation. The distinctive yellow Hugel label was first seen in Singapore as far back as 75 years ago, and the label has not changed since the 1920s.

Hugel's Label design - retain its originality since 1920s

Having a strong belief in tradition does not mean Hugel et Fils is any less savvy in the “techno-information-maniac” generation. In fact, Hugel et Fils’ website is probably the most informative and Etienne’s regular blog updates has garnered a huge fan base in both the wine circle as well as Alsace wine fans around the globe. Etienne also proudly features the QR codes for the Classic “HUGEL” range, for those who prefers quick access to information.

Etienne Hugel will be in Singapore soon to showcase the family’s portfolio of wines including the Vendange Tardive (Late Harvest) and Selection de Grains Nobles at Mandarin Oriental – Dolce Vita on 2 Feb (Thu). Menu was specially created to match the wines being showcased. But if you think its just sweets, wait till you try the Hugel Gewurtzraminer “Hugel” and Pinot Gris Tradition “Hugel” – wonderfully fresh and seductive. Click on the following to view the menu and details.

Menu and Details: Hugel & Fils Wine Dinner-2 Feb

Etienne Hugel

HUGEL ET FILS WINE DINNER WITH ETIENNE HUGEL

2 Februrary 2012, Thursday | Dolce Vita, Mandarin Oriental

7:00pm to 10:00pm  | S$138++ per person

For reservations, please contact:

mosin-dolcevita@mohg.com | T +65 6885 3551

And in case you are wondering, Hugel et Fils wines will be exclusive distributed by Monopole Pte Ltd and be available from 1st Februrary 2012 onwards.

🙂 Drink Well. Drink Better.

Posted in Grape Vine | Leave a comment

Umberto Cesari Wine Dinner – Charm of Sangiovese

The Charm of the Emilia Romagna – Sangiovese

The Lighthouse, The Fullerton Hotel

24 Oct 2011, Monday  |  7:00pm  |  S$168++ per person

Located in in the heart of Emilia Romagna, Umberto Cesari lies on the hills that overlook the ancient Via Emilia, at an elevation between 300 to 450 metres. Renowned for making high-quality wines for over 40 years, Umberto Cesari has garnered numerous international awards for their famed Sangiovese – Sangiovese Riserva, Liano and Tauleto.

Indulge in this exquisite 5-course wine dinner featuring Chef Diego Martinelli, also hailing from Emilia Romagna together with Riccardo Cesari, and the award-winning wines from Umberto Cesari at The Lighthouse. Make your reservations now! Call The Lighthouse at +65 6877 8933.

Click here for Menu and Wines being featured for the Wine Dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Events, Grape Vine | Leave a comment

The Winemaker’s Table with Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda

Wine Dinner featuring Giaconda Wines, Beechworth – Australia

12 August 2011 (Friday) :: Keystone Restuarant :: 7:00pm

Rick Kinzbrunner is one of those highly individual winemakers that have established an international cult following, particularly for his Chardonnay. Kinzbrunner’s winemaking influence and inspiration continues to be ‘old world’ and old fashioned old world at that. Having learnt his craft from Burgundy and Bordeaux, Rick seeks to make more or less ‘natural’ wines of great complexity and concentration. The results? Classic European elegant wines that are handcrafted in very small quantities.

Giaconda is situated 9km of Beechworth in Northeastern Victoria and due to its highly limited production; Giaconda wines have been highly sought-after in the international market.

Join Rick at this intimate 5-course wine dinner. Limited to 16 persons only, do make your reservations early! To preview the menu and wines being showcased, click here.

Date: 12 August 2011, Friday
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Keystone Restaurant (No. 11 Stanley Street)
Price: S$140.00nett per person
For reservations: Keystone Restaurant – (65) 62210046 or info@keystonerestaurant.com.sg

Posted in Grape Vine | Leave a comment

TASTING ITALY (Part 2)

8 Wineries, 5 Days, 1,638 km across half of Italy … and unknown number of wines

continued from Tasting Italy (Part 1)

Stop E

Garofoli – Loreto, Le Marche, 12 April 2011

Tasting at Garofoli’s Tasting Room & La Torre Restaurant, hosted by Gianluca and Daria Garofoli

The shale white soil that’s unique to the land in Loreto

The origins of Garofoli dates back to 1871 and currently helmed by the fourth generation, brothers – Carlo and Gianfranco Garofoli. Blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate and cool breeze from the Adriatic Sea, Marche is a region rich in culture and tradition. And true to its origins, Garofoli produces wines that are a clear reflection of its terroir.

Garofoli’s vineyards located right in the middle of a nature conservation zone, with a splendid view of Loreto’s town

At Garofoli’s cellar door that showcases a wide array of wines that they produced since they started business

Garofoli’s processing plant – Neat! 

With its vast portfolio, the tasting was conducted by Daria and Gianluca Garofoli (mother and son) at two locations – at the winery’s tasting room and over dinner.

Garofoli’s Tasting Room

2010 Monte Reale Sangiovese IGT

 2010 Farnio Rosso Piceno DOC

~ Simplicity. Fruity, youthful with light tannins

2010 La Meriggia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

~ A pleasant inky nose with cocoa beans. Soft tannins yet has a strong structure with fair length on the palate 

2008 Colle Ambro Rosso Piceno

~  Aged in large barrels, quite similar to Farnio but with more pronounced chocolate and heavy licorice

2008 Piancarda Rosso Conero

~ Aged in large barrels for at least one year and one year in bottle. Like a cheerful basket of cherries, chocolate beans, licorice and marshmallows. Great length and beautiful structure.

2007 Camerlano Marche IGT Rosso

~ Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Montepulciano. A portray of Marche – New world style with Old world elegance. Powerful fruits with reminisce of worn-out Italian leather boots on the nose. A really decent drop!

 2007 Grosso Agontano Conero DOCG

~ Aged for 18 months in Barrique and at least two years in bottle. A selection of the best grapes goes into this bottle and adapted for prolonged aging. Strong cocoa and spice overtones with structure, that probably requires a few more years to develop its complexity. Highly astringent with a sharp bite – possibly due to its young age

2006 Grosso Agontano Conero DOCG

~ What a difference a year makes! Chocolate chip cookies and soft musky leather with a leaner structure on the palate that is still astringent yet without being harsh. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste.

La Torre Ristorante (http://www.latorrenumana.it/)

La Torre – a beautiful restaurant perched on the cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea that serves some fantastic seafood and fish dishes. Like they say – Mama Mia!

NV Guelfo Verde Vino Frizzante Bianco

~ Lively light frizz that is simple and pleasantly refreshing on the palate. Its a nice aperitif to start with.

2006 Rose Brut Metodo Classico Spumante

~ 100% Montepulciano with prolonged maceration on the yeasts from 18 to 24 months. Hello Barbie! Classy fruit tones with a sweet zesty personality.

2008 Rose Brut Metodo Classico Spumante

~ More delicate and feminine with a mild temperament

2010 Serra de Conte Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC

~ Super fresh, lots of complex minerals with an enthralling length on the palate. Hmm… did they bottle the Adriatic Sea instead?

2010 Macrina Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore

~ Outstandingly fresh with fossil-like minerals on the mid-palate, develops further after every sip. This should be drunk whilst lazing on a balcony with an ocean view at sunset, with a book in hand.

2008 Podium Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore

~ Star anise and raw vegetables with a hint of bitter almonds. Strangely delicious.

2004 Podium Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore

~ Wow! Wow and wow! A lovely honeycomb scent that’s almost Sauternes-like, with four more years of age. Honey, toasted almonds, peaches and cream with well-balanced acidity. Bears a slight resemblance to a Manzanilla sherry.

2003 Serra Fiorese Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Riserva

~ Soft honeycomb and toasty oak on the nose, displays more elegance and length

2000 Grosso Agontano Conero DOCG Riserva

~ The hallmark leathery nose with a tinge of patina that’s almost like a well aged Bordeaux, yet it’s juxtapose with an unbelievably liveliness and freshness on the palate.

This was an eye-opener or rather “palate-opener”, especially the two varietals – Verdicchio and Montepulciano. Both, coupled with fine winemaking skills, display interesting depth that aim to surprise and impress.

A little break from the winery and vineyards, Daria Garofoli showed the cultural and heritage side of Loreto that is all so charming.

Basilica of Loreto where the Holy House of Virgin Mary is located

Statue of the Pope with all the names of the past Popes engraved onto the facade of the cathedral

The sacred Holy House that is said to grant wishes and miracles

The breathtaking Renaissance paintings that donned the ceilings of this huge Basilica

Daria Garofoli – the charming and gracious host (middle) 

The portfolio of wines from Garofoli may be impressive. But what is truly amazing at Garofoli, is the strong chemistry amongst the family members; their profound understanding and support given to one another is apparent in almost everything they do. The passion for the wines they produce and the genuine warmth that exuded from the hospitality they extend to every guest. These are the intangibles that many corporations today will never be able to replicate – that is to create that emotional engagement between a mere product and the user. Garofoli has nailed it in true Italian fashion.

More about Garofoli: www.garofolivini.it

Stop F

Carpineto– Montepulciano, Tuscany, 13 April 2011

Tasting at the home of Antonio M Zaccheo Jr’s, hosted by Antonio Zaccheo Snr, Jr and family

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany and sleepy-looking vineyards between Montepulciano (not the grape but the region) and Chianciano, is the home of the Zaccheos.  The family welcomed us into their abode, which made the entire experience heartfelt and humbling.

Tuscany, where Carpineto is located – Picturesque and peaceful

Carpineto’s existing cellar. A huge new cellar is underway and will be ready next year

Antonio inspecting the rose bush, a traditional ‘disease’ prevention alert method

The prehistoric fossil soil that’s prevalent in Carpineto’s vineyards. That’s the size of a prehistoric oyster… OOOOO000000…….

Wines that were tasted

2009 Dogajolo Rosso IGT

~ A fantastic wine with modern style; aromatic on the nose, extremely fruit-centric, nice supple structure yet easy to drink with a suitable length. No wonder its dubbed as a ‘Baby Super Tuscan’!

2009 Chianti Classico

~ Fresh acidity on the nose, a more complexity that is fruit-driven with an elegant structure and well-balanced acidity. Quite a modern wine produced from an old world region.

2005 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG

~ The noble wine! This internationally acclaimed wine has been given the Carpineto treatment; meticulous effort throughout the vinification resulted in a Vino Nobile that transcends purity and profound fruits flavours. Still extremely youthful at 2005 but shows a stunning complexity. At Carpineto, Vino Nobile is aged for at least two years in large 5,500L Slovenian oak barrels and small parts in French oak, in volcanic rock caves that maintains a natural constant temperature year round. And its aged a further for at least on year in bottle before releasing.

2006 Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon

~ Inky but not over powering, coupled with bold ripe fresh cherries and strawberries on the palate 

2001 Poggio Sant’Enrico Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2001 La Fornace

 1988 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva

~ A leggy 23 year old, young, bright and fresh! Marvelous!

1992 Farnito Vin Santo

~ Bears the style of a Sauternes

Deliciously fragrant extra virgin olive oils from their very own ancient Olive Trees – Out of this world!

Perhaps, one of the most memorable dinner that was put together so far – dinner started with small bites of home-grown olives and homemade salami at the family’s kitchen whilst watching Antonio Jr grill the meats for the mains. Fresh vegetables, homemade sausages grown from their own farm were also served.  Not forgetting the most amazing homemade pici and wild boar sauce as well as their very own fragrant olive oils!

Home is where the heart is. For the Zaccheos, the wines they produce evoke that heartwarming sentiment.

*Do you know? Vino Nobile di Montepulciano dates back more than 1350s. And it was said that Pope Paul III presumely after toweling off from a good soak in Vernaccia – gushed about this red wine in his late-16th century poem ‘Bacchus in Tuscany’. Later in the second half of 18th century, it was granted the description of ‘noble’ and was predominantly a wine drunk by the nobles.

More about Carpineto: www.carpineto.com

Stop G

Fattoria Mantellassi – Magliano, Tuscany, 14 April

Tasting at Ristorante da Guido, hosted by Aleandro Mantellassi and Riccardo Pecchioli

The Mantellassis are vine-growers since 1860. Located at the heart of Maremma, they are the first ones who started to bottle Morellino di Scansano, in 1977, and have based all their production on the tradition of Maremma and have since produced one of the most iconic wine in the region – Le Sentinelle Morellino di Scansano, which has been awarded 2-Glasses by Gamero Rosso and 90pts Wine Spectator.

A quick shot of Mantellassi’s facade before the downpour and biting cold wind began and shortened the tour

Riccardo talking about the capacity of Mantellassi’s cellars and core wines at the underground cellar

It was a wet and dreary afternoon in Magliano, and so the winery tour was brief. Tasting was held at one of the region’s popular restaurant, Ristorant da Guido – a quaint almost ‘cantinetta-like’ restaurant that specializes in Cinghiale (or wild boar).

Wines that were tasted

2010 Sasso Bianco

~ 90% Trebbiano. A fresh aromatic wine with bold stone fruits and fossil-like minerals

 2010 Lucumone Vermentino

~ Named after an advisor to an Etruscan king, the Lucumone displays a pleasant refined fragrant, linear structure and good strength on the palate

 2010 Scalandrino Vermentino

~ Aged 2 months in oak and additional 1 month in bottle before release. Faint hint of spice and a lengthier after-taste, perhaps needs a little more age

2010 Il Canneto Maremma Toscano Sangiovese

~ No oak integration with long maceration. Looks like a bull in a glass, but taste like a gentle lamb. Strong thick ruby yet mild and slow on the palate

 2009 Mentore Morellino di Scansano

~ High tannin levels that offers secondary oakiness that is almost raw-like. Interesting.

 2009 San Giuseppe Morellino di Scansano

~ A beautiful bouquet that linger, has pleasant vibrant fruits balanced with a refined oak structure and acidity. Great wine to have for a casual dinner!

 2006 Le Sentinelle Morellino di Scansano Riserva

~ 85% Sangiovese with Alicante. Extremely concentrated with tight tannins with some sweet notes

 2007 Vino del 50

 2006 Querciolaia Alicante

As Aleandro does not speak English, Riccardo was the translator and managed to convey his vinification techniques clearly. Although Fattoria Mantellassi is a relatively young and small-sized winery as compared to many other producers in the same region, the wines that Aleandro and his brother – Giuseppe make, had garnered rave reviews and a following of loyal fans around the world.  Small, but stunning!

More about Fattoria Mantellassi: www.fattoriamantellassi.it

Stop H

Michele Chiarlo – Asti, Piedmont, 15 April

Tasting at Michele Chiarlo’s wine room, hosted by Michele and Alberto Chiarlo

Piedmont – the domain of Asti sparkling wines, the great Barolos and some of the world’s most sought after white truffles, is also home to Michele Chiarlo. A highly successful family-owned winery that has garnered much international acclaim and recognition, Michele Chiarlo’s distinctive winemaking style follows its philosophy closely, that is to produce wines that are complex, distinct, with refined elegance and freshness.

Michele Chiarlo, the winemaker and owner himself – showing the winery and explaining each wines with a passion that is shared by the family

The Chiarlo family – Alberto (left), Michele (centre) and Stefano (right), all who are intensely involved in the business.

*Some images here were extracted from Michele Chiarlo’s Photo Stream on Flickr

A patron of the arts, creative sculptures and art installations dotted across the vineyards, that they themed as Arti Stic Park, with each plot of land bearing a unique theme. Almost all of Chiarlo’s stunning looking wine labels were created painstakingly by artist Giancarlo Ferraris, whom depicts the elements and process of winemaking and the terroir within these ‘art labels’. Like how the saying goes; when you feast, you first feast with your eyes. The wines tasted as beautiful as what the label promises.

The winery tour was conducted by Michele Chiarlo himself, whom at his age is still actively involved in all aspects of the business. Alberto, his son presented the tasting and shared an interesting project that will be completed end of this year – Palas Cerequio Barolo Resort, a stylish luxury resort based on Michele Chiarlo’s Barolos as a theme located in Piedmont. read more

Wine that were tasted:

2010 Le Marne Gavi

~ 100% Cortese. Honeysuckle, elderflowers and cantaloupe on the nose with a nice sturdy finish.

 2010 Le Madri Arneis

~ Herbaceous and youthfully refreshing

 2010 Rovereto Gavi di Gavi

~ Means Gavi grapes from Gavi. More pronounced honeysuckle with a spritz of natural sweetness. Like a pot of golden wild flower honey!

 2008 Fornaci Gavi

 2009 Le Orme Barbera d’Asti

 2008 Vigne di Chiarlo

~ Blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Alberosso. Soft inky mix of black berries and juicy blueberries, finish with soft plushy tannins

 2009 Il Principle Nebbiolo d’Alba

~ Like a handsome young prince decked in finery, perfumed bouquet with strong berries, strength and elegance on the palate without being overpowering

 2009 Vigne di Chiarlo

~ Being a hotter year that was highly conducive for Barbera, shows a more complex character and texture on the palate than 2008

 2007 Reyna Barbaresco

~ An excellent vintage! Bright dark berries on the nose and has great balance in terms of tannin structure.

 2006 Barolo Tortoniano

~ Like beautiful ripe cherries bursting with summer freshness

 2007 La Court Nizza Barbera d’Asti

~ Velvety and supple with intense dark cherries and red fruits, well-integrated tannins that provides a beautiful length

 2007 Asili Barbaresco

~ This has everything! An aromatic nose. Strength on the palate, and a beautiful plushy mouth feel.

 2006 Cerequio Barolo

~ One of Chiarlo’s best Barolos ever produced. Pronounced cassis and aromatic bouquet, coupled with delicate tannins, an aristocratic structure and commanding length. Yet not being overbearing.

 2006 Cannubi Barolo

~ 93pts by Robert Parker. If Cerequio is a Duke, then Cannubi will be the Duchess. Much softer and silkier in style with a hint of tobacco and tea leaves astringency in its after-taste but finishes softly

 2001 Triumviratum Barolo Riserva

~ The name pays homage to the three ‘kings’ of Barolos in ancient Rome. For those who yearns a more powerful sip.

 2010 Nivole Moscato d’Asti

~ Like what the wine label depicts; like a soft light cloud at dawn – Delicate, fresh and dewy.

Piedmont was the last stop (and last drop), ending this quest of approximately 1,638km and tasting of the wines from Grandi Vini’s portfolio. Perhaps, the most important learning from this visit; is the amount of effort, the intensity and dedication of all the eight families displayed in their work. It is not just business for them, winemaking is the family’s honour and heritage. A legacy.

cheers!

Posted in Tasting Notes, Visits | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

TASTING ITALY (Part 1)

8 Wineries, 5 Days, 1,638 km across half of Italy … and unknown number of wines

Recently, we have added eight Italian brands onto our portfolio. Hooray! (Though we love the Aussie wines that we have, it is always great to expand our palates and drink wines from the land up over.) And so, after 5 days of “zipping” around half of Italy with an approximate total 1,638km (air-travel to Italy excluded), we are pleased to present these eight family-owned wineries from Grandi Vini Consortium and an account of some of the best drops that were tasted.

The Route

A)    Villa Girardi – San Pietro, Veneto

B)    Bisol Viticoltori – Valdobbiadene, Veneto

C)    Fernanado Pighin – Friuli, Udine

D)    Umberto Cesari – San Pietro Terme, Emilia Romagna

E)     Garofoli – Loreto, Marche

F)     Carpenito – Montelpulcino, Tuscany

G)    Fattorria Mantellassi – Magliano, Tuscany

H)    Michele Chiarlo – Asti, Piedmont

Hadn’t realised the extent of the travelling till the map was showed and distance plotted

Stop A

Villa Girardi – Veneto, 10 April 2011

Tasting at Villa Quaranta (www.villaquaranta.com), hosted by Mr. Franco Tommasi

Arrived at Villa Quaranta in Verona, late morning; and was greeted by a picturesque modern resort and spa owned by the Tommasi family, complete with well-manicured Renaissance gardens and Wisteria-laced courtyards that the Italians are known for.

Villa Quaranta in Verona

Franco Tommasi giving a private tour to his cellars

Wines that were tasted:

2010 Soave Classico

2010 Lugana
~ Aromatic with nuances of tropical fruits and bananas; almost like a Pinot Gris with a pleasant zesty finish

2010 “Terre Lunghe”

2010 Bardolino Chiaretto (Rose)

2010 Valpolicella Classico

~ Crovina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara blend, aged in Slovenian oak

 2008 Ripasso “Bure Alto” Valpolicella

~ Lovely and soft on the nose, raisins on the palate without being overly rich and has a velvety texture that’s almost chewable yet supported with round soft tannins. Taste like velvety soft rays of a setting sun.

If the Ripasso is to be painted on canvas, this particular picture of Franco’s soft endearing smile with the gentle rays grazing his face at sunset, while he reminisced the history of his un-restored villa will be it

2007 Amarone della Valpolicella

~ Gentle on the nose, soft spices with great length that is both luscious and well-balanced. A surprisingly elegant Amarone that differs from the usual rich ‘sticky-like’ texture

2004 ‘Opere di San Pietro’ Amarone

~ If the 2007 Amarone is a gentleman in a well tailored suit, the ‘Opere’ will be his grandfather in his Bentley. Strong and heavy on the nose, deep concentrated fruits with a ‘brandy-like’ aftertaste, strictly for the Amarone lovers!

Reciotto della Valpolicella

~ A traditional Venetian dessert wine that has a convivial sweetness and slight chocolately notes with  refined silky texture yet without being overly perfumed

*Do you know? The famed Amarone was an “accident” – the Romans made Reciotto first, and Amarone was only discovered by accident.

Villa Girardi lies in the valley of San Pietro Incariano and Fumane, the namesake represents a typical Venetian country house dating back to 1700s designed by architect Luigi Trezza. Although the winery shares the same premise as Tommasi, wines bearing the Villa Girardi label are Franco Tommasi’s personal signature and a hallmark that portrays his passion and understanding of this region.

For more information: www.villagirardi.it

Stop B

Bisol Viticoltori – Valdobbiadene, Veneto, 11 April 2011

Tasting at Relais Duca di Dolle (www.ducadidolle.it), hosted by Giovanni Olivia

The tour of Bisol, and the tasting of their Prosecco was conducted by Giovanni – Asia Representative of the Grandi Vini Consorzio (also designated driver).

Bisol, a pioneer in this region since 1875; owns 65ha of its vineyards at the premium Valdobbiadene region including 3ha in the hills of Cartizze; where a hectare of Cartizze grape land is estimated to be worth in excess of USD1M!  A treacherous landscape, poor limestone soil structure and shorter exposure to sunlight; improves the flavour of these grapes grown in the hills of Cartizze.

Talking about ‘Getting high’! Because of the altitude, the vineyards are not assisted by machines. All sheer hard work.

Giovanni preparing for the tasting of Bisol proseccos at Relais Duca di Dolle, a pretty little vacation house owned by the Bisol family. Its available short stays and is extremely popular with vacationers.

Wines that were tasted:

NV Jeio Cuvee Rose

NV Bel Star Prosecco DOC

~ Clean, fresh and light lavender on the nose. Good length with a crisp finish.

NV Jeio Brut Valdobbiadene

~ Zesty and soft with stone fruits showing predominately on the nose, has a slight creamy finish

2010 Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiadene

~ Thick strong stone fruits on the nose, with a “mountainous” crisp texture, a springy bite and lengthier on the palate

2001 Bisol “Talento Classico Methode” Riserva

 2003 Bisol “Talento Classico Methode” Rose Brut

 2009 Bisol Cartizze Valdobiadene Superiore di Cartizze

~ Strong stone fruits fragrance, apricots and peaches with fine perlage that gives a good finish

Bisol Grappa di Cartizze

~ An amazing grappa; lean, clean and fresh with sublime apricot notes! Almost magical – like a pure drop of morning dew before dawn

Bisol Duca di Dolle Passito

~ A yummy digestive that cleanses the palate after a heavy meal; a gentle sweet digestive to end the day without being cloy

Learn more about Bisol and their delicious bubbles at www.bisol.it

Stop C

Fernando Pighin – Friuli, Udine, 11 April 2011

Tasting at La Frasca Restaurant, hosted by Roberto Pighin

If Venice is a glided masquerade at a mansion, then Udine is a country picnic by the river. Sandwiched between the Slovenia, the Adriatic Sea and The Alps; Udine eludes a simple rustic charm that beckons a peaceful leisurely lifestyle. Mr Fernando Pighin and Mr Roberto Pighin (father and son) gave a warm welcome at Risano and a little drive around their 150ha vineyards where the winery’s renowned fresh and aromatic Pinot Grigio Grave is cultivated.

Fernando Pighin explaining the soil composition of his vineyards

Roberto Pighin gave a tongue-in-cheek tasting from the tanks at the winery, followed by an enthralling tasting over dinner at La Frasca Ristorante (www.lafrasca.com)

Wines that were tasted

NV Rose Vino Spumante Brut

2009 Pinot Grigio Grave

2009 Sauvignon Grave

~ Smelled like freshly cut Asparagus after a light rain in the morning of spring on the nose; and the signature freshness on the palate

2010 Sauvignon Collio

2010 Pinot Grigio Collio

~ Ripe bananas and toasty almonds yet zesty and clean on the palate

2003 Rosso Riserva Villa Agricole

~ A vision of a rich chocolately brownie lined with red cherries and wild raspberries dusted with icing sugar on first whiff. Goes well with a nicely grilled piece of steak.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva

2006 Picolit Collio

Learn more about Pighin at www.pighin.com

Stop D

Umberto Cesari – Emilia Romagna, 12 April 2011

Tasting at Cesari’s summer house, hosted by Gianmaria and Riccardo Cesari

San Terme, the heart of Emilia Romagna and home of Umberto Cesari, also equates to the land of Sangiovese. In 1967, Umberto Cesari acquired a mere 20 ha of vineyards in the hills of Castel San Pietro. Today, his eponymous winery is now an empire consisting of a vast 120 ha vineyards and is recognized internationally for its quality Sangiovese.

Gianmaria Cesari explaining the family’s philosophy in winemaking at the vineyards

Wines that were tasted:

Moma Bianco Rubicone IGT

Moma Rosso Rubicone IGT

Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva DOC

~ 100% Sangiovese, intense red fruits, a hint of clayey minerals with a tight bite at the end

Liano – Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon IGT

~ Ripe cherries and strawberries with just a slight hint of spice and “spike”; youthful and straight forward. Possibly better with more age.

Tauleto Sangiovese Rubicone IGT

~  Aged for 24 months in Slovenian oak, dense and full-bodied with a complexity that bears reminisce of rainforest wilderness, musk, spice and malty chocolate.

Learn more about Umberto Cesari: www.umbertocesari.it

…. to be continued.

Posted in Tasting Notes, Visits | Tagged , , | Leave a comment