Italian wine dinner part 2

Last week I shared with you my tasting notes for the white wines that I tried at a wine dinner. You can find that post here.

Today I want to talk about the red wines that we drank. Most red wines that we drank were decanted for some hours.

The first red wine we drank was a “leftover” Vino Novello, which was obviously not decanted. I wasn’t impressed at all by it. A friend of Jack, the host of the dinner, brought the wine to the dinner. I have the feeling that he was more of a beer drinker. We tried a 2012 Montferrato Novello from Piedmontese winery Terre Da Vino. If you don’t know what Novello is then let me explain it real quick. To my understanding it’s the first wine of the new vintage. These wines are usually young fresh wines that are drank within the first months after release which is around Novemember. The Monteferrato tasted like strawberry juice with alcohol. I quickly moved on to another wine and it was and still is hard for me to understand why people drink Novello and why wineries produce it. I’d say stay away from this wine unless it costs like less than $8 – then buy it and use it for cooking.

The next wine that I want to talk about comes from Abruzzo. Maybe you remember in one of my first posts here on Winetalks that I travelled to Abruzzo last year. I visited Agriverde and bought took some bottles back to the States. Follow this link for my tasting notes for the Agriverde Solera. To the dinner I brought the flaghsip wine of Agriverde. A bottle of 2000 Plateo Montepulciano di Abruzzo.  The wine is made with Montepulciano grapes (until recently I always thought that Montepulciano was just a town in Tuscany) and aged 24 months in stainless steel followed by 24 months in French oak and by additional 24 months in the bottle before being distributed. The wine has a dark ruby red color. I expected something more similar to a garnet red. The nose has intense aromas of vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, cardamon, ripe cherry and blackcurrant. Full-bodied and well-balanced. Intense fruit notes but also dark chocolate on the palate. Lingering finish. I love this wine! The only other time I had it was at the Agriverde estate in Abruzzo during my vacation. I think I had a 2007 vintage back then.  The Gambero Rosso rated this wine with 3 glasses.  Average price on wine searcher: $59. I think that is an excellent price. I paid like around €40 ($52) for this wine at Agriverde.
The next wine was again from Piedmont but this time it was something much better. It was a Barolo from Cantina Terre Del Barolo (2008 vintage). Unfortunately, this wine disappointed me almost as much as the Novello. 100% Nebbiolo grapes. Wine aged 2 years in Slavonian (never heard of this before. Can someone please tell me what it is?). Anyways the wine had a weak bouquet. It was dry and extremely tannic. The oak notes dominated too much. The finish was long but I couldn’t deal with the tannins. The wine wasn’t very well-balanced in my opinion. Maybe I should stay away from Barolo, Barbaresco and all the other Piedmontese wines! Average price on wine searcher: $29

The last wine that we drank was something special – at least for me. Some of you might remember my horrible experience with Tenuta San Guido. If you don’t then let me reshare it with you: I bought a 2008 Sassicaia for over $150 at Sokolin.com, after reading a very interesting article about Super Tuscans on Vino in Love. The wine was spoiled. Sokolin.com refused to take the wine back. So I wasted all the money for nothing… I thought that I will never ever try Sassicaia again because I was really upset about the situation (and still am). However, Jack uncorked a double magnum bottle (3 liters) of 2005 Sassicaia. In case you wonder, Jack told us that he has around 900 bottles of wine in his cellar. It was his 40th birthday so that’s a way to celebrate isn’t it?

Everybody got a small glass of Sassicaia (we were around 30 people). The Sassicaia was great and I absolutely loved it! It is produced with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. The wine aged for 24 months in French oak. Sassicaia has a dark ruby red color. Intense bouquet with leather, violets, dark fruit and smoke. Sassicaia is pretty dry and full-bodied. It is not as well-balanced as the Plateo though. The oak notes are a little bit too dominant. Nevertheless, the wine was spectacular! Silky tannins and an incredibly long aftertaste. Average price on wine-searcher: $237 (for a regular bottle, not for the magnum bottle).

The Sassicaia concludes this post. Hope you enjoyed the tasting notes. I loved the wine dinner. Out ouf all 8 wines that we had throughout the evening only the two Piedmontese wines disappointed me. Plateo still remains my favorite out of all of them. Sassicaia was a great experience but the Plateo rocked a little bit more and it’s almost $180 cheaper! My favorite white wine was the Pinot Bianco from St. Michael Eppan. You won’t regret trying either of the two : )

Brunello di Montalcino Blind Tasting

Last week I invited a bunch of friends over and since we all love wine I decided to open a few bottles. I uncorked four wines. Three of them were Brunello di Montalcino and one was a Sangiovese from California. Since Brunello is produced with Sangiovese, too, I hoped that the Calfironian wine would blend in quite well, too.

All wines were decanted for two hours.

First wine was a 2007 Brunello di Montalcino docg from Merchesi Antinori. Antinori has been producing wine for 26 generations. Antinori is also the winery behind the world famous Tignanello. Their Brunello di Montalcino is named Pain delle Vigne.  The wine aged two years in oak casks. Ruby red color with garnet reflexes. On the nose, raspberry, ripe cherry, black pepper and hints of smoke. There is a little bit of alcohol, too which I did not expect considering the wine retails for $60. The palate is well-balanced. Tannins are rather aggressive. Medium-bodied and decent after taste.
If anybody cares about wine ratings: WA 91 WS 91 WE 90.
Find this wine on Wine Searcher.

The second wine was from Californian winery Altamura. Just like the Brunello di Montalcino, the wine was produced with 100% Sangiovese grapes. Therefore it fit quite well in. We uncorked a 2008 vintage. The wine aged 24 months in French oak. Sadly, the wine was filtered before bottling. Intense ruby red color. Red cherries, caramel and tobacco on the nose. Softening tannins, very dry. Long finish. Retail price: $45
Ratings: WA 91
Find this wine on Wine Searcher.

The third wine was a

Brunello di Montalcino docg from Tenute Loacker (also known as Corte Pavone). We

went with a 2006 vintage here.
I red about this wine first at the blog Vino in Love.
The wine aged three years in French oak. Dark ruby red color with purple reflexes.  Incredible nose with dark ripe cherry, tobacco, black pepper, raspberry and vanilla. Full-bodied with smooth, mellow tannins. Blueberry notes on the palate. Persistently long finish. Retails for $55.
If you care for a second opinion about this wine then go here. Ratings: JS 96 WS 93 WE 93
Find this wine on Wine Searcher.

The last wine the evening was magnum bottle of Brunello di Montalcino docg from Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona (2007 vintage). The wine aged two years in Slavonian oak. Light ruby red color with garnet reflexes. Intense nose. Aromas of tobacco, ripe cherry, spices and hints of smoke. Palate was a little bit disappointing. Not very well-balanced at all. Strong oak, silky tannins. Retail price: $55 (for a regular 0.75 liters bottle).
Ratings: WS 94 (#9 in WS Top 100 2012) WA 90
Find this wine on Wine Searcher.

Out out of the four wines two really convinced me. My personal favorite was the Brunello from Tenute Loacker. The best Brunello that I’ve drank in my life. I very much liked the Altamura Sangiovese, too. It’s a perfect wine and shows how stunning Sangiovese can be outside of Italy. If you never had Sangiovese from California then go to the store and pick up a (good!) bottle.
The Brunello from Antinori was alright but not worth the $60. I wouldn’t buy the wine from Antinori again but it was a “good experience” to try it.. Ciacci Piccolomini’s Brunello was a bit of a disapointment. Almonost nobody of my friends liked the wine. I don’t think we had a bad bottle because there was no cork or signs of oxidations. I have a hard time understanding why this wine was selected for the WS top 100. For $55 I just expected more.

I’m looking forward to read your opinion on these four wines.