Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marchesi Biscardo Valpolicella Classico Superior Ripasso DOC.

Marchesi Biscardo Valpolicella Classico Superior Ripasso DOC. (I know that's a mouthful but oh what a mouthful) Lets look at that name Closely: But first a note.

This is by far the best Valpolicella I've had in a long time. If you have tried some off of the local super market shelf, buy a large producer I can guarantee it didn't do justice to this style of wine.
This was a beautiful ruby color with hints of orange. The nose was elegant and complex with spicy notes that compliment the ripe berry and floral aromas. This is a full-bodied valpolicella with velvety tannins and a finish that is unforgettable.

Marchesi Biscardo is the winery

CLASSICO: An area within a lager geographic region defined by the Italian classification system (DOC); also the wines coming from this area. Such territory is usually the oldest in terms of grape growing and wine making and often has the best wines within the largest region.

SUPERIORE: for a Valpolicella Classico it means minimum 12% alcoholic content and 14 months of aging.

RIPASSO: is a very old and traditional process used to give to the Valpolicella wine richness and body. After the Valpolicella is fermented in the usual way, it is placed in casks containing the skins of the AMARONE, a concentrated wine coming from semi-dried grapes. This process, which last from 2 to 3 weeks, adds color, tannins, and complex flavors. A perfect complement to highly seasoned first courses as well as roasted meats or steak.
Best served at 60°-64° F.

Valpolicella is the name of the type of wine: It is a blend of Corvina (50% to 60%), Rondinella (30% to40%) and Molinara. Often called a “Baby Amorone” Valpolicella is a wine from the Veneto region of Italy, made from corvina, molinara and rondinella grapes.

Corvina is sometimes called Corvina Veronese or Cruina. It normally is used in making a light to medium body wine. This grape has a naturally high acidity lending a tart quality to the wine. Corvina sometimes has a slight almond note but is usually recognized as sour cherry.

Molinara is also grown primarily in Veneto and is used mainly to add acidity. This wine has very little color extract.

Rondinella grapes are neutral in flavors but have generous yields due to it's resistance to disease. It is primarily a blending grape with sweet flavors given it's low level of sugar and acidity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Juno Cape Maidens Chardonnay

I recently sat down and set all my wine snobbery aside for a night to enjoy one of these last summer nights with a crisp white wine. All the usual suspects were lined up and ready for judgment when a friend threw me a curve and directed my efforts towards South Africa. The wine of my friends choosing was Cape Maidens Chardonnay by Juno . I was tired of chardonnays and needed some persuasion. The last thing I wanted was another example of a wine maker doing everything they can to hide the true characteristics of a varietal. So many chardonnays are overdone but I'm glad my friends talked me into trying this wine. 

Juno's Cape Maidens Chardonnay was full bodied, well rounded with beautiful mineral characteristics that integrated well with hints of lime and honey in addition to the traditional chardonnay aromas of apples and tropical fruits. The finish was long and the acidity was just right. Each sip left you eager for another.

This wine is just what I was looking for. Crisp and clean, nimble on its feet. Juno Cape Maidens Chardonnay manages to avoid the pitfalls of another chardonnays by being just another bland cookie-cutter wine marketed towards anyone just looking for the word chardonnay on the label and the restraint shown by the subtle use of oak allows the varietal personality to show through.

It may have been the company or the food but this wine was one of my best this summer and it can be found at a reasonable price. 

My heartfelt thanks to Paul and Pam for redirecting me towards Chardonnays just as I was ready to write them off for a time.   This is what wine is about.  Sharing with friends and family.