First Wine Tasting 2012…

The first tasting of the year can be unpredictable. The unpredictable aspects are the weather. Is it snowing? Is it bitterly cold outside?  How many people are going to show up? Fortunately, people always show up. Those people who do, regardless of how many…really want to be here, so it is always a lot of fun.  January is that funny, post holiday month that compels people to get out of the house.  It is a new month, a new year, and an opportunity to start the year off by doing something social.  The wines that we show are not unpredictable.  We try to choose wines that are of the best quality and very affordable, so as not to ask to much of my customers who might still be recovering from their holiday shopping…

This month’s tasting was hosted by Jack Scully and Sigrid Coffin of Easterly Wine.  We worked together to compile a list of our 12 favorite, January priced wines.  Our list featured wines from all over the world.  The prices ranged from $10 to $17… most were under $15.. Many of our customers commented on what a great tasting selection of wines it was. I agree, the wines were all showed well, and a couple of the wines spoke to me…

My white wine of the night was the 2010 Guidobono Roero Arneis…This wine is from Northern Italy.  Guidobono is the producer.  It comes from the hills of Roero, in Piedmonte.  Arneis is the name of the grape. This was not my first time tasting this particular wine. I first tasted it in September at Ideal Wine & Spirits’ Autumn Show at Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston.  I had made notes that it was “very nice”, but this was on a day that I had tasted 100 red wines beforehand, so I thought it would be nice to taste it again.  This was also not my first experience with Arneis…that was memorable experience…

It was April of 2008, my first time at Vinitaly…the largest wine trade show in the world. After starting our morning at 9:30 am, tasting the red wines of Piedmonte…(Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, etc.), the importer that we were traveling with, Steven Berardi, made it his mission to find an Arneis for Lee Skawinski (of Vignola and Cinque Terra).  So, the “tasting committee” consisted of myself, Steven,Lee,Troy, Justin and Scott,went from booth to booth in the Piedmonte Pavillion tasting every Arneis we could. We were in search of a great one. We tasted 17 different Arneis over the course of a couple of hours, not only had we not found a great one, we had not even found one good one.  By this time, I decided that I did not like Arneis, and I could live the rest of my life without tasting another one, my taste buds hurt and it was time for lunch…. Then we tasted number 18. That wine, Cascina Pellerino Roero Arneis, was beautiful. It had what all the others before it did not, it had balance. Great fruit and great acidity, I wrote “Wow!” in my notes, we had finally found our Arneis.  That wine was a regular item in my store for the next 2 years, and even though that wine is no longer available here, it is the Arneis that  I measure all others by…

The 2010 Guidobono Roero Arneis has the balance between fruit and acidity that we look for.  This has a light straw color, subtle hints of peach and apricot on the nose, medium weight, melon like fruit, and finishes with nice acidity and a hint of bitterness.  What I loved about this wine was that the acidity made you salivate a little at the end.  This is a quality of a great food fine, it made what you were eating taste better, and made you look forward to that next sip.  It paired very well with my daughter’s favorite dinner…Chicken Alfredo…

My red wine of the night was from Southern Italy…2009 Pietra Luna Negramaro del Salento.  Pietra Luna is the producer, it comes from the Salento Peninsula in Puglia, The heel of the boot. Negroamaro is the name of the grape.  The Negroamaro grape produces a very, full bodied wine, and this is a very well-balanced example.  This wine is very dark in color, almost black with violet around the edges.  There are hints red berry fruit on the nose and on the palate with a dried fruit finish (a hint of raison). The tannins of this wine are very well integrated. ( It dries your mouth out without making you pucker). This wine lends itself well to red meats and hearty pasta dishes and strong cheeses.

Thanks for reading my first entry of 2012…I will be back soon…and often… I will have a lot to write about this year…