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.
Time to finally write about one of Italy's most famous and amazingly good dishes. I can promise you that when you have once tasted a Saltimbocca all romana you hooked for the rest of your life. It's easy to do and is quick to cook even for a weekday evening. Saltimbocca alla romana by the silver spoon project (144/2000)
How to do it!
Topside of veal (1/2 cm) Flour Salt and pepper Fresh sage Prosciutto Butter and olive oil White wine
Start by placing the veal slices in foil and knock it thin. Dip one side with flour, salt and pepper the other side before applying salvia leaf and finish with Prosciutto attached with the toothpick in the meat. Heat the pan with olive oil / butter and fry for a few minutes. When it's getting ready you pour in the white wine that fusion with the meat and forms a magic taste. Serve directly and enjoy.
Syrah is truly a grape that I always have loved, especially when grown in the Rhône Valley. However, I have to admit that it was som time ago since I tasted an Syrah vin who really surprised me in the higher wine school.
Now it has finally happened again! Here comes an amazingly good Syrah from exciting NZ Hawkes bay. The wine maker Fiona Turner shows with this wine what talent the NZ wine industry has to offer. It's so fun that more and more women are successful in this formerly male-dominated industry.
Tinpot Hut Syrah 2012 from Hawkes Bay, NZ
Scent filled with finely tuned shades of sweet autumn plums, charcuteries and raspberries. Very elegant introduction to what's coming. For the taste is of the very best variety. As silky as just the best from NZ can offer together with rich aromas of plum, black pepper and exciting spice mixture.
Impressed by this superior wine that pleases all the way. Mix elegance seasoned with character and you will get a top wine for only 20 euro. A true bargain and a new favorite. Cheers Fiona!
The summer holidays are over and the wine blog is back in full force after traveling to Franciacorta and the Amalfi Coast, where we had exciting and memorable meetings with several biodynamic producers who impress greatly, but more about this in the fall.
Shellfish party What do you prefer to drink at the shellfish party? Many people prefer beers and aqua vitae. Well, in my case I will prefer wine for obvious reasons. The more you focus on extra tasty crayfish and other shellfish for the party, the less alcohol is strongly recommended.
Now it's time to find good wines for the purchased crayfishes that are already on thawing. Here comes a proposal for a super yummy Riesling at an affordable price. Usually half-dried wines are recommended for crayfish, but it's easy for me to choose this wunderbar Riesling. If you also serve shrimp, then happiness is made.
Schäfer-Fröhlich is owned by the Fröhlich family. Vinmaker is German wine oracle Tim Fröhlich. Based in Bockenau, the Frölich family runs a 20 hectare vineyard, planted with Riesling 85 percent and 15 percent Burgundy varieties. The magnificent steep slopes Bockenauer Felseneck, Strömberg, Monzinger Halenberg and Frühlingsplätzchen, Castle Felsenberg soils are the foundation for this unique wines. The symbiosis of Riesling fruit and the typical minerality of the area gives these wines their characteristic complexity and deep mineral character.
Bright yellow and with aromas that play in their own mineral league. So many lovely minerals layers together with pineapple, peach and a touch of orange flower.
The taste is sensibly well-filled with mineral aromas which are truly a fingerprint for all Schäfer-Fröhlich Riesling wines. The acidity is perfect and very pleasant along with citrus in different taste layers, green apples and pineapple. In conclusion, the wine is a seductive cover in the palate, and stays long for my great pleasure. Once again, this highly skilled producer confirms that the classic minerals you are looking for, so you will always find the right wines from Schäfer-Fröhlich. Without the least hesitation in winning this year's wine at @wineblogg.
Warm weather! At last, the warm weather is arriving to our cold country. And then it's time to tell you about the best rosé wine I've ever tested. The wine comes from southern Italy's leading wine producer Mastroberardino in the Campania. The wine is made on the characteristic Aglianico, which Mastroberardino handles in a masterful way and better than anyone else. Most often, the grape produces red wines with a lot of power and tannins, which makes it extremely storage-friendly. But there are also wines where the grape may show other seductive properties. Mastroberardino is so good at getting the finesse of this amazing grape that has so much to convey in taste.
How do you make rosé wine? Rosé wines are usually made in the same way as red wines. The difference is that the grape skin spends a much shorter time with the must during or before the actual fermentation, which explains the light pink color.
The wine is made on 100% of the Aglianico from Campania IGT and grown in calcareous clay soils that are an average of 400 meters above sea level. This makes the grapes to get the best condition, with hot days and cooler nights. This successful vintage has a more pale pink color than previous vintage I tested. And the grape juice's shortened time with grape skin contact is a very successful decision.
The smell is impressively complex, filled with herbs together with blood grape, wild strawberries and rowan-berry. An excellent introduction to what's going to happen. For the taste is amazingly good with great complexity to be a rosé wine without taking over the show completely. Lovely aromas provide a very fresh taste with rowan-berry, blood grape, dried herbs, mineral, watermelon and blood grapefruit. Mastroberardinos wines are always favorites in our home and this new vintage of Lacrimarosa has a given place in our wine cellar. In order to be enjoyed at hot days that we love so dearly.
Coming spring weather with finally som heat travels from deep south. And also this organic Cava that will cool our throats when we sit there enjoying the sun's warm rays. Certainly, it is extra suitable to invite for a glas of bubble now when the heat returns "soon".
Cava Is a name of Spanish sparkling wine made according to the traditional method. This wine originates from Catalonia, where almost all cava is produced. For the wine to be called cava, it must have been produced with one or more of the permitted vine varieties Macabeo, Xarel-Lo, Parellad that are the dominant ones. The grapes should come from a so-called DO (Denominacion de Origen). DO Cava consists of about 160 municipalities across Spain, although 95 per cent of cava producers in Penedés, Catalonia. The wine must be made according to the traditional method and should have been stored on its yeast precipitation for at least nine months.
About the producer The Spanish nobility Vilarnau settle down in Penedés, west of Barcelona, already in the 14 century. The first cava, named under the name Vilarnau, was created in 1949 and since then Vilarnau has been associated with high class cava. In 1982, Vilarnau was bought by the sherry producer and the family company Gonzalez-Byass. A new state-of-the-art wine factory located in the middle of the property was opened in October 2005 and started a new era for Vilarnau. Since 2016, their production is 100% organic.
Cava Vilarnau Brut Nature Organic
Vilarnau Organic Brut Nature comes from the rolling hills just a few miles west of Barcelona. The grape composition is classic for this good bubble with 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarel Lo, 30% Parellada.
The scent is nice with fruity elements of green apples along with biscuits, nougat and pears. The taste impresses a lot specially in comparsion with the price. Aromas of green apple and grape combined with peach and a touch of sourdough bread create the perfect spring bubbly. Works as sn aperitif or for meals like spring vegetable salad or seafood. I'm buying more and more organic wines now as the supply increases. However, it should be remembered that many smaller family-owned producers always worked organic, even if they did not make the actual certification process.
Are you planning a visit to the wonderful Italian volcanic island of Sicily this summer? I that case I have some vacation tips to pass on to you.
We visited Sicily for the first time last summer and fell in love with its beauty, the sea, the people, the food and the volcanic wines. But how do you start, when the island is that big and has so much to offer? Since we had three adult children and one grandchild with us we had to to find a place that could satisfy us all. After a lot of searching on the web we found a place to stay through Airbnb, a family paradise by the sea 20 minutes drive west of Cefalù.
The property called Casa Vacanze Mare Nostrum is owned by the absolutely wonderful family Longo. www.claudiolongo.com Claudio, the son, speaks excellent English and can give you good advice on how your journey is to be as successful as possible. Casa Vacanze has houses / flats for rent in different sizes and with a magic pool facing the sea. If you feel like spending time at sea, there is the miles-long beach located 50 meters from the pool area. A paradise for us who love to swim, walk, enjoy beautiful sunsets and collect stones.
When you take your car out on the road there are two grocery stores nearby and I can guarantee you will be happy about their choice of products. Towards the west on the way to Palermo is the best wine/meat/cheese store, while the store towards east on the way to Cefalù offers a divine selection of seafood (their swordfish is the finest I ever got hold of).
What is in the vicinity of this Mediterranean pearl? A visit to the picturesque town of Cefalù is just a must. You park down at the beach front and walk into the city center facing a unique view. Walking in the streets and go up towards the top of the city where the Cathedral Chiesa di Cefalù is. Enter the church and enjoy the beauty, you might even get to experience a genuine Sicilian wedding with all the well-dressed guests. When you come out of the church, walk down the stairs and keep to the left side of the piazza. Here is a sacred place for all ice cream lovers. Probably the world's best ice cream are served at Serio Bar Dumo Gelatieri who will do everything to please you.
Shopping Must be mentioned, because a holiday without good shopping opportunities are a no no. We drove to http://www.siciliaoutletvillage.com/it (from Casa Vacanze it takes one hour and fifteen minutes). With more than 100 stores it's well worth visiting. Are you hungry for big city shopping feeling a visit to Palermo can be recommended. http://www.forum-palermo.it/.
We will return to this lovely place many times in the future, that good was our stay. But enough for now. If you have questions you are more than welcome to contact me, I promise to try and help. Grazie famiglia Longo
Wines from apellationen Crozes-Hermitage in the northern Rhone Valley is extra close to my heart because the area was my third wine love after Bordeaux and CdP. Domaine des Remizières has vineyards in Crozes Hermitage (red and white wines), Hermitage (red and white wines) and Saint Joseph (only red wines). The property consists of about 30 hectares in these beautiful areas.
Domaine des Remizières Crozes Hermitage -15
The vintages of Domaine des Remizières I have tested earlier has always been a positive surprise. Latest vintage 2015 is very successful. Dark red color signal wine muscles characterizing wines from the area where the soil consists of clay and limestone.
The wine is made from 100% Syrah from vines that are 15-20 years old. The nose is full of dark fruit of blackberry and black currant together with a fine herbs. The taste impresses with power made for spring barbecues. Aromas of blackberries, blueberries, cherries, strong French coffee, chocolate, licorice and a wonderful vanilla finish. Suitable for grilled meat, well marinated pork as chicken and beef. Cheers!
Montsant So fun to discover the wines of a relatively new wine region although the area had wine making since Roman times. The neighbor Priorat contribution to the new Spanish wine miracle is well known, but Montsant on other hand, has played a more modest role until a few years ago. Despite being located adjacent to each other the soil completely different, where the Priorat has black soil called "Licoreras" while there is a more reddish soil with slate and granite in Montsant. The area got its classification DO (Denominación de Origien) as late as 2001.
Sileo 2015 from Montsant
The organic wine Sileo is created by the famous Cava producer Agustí Torelló Roca on the relatively new property in Montsant. This combination turns out was a successful mix when the wine offers a lovely wine character. The grapes used in this wine are Garnatxa 80%, 20% Samso.
Dark red color of the most concentrated wines like Spanish bull blood. The smell, however, is silky smooth iwith shades of strawberry and cherry with soft vanilla. The flavor is grape typical from the red soil of the Montsant. Dark berries creates a silky appropriations. The palate is filled by plum aromas together with cherries and cranberries, where acidity and sweetness come together in perfect balance. Mix this with the nice tannins and a vanilla dream to get a great wine that is affordable for this kind of money. Is highly recommended to a summer salad with charcoal grilled chicken.
Languedoc The wine Region dating 2500 years back in time when a Greek colony was founded. The Romans then took over. Geographically, ranging from wine district southwest of Avignon (on the border of Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape) to the Spanish border. There currently exist some 20 production areas such as Corbières, Faugères, Saint Chinian and Fitou. Faugères offers a soil similar to Piedmont with hills of silicon moraine where the wine grows between 150 and 300 m altitude. Grapes grown are the blue Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre and Syrah and the green Roussane, Terret Blanc, Terret Gris and Viognier.
The family owns 27 hectares of which 7 ha is reserved for cows and horses to let the soil rest from production. The family Barral's are vintners since 1750. Didier Barral took over the domain 14 years ago with his brother. Didier Barral has a great interest in nature with a special interest in microbial function and role of insects in the vineyard micro society.
Leon Barral Jadis 2013 The wine is made from a lovely grape combination of 50% Carignan, 40% Syrah and Grenache 10.
Dark red bull blood fills the glass with force from the southern French soil. The fragrance enhances the feeling of primordial force that the soil emits. Magic shades of fresh Mediterranean herbs, meats, dark berries, juniper and licorice create wine love from the start.
The palate is fabulously good with oregano, rosemary, licorice, cherry, wild raspberries and a final vanilla cream. The tannins are so perfectly fresh when they are playing in your mouth and make the wine marries the food. Jadis makes me so happy for the wine exudes so much love. If you are wondering what it is suitable for food I would say most of meat dishes.
Leon Barral is an fabulous producer and with the new vintage of our favorite wine Jadis it takes Barral wines to a new quality level. And this is without the slightest doubt a wine that will compete for 2017 wine of the year awards.
Great things happens with an antique grape in modern hands!
Soave bordering to Valpolicella is just east of Verona in the higher-lying hills in the area. The soil contains different proportions of limestone and volcanic rock which gives its wines a nice minerality and purity. And every hill has its own unique soil makes the wines to different mineral symphonies and interprets earth elements in the best way.
In a small village of Soave operates Meri, Valentina and Alessandra Tessari the amazing wine estate Azienda Agricola Suavia (Suavia which is the ancient name for Soave). They are completely dedicated to producing white wines from the area. Wineblogg has previously celebrated their Garganega wines Monte Carbonare and Le Rive.
Massifitti 2014 Trebbiano di Soavefrom Suavia Now is the time to present their exquisite Massifitti that is made from the ancient grapes Trebbiano di Soave that previously was almost completely forgotten. The wine is a tribute to the area where the volcano's heart has protected the wine roots derived from the ancient Roman Empire.
A light bright yellow color presents itself when the first drops fill the glass in dignified pace. The scent is so nice with lime and vulcano minerals that only the best hills/producers in Soave area can present. Combine that with the finest nuances of Jasmin, and will get a wonderful introduction to this divine wine.
The taste is perfectly good and yet another proof of what the female winemakers at Suavia can achieve. Clean fresh taste with crisp acidity along with minerals in world class in combination with a touch of pear, wonderful creaminess and fresh herbs in conclusion. What a great way to reintroduce an ancient grape that more than deserves a place in the spotlight again. Just for you to buy all wines coming out from this amazing property.
Suitable for seafood, especially fresh shrimp. Will also try this amazing wine with a creamy pasta together with winter fat North Sea cod. Easy to justify that this wine ends up in the final for Wineblogg wine of the year awards in one years time. Cheers!!!
Last summer's trip to Sicily was just so good, and no doubt that the volcanic soil affects me in the best way. Both food and wine are of the highest quality along with a magnificent scenery and wonderful people (despite a bloody history).
This marvelous volcanic red wine Ætneus is produced by I Custodi, located at Etna's northern slopes. The vines up to 150 years old and is located about 750 meters above sea level. Grape combination is Nerello mascalese (80%), Nerello Cappuccio, Alicante.
I Custodi Ætneus 2009 Etna rosso The scent is magically good and almost Bourgogne like. Here you will find world class minerals together with berries, fresh herbs, tobacco, and a seductive oak character. So happy when we face such a delightful introduction. Damn good wine And the taste is just as good. For an elegant fruit, followed up with great minerals, dense tobacco, vanilla nuance perfectly together with herbs and playful tannins. Damn good wine now and that will be monumentally good in 3-5 years. There is so much volcano puls and it becomes the wine's main artery. Without the slightest doubt, a wine for this year's jury meeting at wineblogg.com, when this year's wine of the year will be appointed.