Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Captivating Color and Values of Blu Giovello

A double feature on Prosecco this week celebrating the last day of National Prosecco week.  I’ve been sampling a lot of Prosecco lately and wanted to share the Corvezzo Prosecco earlier last week and this one from Blu Giovello today as I found them to be great values.  The Blu Giovello wines have been made and exported to the American market for the last 30 years and have now come out with new labeling, hence why I had this opportunity to try these wines.   

The Winery ~ Blu Giovello 

The first thing that caught my attention of these wines was the blue color of the bottles.  It immediately reminded me of the Amalfi Coast.  I could picture myself looking out over the crystal blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.   That just so happened to be the goal of the winery by selecting the blue colored bottles was to remind folks of the Italian skies and seas.  

Positano Spiaggia
My visit to Positano.  Check out the water!

The dragonfly on the label is a "symbol of harmony and prosperity" along with nature.  The aim is to produce "young and fresh wines" hence the name Blu Giovello.  It's a combination of the Italian word, giovane, meaning young, and bello, meaning beautiful.  

Blu Giovello focuses on making wines from native grapes from the Veneto and the Friuli wine regions in northeastern Italy.  These regions are sheltered from the cold Alpine north, but also the climate is mitigated by the Adriatic Sea to the south.   

Piera Martellozzo is the winemaker whose family stems from the wine industry under the Piera 1899 Winery.  The winery focuses on a number of sustainable practices including the utilization of light weight bottles, a microfiltration system for production of wines with lower sulfites, and use of a photovoltaic system to save on energy.   

The Wines 

I’m sharing both the Prosecco from Blu Giovello and also their Pinot Grigio since I couldn’t believe the price I discovered after trying it.  I hope you have an opportunity to try these as well.  Blu Giovello must be doing something right as they have experienced 35% growth over the last 5 years producing about 90,000 bottles annually.  With prices like these and an enjoyable quality to back it up, makes these wines the perfect every day. 

Blu Giovello Prosecco DOC Frizzante is produced by lightly pressing the grapes in controlled temperatures for 10 days.  It completes 2nd fermentation via the Martinotti, Charmat, method in stainless steel.  It’s made from 100% Glera grapes.  Straw colored with aromas of apples and pears.  Refresh with fine bubbles.  The wine has a touch of sweetness with crisp acidity and citrus.  ABV 11% SRP $12.99 

Blu Giovello Prosecco DOC Frizzante

Blu Giovello Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie are produced from grapes softly pressed and controlled temperatures for fermentation.  The juice then spends time on the lees until the spring.   This wine is produced from 100% Pinot Grigio grapes.  The wine is a pale straw color, fruity and aromatic on the nose.  A dry, light and pleasant Pinot Grigio with green apple, pear and some mineral notes.  In my honest opinion a great value at only $8.99 a bottle.  A perfect every day wine.  ABV 12%  

Blu Giovello Pinot Grigio DOC Delle Venezie

What is your favorite Prosecco for quality and price point?  Leave me a comment!

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.  Importer: Tri-Vin Imports promoted by Studio Cru.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Corvezzo Leads the Charts and Makes their Debut in the US with their Organic Prosecco

It's Prosecco wine week this week celebrated this year from July 19-25th.  This week I’m doing a double feature starting with the Corvezzo winery located in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy.  There is no doubt that the wines I’m sharing this week are all about value with Corvezzo leading the pack.   

The Winery ~ Corvezzo 

Corvezzo is a family run winery that is led today by the 3rd generation, Giovvani Corvezzo.  His grandfather started the winery in 1960.  It’s located in the village of Cessalto, within the province of Treviso, and covers over 380 acres.  It’s uniquely situated with the Dolomites to the north and the Adriatic Sea to the south.  

The 2nd generation family members, Giuseppe and Renzo, expanded the territory and acreage in which they grew their grapes with a focus on pest control and sustainable practices in the 70’s and banning herbicides in the following decade.  With Giovanni took over in 2009 Corvezzo decided to transition to being 100% organic.  They went through the long, arduous process of becoming certified organic that took 7 years starting in 2010 with an official certification granted in 2017.  They’ve even discussed going biodynamic as of last year!    

Giuseppe’s style is to produce wines that are “fresh and bright” sharing that “organic farming ultimately results in thicker grape skins, leading to heightened aromas, greater balance, and superior quality wines”.  Corvezzo is the largest organic producer of Glera and Pinot Grigio by acreage, but not by volume.  Their grapes are 100% estate grown and are not only organic, but are vegan as well.  Yes, not all wine is vegan.  There are fining agents that are used with animal derived products, but Corvezzo uses bentonite clay as a fining agent to clarify the wine.     

You may have never seen these wines because they are making their debut this year via Origins Organic Imports that recently added them to their portfolio.  The reason why they are not listed as certified organic on the label is due to US regulations so instead they are labeled as “made with organic and vegan grapes”.   

The Wines 

The Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Rosè Extra Millesimato was favorite of the two.  I recently just wrote a blog about rosè from Italy sharing another Prosecco DOC Rosè and I must say have been quite pleased.  I thought it was just another marketing tactic, but have enjoyed these couple I’ve had recently.  Also, the Prosecco Rosè DOC in newly approved as of August 2020.  This Prosecco Rosè from Corvezzo is made from 85% Glera and 15% Pinot Nero, which is the legal maximum of the DOC regulations.  The juice spends 60 days in tank and is produced via the Martinotti method, aka the Charmat method.   

Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Rosè Extra Millesimato
A pretty pale salmon color in the glass with floral aromas of wild strawberries and a hint of citrus.  I was a big fan of the bubbles on this wine as they were rather fine.  I’m not a fan of bubbles so this was right up my alley.  It was fresh with good acidity with more citrus showing up on the palate with lingering berries on the finish along with some salinity.  For only $13 I felt this bottle was quite a steal!  ABV 11.5% 

The Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry is made of 85% Glera with 10% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Bianco.  They add the Chardonnay for strucutre and the Pinot Bianco to add to the aroma and provide elegance to the wine.  The grapes also spend 60 days in tank via with secondary fermentation via the Martinotti method.   This wine was pale straw colored with aromas of pears, apples and citrus.  Dry on the palate with the same fruit aromas carrying through to the palate.  Again, good acidity with salinity towards the finish.  ABV 11.5% and only $13 a bottle.

Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry

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

Friday, July 16, 2021

All About the Wines of Alsace

Very rarely do I get the opportunity to sample French wines and when I’m in a wine shop I always gravitate towards the Italian wine section.  When the #Winophiles group, that I’m more recently a part of to expand my horizons, told me they were writing about wines from Alsace this month it was the perfect opportunity to join in.  Riesling was really my first love and that is always what I associated Alsace with so I was interested to learn more about this region and its wines.   

The Region ~ Alsace

About a month or so ago I joined the 1st Millesimes Digital Alsace Wine Fair featured solely on the wines from Alsace, France.  There were over 100 exhibitors with over 400 wines.  It was astonishing to see that about 70% of the producers at the wine fair were either organic, biodynamic or in conversion to be one of the two.  The Alsace DOC was technically created in 1945, but it wasn’t until 1962 when it was officially established.  The territory represents over 70% of the wine production from this region with white wines dominating 90% of the portfolio.   

Wine region of Alsace
Copyright of Vins Alsace

In 2011, two geographical names focused on villages and localities were allowed to be listed on the labels for the Alsace DOC wines.    The villages, or communales, are defined by 14 areas with defined boundaries.  The localities, or lieux-dits, show more specific terroir.   In that same year of 2011, 51 Grand Crus were also officially established known as the AOC Alsace Grand Cru.  These defined plots had been years in the making so to have them officially recognized to exhibit the specific terroirs allows one to understand what each lends to the wine. The Grand Crus of Alsace represent 5% of their total production.   

The Alsace wines can be labelled as a sole grape and blends are allowed as well.  There are about 7 primary grapes from Alsace including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Pinot Noir.  For the Grand Cru wines there are 4 varietals allowed: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat with a few exceptions.  Each of the Grand Crus will show the locality along with the vintage on the label. 

The Wines

Luckily I was able to sample about 40 of the wines from the Alsace Wine Fair.  For me my favorite producer was Domaine Maurice Schoech.  Winemaking runs in this family’s heritage since 1650.  They are located in the hillsides with south-east facing slopes in the town of Ammerschwir.  It is managed by Sabastien and Jean Leon Schoech.  Their wines have been certified since the 2014 vintage. 

This was the only winery where I truly enjoyed all 4 samples, but my favorite was the 2019 Domaine Maurice Shoech Grand Cru Riesling Kaefferkopf.  These grapes grow on granitic clay and the wines are bottled after spending some time on the lees.  Straw colored with mostly citrus on the nose.  A wine with lovely balanced, freshness and elegance showing beautiful fruit, crispness and minerality.  ABV 13.5%.  I also very much enjoyed their 2017 Complantation Harmonie R, the 2018 Complantation Grand Cru Kaefferkopf and the 2018 Riesling Sonnenberg. 

wines of Alsace

Next were a couple wines from Arthur Metz that stood out.  This is one of the main producers in Alsace, especially for sparkling Cremant d’Alsace.  They have been around since 1904 and own about 69 acres in the northern part of Alsace with multiple sites for pressing, vinification and fermentation.  They also partner with 450 vineyard owners over 2,700 acres, which I can imagine must be quite the laborious endeavor.  Over 80% of their vineyards are planted on south or south-east facing slopes on a variety of soils allowing much diversity in their wines. 

The 2017 Arthur Metz Riesling Grand Cru Florimont was pale straw colored with petrol and peach notes on the nose.  A light, crisp and clean wine with citrus, peach and green apple with a mineral finish.  ABV 12%. The 2019 Arthur Metz Muscat Grand Cru Kircherg de Barr was another favorite.  Faint in color, almost clear in the glass with sweet aromatics.  Dry and delicate with notes of jasmine and rosewater.  The wine had an airiness about it that was satisfying on these warm days.  ABV 12.5% 

Although my last 2 picks were Grand Cru wines, I solely was judging the wines based on my personal preferences.  My next two selections are non-Grand Cru selections starting with one from Domaine Stentz Buecher.  Another organic certified winery since 2010 that is a family business since the establishment in 1975 in the town of Wettolsheim.  They grow all 7 grapes of Alsace on over 74 plots of land based on about 32 acres.  The 2016 Domaine Stentz Buecher Riesling Cuvee Flavien Tannenbuehl was pick from their selection.  Straw colored with a hint of petrol and ripe peach.  Beautiful tropical fruit, well-balanced with refinement and elegance.  There were qualities of it that reminded me of a Gewurztraminer, which I love. ABV 13% 

My other favorite non-Grand Cru Riesling was from Jean-Baptiste Adam.  This winery has over 400 years of winemaking and growing grapes in their blood.  Located in Ammerschwir they are one of the leaders of certified biodynamic wines in Alsace.  The son of Jean-Marie, Jean-Baptiste V, graduated with a degree in enology in 1982 and has been working at the winery every since.  He now is accompanied by his daughter serving as the 15th generation member of the family to live on the family’s legacy.  The 2018 Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Letzenberg was grown from vines planted in 1984 on clay and limestone soils.  The wine was pale straw in color with aromas of white flower, peach and stone fruit.  Such freshness on the palate combined with a nice texture and structure with pleasant apple, peach and lemon notes lingering on the palette.  Medium in body with lively acidity.  13%  

plots of land in Alsace wine region
Variety of plots of land in Alsace wine region ~ Copyright of Vins Alsace

Even though I’m only featuring one Pinot Gris I was pleasantly surprised by this grape and enjoyed a number of them from these producers including the ones from Domaine Fernand Engel.  This winery covers much territory with over 180 plots spread out on 158 acres covering 9 villages in 25 miles.  Quite the diversity of land and soils I must say.  The winery is operated by the 3rd generation since 1998 and they also have been certified organic since 2001.  I love the focus of organic and biodynamics in the Alsace wine region.  They are located in the small village of Rorschwihr north of Colmar near the known Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle.  They are one of the largest producers of biodynamic wines and are known for their sweet and Cremant wines.  I enjoyed the Domaine Fernand Engel 2019 Pinot Gris Renaissance.  Straw colored in the glass with aromatics of citrus, tropical fruits and pears.  A crisp, fresh wine with good acidity and notes of apple and lemon with a round texture on the palate.  ABV 14%. 

Although whites dominate the wine region of Alsace I did save my favorite red based on the Pinot Noir grape from Domain Moltes Stephane & Mickael.  Located on the slopes of the Vosges hills in Pfaffenheim, known for its microclimate and is one of the driest regions.  It was founded in 1930 by the grandfather, Antoine Moltes, and in 1995 his grandchildren, Stephane and Mickael, took the estate over.  Another applaud for another certified organic winery.  The 2018 Domaine Moltes Stephane & Mickael Pinot Noir Sonnenglaenzle was deep ruby in color with ripe red fruits of raspberry, cherry and strawberry with a hint of spice on the nose.  Medium in body with moderate tannin balanced with good acidity and some vanilla toasty notes on the finish.  Good structure for a Pinot Noir and with an ABV of 15% I didn’t sense the alcohol.     

I’d love to say I paired these wines with food, but with little samples I didn’t have the opportunity.  It was a great deep dive into the region covering a large variety of terroirs and grape varietals and I hope it's not my last. 

Join my fellow Alsace food and wine lovers with their exploration through the wines of Alsace and chat with us live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST #Winophiles.  See you there!

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.  Information sourced by Vins Alsace.