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Tasting Austrian and Italian Wines With Lou

June 18, 2013 3 comments

Lou came over last week so we could catch up and taste some wines.  He had recently been in San Francisco where he drank interesting wines from Huet, Donkey & Goat, Clos Saron, Ferret, and Broc Cellars at such places at Locals Corner and Terroir.  As attractive as his experience was we ended up having a pretty good night.  The 2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent was in fine shape.  It was showing maturity but not much complexity and was best drunk up on the first night.  The 2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T. Evolution was an interesting wine.  Weingut Arachon T. FX. T.  was started as a joint venture between Tibor Szemes, F.X. Pichler, and Manfred Tement.  After the passing of Tibor Szemes his widow jointed the venture.  A cooperative of twenty-five growers provide their best Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is then produced at the Arachon winery.  From both the first sniff and taste it is evident this is a serious wine meant to be aged.  I suspect the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot give it a bit of heft.  I would try this again in a few years when it might be even better.  I stared at the back of the 2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese label for sometime.  The graphics of the moon and lady bug looked familiar, even the font did.  It turns out this wine is the project of Jean-Marc of Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  There was pretty high-altitude volcanic fruit but the structure makes itself present and could use some integration.  Perhaps this will happen in a few years.  The 2007 I Custodi, Aetneus was a good wine.  I seemed to have drunk it more for enjoyment than for taking notes.  It was more athletic than the Rosso Azzurro and would work out well with food.  Lastly are the pair of wines from La Stoppa.  I recently tasted the 2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso with Charles Gendrot of Williams Corner Wine.  I must agree with Phil that particular bottle was a bit bretty and took some work to get through.  This bottle was completely different and all about fresh and ripe red fruit.  Enjoyable and well priced.  I believe La Stoppa is a low sulphur winery so perhaps there will be some bottle variation.  The 2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa was the more serious of the two.  It showed more concentration and was also more rugged, perhaps the pure Barbera nature coming through.  I would stick this in the cellar and drink the Trebbiolo Rosso in the mean time.  As always Lou and I split the leftover wine making sure to inject a good dose of Private Preserve.  When I went to open a bottle of red wine for Jenn and I to actually drink she exclaimed, “Why? I really like these wines.”

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2004 Gernot Heinrich, St. Laurent, Burgenland –
Imported by Vin Divino.  This wine is 100% St. Laurent sourced from 5-35 year old parcels in on high slopes at 140 meters in Gols. The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in both stainless steel and wooden vats, underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for ten months in used oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was almost mature with a little wood aromas.  In the mouth there was a slightly tart start with red fruit and acidity on the tongue.  The wine rounded out a bit with black fruit.  Best on the first night.  ** Now-2015.

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2009 Weingut Arachon T. FX. T., Evolution, Mittel Burgenland – $35-$40
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of  Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a good, assertive nose with almost floral pepper aromas and fine old perfume. The mouth follows the nose with black fruit and old perfume.  There was a firmness to the flavors which became racy towards the finish with a good aftertaste and watering acidity.  Serious.  *** Now-2020.

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2010 Rosso Azzurro, A Crush on Mt. Eta, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily – $30
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from old-vines at 600 meters. The fruit was partially destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-top barrels then aged for one year in two neutral 500 liter barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose bore powdery ripe red berry fruit and eventually minerally, black and red fruit developed.  In the mouth there was a fine firm structure which builds up until the drying tannins stick to the lips.  With air a very delicate, pepper and graphite flavor comes out.  The flavors are attractive but the structure suggests it needs age to both resolve and integrate with the fruit.  There was watering acidity in the end.  **(*) Now-2018?

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2007 I Custodi, Aetneus, Etna Rosso – $32
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 100+ year old vines at 750 meters.   The fruit is 80% destemmed then fermented in stainless steel vat before malolactic fermentation and 20 months aging in used barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a distinctly Sicilian nose of ripe aromas and perhaps mulberry.  The mouth follows the nose with a good amount of fruit.  The tannins were obvious early on but mix well with the dry flavors and minerals.  Despite my short note I did like it.  Drink with food.  *** Now-2018.

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2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia IGT – $20
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda macerated on the skins for 20 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.  There was a bright nose of berry fruit and toasted spices.  The flavors were rich in the mouth with ripe cranberry and other youthful, ripe red, fresh fruit.  Well done.  With air there were gobs of fresh red young fruit to which the acidity played a supporting roll.  There was almost a grapey pulp texture.  *** Now-2015.

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2007 La Stoppa, Barbera Della Stoppa, Emilia IGT – $32
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from 25-45 year old vines macerated on the skins for 30 days then fermented with indigenous yeasts.  It was aged for one year in used barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The first whiff was of almost stewed fruit but then the nose became articulate.  The articulated scent follows in the mouth with a very ethereal earthy flavor and brambly nature.  With air the wine became more pebbly with earthy fruit, a hint of Pilsner, and a fine, drying structure of tannins left on the lips.  This definitely needs age.  A ripe red raspberry flavor came out but there is more to this wine.  It was a  little rugged and yeasty in the aftertaste.  *** 2015-2023.

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