Visits to two producers in Veneto today, and there couldn't have been a bigger contrast in the experiences.

At Giuseppi Quintarelli we tasted:

2006 Valpolicella Classico Superiore
2002 Rosso del Bepi
2004 Amarone Classico
2003 Amarone Riserva
2005 Alzero
2001 Recioto Della Valpolicella

And at Michele Castellani we tasted:

2011 Valpolicella Classico Superiore i Castei
2010 Sergio Rosso Veronese
2005 Amarone i Castei Campo Caselin

At Quintarelli, we were first greeted by Fiorenze, Giuseppe's daughter and current proprietor. She had her son, Francesco, give us the tour and tasting, since he speaks English better than she does. Francesco was gracious, warm and incredibly informative. What a treat to tour the entire facility, even while it's under extensive renovation.

Meanwhile, Mara Castellani, Michele's daughter, was cool and fairly dismissive - and she chewed gum through the entire tasting (which lasted perhaps 15 minutes). Then she left us to do our own self-guided "tour" of the cellars. Weird.
quote:
Originally posted by futronic:
Very weird and disappointing about your Castellani visit. They didn't even pour any of the good stuff like the Amarone Cinque Stelle, et al.


Agreed. But as disappointing as Castellani was, Quintarelli exceeded expectations. I hadn't expected to be able to get in to visit them at all. I called 6 weeks ago and was told they were too busy with the harvest and the renovation. But our host at the agriturismo called this morning and was able to secure an appointment for us.
- 1997 Rocca Albino Barbaresco Brich Ronchi -- I last had a bottle of this in 2010, and it seems that it was better than tonight's bottle which has significant bricking, still a lovely floral and cherry nose, but now the flavours seem just slightly faded, and while the wine is silky in the mouth it is certainly lighter than in the past, with troubling, drying tannins that outlast the fruit on the finish. It's not bad at all, but a somewhat diminished version of what it once was.

I first opened a bottle of this in 2004, when it seemed powerful and timeless, and bought a few more earlier this year in the hope that I was right, but it seems that the wine may be on its slow decline. I'll be drinking my other 4 bottles in the next few months, and I look forward to discovering whether this was a one-off or a typical bottle.
quote:
Originally posted by Impulse:
quote:
Originally posted by Bytown Rick:
quote:
Originally posted by Impulse:
2012 Laughing Stock Portfolio


And how was it? Mine just arrived today.

Rick

It's a clearly a good vintage for the Portfolio. Lots of depth, with the usual character.


Thanks.

Rick
quote:
Originally posted by Bytown Rick:
2011 Domaine Tournon Mathilda Shiraz-Viognier, with baby back ribs. The first bottle (decanted for two hours) was pepper, pepper. pepper. With dark fruit in the background. The second was a pop and pour. Less pepper, more fruit.

Both were great with the spicy ribs Big Grin .

Rick
Last night:
2010 Nino Negri Valtellina Superiore Sassella Le Tense - Nebbiolo lite: very accessible now, with fresh cherry, hints of tea, slightly dusty tannins and lively acidity.

Tonight:
2010 Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco - deeper flavours and a little more full bodied than the Lombardia Nebbiolo, with a nice balance of cherry and strawberry, rose petals, pekoe tea, and smooth tannins. Biggest detractor: it's a little low on acidity. Not sure about age-ability, but it's drinking well now.
Thursday with the boys!!

1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
2007 Newton Chard
2005 Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora
1997 Tignanello
1998 Col d'Orcia Olmaia
1999 Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi
2003 Sassicaia
2004 Ornellaia
2004 Flaccianello
2005 Gagliole Colli della Toscana Centrale
2007 Climens

Friday-felt-like-puking-all-day but impromptu chinese food with a bottle or two turned into 3 bottles and then 6...stuffed with food and satiated with vino:

1999 Dom Perignon
1975 Palmer
1995 Grand Puy Lacoste
1994 Masseto
2009 Masseto
2010 Antonin Guyon Corton

Today at home cleaning and baking before off to dad's for plonksgiving:

2001 Pavie
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
Thursday with the boys!!

1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
2007 Newton Chard
2005 Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora
1997 Tignanello
1998 Col d'Orcia Olmaia
1999 Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi
2003 Sassicaia
2004 Ornellaia
2004 Flaccianello
2005 Gagliole Colli della Toscana Centrale
2007 Climens

Friday-felt-like-puking-all-day but impromptu chinese food with a bottle or two turned into 3 bottles and then 6...stuffed with food and satiated with vino:

1999 Dom Perignon
1975 Palmer
1995 Grand Puy Lacoste
1994 Masseto
2009 Masseto
2010 Antonin Guyon Corton

Today at home cleaning and baking before off to dad's for plonksgiving:

2001 Pavie


Note to self: schedule a Thursday guys' night in Toronto.

How was the Billecart?
quote:
Originally posted by AllRed:
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
Thursday with the boys!!

1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs


Note to self: schedule a Thursday guys' night in Toronto.

How was the Billecart?


Note to self: try to arrange or attend more such nights. I feel rather lucky to know generous people with great cellars.

I quite enjoyed the billecart but wish I'd set the glass aside to see how it developed over the evening...apart from being very enjoyable my only thought was that it might benefit from a few more years of slumber.

On the topic of bubbly this was the third 1999 Dom I've had...first two years ago was austere but subtly delicious...another a few months back had fast-forwarded nicely and was more developed, delicious, and balanced...but last night's opening was a little hard to place, ever changing nose that was enjoyable at times, but less developed palate than the last bottle, and some noticeable sweetness, at least to me, and although certainly enjoyable I felt that it would have been more enjoyable if it had been decanted and treated like a flat dry white.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
I feel rather lucky to know generous people with great cellars.


Domino and I were just touching on this very idea with Futronic not even an hour ago.

As a community we drink a lot of terrific wine, but even the greatest of bottles pale in comparison to the friendships forged in these forums and through wine. Very lucky, indeed.
quote:
Originally posted by AllRed:
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
I feel rather lucky to know generous people with great cellars.


Domino and I were just touching on this very idea with Futronic not even an hour ago.

As a community we drink a lot of terrific wine, but even the greatest of bottles pale in comparison to the friendships forged in these forums and through wine. Very lucky, indeed.


Big +1

And did Futronic beckon you to come up north?

Ugh turkey carving beckons...
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
And did Futronic beckon you to come up north?


Oh yes...has been for a long while. The GTO is definitely a high priority for us. In fact, I think I already have the theme for the offline. Some of the restaurants you have up there would be perfect for what I have in mind...

I think this time next year ought to be perfect.
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
Thursday with the boys!!

1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
2007 Newton Chard
2005 Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora
1997 Tignanello
1998 Col d'Orcia Olmaia
1999 Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi
2003 Sassicaia
2004 Ornellaia
2004 Flaccianello
2005 Gagliole Colli della Toscana Centrale
2007 Climens

Friday-felt-like-puking-all-day but impromptu chinese food with a bottle or two turned into 3 bottles and then 6...stuffed with food and satiated with vino:

1999 Dom Perignon
1975 Palmer
1995 Grand Puy Lacoste
1994 Masseto
2009 Masseto
2010 Antonin Guyon Corton

Today at home cleaning and baking before off to dad's for plonksgiving:

2001 Pavie


Good lord. Nice stuff.
A late lunch at Barolo Bar in Monforte d'Alba:

2012 Gianfranco Alessandria Langhe Nebbiolo - fragrant perfumed nose; light body, fresh and fruit-forward.
2012 Marcarini Barbera d'Alba Ciabot Camerano - great cherry, tea and roses nose; mid-weight palate dominated by tannins and acid right now.

With beef carpaccio, a Caprese salad and roasted chestnuts.
Friday night w/roast duck breast-- second time this week, but could not resist-- and some nice appetizers at our home and at the restaurant:

- NV Henriot Champagne Blanc de Blancs -- dough dominates nose, with pear, bread, lemon and roast nut flavours, feels rich on the palate, good acidity, good mousse, fairly long lip-smacking finish, delicious

- 2012 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes -- lots of grapefruit, lemon, decent acidity, clean and crisp, nice

- 2003 Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards -- still young and dark, powerhouse Hermitage, berry, plum, fig, spice cake, mushroom, black olive, good acidity, silky, very long finish, outstanding wine

- 2004 Spinifex Shiraz-Viognier -- like fresh-crushed ripe raspberries, this is a nice wine that unfortunately suffered by following the Bessards, seemed simple in comparison though the fruit is ripe, rich, pure

Last night, with spicy salmon and prawn soup with noodles, a bottle of 2012 Wild Goose Gewürztraminer Okanagan, which is the BC white of this season for me, off-dry, litchi, pear, honey, good acidity, a bargain
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
quote:
Originally posted by EB Wine:
'97 Seavey Cabernet- disappointing for the price point. Showed a roasted fruit/raisin character that I didn't like.



EB, I'm thinking a heat damaged bottle. I have never had a Seavey show like this in anyway.


That could be. Great provenance is no guarantee (brought this bottle home directly from the winery).
Three by the glass with dinner at La Salita in Monforte:

2013 Cascina Amalia Barbera
2012 Aldo Clerico Langhe Nebbiolo
2009 Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo

All were very young and straightforward, all were very different, and all were pleasant enough in their own way. None were particularly memorable. If I had to choose one, I'd go with the A. Clerico.

Tomorrow our Piemonte visit starts in earnest.
quote:
Originally posted by sunnylea57:
Three by the glass with dinner at La Salita in Monforte:

2013 Cascina Amalia Barbera
2012 Aldo Clerico Langhe Nebbiolo
2009 Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo

All were very young and straightforward, all were very different, and all were pleasant enough in their own way. None were particularly memorable. If I had to choose one, I'd go with the A. Clerico.

Tomorrow our Piemonte visit starts in earnest.


Looking forward to the updates!
Busy but fun wine drinking weekend.

After the wonderful truffle dinner with the San Diego crew two nights ago, last night, I enjoyed the following with some colleagues at a great steakhouse in San Diego, Cowboy Star:

1995 Verget Chablis Grad Cru "Valmur"
1996 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
1999 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe2O3-1C Syrah
2001 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes

Tonight:

2007 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon
quote:
Originally posted by EB Wine:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
quote:
Originally posted by EB Wine:
'97 Seavey Cabernet- disappointing for the price point. Showed a roasted fruit/raisin character that I didn't like.



EB, I'm thinking a heat damaged bottle. I have never had a Seavey show like this in anyway.


That could be. Great provenance is no guarantee (brought this bottle home directly from the winery).


In that case I would strongly suggest that you contact the winery and mention how this bottle showed, diplomatically suggest the suspect heat damage and politely inquire if they wouldn't mind replacing it.
Back to back tastings today:

At Fratelli Brovia

2011 Barbera d'Alba Ciabot Del Fi
2010 Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggione

They've almost sold out of their 2010 cru Baroli, and can't offer them at tastings, and have a limited sales to 3 bottles of each cru. I bought one each of the Villero, Brea Ca'Mia and Rocche.

At Paolo Scavino

2013 Sorriso Langhe (white blend)
2012 Barbera d'Alba Affinato in Carati
2012 Langhe Nebbiolo
2010 Barolo
2005 Barolo Cannubi
2005 Barolo Bric del Fiasc

They are sold out of the 2010 cru Baroli, and can only offer the blend at tastings. I already have the '05 Bric del Fiasc, so I bought a few bottles of the 2005 Cannubi. I also liked the 2012 Barbera d'Alba Affinato in Carati and the 2010 "base" Barolo, but I'm limited in how much I can haul back to Canada.

Both visits were positive, enlightening experiences. Alex Sanchez at Brovia was busy with work, but Alessandra was charming and knowledgeable.

At Scavino, Riccardo was passionate and informative. He received his sommelier designation while he was still a teenager - and it's clear he knows and loves wine. We also talked for awhile with Enrico and his sister. They don't speak English, and we don't speak Italian, but we were able to make ourselves understood.

At both visits, we had lengthy tours of the facilities and I took quite a few photos which I'll post later.
Last night with a French twist on Thanksgiving turkey (breast roulade, leg confit), we had

- 2005 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Cuvée Laurence -- I love when a white wine has just started to darken to a rich burnished gold, and even our server commented on the beautiful colour of this wine; lovely floral and icing sugar nose; just slightly thick on the palate, with lots of pear, litchi, peach, honey, almost creamy, excellent acidity, and a long rich finish. Terrific Gewürztraminer, and can still go a few more years easily.
quote:
Originally posted by TPEwinedrinker:
quote:
Originally posted by gloriouswine22:
I drank Argentine Malbec yesterday, it was great.

Bravo! I drank red wine yesterday- it was awesome.


Wow! I drank White wine yesterday - one was awesome too!

The other was from my mother-in-law and was the type of Cava that gave Cava a bad name...

gloriouswine22, should I try some of this Malbec stuff from Argentina? People are talking about it...
quote:
Originally posted by sunnylea57:
quote:
Originally posted by Machine:
quote:
Originally posted by Mimik:

Good lord. Nice stuff.


At outlier few days to be sure, but a welcomed treat.


I'm surprised you're still upright, A.

A remarkable 3 days.


Friday was a difficult nausea-filled day, until the evening!
quote:
Originally posted by sunnylea57:
Tonight at Trattoria Della Posta to accompany tagliatelle with a mass of white truffle shavings:

2012 Rinaldi Langhe Nebbiolo

I'm kinda hoping I fit in your carry-on next time. Your descriptions and photos of wine, food and travel are making us all envious.
quote:
Originally posted by Gkapoor:
Best of the bunch enjoyed on recent trips to Turkey, Greece, London, HK, and AU:

NV Krug
1996 Dom Perignon
NV Cedric Bouchard Val Vilane
1996 Penfolds Bin 707
1997 Dominus
1997 Insignia
2001 Dominus
1996 Lynch Bages
2001 Fattoria
2004 Bindi Pinot Noir

It's good to be Gkapoor!
quote:
Originally posted by TPEwinedrinker:
quote:
Originally posted by Gkapoor:
Best of the bunch enjoyed on recent trips to Turkey, Greece, London, HK, and AU:

NV Krug
1996 Dom Perignon
NV Cedric Bouchard Val Vilane
1996 Penfolds Bin 707
1997 Dominus
1997 Insignia
2001 Dominus
1996 Lynch Bages
2001 Fattoria
2004 Bindi Pinot Noir

It's good to be Gkapoor!

It's good to be either of you, but things aren't too shabby here in the great white north.

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