Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, 2010: Rosso di Montalcino, Blumeri Rosso, Vernaccia

We celebrated Memorial Day with our traditional family barbecue with friends and family that had a decidedly Tuscan and Italian theme.  For antipasto we offered Italian Olives, Pecorino Toscana with drizzled Tuscan chestnut honey, a creamy Asiago and a platter of assorted Italian meats (Genoa salami, cappicolla, mortadella, prosciutto), home made roasted red peppers and a round Sicilian bread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for dipping. I complemented this array of delights with a Rosso di Montalcino, Valdicava 2007 that was just ready to be enjoyed.  This is what one might describe as a massive Rosso.  My good friend Alden described it graphically with his hands flailing upwards, unable to find a word that captured the wines expansive quality.  It had a luxurious nose, quite strong to start but more muted with time.  Red cherries led to a mild but seductive spiciness. It possessed a distinct sense of body and structure.  The feel was smooth and luscious with a long, relatively delicate finish.  This Rosso combined size and delicacy in a superb manner with fine tannins.  Rosso di Montalcino, Valdicava makes it clear why the Rosso is sometimes called a "baby Brunello." Our sister-in-law, a decidedly but critical red wine lover, fully enjoyed this Rosso as did Mary and Alden. 

For entrees, beside the usual burgers (beef, turkey, salmon) and franks we had a beautiful and tasty Tuscan salad, grilled vegetables (portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant), and a fresh pasta salad with farfalle, peppers and artichokes.  I broke out a 2003 Schiopetto Podere Dei Blumeri Rosso.  This is a Rosso from more nothern climes in Colli Orientali.  It is a blend of 70% Merlot, 10% Cabernet and 20% Refosco.  The nose was a tad muted.  The color was deep ruby.  It was delicate with deep tannins, beautiful balance and a fine smooth finish.  I had a distinct sense of concentration and inwardness to this wine in contrast to the expansiveness of the Rosso di Montalcino.  The influence of the Merlot was quite evident.

For the white wine lovers I presented an outstanding Tuscan Alata Vernaccia Di San Gimignano, 2008. Vernaccia is a famous Tuscan grape.  This Alata Vernaccia had a distinct yellow/gold color with a medium body so rare in most whites.  This was no Pinot Grigio! We picked up hints of citrus, peaches, and kiwis underscored by a crisp minerality; it was not too dry but very lively on the palate.  The medium body gave it substance and a gravitas that was very enjoyable.  Although our friend Ed did not favor this wine our daughter-in-law was a big fan. For my taste, this white stands out.  I recall drinking Vernaccia when in Italy two years ago.  This wine brought me back to many pleasing memories.

Mary and I had a very exciting time this Memorial Day.  Thank you all for coming to our shindig.  Also a shout out to Milan of Young's Fine Wines and Spirits for his assistance.

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