It’s already time for this summer’s 2nd WINE TASTING “Under the Stars”, set amidst the now-burgeoning grapevines in our Italian gardens. For this event on THURSDAY JULY 2O at 6:30 we have chosen the theme “PICNIC ON THE TIBER”, reflecting our choice of an all-Italian lineup with wines that show a particular affinity for outdoor dining.
If you’re looking for wines that are absolutely perfect for summer grilling, picnics, vacations and parties, you’ll find them here. These include Italy’s most famous Rose, the crisp, dry white from the hill-top vineyards of Orvieto, and three totally different reds: Barbera from Piedmont, Cannonau (aka Grenache) from Sardinia and Valpolicella from the Veneto.
As always our wine tasting will be conducted outdoors in our lush garden, weather permitting of course. The event includes a selection of antipasti and professional commentary from an industry representative.
Cost for the wine tasting is $35 per person. Reservations are required. Please call Stellina directly at 617-924-9475 to make the reservation and insure prompt confirmation.
ROSATO DI CARMIGNANO, VIN RUSPO, TUSCANY
This Rosè di Carmignano DOC is linked to the tradition of sharecropping, when farmers gathered or “ruspava” the grape must before bringing the grapes to the winery. Today it is the brief contact with the skins that gives this wine its beautiful pink colour. Vin Ruspo is made with Sangiovese, Cabernet and Canaille grapes. At Carmignano the vines have been cultivated already pre-Roman era, about 3000 years ago, as the Wine jars and tasting cups found in Etruscan tombs demonstrate. In the archives of state of Florence was found a parchment dated 804: it is a lease that as early as 1200 years ago in Capezzana vines and olives were cultivated for the production of oil and wine.
Rosato di Carmignano is a rose-specific DOC of Italy’s most famous wine region, Tuscany. It complements the dry red Carmignano and Barco Reale di Carmignano wines which are made around the Carmignano commune, as well as the sweet Vin Santo di Carmignano and its pink Occhio di Pernice variant.
The grape at the heart of these rose (rosato) wines is, perhaps obviously, Sangiovese the favorite grape of Tuscany and particularly of this area. But, as with all rosato and red wines made locally, it is joined by Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (up to a maximum of 20%), and even white grapes Trebbiano Toscano, Canaiolo Blanco and Malvasia Bianco.
COLOUR: Rosé colour.
NOSE: Fruity, oral, ample and clean.
PALATE: Soft, harmonic, with well balanced acidity. Long fruity FInish
CASTELLO DELLA SALA ORVIETO CLASSICO SUPERIORE “SAN GIOVANNI” UMBRIA –
Grapes: 50% Grechetto, 25% Procanico, 25% Pinot Blanc and Viognier
The first vintage of the Castello della Sala Orvieto Classico was the 1990. With the 1997 vintage, the wine became an Orvieto Classico Superiore (the new “Superiore” appellation was created in 1997 and signifies that the yield per acre in the vineyard must be lower than that of a regular Orvieto Classico, that the grapes must be picked at a high level of ripeness, and that the wine cannot be commercially released until March 1st following the harvest). The Castello della Sala is located approximately 10 miles (18 kilometers) from the cathedral city of Orvieto and is an example of medieval military architecture. Its vineyards enjoy an ideal micro-climate for the production of wines which require a cooler than average climate, for example white wines.
Tasting Notes: A light straw yellow with greenish highlights in color, the wine shows a fruity nose with notes of citrus fruit, peaches, and pineapples. The structure and the acidity balance one another and the finish and aftertaste are lively and persistent.
WINE ENTHUSIAST : 91 POINTS! Heady aromas of citrus blossom, tropical fruit and yellow stone fruit lead the way. The fresh, enjoyable palate doles out apricot, pineapple, nectarine and a hint of chopped herb alongside lively acidity.
BARBERA “BRICCO DEI MERLI”, ELVIO COGNO, PIEDMONT
The Elvio Cogno winery sits on the top of Bricco Ravera, a hill near Novello in the Langhe area of Piedmont, one of the eleven communes in which Barolo is produced. The cellar is housed in an 18th-century manor farm surrounded by 11 hectares of land, all occupied by vineyards.
After a long and fruitful partnership with Marcarini at La Morra, in 1990 Cogno bought a splendid historical farm in the family village and restored it to its former glory. Today the winery nestles in a breathtaking landscape between the hills and the sky. At sunset on clear days, a wonderful turquoise horizon frames the farm like a painting. Hence the name of this exceptional wine land: ‘Petorchino’, or blue feet.
The Cogno family has been making wine in the Langhe area for four generations: the values of history and tradition handed down by father Elvio are enhanced by the freshness and innovation introduced by his daughter Nadia and her husband Valter Fissore
TASTING NOTES: Bright ruby red in color with clear crimson highlights. Deep, full aromas, elegant, well-balanced and enduring, reminiscent of rose, undergrowth and oriental spices. Very powerful bouquet, sweetened by an overall softness. Fine structure accompanied by lively acidic freshness. Flavors conjure up Morello cherry and plum jam with a long finish of withered grapes.
Wine Spectator 90 points!- “Plum, almond and chocolate flavors permeate this concentrated, powerful red. On the chunky side, with a firm structure. Ideal for dishes like bagna càuda, agnolotti or salumi.”
MURA CANNONAU, SARDINIA
Cannonau is the Sardinian name for the red wine grape known elsewhere as Grenache or Garnacha. The best known Cannonau wines belong to the Cannonau di Sardegna Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) on the island of Sardinia. The grape’s name is sometimes spelled Cannonao.
Azienda Vitivinicola Mura is in the north west of the island near Olbia, six kilometres inland and was established in 1975 by Filippo Mura, the father of Salvatore and Marianna, as a hobby. He planted 7 hectares of vineyards on the old bed of a river after levelling the land out and removing a lot of the granite rocks. A huge granite rock can still be seen among the vines. The sea breezes meet here with the breezes that blow from the mountains creating a particular microclimate and lowering the temperature in the afternoon and at night. Bear in mind that the temperature can go up to 40-41 degrees Celsius in August!
Marianna’s version of Cannonau is different from the traditional one: the grapes are harvested earlier, the maceration with the skins is short (five days) so as to make fresh and fruity wines, with cherry and strawberry notes, wines that are appreciated also by a young public.
TRIVIA: Perhaps the most interesting thing about Cannonau is its association with longevity. Sardinians tend to live long lives, well into their 90s, and a key factor seems to be their diet (besides lifestyle and family bonds). Cannonau seems to have the highest levels of polyphenols of any wine, antioxidants linked to heart health, protecting from cardiovascular disease. It is also rich in anthocyanins (commonly found in berries), naturally occurring compounds responsible for the red/purple color of red-wine grapes, with antioxidant effects as well. This does not mean you have to get drunk on Cannonau: locals drink an average of two glasses a day.
LA SALETTE VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO “I PROGNI”, VENETO
Deep ruby red in the glass with a rich bouquet of ripe forest berries, leather and tobacco. Intense, round and rich balanced by notes of cinnamon, dark chocolate, dried cherries and tobacco resin.
Ripasso tecnique: Ripasso is a red wine from the Valpolicella zone located north of Verona in the Veneto region of Italy.
The term “Ripasso” sounds like and in fact means “repassed.” That refers to its production process whereby regular, fermented Valpolicella (which is a blend of three regional native red grape varieties – Corvina, Rondinella and occasionally Molinara) is added to a cask containing the skins and lees left over from recently fermented Amarone wines. The process of adding (or “repassing”) the lighter Valpolicella wine over the remainders of the “bigger” Amarone wine imparts additional color, texture and flavor to the Valpolicella wine. Also, it induces a second fermentation of the wine that increases the wine’s alcoholic content.
The end result is a wine called Ripasso that retains the vibrancy of Valpolicella but is darker in color, bigger and more flavorful and complex than the original Valpolicella.
Ripasso wines are sometimes casually referred to as “baby Amarones.” The same combination of grape varieties from the Valpolicella zone used to produce Ripasso are also used to produce Amarone. The two wines also share some of the same aroma and flavor profiles
Blend: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina