Friday, January 31, 2020

Italian Wine Cooperatives with Prosecco from Val d'Oca

Cooperatives are typically not one’s first choice when it comes to picking quality wine.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term, wine cooperatives are made of up individual owners of vineyards that grow grapes and collaborate to produce wines together.  There are for sure additional benefits, but as you can imagine it makes the production of wine easier for many of these small growers sharing a production facility, being able to invest in technology to better the quality produced, being able to market and promote their wines on a larger scale and maybe investing in the assistance of experienced enologists. 

In Italy wine cooperatives are very common.  Our host, Kevin of Snarky Wine, for our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group this month shares some shocking facts introducing our theme.  About 50% of the country’s wine is derived from cooperatives.  If that doesn’t leave you intrigued read on to discover what role Val d’Oca plays in the production of Prosecco in the Veneto wine region. 

The Winery ~ Val d’Oca 
Located in the Prealps of the Treviso area between the towns of Conegliano and Asolo is the Val d’Oca Consortium.   Established back in 1952 the coop has grown to almost 600 growers on about 2,000 acres.  They’re part of the Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene Cooperative and are stated to be the largest and oldest producers of Prosecco.  The grapes are grown in both the Treviso area as well as the more reknowned Valdobbiadene Conegliano known for it’s quality prosecco. The Valdobbiadene Conegliano area was promoted to the DOCG designation back in 2009.

The Wines 
Ninety percent of the Val d’Oca’s production is from the glera grape, the main grape used in prosecco.  It’s no surprise then that Prosecco is their pride and joy and I sampled a number of different styles to share with you. 

Val d’Oca Rose’ Extra Dry – Made of both red and white grapes in the charmat/martinotti method.  This wine showed beautiful pale pink hues.  Fresh raspberries on the nose.  A fresh, enjoyable prosecco with raspberries and strawberries dancing on the palette.  ABV 11% $11

Val d’Oca Prosecco DOC Extra Dry – Made of 85% glera with 15% pinot grigio and chardonnay in the charmat/martinotti method.  A brilliant, straw color with aromas of lemon, florals and apple.  Crisp with mouthwatering, bright acidity up front.  Dry, citrus with a tingly sensation of bubbles on the finish that soften.  ABV 11%  SRP $13

2018 Val d’Oca Millesimato Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG Extra Dry – Made of the same blend of 85% glera with 15% pinot grigio and chardonnay in the charmat/martinotti method.  A crystal, pale yellow color in the glass.  Showing more florally aromatics towards peach and apple.  Dry with citrus, but I found these bubbles to be more elegant than the prior bottle.  SRP $18. SRP 11%  $17

Val d’Oca Valdobbiadene Superiore Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza DOCG  Brut Made of glera grapes sourced from a small appellation within the hill town of San Pietro di Barbozza.  The term rive signifies the steep slopes in which the grapes are grown.   43 rive exist within the Valdobbiadene and are of higher quality showing particular characteristics reflecting the terroir of each.  The most elegant of all with a beautiful finesse to the bubbles and enticing florals on both the nose and palette.  SRP $32
Val d'Oca Prosecco Italian Wine Cooperatives
Read on because there are plenty more wine cooperatives of Italy to discover.  Catch us live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am @ #ItalianFWT.

Importer: Prestige Wine Imports and compliments of Susannah at Vigneto Communications   

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Selvapiana Is the Reason Why Chianti Rufina Should Not Be Overlooked

Whenever one thinks of quality and Chianti the mind tends to take you to those of Chianti Classico.   Within the Chianti DOCG there are sub-zones that should not be overlooked and can compete with the best of them.  Fattoria Selvapiana is one of those wineries, long established within the Rufina sub-zone that we’re going to explore. 

The Winery ~ Fattoria Selvapiana 
Fattoria Selvapiana has been within the Giuntini family since 1827.  The property was initially used as a tower to protect Florence from invasion.  Later it became a villa for noble families and bishops.  Today the winery is operated by the 5th generation of the Giuntini family.  Interesting back story on the owner, Francesco Giuntini’s children who today are involved in operating the winery.  Francesco’s estate manager, Franco Masseti, who worked with him for years passed away in the early 90’s. Franco’s children grew up in that life and know the vineyards and the area well.  Francesco not having any children of his own to pass down the winery too adoped Franco’s children.  The reputable enologist, Franco Bernabei, has been consulting for Selvapiana since 1978.   

Selvapiana occupies a large estate with over 500 acres with almost 150 dedicated to vineyards.  The winery is also certified organic.  Francesco is said to have been one of the first to produce riserva wines made out of purely sangiovese.   
Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina
Copyright of Selvapiana
The Land ~ Chianti Rufina 
Although the Rufina sub-zone is the smallest out of all the other sub-zones of the Chianti DOCG producing about 4% of the overall production, it produces some of the highest quality.  Sangiovese here is usually marked with a bright acidity. The vineyards are some of the highest with a cool climate due to its proximity to the Apennines with diurnal swings in temperature.  

The Wines 
Selvapiana Chianti Rufina wines
2016 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina DOCG – Made with 95% sangiovese with a small amount of canaiolo, colorino and malvasia nera added. Aged 4 months in French oak casks.  A solid chianti selection.  Medium bodied with juicy cherries, bright acidity and a beautiful elegance. A great price point to get a taste for the quality of Rufina.  SRP $19 

2014 Selvapiana Pomino Rosso DOC Villa di Petrognano – Quite a different wine compared to the others shared due to the blend with 20% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot with the rest sangiovese.  Francesco has a close relationship with the owner of Villa Petrognano and sources his grapes from Cecilia Galeotti’s 13 acre estate.  The Pomino DOC is of the 4 delimited areas created to protect the appellation back in 1716  by Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici III.  The sangiovese is aged in French oak casks for 29 months where the merlot and cabernet spend time in French oak barriques.   A rather dry, complex wine with many layers showing leather, dried berries backed with good acidity and tannin.  SRP $21 

2015 Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva – This single vineyard, Bucerchiale, wine has been produced since back in 1979 and is a classic example of how Chianti Rufina shines and the quality coming out of this area.  It is considered Selvapiana’s flagship wine and is only produced in the best vintages.  The wine is named after the farm, podere, during the mezzadria.  Aged 32 months in french oak.  A structured wine showing firm tannin, good acidity combined with an earthiness, hints of tobacco and cherry.  Nice finesse with a lengthy finish.  I was overly pleased to enjoy this wine for my birthday last October with a long simmered raguDelizioso!  SRP $36 
2015 Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva


Importer: Della Terra 

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Northern Wine Regions of Spain

I’ve highlighted many different wine regions of Spain during my wine journey.  Always great value and a wide variety of wines for a wide variety of tastes.  Northern Spain has many great wine regions just waiting to be explored and today we’re featuring the regions of Rias Baixas, Navarra and Carinena. 
wine regions of Spain
Copyright of Wine Folly
The Navarra Wine Region 
Tucked up near the Pyrenees Mountains the Navarra wine region hosts varying soils and climates with influences from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscayne along with the mountains and the Bardenas Reales desert.   

The Navarra wine region became a DO (Denominacion de Origen) in 1958.  There are 5 subregions within the Navarra.  Tierra Estella, Valdizarbe and Baja Montana features an Atlantic climate that is both cool and humid.  Ribera Alta hosts a continental climate and Ribera Baja is more Mediterranean. All playing a role in different styles of wines produced. 

Some quick facts to give you an overview of what is produced in the Navarra wine region.  It is 90% dominated by red grapes including both red and rose wines leaving 10% to white wines.    Seventy percent of the wines are dedicated to native grapes with tempranillo and garnacha leading the pack.   

The Wines of Navarra 
2018 Bodegas Inurrieta OrchideaI’ve featured this wine in the past featuring the 2017 vintage and this was my pick of the two.  This wine is made from 100% sauvignon blanc.  Pale yellow in the glass with beautiful aromas of citrus and tropical fruits.  Refreshing!  The wine spends 4 months over lees rounding out the wine.  Just a great every day wine at a super affordable price.   ABV 13% SRP $12 

2018 Bodegas Ochoa Calendar Tinto – Another wine I’ve featured as well in the past with the 2015 vintage.  The Ochoa Calendar line features their young wines.  I’m not one for fruit forward style wines, but again, a great value and enjoyable every day wine for many.  Made of 70% organic certified tempranillo grapes with 30% garnacha.  Purplish tinge showing it’s youth this wine.  Ripe and fruity red fruits (strawberry and raspberries) showing from the garnacha with some tannin behind the tempranillo.   ABV 13.5% SRP $12 
Wines of Navarra Bodegas Ochoa Bodegas Inurrieta
The Cariñena Wine Region 
Cariñena is the second oldest DO in Spain starting in 1932.  Located in the northeast of Spain near the Ebro Valley and close proximity to the Pyrenees Mountains.  Another region dominated by red grapes with garnacha making up more than half of the vineyard acreage.   

Three of the largest wineries are cooperatives including Bodegas Paniza, Bodegas San Valero and Grandes Vinos.  Of all the wines I’m sharing today these were my favorites and at unbeatable prices. 

The Wines of Cariñena 
Bodegas San Velero wines of Carinena
2017 Bodegas San Valero Castillo Ducay Blanco – Bodegas San Velero started back in 1944 with about 66 partners and today has over 500 growers on an amazing 8,700 acres.  They have some of the oldest vineyards in Cariñena with some over 100 years old.  The Castillo Ducay is made of 80% macabeo and 20% chardonnay.   Pale straw color with a floral, aromatic nose of stone fruit.  Light to medium bodied, crisp with lively acidity, lemon notes and salinity on the finish.  I found this wine quite enjoyable.  SRP $9 ABV 13%

2017 Bodegas Paniza Syrah – Made of 100% syrah. Deeb ruby more rusty colored near the edges.  Notes of black cherry and baking spices.  Medium to full-bodied, smooth reminding me of cherry cola.  ABV 14.5%

Bodegas San Valero Particular Chardonnay – The “Particular” wines of Bodegas San Valero are only produced in the best vintages and these plots of land were selected for producing their best grapes.  This wine spends about 6-8 hours of cold maceration where the free run juice goes to a settling tank for 12 hours before it spends 3 months in French oak.    SRP $7 ABV 12.5%  

2018 Bodegas Paniza Fabula de Paniza Garnacha Rosé – This coop was established back in 1953 and is comprised of about 400 growers on 6,200 acres of land.  The vineyards are located on hilly terrain near the Iberian Mountains.  I typically don’t find myself drinking rose year round, but I have recently had some including this one that I quite enjoyed.  Made of 100% grenache.  A pretty pale pink color showing brilliantly in the glass.  A tart, wild strawberry on the nose.  Light and delicate on the palette displaying strawberry with nice acidity.  Clean and easy to drink.  SRP $9 ABV 13.5%        
Wines of Bodegas Paniza of Carinena
The Rias Baixas Wine Region 
Granted DO status in 1988 under the EU.  The other two regions have been primarily red, but here white is king and albarino is the star of the show making up about 90% of the plantings.  Rias Baixas is in northwestern Spain in the Galicia region.  It’s also known as “Green Spain” due to it’s abundant green landscape.  Rias Baixas is made up of 5 sub-regions: Val do Salnes, Condado do Tea, O Rosal, Soutomaior and Ribeira do Ulla each with their own styles of albarino.   

2017 Bodega Bouza do Rei Albarino Val do Salnes
2017 Bodega Bouza do Rei Albarino Val do SalnesLocated in the Val do Salnes.  This winery was one of the first of the Rias Baixas DO established in 1984.  A brilliant straw yellow in the glass with a fragrant nose of tropical fruits and green apple.  Dry and light bodied with good acidity.  Fresh showing grapefruit, apple and citrus.  Clean and refreshing.  SRP $16 ABV 13% 
2018 Bodegas Eidosela Ethereo Albarino2018 Bodegas Eidosela Ethereo Albarino Located in the Condado do Tea region this is a warmer region lending more tropicality to wines.  Bodegas Eidosela was started in 2003 by a group of growers on over 100 acres.  The name Eisoela comes from the combination of the district and parish (Eidos and Sela) where their facilities are located.  It is located near the largest river in Galicia, the Mino river.  This wine was straw colored with a floral nose of peaches.  On the palatte it’s clearn with a glycerin feel showing lime and melon.  ABV 12.5% SRP $18 

The Ribera & Rueda del Duero Wine Region 
The Ribera and Rueda wine region is located a couple hours north of Madrid.  Located nearby the Duero River within the Castilla e Leon region.  The Rueda DO was established in 1980 and was the first in Spain to be solely focused on whites featuring the verdejo grape, Spain’s most planted grape.  It was quite interested to learn the dirunal shifts in temperatures here as much as 50 degrees a day.  The grapes are harvested at night to preserve the freshness and acidity. 

Ribera, on the other hand, is primarily red featuring mostly the tempranillo grape, known locally as tinto fino.  This part of the region also faces extreme climate changes and hosts many old vines with 1/3 of the vines aged over 50+ years old.     

The Wines of Rueda 
2016 Bodegas Shaya Verdejo – Located in the southeast part of the appellation and home to many old vines.  This wine is made of 100% verdejo with 20 of the wine aged 4 months in French oak barrels.  This wine shows aromas and notes of peach, apple with some tropical and citrus notes.  SRP $13 ABV 13.5% 

2016 Bodegas Menade Verdejo – Run by the 5th generation siblings of the Sanz family.  This is their only bottle under the DO Rueda designation as they believe in following their own path.  I always appreciate a winery looking to experiment and produce the types of wine they desire than those dictated by regulations.  Straw colored with some golden hues.  The nose shows ripe pineapple and melon along with some toasty notes.  Zesty acidity with more tropical notes on the palette.  Fresh. SRP $18 ABV 13% 

2018 Herederos del Marques de RiscalMy favorite from Rueda in these samples, this producer is well known in the Rioja region of Spain whom moved their white wine production to the Rueda in the 1970’s.  This wine was straw colored showing more tropicality, pineapple and wet slate.  Refreshing and clean with solid acidity.  Lemon and grapefruit citrus notes with good length. SRP $13 ABV 13%
Wines of Rueda verdejo grapes

If you’re a lover of Spanish wines what are some of your favorite grapes or regions? 


*These wines were provided as samples, but wine selections and opinions are all my own.