Almond Biscotti With Vin Santo And TBA

On saturday I was having a dinner with my wife and some friends. A 3-course menu. For dessert we had almond biscotti and because I was unsure with what wine to pair them I asked you, my readers, in my last post what wine you would pair with them. Fellow blogger Talkavino suggested an aged TBA (Trocken Beren Auslese) whereas Stefano from Clicks & Corks and Julian from  Vino In Love recommended to pair the almond biscotti with vin santo, a sweet wine from Italy.

Because I couldn’t decide between the two wines I decided to buy a bottle of each. I also never had a TBA before so that was another reason for me to buy both wines.

Almond biscotti are a cookies that are especially popular in Italy. Julian and Stenfao pointed out in their recommendation that the traditional pairing with these Tuscan biscotti is vin santo. If you are not familiar with what vin santo is then let me redirect you to this post from Julian which explains quite well the origins of that wine.

The two wines I picked to pair with the biscotti were: 2004 San Felice Vin Santo del Chianti Classico from Tuscany and 2001 Hopler Trocken Beren Auslese from Austria. I wanted to buy a TBA from Germany but the stores that I went to didn’t seem to carry any.

Hopler’s TBA comes from Austria’s Brugenland region and is a blend of 50% Samling, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Gruner Veltliner. To be honest I was not familiar with the Samling grape before trying this TBA. Have you tried any wines from Samling before? Let’s move on to my tasting notes for the Hopler TBA.

In the glass, the wine has a golden-yellow color. On the nose, intense aromas of apricot, honey, cloves and caramelized oranges. In the mouth, quite sweet, very smooth with notes of apricots. The finish is extremely long. Highly recommended but also quite expensive. The 0.375 liters bottle sells for around $100. Luckily we were only 4 people otherwise one bottle wouldn’t have been enough..

But fortunately I also bought that San Felice vin santo. A 0.375 liters bottle retails for around $25. The vin santo is produced with 75% Trebbiano and 25% Malvasia grapes that are planted in the Chianti area of Tuscany. Here are my tasting notes for it.

In the glass, the wine has an amber golden color. The nose is not very intense but there are a soft aromas of dried fruit, hazelnuts and almonds. In the mouth, acid but also sweet. Reminds me a lot of mead. Lingering finish.

All in all the vin santo did not taste as good as the TBA but the vin santo paired better with the biscotti than the TBA did. The TBA is “too good” for any dessert but the vin santo worked just fine.

That’s all for today! Have a good sunday evening folks!


Montenisa ‘Brut’ – Italy

I’ve been quite busy over the last week (hence there was no “wine readings” last week) but now I have more time for blogging.

Regulars already know that I love Franciacorta sparkling wines. Only recently I had a Montenisa NV ‘Brut’ Franciacorta DOCG. The wine retails for around $28. Surprisingly, Montenisa is a brand of the Tuscan winery Marchesi Antinori (famous for Tignanello).

It’s produced with Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and small amounts of Pinot Nero, I didn’t know that they use Pinot Nero in Italy for sparkling wine production. Always though that it was just used for Champagne. Montenisa ‘Brut’ aged for 30 months in French oak. The wine is considered as the flagship sparkling wine of Montenisa.

The wine has a golden yellow color. The perlage lasted only for a short time. On the nose aromas of tropical fruit, minerals, almonds, pear and flowers.

On the palate dry with lots of fruit. Stoney minerality. Rather short after taste.

This “Champagne-like” sparkling wine has clearly its own character. It was alright but not mind-blowing. If you get a chance to try it then you might as well go for it but it’s nothing too special and for almost $30 there are better Franciacorta available. Since I love Franciacorta I was quite happy to try it though.

My first Super Tuscan experience: 2008 Tenuta San Guido ‘Sassicaia’ – Italy

Alright after reading an article about the history of Super Tuscan on Vino in Love I got curious about Sassicaia. I could be wrong, but I believe that the Sassicaia (2006 vintage) from Tenuta San Guido was my very first Super Tuscan.

Sassicaia is one of the most prestigious wines in the world. According to wine-searcher, Sassicaia is the #14th most popular wine in the world. I was looking for a good vintage and according to many sources 2008 is supposed to be the best vintage since the legendary 1988.  The wine is a blend of Bordeaux-style grapes (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc) and it aged for 24 months in French oak.

Average price for 2008 Sassicaia in the US: $198. I was able to buy the wine online at for $169
Ratings: 97 JS 97 WE 96 WS 96 WA
Further more: 3/3 ‘biccheri’ by the 2012 Gambero Rosso (Italian wine book)

sassicaia 2008

I invited a few friends over and we all were very excited. We decanted the wine for 2 or 3 hours or so.

Since I wanted all of the wine to be at its best I decided to not try the wine before decanting it. That turned out to be a major mistake.

After taking a sip, I noticed that “something” was wrong. The wine was aweful. It tasted bitter. I should have concluded by the brick-red color that the win oxidized. You can’t imagine how sad I was. I just found out that I spent almost $170 on an undrinkable, alcoholic beverage. I called the Sokolin customer support and they said there was nothing they could do – no return – nothing. They said there is no insurance for corked/oxidized wine. A big warning: Don’t buy wine from Sokolin. I had good experiences in the past with them but after having wasted $170 on this oxidized wine. I cannot believe that they do this. Actually I’m shocked.

I will stop my rant now but I thought I will share my sad experience with you. That said I want to tell you that the evening still ended with a good wine. In my cellar I found a Rioja which turned out fine. I will write about that wine in the next days.

Have you had similar experiences? If so please share them with me. Nevertheless, I want to thank Julian from Vino in Love for his Super Tuscan post. Without it I would have never even considered trying one. I hope my next Super Tuscan will be better – certainly it won’t be another Sassicaia . . .

2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Premiere Trie’ – France

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in the last few days. I was out of town for a meeting. One night we went with a few business partners to a restaurant in San Francisco. We ate very well and of course we drank wine.

Since I didn’t pick the restaurant it was not up to me to pick the wine. My collegeue decided to go with a white wine from Domaine Huet Vouvray. The winery produces high end wines in the Loire region of France. He selected a 2009 vintage of the ‘Premiere Trie’ Appellation Vouvray Controle.

It is made with 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. ABV: 12.5%. Ginger, lime, white peach, orange and kiwi on the nose. I tasted melon, lemon and honeysuckle. Long finish. Flavorful aftertaste. One of the best white wines from the Loire that I drank in recent years.
Wine Ratings: WE 97 WS 96. I would give the wine at least a 97. Maybe even more. The wine completely impressed me. Average retail price according to wine searcher: $68.

I’m very happy that my colleague picked this wine. This was my first wine from Domaine Huet Vouvray and it was world changing. I can’t imagine that I will enjoy any other white wine in the near future after this!

What is your opinion on this wine?.

2011 San Michele Appiano ‘Anger’ – Italy

I’ve been kinda busy latelty so I hadn’t had the time to actually write a full post. In the last days I drank quite a few good wines. One of them was a Pinot Grigio from San Michele Appiano. Pinot Grigio?! Yes Pinot Grigio. I know that Pinot Grigio is associated with low-end wines but believe me, this one is top-notch stuff!

The grapes, 100% pinot grigio, come from a single-vineyard named Anger which also gave the wine its name. The grapes aged in stainless steel. In the glass a light yellow color. Intense fruit aromas.  Especially ripe pear and apple. The wine has a mineral touch and a delicate acidity. Well-balanced. Very long finish.

‘Anger’ is far from being the typical Pinot Grigio that you find at Wal-Mart for 4$. Instead, this is a modern wine that shows the beauty of this grape.

Wine goes perfectly together with seafood. I had it at an Italian restaurant together with European seabass (on the menu it said branzino and the waiter explained to me that the fish is more known as European seabass in the US.)

If you want to buy the wine you can find it online for around $15-$16. It’s worth knowing that this wine got the highest possible Gambero Rosso rating.

2009 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon “Napa Valley” – California

The other day I tried the 2009 vintage of David Ramey’s “Napa Valley”. A very well-structured Cabernet-Sauvignon. The wine was so fantastic, that I thought I share the experience with you!

Produced with 96% Cabernet- Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc grapes in Napa Valley, California, this 95 points WA scoring wine, aged two years in new (2/3) and old oak.The wine had a inky ruby red color. On the nose blacktea, plum, ripe cherry, cocoa, cinnamon and blackcurrant. The palate convinced me with a very dry and fruity taste. I tasted blackcurrant and dark chocolate. Big body and extremely well-structured. Long aftertaste.

Fortunately I have another bottle of this wine in my cellar. Luckily I bought two of them since the “Napa Valley” from David Ramey is simply mind-blowing. One of the best Napa Valley Cabernets that I’ve tried in recent years. Wine retails for around $48-$55.

For more information on the winery visit their website.

2003 Teldeschi Zinfandel – California

I found this old bottle of Zinfandel in my cellar in a box alongside five other bottles. I was surprised and somehow I completely forgot about them. Well it was time to see whether they would still be good.

Little info on the winery: Teldeschi is a winery from Sonoma County, California. They mainly produce wine from Zinfandel and Peite Sirah grapes.

Only 164 cases were made of the 2003 Teldeschi Zinfandel

I decanted the wine six hours prior to drinking. The wine had a very, very dark, inky color. The nose was still a bit closed. I found ripe cherry, blackberry, caramel and alcohol on the nose. ABV was listed at 15.4%. Quite strong – that also explained the alcohol on the nose.

The palate was quite acid and dry. Teldeschi Zinfandel was full-bodied and complex. I tasted lots of different things – herbs, sweet fruits, etc. It was great to see that a Zinfandel was still good after 10 years! Not sure what the retail price is but according to the winery’s website it was 40$/bottle.

The bottle label somehow says ravenswood. Not sure why but here is a link to Teldeschi winery. If someone knows why the label says ravenswood then please let me know 🙂

The nose which was a bit closed opened up a bit after another glass so I was very pleased with this Zinfandel. My rating: 9/10