The rolling hills of Franciacorta wine region, west of the wonderful university town of Brescia, has become a great personal favorite in recent years, and I often find that its wines are completely in level with the best producers in Champagne, even though the area is placed at more southern latitudes.
The area is a sanctuary of bubbly wines, and was already described in 1570 by Girolamo Conforti, a Brescia-born physician who with his "Libellus de vino mordaci" deftly and enthusiastically described the bubbly wines of the area as lively and effervescent.
On our first visit to the upcoming star restaurant Contrast in Milano, we were introduced to a new world of bubbly wines from Franciacorta and surroundings. A wine that impressed a lot was a blanc de blancs from the famous producer Cavalleri. So when we had the opportunity to visit Franciacorta this summer, it was only a must to visit Cavalleri.
The Cavalleri family has owned land in Erbusco (Franciacorta area) since 1450. A serious and long-term approach is reflected by the owner family with the help of a well trained technical staff. 45 hectares in the highest and most suitable of the Franciacorta hills, wine production is carried out with a focus on sustainability and respect for the terroir. http://www.cavalleri.it/EN
Obviously it is easy to get respect for a property with such a long history but surprisingly we met modern biodynamic approach so far away from the culture that often exists in today's agriculture where they are dependent on a variety of chemicals to produce desired product. Instead, we got to see how biodynamic cultivation on a larger scale can also create a natural defense and provide the best living conditions for the vine. So impressed with the journey the family has made to reach all the way to full-scale biodynamic cultivation. And who puts absolutely amazing Chardonnay wines on track to become part of world's top class.
We had the great privilege of being introduced to the wine estate and testing some of its delicious wines alongside with Diletta Cavalleri. And although their Blanc de Blancs (made on 100% Chardonnay) is the entrance to their range, it's just so amazingly good. Loves the bright bottle reminiscent of the Champagne legend Cristal.
The smell is so mineral-inducing along with the tactical accompaniment of wonderful fruit. The taste is sensational and just as good as the Chardonnay grape can be presented in its best moments from Franciacorta. Minerals, fruit and acidity in perfect harmony that forms complex suggestive taste layers refined to the last drop. Too bad that nobody has picked up these wines in Sweden, because the quality is incredibly good. But when you are in Italy its a must to try.
Grazie mille to Diletta and the Cavalleri family for their hospitality and to have given us a good memory for the rest of our lives. Their vintage 2011 Grandi Cru Franciacorta will be in the final at the annual blog jury meeting later this year when deciding Wineblogg wine of the year 2017.
Last year I got my first opportunity to visit the Amalfi Coast, when best friends made the brilliant decision to buy a house in the magically beautiful resort Furore. When you come from Naples you first passes the pasta capital Gragnano. Thereafter, the active village of Agerola after passing the top of Amalfi coast mountain range. Further down towards the sea Furore meets you with twisting roads and stunning sea views. Village center of Furore is located at about 400 meters above sea level but extends down to Italy's only true fjord "Fiordo di Furore."
The landscape is so beautiful and extreme that it almost hurts my heart to not to be there every day. The area is famous for the fantastic products made from the unique soil. Most vines have the root system toward the mountain and the vines are hanging in pergolas. The vines become influenced by all the good that the mountain gives and the grapes gets a natural protection. And below the pergola you can also grow vegetables.
Photo from Cantine Marisa Cuomo
The world's best hiking area Amalfi Coast offers a wonderful area for hiking where you can visit the unique UNESCO World Heritage from completely new angles. The views, the moderately challenging hike with wonderful restaurants along the way makes the area among the best you can find in the world. Between Furore and Positano you will find probably the best hiking tour of them all. Senterio degli dei "Path of the Gods" runs along the edge of the mountain range and if you are lucky you will see all the way to the island of Capri.
Vini Estremi Extreme wine producer Cantine Marisa Cuomo has its base in Furore. The family itself has about 4 ha and also purchases grapes from 62 small family-owned producers who together have an additional 20 ha of vines. Each acre has about 5-7 thousand vines that in average gives 1.3 kg of grapes per vine.
Photo from Cantine Marisa Cuomo
The vines are grown in an extreme environment with terrace plantations on steep slopes near Furore. Only if you visit the place, you fully understand the sacrifices that wine growers, in this area, must go through. Everything must be done by hand, then it is impossible to use machines which makes most transportation made by man through endless steps. The wine is grown from 100 to 700 meters and only the best grapes are selected for their most famous extreme white wine Fiorduva.
On our visit, I had the privilege to visit the producer and meet parts of the very friendly and down to earth family Cuomo-Ferraioli. Their patience and hard work have created the best conditions to produce amazing wines in a place where one would think that it is impossible to make wines because of all the challenges. (Producing wine on these slopes in altitude an every little stone is part of the World Heritage Site.) And the cost for producing a bottle is even or higher than most expensive Grand Cru areas in Champagne.
Wine from the Gods - Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2007
The wine is made from a grape combination of 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra, 40% Ripoli.
The color is among the most beautiful I have seen from a white wine with distinct shades of sun-ripened lemons from the area. The scent is heavenly with seductive minerals along with a healthy touch of honey and citrus. The taste follows the aroma and creates so much pleasure. A silky oily aroma symphony of honey, citrus, amazing minerals, faintly salty and yellow plums from the Amalfi Coast.
An incredibly good wine that you just need to test if you get the chance. Why not when give yourself and your loved one the opportunity to visit the Amalfi Coast. The wine reflects all the love you are facing in this divine place on our little planet Tellus.
Special thanks to Dorotea that gave us all info and introduced us in an excellent way to the wines.
South Africa is the world's eighth largest wine producer with 979 million liters. Few know, however, that the white grape variety Chenin Blanc is the most produced in the country with 18% of the total vine area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon at 12%.
In 2005, a Chenin Blanc wine (-03 vintage) from the producer Jean Daneel made history by being voted best wine all categories in South Africa of the leading wine guide Platter's South African Wines.
Picture from www.liq.co.za
Jean Daneel who received his training as winemaker in France and Germany are focused on the old winemaking traditions - where a lot of patience and perfection comes into play. He took a number of years to develop his skills by working as a winemaker at Buitenverwagting, where he won several trophies that included the Diners Club Award for Best Merlot. Morgenhof was his next project, where he won the Wine Challenge Magazine for the first time.
1997 he started his own cellar from a renovated stable in Franschhoek. Jean began producing wine under his own name from grapes, which he bought from other producers in different areas. But with his eldest son, who wanted to follow in his footsteps, it was now time to set up his own vineyard.
The following year he found a small estate on the river bank in Napier, located in the Agulhas area, and began building his vineyard. It is here that Jean creates well-balanced and structured wines with his son Jean-Pierre.
2006 was the year when he made the first planting of the four grape varieties Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Shiraz.
The wine that I had the opportunity to buy and test is vintage 2005 (previously had the great pleasure to taste -03 vintage at the famous and exquisite restaurant Le Quartir Francais in Franschhoek )
The colour of the wine is like a beautiful sunset in Cape Town. The aroma is full of citrus, mango, butter and pineapple. The flavour is wonderful with a great body full of lovely aromas that covers the entire palate for a long time. Nice acidity with subtle hints of tropical fruit, citrus and a buttery finish. Keep an eye on this producer that makes one of the world's best Chenin Blanc wines.
Half a century done! I have now passed a major milestone in my life by having a pleasant and delicate way to celebrate the 50th anniversary together with my family. Golf lesson in the morning (first in 10 years) resulted in performing better than expected, normally it is usually difficult to get a old dog to sit. Games after 18 holes with the wife at home course Rönnebäcks GC before all the dinner preparations began. Finally, I had a great time, trying a wine from my birth year and what a fantastic experience it was ...
Château Cos d'Estournel 1961 (Saint-Estèphe) My first first thought was (as I carefully removed the somewhat tired wine cork) if you really can enjoy a 50-year old wine. Now this particular wine is from the Bordeaux region, famous for its storing capability and especially if the vintage is one of the best in more then 100 years, but a lot can happen on this specific journey. To my surprise, there was still a clear sign of typically unique Bordeaux smell, like open up the door to a horse stable with full bouquet that resembles a really good wine from this area. The wine was clearly alive to my great delight. The feeling was enhanced even more when I finally got to taste the wine after spending several hours in the decanter for much-needed venting after all these years of storage. The taste was heavenly with a dense wonderful balance and great taste of dark berries. Still a wonderfully good wine despite its age. It shows that vintage 61 still have much to give and symbolizes my life right now in a very good way.
Some more facts about Château Cos d'Estournel!
Louis Gaspard d'Estournel was born in 1762 under Louis XV and died in 1853 at the remarkable age of 91 years. (Just think what good wine can do for life)
Having inherited a small wine area near the village of Cos, he discovered the quality of its wine and decided to to produce it separately. Very quickly, Cos d'Estournel's wine price exceeded most of the prestigious wines from its famous neighbours and exported as far as India.
Louis became known as "Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe". In 1852 he was overwhelmed by debts he had accumulated due to the
development of the property, Louis was forced to sell Cos to a
London banker named Martyns. Allowed by Martyns to remain and live on the land he so much loved. He
died there in 1853, two years before the great classification that
placed Cos d'Estournel in the head of the appellation Saint-Estephe.
1869 Martyns sold Cos d'Estournel to Errazu, an aristocratic Basque family who sold it again in 1889 to the brothers Hostein. In 1917 was bought Cos d'Estournel of Fernand Ginestet, one of the leading wine merchants of Bordeaux. His grandson, Jean-Marie, Yves and Bruno Prats inherited the castle.
Chateau Cos d'Estournel has belonged to Michel Reybier since 2000. Mr.
Reybiers goal has been to maintain the Châteaux's high standards and
constant striving for excellence and at the same time continue the
avant-garde style that was initiated by Louis Gaspard d'Estournel.
d'Estournel, in the eyes of wine lovers has become the
archetype of a certain kind of masculine elegance with tremendous power
and combined great balance.
Impressive when it
is young, the intensity of its structure and explosive fruit, developes
Cos d'Estournel slowly and when fully mature (after ten to thirty years)
is characterized by admirable smoothness and aromatic complexity.
Great vintages can be exceptionally long-lived and can be enjoyed more than a century. Source: www.estournel.com