Thursday, October 25, 2012

1996 Paolo Scavino Rocche dell'Annunziata Barolo Riserva


My husband had been away on a business trip for a few days. As his flight was not due in until later in the evening and it was going to be a day of planes, trains and automobiles for him to get back home, I decided to have a nice dinner waiting for his return. I went to look over my wine options. The king was returning to the castle so I decided to open "the king of wines", a bottle of Barolo to serve with grilled dry-aged rib eye steaks and mushroom risotto.
We had been holding this 1996 Paolo Scavino Rocche dell'Annunziata Barolo Riserva for awhile now and I decided that morning at 8:00 A.M. that its time was up so I popped the cork, poured myself a little taste, decanted it, and set the decanter in an ice bucket with cool water to keep it at cellar temperature. I was surprised to see that the wine had not really thrown any sediment at all, considering its 16 years of age, I expected more.
Morning Tasting note: Deep garnet color with a brickish rim, medium intense floral aromas of violets, light cherry flavor, smooth. I was looking forward to coming back to it in twelve hours.
Barolo wines are 100% Nebbiolo produced in Piedmont in Italy. This wine is sourced from the highly regarded Rocche dell'Anunziata vineyard in the commune of La Morra. The Tortonian calcareous soils of the vineyards help to form a wine that is very aromatic and that is usually a bit softer and more elegant than some of the wines produced by the neighboring communes.
A few years ago when I knew just a little about wine, I had the opportunity to pick and choose through the wine cellars of two different restaurants that had reached their end. I got some really amazing wine at rock bottom prices and this was one of those bottles. I debated whether I would even write this wine up or not as it was probably not very available. A quick online search showed me that there were bottles out there priced on average around $220 a bottle. Hmmm, maybe I should have googled it before I opened it.
That evening, I poured myself another small taste and was pleased to see that it was indeed opening up and expressing itself, I added more to my tasting note before I started cooking. Aside from my husband's slightly late arrival which lead to some slightly sticky risotto, we had a fantastic evening with an almost perfect meal and a beyond perfect wine.
Evening Tasting Note: Deep garnet color with a brickish rim, pronounced floral aromas of violets and iris, potting soil, cherry, leather and a bit of tar. Medium+ body with medium+ acidity, alcohol and silky tannins with flavors of dried cherry, raspberry, a savory note with a slightly spicy, very long and smooth finish. There was also more to the wine that just wasn't easy to define, it was definitely "complex".
So, if you have an extra $220 laying about and the ability to have wine shipped to you wherever you may be, I highly recommend that you try this wine as the 1996 Paolo Scavino Rocche dell'Annunziata Barolo Riserva is drinking divinely right now. Salute!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tasting Morellino di Scansano

 
I attended a Morellino di Scansano wine tasting and seminar hosted by the Texas Wine School along with members of the Consorzio for the region last Wednesday evening. Morellino is the name of the Sangiovese clone in this southern Tuscan appellation. This DOCG is set back from the coast in the hilly area of Maremma where the grapes achieve a high level of ripeness resulting in a rounder and sometimes more savory style of Sangiovese than in the big Tuscan appellations to the north. The wines of Scansanso can also be very fruity and easy drinking. This crowd pleasing quality means that much of it is consumed locally and not a huge amount has made it into the Houston market yet.
The wines must contain a minimum of 85% Sangiovese and is produced in three different styles: a fresh, fruity style that can be released March 1 after harvest, First Selection which has been elevated in wood for a minimum of 4 1/2 months and Riserva which has been aged for at least two years with a minimum of one of those years in wooden barrel. Most of the wines fall in the $15 to $20 price range.
We tasted seven different wines over the course of the evening and, to quote James King who taught the class, the common trait of the wines in the tasting was that "Each has character but without power and weight" making for some very drinkable wines.

Moris Farms: Morellino di Scansano 2011
(90% Sangiovese with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah) 13.5% abv
Young and fruity. Aromas and flavors of fresh black fruit- berries and cherries. Very simple yet balanced with medium- body, acidity, tannins and length.

Provveditore: Morellino di Scansano 2011
(100% Sangiovese) 14% abv
Still simple but more complex than the first. An interesting nose- iodine, forest floor and a savory note. Sour cherry flavor, medium body and silkier tannins, medium+ acidity with a longer length.

Fattoria le Pupille: Morellino di Scansano 2010
(85% Sangiovese with 15% Alicante & Malvasia Nera) 13.5% abv
Aromas and flavors of black plum and cinnamon with medium- body, medium+ acidity, ripe tannins and a medium+ length finish.

Massi di Mandorlaia: Morellino di Scansano "I Massi" 2010
(85% Sangiovese with 15% Alicante and Malvasia Nera) 14.5% abv
Aromas of wet stone, strawberry, cherry and violet. Red fruit flavor with medium+ body, grippy tannins, acidity and length. The first of the four where you sense longer oak aging.

Tenuta Pietramora di Collefagiano: Morellino di Scansano "Petramora" 2010
(85% Sangiovese with 15% Merlot) 14% abv
Aromas  and flavors of cured meat, smoke, oregano and a salty minerality with medium body, medium+ acidity, velvety tannins and a long herbal finish. This was my overall favorite.

La Selva: Morellino di Scansano "Colli dell'Uccellina" 2009
(85% Sangiovese with 15% Merlot) 14%abv
Aromas of dark berries and cherries and fennel. Flavors of plum, raspberry, licorice with medium+ body, smoother tannins and bordering on high acidity with a bit of a black pepper finish.

Massi di Mandorlaia: Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2008
(85% Sangiovese with 15% Alicante, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) 14.5% abv
Aromas of sage, leather, vanilla and cured meat with similar flavors with medium body, acidity, medium+ grippy tannins with a long meaty length.

Overall, I found each one to be interesting and drinkable and worth seeking out. Each would work well with Italian cured meats and cheeses, pizza and just about anything that you would serve with tomato sauce.

Related post at DoBianchi