Tag Archives: news

WiNews: Elena Walch's Pinot Noir "Ludwig" 2010 Wins XII Italian Domestic Pinot Noir Competition

StefanoJust a quick flash to alert you about a piece of news that an Italian producer that I am fond of has been kind enough to share with me.

The 2010 vintage of the “Ludwig” Pinot Noir made by Elena Walch (the Alto Adige winery whose Riesling Castel Ringberg we have recently reviewed) is the fresh winner of the XII Italian Domestic Pinot Noir Competition, which is really exciting news as well as a tangible recognition for Walch’s commitment to quality production.

I hope I will be able to lay my hands on a bottle of the 2010 Ludwig soon so I can publish a full review!

European Wine Wars: after Tocai, it is the time of Prosek… and Teran

StefanoThe international press, Dr Vino and several other sources all recently reported that, as a result of Croatia’s imminent accession to the European Union at the end of a 10-year long process, Croatian wineries will be required to stop using the name “Prosek” to identify a traditional local sweet raisin wine that has been made for centuries mainly in the Dalmatia region from local grape varieties such as Bogdanuša, Maraština, Plavac mali and Pošip.

The reason for the requirement is that, according to EU officials, the name of the Croatian wine is too similar to Italy’s Prosecco and therefore it might be confusing to consumers. And this in spite of Prosek and Prosecco being two very different wines, made out of different grapes (Glera for Prosecco and the Croatian grape varieties mentioned above for Prosek) and in different styles (Prosecco is mostly sparkling and is not a sweet wine, while Prosek is a still, sweet raisin wine).

Unsurprisingly, the EU requirement has caused considerable commotion in the Croatian wine world and some producers indicated that the Croatian authorities are even considering initiating a legal dispute to challenge the EU requirement.

However, the chances that Croatia be allowed to retain its right to use the name “Prosek” for their wine after joining the EU are very slim, as the case is virtually identical to the one that a few years ago prevented Italian winemakers (mostly in Veneto and Friuli) from using the word “Tocai” to identify a local dry wine that had been made for centuries from the homonymous grape variety because the name was too similar to Hungary’s Tokaji, a famous local sweet raisin wine made from Furmint grapes (for more information about the Tokaji/Tocai dispute, please refer to my previous post that dealt with it).

But, as the saying goes, bad news never comes alone, at least for Croatia, that is. Beside the Prosek debacle, Croatia has to face a claim made by neighboring Slovenia that Croatia should also be prevented from using the word “Teran” to identify a red wine that is made in Italy’s region of Friuli, in Slovenia and in Croatia from the grape variety known as Terrano or Teran in Croatia. Slovenia’s claim is based on the fact that the EU granted Slovenia a protected designation of origin for Terrano grapes grown in the Slovenian region of Kras. The European Commission very recently decided the Teran dispute in favor of Slovenia, with a decision that will likely also negatively affect Italian Terrano producers.

Even in this case, the decision gives rise to many doubts, as Terrano is a very ancient variety (the oldest references date back to 1340 in Slovenia) which originated from the Karst plateau, an area that is shared among Italy (Friuli), Slovenia and Croatia (Istria). DNA profiling has also proved that Terrano is identical to Refosco d’Istria (a Croatian variety) and Refosk in Slovenia (information on the Terrano grape variety, cit. Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, HarperCollins 2012).

Given the above, which side of the fray are you on?

Winevent – Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri USA Tour: February 7-15, 2013

Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri USA Tour 2013It appears that a wave of Italian wine is about to wash the shores of the U.S.: beside the Vinitaly International/Slow Wine event that is scheduled for January 28 in New York (for more information and other dates/cities, see our previous Winevent post), Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri World Tour will make three stops in the U.S., as follows:

  • February 7: San Francisco, CA
  • February 12: Chicago, IL
  • February 15: New York, NY

This event is open to media, trade and “Italian wine collectors” (sic) only – links to register for any of the three locations above are available on Gambero Rosso’s Web site. Tre Bicchieri USA 2013 is an event that is not to be missed for those who qualify and are into Italian wine, as the organizers will showcase a selection of only those Italian wines and producers that have been awarded the coveted top “tre bicchieri” (i.e., three glasses) recognition by reputable Gambero Rosso wine guide.

Just to give you an idea,  in an imaginary tour of Italy from North to South, the list of the wines that won the prestigious tre bicchieri includes, limiting ourselves to just one wine per region and trying to avoid the most obvious among the “usual suspects”:

  • Northern Italy: Les Crêtes‘ Chardonnay Cuvée Bois (Valle d’Aosta); Cogno‘s Barolo Vigna Elena Riserva (Piemonte); Bio Vio‘s Riviera Ligure di Ponente Vermentino Aimone (Liguria); Berlucchi‘s Franciacorta Brut Cellarius (Lombardia); Ferrari‘s Trento Extra Brut Perlé Nero (Trentino); Muri Gries‘s Alto Adige Lagrein Abtei Muri Riserva (Alto Adige); Masi‘s Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Mazzano (Veneto); Vie di Romans‘s Isonzo Sauvignon Piere (Friuli); Chiarli‘s Lambrusco di Sorbara Del Fondatore (Emilia Romagna);
  • Central Italy: Fonterutoli‘s Mix 36 (Toscana); Oasi degli Angeli‘s Kurni (Marche); Caprai‘s Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni (Umbria); Cataldi Madonna‘s Pecorino (Abruzzo);
  • Southern Italy: Mastroberardino‘s Taurasi Radici (Campania); Basilisco‘s Aglianico del Vulture Basilisco (Basilicata); Planeta‘s Chardonnay (Sicilia); Argiolas‘s Turriga (Sardegna).

For the entire list of awarded wines, check out Gambero Rosso’s Web site.

Much like in the case of Vinitaly International/Slow Wine NYC 2013, we plan on attending the Gambero Rosso event in New York City and reporting on Flora’s Table thereafter.

Winevent – January 28, 2013: Vinitaly International & Slow Wine 2013 in NYC

VinitalyWe are happy to report some pretty exciting news for Italian wine lovers and those who would just like to know more about it first-hand: for the first time ever, Slow Food Editore (the publisher of the Slow Wine Guide, a guide in English to Italian wines) and Vinitaly (the largest Italian wine fair in the world) join forces to showcase an impressive selection of Italian wine labels and to offer American wine trade a broad array of events, including Italian wine tastings (some of which will apparently be conducted through an interactive iPad app – sounds pretty cool!), educational sessions as well as B2B and B2C events. In this context, Slow Food will also present the 2013 edition of its English-language Italian wine guide, Slow Wine.

Vinitaly International & Slow Wine 2013 USA will be held on January 28, 2013 in New York City at Three Sixty°, 10 Desbrosses Street (between Hudson & Greenwich). The program will include:

  • 12:00 noon: Opening press conference
  • 1:00 to 5:00 pm: Walk-around wine tasting open to trade and press
  • 6:30 to 9:00 pm: Wine tasting open to consumers

I am glad to report that Flora’s Table will participate in this event and will cover it on this blog, so if you plan on attending, make sure to let me know, but if you cannot make it to the Big Apple to take part in it, do not despair and just stay tuned: we will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about it! 😉

To register for the Vinitaly International NYC event, go to Vinitaly International’s Web site and for purchasing tickets to the Slow Food NYC event, check out Slow Food’s Web site. Lists of participating wineries are available here (Slow Food) and here (Vinitaly International).

Finally, a repeat of this joint event will be held on January 30, 2013 in Miami, FL, at the Miami Beach Resort and Spa, while Slow Wine USA 2013 will make one last stop on February 4, 2013 in San Francisco, CA, at the Terra Gallery: for more information, refer to Slow Food’s Web site and to Vinitaly International’s Save the Date card or Web site.

Slow Wine

WineNews from Planeta Vino ;-)

I am glad to share with you a few interesting pieces of news that I have received from the guys at Planeta, one of the truly outstanding Sicilian producers who have marked the rebirth of quality winemaking in Sicily since the Nineties. Planeta has quite a differentiated offering of wines, with traditional peaks of excellence in their Sicilia IGT Chardonnay and Cometa wines (the latter being made out of 100% Fiano white-berried grapes) and very solid performers in their Noto Nero d’Avola “Santa Cecilia” DOC (on which, see our Veal Skewers – Recommended Wine Pairing post) and Syrah “Maroccoli” Sicilia IGT, to name a few.

Well, on to the news:

  1. Planeta’s latest addition to its array of wineries just became fully operational this year: it is called Feudo di Mezzo and is located on the slopes of Mount Etna (Sicily’s notoriously active volcano). This latest property complements Planeta’s four pre-existing Sicilian wineries: Ulmo in Sambuca (1995), Dispensa in Menfi and Dorilli in Vittoria (2001), Buonivini in Noto (2003).
  2. The 2012 harvest from Planeta’s Mount Etna vineyards is the first one to be processed at the new Feudo di Mezzo winery, where four of Planeta’s wines will be produced: (i) two Sicilia IGT wines, a Carricante IGT and a Nerello Mascalese IGT, from the Sciara Nuova vineyard (which features an excellent density of 5,000 to 10,000 vines/HA and lies outside of the Etna DOC area), in which Planeta’s enologists have been experimenting by adding small quantities of Riesling and Pinot Noir (respectively) to the base grapes; as well as (ii) an Etna Bianco DOC wine made from white-berried Carricante grapes and an Etna Rosso DOC wine made from black-berried Nerello Mascalese grapes.
  3. A first “pilot” batch of just 6,000 bottles of the 2010 Nerello Mascalese Sicilia IGT, the first vintage from the Sciara Nuova vineyard, has recently been released. It is made out of 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes (unlike future releases which might be blended with Pinot Noir), it has 13.5% VOL and it is supposed to have an “intense and elegant aroma” coupled with well-defined tannins: I hope I will be able to lay my hands on a bottle of it and get to try it for myself next year, when hopefully volumes will be greater.
  4. The first vintage of Planeta’s first Spumante Metodo Classico has also been recently relased: Planeta’s first attempt at a Classic Method sparkling wine is a Sicilia IGT wine made out 100% Carricante white-berried grapes from their Montelaguardia vineyard on Mount Etna, rests on its lees for 15 to 18 months and is available only in the Brut variety. It is supposed to give out fine pear, grass and mineral aromas and to be “vibrant and lean on the palate“: I would certainly be interested in giving this very peculiar wine a try, if I can get hold of a bottle.
  5. The guys at Planeta reported that the recently completed 2012 harvest had peaks of excellence in the Menfi and Sambuca vineyards, yielding amazing quality in their red wines, especially Nero d’Avola, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, which are rich and varietal with an excellent tannic structure. In the Noto and Vittoria vineyards the harvest was also memorable for Nero d’Avola, thanks to the dry and cool month of September. Planeta’s 2012 Nero d’Avola is said to exhibit structure, balance, bright colors and exuberant nose accompanied by high alcohol, which makes them “expect unique Cerasuolo and Santa Cecilia wines.” Definitely something to be looking forward to!

For more information, please refer to Planeta’s Web site or contacts.

As always, let me know if you get to try any of these wines and want to share your views on them. Cheers!

Just Out: Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines of 2012

So, it’s that time of the year once again: today venerable Wine Spectator magazine published their Top 10 Wines of 2012… according to them, of course! 🙂

In a nutshell, these are the comments I would like to share with you about this year’s top rankings:

  • Shafer Vineyard‘s Relentless Napa Valley 2008 (a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah grapes) is Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year 2012
  • Only 3 U.S. wines made it to the top 10 (2 from California and 1 from Oregon), down from 4 last year, although one of them was picked as Wine of the Year 2012
  • Only 1 Italian wine made it to the top 10 scoring the ninth place and 94 points (Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona‘s Brunello di Montalcino 2007 DOCG) compared to 2 last year
  • France put 4 of their wines in the top 10, up from 3 last year
  • Just like in 2011, 9 of the top wines are red and only one is white (and, just like last year, the only white wine in the top 10 is a sweet wine)
  • Syrah is present in variable percentages ranging from 100% down to 10% in all of the top 4 wines, with the Wine of the Year being a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah (note that, despite the name, the latter is a separate grape variety from Syrah, which comes from a cross between Syrah and Peloursin vines) and in the third place there being an Australian Shiraz (100% Syrah grapes)

For more detailed information, please refer to Wine Spectator’s Website. I hope you are fortunate enough to get to enjoy one of the top 10 wines of this year!

Winevent – November 17-19, 2012: Golosaria, Milan (Italy)

If you happen to be in Milan, Italy, in November, consider stopping by Golosaria Milano 2012, a food and wine fair organized by Club Papillon featuring 100 Italian food producers and 100 Italian winemakers.

With regard to wine, Golosaria will host both a tasting table and individual booths for all the 100 wineries that have been selected by the organizers of the event through their “Top One Hundred Wines” awards. Unsurprisingly, if you browse the list of the wineries that participate in the event, you will note that it includes many excellent winemakers that are definitely worth stopping by if you make it there. Some of my personal favorites, in no particular order, include:

Golosaria Milano 2012 will be at Palazzo del Ghiaccio e Frigoriferi Milanesi, Via G.B. Piranesi, 14, Milan (Italy) on November 17 to 19. Please refer to Golosaria’s Web site for more information and to download an invitation or register for a workshop. Unfortunately, their Web site is only in Italian: should you need help getting the information you need to get there or register, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below or just drop us an email: we will be glad to help you out.

As always, if you make it there, please leave a comment on this page to let us all know how you liked it!

Winevent – October 25-29, 2012: Salone Internazionale del Gusto – Terra Madre, Turin (Italy)

If you happen to be in Turin, Italy, starting today and until October 29, 2012 you may consider stopping by the Salone Internazionale del Gusto – Terra Madre, an international food and wine fair organized by the international Slow Food association showcasing the products of 1000 producers from 100 countries. There is also a Wine Store showcasing 1200 bottles from all over Italy: if you are curious as to which wineries are going to be present, you can check them out by browsing their Wine List.

As far as wine is concerned, on Sunday October 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm at Rampa Nord del Lingotto trade fair complex you may consider buying tickets (at EUR 50 each) to participate in Slow Wine 2013, a wine tasting event with over 1000 wines from 600 wineries reviewed by the Slow Wine 2013 guide (a complimentary guide will be presented to ticketed attendees).

The Salone Internazionale del Gusto – Terra Madre is at the Lingotto Fiere trade fair complex, at Via Nizza 280, Turin, Italy. Free apps for iPhone and Android are also available with the full program of the event, a map and a list of exhibitors.

Finally, if you are interested in the Slow Food association and their activities, this is some general information about them as indicated in the International Slow Food Web Site: “Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 100,000 members joined in 1,300 convivia – our local chapters – worldwide, as well as a network of 2,000 food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality foods.”

If you are based in the United States and want to know more about Slow Food, you can check out the U.S. Slow Food Web Site and the locations of their several U.S. chapters.

As always, if you make it to Turin and want to share your experience at the Salone Internazionale del Gusto – Terra Madre, go ahead and leave a comment below!

Winevent – October 20-22, 2012: Tuscany Wine Fair, Arezzo (Italy)

If you happen to be in or around Tuscany next week, you should consider stopping by Arezzo any day between the 20th and the 22nd of October to visit not only that beautiful Tuscan town but also and especially Tuscany Wine, a fair that has been organized in coordination with VinItaly (the most important Italian wine fair) to showcase and promote the best Tuscan wines.

Tuscany Wine will be at Arezzo Fiere e Congressi, Via Spallanzani 23, Arezzo and will be open daily from 10:00am to 8:00pm, tickets are EUR 10 each.

If you go, you will have the opportunity to taste wines made by the more than 200 Tuscan producers who will be present at the fair. In addition, Sunday October 21 will be entirely focused on biodynamic wines. The fair will also include a Cooking Show where chefs from the Italian Chef Federation and the Regional Union of Tuscan Chefs will present traditional Tuscan dishes spiced up with a modern twist which will be paired with Tuscan wines selected by the Italian Sommelier Association.

For more information please check out the full program of Tuscany Wine on the fair’s Website: unfortunately, it is only in Italian, but if you have any questions feel free to email me and I will be happy to help you out.

And if you happen to go visit Tuscany Wine, please make sure to let us all know how you liked it by leaving a comment below!