Saturday, March 28, 2009

Olos Wines Presents 'Selected By'

photo by Mario Tarello

You may not have heard of Olos Wines here in the U.S. yet, but I predict that their new line of “Selected By” wines will make a big splash very soon. They are a young, ambitious, Swiss company founded in 2008 whose goal is to provide high quality wines for the discerning consumer. Olos Wines made the strategic move to bring well known Italian viticulturist Stefano Chioccioli on board to hand select high quality wines that best demonstrate the unique terrior of each region. The line of wines is aptly named “Selected By”.

As a young company, Olos Wines has chosen a modern, innovative approach to marketing, labeling and bottling their wines. Each label is unique and pictures an animal or insect that evokes an emotion and best represents the territory. They have chosen to use light weight Bordeaux bottles to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere and screw caps instead of corks, maintaining that the wine is allowed to age properly without the risk of damage from the cork. Their motto is “Drink the wine, don’t’ drink the cork!” My mind recognizes the logic, but my heart misses the romance.

Stefano Chioccioli has an extensive wine making resume and began his career in 1985 as a taster and also conducted chemical – oenological testing and ground analysis. He believes that the most important goal in wine making is to achieve a perfect ripening of the grapes. He says that it sounds simple, but isn’t. In bringing the “Selected By” wines to the market he hopes to provide a greater understanding of the history and geography of Italian wines. According to Mr. Chioccioli, a wine maker should produce wines that best exemplify the territory. This requires careful attention throughout the wine making process.

The “Selected By” line of wines are produced from Sauvignon and Pinot grigio from the Veneto, Merlot and Sangiovese from Tuscany, Sirah, Nero d’Avola and Grillo from Sicily and Pinot Nero from Lombardia. Each variety was specifically selected according to the ideal conditions of the climate and soil for each particular grape. The majority of the vineyards are considered “new generation” vineyards being from 10-15 years old. The vineyards may be young but the care and experience demonstrated by Stefano Chioccioli in producing fine wines make the “Selected By” wines worth checking out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guided Tasting - Vino 2009 Miami - part 2

This is the second half of our report on the guided tasting experience at Vino 2009 Miami that took place on January 30. We have already talked about the wines we tasted from the regions of Lombardia and Abrusso. Now we will turn our attention to Calabria and Toscana.

Calabria is the region located in southern Italy, in the toe of the boot. Our first wine from the sunny south is Grayasusi 2007 IGT Val di Neto, produced by Ceraudo. Aged four months in barrique and in the bottle for six months, this deep rose colored wine is intensely fruity, with prominent strawberry and spice tones. Ceraudo has been an organic producer since 1992. All stages of wine making take place on the estate, which include stone buildings that have been painstakingly renovated and converted into comfortable apartments for tourists. They also have a restaurant called "Dattilo" - named after the Greek god in mythology. While enjoying lunch, I heard several people remark that this wine was a personal favorite. Next on our asting tray was Puntalice Rosato 2007 DOC Ciro', produced by Senatore Vini. Their vineyards are situated in four main areas of the DOC zone and include 25 hectares under vine. This wine is made from 100% Gaglioppo grapes from Ciro' near Melissa. Puntalice Rosato is the color of rose petals and has a floral nose. Cantine Lavorata produces Rosato 2007 DOC Bivongi. It is a blend of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero and Calabrese grapes. Aged in stainless steel it is rose colored and tastes of strawberry and cherries. The winery was founded in 1958 by Vincenzo Lavorata and is located in Roccella Jonica in the southern part of the Ionian Coast. Our last wine from Calabria, Amanzio 2007,IGT Calabria is produced by Colacino Wines in Marzi. It is 100% Magliocco Canino, aged in stainless steel to bring out the flavors of the terroir. Amanzio has a light fragrance with flavors of fruit and vanilla.

On to Toscana, which is arguably Italy's most famous region and our final region to explore. We will begin with Agostino Petri Riserva 2005 DOCG Chianti Classico produced by Castello di Vicchiomaggio. This intensely ruby, red wine is aged for 24 months in barriques and 12 months in the bottle. You will find fruit and spice on the nose with mature fruit flavors, licorice, chocolate and eucalyptus, followed by a long finish. It is a mix of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo and 5% Cabernet. Castello di Vicchiomaggio was established in the 5th century, has always produced wine and now boasts a castle, hotel and a winery on the estate. Il Bagatto Rosso 2004, IGT Toscana is produced by Scopone in Montalcino. It is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Sangiovese and 10% Petit Verdot. This is a wine that showcases the terroir. It has a deep ruby, red color with purple reflections and an intense black berry fragrance. Carpineto produces Carpineto Riserva 2003, DOCG Vino Novile di Montepulciano. It is produced with a minimum 70% Sangiovese and with the balance being made up by Canaiolo and Merlot. Aged 24 months in large Slovanian oak barrels and 12 months in bottles, it has a ruby, red color, intense nose and balanced flavors. Carpineto was founded in 1976 by Giorgio Sacchet and Antonio Zaccheo. Their vineyards are spread over four estates. Our final wine is the venerable Brunello di Montalcino 2003, DOCG produced by Innocenti Livio. By law a wine labeled Brunello must be 100% Sangiovese. The color is a pleasing deep ruby, red with garnet reflections. It smells of wild berries and its naturally high acidity is balanced with tannins and minerality. The Livio estate consists of 5 hectares of vineyard plantings.

So that's it. The end of our journey... or maybe it's just the beginning. Not all of these wines are yet available in the U.S., but most are, so I encourage you to seek them out and do a tasting of your own. Everyone's senses are custom made, so you may have a different impression of the fragrances and flavors of these wines. Let us know what you think by logging into our forum (Barrel Brew Blab) and writing your own tasting notes or review.

-L.W. from the Brew Crew
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