Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2017 Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo ($10)

This wine is produced from the white grape called Trebbiano Abruzzesa, a grape variety from the Abruzzo Chieti province of Italy.

Codice Citra wines are estate grown and bottled from a collection of family owned vineyards. In 1973, 3,000 small family growers decided to unite to form this winery. Their small vineyards, some just two acres in size, continue to be maintained by the families with passion and personal care.

The vineyards stretch north to south along the Adriatic coast and east to west from the sea to Magella Mountain.

This wine is lightly crushed and cold macerated from hand-harvested grapes. It was then fermented in stainless steel tanks and went through full malolactic conversion.

This process results in a wine that is crisp with bright citrus flavors and mouth-watering acidity.

Once again, this wine is the perfect fit to be featured as the Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week. It’s a real nice wine and a great value. Look for this one! Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White of Donna White Communications

Codice Citra recently inducted decorated winemaker, Ricardo Cotarella as executive enologist and partnered with LLS (Leonardo LoCascio Selections), a member of The Winebow Group as their exclusive U.S. importer (Winebow Inc., New York, NY · thewinebowgroup.com)

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2017 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina ($22.99)

I always enjoy learning something new about the wine world and this 100% Falanghina from Feudi di San Gregorio in Italy is just another example.

Prior to this bottle, I was not aware of the Falanghina grape. It turns out that it is an indigenous Italian grape from the Campania region, near Mount Vesuvius. And, it's no surprise that this grape isn't planted much outside of the Campania region of southern Italy.

These grapes were hand-harvested then individually selected for soft pressing, followed by 24-48 hours of cold settling at 57 degrees F. Cold fermentation in stainless steel vats and no malolactic conversion means that this wine holds true to its fruit flavors.

It has a nice light straw color, delicate flavors of apple and pear and crisp acidity that makes for a mouth-watering finish. Its delicate flavors and bold acidity make a chilled glass of this wine enjoyable on its own. But, it also pairs wonderfully with cheeses and light foods.

So, add Falanghina to your list to try if you haven't already. This one from Feudi di San Gregorio is a winner!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Learn More About Appassimento Wine

Stacks of Appassimento Drying Racks

Stacks of Appassimento Drying Racks

A friend of mine recently recommended a wine that he really liked. When he showed me the wine's label I saw that it was an Italian Appassimento. That's a wine that I was not previously familiar with, so I took a look on-line and found a brief description of it. Soon thereafter, I went on the hunt for the wine so that I could give it a try. Unfortunately, I was unable to find it in any of my local stores, so he graciously brought me a bottle to try.

Simply put, Appassimento wines are made from grapes that have been dried before being pressed. The grapes are harvested and laid out on racks in large temperature controlled drying rooms for up to six months. After drying, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and fermented.

Appassimento (Dried) Grapes

Appassimento (Dried) Grapes

But, since the dried grapes lose up to 50% of their water during the drying process, the result of the press (i.e., the resulting must) is quite rich and concentrated. And, high in sugar. But, typically, the high sugar content simply results in high alcohol wines (15-16% ABV) when fermentation is completed. These wines are then generally barrel aged for one to two years before being bottled. The resulting wines are full-bodied, concentrated in dark fruit flavors and, not surprisingly, have just a hint of raisin flavor to them.

The Appassimento process is used traditionally in Italian wine regions to make the popular Amarone, Recioto, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Sforzato wines. The best known, Amarone Valpolicella, is the high-end of wines from Valpolicella and commands the highest prices.

While you can find inexpensive Appassimento wines (and the one I tried was well under $20), the process simply makes it more expensive.  First, you have to add a large, temperature controlled drying facility. Then, you have the labor involved in laying out all the grapes on the drying racks and stacking them. Finally, when it comes time to make the wine, it takes a lot more dried grapes to make a bottle of Appassimento than to make other wines. So, the cost of a bottle of Amarone Valpolicella can easily be the $50 - $80 price range.

So, keep your eyes out for an Appassimento and give it a try! Cheers!

 

Try A Different Wine for a Change

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I just took a week-long trip to the east coast. Not a wine-focused trip. But, nonetheless, I did pick up a couple bottles to enjoy in the evenings. Being a Californian, it's really easy to immediately look on the shelves for a nice California wine.  But, this time I decided to try a different wine for a change.

Being on the east coast, and a bit closer to Europe (well, nearly halfway there!), I decided to pick one bottle of wine from France and one from Italy. While it can seem really tough to pick out French and Italian wines, I came at it from a simple approach. I simply looked for wines any wines that were in my typical price range. 

I started with the French wines.  I spotted several upper-shelf wines that fit the price range. But, then I spotted a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Knowing that great red blends come from this region, I picked up the bottle.

Then, I turned my attention to the Italian wines.  Again, scanning the upper shelves, I spotted several bottles of Chianti.  And, seeing a 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva (and spotting the Black Rooster), I picked it up. (And, yes, the 'Riserva' truly distinguishes it from the more common Chianti.)

In both cases, I was very pleased with each bottle of wine.  The Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a blend of up to 13 varietals) was rich and flavorful while the Chianti had wonderful bright cherry flavor.

I could have gone with a couple of bottles of go-to wine from California, but I'm really glad I tried something a bit different. And, you should too. It's a fun way to get exposed to some different flavors. And, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised with your choices.

Cheers!

Barbera - A Wine Originally from Italy

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Last time we took a look at Barbera, a wine that hasn't gotten the respect it deserves. And, I mentioned that my first exposure to Barbera was a real eye-opening experience.

Unfortunately, in California, the Barbera grape has predominately been used in the production of mass-produced jug wines in the past. So, it's no surprise that Barbera has gotten a bad reputation.

But, that's changing. Regions throughout California are now producing some very nice Barbera wines, especially the Sierra Foothills, Amador County, Shenandoah Valley and El Dorado Counties in northern California.

But, Barbera has its origins in another famous wine region of the world - Italy.  Barbera is actually one of the most widely planted grapes in Italy. It is a common table wine in the Piedmont region, where it is often referred to as the "wine of the people" because it is plentiful and, yes, cheap.

Even in the famous Piedmont wine region of Italy, Barbera is overshadowed by the Nebbiolo and Dolcetto wines. But, Italian Barbera has a lot of very positive traits. So much so that it's even been referred to as the "poor man's Pinot Noir." That's because Barbera from Italy has traditionally been lighter in body with bright fruity flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Sound familiar? It should, because if you know Pinot Noir, you know that it too has those same red-fruit flavor profiles.

So, look for Barbera from Italy. You're likely to see it from various regions labelled as Barbera d' Asti, Barbera d' Alba and Barbera del Monferrato. But don't confuse these great Italian Barbera wines with Barbaresco. It may sound similar, but that's a wine made from the Nebbiolo grape.

Whether it's from Italy or California, or any other region of the world, give a Barbera a try. It's well worth it. Cheers!