Tag Archives: merlot

The Essence of Ornellaia 2014

The desire to nurture the Estate’s exceptional qualities has shaped Ornellaia’s philosophy since the beginning. Ornellaia is a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot and the faithful expression of unique terroir developed in harmony with nature.

 

For Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s Estate Director and Winemaker, the 2014 vintage exhibits the character of ‘L’Essenza,’ or the Essence. “When one is confronted with a challenging growing season, to make a great wine, one has to focus on simply extracting that year’s very essence. And, in fact, the 2014 year unexpectedly turned into a pleasant surprise, since the heavy rains and low temperatures during the ripening stages were followed by a September and October which brought us exemplary weather conditions; the result was a somewhat later harvest, which delivered optimally vibrant fruit with crisp acidities. We complemented that result with meticulous hand-picking, whose objective was to select only the most sound, healthy clusters. What one notices immediately about the 2014 vintage is the high quality of the tannins: elegant and silk-smooth, with no rough edges at all.

2014 will be remembered in Tuscany for the summer that never was and as one of the most unusual. A warm and rainy winter was followed by a mild and dry spring, a distinctively average July and a cold and rainy August. All of this created difficult conditions for the ripening of the grapes. September and October, however, brought perfect conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, offering excellent conditions for ripening, particularly for Merlot. While we had an incredible amount of extra work to do in the vineyard, the combination of the Estate’s varied subsoils, the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and our own detailed knowledge of the terroir all played distinctively in our favour. Ornellaia underlines the fundamental difference in terroir between the coast and the central Tuscan vineyards.”

In technical words, about the climate of 2014, in our area we had a warm and wet winter was followed by a mild and dry spring which allowed a normal vegetative growth with a punctual and regular flowering. The weather in July was perfect, August however was rainy and cold, creating very difficult conditions for ripening, and greatly increasing the risk of diseases. The meticulous work in the vineyard, with leaf stripping and treatments during the entire month of August enabled us to maintain the good health of our vines, allowing them to develop free of disease during September and October. These two months conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, gave us excellent conditions for ripening. During the harvest, it was crucial to select the grape bunches carefully, both in the vineyard – where in some plots we did up to three harvest passages – and on the selection table, so to fill the tanks only with perfectly healthy and fully ripe grapes. 2014 was one of the longest and most delayed harvests at Ornellaia, with the first Merlot harvested the 6th of September, and a large part of the historical vineyards – including some Merlot – harvested in October. The 2014 harvest, that ended on the 22nd of October, was the latest ever.

As always, the grapes were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softly crushed. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

 

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Chianti Classico Castello di Querceto Riserva

The Castello di Querceto and the land that surrounds it are rich in history. If in the past the Castello’s role was to stand guard on the via Cassia Imperiale, one of ancient Rome’s main ‘highways’ in order to defend its territory.

castello-di-querceto_riservaThe Castello di Querceto is today run by Alessandro and Antonietta François. Together they have worked to position the Castello’s wines within the top flight of Chianti’s producers.

The Castello’s vineyards are positioned on two sides of a valley: from the Passo del Sugame and, beyond Dudda, towards Lucolena and Monte San Michele.

The vines are trained in what, for Chianti, are the traditional methods: the horizontal Cordon spur trained onto wires at 60 cms, and the Guyot.

Sangiovese takes first place among the red varieties, but there are also smaller plantings of Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia Nera, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Merlot. As for the whites, they are the traditional Malvasia del Chianti and Trebbiano Toscano, now joined also by Chardonnay.

The vines are grown with only two interests in mind: top quality grapes, and the ecological compatibility of their production.

We tasted: Chianti Classico Castello di Querceto Riserva 2013

The Chianti Classico Riserva is produced from a selection from all of the 60 hectares of vineyards. Of 90% Sangiovese, the remaining 10% is made up of Canaiolo and other traditional autochthonous red grape varieties.

The maturation is made in oak barrels for 10 -12 months and refinement in bottle for a minimum of 4 months.

 It is a brilliant ruby-red, very balanced, with soft and elegant body. In the nose appear notes of berries and liquorice. The food pairing matches perfectly with roasted meats and seasoned cheese.

Gagliole Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT

The lofty cypresses, the stepped terraces, the hedgerows interwoven with roses, aromatic herbs, and shrubs—these are the elements that comprise Gagliole’s welcome to its guests.

The Antico Podere Gagliole, located in the classic Chianti-area, is a modern winery that boasts almost 20 hectares of vineyards, on two different sites, one in Castellina in Chianti and the other in the Conca d’Oro in Panzano. 10 hectares include Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, at a significant elevation of 500-550 metres; the vines are planted in predominantly galestro-rich soils that are rocky and nutrient poor, but with abundant mineral content. The winery produces also Tuscany IGTs for its white wines, Colli della Toscana Centrale for its reds, and, of gagliole_igtcourse, Chianti Classico.

We tasted: Gagliole 2013 Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT

The most impressive expression of the estate, from which it takes its name, is Gagliole, its grapes a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The clusters are given a meticulous quality-selection in the vineyard, followed by a second selection of the berries on the sorting tables in the cellar, after which the berries are given a fermentation-maceration in oak barrels lasting almost 60 days.  Eighteen months of maturation in oak, 30% new, ensure that the wine will fully exhibit its fascination, its rich, floral bouquet, with hints of spice, and its full-volumed body and densely-woven tannins.

 

Sinuelo winery. Brazilian wine … Italian heart

3a5234f23458ca0889a06a728fc5ca57 Since 1883, the Molon family settled in southern Brazil in the Serra Gaucha coming from the distant city of Arzignano in Veneto, from the very beginning has been dedicated to viticulture and the art of wine. From father to son, the raisin techniques were transmitted, understood and improved.

The search for superior products begins in the vineyards. All varieties grown from Molon brothers imported from Italy, were free of viruses and perfect in their composition. Including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Moscato Giallo.

capturefggMoreover, the winery adopts the espalier system in its vineyards, which allows a better insolation of the clusters and results in a high standard of harvested grapes. It favors quality over quantity, which ensures a differentiated end product of excellence.
The Sinuelo winery began its activities in San Marcos in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in 1963 and has 12 hectares of its own vineyards.

The land has a northern front, with the presence of an adequate sunshine in the morning and in the afternoon.

We tasted:

Mistela Moscato giallo

0ba5ad30b23c223dffe7c9be072d1e26This wine comes from Moscato Giallo grapes from Italy and rigorously selected. The Mistela is aged for a long time and therefore has a high natural sugar content of ripe fruit harvested.

It shows a golden glow, the yellow highlights. Its aroma has a strong intensity, reminiscent of flowers, honey, ripe fruit, raisins and toasted something. The palate is equally rich, balanced, very elegant, sweet but fresh at the same time. It has a flavor reminiscent of the caramel is very complex and persistent.

Perfect in accompanying fine desserts with almonds, walnuts and chestnuts. It is a perfect end to the meal, even as a digestive.

Spumante brut metodo champenoise

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Made from Chardonnay grapes (85%) and Riesling (15%), this sparkling wine has a light yellow color, intense and bead up, with creamy foam and persistent crown.

The scent reminds toast, jasmine, ripe fruit syrup, and pineapple.
In the mouth it has intense flavor is pleasantly cool, persistent and balanced.

It matches perfectly with white sauce penne, shrimp skewers, seafood, lobster, and grilled salmon.

 

 

BORDEAUX 2009: A MAGNIFICENT VINTAGE

Weather conditions this year have been particularly favourable for the vine’s growth cycle and the grapes’ ripening process.

The months of July and August saw high temperatures and a generous amount of sunshine. This fine weather continued into September, with an alternation between cool nights and warm daytime temperatures, which encouraged a concentration of aromas and an increase in anthocyanins (pigments). The grapes ripened ideally and harvests dates are now being staggered.  Crops being gathered are perfectly healthy.   It is too early to make an estimate about harvest volume.We should keep in mind that hailstorms during the month of March caused significant damage to 19 000 hectares of vines (15% of the total Bordeauxwinegrowing region).  The extent of this damage varied considerably from one plot to another in vineyards, but the result is a decrease in production.

Dry white wines

Harvests of white Sauvignon grapes begun on 27th August in the earliest-ripening areas.  In September harvesting of this variety became widespread and continued afterwards with the Sémillon variety.

Red wines

Merlot grapes are currently being picked.  Harvests of this variety begun in mid-September for the earliestripening areas.  The berries are intensely aromatic, full of  fl avour, showing excellent concentration in sugar; the pips are crunchy and the skins appear to have marvellous colour potential (anthocyanan evels are high).  Acidity levels are low; this is an indication of excellent ripeness.Harvests will continue with Cabernet Franc in the  first days of October, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the earliness of certain terroirs and how ripeness has developed.

Sweet white wines

 

CIVB A. Benoit

CIVB A. Benoit

Gathered by successive stages of manual sorting on the vine, harvests of grapes for sweet white wines have barely begun.  Weather conditions at present are ideal for these grapes that undergo the infl uence of an extremely specifi c micro-climate.  Humidity, in the form of early-morning mists, encourages the work of the botrytis cinerea fungus (noble rot), a vital factor for producing these wines.  Very warm daytime temperatures dry out the grapes and concentrate all their fl avours.  The grapes express remarkable aromatic potential.

 

HENRY BORZI