Wine reviews, pairings, events, and getaways
I was extremely excited when I opened my package from Stinson Vineyard to find a rosé of Mourvèdre. Ever since I’ve tasted the version created by Larry Schaffer of Tercero in Santa Barbara, California, I’ve been in love with this kind of wine innovation. A rustic red turned rosé? Yes please. But to taste something from the other side of the country, from White Hall, Virginia, was to taste something completely different.
Riesling. Oh Riesling. You poor stereotyped varietal. While I’ve had some fun and, for lack of a better word, tasty Rieslings from the States, I have to say that, for the most part, what our New World has done to the variety is a bit of a shame. What’s more, is I feel like there’s a bit of a stigma surrounding German wines — a few sweet Gewürztraminers and suddenly folks think everything from the cool Rhine region is sweet. When, in fact, it is just the opposite. For the most part Germans tend to make (and enjoy) the dryer style wines (and warm beer, but that’s a different story).
Lucky for me I made a new friend at a local wine shop. A sommelier whose specialty is German and Austrian wine. So when I asked him to pour my anything he recommended that would help me discover the area, he asked “how do you feel about Riesling.” My response, “As long as its as dry as God intended it.” So this is what he poured me. This is what I bought. This is what I enjoyed again and can’t wait to enjoy again.
I present to you Riesling from the Rhine…
Franciacorta is a new adventure to me. When I received a few samples, and asked around, it seems like it’s not a well-known region-slash-wine to many in my little new world wine drinking world. (Read some Franciacorta 101.) But I love that I’ve discovered it. Like other well-known sparkling wines, like Champagne or Prosecco, there’s something for everyone — from the very sweet to the bone dry. I, for one, am all about dry sparkles: the depth, the complexity, the structure, the purity of the fruit. The has all of that. So grab a glass and join me…
While I’ve found a few California producers who create extremely refined Grenache, I’m not a huge fan of the Spanish or South American garnacha. There’s something about the focus on rusticity that usually turns me off — harsh without a purpose, it seems. And yet, when you’re in the mood for some spice in your life, there are a few varietals that immediately come to mind. For me, Garnacha is certainly one of them. So when I found this bottle at a local wine shop for under $20, I figured, why not try something different? So…here’s that story.
If you’re new to Franciacorta, like I was when I received this wine, then you may be interested to know that the name, like Champagne, refers to a region — a region in northern Italy. Like many of Italy’s finest wines, the Franciacorta DOCG is located in a hilly portion of the country — between the southern shore of Lake Iseo and the city of Brscia — with mineral-rich, calcereous gravel and sandy soils and deeper limestone bedrock.
The DOCG spans 5,400 acres which is planted to Chardonnay (85%), Pinot Nero (10%), and Pinot Blanco (5%) — the DOCG’s “permitted” grape varieties.
All Franciacorta is made inthe metodo classico. Nonvintage Franciacorta must be aged for 18 months with yeast contact (as opposed to 15 months for Champagne). Vintage Franciacorta, or Millesimato must have 30 months of yeast contact (comparable to Champagne).
Designations for dosage is the same as Champagne: pas dosé, or dosage zéro; pas opéré: maximum 2 g/l of rs; extra brut: 6 g/l; brut: 15 g/l; extra dry: 12–20 g/l; sec: 17–35 g/l; demi-sec: 33–50 g/l.