Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vineyards of the Dolomites with 2013 Castel San Michele Moscato Rosa

I was excited about the topic for this month's Italian Food, Wine & Travel group as I love the alpine regions of Italy. I've been lucky to visit a few of them and the scenery is stunning with the background of the dramatic mountain ranges including the Dolomites, Monte Bianco, the Appenines and more. 

Back in early 2015 I visited the Trentino-Alto Adige region for the first time and journeyed from Verona via train to the town of Trento, about an hour due north. I spent a wonderful day there doing what I typically love to do in visiting new towns, strolling around, checking out hidden side streets, piazzas, watching the locals interact, visiting any historical monuments or sites and of course shopping. I wanted to bring home some wines from the region of grapes that I've never tried or wines that I just wasn't too familiar with. 
Piazza Duomo in Trento
Piazza Duomo in Trento
I found a great local wine shop in town and took the expertise of the store owner whom directed me over to a bottle of Castel San Michele Moscato Rosa made from the Instituto Agrario, which I'm sharing with you today. 
town of Trento in Trentino
I love the Alpine backdrops!  Trento, Italy

The winery is found in the region of Trentino and is part of the Edmund Mach Foundation Farm named after Austrian Dr. Edmund Mach. that is home to 120 hectacres(about 296 acres). The land is used to grow agricultural crops and vineyards that are used mostly for research and experiments at the agricultural school and research center. 

The winery itself can found inside an ancient 12th century Augustinian monastery, San Michele (hence the name of the wine today). They produce about 30 different types of wines as well as a classic method sparkling wine. The aim of the winery is to share what the terroir of Trento represents.   
Instituto Agrario Edmund Mach Foundation
Winery at the Augustinian monastery copyright of Edmund Mach Foundation

Castel San Michele Moscato Rosa
The 2013 Castel San Michele Moscato Rosa Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT is made from moscato rosa Becchetti land, plated in 1960, and Oberrauch land, planted in 1988. Everything is hand harvested and as I'm sure you'll see from a lot of other bloggers that many grapes of this region are hand harvested due to the steep terrains in which the grapes are grown. Very tedious, hard manual labor. They produce only about 1,500 bottles of this particular wine and it's all produced in stainless steel. Brilliant ruby color with a very aromatic nose of red berries and roses. A fuller bodied wine with a hint of baking spices. Regardless of the sweetness to this wine there was plenty of acidity to create a nice balance. The Institute recommends pairing it with forest fruits and berry pies and I'd even recommend some chocolate dishes. 
grapes. The grapes are grown on hills from their

I hope for those of you that have never ventured to northern Italy, and furthermore the alpine region, that you put that on your bucket list. So far for me the most amazing place I've visited up there was the Aosta Valley, Valle d'Aosta. You must check out some of my pictures of Aosta if you need convincing.
Join us on Saturday, August 5th at 10 am central on twitter to chat about the Alpine Wines of Italy. Look for the hashtag #ItalianFWT. Everyone is welcome to join us for the chat, which includes questions and answers from these top wine bloggers. Ask your questions, share your travel experiences or clue us in on your favorite Alpine wines.  In time for the chat, the following writers will publish their posts on the topic. Look forward to:
SUSANNAH from AVVINARE will cover White Wines from Aosta Hit High Notes
KATELYN from THRONE & VINE presents Divinely Alpine - Exploring the Wines of Elena Walch
LAUREN from THE SWIRLING DERVISH tells the story of Hearts on Fire: A Summer Tradition in Alto Adige
LYNN from SAVOR THE HARVEST recommends The One High Altitude Wine REgion you Must Try #ItalianFWT
CAMILLA, of CULINARY ADVENTURES WITH CAMILLA, cooks up Beef & Barolo, Two Piedmontese Darlings
JEFF, author of FOODWINECLICK! gets into Unique Mountain Wines of Alto Adige
MARTIN over at ENOFYLZ WINE BLOG provides A Taste of Lugana; 2013 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva #ItalianFWT
GWENDOLYN from WINEPREDATOR writes about heading Off to the Alps for #ItalianFWT
Jill from L’OCCASION presents A Winemaker Rendezvous: Ivan Giovanett of Castelfeder. 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Albarino Shines in Rias Biaxes

Earlier this summer (a little late to the game I know) I attended a virtual tasting hosted by Snooth with co-founder, Mark Angelillo, and guest speaker and Advanced Sommelier, Jill Zimorski.  The tasting was focused solely on albarino from the Rias Baixes wine region. I love these tastings because we're not only able to share in the wines focused on the theme of the night together, but we gain some great knowledge and expertise from those with a long history in the industry providing their insights to enrich us all.  It can't all be about Italian wine all the time, can it?

Rias Baixes is located in northwestern Spain in the Galicia region, which is also known as “Green Spain”. The Rias Baixes DO (denominacion de origin) was established in 1988 and consists of 5 subzones that Rias Baixes Wines goes into depth on each one on their website.

  • Val do Salnes
  • Condado do Tea
  • O Rosal
  • Ribera de Ulla
  • Soutomaior
Making up 96% of the production in Rias Baixes is the indigenous white grape, albarino. When I first started learning about wine, this always seemed to be a grape that I enjoyed and I always found them at great price points. Mark admitted in the tasting that this was one of his first wine loves as well.  It's been awhile since I've had this grape and nothing has changed in terms of the value provided with the most expensive of all 10 bottles at the tasting totaling $25. How can you go wrong not to at least try one if you never have. Famous wine writer and expert, Jancis Robinson, describes albarino wines in 4 ways: fashionable, high quality, fresh and an aromatic variety.

You can find many other grapes in Rias Baixes, produced on a smaller scale in comparison to the dominant one, albarino. Those include treixadura, loureiro, caino blanco, torrontes and godello. The Rias Baixes region and all its winemaking zones lie either right on the coast or pretty close to it. It's a rather cool climate with abundant rain, sunshine and the soils are full of minerals. 
albarino and rias biaxes wines
Copyright of Rias Baixes Wines
Jill described the following wines with “styles that range from a crisp, aromatic melony character in Val do Salnés, to a peachier, softer style in O Rosal, and a less fruity and earthier style in Condado do Tea.” She best describes the albarino grape as “pale golden lemon, they are all crisp, elegant and fresh. These wines are bone-dry and aromatic, packed with flavors of white peach, apricot, melon, pineapple, mango and honeysuckle. They share good natural acidity, have mineral overtones, and are medium bodied with moderate alcohol (12%).” All the wines tasted were produced in stainless steel.

Below is a list of all the wines sampled. The tasting was only an hour and as you can imagine it doesn't leave much time to cover each wine so I'm sharing with you my top 3 favorites of the night and a list of everything tried. The #1 choice for the night for me, and what seemed many others as well of the group, was the 2016 Pazo Senorans. It was a lush, rich wine. Many in the tasting compared this to muscadet. Following that I would choose the 2015 Pazo de San Mauro for it's tropical fruit, florality and honeyed notes. Lastly, the 2015 Altos de Torona. Full of yellow ripe fruit and florals.
Rias Biaxes albarino recommendations

Sub-region: Val do Salnés
  • 2015 Condes de Albarei Albariño Rias Baixes, SRP: $15
  • 2015 Vionta Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $15
  • 2015 Martin Codax Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $16.99
  • 2016 Pazo Senorans Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $25
Sub-region: Contado do Tea 
  • 2015 Pazo de San Mauro Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $17
  • 2016 Señorío de Rubiós Robaliño Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $18
Sub-region: O Rosal
  • 2015 Valminor Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP: $18.99
  • 2015 Bodegas Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio Albariño Rias Baixas, SRP $19.99
  • 2015 Altos de Torona Albariño Sobre Lias Rias Baixas, SRP $14
  • 2015 Santiago Ruiz Albariño Rias Baixas , SRP: $20
You can experience the tasting yourself as well as Snooth has it up online: Rias Baixes Virtual Tasting.

*All wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own. Information sourced from Rias Baixes Wines