Posts Tagged ‘Gambo Rosso’

Italian wine +

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Late last week had me exploring the wine region of the world that I am least comfortable with.  Italian wines.  Italy has over 2,000 indigenous varietals and just about any time I attend an Italian wine tasting I am exposed to a new varietal.

So this past Thursday, between an appointment on the upper West Side and several appointments in Brooklyn I stopped by the Sub-Zero Showroom in midtown Manhattan for an intimate unveiling of the Banfi 2005 Belnero.  I was quite pleased to be invited and felt badly that I was not able to stay for the entire event.

A blend primarily consisting of Sangiovese, blended with a little Cabernet and Merlot, the clear ruby wine was quite nice.  On the nose, an initial hit of Eucalyptus, followed by toasty oak and then both raspberry and black cherry, the wine had nice fruit on the palate, well integrated tannins and a long finish.

But more than the wine, I was intrigued by two other things I learned at this event.  The first was the statement that the Belnero was “nitrogen bottled to minimize sulfites”.  I have heard of Nitrogen being inserted into the headspace of  wine bottle immediately preceding the wine being bottled (to remove oxygen which could lead to premature oxidation), but I had not heard that it can help to minimize the use of sulfites.  Interesting…

The other interesting tidbit shared with regards to the winemaking was that of the vessel used to age the wine.  The winery has apparently been working for several years on a hybrid (patented) wood/stainless steel vessel.  The way I understood it this vessel is actually a stainless steel tank with slots that fit oak staves.  While the use of oak staves in stainless steel tanks is not anything new, apparently the Banfi people feel they have something special here.  And judging by the wine, it seems that they do…

The other event I dropped by last week was the Tre Bicchieri (Gambo Rosso) tasting.

Long time readers may remember my less than stellar experience with this event last year.  I considered passing on the event given my experience from last year but I’m happy I attended, even if it was for only about 45 minutes.

With the guidance of good friend Fred, I was able to quickly try 12 wines.  The Vietti Lazzarito 2004 Barolo was lite with chunky tannins and a pretty funky label.  I was told this wine needs 20 years (yeah, I’ll be waiting for this one) to show its full potential.  The Lis Neris 2006 Sauvignon Picol (made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc) had a gorgeous floral and grapefruit nose, but was surprisingly (to me for an Italian wine) low on acid – though this could have something to do with my New Zealand association with Sauvignon Blanc (generally quite acidic).

The Castello Monaci 2006 Artas, made from 85% Primitovo (a close relative of Zinfandel) and 15% Negroemaro (1 of the 2000+ Italian varietals) had an interesting leather and dried fruit nose (similar to zinfandel), but was different from Zinfandel in that it was lite, food friendly, had a nice acidity to it and a long finish.

And finally, possibly the most exciting wine of the tasting for me was the Nino Negri 2005 Valtellina Sfursat.  You may remember my writing about a Sfursat following the Brunello tasting a few weeks ago.  Though the nose on this Sfursat was not reminiscent of the last one I tried (it was actually rather tight and pretty closed) it was the mouth feel of this wine that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was velvety and mouth coating yet was not over the top and extracted.  It had a great balancing acidity, clearly a terrific food wine.  And had a very long finish.  Nice…

Happy Italian wine tasting…