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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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Wine, wedding and thank you

I consider myself an extremely lucky guy in many many ways.  But, there are two things especially that make me smile and feel fortunate. The first you know about already if you are reading this blog, that is wine. The other thing that makes me smile and feel fortunate is my new wife.

I met my wife on January 1st, 2010, we were engaged 4 months later on May 8th, and we got married July 9th, 2011.   The ceremony was a beautiful one that took place in Tarnów, Poland amongst  family and close friends. The reception that followed was a blast and thanks to some close friends, fantastic wines were enjoyed (many of which were a surprise).

Thank you for the 12 Magnums of 2010 Munjebel Bianco. Thank you for the 6 magnums of 2010 Felice Nebbiolo.  Thank you for the Asinoi, Lia Vi and  Mosto Parzialmente Fermentato.  Thank you for the Grüner, Blaufrankisch and the Graupert.  Thank you for the Flon Flon and the Anne François Joseph.

Thank you family. Thank you friends. But most of all, thank you Magdalena.

I will be on a brief pause for the coming weeks to celebrate my new life with my new wife.  Don’t worry, I will be back before you know it with more short stories, tasting notes and whatever makes me smile.

Cheers!

 

Category: Events

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Still breathing, still smiling, still drinking natural wine

It has been almost a month since my last post, here is what has been keeping me so busy:

Working a lot at Jacob’s…

Preparing for my wedding….

Traveling to Italy…….

Visiting Carussin in Piemonte to taste the 2010 vintage, which by the way is still slowly fermenting and showing itself to possibly be their greatest vintage.  Absolutely alive in every way.. “All of these years of biodynamic farming are starting to really show us rewards”, says Bruna Ferro.

Thus far, none of their wines have been shown even a pinch of sulfur dioxide.   These were the healthiest of grapes. Bruna even presented me with two bottles to taste. Both made with the exact same healthy barbera grapes, grown biodynamically.  One bottle was produced in the same way Carussin make all of their wines (without the addition of anything, not even selected yeasts). This wine was still happily finishing its fermentation. The second bottle was produced by sending their grapes to a laboratory. Everything was added to this bottle from selected yeasts, to enzymes and sulfur. This bottle was of course “ready for market”.  The difference between these two bottles was astounding. Astounding. Everybody should have the opportunity to experience such a tasting.  This shows that although healthy grapes are extremely important,  care after harvest is also extremely important.

Of course a quick trip over to Igino and Irma was a must, and as usual, an extreme pleasure. Tasting the wines of Igino again was just amazing. From his skin macerated Favorita, to his non-sparkling, dry fermented Brachetto. Too bad he only makes a few bottles of each and are only produced for his enjoyment (and of course mine)

Igino pouring me (my favorite), his skin-macerated Favorita.

Gabrio & Genevieve Bini

On this quick trip to Italy, I also had the incredible fortune to meet Gabrio Bini (and his wonderful wife Genevieve), wine maker for Azienda Agricola Serragghia on the island of Panteleria. All of his wines are vinified with long skin contact in amphora without any additions..I will write more on this wine maker and his wines in a future post.. promise.

Gabrio and Genevieve were kind enough to meet me at La Fastuchera Osteria Wine Bar, one of the only places to drink natural wines in Bologna.  With a Sicilian kitchen and an interesting selection of wines, they are worth a visit!

Oh, and of course lot’s of packing going on as I write this piece in my half-empty apartment as I prepare for my transition to a new home in a new country.  I look forward to the many changes. Many will be easy, some more challenging. Until my next post (which will be more often), continue to appreciate what you have and keep tasting.

 

 

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine), Still breathing, still drinking natural wine, still smiling

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Natural Wine Making in Piemonte Part VI

Sunday October 4th, 2009

Sunday was another quiet day – Cleaned the destemmer and prepared for tomorrow’s second harvest.

2009-10-04_02009545


2009-10-04_02009548Lunch at Carussin where we drank another wine made by Igino Garberoglio– a 1985 Barbera d’Asti bottled the year that his grandson Luca was born. If you are following these latest posts, you know that the wines of Igino are not labeled, but this was a special label he made for this bottle.  Most likely not stored in the best of conditions since it was in the dining area of the Carussin  house. This being said, it was still quite fresh,  acidic and full of life with slight oxidative notes – very drinkable indeed.

2009-10-04_02009553We also had the chance to taste a spontaneously fermented Moscato d’Asti from 1984 made by Bruna’s uncle Carlo. Bottled in the then typical 720ml bottle (compared to today’s 750ml wine bottle). Smelled of steel, oxidized honey and hints of caramelized lemon peel. Similar flavors were found on the mouth with still a slight sparkle left. A bit over the top, but interesting to taste none the less. This was stored in the Carussin cellar.

After lunch went back to check on our freshly fermenting wine and moistened the cap – the “protective” layer of grape skins that forms on top of the grape juice. As the juice begins to ferment, it expands and the cement tank which was about 80% to the top has now risen to about 95-98% full. As wine ferments, carbon dioxide is released.  To confirm the wine has begun fermenting in the early stages, one can light a candle or match and bring it down towards the fermenting grapes and it will burn out due to the lack of oxygen. Once the wine really begins to ferment there is no mistaking as the bubbling sound will be quite loud!

2009-10-04_02009558

Igino pushing down the cap a bit to keep it moist

After moistening the cap, Igino pulled out another of his wines – a Brachetto vinfied dry and without bubbles!  Normally a Brachetto is a sweet sparkling wine that has about 5-6% alcohol by volume and is very enjoyable with fresh strawberries. This version was completely dry and had no bubbles. Very interesting indeed with the typical Brachetto aromas of wild strawberries and Campari but very dry and around 12% alcohol.

Igino's wonderful spontaneously fermented wines - dry Brachetto on the right

Igino's wonderful spontaneously fermented wines - dry Brachetto on the right

We then headed back over to Carussin’s and cleaned the containers for the harvest of Basarin tomorrow morning.

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Events, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Making in Piemonte

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About

About
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.

Get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com