Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: All in the Barrel with Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

Barrels are a big deal when it comes to wine. New oak, old oak, French oak, American oak: they all bring something different to the vino.

But I recently got to taste some wine that had been barrel aged, not in wine barrels, but in Bourbon Whiskey barrels.  Huh?

Mondavi Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet SauvignonI will admit to knowing very little about Bourbon, or whiskey, be it Bourbon (American) or Irish, or Scotch or whatever. And as I admit that I can hear my Irish grandfather rolling his eyes at me in heaven. (This was man who introduced a cousin and I to whiskey sours way back when. We were 11. Ahem.) Anyway, it remains that I don't have much knowledge when it comes to whiskey.

But one thing I do know now: if you age Cabernet Sauvignon in Bourbon barrels, it's pretty much a match made in heaven. (Are you listening up there, Poppy?)

Leave it to Robert Mondavi wines to come up with this. They start with their California grapes, which make some amazing wine on their own. In this case, the grapes are 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. Then some of the wine is aged in Bourbon Whiskey barrels for three months. A Bourbon Whiskey barrel, by whiskey law, must be oak and charred inside. 

The result is Robert Mondavi's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon (2014, 14.5%, CA). I got my first taste of this wine at a little tasting bar and was pretty much wowed by it. Cabernet Sauvignon was my first red wine love, and it's always to fun to find one that's so good.

This wine is deep, dark garnet color. It starts with a nose of cherry - some red but mostly dark, black cherry, mocha and oak. The flavors are big: blackberry and lots and lots of caramel (yum). The flavors are all wrapped up in some toasty oak. The finish is lush and smooth and very well balanced. 

I immediately bought two bottle of this and plan on buying more. But I (and you) will have to buy it quickly, as it's a limited release. The guy who was serving at the tasting warned us about this, which I think was very nice of him. It runs around $13 a bottle and would pair so nicely with steak or pork or Bourbon chicken (I had to throw that one in). 

Buy a few - if you like your wines big and bold and toasty and silky you won't regret it!

Pin It

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winey Tasting Notes: Italian Memories with Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino Rosato

During the summer of 2014, The Winey Family took a trip to Italy. We were celebrating the graduations of both Winey Children - one from college, one from high school. We'd always wanted to go to Italy, so we took off for an amazing 11 days in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Venice. It ranks as one of our all time favorite trips and we love to reminisce about it.

Rome, Coliseum
The Winey Family at the Coliseum
It was a glorious time - from the culture to the history to the sunny, hot weather. And of course, I found some wines to write about: The Wines of Cinque Terre, When in Rome....Drink Frascati, Pinot Grigio in Target, Spritzing like they do in Italy.

One variety of wines I didn't write about then were the Italian Rosé wines, which I absolutely loved. I had tried different Rosés before, some French, some US, and some Italian and I liked some, others, not so much. But the Rosés I found there were wonderful! And for the most part, they were anonymous house wines or local wines that could not be found back here in the US of A. And believe me, I tried. But I just couldn't find one that brought me back to our time there, most notably to a very special canal-side dinner in Venice. It was there that I had one of my favorite Rosés of the whole trip. But I never got the name (it was a house wine and there wasn't a whole lot of English-Italian communicating going on - on both sides!).

I never really gave up looking, it was always in the back of my mind that I could find a Rosé like the ones I sipped on our trip.

One day, in the grocery store, I decided to buy a bottle of an Italian Rosé that I had seen many times. It was only $8 and had been hanging around the store for quite a while. I had passed it by because, well, I don't really know why. I just did. Time and time again. It just didn't seem to be one I'd like.

Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino RosatoThe wine is question is Piccini's Memoro Italia Vino Rosato (NV, 13.5%, Chianti, Italy). It's a blend of 40% Negroamaro, 30% Montepulciano, 20% Nero d’Avola and 10% Merlot del Veneto. I will never know why I decided to buy it that fateful day.....but oh my, I am so glad I did. Because this was the one that brought me right back to Italy! The Rosé I had been searching for, and I found it about a mile away in my grocery store, no less.

First of all this wine is so pretty: a lovely medium-deep pink translucent color. The nose was faint raspberry. The first taste was sharp strawberries followed by raspberry and then a line of cranberry. The flavors were crisp and clean without any citrus, so I would call this a juicy, full flavored dry wine. No citrus here, like you'd find in a Sauvignon Blanc...this was pure Rosé - from those red grapes!

This wine was just wonderful: crisp and refreshing and light all at the same time. I know it would be a great wine to pair with food when summer arrives, but I absolutely loved it all on its own in the middle of an Ohio winter.

"Memoro Italia," according to the back label of the wine, is Latin for "remember Italy." And let me tell you, this wine lives up to its Latin. It made me remember our time in Italy in the best of ways! And it's a time that I'll always cherish: full of family, fun, travel and love.

Cheers! Pin It