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For drinking now: 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico has benefited from a little bottle age for it is in an accessible state right now.  The wine was raised in oak so think of it as a more robust version of its namesake.  You may grab this good value at MacArthur Beverages.

2013 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico – $16
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol ?%.  Aromas of damp soil and smoke are inviting. In the mouth are tangy red and black fruit, juicy acidity, and gentle structure.  There is an ethereal strawberry and cranberry fruit finish with tar and a return touch of smoke.  *** Now – 2020.

A Variety of Wines Including Good Beaujolais-Villages and Cerasuolo di Vittoria

October 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Before I met Phil and Lou I did not drink much wine from Beaujolais.  I still do not automatically reach for a bottle but I am now always willing to try a recommendation and have gained new appreciation for these wines.  The 2011 Chateau Gaillard, Beaujolais-Villages is one such recommendation from Phil which drank particularly great on the second night.  That is the key, a satisfying wine which is easy to drink and affordable.  The 2010 Centonze, Cerasuolo di Vittoria packed in more flavor than I expected.  It drank best with some sir so either double-decant it or wait until the new year.  The 2012 Compania de Vinos del Atlantico, La Cartuja is an affordable value from Priorat which has a bit of everything including minerality.  I tasted the 2010 Domaine Durand, Les Coteaux over a period of 12 hours and never found it particularly engaging for the price.  It is quite approachable in a sense but it did improve with air and I believe it does need a few years to better integrate.  I would spend $2 more to get the 2009 Domaine Barral, Faugeres.  Lastly the 2008 Triennes, St. Auguste remained firm with a structure that overpowered the fruit and ultimately was not a wine that Jenn and I wanted to drink.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Chateau Gaillard, Beaujolais-Villages – $13
Imported by Oslo Enterprises.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium cranberry ruby.  The nose revealed a little pepper with light, ripe cranberry red fruit.  There was a slight lifted note of citrus.  In the mouth was moderately ripe red fruit with acidity on the tongue.  With air the flavors became a bit denser with good texture in the aftertaste.  It left tannins on the lips and gums.  *** Now – 2015.

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2010 Centonze, Cerasuolo di Vittoria – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports.  This wine is a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato sourced from limestone soils which was fermented then aged for six months in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a little pungent nose, perhaps with tar and some other scent.  In the mouth were red and black fruit flavors which were a little tangy with acidity on the tongue tip.  It then became juicy with a grapey and citric aspect.  The moderate structure was appropriate for the good flavors.  This packed in more than I suspected.  **(*) 2014-2017.

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2012 Compania de Vinos del Atlantico, La Cartuja, Priorat – $15
Imported by OLE.  This wine is a blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Carinena.  There was a subtle nose of good fruit and “fresh cut grass” according to Jenn.  In the mouth the wine had a certain athletic poise with its black fruit.  It had slightly juicy acidity, a reasonably drying structure of crushed stones, and a little tart finish.  This sappy, young wine was fresh tasting with moderate acidity.  *** Now-2017.

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2010 Domaine Durand, Les Coteaux, Saint-Joseph – $28
Imported by LVDH.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed smoky tobacco, black fruit, and some toast.  In the mouth were good ripe but firm fruit flavors.  The wine was rugged in its youth with black fruit which was linearly delivered before dropping off in the finish.  It left impressions of toast and black fruit.  **(*) 2015-2023.

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2008 Triennes, St. Auguste, VdP du Var – $17
Imported by The Sorting Table.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot which was aged for 12 months in used oak barrels followed by 10 months in tank.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed a little fruit aromas along with greenhouse and some wood box.  In the mouth this was a firm wine with black fruit, drying structure, and hollow flavors towards the finish.  It was a bit tart with nice acidity and moderate structure.  The structure continued to overpower the fruit.  * Now but should last to 2018.

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A Case of Italian Invasion

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

There is only so much time in a day, so in order to research early 19th century vineyards in Washington, D.C., I must occasionally resort to a post of tasting notes. Over the weekend  I have found some really interesting information which I hope to relay within a week.  Of the ten wines listed below the 2012 Lamoresca, Nerocapitano was my favorite.  This was an awesome wine that I would love to see for sale in Washington, D.C.    I continued to enjoy the wines of Matteo Correggia in the form of 2009 Matteo Correggia, Roero.  This could stand a little more bottle age.  Also do not miss out on the well-priced 2007 Podere il Palazzino, Argenina, Chianti Classico.  A wine imported by Williams Corner Wine is typically interesting and so was the 2009 Bocchino, Blincin, Barbera d’Asti Superiore.  I often pick up bottles solely based on their name.  On a side note the 2011 Occhipinti, Alea Viva was a complete wreck when we first opened it.  Jenn refused to drink it at first and I quickly agreed.  I forgot about it for a few days until I found it in the Eurocave.  It was completely different and so much better.  Strange.  The Occhipinti and Lamoresca were purchased at Chambers Street Wines.  All of the others were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Occhipinti, Alea Viva, Lazio Rosso – $21
Imported by Jan D’Amore Wines Ltd.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light cherry with a hint of garnet.  The nose was floral with berries and ripe, rich white floral aromas.  The first night there were light flavors of orange-peel and fruit, which were a bit firm with acidity that put the black fruit on edge.  Actually, quite rough and not attractive.  On the third night the wine was much better with rounding, cherry flavors and enlivening acidity which hit the back of the throat in the aftertaste.  There were good flavors, intensity, and cinnamon like spices in the finish.  Should age beyond one year.  ** 2014-2018?.

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2012 Lamoresca, Nerocapitano, Frappato, Sicilia – $28
Imported by SelecitoNaturel.  This wine is 100% Frappato which was fermented with indigenous yeasts in open barrels then aged in old wooden barrels and cement.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There were lovely, ripe plum and white peach aromas on the nose.  Rather Sicilian.  The mouth follows the nose with a very different set of flavors, a hint of glycerin, and fruit which was seamlessly integrated with the acidity.  There was a little liveliness on the tongue tip and were sweet, ripe tannins on the fums in the finish.  Really nice.  *** Now-2015.

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2010 Planeta, Dorilli, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico – $23
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore small red berries with a certain blackness.  In the mouth this wine was serious with focus.  It was light and round at first with almost orange acidity and gentle, orange peel flavors.  There was some texture in the finish.  It had a little black tang on the sides of the tongue then acidity which picked up a little in the finish.  It was expansive then drying and minerally.  On the second night there was bacon smoke in the finish and a little red candy.  Very approachable but needs a year or so.   **(*) 2014-2019.

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2005 Cantina Sociale Cooperative, Copertino, Riserva, Puglia – $14
Imported by Banville and Jones Wine Merchants.  This wine is a blend of 95% Negoamaro and 5% Malvasia.  Alcohol 13%.  Gentle, mature with some wood box notes, very approachable, and overall balance.  A pleasant wine to drink now.  ** Now.

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2010 Frecciarossa, Uva Rara, Provincia Di Pavia – $14
Imported by J.W. Sieg & Co.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light but decnet nose with some fine scent.  In the mouth red fruit and red grapefruit mixed with lively acidity.  The firm but good fruit carried on with drying, grapey tannins.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Tenute Chiaccio Forte, Vigne del Passero, Morellino di Scansano – $
Imported by Cantiniere Imports & Distributing.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was of black red fruit and green herbs.  There was a touch of acidity driven black fruit in the mouth followed by a touch of riper, black and red fruit.  It became drier with herbs in the finish, some dry tannins in the structure, and more dried herbs in the aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Antica Masseria del Sigillo, Antico Sigillo, Primitivo di Manduria – $15
Imported by Enotec Imports.  Alcohol 15%.  There were ripe flavors of rasins, red and black fruit that made for a almost dried, roundish start.  There were very fine, grainy flavors and a ripe grainy texture which builds with red fruit acidity.  There were powdery tannins in the finish.  Drink while young but should last a few years.  ** Now-2016.

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2007 Podere il Palazzino, Argenina, Chianti Classico – $17
Imported by de Grazia Imports LLC.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose had underlying ripe, red fruit.  The wine was more complex in the mouth with red fruit, a little wood note, some bitters, and hints of ripeness at the beginning.  The wine was mouthfilling before taking on drier flavors and texture.  There was some spiced mulberry and dry, woodsy tannins.  *** Now-2020.

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2009 Bocchino, Blincin, Barbera d’Asti Superiore – $16
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was of red fruit, strawberry, which was made interesting by some herbs and earth.  The wine was more forward in the mouth with ripe, black and red fruit, a little wood box, and good tartness.  The flavors became redder with air, remained fruit driven, and had a minerally structure.  It was a little spicy and balanced out well with air.  *** Now-2016.

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2009 Matteo Correggia, Roero – $18
Imported by The Country Vintner.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light to medium ruby center with a garnet, exterior ring.  The light nose had red fruit with some orange peel.  In the mouth were light flavors that immediately gained weight, expanding in the mouth with wood box and some herbs.  The acidity was present on the back of the throat.  Black minerals came out and the drying tannins left texture on the gums and inside of the lips.  **(*) 2014-2017.

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The Wines of Azienda Agricola COS, Vittoria, Sicily

I purchased Arianna Occhipinti’s “Il Frappato” during my first waveof Southern Italian wine buying for this blog.  It was an interesting wine so I immediately became interested in trying the wines of her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti.  The wines are distributed by Bacchus Importers Ltd. and some selections may be found at MacArthur’s.  They range in price from $25-$30 per bottle.   These are generally well received wines.  You can find them mentioned in The New York Times, Decanter, Saveur, and Jancis Robinson’s website.

COS was founded by three friends in 1980.  The winery’s name is an acronym of their last names Giambattista Cilia, Giuesto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano.  Their first vintage of 1470 bottles came from young vines rented from Giambattista’s father Joseph.  In 1983 they bought Angelo Gaja’s used French barrels.  Then in the late 1980s they acquired new barrels. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s they acquired several vineyards.  When they tasted through their older vintages they found the earliest vintages the most interesting.  The vintages aged in new barrels show primary characteristics of vanilla and toast.  They decided to stay with used barrels.

Today they follow biodynamic principles and aim to produce wines that reflect the terroir.  They decided to produce a wine in terracotta amphora because it is a neutral container.  In 2000 they produced the first vintage of Pithos, a Cerasuolo di Vottoria entirely fermented and aged in amphora.  Between 2000 and 2007 they acquired additional properties and were finally able to open a new cellar complete with 150 amphoras.

All three are very well made wines.  They are easy to drink and low in alcohol (12% – 13%).  The Frappato is a really good wine but if you can only try one then grab the Pithos.  It is great stuff!  If I can get images of the terracotta amphora I will add them to this post.

2009 COS, Frappato, Sicily
This wine is a blend of 100% Frappato.  It comes from south-east facing vineyards at 250 meters.  The soils are sand mixed with fresh clay and calcareous tufa.  The vines average six years of age.  It is fermented in temperature controlled concrete tanks then aged for 12 months.  There were 33,000 bottles produced.  This has a light Frappato nose of ample, fresh, raspberries and red berries with floral tones. In the mouth there is red, dusty fruit that is a bit juicy.  The pure, tart, red fruit takes on cranberry and dusty characteristics.  There is a short finish, some acidity, and more raspberries in the aftertaste.  ** Now.

2007 COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG, Sicily
This wine is a blend of 40% Frappato and 60% Nero d’Avola.  It comes from south-east facing vineyards at 250 meters.  The soils are sand mixed with fresh clay and calcareous tufa.  The vines average 18 years of age.  It is fermented in temperature controlled concrete tanks then aged for 18-24 months in barrique.  There were 80,000 bottles produced.  This wine is a shade darker than the Pithos but is still a very light, translucent ruby color.  It has a light nose of dusty red fruit.  In the mouth there are light amounts of dark cherry flavors, steely red acidity, and bright, dusty herbs.  It builds up to a sharp crescendo as a relatively dark, red core develops.  There is decent length to the finish and a dusty, herbed aftertaste.  After several hours the fruit becomes a bit sweeter, some blue fruits develop, and the overall profile of the wine shortens. ** Now.

2009 COS, Pithos, Sicily
This wine is a blend of 40% Frappato and 60% Nero d’Avola.  It comes from vineyards at 230 meters.  The soils are sand mixed with limestone, silicious, layers of clay, and tufa.  The vines average 22 years of age.  It is fermented in terracotta amphora of 250 and 400 liter capacities.  The fermentation is allowed to take its own course so there is no temperature control and it typically lasts for seven months.  There were 25,000 bottles produced.  This is a very, very light, translucent cranberry color.  It has a light nose but it is far more complex and interesting than the Cerasuolo.  It is very nose driven.  In the mouth there are tart, lighter red flavors of good complexity that are hard to describe.  There are some light tannins that are completely different from wines age in barrel or stainless steel.  *** Now-2015.

Two Sicilian Wines from Cerasuolo di Vittoria

April 26, 2011 1 comment

Both of these wines are from Cerasuolo di Vittoria.  It spans three provinces: Ragusa, Caltanissetta and Catania.  The area has a long history of wine production starting with the Greeks.  The city of Vittoria was founded in 1606 and is named in honor of Countess Vittoria Colonna Henriquez.  Vittoria is located near the south-eastern tip of Sicily not far away from Noto.  The Countess offered the first 75 farmers one hectare of land if the promised to cultivate a vineyard on another.  This resulted in an explosion in vineyards that established this as a significant region.

Cerasuolo stems from the name Cerasa meaning cherry.  During the pre-phylloxera times there were so many vineyards in Ragusa that the wineries could only process the grapes fast enough if they used very short maceration times.  This resulted in a light cherry-colored wine.  This DOC was granted DOCG status starting with the 2005 vintage.  This allow wine makers to move away from the traditional 50/50 blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato.

Planeta is a company with five estates and wineries located throughout Sicily.  The Dorilla estate in Vittoria produces only one Cerasuolo di Vottoria wine.   The 17 hectare vineyard is at an altitude of 60 meters and was planted in 1997.  The soils are sandy and lie over volcanic tufa.  The grapes are typically harvested during the end of September.  This wine is a blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato and was completely brought up in stainless steel.  Alessio Planeta believes this DOCG is about perfume and that oak would weaken the focus.  It is available for $22 at MacArthur’s.

Arianna Occhipinti is a young winemaker from Vittoria.  She has been making wine for ten years under the guidance of her uncle.  Her vineyards are also located in Cerasuolo di Vottira at an altitude of 270 meters.  The vines average eight years of age and are harvested during the middle of October.  This wine is not DOCG wine because it is 100% Frappato.   Her wines are certified organic.  The Occhipinti is $33 at MacArthur’s and 13% alcohol.

Both of these wines are quite enjoyable.  I really loved the gorgeous nose on the Occhipinti but I found it a bit weak in the mouth.  While it is a good introduction to pure Frappato it is too expensive to be a daily drinker.  I recommend the Planeta as an introduction to this region.


2008 Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily
This wine sports a light, Frappato nose with cherry undertones.  In the mouth there are red flavors, gritty cherries and raspberries that are savory.  There is a salty character on the sides of the tongue.  After a few hours the wine rounds out in the mouth, putting on nice weight and underlying blue fruit.  Jenn found an enjoyable nutty, toasty flavors at the end.  *** Now-2015.


2008 Occhipinti, Il Frappato, Sicily
This wine is much more aromatic with a medium nose of aromatic, floral, cherry, raspberry, and scented spices.  In the mouth there are similar flavors of herbed red berries, tart fruit, in a savory and salty manner.  There is a light amount of medium-coarse tannins.  With air it becomes a bit tart and the nose leaves a stronger impression than the body. ** Now.