Friday, January 11, 2019

Argentina Wines with Familia Zuccardi

Our destination this month with our Wine Pairing Weekend friends is Argentina, definitely one of the top countries on my bucket list of places to visit one day.  Plus, it holds a special place in my heart as the only pets I've owned throughout my life are chinchillas that originate from the Andes Mountains nearby.

When I first became exposed to the world of wine many years ago, Argentina was one of the countries that offered great value.  Malbec wines were some of the first red wines that I really enjoyed.  My tastes have changed since then, but I appreciate all wines for the character that they lend to each glass.

You may be asking yourself why are we featuring Argentinian wines, but as always I believe a more well-rounded educated wine consumer is important.  Plus, I always try to find the Italian twist in many of these tastings.  If you're ever seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" it's like the father always trying to find how every word stems from a Greek meaning; )  The Zuccardi family also have a Santa Rose vineyard that experiments with nontraditional grapes including Italian grapes aglianico and falaghina as well as many others.  Unfortunately I haven't had these wines to share with you my thoughts.

The Zuccardi family first planted its roots in the wine industry when Alberto Zuccardi planted his first vineyard in the region of Maipu, just outside of Mendoza, Argentina in 1963.  His great grandparents had transplanted themselves from Avellino, Italy in Campania into the town of Tucuman.  Little did he know his passion would grow into the wine industry.  His son, Jose Alberto Zuccardi, became General Director of the winery in 1990.  Today the third generation of the family, Sebastian Zuccardi, has advanced the winery further developing a research and development department to study the terroir that affects production of their wines and opened a new winery in the Uco Valley in 2016.  For those always seeking out organic wines they achieved their organic certification in 2004.
Familia Zuccardi and Santa Julia wines from Argentina
Even though I'm not presenting all these today I will be updating my post once I do.

2016 Zuccardi Q Chardonnay2016 Zuccardi Q Chardonnay: This wine is made from 100% chardonnay and if fermented in concrete and oak barrels with indigenous yeasts.  It aged "sur lie" meaning on the lees or the dead yeast cells that add complexity to the wine.  This wine is sourced from vineyards in Tupungato in the Uco Valley.  A brilliant straw yellow with notes of vanilla and tropical on the nose.  Even though this is a wine partially aged in oak barrels the notes of vanilla and toastiness of the wine wasn't overpowering as it can be with other barrel aged chardonnay.  A dry, medium-bodied wine showing pineapple flavors.  Rather balanced with nice crisp acidity and citrus flavors on a lengthy finish. 13.5% ABV SRP $20

Wine Pairing: I paired thsi wine with garlic butter shrimp over brown rice and mixed vegetables.  It was a perfect complement to the shrimp and even my oldest (2.5 years old) requested "more shrimp please".  Warms my soul a future foodie in the making. 
wine and food pairing with Argentina Zuccardi Chardonnay
2017 Santa Julia Mountain Blend2017 Santa Julia Mountain Blend Reserva: The Santa Julia brand is part of the Zuccardi family portfolio named after one of the family members Julia.  This wine is made of 70% malbec and 30% cabernet franc.  Aged 10 months in French oak.  Deep ruby in color and really ripe, rich berries on the nose.  Dark fruits with some spice on the palate and rather full-bodied.  Nice acid and well integrated tannins.  An enjoyable wine and especially at this price point.  13% ABV SRP $13

Wine Pairing: Yes I'm a mom of 2 little ones so some nights I do what I have to do to feed the family, but no chicken nuggets being served here.  I paired this wine with beef tenderloins, a baked smashed potato and stuffed portabello with sauteed red peppers topped with monterey cheese.  The little ones did not participate in the wine tasting part though.  They still have some years to go. ; )
wine and fod pairing with Santa Julia Malbec Cabernet Franc

Join our wine pairing weekend group posts and discussion on Saturday Jan. 12 at 11am EST. You can find us on Twitter at the #WinePW hashtag.

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*These wines were offered for me to try as samples, but I only share those that I recommend to readers and I was not compensated for this posting.  Opinions are always my own.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Starting the New Year with the Big Boys: Barolo and Barbaresco of Tenuta Carretta

Benvenuto 2019!  What better way to start off the new year than with some of the big boys of Italian wine, barolo and barbaresco.  This month our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is exploring cold winter wines and these are for sure to warm up your soul.   

I’ve always been a big fan of wines from Piedmont and it has been some time since we have visited this region and its wonderful wines.  It is probably best known for Barolo and Barbaresco, but not everyone has the money to spend on these wines and nor do you need to.  There is also barbera and dolcetto along with lesser priced versions of nebbiolo for red grapes.  For whites arneis is the most popular and don’t forget sparkling wines from the Alta Langa as well as brachetto d’acqui and moscato d’astiOf course we have the lesser discovered grapes too including favorita, freisa, ruche and pelaverga to name a few.   

The Winery 
Today’s feature is Tenuta Carretta, which was established back in 1467 when the Porrini brothers at the time were granted sharecropping rights for 9 years.  They were held under strict terms where the grapes technically still belonged to the lord that owned the land at the time.  He also claimed half of the grapes from the hill of Podio (Podium Serrae) for himself, which was the prized land.   

After 350 years in 1811 it transferred from Marquis Damiano to the Count of Roero for another 120 years.  In 1932 it transferred to the Veglia family of Turin ending in 1985 to the current owners, the Miroglio family including Edoardo and Ivana and their 2 children, Marta and Franco.   

The name Tenuta Carretta, according to their website, derives from an Albese noble woman “domina careta” whom was a landowner in Piobesi d’Alba back in 1353.  For those that have seen the word Tenuta hundreds of times when looking at wine bottles it basically means a wine estate or holding. 

The Land 
Tenuta Carretta is located in southern Piedmont within the Roero wine district in the town of Piobesi d’Albo, alongside the left bank of the Tanaro river.  Their land consists of 35 hectacres (85 acres) in the Roero and 35 hectacres  south of the river in the Langhe wine district.    These wine districts, the Roero, Langhe along with Monferrato, were claimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014. 
The Roero soils are sandier producing wines of elegance that are softer and fragrant.   The Langhe soils in comparison are made of more calcareous marl that produces more austere wines made for better aging.   

The Grape 
Both the barolo and barbaresco featured are produced solely on the nebbiolo grape.  Per the laws, in order to be labeled barolo or barbesco they must be made from 100% nebbiolo.  You can view my previous blog comparing the similarities and differences between barolo and barbaresco. 

Nebbiolo is a grape indigenous to the Piedmont wine region of Italy.  The name derives from “nebbia” representing the fog that sets into the valley during harvest.  This is a grape that matures late into the month of October.  It produces wines that are typically bold and powerful with high acid, rich tannins, earthy notes, roses, red fruits and leather.  It’s surprisingly rather light colored in the glass too. 

Nebbiolo also produces wines that can be ageworthy.  The tannins will typically mellow out with age and the wines take on new qualities and develop other flavor components. 

You can also find nebbiolo under other names in other wine regions such as Lombardy where it is known as chiavennasca, northern Piedmont in Ghemme and Gattinara where it’s known as spanna or the Valla d’Aosta where it’s known as Donnas.   

The Wines 
2012 Tenuta Carretta Barolo Cannubi DOCG: This wine is 100% nebbiolo and hails from the cannubi site within Barolo, one of the most famous and oldest crus of the area.  This wine spent 24 months in barrel and 9 months in the bottle.  Garnet red with a tinge of orange on the rim.  Dry and fuller bodied with lots of cherry, some spice, cocoa and firm tannins.  Good length on the finish and drinking very well for a young barolo.  ABV 14% SRP $55   

Pairing: I enjoyed this wine for Christmas dinner and paired it with this amazing prime rib.
2012 Tenuta Carretta Barolo Cannubifood pairing with Barolo

2012 Tenuta Carretta Barbaresco Riserva Cascina Bordino 

2012 Tenuta Carretta Barbaresco Riserva Cascina Bordino DOCG: 100% nebbiolo grown in the Cascina Bordino vineyards of Treiso.  This wine was aged 30 months in wood.  Garnet red with a tinge of orange on the rim.  Lots of cherry on the nose and hints of wet stone.  A dry, robust wine with cherry shining on the palette.  Crisp acidity and firm tannins with a lengthy finish.  I really enjoyed this wine and was my pick of the 2, surprisingly over a barolo.  ABV 14% SRP $40

More cold winter wines coming right up with my fellow Italian wine bloggers.