I hadn’t had a Chianti in a while and discovered a 2015 Fontella Chianti DOCG from Casa Girelli in my wine cooler. I love Sangiovese! The wine had 12.5% alcohol by volume and a lovely garnet/ruby color. It had a medium body and was quite smooth and velvety. There were cherry and raspberry notes on the nose which carried onto the palate, with additional flavors of oak, cedar and vanilla. On the winemaker’s website, it states that it is a blend of Sangiovese and Cannaiolo. They also stated that it was fermented in stainless steel and aged for three months in large Slavonian (from Croatia) oak barrels. The grapes are sourced from various vineyards in the Chianti DOCG region in Tuscany where Sangiovese is King, but bottled in Trento, in the Northern part of Italy. The finish came in at around 18 second. James Suckling rated this delightful wine at 90 points and for around $10 per bottle it’s an excellent Chianti value you can do!
Last night for Thanksgiving, I decided to pair the Turkey and side dishes with a lovely Arizona Grenache. Arizona Grenache is a special treat and an excellent alternative to Pinot Noir. However, when I opened the Grenache it had cork taint! Cork taint is a mold called 2,4,6 Trichloroanisole or TCA with odors of mold and must. It sometimes smells like a moldy basement. This fault can occur in up to 8% of bottles. The mold is destructive and can also permeate any part of a winery including barrels and walls and even end up in a screw top wine!
Since the Grenache was undrinkable, I decided to open another bottle. This time I chose an Arizona Viognier, which should have paired well with the Turkey, however, this Viognier was smooth when it hit the tip of my tongue but the became quite harsh as it hit the back of my tongue. It was such a disappointment and did not pair well with the delicious dinner. At this point, after cooking all day, I was too tired and frustrated to open a 3rd bottle.
There are fabulous leftovers galore in the house, so tonight, I’ll either open a Pinot Noir, another Viognier or a French Rose’ which I have stashed away. So wish me luck! I hope you had better luck with your Thanksgiving wine and I hope that your leftovers enjoy a taint free wine.
The 3rd Thursday of November is the release of Beaujolais Nouveau in the Burgundy region of France. This year it falls on November 15th. Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the Gamay grape and frequently served on Thanksgiving. This year is purported to be an excellent year for Beaujolais in France. The grapes are fermented for only a few weeks and then bottled. The release of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in France with major festivities including music and fireworks. Georges Duboeuf is a popular brand seen in American stores, however this is not a wine that you want to age, so I’d recommend drinking it within a few months.
If you’re not a Beaujolais Nouveau fan, why not try a delicious Arizona Grenache, Pinot Noir or Rose. Yes, we do grow Pinot Noir in Arizona! Bodega Piece and Page Springs have excellent ones. For Grenache, try one from Pillsbury. For Rose, most of our wineries have a rose and Merkin has a variety of them. For my table, an Arizona Grenache will be accompanying this year’s turkey.
Last year I blogged about the 2016 Picpoul Blanc from Chateau Tumbleweed. This week I had the opportunity to try the 2017 vintage which was also sourced from the Cimarron vineyard. The 2017 has 11.8 % alcohol; a little less than the 2016. The color was a very pale lemon and like the 2016 had a very soft mouth feel especially since it was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The acidity was surprisingly mellow since Picpoul, a.k.a. “the lip stinger” can frequently be highly acidic. It was fermented for 35 days in stainless steel and was aged in stainless for an additional 6 months. The residual sugar was .75%.
The nose had nice aromas of stone fruits such as apricots and peaches, minerals and limestone notes. The flavor profile had just a tad of sweetness with notes of stone fruits, eucalyptus and a hint of butterscotch. It had a medium body and around a 20 second finish.
I paired it with a delicious garlic chicken and was pleased with the combination. Just 59 cases of this delightful wine were produced so we’re all breathlessly waiting for our lips to be stung in 2018!
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.