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A Casual Italian Wine Dinner at Dino

Fresh after the Best of Virginia tasting  I met up with a small group for a pre-Thanksgiving Italian wine dinner at Dino.  There I joined Alyssa, her husband Brett, Sarah, Alex, and two other wine enthusiasts for a casual evening.  With no coordination on our selections we ended up with an interesting array of wines.  We tasted the wines as the conversation ranged from ones current relationship to wine, familial introduction to wine, all the way to Hallmark Hall of Fame and horror films.  Alex has a particularly interesting background in wine having grown up immersed in wine, so to speak, by his parents.  His mother Ellen Kirsch has long-standing ties with the wine world and is currently studying towards her Master of Wine.  Alex himself is in the middle of his WSET Diploma and our dinner marked the evening before his launch of Grape Crate.

It was a cozy evening and one I hope that is repeated soon.  I constantly select wines at the store then again at home on a daily basis so I derive great pleasure in drinking wine that someone else has picked.  Random or loosely-theme tastings are some of the best fun for at some point the wine a person brings becomes a strong reflection of their personality, which makes the gathering all the more intimate.

We started with the 2010 Tenuta Olim Baudia, Gavi di Gavi which offered up a pleasing combination of lemon and woodsy herbs.  More interesting was the Vittorio Graziano, Ripa del Bucamante which Sarah had just purchased from Chamber Street Wines a few weeks ago.  It proved to be an interesting combination of earth, ripe berries, and citrus.  Sarah has spent time in Emilia-Romagna focused on wine so it was a fitting choice.  It was only natural that she has visited Drei Dona thus immediately recognized the label.  The 2000 Drei Dona, Graf Noir with its local Uva Longanesi and the 2007 Montrevertine were my two favorite wines for current drinking.  The Drei Dona is showing complexity from age but also has structure for a long life.  The Montrevertine had a beautiful nose and continued to develop over dinner, I suspect with a few hours of air this would be even better.  For those with patience keep your 2004 Vietti, Rocche, Barolo in the cellar.  This bottle was more expressive on the nose but the mouth was young with very good components.  This should easily develop over the next few decades.

Alyssa and Brett are big fans of Northwest wines so it was cool to try their 2006 Cameron, Nebbiolo from Oregon.  In a blind tasting it would have stood our for its riper, open fruit.  I would continue cellaring this wine if you are fortunate to have some of this small production.  The 2008 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga, Chianti Classico Riserva was tight and simple, showing more barrel influences than fruit.  Perhaps this will be better with age.  Lastly, the 2008 Ca’Marcanda (Gaja), Promis offered up a simple, buttery nose followed by a very lush, smooth mouthfeel.  It seemed a bit disjointed in personality and no where as nice as the 2009 I tasted earlier in this Spring.

2010 Tenuta Olim Baudia, Gavi di Gavi, Gavi
Imported by Weygandt Metzler.  Th light to medium nose was of woodsy citrus aromas along with rosemary.  The mouth follows the nose with rosemary, white citrus fruit, a little oily nature, and increasing concentration towards the finish.  There was lemony acidity.  Interesting.  ** Now-2014.

NZ Vittorio Graziano, Ripa del Bucamante, Emilia Bianco
This wine is a blend of Trebbiano and Sauvignon Blanc which begins fermentation in stainless steel tanks then is finished in bottle.  The nose bore vintage perfume, sweet berry aromatics, and with air an aroma of grapefruit.  The wine was earthy with distinct, sparse bubbles which firmly popped.  There was a substantial finish with drier flavors then the return of the berry fruit. The aftertaste was lifted with some ripeness.  *** Now-2015.

2007 Azienda Agricola Montevertine, Montevertine
This wine is a blend of Sangioveto, Canaiolo, and Colorino which was aged for 24 months in Slavonian oak barrels.  The nose was light to medium strength and opened up over the evening to reveal textured aromas with a bit of bottle age.  In the mouth there was bright black cherry fruit, a fair amount of bottle age, tart cherry then fine grapey tannins.  The acidity was integrated and there was a scented aftertaste.  Nice wine, it kept opening up over the course of dinner.  **** Now-2017.

2008 Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga, Chianti Classico Riserva
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was aged for 12-16 months in small and medium capacity oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The almost light nose was very tight only revealing vanilla and some roast.  In the mouth the vanilla note returned with red cherry, berry fruit, a simple and modern midpalate then a more expansive finish.  Firm, stick in the cellar.  ** 2016-2022.

2000 Tenuta La Palazza, Drei Dona, Graf Noir, Forli
Imported by Vintner Estates Direct.  This wine is a blend of 55% Sangiovese, 30% Uva Longanesi, and 15% Cabernet Franc which underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel then was aged 24-28 months in 70% new French oak barriques.  The light to medium nose was lifted with black red fruit, giving the impression of concentration and weight.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine had a lightness from maturity and expansive flavors in the mouth.  The initial strawberry flavors turned towards firm black fruit in the end where maturing, cedar box, and coffee flavors came out.  There were drying, wood box tannins, and some noticeable acidity.  The dark fruit and ample, integrated structure will allow for long age.   **** Now-2027.

2008 Ca’Marcanda (Gaja), Promis, Tuscany
Imported by.  This wine is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, and 10% Sangiovese which were fermented separately then aged for 18 months in new and slightly used barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The light to medium strength nose revealed butter and a little red fruit. In the mouth this medium bodied wine was bigger than the nose suggested.  Ripe fruit with a structure from spicy integrated tannins then mixed with red and black fruit.  There was a smooth mouthfeel, soft fruit, and a darker aftertaste where some very fine tannins came out.  Very modern but disjointed between nose and mouth.  ** Now-2019.

2006 Cameron, Nebbiolo, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley
Alcohol 13.4%.  The light to medium strength nose showed interest with fine notes of riper fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were firmer in the mouth with brighter, hard red candy fruit, fine+ tannic structure then black fruit. It was a bit lifted in the aftertaste.  Keep in the cellar.  **(*) 2017-2025.

2004 Vietti, Rocche, Barolo
Imported by Remy Cointreau USA.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from 45-year-old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for 28 months in Slavonian oak casks then six month in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  More complex and expressive in the nose.  In the mouth this wine is still young with ripe, red fruit, blue fruit with an initially light and fruit driven nature.  The fruit was tart and berry like, which mixed with an enjoyable older wood note.  There were fine powdery, tannins throughout.  Though the fruitier aspects tasted good this developed a strong, fine, tannic structure with air.  **(**) 2019-2032.

  1. November 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    What a pleasure it was to read such a considered evaluation of the wines we had Tuesday. Great to meet you as well!

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