Monthly Archives: December 2012

2010 Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti DOCG

2010 Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti DOCG

2010 Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti DOCG

Ever since I visited Badia a Coltibuono in the fall of 2005 I have been quite enchanted by the location and therefore been interested in the winery. It is located in a gorgeous old building up on a hill, a former monastery. According to the website, the monastery dates back to the 11th century. After Napoleon took over (remember what I wrote about the same issue regarding Vereinigte Hospitien?), the monastery was closed and sold off. In 1846, the great grandfather of the current owner bought the property.

The winery is run by Emanuela Stuchhi Prinetti and her three brothers. But the owner being female is not the only reason for it being well known. Lorenza de’ Medici, a rather famous cookbook author, started a cooking school on the winery’s premises in 1980 which made it well known in English speaking countries.

The winery now has everything that any big, international producer has: accomodations, classes, organic farming etc. etc. In a way, that is one of the problems with the winery, too. To me, it has lost some of its appeal due to this commercialization, but I guess it’s what comes with growing bigger. They now produce 400,000 bottles from 70 ha.

I have had Coltibuono’s chianti and the chianti riserva in the past. I remember not being very fond of their standard chianti, just too unexpressive and expensive for the quality, but the chianti riserva I remember as being nice. Their flagship is the “Cultus Boni”, which I have not had. These are all made according to organic farming principles.

The wine that we had the other night, the Cetamura, is from their commercial line of wines called Coltibuono Selections, where they buy grapes and produce wines. This line makes 600,000 bottles a year. You can find their information on the wine here. They produced 270,000 bottles of it, it is made of sangiovese and canaiolo grapes and the wine had 12.5% ABV. For Ann Arborites: I bought that wine at Plum Market and paid $11, which is too much, I’d say.

The wine poured in a lighter shade ruby red. The nose was really pretty: intense cherry and raspberry aromas, distinctly jammy. I had not had such a nice nose in a red wine in a bit. On the palate, the wine felt velvety and was light to medium bodied. It was fruity upfront with quite some acidity. From there, it went a bit downhill. The middle section of the taste was alright, but the finish was short and abrupt, and there was not much staying on in taste except for slight bitter notes and acidity. We had it with a classic ragù pasta, but it also did not work overly well with that.

I decided to give the wine some time. After ninety minutes, the wine had mellowed out a bit. The finish now showed eucalypti and licorice. The acidity was still too prominent for my taste, but the aromas came around. When I had some of it the following night, the acidity was no real problem anymore and the wine still showed some nice red fruit, but was overall done.

All in all: It is not what I knew from their standard line up, which is definitely above this one in quality. The acidity made me less likely to buy another bottle of this wine, because it did throw the wine off balance. If you end up buying it (or already have and now want to find out more about the wine) I recommend decanting it. If you ever get a chance, go visit the place. It is gorgeous. And try the chianti riserva.

Bottom label

Bottom label

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2010 Babble Mendocino County Red

2010 Babble Mendocino County Red Blend

2010 Babble Mendocino County Red Blend

Let me say this right away after those frustrating last couple wine reviews: I was quite happy with this one, so my bad luck streak is broken!

A while back, my fellow blogger Talk-A-Vino posted a short review about this wine I had seen a couple of times at Trader Joe’s but never bought it. I guess the label was a bit wacky for me…thanks to Talk-A-Vino, I decided to give it a try. Here is what he had to say about the wine’s 2008 bottle:

2008 Babble Mendocino County Red Wine (13.7% ABV, $6.99) – blend of 36% Petite Syrah, 26% Syrah, 17% Merlot, 10% Carignane, 10% Grenache and 1% Malbec. Deep purple color, hint of blackberries on the nose, touch of oak, some cherries and a bit of spice box on the palate, very gentle tannins, good acidity. Paired very well with TJ’s Pulled Beef Brisket in smoky BBQ sauce. The text on the label is priceless and somewhat nicely mocking all the “over-sophisticated” wine reviews. Drinkability: 7+.

Obviously, we did not have the same vintage to try, but I was quite satisfied with the 2010. The wine still costs $6.99 at Trader Joe’s. According to Trader Joe’s website it is a blend of “Petit Sirah, Syrah, Merlot, Carignane, and Grenache, with just a touch of Malbec” which confirms what Talk-A-Vino had assembled in information. According to TJ, it is aged for 24 months in French and American oak barrels.

The wine we poured was of medium dark ruby red color. In the nose I got red fruits, some marzipan (almond), and a slightly salty smell. It was light bodied and silky, with cherry and chocolate notes, low tannins and a nice pepper note paired with good acidity. I thought it was very drinkable and fun. The pizza I had with it brought out more pepper and vegetal notes in the wine.

As the price suggests, this is not a special occasion wine but I think it is a decent, uncomplicated everyday wine that also should go well with a host of different foods. And, as Talk-A-Vino says, the label is priceless.

Thanks for pointing this one out, Anatoli!

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Sunday Read: Wine Myths That Need Shattering

The wine columnist Matt Kramer posted an excellent blog post over on the Wine Spectator earlier in December that I just stumbled upon. In it, he rails against three wine myths. He probably could have found many more such myths, but I like that he took the time to go into more detail for the three he chose:

1) Wine needs “structure”, aka tannins to age well.

2) More expensive wine is better wine.

3) Wine needs to be stored in 70%+ humidity.

None of them are really earth-shattering news, but they do persist so it is nice to have a deeper look at them.

Have a great Sunday!

Wine Spectator: Wine Myths That Need Shattering

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