Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Alberto

  1. Alberto


    Oh, no implies about your cooking skills in my last post, of course... It's only that Marsala all'uovo is REALLY nasty IMHO. Inzolia (or insolia) can do good dry whites, I've tasted only one of them though, quite some times ago. There's also a Tuscany DOC (on the south, around Argentario cape) called Ansonica Costa dell'Argentario which is 100% insolia (insolia is sicilian for ansonica). The other sicilian white grapes are often vinified as table wines too, alone or blended together or with chardonnay. Anyways, I know that grillo is employed alone for some Marsala, as it's considered the best grape, but don't know if there's a 100% insolia. Cheers, Alberto
  2. Alberto


    Thank you, Andre. Marsala all'uovo is a nasty sticky concotion which determined the distruction of the reputation of Marsala throughout the world. Now thanks God it has to be labelled Cremovo and obviously has no DOC wine status. Avoid that crap even in cooking and turn to a good straight Semi-secco wine. Great Marsala, IMHO, is off-dry to bone-dry (the Secco category has to contain less than 6% RS but when you see that on the label you can well have a completely dry wine) but all the houses have a Semi-secco (6-14%) and a Dolce (+14% RS) in their portfolio. Vergine tends to be the driest style sometimes dominated by acidity and oak. Most houses have a range of other sweet (natural or fortified) wines from elsewhere in Sicilia but that's another story. Alberto
  3. Cirò Rosso comes form gaglioppo grape grown on the hills around the town of Cirò in Calabria. Pale, translucent ruby/garnet with brick edge. Leather, mixed brown spices, incense and bitter cherries on the nose, all carried into a straight-forward palate marked by crisp tannins. Although relatively light-bodied shows good pace in the mouth. Robust, slightly nutty finish with again a light earthy bitterness. Austere but enjoyable and surely tasting of Southern Italy. Cheers, Alberto
  4. Alberto


    Hello all. Marsala is one of the great wine world bargains. (at least in Italy). Very seldom even 10 or 15 years old vintages cross the $20 price tag. The best grape for Marsala is probably grillo, but other grapes (inzolia, catarratto) are used. There is also a Ruby marsala made with red grapes included nero d'Avola, but production is tiny I think. For a quality product you've got to read the label. All good Marsala is DOC. Then look for the words Superiore (2 years in wood) and Superiore Riserva (4 years or more); if there is also the word Vergine you have a wine in which only alcohol was added after the fermentation and it's aged for a minimum of 5 years in wood; if there's not, also mistella (concentrated sweet must + alcohol) could be added, if there is the word Ambra which indicates an amber color. Marsala Superiore and Vergine have a minimun of 18% ABV. Marsala can be either solera-aged or statically aged, wood vessels can well be huge 20 hl carati (bins) or smaller barrels to impart different rates of aging. The biggest house is Florio which only bottles vintage wine under various specifications; Pellegrino bottles both NV and old vintages; Martinez employs solera system and bottles at 5, 10 and 15 years of age, and so does Vini Rallo. The list of producers can be longer, but I didn't tasted too much from those others. Anyways, bargains. Cheers, Alberto
  5. Alberto

    Wine Labels

    Hi LindaJ! Try here: Label Peeler Alberto
  6. The huge Trento-based co-operative CaVit bottled its Alto Adige wines under the Von Kastel (now Wachturm) label. Winemaking in Trentino A.A. is vastly co-op based, keeping the prices very affordable. 12% ABV Golden. Slightly shy on the nose at first, some nice vegetal notes (sage leaves) but lacking a bit on the fruit side, which grows over time though. Oily, fullish mouthfeel. Some acidity hits at the start but quickly sets back. Lime essential oil, green honeydew melon, kiwi, lichee, mint and hints of cold roasted poultry meat and fresh green peppers towards the simple but fairly tongue-coating finish. A ridiculously priced white coming from the places where gewürztraminer was born. Alberto
  7. Starting to hit the shelves now for some producers, but I think one have to wait next year(s) for others, including the big names. Seems a high praised vintage. 2000 recioti released this and past year have been rated very high, earning the title of sweet wine of the year in Slowfood guide with Recioto Classico by Allegrini. Amarone might follow. Valtellina Superiore DOCG Sfursat (made very like amarone but with nebbiolo grapes) might last long and comes relatively cheap, don't know about the vintage since there are very few great years in that mountain DOCG. Cheers, Alberto
  8. You can't go wrong with vintage port; if you don't want to give an arm and a leg to buy a case, wait a little and take 2000 Late Bottled Vintage; if it's unfiltered (with driven cork, sometimes it's written on the label) will last 20 years too, I think. Also amarone is an option. By a rule of thumb, higher the alcohol, slower the changes. Plesase someone tell me if I'm wrong... Cheers, Alberto
  9. One of the vineyard parcel used for this wine dates back to 1926. No wood. 12,5% ABV Greeny straw appearance, brilliant. Salted peanuts, hay and apricot kernels/amaretto aromas are characteristics of the varietal. Smooth as silk with white fruits flavors and just a touch of sweetness which goes well with all that minerals and keeps the acidity in check as well. The finish is expressive, flowery with still some almondy nuttiness and a touch of caramel, and reminds me a little of a good cider. Wonderfully balanced and a tad sweeter than expected. Paired with a ink-black cuttlefishes soup. Cheers, Alberto
  10. Coppery clay hue. Nose of orange honey, dried figs, tea leaves, pine cones, porcini. Like walking on the forest floor. Chewy off-dry palate, with residual acidity and fruit merging with wood spices through the finish, in which the latter prevail showing some nice resiny notes. Solera-aged for a minimum of 5 years, 18% ABV, 3% of RS. Another Sicilian bargain. Alberto
  11. Ouch, I forgot to write WTN on topic title box... Can it be changed? Thanks, Alberto
  12. A blend of Refosco, Schioppettino (Ribolla Nera) and Cabernet Sauvignon. No wood. Mrs. Sgubin employs totally organic methods in her vines, located in Scriò di Dolegna in the western part of Collio DOC area, stuck between Colli Orientali DOC and Slovenia border. 12,5% ABV Dark purple hue with no signs of maturity at the edge. Nose of autumn leaves/sous-bois, liquorice root, plum jelly and candied peels with, in time, an earthy/smoky note; all translated onto the palate. Compact mouthfeel, concentrated but not massive. Firm tannins take control by mid-palate towards the finish, with some Refosco lively acidity throughout. Needs (and deserves) quite some breathing time to soften a bit the tannins and expand the fruit. Ripe cherries, nuts and cocoa on the finish. Somehow closed, if accessible. Tasty and "younger" than their great Merlot from same year. Paired with roasted irish lamb and a course of mixed italian hard cheeses. Alberto
  13. It's my first WTN post, be kind please... This wine is made up by Barbera (55-70%) and Bonarda (30-45%) grapes, and draws his name from a silver wine cup (gutturnium) discovered in a Roman archeological site nearby Piacenza in Emilia. 12% ABV Deep ruby with purple shadows, shows light fizz when poured which disappears quckly. Some sediments on the bottle. Barbera nose of berries, geranium, lacquer, humus and tar, with a fair wood presence which gets bigger over the fruit with aeration. Medium but quite chewy body with fresh, lightly honeyed red fruit flavours, acidity and very little tannins. The finish has a sligtly green/stemmy note and stone fruits with again some oak influence as well. Nice. Paired with a simple dish of boiled musetto (a sort of large tender sausage made with chopped pork head flesh) and stewed Savoy cabbage, thin sliced speck and Vajont cow cheese from Friuli. Cheers, Alberto
  14. Hello folks. In short, Tennessee Whiskey is made in Tennessee state; it's heavily filtered through maple wood charcoal to remove impurities and mellow the taste. For the rest, it's just like Bourbon in its making. There's no relation in these days between Bourbon County and Bourbon Whiskey making; in fact there're no distilleries in Bourbon County. Bourbon can be distilled everywhere in the US, but to be designed Kentucky Straight Bourbon it must be prduced in Kentucky. Mash bill must be at least 51% corn; usually is around 70-75% with the remaining fraction made up by barley malt and rye or wheat. Right now I'm enjoing Wild Turkey 8 y.o. at the good old 101 proof strength, a great bargain at $14. Slainthe. Alberto edit: spelling
  15. Alberto

    Wine and Chocolate

    Hi. Vintage or Late Bottled Vintage Port should pair with chocolate slightly better than Tawny, IMHO. Any sweet red should be good I think. It also depends what kind of chocolate(s) you're going to taste, of course. Let us know . Cheers, Alberto
  16. Hi. Avoid the rather weak Founder's Reserve 10 y.o. and go for the Double Wood 12 y.o. Sherry finish or the Single Barrel 15 y.o., or for the older expressions (21 Port finish, Single Barrel 25, etc...). Slainthe! Alberto
  17. Hello all. Very slightly off-topic maybe. Just paired the 1998 Recioto Classico la Sorte, Cantina Valpolicella, with a cheese course, I can't do anything but recommend this kind of marriage. The cheeses were: -fresh Canestrello from Tuscany (very very white paste, sheep and cow milk) -Fagagna from Friuli (cow, medium hard and a little spicy) -a young-medium Parmigiano Reggiano, very supple -Pecorino di Fossa Santa Caterina from Marche (sheep, 90 days, still a quite sweet and soft taste) Fabulous pairing. Alberto
  18. Last distilled? Probably you mean first distilled in the 1970s; Mannochmore Distillery opened in 1972. Probably the oddest (some say worst) whisky ever produced; not exactly bad, but very very strange. I won't call it a single malt scotch though, but a mixture of whisky and caramel colouring. Good lck for the auction however... Cheers, Alberto
  19. Hello slkinsey. Grain Whiskies are distilled through a continuous system similar to bourbon making process; they come out the still at high proof so they've got light body and character, but they're not neutral alchool. There are about a dozen of grain distilleries in Scotland, all about one located in the Lowlands, some closed by a long time, although but their output is still used today. They're all aged for a minimum of three years in small wooden casks just like malt whisky; few are bottles as single grains (I collect that kind of bottles), but the majority goes into blends, together with a percentage of malts usually between 20 and 50% as you said correctly. Since the age statement refers to the youngest whisky in the blend, if you've got, say, Johnnie Walker Black Label (a 12 y.o.), what you've got inside the bottle is a mixture of malt whiskies aged not less than 12 years and one or two grain whiskies (say, North British and Port Dundas) aged not less than 12 years as well. If you've got a 50 y.o. blend, the grain whisky inside is 50 years old! I know it might sound strange but it's true. Same for canadian whisky, of course: all the whisky inside the bottle is aged for the stated period. BTW, Chivas Royal Salute 50 y.o. goes for £5000 sterling. For clarity. Cheers, Alberto
  20. Yes it is. American bourbon.. hmm... Just as another data point my hubby reminded me that Dad loves Royal Salute.. (I assume you all know what it is even if I dont ) Royal Salute is a special, super-expensive kind of Crown Royal aged 50 years (although one can't really say how long a blended has been aged, since the neutral spirits in the blend are not aged at all -- presumably this means that some of the malts in the blend were aged 50 years). $250 or so a bottle, which strikes me as obscenely expensive for blended scotch considering that you could get 25 year old Springbank single malt for less than that. Booker's, on the other hand, is <$60 a bottle. No...wait a minute... Royal Salute 50 y.o. is a commemorative and extremely espensive edition of the Royal Salute blend from Chivas Brothers (normally at 21 years of age); in Scotland the age statement imply all the whiskies in a bottle, grain whiskies included of course. Crown Royal is a blended canadian whisky made by Seagram; there's also a premium verison called CR Special Reserve. Anyways, to be called "canadian whisky" even the blending base (you said the "neutral spirit"), distilled usually from corn, must be aged at least 3 years in wood according to canadian laws. Is in american blended whiskies that the neutral spirit can account up to the 80% of the total and do not require a compulsive aging. BTW, Booker is not aged for very long, about 8 years I think. Try also Knob Creek 9 y.o. 100 proof also from Jim Beam small batch bourbon range. Maker's Mark is a good starting point bourbon whiskey too. Cheers, Alberto
  21. Hi all! I'd like to hear some comments about the 21 y.o. too... At 70 EUR / U.S. $ 80 is it a fair purchase? Cheers, Alberto
  22. There are some misconceptions here about malts, blends, etc... I've never seen the denomination "double malt" on a label; actually "single malt" is a term used substantially only in Irish and Scotch, stating that all the stuff inside the bottle comes from a single distillery (or better a single production line, since there are some distilleries in Scotland that produce more than one single malt). The term "blended" for Scotch and Irish says that almost one grain whisky (hey, not neutral spirit!), which is produced in continuous column stills and has a lighter profile than malt whisky, is included. Mixtures of only different single malts without grain whiskies are called "vatted malts" or "pure malts". For example Cardhu Single Malt, very popular in Europe, has been recently re-marketed by owner Diageo PLC as Cardhu Pure Malt, because they now use other malts form Speyside region (f.e. Dufftown, Glendullan) after a lowering in mature stocks. Of course, when we are talking about malt without other specification, we refer to barley malt. Some distilleries use to malt another type of grain for distillation, though: Anchor Brewery produces Old Potrero from 100% malted rye, and Distillerie der Menhirs in Brittany makes Eddu whisky wholly form buckwheat malt. My 2 cents. Saluti, Alberto
  23. Hello thrasymachus, welcome. Don't know what a "double malt" is, but I would be amazed to try one... No ctgm, if you put together two or more Single Malts you can call it Pure Malt or Vatted Malt, but not Blended. Anyways, these are the whisky types with some tips under $40. -Straight Bourbon Whiskey: mainly produced in Kentucky from a recipe of three grains: corn (+/- 70%), malt and rye OR wheat. Maker's Mark is "wheated", most other brands use rye which makes it taste spicier. A variant made in Tennessee (f.e. Jack Daniels) is charcoal-filtered. The majority of Bourbon and Tennessee Whisky retails for less than $40 or even $30. -Straight Rye Whiskey: substantially, just switch the percentages of corn and rye in the composition. Distilled almost entirely inside Kentucky Bourbon distilleries. Spicier than Bourbon and a little sour, maybe not a drink for everyone if you don't want to mix it. I think for that cash you can get Van Winkle ryes, great stuff. -Canadian Whisky: commonly a blend of many different whiskies, separately distilled from barley, corn and rye. Usually unexpensive, if compared to Scotch. Try Crown Royal or Canadian Club 12. -Irish Whisky: made in Ireland. You can find it as malt whisky (made entirely from malted barley), pot-still whisky (from malted AND unmalted barley distilled together) and blended (with column-distilled grain whisky). Malts: Tyrconnell, Bushmills 10. Blends: Jameson 12, Black Bush. Pot-still: Redbreast 12, if you can find it. -Scotch Whisky: made in Scotland. Single Malts are malt whiskies produced in discontinuous stills (pot-stills), coming from a single distillery. I could well extend a "under $40 list" to a dozen, so drastically reducing it according to sub-zones: Longmorn 15 (Speyside), Ardbeg 10 (Islay), Auchentoshan 10 (Lowland). Blended whiskies cover the vast majority of the market; they're a composition of various Single Malts (up to 40+) with some grain whiskies. Try Ballantines 12 or Whyte & Mackay 12, but there are myriads. Whiskies made in Japan follow Scotch style closely, they even often include a percentage of Single Malts Scotches (and they're quite pricey! ). In US, try www.samswine.com or ww.thewhiskyshop.com, but my suggestion is to scour the shelves. Hope that this will help, cheers, Alberto
  24. Hello all. Yes, with time regular Valpo can develop interesting anise and maraschino cherry notes. Had a Sartori 2001 Valpolicella Superiore yesterday, though not stated on the label it was definitely a ripasso IMHO. How long can a ripasso live comparing with Amarone? I'm thinking to buy well stored 1979 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso, that vintage is considered above average but maybe it's too old. Can someone express a judgement about the wines from two major Verona-based houses Bolla and Pasqua in comparison with smaller local producers? Thanks, Alberto
  25. Hi Ed and all. Malt whisky comes out from the spirit still at +/- 70% abv, but of course it varies upon how wide is the "cut". Auchentoshan (Lowland) is triple distilled and reaches 86% abv., I presume Bushmills too. Both malt and grain whisky (+/- 94% out of the Coffey still) are then reduced at about 63,5% before barrelling; that's judged the optimal strength for aging in Scotland and Ireland, I think that they do the same for american whiskeys, don't know in other parts of the World. In past decades they commonly did not reduced the spirit prior to put it into cask, so old CS malts if aged in a very dry micro-climate can well get over 65% abv. Same for old rums, maybe. Cheers, Alberto
  • Create New...