Today’s wine selection is the last of a series of obscure wines I purchased at the end of last year, some of which I have featured in past posts already. This one is a little special as it is Croatian (and I have never had a wine from Croatia as yet), and also because the dominant grape in the blend is Teran, a new varietal to me. The other grapes in the blend are the familiar Merlot, and Borgonja, which, I believe, is just another name for Gamay. In any event, the blend works very nicely indeed…
The wine is a very dark ruby, and it is medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel. It is pretty dry, with bright acidity, smooth tannins and a finish that persists somewhat but weakens quite quickly. The nose is quite rich with dark berries and plum jam at the front, and there is dusty wood and some floral highlights over a faint forest floor quality, and some barnyard notes underneath.
The palate has plum, cherry and blackcurrant, with just a little citrus, and there some fairly aromatic floral notes and a little bit of wood and leather. This isn’t a hugely complex wine but, at $17.50, I thought it pretty good value for the price.
Most people have at least heard the name ‘Valpolicella’ in connection with Italian wine before, and this is chiefly because the Valpolicella DOC ranks as only second behind the Chianti DOC in terms of total production for the entire country. Within the general Valpolicella DOC, however, there are several smaller name-controlled areas, including the prestigious Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG.
Most of the wine from the whole Valpolicella region is typically a blend of the Corvina grape, along with Rondinella and Molinara. Today’s selection, a 2012 vintage from the Masi Costasera winery in Amarone della Valpolicella, is also one of these blends, but it is also augmented by a lesser known varietal known as Oselet. I picked up a bottle of this past October or November and I would have to say that this one of the nicest wines I tasted all year.
Amarones are known to be bold, very alcoholic, full bodied wines. This one is 15% alcohol, and actually quite dry at 11 grams of sugar per liter, while the body is indeed full, with an almost chewy texture. It is moderately acidic, thus offsetting the sweetness somewhat, with tannins that are bold, yet smooth, and last well into the finish.
On the nose, there are fresh dark berries with hints of blackberry jam, cedar, earth and musky notes of forest floor. The palate is every bit as rich and features dark plum, sweet tobacco, chocolate and woody notes with a curious, but very pleasant popcorn quality. At the very end, there are also grass and herb highlights which round out the overall effect very nicely. Generally, this is the sort of rich, robust wine that pairs well with strong, hearty dishes, but I found it to a truly lovely sipping wine all by itself…
Over this past Christmas vacation, I sampled a number of wines from some of the less celebrated wine producing regions, including a couple of interesting ones from Switzerland. This one I am featuring today is a red, Pinot Noir blend from the Valais AOC. The blend includes Gamay (which is blended with Pinot Noir in other regions, including Burgundy), but it also contains a varietal I have not had before called Diolinoir. I had to look this one up, but it turns out to of Swiss origin and is a cross between a Pinot Noir and a grape called Rouge de Diolly. I have been unable to find out much about it as yet and I do not know if there are any single varietal wines made with it.
In any event, this blend has resulted in a medium full-bodied wine that has a pleasant, almost satiny texture. It is off-dry, with low-medium acidity, and has very smooth tannins, making it an easy sipping wine.
On the nose, there are muted red berries, with a touch of raspberry jam, along with notes of cedar, some spice, and a rather curious hint of buttered toast. Plum comes through on the palate, along with sour cherry, just ripened raspberries, and a hint of pepper. There is also an earthy quality, with background notes of herbaceous undergrowth and dried leaves.
Overall, this is very interesting, quite complex and decently rounded. I paid about $21.00 CDN for this (Quebec prices) and found it very good value for the money.
I was rather intrigued by the name of this wine but, after having a look on-line for an explanation, I am still in the dark as to the inspiration. The bottle simply declares it to be a blend without specifying any varietals, but the vintners website lists the composition as being Merlot 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Pinot Noir 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%. The sugar content is quite high but, ultimately, the actual effect is not that sweet…
- Winery: The Malivoire Wine Company
- Price: $15.95 at LCBO
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Sugar: 13 g/L
The color is a fairly dark cherry red with a faint purple tint. An aromatic nose is dominated by red fruit and ripe dark berries and there is a pleasant sawdust quality with light floral notes and just an ephemeral hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture and the moderate sweetness is nicely offset by a medium acidity that rises just after the beginning before the nicely smooth and moderate tannins develop. The fruitiness is more sour than is suggested on the nose, having an almost citrusy character, but there is a nice blackcurrant note right at the start. There is a bit of oakiness, and just a hint of spice coming through near the end, but the finish a little short. Still, it is not a bad sipping wine and should appeal to a broad range of tastes and do well as an aperitif.