Archive for the ‘ Italy ’ Category

Il Ginepro 2010 Sangiovese

I’m not in the business of reviewing shitty wine. It’s just a hobby I like to partake in from time-to-time. Last night accidentally became one of those times.

I went on a wine buying spree last night, determined to create some more content for this long-stagnant blog. The mix was pretty good: several Côtes du Rhones, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Rioja, Malbec. The Sangiovese was lauded as “pretty good” and “drinkable”. “Hints of anise and spice” were also listed on the little card that sold this bottle to me as a value-driven wine. Well, folks, I am here to tell you I plan on defacing that card.

Il Ginepro 2010 Sangiovese

The Culprit

The wine poured well, it looked good. No rust color on the edges, slight violet color, but mostly red. There was no heat on the nose, and it smelled of vanilla, tobacco, and spice. I was extremely excited by this wine! In addition to those notes, it smelled a little gritty. There was a heft to the nose.

Then I made the mistake of putting the wine in my mouth. At first there was no real taste, which confused me immensely. I’m not used to that. Usually wine either tastes good, or it tastes bad. This didn’t have a taste. The tannin stuck to my tongue and just sort of sat there. The finish was bland and quick. And then I realized that this wine was incredibly sweet. A sweetness that my taste buds outright rejected. And that tannin wasn’t really tannin, it was more of a sweet residue on my tongue, destroying my palate.

Here’s the truly disheartening thing: there is indeed some anise in the mouth, and this IS a medium bodied wine. Nothing that the card said was false, in fact. Tobacco, vanilla, spice, grit. But in the least complex, most poorly structured wine I’ve ever had. I don’t think this is expressive of the Sangiovese grape at all.  I understand that Sangiovese has traditionally been part of a blend due to its harsh acidity, but there’s no reason for this sweet hot mess.

Bottom Line: Undrinkable. Not a value. The card was not a liar, but it did not tell the whole truth.

White–Bianco–Blanc. SPRING.

Well hello there!  It’s been a while since we’ve had a real review.  It’s April, now, and it’s spring.  It might be 40 degrees outside right now in Chicago, but those days are numbered.  After wandering around Binny’s for 45 minutes this evening, I came home with 5 wines.  Three Sauvignon Blanc, one Pinot Grigio, and one Beaujolais Villages.  It’s clearly time for whites (and reds that act like whites).  Today I’m bringing you a Marlborough sauv, Churton 2009,  and the Italian grigio, Maso Canali 2009.

I’m a huge Marlborough fan. Since I was 22, I’ve been sucking Marlborough’s dick, and with good reason.  Their gooseberry, tobacco, dry, crisp, FRESH flavors have been a summertime pal for two years.  If I’m in sweltering heat and humidity, or even on a nice 70 degree porch night, I’m most likely downing a Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Churton is a step in a different direction, however. They are claiming an “old world meets new world” sauvignon blanc, and boy are they right.  The Loire features on this wine are non-trivial.  It’s musky, it’s bone dry, it’s lemon and lime (mostly lime, in my opinion), and it’s a Hell of a spring wine.  Churton boasts that it has a terroir “not dissimilar” to central Sancerre, and I believe that to be totally true.  There are helpings of grass on the nose, and the finish leaves me feeling more like I’ve drank something with a bit of syrup in it.  I don’t want you to think that this is anything like the thickness on a riesling or gewuerztraminer.  No, this is just a light syrup that leads to an overall satisfyingly bigger mouth feel than your typical Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

The second wine I’ve tasted tonight is the Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio. I had this earlier this week, and it paired perfectly with a vodka sauce penne at Tre Cugini.  But that was then, and this is now.  First, the bottle is corked, which I don’t really have an opinion on since this is one of my first forays into Pinot Grigio, but I get the feeling most of the wines are meant to be consumed young.  And I feel like this is one of those wines.  Although, interestingly enough, I was reading about how corks are made the other day, and apparently Portugal is the #1 producer of cork in the world, and while wine corks are only 15% of sales by weight, they account for 66% of cork revenue.  But I digress! I believe that Grigios are supposed to be fruit-forward and contain citrus and tropical fruit-like flavors.  Something like fruit cocktail, eh? I could be wrong, but that’s been my only experience with them.  This wine has a very subtle bouquet and an equally subtle palate.  I am not saying that it lacks structure or balance, but the mouth is small to medium and it takes time to enjoy the green pear, the lime, and everything else going into this wine. Overall a nice wine to pair with a spaghetti and white sauce dish, or perhaps with scallops.

Churton 2009 Malborough Sauvignon Blanc
I’m going to give this one an 87.  It’s good, it’s different.  It’s neither Marlborough nor Loire.
750ml - $16.99 @ Binny’s
Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio
I’m not going to rate this wine because I don’t have enough experience with this grape yet.
750ml – $14.99 @ Binny’s

New Year–Toss out recap

So it’s been about a year since I’ve moved into my apartment, and my roommate and I were doing some spring cleaning last week. I have a penchant for saving my favorite bottles of wine, and I decided to clear them out for a new year.  These were my favorite selections from last year:

Some of these wines have been blogged about, but those that haven’t will get a bit of mention here.  First: the Groth 2007 was shit. And it won’t ever be anything but shit.  There’s no hint of complexity.  It’s easy to drink, and you can fool your unfamiliar friends with it, but you may as well add jello mix to some Mondavi and sell it as the same product.

Standouts: Whitehaven (any vintage, really… 2007, 2008, 2009 have all been fantastic), both of the Chateauneufs were fantastically complex and savory, the 2005 Grand Traverse was out of control and so expressive that there aren’t words to describe it.  The Sauternes was great, as far as young ones are concerned. The Cab Franc was titillating. Stags’ Leap was as expected: bold, full, and a complex enough to please a daily palette–the Stag’s Artemis, while on the subject, is also worth the dough.

Mediocre: The Muga and Jordan were not up to par. Perhaps more time was required. The Barbaresco was not worth the $35 that it was.  At best, $20. I think 85-87.

The surprise of the batch was the Davis Bynum.  For the price point, it’s 100% worth it. 90-91? I remember that being a standout.

Damilano – Nebbiolo d’Alba – 2007 – Barolo

I savored this hot Nebbiolo with a pork loin sauteed in olive oil with caramelized onions and wilted spinach.  The pork was medium-well done and seasoned with black pepper and a hint of white vinegar.  I started drinking about five minutes after opening it.  It was  dark, ruby red with a little purple around the rim.  The nose was hot, but presented dusty road, and baby diaper (only slightly soiled), and TONS of pepper.  Black pepper, a little purple, and some white.  All-in-all it seemed pretty promising. It is medium bodied and extremely dry, with a finish lasting a full thirty seconds.

While cooking the pork, I was tasting the wine with smoked gouda and jalapeño focaccia bread.  The gouda cleared my pallet after every tasting, and the focaccia enhanced the flavor.

I really like the Nebbiolo grape, and this was a fairly decent wine.  At $13.99, I would recommend it highly for a dinner similar to mine, or as a wine to enjoy after you’ve already had a few drinks.

Pros: dry, medium-bodied, dark, spicy flavor, long finish

Cons: hot, hot, hot

Further reading:
Barolo Region
Nebbiolo Varietal