July 2011

Wait, you’re thinking, isn’t Trinchero the family that owns Sutter Home, the world’s greatest purveyor of white zinfandel? What are they doing in this roster of Old-School Cabernets? The answer to the first question is “Yes”; the answer to the second question is more complicated.

Mario and Mary Trinchero moved from New York to California in 1948, and that year they purchased an abandoned winery called Sutter Home, which had been established in Napa Valley in 1874. They retained that property’s name and under it sold all sorts of wine, though in 1968, Bob Trinchero, one of Mario and Mary’s sons, started making zinfandel from Amador County grapes, aged in American oak, a move that contributed to Sutter Home’s growing reputation. In fact, the first wine that I drank that went beyond the usual graduate school (or college teacher) plonk was the Sutter Home Zinfandel 1977 whose label is pictured here; it was also the first label that I kept as a record of my progress.

The event that propelled Sutton Home into the ranks of the rich and famous, however, occurred in 1972, when Bob Trinchero turned excess loads of grapes into a slightly sweet product call white zinfandel. The rest, class, is history; by the end of the 1980s, Sutter Home was churning out 3 million cases of white zinfandel annually. That was the same decade during which the winery began carefully acquiring vineyards in Napa Valley, not only land but established wineries, as in Monevina in 1988 and more recently Folie à Deux, purchased in 2004 and now the center of Trinchero’s ambitious Family Vineyards project. Trinchero’s other labels, which now include Sutter Home as well as Terra d’Oro, Menage à Trois, Trinity Oaks, Joel Gott, Angove, from Australia, and other brands, fall under the Trinchero Family Estates division. Jim Gordon, writing in Wines & Vines, reported Tuesday that Sutter Home was the second highest selling label in the year ending June 13, posting $208 million, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year; that figure was bested only by Gallo’s Barefoot brand, which saw sales of $255 million, an increase of 27 percent. Menage à Trois, also a TFE product in the top 20 wines, grew 33 percent in that period.

Our concern today, however, is with three of the Trinchero Family Vineyard wines, of which there are 12, totaling a production of fewer than 12,000 cases. Under the management of winemaker Mario Montecelli, this line of single-vineyard designated wines was first released in 2009 and represents the family’s striving to join the ranks of the Napa Valley wineries that offer some of the finest cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines in the world. These are, after all, the grapes upon which Napa’s reputation is based.

I found these three wines to be well-made, even thoughtfully-made, straightforward and traditional in terms of the history of winemaking in Napa Valley; they are not dramatic or flashy or ostentatious, nor are they particularly exhilarating, except for the Central Park West Petit Verdot 2007, which struck me as fairly brilliant. The motivation primarily seems to lean toward dignity, authenticity and deep satisfaction.
Sampled in Memphis with a representative from the winery.

The Trinchero Cloud’s Nest Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, is 100 percent cabernet sauvignon. The bouquet is a welter of licorice and lavender, cedar and dried thyme, a touch of good old-fashioned black olive and bell pepper, with black currants, blackberries and graphite permeated by earthy, mossy briers and brambles. All of these sensations feel complete, precise and focused, though the wine gradually becomes more expansive, a little warmer and spicier. This is very dense and chewy, with ripe, spicy black and blue fruit flavors wrapped in finely-milled, well-oiled tannins that glide like suave ball-bearings powering impeccable machinery; I mean, it’s big but smooth, balanced, integrated. There’s oak throughout — 80 percent new French barrels — and vibrant acidity to bolster the wine’s substantial structure and effect, and while this will age nicely, it’s surprisingly drinkable for a cabernet of its substance and hillside pedigree. Try from 2012 or ’13 through 2017 to ’20. Alcohol content is 14.2 percent. Excellent. About $50 to $55.
Image, much cropped, from wineglas.com.

The Trinchero Haystack Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, is a little more brooding and enigmatic than its cousin from Mount Veeder; Atlas Peak, northeast of Mt. Veeder beyond Stags Leap, was approved as an American Viticultural Area in 1992. Though its initial burst of black currants, cloves, sandalwood, black olives and cedar seems promising for immediate pleasure, the wine is blatantly more tannic and austere; you feel those mountain roots and the demands of a high-elevation vineyard in the rigorous, granite-like minerality of the wine’s deep structure. Trinchero Haystack 07 is smoky and dusty, quite dry, laced with hints of lead pencil and tobacco and a tinge of leather, though ultimately these qualities support, rather than conceal, bastions of spiced and macerated black currants, black cherries and plums. The 15.1 percent alcohol could be bothersome, but the wine manages to avoid the pitfalls of high alcohol heat and sweetness to remain balanced and poised, yet powerfully built and muscular. Try from 2013 or ’14 through 2018 to ’21. Excellent. About $50 to $55.
Image from cellartracker.com.

Not a cabernet sauvignon, obviously, the Trinchero Central Park West Vineyard Petit Verdot 2007, St. Helena, Napa Valley, doesn’t even have a smidgeon of cabernet in it, though there’s a dollop of petit verdot at 2 percent. I found this wine unabashedly beautiful, but a little untamed, born free and wanting to keep it that way. An exotic bouquet of black currants, blueberries and mulberries is swathed in sandalwood, lilac and licorice, with hints of tar and violets (reminiscent of nebbiolo) and some strain of wild, spicy red fruit. Sleek and polished, the wine flows through the mouth like dusty velvet, while elements of earthy briers, brambles and underbrush meld into burnished wood, from 60 percent French oak barrels, vibrant acidity and a granite-like edge for a fairly taut structure. An absolutely delicious wine with a serious, introspective aspect. 14.5 percent alcohol. Drink now or hold until 2012 or ’13 for consuming until 2016 or ’17. Excellent. About $50 or $55.
Image from b-21.com.

I like the straightforward presentation: The Malbec 2009 of Ricardo Santos. No flim-flam, no artsy-craftsy coyness, no high-falutin’ folderol. Just the facts, ma’am. And at a time when malbec is becoming a little meh in its effectiveness as the so-called great red grape of Argentina and the phrase “the grape they do best in Argentina” is justly disappearing from the Arsenal of Formulaic Wine Terms, this one comes as a treat; it’s a malbec that actually tastes like something in itself and not as an imitation cabernet sauvignon or merlot, whatever the hell merlot might be at the moment. El Malbec 2009 de Ricardo Santos, La Madras Vineyard, Mendoza — the vineyard is at 2,800 feet elevation — aged six months in French and American oak barrels, just enough time to lend the wine some shape and resonance without tainting it with woody notions. The color is vivid dark ruby with a tinge of magenta at the rim; aromas of black currants, mulberries and blueberries beguile the nose even as they take on muscular strains of cedar, tobacco and tar. The wine is a little sappy, mossy and smoky, both in nose and mouth, robust without being rustic, vibrant with clean acidity that enlivens ripe, spicy black and blue fruit flavors. Earthy and slightly leathery tannins are nicely round and chewy and a little dusty, while the texture is vibrant, lithe, sinuous; a touch of violets and graphite animates the finish. 13.9 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2012 or ’13 with grilled pork chops with a spicy dry-rub, barbecue brisket, carne asada or just a good old medium-rare steak. Very Good+. About $19

Global Vineyard Importers, Berkeley, Ca. A sample for review.

Sartori di Verona, founded by the Sartori family in 1898, has never been known as a top producer of Amarone della Valpolicella wines — that distinction goes to such estates as Quintarelli, dal Forno, Tommaso Bussola and Allegrini — but perhaps the hiring of consulting winemaker Franco Bernabei in 2003 made a difference in technique and quality, because I was impressed by these examples of Sartori’s “regular” Amarone 2007 and the single vineyard Corte Brà Amarone Classico 2004. Unfortunately, the wine I was most looking forward to, I Saltari Amarone della Valpolicalle 2003, made from an estate purchased in 2000, was corked, that is, the wine was spoiled by musty damp cardboard aromas caused by a cork tainted by 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). Reference books cite various studies that assert that 8 to 10 percent of the world’s wines are corked, a statistic that argues forcefully for the use of screw-caps or synthetic stoppers; my experience over 27 years writing about wine indicates more of a 2 to 3 percent corked rate, but even that is too much.

Amarone della Valpolicella, made around the city of Verona in Italy’s Veneto region, is a dried-grape wine. Nowadays, the grapes — usually corvina, rondinella and molinara — are dried in small crates under temperature-controlled conditions, though in the past they were dried hung up in clusters or spread on mats; the process concentrates flavors and increases the potential alcohol content, typically to between 15 and 16 percent. After fermentation, Amarone wines are long-aged, two years being the minimum with some wines being aged, as you see here, much longer. New rules instituted after Amarone received DOCG status in 2009, effective for the 2010 vintage, will allow the use of non-traditional grapes like cabernet sauvignon and merlot in the blend, though thankfully only 15 percent. I hope that producers will tread very carefully with these “international” varieties and with the use of French oak barriques, because they lead to the treacherous path toward homogenization.

VB Imports (Banfi Vintners), Old Brookville, N.Y. Samples for review.

The Sartori Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 is composed of 50 percent corvina Veronese grapes, 40 percent rondinella and 10 percent molinara. The grapes dried on racks for about 100 days before being fermented in stainless steel tanks; the wine was then aged a minimum of three years in old Slavonian oak casks. What do we get after this traditional, lengthy process? A color so intensely ruby-purple that it borders on radiant motor-oil; a deep, lavishly dimensioned bouquet that teems with notes of leather and violets, mulberries and dried cranberries, fruitcake, cloves and allspice, oolong tea, macerated blueberries and a tinge of graphite. The wine is dense and concentrated in the mouth, but it manages to be neither heavy or ponderous; it reveals, in fact, a graceful agile, fresh black and blue fruit aspect that does not get completely buried by immense, dusty, chewy tannins, though the wine gets more chewy, more mineral-drenched as the moments pass. We drank this wine with fettuccine Bolognese last week, and it worked wonderfully with the rich, full, meaty flavors of the sauce, but the wine could profit from a few years rest; try from 2013 or ’14 through 2017 or ’18. Alcohol content is 14.5 percent. Excellent. About $40.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The grape composition of the Sartori Corte Brà Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2004 is similar to that of the house’s “regular” Amarone described above with the addition — and hence a bit of a reduction elsewhere — of 5 percent oseleta grapes, a strictly local variety that does not show up in Oz Clark’s Encyclopedia of Grapes (Harcourt, 2001), a usually reliable trove of the endangered, the undesirable and the obscure. This is single-vineyard, estate Amarone from the delimited Classico region, “Corte Brà” referring to the noble Veronese family that owned the vineyard for generations before it was acquired by the Sartori family. The grapes dried in small crates for up to four months, and the wine aged four years — as in 48 months — in medium- and small-sized oak casks. Corte Brà 2004 is, in a word, monumental. It’s very dense, intense and concentrated; voluminous, deep, multi-dimensioned and richly detailed, though it will take a couple more years in the cellar for those details to unfold. The wine is deep into fruitcake and plum pudding and smoky, roasted raisins, though, as with its cousin, it evinces a clean blade of pure black and blue fruit that lasers across the palate before the walloping tannins and ecclesiastical oak close in. The austere finish, not surprisingly, is packed with briers and brambles, moss and leather. Try from 2014 or ’15 through 2020 to ’24. Alcohol content is 15 percent. Excellent (potential). About $52.

LL used the rest of the fresh porcini and morels a few nights ago and made a simple pasta dish to highlight the deep, earthy flavors, going very light on butter and using more olive oil. I never understand the impulse, seemingly the imperative, to slather sauteed mushrooms with lots of butter and cream, thereby obscuring, if not obliterating, the reason for using them anyway. Before she got home from work, I chopped two leeks, sauteed them in a bit of olive oil and a wee sliver of butter, covered the pan, turned the flame way down, and let them stew for 15 or 20 minutes until quite soft and savory. As a thickener for the sauce, LL pureed these incredibly soft and flavorful leeks in the processor with some chicken broth and olive oil. She’s really smart that way. I brushed the porcini and morels off carefully, sliced them, and sauteed then gently in olive oil and, again, just a bit of butter, and then LL added the leek puree, some dollops of white wine and finished the sauce and the dish. For pasta we used a very interesting fresh whole-grain fettuccine, made from Kamut, from Laura and Davy Funderburk’s FunderFarms in north Mississippi. As with porcini risotto, the resulting dish, while fabulously deep and earthy and flavorful, was not very photogenic. (Kamut is a brand name for the khorasan variety of wheat supposedly discovered in Egypt in the late 1940s and grown now in limited quantities in the United States.)

I told LL that my choice for a supremely well-matched wine-and-food marriage made in heaven would be a great Northern Rhone roussanne or marsanne-based white, say an E. Guigal Ex Voto Ermitage Blanc or Paul Jaboulet Aîné Chevalier Sterimberg Hermitage Blanc, about eight to 10 years old. I didn’t have one of those, and, unless I am somehow transported into the slender ranks of Very Privileged Wine Writers or Big Dogs of Fiduciary Prowess, never will I. So I poked around in the white wine fridge for a substitute and actually found an intriguing bottle, Les Deux Rives Corbières Blanc 2010, made from a blend of 60 percent grenache blanc grapes and 20 percent each marsanne and roussanne. Now I’m not saying that this wine would in any way be comparable in nobility and character to the tremendous examples mentioned earlier in this paragraph, but it does have the advantage of selling at a price affordable to those millions of consumers modestly existing on the Plane of Mere Mortals.

What was so pleasing about Les Deux Rives Corbières Blanc 2010, produced by the Groupe Val d’Orbieu cooperative headquartered in Narbonne, is that it encapsulates, on a small scale, the nature of a wine that in large might extend the qualities of these grapes into epiphany. Yes, at most this is a very pleasant and more-than-decent effort, made all in stainless steel, yet the wine’s combination of crisp freshness and delicacy balanced with heady qualities of roasted lemon and lemon balm, dried thyme and bee’s-wax, hints of lanolin and camellia, all ensconced in a texture deftly poised between litheness and moderate lushness, rendered it deeply satisfying with the porcini and morel fettuccine, both in terms of complement and foil. When not serving a similar purpose, this would be terrific as a Porch, Patio, Pool & Picnic Wine, either as pure aperitif or with grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon; melon and prosciutto; or smoked salmon bruschetta. The alcohol content is a non-threatening 12.5 percent. Drink, nicely chilled, through the rest of 2011 and into 2012. Very Good+. About $10, a Distinct Bargain.

Corbières is in France’s Languedoc region, way down along the coast, where it turns south toward Spain, and inland up to some pretty rugged hills. “Les Deux Rives” refers to the banks of the Canal du Midi, built between 1666 and 1681 to connect the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. The 150-mile-long Canal du Midi runs from Etang de Thau on the Mediterranean coast to Toulouse, where it joins the Canal de Garonne. The enterprise was economically important until the construction of railroads in the mid-19th Century. It was named a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1996.

Pasternak Wine Imports, Harrison, N.Y. A sample for review.

By “accessible” I mean more widely available and less expensive than the winery’s single-vineyard chardonnays, typically produced in lots fewer then 500 cases. What I’m talking about are the very popular Morgan “Metallico” Chardonnay 2010, Monterey County, and the Morgan “Highland” Chardonnay 2009, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey, each of which serves as a sort of microcosm of the winery’s concerns and techniques. Dan Lee and his wife Donna founded Morgan Winery in 1982, while he was winemaker for Durney Vineyards. They now have 48.5 acres of vines, as well as the Lee Family Farm. Winemaker for Morgan is Gianni Abate.

These were samples for review.
The Morgan “Metallico” Chardonnay 2010 draws grapes mainly from Santa Lucia Highlands but also from the slightly warmer Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County. The wine sees no oak, fermenting and aging in stainless steel tanks, and going through no malolactic fermentation to retain ultimate freshness and crispness. This is a lively, appealing chardonnay, sporting a pale straw-gold color and attractive aromas of pineapple and grapefruit and touches of roasted lemon and spiced pear; a few minutes in the glass bring out hints of tangerine and jasmine. The texture is a beguiling amalgam of talc-like softness and lushness balanced by taut acidity and burgeoning limestone and wet shale elements that ensconce ripe, spicy flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon drop, highlighted with a hint of ginger. The finish is medium-length, yet finely drawn and slightly austere with stones and bones. Lovely purity and intensity and brilliant with swordfish seared medium-rare. Buy by the case and drink over the next year. 14.1 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.
What do you get for six dollars more? The grapes for the Morgan “Highland” Chadonnay 2009, Santa Lucia Highlands, derive from some of the vineyards that provide Morgan with its best single-designation chardonnays and pinot noirs, namely Double L and Rosella’s. The wine ages a careful nine and a half months in a combination of 25 percent new French oak barrels with one- and two-year-old barrels and some number of neutral barrels, meaning well-used, the overall effect being a gentle, subtle shaping of the wine with appropriate suppleness and spiciness that brings out the best in the fruit without overwhelming it; you do, though, feel that oak, a sense of woody blondness, if I can say that, through the long, almost muscular finish. The color is medium straw-gold; the bouquet is bright and boldly spicy, featuring hints of roasted lemon, lemon balm and lemon curd permeated by slight tinges of banana and mango, ginger and yellow plums. This is rich and luscious but fortunately cut by the tang and tingle of rigorous acidity and a powerful limestone character that grounds the wine in the earth. Juicy, full-bodied, delicious. 14.2 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2013 or ’14, well-stored. Excellent. About $26.

It’s only early July, but it feels as if the Dog Days are already biting at our heels. A good way to cool off is with a glass of The Postmistress Blanc de Blanc 2010, from Henry’s Drive Vignerons, the winery in South Australia’s Padthaway region that names its wines and clever, well-designed labels for aspects of the country’s 19th Century mail system. The Postmistress is made in the Charmat process of second fermentation in tank rather than in the bottle, but that fact doesn’t detract one whit from this sparkler’s charm. Made completely from chardonnay grapes, The Postmistress Blanc de Blanc 2010 — usually spelled blanc de blancs — offers a pale blonde color and a very pretty, frothing surge of tiny bubbles. The wine is clean and crisp, with lemony aromas highlighted by toasted hazelnuts, lime peel, freshly baked bread and cinnamon toast; a tide of limestone and a hint of jasmine emerge after a few minutes in the glass. Pert and sassy with sharply etched acidity, The Postmistress 2010 deliveres generalized citrus flavors permeated by quince and crystallized ginger and a yeasty touch; it’s quite dry, very minerally in the limestone and shale sense, and nicely rounded in texture amid the lithe crispness. Really attractive. Winemaker was Renae Hirsch. 12 percent alcohol. Production was 2,900 cases. Delightful as an aperitif, though I sipped it with spicy crab cakes at the restaurant Felicia Suzanne’s in Memphis. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Quintessential, Napa, Ca. A sample for review.

Brothers Stu and Charlie Smith planted their cabernet sauvignon vines in 1972, high atop Spring Mountain, 1,900 feet above Napa Valley and west of the town of St. Helena. They dry-farm the 37 acres of vines that grow out of the volcano-based rocky soil; the hillsides are so steep that some areas slope at a perilous 35 degree pitch. The Smiths produce mainly cabernet sauvignon wines, with lesser amounts of riesling and chardonnay, and they don’t make too damned much of any of it, to the regret of their fans, of whom I am one. Matters proceed in an old-fashioned style at Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. There’s no palatial facility or art museum and no high-tech tasting room, just a modest but clean and well-constructed wooden building that suits its purpose. In fact, “suiting the purpose” might be the motto at Smith-Madrone, a practical yet somehow visionary winery where no effort is wasteful, and no attempt is made to fit its products into the range of contemporary palates conditioned by over-ripe fruit and high alcohol. The Smith brothers have been making wine this way for 40 years.

So, the Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, is a blend of 82 percent cabernet sauvignon and nine percent each merlot and cabernet franc. The wine ages — get this! — 22 months in new American oak barrels, and — guess what? — you would never know that was the case. It’s not toasty or stridently spicy or woody; instead, the oak, which indeed permeates every jot, tittle and iota of the wine, as it must, serves as background and foundation, as supple framer of structure but sharing equal footing with vibrant, resonant acidity and pungent, earthy, mossy, leathery tannins. By now, you’re thinking, “Oh, great, is there anything actually to smell and taste here? Any, you know, fruit?” Listen, the Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 was not designed for immediate gratification, like some hussy of a fleshy, flashy, lavish Oakville merlot. Give it time, whether in the glass as you sit at dinner (having opened the wine an hour beforehand) with a ripe, flavorful medium-rare ribeye steak, or after sufficient time in the cellar. When you first sniff and taste, though, you’ll detect notes of cedar-infused, spiced and macerated black currants and dried black cherries with an under-tone of plum. Burgeoning through that scope, however, will be elements of briers and brambles, forest floor and graphite-like minerality, walnut-shell and new leather. Slowly, slowly, the wine offers touches of mint, lavender and licorice, tobacco and lead pencil, black olive, dried thyme and a bit of rosemary’s slightly heady resiny quality. Plums and mulberries seep into this sharply etched profile that delves as deeply into the wine’s measureless expanse as the roots in the vineyard penetrate into the mountainside, while the finish is tenaciously dense, granitic and brooding. 14.2 percent alcohol. Production was 1,459 cases. Best from 2012 or ’14 through 2018 to ’20. Excellent. About $45.

A sample for review.

Porcini risotto isn’t very photogenic, but I’ll include an image of LL’s triumph anyway, because what it may lack in picture-power it more than made up for in the intensity of flavor. Most recipes assume that the home chef in the United States of America is not working with fresh porcini mushrooms, but LL had ordered a pound of porcinis from Mikuni through GiltTaste.com, and they were delivered by UPS overnight. For broth, she used veal stock, though veal is usually verboten in her food philosophy, and she apologized profusely to the Gods of Baby Animals, but, prego, did it ever give the risotto deep richness and flavors to bolster the deeply earthy mushrooms. I think this was the best version of porcini risotto that LL has made, at least in my experience.

To drink with the porcini risotto, I went to a nearby wine and liquor store and bought a bottle of Moccagatta Nebbiolo 2007. I first wrote about this wine, also a purchase, in December 2009. (Marc de Grazia Imports, Winston-Salem, N.C.) Here’s that review:

The Moccagatta Nebbiolo 2007, from Piedmont’s Langhe region, represents the entry level wine for the Minuto family’s Moccagatta estate, founded in 1952. Made from 100 percent nebbiolo grapes (from young vineyards) and aged a scant six months in old barriques, the wine offers the typical nebbiolo aromas of tar, smoke, violets, spiced plums, damp leaves and moss and gravel. Flavors of macerated black currants and blueberries are draped on a spare, taut structure whose bright acidity cuts a swath on the palate. Nothing opulent or easy here; the wine is an eloquent expression of a grape at a level of purity and intensity that’s especially gratifying from vines that are less than a decade old. Dried heather and thyme seep through the bouquet after a few minutes in the glass, as the wine gets increasingly spicy, dry and austere, with touches of old paper and dust. While the Moccagatta Nebbiolo ’07 doesn’t display the dimension or detail of Moccagatta’s more expensive single-vineyard Barbarescos, it’s an admirable statement of a grape variety and winemaking philosophy. Best from 2010 or ’11 through 2015 to ’17. Bring on the pappardelle con coniglio. Excellent. About $25.

The first difference between the bottle we tried at the end of 2009 and the bottle we tried a few days ago is the price; initially $25, now it’s $23. The second difference is a subtle shifting in balance toward gracefulness, clarity and balance. Make no mistake, this is a nebbiolo wine deeply imbued with the grape’s signature smoky, tarry, dusty graphite-laden tannins and earthy-herbal-rooty character, yet give it a few minutes in the glass — I should have opened it 45 minutes before we sat down to sanctify ourselves at the altar of porcini risotto — and it delivers a bouquet so alluring that it’s practically deliriously seductive. As far as aromas go, one feels almost a sense of physical size to these packed-in elements of lavender and licorice, violets and sandalwood, cloves and fruitcake that generously expand to include macerated plums and blueberries. This sensuous panoply seems to seep inevitably into the wine’s dense, chewy structure, modulating somewhat the rigor of its mineral-flecked tannins and elevating acidity. One might even call it elegant, while not neglecting its fairly severe, leathery finish. The Moccagatta Nebbiolo 2007 was perfect with the porcini risotto; it was as if two earthy and elemental modes of being were speaking to each other in their disparate ways. This is what good eating and drinking are all about. Still Excellent. About $23.

Label image (modified) from tastingnotes.dk.

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