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…spontaneously fermenting

A (quick) tasting note: 2009 Carussin Barbera d’Asti Lia Ví

Although the single vineyard Lia Ví 2010, (made without the addition of sulfur for the first time), is available now & super delicious, I decided to retaste the 2009 and provide you with a quick note.

November 10th, 20:38 -HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Appearance:  no development showing on this still young wine. A dark-ish garnet-red with bluish reflections.

Nose: Pure Barbera. Frutti di bosco (wild berries – mostly black, but some hints of red), hints of forest floor and black truffle.  Floral, mostly purple

Palate:  Great fruit attack with a minerality that gives the wine the feeling that it’s lightly sparkling, which it is not. Medium ripe acidity lending to the wine’s  juiciness, the juiciness you might get if you put a handful full of super ripe berries in your mouth.  Smooth, feminine tannins, just enough to make you reach for that semi-mature toma-Piemontese.  A slightly bitter,  semi-long finish.

I have stated before that I felt that Carussin creates bench-mark Barbera’s that everybody should be envious of. Not only the finished wine, but the grapes on the vine. This wine is alive and fun to drink.  A wine that can complement all parts of the meal, even white fish without pretentions. Enjoy…

Bruna’s babies

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Asti, biodynamic wine, Italy, Piemonte

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A tasting note: L103 09 Carussin Il Carica L’Asino VdT

L103 09, what? This wine is a Vino da Tavola (VdT), table wine in English. And by laws governing wine labeling in Europe, they are not allowed to put the vintage on the label. So, one way to let us know just exactly when those grapes were picked, wine makers often use L (lot) numbers to help indicate vintage. In this case, 2009.

European governing wine laws also don’t allow wine makers to put the ingredients on the back label of their wine bottles; something that is found on all food items. People just take it for granted that wine is a natural product and that of course, the wines we are consuming contain grapes, and only grapes.  Many of us know that this is just not the case. There are many (even 100) additives used in every-day wine making; some natural, some not.

This why I chose to drink not only wines that I enjoy and love, but I chose to drink wines that are made with grapes, and most of the time, only grapes. Nothing added, nothing taken.

Carussin is one of my favorite producers in Piemonte, a region known for it’s age-worthy Barolo’s & Barbaresco’s, neither of which Carussin produces. They produce wines of simplicity, wines of great fruit character and wines of consistent quality, made with nothing  more than quality, biodynamically grown grapes (a bit of sulfur is used, and that’s it).  Their Barbera d’Asti Asinoi  is my favorite barbera, and I often use it as a benchmark to which I compare other barbera’s. In my opinion, very few other barbera’s stand up to the fruit quality of the Asinoi, and once the price is considered, it’s a difficult barbera to beat.

The wine I tasted for this tasting note is Carussin’s entry level wine, Il Carica L’Asino. In 2005, a small farmhouse was purchased in the Valle Asinari region by Bruna Ferro & Luigi Garberoglio.  Soon after, the family discovered the diversity of two small parcels of “Cortese Alto Monferrato” grapes which sparked their curiosity.  They investigated a bit further by speaking to the previous owner, a sprightly & kind lady aged 83 years.  She explains that her and her husband began to plant cuttings of  Il Carica L’Asino (load on the donkey) on his land in the Valle Asinari after discovering  from friends in Acqui Termi, the existence of  this ancient Ligurian vine.  This is a curious coincidence that links Bruna’s love for the Asino (donkey) and this ancient Ligurian variety.

The biodynamically-grown Cortese Alto Monferrato & Il Carica L’Asino grapes for this wine are usually harvested in the first two weeks of September by hand.  The grapes are crushed and left to spontaneously ferment on their own in stainless steel.  Nothing is added during the entire process except a bit of sulfur.  A light filtration before bottling, and there you have it!

 

Here is some nerdy information:

Grapes:  Carica L’Asino and Cortese Alto Monferrato
Alcohol: 12  %
Residual Sugar:  0,0  g/l
Total Acidity:  6,0  g/l
PH:  3,3  g/l
Volatile Acidity:  0,30  g/l
Total SO2:  30  mg/l

 

Date tasted:  May 25th, 2011 19:24 - melanzane (eggplant) alla parmigiana in the oven!

Appearance: medium intense yellow with green reflexes. No age showing

Nose: a youthful, vibrant, medium intense nose of sweet yellow plums, arctic cloud berries and hints of elderflower. Subtle notes of sweet lime on the back end

Palate: Fresh, crisp and very fruity. Yellow plums dominate with a delicate mineral touch to give the wine a (slight) touch of weight, while remaining light and playful. Bitter almond hints surround the fruit. Medium, ripe acidity that cleans the mouth well and helps the wine linger around just long enough to remind you just how balanced this wine is. Five minutes in the glass and one degree warmer, and I find very slight hints of yeast and bread, but only slight. The bitterness also intesnifies a tad, which in my opinion makes the wine more interesting. A very well balanced, although simple, wine with a moderate 12% of alcohol. Great for aperitif or with simple tomato based dishes – like my melanzane alla parmigiana!

 

19:40

Nose: hints of hay start to appear.

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Asti, biodynamic wine, Italy, Piemonte

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A Tasting Note: Valli Unite Dolcetto Diogene 2009

What?! A cooperative making wines without the addition of Sulfur?! Is this possible? Yes it is!  The Valli Unite coop in Alessandria, Piemonte was formed over 30 years ago by three men who merged their vineyards and built stalls for their farm animals in order to use organic manure.  They saw organic farming as the way of the future, and from this was born the Valli Unite coop.

Today, they are a group of 25 people working together.  Their viticulture follows closely the belief that wine drinkers should drink  little, but well.  In their wine production, the aim is to let the wine remain as alive as possible so that it is the true reflection of the grape.  They use old cement vats to ferment their reds later transferring them to barrels.  This wine was bottled without filtration. No sulfur was used from the beginning of fermentation to time of bottling.  Here are my thoughts:

Date Tasted:  November 7th, 2010 20:42 (8:42pm) – decanted after 5 minutes

Appearance: Dark purple with light purple edges. Great color extraction and very young in appearance.

Nose: Dark berries, especially black berries with fresh red fruits in the background. «frutti di bosco» (forest berries). Slightly reductive… will decant… purple gooseberries and hints of barnyard and crushed, dried leafs. Smells like a freshly fermented wine.

Palate: slight fizz on the tongue, very slight. Frutti di bosco all the way with tremendous structure, medium (ripe) acidity and gripping tannins. Medium length finish (approx 20 seconds). A very structured wine that has lot’s of mouth feel. I don’t mean «velvety» -  rather chewy, rustic and a bit «rough». Well integrated 13.5% alcohol.   Not an elegant wine, but a very honest wine which begs for grilled sausage.

21:10 (9:10pm) almost half hour in decanter

Nose: The wine is much more floral (roses) now then before. The reductive notes have fallen to the background and are no longer as noticeable.

Palate: some sour red plums on the finish now. Tannins have stepped up a bit and now dominate a bit.

November 8th, 21:52 (9:52pm)

Nose: more fruit showing and less reduction. Tree bark.  Blackberries and raspberries. Also some black currants and purple gooseberries. Very slight hints of dark licorice and bitter almonds (like found in the pit of a peach)

Palate: Still has very grippy tannins, really feels like you are chewing on the pips of the freshly picked grapes. Pure fruit quality in my opinion. Mostly dark berries, but yet a fresh wine. Hints of licorice and dried leafs. Again, really strong character of pure grapes and the pips. Really more open then yesterday. A slightly bitter finish. Really enjoying this wine today – just like eating the grapes off the vine. Picture this – you walk into a vineyard and grab a handful, and I mean a handful, of healthy, ripe dolcetto grapes and just pop them in your mouth. This should give the idea of the how this wine is every time I take a sip. This is one unsulfured wines which I feel could benefit from some storage – let’s say a year or two?  And you know I love my wines young.

November 9th, 18:15 (6:15pm)

Nose: More earth and dark berries. Hints of lavender. Alcohol also more noticeable on the nose than it was in previous days.

Palate: A bit rounder today. Tannins  softened a bit. The finish is a bit more leafy. Just as fresh as the first day opened, but the tannins seem a bit more integrated today and the finish is more «almondy» now, which I love.  Alcohol still not noticeable on the palate, well integrated.

I drank the last glass and a half with a homemade burger topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions and avocado… gotta say that the wine was a bit too much for the burger, even with the cheese and onions. Although Dolcetto’s are often paired with «carne cruda» (or beef tartare) with the raw egg and the fixings in Piemonte, this dolcetto would be too much in my opinion. Try this wine with another Piemontese speciality,  fresh pasta with rabbit ragu. Or if you are in Norway, like I am, try with some duck confit. With the wild flavors of the duck, this wine should pair well.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Alessandria, Italy, natural wine (just about), Piemonte

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Two Tasting Notes: Ferdinando Principiano’s Dolcetto & Barbera

The estate, located in Monforte d’Alba, was founded in the 1950′s by Ferdinando’s father Americo.  Ferdinando took over the estate from his father in 1993 and since 2004, Ferdinando has removed all chemicals from the vinification process, including sulfur (which he has almost completely eliminated except for a pinch in his Barolo).  His viticulture practice also respects nature and the grapes she gives by eliminating all industrial fertilizers, herbicides, etc.  Natural yeasts spontaneously ferment his wines without the control of temperature.  The resulting wines are fresh, juicy and easy to drink on their own, but just like most real wine, pair fantastically with food.  His 2005 Barolo Serralunga was a perfect companion with a fresh whale course that we were serving up at the restaurant last month.   Approximate annual production is about 50,000 bottles total.

2009 Dolcetto d’Alba Sant’Anna

The grapes for this wine come from the Sant’Anna vineyard in Monforte d’Alba.  The grapes are planted with a density of about 5000 vines/HA at an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level.  Harvest occurred at the end of September and of course is by hand.  Fermentation in stainless steel was spontaneous and continued on the skins for about 20 days without temperature control.  The wine then remained in the tanks for about 10 months before being bottled.  Approximately 5000 bottles were produced.

Date tasted: July 15th, 2010 1800

Appearance: Med dark  red with purple edges. Very young looking, and of course it is!

Nose: Very open and floral.  Medium intense nose of raspberries, cherries and plums.

Palate:  “sweet” red fruit. Raspberries & cherries. Medium tannins and medium acidity.  Very balanced and well-integrated alcohol.  Very fresh wine with a medium-long finish.

2008 Barbera d’Alba Laura

The grapes for this vineyard come from a tiny 1ha vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba.  Planting density is about 4000 vines/HA at an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level.  Exposure of this small vineyard is S-SW.  The grapes are harvested by hand then spontaneously fermented without temperature control in stainless steel tanks.  The juice stays on the skins for about 30 days, with manual remontage of the grapes.  The wine is left in the tanks for 10 months following fermentation.  About 8000 bottles produced.

Date tasted: July 15th, 2010 1800

Appearance: Med-dark red with purple, youthful edges

Nose: Slightly reductive and closed initially.  With some swirling, the wine opens up to reveal blackberry, black currant, raspberry and purple gooseberry.  Hints of blueberry.  Very slight floral component. Medium intense

Palate:  Blackberries initially, then mostly red fruit.  The red fruit revealed itself much more on the palate then on the nose.  Mild tannins with medium + acidity.  Well Balanced fruit & acidity.  Alcohol is pretty well-integrated, but you can feel it a bit at the back of the throat with a slight sweetness (this wine needs some grilled veggies or meat!)

Until this year, Ferdinando’s wines were not available in Norway.  But they are now being imported by a small importer focusing on organic, real wines.  The Dolcetto will be available on the main wine monopoly’s shelves for about 159 Norwegian Kroner (approx $25) sometime this month.

Category: 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, Monforte d'Alba, natural wine (just about), Piemonte

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A Tasting Note: 1904 Proprietà Sperino Nebbiolo

2009-10-06_2235Date tasted:  October 6th, 2009 at 17:00

Proprietà Sperino is located in the Northern Piemonte wine region and is owned by the De Marchi family of Chianti’s Isole e Olena. We were greeted and given a tour of the winery by Luca De Marchi, the son of the famed Paolo De Marchi.  Whenever possible, indigenous yeasts are used (which I am told is close to 100% of the time).

2009-10-06_22312009-10-06_2234I felt very privileged to have had the opportunity to taste a wine of this age, especially a wine made from one of my favorite grapes, the Nebbiolo. The bottle has been stored for many years without being touched and this was evident by the amount of mold and dust that had attached itself to the bottle. After cleaning the top of the bottle in preparation for the cork removal,  the cork screw was inserted and rather than using the lever system to pull the cork out, the cork came out with one pull. The cork came out in one piece and was in great shape considering the age.

2009-10-06_22402009-10-06_22412009-10-06_22422009-10-06_22432009-10-06_22442009-10-06_2246Tasting Notes:

2009-10-06_2255Appearance: As Luca De Marchi prepared to pour the wine for us to taste, he warned that the wine would no longer be red, and he wasn’t kidding!  The wine had lost all of the natural red color pigment. The wine was quite clear with orange, brown tones. Like a light colored orange wine, if you will, with brownish tones.  This was my first time seeing a red wine turn “clear” due to age.  Despite the age, the wine was quite clean with a few small pieces of sediment in the glass.  Medium minus intensity.

Nose: Medium intense and medium complex  wine with interesting aromas similar to a clean, young Sherry or Marsala. Slightly oxidized yellow apples, salted almonds. Pistachio nuts.

Palate: Clean and still quite fresh with medium minus acidity, medium minus, but still living tannins. Slightly oxidized yellow apples, with a nutty aftertaste very reminiscent of a Marsala. Reminded me of some of the Marsala’s I have tasted from Marco De Bartoli. Toasted almonds with hints of butter.  A very well integrated and balanced level of alcohol. Good concentration and balance overall. The finish is at least 20-30 seconds. Incredible!

The most incredible thing was that we only had a small glass each, put the cork in the bottle and took the bottle home with us. We popped the cork again at dinner around 4 hours later and incredibly the wine had improved slightly! It had become a bit more complex, but more amazing was the fact that the wine had not died after having been open for 4 hours! Incredible.

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Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, Lessona, Piemonte

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A tasting note: 1961 Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva

Before I get to the the tasting note, I just want to start off by asking you to bare with me. I haven’t been posting as often as I would like because  I am still trying to figure out this WordPress thing. The posts on my site don’t show up the way I’d like them to. So, until I figure this out, please be patient with the placement of photos within my posts. Thank you. And without further delay:

Detail from the back label:
“….Barolo will naturally produce a sediment as it matures. Before Borgogno will export any of their mature wines, each bottle is decanted from this sediment, checked, and then topped up from the same vintage and recorked. For this reason the corks in the olders wines will be new, but the quality has been guaranteed by the producer before shipment. DECANTED: JULY 2007″

14102008717

Opened and NOT decanted. Poured into large Burgundy glasses.

The wine was a light rusty red with rusty brown edges – color still quite “intense” considering the 47 year age of this wine

Sniffed immediately:

INITIAL IMPRESSION ON THE NOSE
slight farmyard scents with some crushed rose pedals
eucalyptus leaves
sour cherries
forest floor
some spice in the background
a little burn on the nostrils from the alcohol.

Tar and roast meat emerging on the nose after some time in the glass. Also
some licorice emerging – more perfumed and more intense fruit

INTITIAL IMPRESSION ON THE PALATE
sour cherries and dried sour fruit
gripping tannins (still after all these years) and
high acidity (still after all these years)
finish persisting for 15 to 20 seconds

15-30 minutes after the bottle was opened, the wine started really opening up – fruit was more intense on the nose and on the palate. Acidity more pronounced and tannins a bit softer, but still quite firm. The wine remained well-balance throughout.

A typical aged nebbiolo with classic nebbiolo nose and palate with well defined and firm tannins. Well made, good concentration and balance, but not very complex. I believe that this bottle still hade some life ahead of it – enjoy now or for another 5-10 years.

Although it’s always interesting to taste a mature wine, this wine didn’t leave me desiring more..

And now, the photos:

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Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Barolo, Italy, Piemonte

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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