Donnafugata Lighea 2011

Two weeks ago I had a conversaion with a friend about Zibibbo, an ancient grape from the Mediterranean. Zack, my friend told me that he recently had a dry Zibibbo and I was like what? All the Zibibbo I had were extremely sweet. It’s worth knowing that Zibibbo is part of the Muscat family and as well all know Muscat is that sweet, syrupy wine that is now heavily consumed in the States. I thought it would be quite interesting to try a dry Zibibbo and because Zack said he really liked the wine he tried I decided to buy a bottle of it online, to be precise I ordered a bottle of Donnafugata Lighea. 2011 vintage because I found no US online shop that carries the 2012 vintage.

Donnafugata is an Italian winery from Sicily. Sicily is one of the world’s most important regions for Zibibbo production but the grape is actually of Egyptian origin. Next to Cosumano and Planeta, Donnafugata is one of my favorite wineries  from Sicily. The two flagship wines from Donnafugata are Ben Rye, a sweet Zibibbo and Mille E Una Notte, a Nero d’Avola.

Lighea ages in stainless steel and 2 months in the bottle before it’s released on the market.

The wine has a pale yellow color. Medium intense nose with aromas of tropical fruit, candid citrus, rosemary, pear and melon. Smells just like the Ben Rye and the wine pretty much fools you because you think it’s a sweet wine when you smell it but it’s not. In the mouth, Linghea is very, very, very, dry. Almost too dry! The wine has a low acidity and is fresh. There were flavors of peach. Linghea is light and the finale was persistently long.

Linghea is a complicated wine because its nose is so misleading but I strongly recommend that you give this wine a try. It’s available for just $16. Outstanding QPR. According to Donnafugata, professional wine critic Luca Maroni rated this vintage with 95 points.

I’m looking forward to try the Linghea again. It was truly spectacular! What’s your opinion on dry Zibibbo?

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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!

Chablis Wine Tasting Evening

Last saturyday my wife and I were invited to a wine party hosted by one of our friends. The theme this time was Chablis. Chablis is a white wine from Burgundy, France produced with Chardonnay grapes. The appellation Chablis aoc is divided into 3 subregions: Chablis Gran Cru, Peite Chablis and Chablis Premier Cru. The dinner was quite similar to previous dinners that we attended and hosted. Read here about our Italian wine dinner (part 1, part 2).

Throughout the evening we tasted three different Chablis. Should you have tried any of them then please let me know what you think about them.

We started the dinner with a 2011 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos from Domaine Jean Paul & Benoit. Retail price according to Wine Searcher: $63 Les Clos has a fine, intense nose with hints of flint, lemon, apples and white flowers. The palate was amazing. Lots of apple, and citrus fruit. Les Clos is a little bit crisp, has a great structure and is well-balanced. The wine is very dry and has a lingering finish. A must-try!

I thought that this was a great way to start off a dinner but I also thought that it was going to be hard to top this wine.

The second Chablis was a 2009 Domaine William Fevre. Average retail price: $26. On the nose I only found lemon. In the mouth the wine has gripping minerality and notes of green apple and lime. The finish was unexpectedly short. Not that good – especially compared to the Les Clos. I think the wine was over its peak. The QPR could be better here.

The last Chablis that we tried was a 2007 Renne et Vincent Dauvissant Premier Cru. Average retail price: $77. In the glass a pale straw yellow. The nose is a bit closed. On the palate, fresh, salty, stony minerals and taut. Brisk acidity and soft fruit notes. Persistently long finish.

I’m still undecided whether the Premier Cru from Renne et Vincent Dauvissant or the Les Clos is my favorite. Both are outstanding Chablis that I highly recommend. I am a bit disappointed with the Chablis from Domaine William Fevre but it’s also not fair to taste that wine together next to two outstanding Chablis. Looking forward to drink them again.

I have a quick question for you. I’m hosting a dinner next weekend and for dessert I want to serve almond biscotti. What type of wine should I serve with them? Trout will be the main dish (paired with a Pinot Bianco). I still haven’t decided on the appetizer. Any wine suggestions for the almond biscotti are very much appreciated!

That’s all for today. Enjoy your sunday evening folks!

WineTalks is back, Wine Readings #3

WineTalks is officially back!

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog post. Life got in the middle and I simply didn’t have the time to blog but now things look better again! You might remember my wine reading (part 1, part 2) series where I share interesting posts with you.

During my “blogging-free” time I read lots of interesting posts and today I will share the most interesting ones with you! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do and please let me know what you think about the topics.

Wine recommendation of the week

wine fo the week

SassyTuscan Vines
Tuscan Vines wrote a great post about one of my favorite wines from Tuscany: Sassicaia! A must-try wine.

Event of the week

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #2Armchairsommelier 
Armchairsommelier is hosting a monthly wine writing challenge. This month’s theme is ‘trouble’. If you like writing competitions and this is for you!

Interesting review

Keeping the Flor AliveFoxress
A great post about Sherry. What’s your opinion on Sherry?

Article of the week

Star
Are the Prosecco Police Stepping Out of Line? – Joe Errington
Joe wrote a fantastic post about the shadow sides of Prosecco. The article focuses on Italy’s Prosecco turf war with Croatia and on the Italian Prosecco Police led by Andrea Battistella. 

That’s all for today! But before I forget to say it: Winetalks joined Twitter today! If you follow me then I will follow you back 🙂

2004 Tezza Amarone – Or Wine Buying In Pennsylvania

A few weeks ago, one of my business trips took me to Pittsburgh, PA where I experienced something quite weird. In Pittsburgh there seemed to be no wine shops. Instead one of my clientsI went with me “wine shopping” after work at the a store of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. (PLCB) Now I think that no state should regulate the selection of wine because this reminds me of Soviet communism. I believe the state should never regulate the availability of certain goods. Anyways, so we went to this PLCB store because the next day I was invited to a party where I was supposed to bring a (good) bottle of wine. and I have to say that the selection was quite disappointing. I’m so happy that I don’t have to buy wine in Pennsylvania everyday!

The problem I had was that the wines where either really crappy or completely overpriced. At the end I went with a 2004 Tezza Amarone del Valpolicella. I used my phone to do a quick winery check because I was not familiar with Tezza and I wanted to know a little about the wine I was going to take to the party – the store employees weren’t very competent..

Tezza 2004 Amarone retails at PLCB for $49.99 + tax. An okay price compared to most other wines the store carried.

The next day I brought the Amarone to the party where we uncorked it right away. We gave the wine 90 minutes of breathing. The Tezza Amarone has an intense ruby red color. The wine has very strong oak aromas – caramel, cocoa, tobacco – but also red fruits. On the palate, very dry with pleasing tannins. Medium-bodied and easy-to-drink. Wine still tastes quite young with fruit notes. Strong acidity and even stronger alcohol notes. Long finish.

I don’t think i will buy this wine again – at least not for $50 but the wine did it’s job. It was alright for the occasion but next time I’m invited to a party I make sure that I don’t buy the wine in Pennsylvania.

Have you had similar wine buying experiences?

Italian wine dinner part 1

Last weekend my wife and I were invited by friends to an Italian wine dinner. Usually our wine dinners tend to be focused on a single wine or a single region. You can read about our Brunello di Montalcino wine dinner here. I’ve also blogged about a Montepulciano di Abruzzo dinner. It was the birthday party of a good friend of mine and since most of his friends enjoy a good glass of wine he decided to uncork some of his Italian gems. Some people brought wine, too that we opened right away. Since we were around 30 people we went through a lot of wines 🙂

We started with two white wines from St Michael Eppan. Jack, the host, travelled to South Tyrol a few months ago and after visiting the winery he took back a few bottles of 2011 Sanct Valentin Gewurztraminer and some 2010 Sanct Valentin Pinot Bianco. After seeing the bottles I immediately thought about Stefano from Flora’s Table who wrote about the Pinot Grigio from St. Michael Eppan. Sadly I did not get to try that one. His wine review for the Pinot Grigio is worth reading.
The Sanct Valentin Gewurztraminer aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Bright yellow color, intense nose with aromas of peppers, cloves and flowers. The palate was spicy with a lingering finish. Not my type of wine but worth trying. Average price on wine searcher: $32
I liked the Pinot Bianco from Sanct Valentin a lot more but of course Gewrztraminer is one of the most important grapes for wine production in South Tyrol. Nevertheless, I found the bouquet of the Pinot Bianco to be much more interesting with aromas of green apples, melons, hints of pear, butter and vanilla.

1

It has to be said that  50% of the wine aged in small barriques and 50% in in large oak casks. The palate convinced me with a good structure, soft oak notes and and a lingering finish. Pinot Bianco from St. Michael Eppan is an excellent white wine. Average price on wine searcher: $32

We continued with a white wine came from the Marche. We had a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore (I really hate long wine names) from Pievalta which is owned by Barone Pizzini, a winery from Lombardy. Lime, pear, pineapple on the palate. Full-bodied with exotic fruit on the palate. Persistently long finish. The wine won the 3 bicchieri gambero rosso award in 2012. Average price on wine searcher: $20 Excellent PQ ratio!

The last white wine was a Sicilian Chardonnay from Planeta (2010 vintage). It was one of two wines that I brought to the dinner. This was only the second time that I had this wine. The first time I really liked it.

100% Chardonnay that aged in small oak barrels. Golden yellow color. Apricots, almonds, butter, bananas on the nose. Loved it. Well-balanced oak and fruit notes. I tasted some mango, too! Long aftertaste. The wine won the 3 bicchieri gambero rosso award, Average price on wine searcher: $36 I have to thank Julian, for this recommendation. Great wine. If you don’t know his blog then make sure to check it out.

My favorite white wine was the Pinot Bianco from St. Michael Eppan but the Planeta Chardonnay was fantastic as well. The next post will focus on the red wines that we tasted. The list includes wines from Abruzzo, Tuscany and Piedmont. Also if you noticed I was busy over the last week so I didn’t post anything. But I’ll try to post more regularly again..