Friday, July 31, 2020

Rosato from the Veneto with Pasqua

Here in New England these last couple weeks we’ve really been sweating it out.  My kind of whether for white wine and especially rose’.  When our host, Lauren of the Swirling Dervish, chose the theme of featuring a “Rosato Roundup” my mind went in so many directions.  Many of Italy’s wine regions make some great rose’: Chiaretto from Lake Garda in the Veneto, Cerasuolo from Abruzzo, rose’ from Salento in Puglia and many more.  I recently tried the latest vintage of a wine called “11 Minutes” that is produced by the Pasqua winery in the Veneto.  I hadn’t tried this wine since I visited and traveled with the winery for a week back in 2017.   

For a deeper dive into my trip and about the Pasqua winery you can read my previous post “Mai Dire Mai: Never Say Never with Pasqua Wines”.  The Pasqua winery was started in 1925 by the Pasqua brothers.  Their native home was Puglia, but they established themselves and the winery in Verona.  As decades past and other generations of the family became involved in the business the company grew and in 2007 they relocated their headquarters to San Felice in Verona.

Umberto Pasqua wines Verona
President, Umberto Pasqua

What I’ll never forget about this wine in particular, outside of the amazing hospitality including a dinner my first night with the President Umberto Pasqua, was that in 2017 it was the first release of this “11 Minutes” wine.  As you’ll see from my pictures they had the most creative and enchanting room located in the wine cellar created just for this release.  Mirrors all around the room with bottles of 11 Minutes hung from the ceilings.  It was fantastic!  

The Wine 

The blend of the latest 2019 Pasqua “11 Minutes” vintage includes 50% of Corvina, 25% Trebbiano di Lugana, 15% Syrah and 10% Carmenere.  Corvina is a native grape to the Veneto found primarily in the wines of Bardolino and the Valpolicella where Pasqua calls home.  

What’s behind the name 11 minutes?  It is the time dedicated for the skins to reside with the juice providing a pale salmon hue to the wine.  The grapes are grown on their own estate as well as purchased where Pasqua has full control over the vineyards.  

The 2019 Pasqua “11 Minutes” Rose’ Tre Venezie IGT was lightly pressed, spending 11 minutes in contact with the skins and juice before it spends 11 hours in a steel tank.  Following fermentation this wine spends 3-4 months on the lees for additional complexity.  It’s released to market January after harvest.  With raspberries and strawberries at the core, this wine is light and refreshing with juicy acidity.  Beautifully enclosed with a glass topper.  The shape of the bottle is non-traditional, a uniquely shaped oval bottle. Due to it’s proximity to Verona, a number of Pasqua’s wines are named after lovers like Romeo & Juliet.  As Pasqua states, this bottle portrays Lesbia, a mistress of Catullus’, whom Catullus’ dedicated his poem to found on the bottle “Odi et Amo” meaning “I hate and I love”.  Well for me, this bottle is quite enjoyable and a perfect and refreshing summer sipper. ABV 12.5% SRP $20. 

I opened it last weekend at my son’s 4th birthday alongside a pesto dip passed down to me from an Italian relative made of homemade pesto from my garden, cream cheese and lots of butter.  It’s addicting, but not good for the waistline.

There is still plenty of rose' to be discovered around Italy with my fellow Italian wine and food loving friends.  If you catch us in time we'll be chatting live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT.  See you there!

  • David from Cooking Chat writes about Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo: Pairings with My Favorite Italian Rosé
  • Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings writes about Pairing Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato with Drunken Cold Chicken Wings and Pork Knuckle, Sautéed Julienne Leeks #ItalianFWT
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tempts us with Italian Pinks, Sardinian Native Grapes, and Gamberi all’Aglio
  • Terri from Our Good Life shares her pairing for Roasted Chicken Flatbread with Spumante Rosato
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass says Summer Won’t Last: and Neither Will this Charming Chiaretto in Your Glass
  • Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog is Dreaming of Sicily with a Graci Rosato
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator offers Summer Dinner with Rosato from Tuscany and Sicily
  • Marcia from Joy of Wine chats about Rosato d’Aglianico Vulture: More than Just a Red Wine
  • Lynn from Savor the Harvest suggests Rosato: Drinking Pink Italian Style, from the Mountains to the Sea
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table prepares Cheese, Charcuterie, and Ciabatta with Praesidium Cerasuolo
  • Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles offers Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with Two Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy
  • Katrina from The Corkscrew Concierge advises us to Get to Know Lambrusco Rosato
  • Susannah from Avvinare tells us that Italy’s Chiaretto from Lake Garda Makes Waves
  • Katarina from Grapevine Adventures shares An Italian Rosé Wine that Makes You Sparkle
  • Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares Cantele Negroamaro Rosato: Summer Wine from the Heart of Puglia

    *This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are all my own. 

    Friday, July 17, 2020

    Italian Grapes of Northern Italy Reside in Oregon with Montinore Estate

    If you’ve been following along my wine journey, you’ll notice that I also enjoy seeking out wineries outside of Italy that are growing Italian grapes.  It’s interesting to see the reasons behind why wineries choose these grapes and the results in the bottle in comparison to those grown on Italian soil.  This week I explore the wines of Montinore Estate located in northern Oregon in the Willamette Valley AVA.

    Montinore Italian grapes in Oregon

    The Winery ~ Montinore Estate 

    Montinore was purchased in 2005 by Rudy Marchesi, whose Italian roots run deep.  His grandparents, Carlo and Rosa Marchesi, lived in Northern Italy and lived a “sustainable “lifestyle” growing their own food and making their own wine.  When they moved to the United States they settled in the Northeast and passed these traditions down to Rudy.   

    Rudy had made and sold his own wine, but had a fascination with Oregon for its beauty and creativity.  He wanted to show this in the glass and make sure that the wines he produced reflected the characteristics of place while showing their own individual character.  He believes in making food friendly, approachable wines.  He became a part of Montinore first overseeing operations until he later purchased the 200 acres.   

    The vineyards of Montinore were planted in 1982 and are on slopes East facing the Coastal Range foothills.  Their focus is on the pride of Oregon, the Pinot Noir grape, along with Italian grapes and cool climate whites.

    Montinore Estate in Willamette Valley Oregon
    The Wines 

    I was surprised to see exactly how many grapes Montinore is really working with.  I tried a few wines featuring four Italian grapes. 

    Montinore NV Rosso di Marchesi Sesto Atto – This wine is a blend including 34% Lagrein, 27% Sangiovese, 16%  Nebbiolo, 13% Teroldego and 10% Pinot Noir.  It is a dedication to Rudy’s grandparents and is the 6th vintage or as the name refers to as Sesto Atto meaning “sixth act”.  All the grapes are grown at Montinore except the Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, which are grown in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington.  A full-bodied wine full of jammy, juicy fruits with hints of both tobacco and even some chocolate.  I always find blends interesting as you have such an array of flavors and characteristics that show in the blend.  SRP $28

    Montinore Rosso di Marchesi Sesto Atto

    2017 Montinore Teroldego – Many of the qualities of Teroldego, that calls the wine region of Trentino home in Northeastern Italy, translated into the glass for this wine produced by Montinore.  Rudy actual is using the vine cuttings from Elisabetta Foradori, well-known for her Teroldego.  Deeply colored, with intense berries and some earthiness.  Good acidity and some notes of vanilla.  A full-bodied wine produced in a New World style. This wine spends 20 months in 100% Hungarian oak that is 1/3 new.  SRP $40

    2017 Montinore Teroldego

    2017 Montinore Lagrein Lagrein, another grape that calls Northern Italy home in the Alto Adige wine region.  Lagrein isn’t produced in large quantities at Montinore, but are produced biodynamically.  Also darkly colored, flavors of juicy cherries and plums are displayed in this smooth wine.  Aged 20 months also, but in French oak that is 1/3 new.  SRP $40

    2017 Montinore Lagrein

    Although I have yet to visit Oregon I’ve always been a huge fan of their Pinot Noir.  I greatly appreciate wineries like Montinore that are bringing attention to Italian grapes and educating wine consumers.


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

    Friday, July 10, 2020

    A Look into the Wines of Moldova

    This month’s focus for our Wine Pairing Weekend event takes us to Moldova.  Sadly I had to look up where Moldova was located.  I knew it was somewhere in Eastern Europe and discovered it is located between Romania and the Ukraine, right off of the Black Sea.  Wine really is made everywhere isn’t it.  What was even more shocking is that this was even my first time trying wine from Moldova.  The first record of winemaking there was 3,000 B.C., but since 7000 B.C. wine was used as a reward after fights or exchanged with other items. 

    The majority of the wine produced in Moldova is still with about 14% produced as sparkling.  White wines rule the majority at about 70% mostly concentrated in the wine region of Codru.  The rest are red wines that can be found in both central and southern Moldova.  The vitis vinifera vines rule the production with only about 10% being native grapes. 

    Moldova has 3 main wine regions including:

    • Valul lui Traian (SouthWest)
    • Codru (Central) 
    • Stefan Voda (SouthEast)

    I learned lots of fun facts in my research including that Moldova holds the Guiness record in 2005 for hosting the biggest wine collection, known as the “Golden Collection”.  It is located underground in the Milestii Mici containing 1.5 million bottles with the oldest only being since 1969.  Moldova also has the greatest density of vineyards in the world occupying 3.8% of the territory per Wines of Moldova.

    Wine map and wine regions of Moldova
    Copyright of Wines of Moldova
    The Wines & Wineries 

    I received samples from 3 wineries including some local grapes as well as international grapes.   

    Chateau VartelyVartely translates to a place of fortress.  The winery is rather newer to the seen established in 2004 located within both the Codru wine region and Valul lui Traian in the Bugeac in southern Maldova.  Their grapes are grown on about 740 acres.  The winery opened themselves up to guests in 2008 at a few villas they have on site. 

    I tasted the 2017 Chateau Vartely Feteasca Regala Codru IGP.  Made 100% from the local Feteasca Regala grape.  Straw yellow in color.  Beautiful aromatics of peach and apricots.  A refreshing wine with nice acidity and slight minerality.  With an SRP of $16 this wine is a great value.  13% ABV  

    Pairing: I paired this wine with a chicken and broccoli sauté over jasmine rice.  A delightful pairing and complement to one another.

    Wine pairing with Feteasca Regala
    Radicini Winery – This winery is one of the brands under an overarching holding company located in the Codru wine region.  I tasted the 2018 Radicini blend of Saperavi, Merlot and Feteasca Neagra.  Dark ruby with purple highlights.  Medium in body with dense fruit with blackberries and black cherry.  Hints of white pepper with spice.  SRP $20

    Gitana Winery – Located within the Valul lui Traian wine region in the two villages of Filipeni and Romanovca of the Leova district.  The Dulgher family purchased the winery in 1999, but the original winery under the name of the Tiganca Winery was established in 1953.  The Gitana brand was created in 2009.  In 2002 the family planted their own vineyards 70km from the Tiganca Winery on hills about 150-200 meters above sea level near the forest.  The family owns almost 900 acres.  I sampled the 2016 Gitana Lupi Rezerva Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Saperavi.  This wine was the first blend created in 2012.  Aged for 2 years in big Slavonian oak barrels and an additional 4-6 months in barrique.  Dark ruby in color with aromas of ripe raspberries both on the nose and palette.  I got a little bit of warmth from the higher alcohol.  Supple, silky tannins with sweet vanilla from the oak on the finish.  SRP $35 ABV 14.5% 

    Pairing: I paired both of these reds with grilled steak tips, roasted potatoes, butternut squash with a side salad.  My personal preference was the Gitana Lupi.  I felt the flavors were more layered and concentrated, which I appreciated with the flavors of the steak.   

    Wine and food pairings of Moldova
    Don't stop learning about wines from Moldova.  Chat with the rest of my food and wine loving friends live on Twitter at 11am EST Saturday with #WinePW.  Read their fantastic blogs below.  Enjoy!
    • Andrea at The Quirky Cork shares “Cooking Out with Moldovan Wine” 
    • Liz at What’s in that Bottle shares “Moldova Mashup: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World“ 
    • Terri at Our Good Life shares “Special Celebration and Moldova Wines” 
    • Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Smoked Pot Roast with a Negru de Purcari from Moldova”
    • David at Cooking Chat shares “Ground Beef Chili with Red Wine from Moldova” 
    • Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “Pairing Moldovan Wine with Burmese Cuisine” 
    • Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Finally, a grill! Just in time for Moldovan wine pairing” 
    • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Maidens from Moldova + Summer Suppers” 
    • Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Savory Cheese Crostata Paired with Moldovan Wines” 
    • Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “Discovering Wines of Moldova.” 
    • Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Have You Tasted Wines from Moldova? Try These!” 
    • Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “Uncorking Moldova – Three Wines To Try Now” 
    • Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “Getting To Know the Wines of Moldova” 
    • Nicole at Somms Table shares “Tasty Moldovan Food & Wine Explorations” 
    • Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “Moldova: Bubbles, Red Blend, and …Pizza? Yes!” 
    • Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings shares “Moldovan Wines and Korean Sushi – Kimbap” 
    • Susannah of Aavinare is sharing "Moldova - An Ancient Country with Beautiful Wines to Discover.” 
    • Jill of L'OCCASION shares "A First Taste of Molodova Wines".
    • Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Cabin Pairings for Moldovan Wines”

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