Category: Wine

wine reviews, wine events, and all things wine related

Tasting Rosé from Puglia

If you’ve seen my post on my top ten Southern Italy factoids (along with interesting anecdotes), then this little section on Puglia may seem familiar:

Puglia is hot Mediterranean with moderating sea breezes, low rainfall, fertile soils, and permitted irrigation—most suitable for high volume production

INTERESTING FACTOID: “Its name derives from the Roman a-pluvia or ‘lack of rain.'” ——Oxford Companion to Wine (Fourth Edition). Pretty much confirms the above description. —me (First Edition)

Puglia key grapes:

    1. Primitivo (Primitivo di Manduira DOC; Gioia del Colle DOC) INTERESTING ANECDOTE: Gioia translates to “joy” in Italian; Colle translates to “glue” in French. Interestingly, Gioia del Colle DOC, despite its reputation for the higher quality grapes grown at elevation, is the one that requires the least amount of Primitivo, allowing blending of other grapes such as Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Negroamara, and even the white wine grape, Malvasia (as well as other local and international varieties)—or “gluing” together to create the “joy” that is the region’s red wines. However, the region was so-named before some monk guy brought over the primitivo grape, which he named prima-tivo because of its early-ripening-ness (prima meaning first or early). —me and my remedial Italian and French (First Edition)
    2. Negroamaro “Makes sweet-tasting, early-drinking reds and some good rosés on the heel of Italy.” “Wine Grapes” (Robinson, Harding, Vouilamoz) (Salice Salentino Rosso/Riserva DOC)
    3. Nero di Troia/Uva di Troia “High-quality, flavorful, firm northern Puglian that has declined considerably in the last 40 years.” “Wine Grapes” (Robinson, Harding, Vouilamoz) (Castel del Monte/Riserva DOC/G)

While the WSET has us focusing on Puglian red wine production, I was provided the opportunity to taste through some rosés of the region as well as participate in a master class educating us on these wines and Puglia as a wine producing region in general. I wanted to share with you some of my tasting notes, as well as some of the things I learned from the Italian industry pros.

Rosé in Puglia
Rosé in Puglia

A note about the wines: According to the winemakers present, all wines are created in a style intended for immediate consumption—light, easy, fruitful. They’re looking to appeal to a broad range of consumers, but are also very keen on introducing non, new, or infrequent wine drinkers into the wine-drinking culture. Unfortunately, none of these wines are available in the US at the moment. All are within a 2 to 5 Euro price point.

Andiamo…

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 13—19

Hello and happy spring! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there. I’ve got your weekly round up of wine-newsy content from the past week, including a piece by yours truly on the California wine grape crush report.

A few other highlights—the WSET holds its first virtual diploma graduation and plans to keep the format for the future as well (I personally hope that I will be able to travel to London for the in-person event if/when that time comes); the European wine industry is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in history; restaurants are opening up for indoor dining all over the country—but it’s still risky business for workers and patrons alike; and industry pros debate whether we need better labelling on wine bottles.

Those are just a few of the top stories, but scroll through—I’ve included some fun articles surrounding St. Patrick’s Day, there’s some great independent insight in the Blogs, and actually quite a few informative press releases.

Have fun. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And drink good wine.

 

 

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 7—12

Welcome to your weekend edition of wine news. I’ve got everything from interesting press releases, gender equality, women in winemaking, Covid, tariffs, Japanese and Chinese wines….there was a lot going on this week both in traditional press and in the blogging world.

In the midst of it all, the wine industry lost a legend on Tuesday with the death of Steve Spurrier. I only met the man twice, so I’m not going to feign an intimate relationship that didn’t exist. But I think it’s fair that anyone with a career in wine and wine writing was in some way influenced and inspired by his great work. I’ve included a whole section with other writers’ rememberings of Steven below.

Lastly, with a shameless self-plug, the grape growing conference in which I moderated a session all about regenerative viticulture is now live on YouTube. I’ve provided the video below as well.

If you missed any of this week’s posts, I’ve got wine reviews and tasting notes from Domaine de la Pousse D’or 2018 Vintage, Sokol Blosser’s 50th Anniversary, and Alma Rosa Spring 2021 Releases—all with insight from recent associated media tastings and interviews.

Thanks as always for hanging out with me. Hope you find some good news, interesting news, and maybe a few laughs in the links I’m sharing with you today.

 

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Alma Rosa Spring 2021 Releases with Winemaker Samra Morris

If you haven’t heard of Samra Morris, take note, this Bosnian-born woman is a winemaker to watch. She is, indeed, the first Bosnian female winemaker in California. Samra has both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Food Sciences from The University of Sarajevo, College of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Post-graduation, Morris interned in the Department of Enology at The University of Sarajevo before deciding to pursue a winemaking career.

Samra came to Napa alongside her military air force husband whose station assignment moved from her home town in Bosnia to Travis Air Force Base just outside of California’s esteemed wine country. “I’m the luckiest Bosnian,” she said during our recent tasting together.

Her career in the wine business started with a tasting room position, then on to a vineyard internship for St. Supery, after which she spent three harvests with winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and eventually became part of the cellar team for Michael Mondavi Family Estate.

Today, Samra is head winemaker for Alma Rosa in Santa Rita Hills, Calif. , a sub-AVA of Santa Ynez Valley AVA, located in Santa Barbara County, the most southern wine producing region within the state’s Central Coast.

As many know, the Santa Barbara region, in general is noted for its cool climate, brought on by the Transverse Ranges—mountainous ranges that glide east-to-west, funneling the cool maritime air from the Pacific Ocean. The combination of those cooling sea breezes and a range of aspects and altitudes means that the key grapes of the region, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are able to achieve full phenolic ripeness, but maintain a high enough acidity to balance the structure fruit concentration.

But Samra didn’t come to Santa Rita Hills to do what everyone else is doing. Beyond Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Alma Rosa produces Rhone varieties including Syrah and Grenache; Alsatian varieties such as Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. And that these “alternative” Santa Rita Hills expression is what Samra brought to the table for a recent media tasting.

Alma Rosa Winery vineyards in Buellton, California. Photo Credit: Ciro Coehlo
Alma Rosa Winery vineyards in Buellton, California. Photo Credit: Ciro Coehlo

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Sokol Blosser’s 50th Anniversary Tasting

Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser were dreamers and schemers. In the early 1970s when America was experiencing its modern grape growing and winemaking boom the couple decided—with no prior ag or cellar training—to become both growers and winemakers. While many in this position would have set their sites toward California, the couple gave the US’s largest wine producing state a wink and a wave as they passed on by to settle in Dundee, Oregon, following in the footsteps of such wine pioneers as David Lett (Eyrie Vineyard).

One of Willamette Valley’s seven sub-AVAs, Dundee Hills is arguably the most important. Indeed, it is where the first Pinot Noir vines were planted in the state. A series of volcanic hills run north to south with ridging running east to west, and thus vines tend to be planted at higher altitudes than anywhere else in Willamette. Though the temperature is warmer than elsewhere in the larger AVA (due to the Coast Range blocking maritime influence and the Chehalem Mountains blocking northern winds), this elevated planting means that grapes experience a wide diurnal range, thus protecting innate acidity. A quality that is truly characteristic of the Sokol Blosser wines.

Today, second generation, brother-sister team, Alison Sokol Blosser and Alex Sokol Blosser, take the reigns as co-CEOs. According to the winery, the Sokol Blosser legacy expands beyond their high quality Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and into their love and respect for the environment that allows them to produce those grapes. In 2002, Sokol Blossor became the first US winery to become LEED Certified and in 2015 they gained B Corp status.

Lucy Sokol Blosser Winery Dog
Lucy Sokol Blosser
Winery Dog

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