Posts in Italy
A Dual Continent Winemaking Project: Casadei and Cline

Seven years ago Stefano Casadei and Fred Cline met over dinner for the first time. Now they are making a wine named Casadei, a total heart-throb red, together. That's not all. The Cline family is importing Stefano's Castello del Trebbio wines, too. Saluti!

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Italy Meets California: Oak Farm Vineyards Fiano

This wine arrived at my doorstep with no notice, and it was a fun discovery. It is a great sip, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it anywhere to anyone. Only 376 cases were produced, so look now rather than later!

Fragrant, floral and savory, this Fiano is more expressive than most of its Campanian counterparts that have "landed" outside Italy….

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Reference Points from Sardinia: Olianas

Olianas 2017 Bovale Perdixi Isola dei Nuraghi: Ruby-rimmed, deeply flavorful and seriously savory, this unusual blend of 75% Bovale (aka Graciano) and 25% Carignane possesses plenty of charming top notes. Clay soils dominate the vineyard sources, so the near-grandiose breadth of the palate intensity isn't surprising.

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What Happened? Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia 2015

Those who follow wine closely know that it is a living drink. Like people, wine has good and bad days. 

I deeply hoped this 2015 Le Serre Nuove was having a bad day when I first tasted it professionally then drank it over several hours with dinner. It was astonishingly disappointing. A second bottle was modestly more satisfying but effectively identical. It certainly did not live up to my standard for Le Serre Nuove, a wine that I have tasted in its various phases – different winemakers, blends, vintages and so forth – for almost two decades.

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Excellent Additions to the Donnafugata Line-Up

Donnafugata 2016 Etna Rosso Sul Vulcano: The Donnafugata labels are so vivid. This new wine’s is as fun as ever! The heaping pile of rocks seeming to symbolize Mount Etna almost looks like a pile of Nerello Mascalese grape pomace. Moreover, while the wine is as elegant as the lady on the label, I am sure that were I to inhale enough fumes from Etna, my hair might stand up as high, too! Anyway, the fancy ‘do makes me think of old, European aristocracy, and this wine is certainly as noble.

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Barone Ricasoli – Castello di Brolio Duo

What a fascinating comparison of a Riserva and a Gran Selezione from the same cellar and vintage! There is a clear sibling resemblance via the fervent focus on savoriness. I would love to taste these again together in five then in ten years time to see how they evolve. I am confident that neither will disappoint.

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A San Marzano of a Different Provenance

The words San Marzano – to me – conjure up those delicate-skinned, super sweet, lower acidity plum tomatoes that are the darlings of so many scrumptious pasta sauces. So, I felt sheepish when I learned that the San Marzano cooperative is not based in Campania, like the (arguably) world’s most famous tomatoes, but rather on the Salento Peninsula – the heel of the Italian “boot”. Mea culpa.

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Grace, Harmony & Approachability from Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy

Barbaresco Martinenga 2014: This is ballerina-like, elegant and deceitfully feathery-feeling for a (usually husky) 14.5% abv wine. To this point, its lighter-weight style might disappoint those hoping for a more bruising – more typically robust – style of young Barbaresco. However, those are far more commonplace – and more intellectual rather than enjoyable early on, so it is a true pleasure and relief to taste this beauty from Marchesi di Gresy.  

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La Valentina Abrusseze Trio

Pecorino Colline Pescaresi 2017: I’ve been tasting more and more Pecorinos – and many good ones – in the last three or four years. They’re a great addition to the white offerings of Abruzzo, which can be a little tiring when Trebbiano is the only option. This is a dynamo of a flavorful and harmonious wine, and I’d easily drink it on a regular basis. Moreover, this is wildly, wildly good deal at just $16 retail.

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Tenuta Regaleali’s Latest Releases

Most of all, I was impressed by the nobility and longevity of the wines. In almost every wine there was a hard core, Sicilian determination that aimed to survive against all adverse expectations. Each time I taste a new vintage, I find the same character. If you’re looking for fruit-driven, easy wines, move along. These aren’t those wines. The wines of Tenuta Regaleali are thoughtful, even pensive, wines of integrity that require “listening to” to fully appreciate.

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New Releases from Marco Felluga & Russiz Superiore

Marco Felluga 2014 Bianco Collio Molamatta: Named for its physical location, this is a true Super Friulian blend composed of 40% Pinot Bianco, 40% Tocai Friulano and 20% Ribolla Gialla. This striking blend delivers great harmony, not speaking of a particular grape variety but nodding toward fine terroir and good craftsmanship.

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Trio of Adami Proseccos

The Adami family has been making single vineyard wines for 85 years. That’s remarkable considering that the region is known for its blended wines. Moreover only a decade into production, founder Abele Adami realized the superiority of hillside vineyards. It’s been all about the hills, or the “rive” in Italian, ever since.

My number one take away from this tasting is how remarkably finessed the impression of the bubbles are in all of the wines.

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Trentodoc Trials

Trentodoc bubbly is on a mission to have its metodo classico wines perceived as the best in Italy. The tip-top of this category of wines is crisp and bitingly dry – in an appealing way. They are also layered with flavor.

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