Category Archives: Italy

Arneis from Lange DOC

Arneis is a white wine grape that is grown in the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy, most notably in Lange DOC and Roero DOC.  It is  primarily grown in the Roero DOC, which is the region that it originated from.  It tends to be difficult  to grow, and Arneis literally means “little rascal”, due to the grape’s erratic ripening .  Despite the difficulty in growing the grape, Arneis can produce very good wines with excellent aromatics and flavors.

2012 Castello Di Neive Arneis

2012 Castello Di Neive Arneis

The Arneis I tried was a 2012 produced by Castello Di Neive, which is a family run estate winery consisting of 150 acres located in the town of Neive, which is within the Lange DOC.   From the Montebertotto vineyard, the vines were planted in 1977 and sit in a calcareous marl soil.  The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks for 3 months, then bottle aged for another 3 months.  This wine had a straw color, with a crisp nose of fresh apples and pears.  It had good acidity on the palate along with a hint of honey, and a nice clean finish with a touch of almond.  I found it to be a very refreshing and enjoyable wine.  I could see this being paired with a variety of dishes, and even enjoyed on its own.  This was definitely a wine worth purchasing, and if you are not familiar with Arneis, I would recommend giving it a try it for sure.




Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio

So it’s been quite a while since my last post as the month of June has been quite a busy one.  However, it has not kept me from discovering some great wine.  The summer finally arrived a few days ago, and that means it’s time to find some wine to pair with it.   I recently found an excellent Pinot Grigio produced by Mezzacorona.  This wine was

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio

very refreshing  and flavorful, and I gotta say will definitely be an excellent wine for warm weather.  Mezzacorona is located in Northern Italy at the base of the Dolomite mountains, and is the largest estate producer of Pinot Grigio in Italy.  Along with their Pinot Grigio,  the wine list includes varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir,  Moscato and Teroldego among others.   Their website also has some amazing photos of their vineyards and of the Dolomites that make me think that a trip to Mezzacorona is definitely in order!  This 2010 Pinot Grigio had a light pale straw color with a nose of fresh citrus.   The first sip led to a very refreshing taste of honey and citrus, with a slight hint of sweetness, along with a very smooth finish.  I thought that this was an excellent glass of wine, and it paired quite nicely with the salmon I had with it.  Along with pairing with great food, I think that this would be a perfect glass to relax with on a hot summer day.  So if you are in search of a fantastic Pinot Grigio, I would definitely suggest Mezzacorona.



Latah Creek Riesling & More

The month of April has been quite a busy one for me, unfortunately I’ve been mostly busy with things keeping me

2009 Latah Creek Riesling

away from blogging.  However, on a more positive note I think that Spring may have finally sprung, and the best way to celebrate the arrival of spring is by drinking some good wines.  There is nothing like relaxing on the porch with a nice refreshing glass of wine, especially in the warm weather.   About a week ago with temperatures pushing 80 degrees, I thought a Riesling would be nice, so I tried a 2009 by Latah Creek.  Latah Creek is a winery located in Spokane WA, and just recently celebrated 30 years in the business.  They have quite a lineup of wines, which includes a Huckleberry Riesling, and  they are also known for producing some great Merlot.   This Riesling was clear in color with a hint of pale green to it.  On the nose I got aromas of honey and apricots, and it had nice acidity on the finish, with hints of tropical fruit along with just a touch of sweetness.  It really was the perfect glass of wine for a hot day.  Also, at $8 retail it was a fantastic deal for the price. 

Another wine  I recently tried was a 2009 Viura from Rioja, Spain.  Viura, also known as Macabeo, is one of the most widely planted white wine grapes in Rioja.  Aside from on its own, you can find Viura blended with Garnacha Blanca and Malvasia in White Riojas.  This particular bottle called Vetiver was 100% Viura  and produced by Bodegas Ontanon.  This wine was a clear pale yellow in color, and had hints of tropical fruit and toasty oak on the nose.  It was smooth on the palate with mellow acids and a creamy finish.  This was aged in oak for 6 months, and the oak definitely stood out, but overall it was a refreshing wine, and also would be good on a hot day.

I also tried a red wine just recently that seemed to be good for the arrival of Spring.  This was a 2009 Col Di Sasso, produced by Banfi.

2009 Banfi Col Di Sasso

Col Di Sasso which is Italian for “Stony Hill”, is from the Tuscany region of Italy and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.  This was a very pleasant wine, and it had a bright ruby red color, with a nice earthy leathery nose with light fruit.  It had a nice smooth finish with good acids and tannins with a hint of ripe red cherry.   This was a perfect companion witthe grilled tri-tip steak that I had with it. 

So if you haven’t yet, make sure you break out some of your favorite wines and celebrate the arrival of Spring!



A Pinot Grigio Comparision

The other day I was in the mood for a white wine, so I settled on some Pinot Grigio.   Pinot Grigio is also known as Pinot

CA' del Sarto Pinot Grigio

Gris, depending on if it’s from France  or Italy.  Also some areas in the US label it differently, such as Oregon (they call it Pinot Gris there).  I haven’t really tried much in the way of Pinot Grigio in quite a while.  The last time I tried one it was from Barefoot Cellars, which I wouldn’t really consider anything great; although a former professor of mine practically lives on the stuff.  Anyways,  I’ve tried a few good Italian wines recently, so I chose a bottle of 2010 Ca’ Del Sarto Pinot Grigio from the Friuli region of Italy, which is in the Northeast corner of the country.  The specific DOC it was produced in is Grave Del Friuli, which is considered one of the most important DOCs in the region.  DOC is an abbreviation of the appellation system in Italy, which is Denominazione Di Origine Controllata.  This wine had a very clear, almost colorless appearance to it, with just a hint of pale yellow straw.  It had a pleasant nose of fresh pear, and a clean, crisp refreshing finish with great acidity and a touch of that same ripe pear.  I thought it was a nice glass of wine, and would be perfect for a warm spring or summer day.  I compared this wine to another Pinot Grigio, a 2009 Columbia Crest Two Vines from Washington State.  This was a product of the Columbia Valley, where there is  currently close to 1,600 planted acres of Pinot Grigio.   This bottle was about the

Columbia Crest Two Vines Pinot Grigio

same with respect to the color; very pale and maybe a light yellow or straw.  It was lacking in aromatics however, as I could not sense much in the way of fruit, with maybe a touch of honey.  It had a nice smooth finish, although not much in the way of acidity with maybe a slight hint of honey to it.  I thought the Ca’ Del Sarto was a much better wine, it had that nice crispness and pleasant aromatics that were lacking in the Columbia Crest; and it seemed like it would pair much better with a meal as well.  The Columbia Crest wasn’t necessarily a bad wine, just didn’t seem to have any particularly great quality that stood out.  It would probably be a good glass on a hot day, but I don’t think it would really pair well with a meal.  So if you come across a bottle of the Ca’ Del Sarto, give it a try. I am thinking I might try out some more Italian white wines from this region, hopefully I can find another that was as good as this one.  Also since the weather is getting better, it’s always nice to have a good glass of white wine on a nice warm day.



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