The Cellar: A Pair of Italian Wines Perfect for the Holidays
Friday, December 20, 2013
Every wine enthusiast has a couple of ‘wine moments’; i.e. moments where one sip of wine or one bottle shared stands out in the sea of wines one has ever tasted. Maybe it was the wine itself that was special, or maybe it was the occasion that was memorable elevating the otherwise barely quaffable wine into something truly remarkable. One of my most memorable ‘wine moments’ was the first time I tasted the Sagrantino grape variety. This experience got me hooked on Arnaldo-Caprai who is out with a new wine, based on the softer Sangiovese.
The 2010 Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino and 15% Merlot aged for 12 months in Slovenian and French oak barrels with an additional 4 months in bottle prior to being released. This is a much more approachable wine both in terms of price ($20), flavors and structure. Remember the tannic attack from the 100% Sagrantino? Well, there is little of that going on here. Only on the finish does one detect the gripping tannins of its bigger brother. No, this wine has a brighter, redder fruit profile (sour cherries, ripe cranberries, plum) with savory and spicy notes, alongside dusty, chewy tannins lingering on the finish.
Over the years we have covered many bubbly alternatives to Champagne. Not because Champagnes aren’t almost always delicious, but because they are expensive and almost never values.
Their $25 NV Brut rivals many $50 Champagnes. This wine is made from 100% handpicked Chardonnay sourced from high elevation vineyards, i.e. vineyards located at between 990 ft. and 2300 ft. elevation. Ferrari ages their Bruts for at least 2 years in contact with the lees before disgorging. This wine needs a minute in the glass to settle and open up (don’t worry the bubbles will still be there). The wine displays lovely toasty aromas, as well as a smoky/mineral note. On the palate the wine is crisp and clean with apple flavors being the most dominant; ripe and baked turning mouthwateringly sour towards the finish with fine bubbles throughout. A good value for $25.
Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at srasch@ProvidenceWineAcademy.com with any wine-related question or learn in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.
10 New England Wine Getaways
Newport Vineyards is the perfect Rhode Island destination for wine lovers year round. Visit the winery this weekend for tastings and tours, featuring an array of award winning wines. The winery even has a convenient “Wine Bus;” a shuttle bus that is available to provide transportation to groups or individuals to the winery from downtown Newport.
909 E Main Road, Middletown, RI. (401) 848-5161.
Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineya
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton is much more than just a winery—it is a place to get away from the stresses of life and indulge your senses, a place to try new things, a place to focus on you. The vineyard is open every day, and invites you to come for a tasting and tour. Try their Petite Red, Vidal Blanc, and many more of their distinctive wines.
162 W Main Road, Little Compton, RI. (401) 635-8486.
Visit Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth to sample their estate grown and produced wine, made in small batches. While at the estate, try seven different wines and keep the wine glass for only $12. While you are tasting, take in the gorgeous views of both the vineyard and river. Besides tasting the wines, Greenvale also invites customers to tour the winery and learn about the history and process of winemaking at the vineyard.
582 Wapping Road, Portsmouth, RI. (401) 847-3777.
Maugle Sierra Vineyards
For a trip to a vineyard that includes much more than just wine, hop over the border to Ledyard, CT, to check out Maugle Sierra Vineyards. The vineyard hosts live music on Fridays and Sundays to compliment your wine tasting experience. Pack a dinner or light fare and enjoy a tasting session in the Sierra Room while you take in the sunset.
825 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard, CT. (860) 464-2987.
Nickle Creek Vineyards
Nickle Creek Vineyard is a family owned and operated Rhode Island wine treasure. The winery, located in Foster, makes it their mission to handcraft the most unique, high quality wines in the business. All wines are created in small batches, giving them a distinctly unique taste. This weekend, visit their tasting room to try their variety of wines. On your way out, be sure to pick up a bottle of Foster Nights to get you through those chilly New England evenings.
12 King Road, Foster, RI. (401) 369-3694.
Nashoba Valley Winery
Take the bite off the winter chill this weekend and take a drive to Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. The winery hosts tasting events everyday from 10am-4:30pm For $5, receive a free tasting glass and samples of up to five different wines. Some favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, Holiday Special Cranberry Apple (a new release in November 2013), and New English Cider. If you are in the mood for something other than wine (if that’s possible), check out their beer selection as well!
100 Wattaquadock Hill Road, Bolton, MA. (978) 779-5521.
Bishop’s Orchards Winery
The wines from Bishop’s Orchards Winery and Farm Market in Guilford, CT, have won over 179 medals since the winery opened in 2005. The tasting room at Bishop’s is open seven days a week year round, so no time is off-limits for wine tasting. Head over on the weekend to enjoy a winery tour pre or post tasting session. While visiting the winery, also be sure to check out the market for fresh baked goodies.
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. (203) 453-2338.
Diamond Hill Vineyards
For a cool twist on classic wine labels, look no further than Diamond Hill Vineyard in Cumberland. At Diamond Hill, you can get custom designed wine labels perfect for any occasion. If you’re interested in tasting the wines, visit their elegant tasting room for samples of their high quality wines such as Cranberry Apple, Estate Pinot Noir, or Blackberry.
3145 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI. (401) 333-2751.
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery
Tucked away on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, located about an hour’s drive from Worcester, is worth the trip. For only $10, you can take home a special edition etched wine glass and enjoy a tasting of up to six of their award-winning wines. While the tasting room is open Monday-Saturday, free winery tours are also offered to the public every Saturday from 1-3pm.
417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport, MA. (508) 636-3423.
Found on the southern Massachusetts coast about 30 minutes outside of Providence, is Travessia Winery in New Bedford. This micro-winery puts a twist on traditional wine culture with its cool urban flair. Travessia is open for sales and tastings Wednesday-Sunday, and invites customers to come in and enjoy their unique variety of wines.
760 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. (774) 929-6534.
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