Posts Tagged ‘Verdicchio’

Beautiful Land, Beautiful Wines, and Pursuit of Passion – #WineStuidio Experience with ZGR Imports

June 20, 2014 10 comments

Once again, I’m starting the blog post with rhetorical and repetitious opening: have you ever had… (I can imagine some of you rolling your eyes and may be even clicking away… but let me finish, nevertheless) the wines from the region called Le Marche in Italy? With high degree of confidence, I would guess that many of you would say “no” – while better known in Italy and in Europe, wines of the Region Marche are not all that familiar to the wine consumers in US – but it is what we will be talking about here.

Region Marche is located in the Central Italy, up on the Adriatic Sea. As many other areas in Italy, Marche boasts beautiful hills, serene beaches and old city citadels, the towers and the walls which you can see when you drive along any of the highways and the roads. And of course, you can find wine and olive oil pretty much everywhere.

When I visited Marche for the first time about 9 years ago, the area was known best for its white wine called Verdicchio. Verdicchio is actually a white grape, which is known to produce slightly perfumed, brightly acidic, medium bodied wines. Two of the best production areas for Verdicchio are Verdicchio de Castelli di Jesi DOC and Verdicchio di Matelica DOC. When it comes to the reds of Le Marche, I was not all that impressed at that time. Rosso Piceno, one of the most popular red wines in Marche, a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese, which I tasted during my visit, was rather simplistic. Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, one of the indigenous red grapes of Le Marche, was also rather unimpressive, with the wines coming through as too acidic and too light. All in all, my first encounter with the wines of Le Marche left me with great impression of Marche’s whites, and so-so opinion of the reds. Another conclusion we can make that I simply was not very lucky with my selection of red wines.

It was then. Now, a bit more than a month ago, I participated in the virtual educational event on twitter called #WineStudio. In the past, I wrote a number of times about #WineChat events, where people get together for the virtual wine tasting on Wednesday night. The difference between #winechat and #WineStudio is that #WineChat events are usually a single-time events (one hour on Wednesday night starting at 6 PM Pacific/9 Eastern), but #WineStudio events usually span the period of three weeks, with one hour long sessions every Tuesday nights at 6 PM Pacific/ 9PM Eastern. And another (most important) difference between two events is #WineStudio’s focus on education, on presentation of the wine region and the host itself, where the host can be wine importer or a distributor.

While I definitely had a delay with this post (this time it was not really a procrastination – life was simply getting in the way), as it often happens, the delay was helpful. Last week Matt Kramer published a wonderful article in the Wine Spectator, called “The Most Powerful Force in Fine Wine Today“, where he was explaining the role and importance of the wine importers in educating wine consumers and creating the appreciation, demand and overall market for the fine wine. One of the major traits all of the successful wine importers have in common is passion. It is the passion for the wine region, passion for the winemakers, passion for the wines what makes them successful. And passion for the Le Marche – the land, the people, the wines – was clearly showing in conversation with Jonathan Zeiger, the principal at ZGR Imports, our host for the Le Marche #winestudio event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jonathan’s company solely focuses on the wines of Le Marche, and I can tell you, that focus and the passion were clearly showing in the wines. Jonathan explained that while Verdicchio is well known and well established, the rising star in the region is the white grape called Pecorino (yes, it is the grape and not the cheese). The wine which we tasted, clearly supported that claim. 2012 Centanni Pecorino Offida DOCG, Italy (14.5% ABV) – the wine started as acidic and grassy, and when warmed up a bit, became creamy and round. It became a a supple white, with lots of big flavors, very concentrated, but still refreshing, and quite unique and different. Drinkability: 8-

And the reds… Both red wines were designated as Rocco Piceno, and both were the blends of Sangiovese and Montepulciano – but this is where the similarities end. To say that I was blown away by the first taste of Centanni Rosso di Forca would be an understatement. 2012 Centanni Rosso Di Forca Rosso Piceno DOP, Italy (13.5% ABV) – one of the best Pop-and-Pour wines I ever had. From the moment the glass “cork” was pulled out, it was a luscious, luxurious, round and delicious wine, one sip after another. Loads of fruit, silky smooth tannins, perfectly present texture, velvety mouthcoat (are you salivating by now?), perfect balance. Drinkability: 9-.

During the last session of the event we tasted 2010 Rio Maggio Rosso Piceno DOC (13.5% ABV) – excellent wine, but very different from the previous one – dark restrained fruit, a touch of cherry pit, perfect acidity. The wine was very restrained, but equally elegant at the same time – it was very vinous, if that makes sense to you as a descriptor, and thought provoking. Drinkability: 8-

There you have it, my friends. You should really follow the passion – the passion of the people who make the wine, and the passion of the people who go out of their way to bring those wines to you – and that quest for passion will never fail you. Discover the passion – and you will drink well. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC3 Vote, Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, [In]decent Wine Labels, and more

September 25, 2013 6 comments

wine quiz answerMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #74, grape trivia – Trebbiano.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about the white grape called Trebbiano (known in France as Ugni Blanc). Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Ugni Blanc is a main grape in the production of what famous spirit?

A1: Cognac.

Q2: Name the wine, in which Trebbiano was a required part of the blend, and it was considered to be the reason for a bad, flabby quality of that wine (it is no longer required to be used in that wine).

A2: Chianti. For the long time, Trebbiano was a mandatory part of the Chianti wines, rendering them dull and uninteresting.

Q3: Trebbiano is often a foundation for the popular food product (containing no alcohol). Do you know what food product it is?

A3: Balsamic Vinegar! Yes, of course when you look at the literally a black-colored balsamic vinegar, it is hard to imagine that it is made out of the white grape juice – but all the color comes from the ageing in wood. Trebbiano is a popular choice due to its neutral taste characteristics.

Q4: Contrary to the name, Trebbiano di Lugano is not considered to be a part of the Trebbiano family, but rather related to another Italian grape. Do you know what grape is that?

A4: Verdicchio. Based on genetic analysis, it is established that Trebbiano di Lugano is a close relative of Verdicchio grape from Marche region in Italy.

Q5: When used for the wine production (as opposed to the distilled spirits), Ugni Blanc is rarely used on its own – it is typically a part of the blend.  Name 3 grapes, traditional blending partners of Ugni Blanc.

A5: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Sémillon. While other combinations are possible, I was looking for classic Bordeaux lineup, which are these three grapes.

Now, when to comes to declaring the winners (or not) of this quiz, the becomes somewhat of a challenge. Both Michael (who has no web site) and Eat with Namie answered first 4 questions correctly, and provided a different answer to the question #5, compare to what I was looking for, but I can’t fully disqualify their answer. So we don’t have an absolute winner this week, but both Michael and Namie get an honorable mention. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

First and foremost, 3rd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC3) concluded with 15 entries, taking on a difficult theme “possession”. Now it is your time to chose the host for #MWWC4, a.k.a. The Winner of #MWWC3. Here is the post from Sally, the winner of #MWWC2 and the host of #MWWC3, which summarizes all the entries. Your job is simple: 1. Get glass of wine. 2. Read. 3. Vote. Yes, don’t forget to vote!

Now, if you live in a close proximity of Greenwich , Connecticut, or plan to visit the area, here is the event you don’t want to miss – Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, taking place over 3 days, October 3 – 5. In its third year, the festival brings together more than 90 restaurants and vendors, chefs, musicians, sommeliers. You will find great food, great wines, cooking demos by celebrity chefs such as Duff Goldman, live music, BBQ, beer, competitions (had enough?) and more. For the schedule of events and tickets please click here.

Next – do you think some wine labels are going too far? Too suggestive, too sensual, simply indecent? May be some are. Take a look at Tyler Colman’s, a.k.a. Dr. Vino, blog post on the subject. Make sure to check the link to his article in the Details magazine – you will find some interesting labels there.

And the last one for today – another installment of Wine in China is available for your reading pleasure on the Wine Economist blog. This time you can learn about Chinese government involvement and its role in shaping up the Chinese wine industry.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

%d bloggers like this: