Just some tasting notes today. Work continues to be crazy, but I had these two quite different wines lately and wanted to share my impressions…with fall approaching, we’re all looking for soothing reds, right?
The first was the 2010 Bartenura Rosso di Montalcino DOC. Rosso di Montalcino, the little brother of Tuscany’s famed Brunello di Montalcino, can be an affordable and good choice if you are longing for some Italian earthiness in a younger wine. Made from 100% Sangiovese (like Brunello) and grown in the same area, the main difference is that a Rosso only needs to spend six months in oak (compared to two years for Brunello) and one year of total ageing before release.
Bartenura is a big, Italian-wide producer mostly known for its Moscato in a blue bottle (which I was not aware of when I picked up the bottle…) and its current website does not list the Rosso di Montalcino. We bought the bottle at Costco where it retailed for $12, which is definitely on the lower end for a Rosso di Montalcino.
In the glass, the wine showed a lighter red color. The nose was full of pecan pie, slightly burnt cookies, blackberry, cherry and unidentifiable vegetables. That left quite the impression! On the palate, the wine was weirdly bubbly (which was not noticeable when looking at the glass), with initially strong acidity. There were some earthy and cherry pie aromas, but in the middle it showed surprising bitter aromas. The finish was so, so. I don’t know. Something seemed off balance with the wine. The acidity was too strong for me. There were moments that were better, but overall I don’t think I will buy this again…
The second wine we had was a 2005 Coume del Mas Collioure Quadratur from Languedoc-Roussillon in France. I bought this wine during a blow out sale on Last Bottle Wines mostly because of its logo. I loved that! The price was right ($12). According to the wine guide Gault Millaut it retailed for 24 euros (over $30) when they reviewed it.
The winery is the opposite of Bartenura, owning a mere 8 hectares planted with red vines, 11 hectares in total. I was looking forward to trying this aged mix of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan.
In the glass, I found a very dark red wine, with hints of rust on the sides. The nose was perfumy with raspberry and blackberry aromas. Nina noticed butter and cookie aromas as well. On the palate, I got jammy berry aromas to begin with which soon gave way to tobacco and wood, with vanilla interspersed. The wine had decent acidity and the tannins seemed nicely integrated. The finish was a bit short and thinnish for me. I think this wine might be on its way out. It is still good, especially the beginning and mid-palate with its earthiness and rounded aromas. But the finish just wasn’t up to par. If you have a bottle, you might want to start drinking it soon…
Have not heard of the Bartenura Rosso. It is not listed by the Consorzio in Montalcino as a producer. Did it have the DOC band on the neck of the bottle.
The other thing is that I thought Rosso di Montalcino does not need to be aged in oak according to the regulations. I have seen some DOC Rosso in the past that have been aged solely in stainless steel.
Thank you for your comment! The Bartenura did in fact have the DOC band around the neck. Interesting to hear they are not listed as a producer…
I wasn’t aware that there is no requirement for oak in the ageing process…one would think that that changes the wines significantly!
As always you came up with very nice reviews of two wines that exemplify (going back to a previous discussion) that not all wine is a work of art ;-)
And yeah, fizziness and bitter flavors are not something desirable in a RdM… I agree with Julian: there are better options out there for a decent Rosso. Sorry that it turned out to be not a very pleasant experience, my friend.
Oh, not worries. At that price point, I just had to try it. I usually go with the Banfi Rosso whenever I find it, haven’t seen many others lately…
Now, that’s a much better option! :-)
I was longing for your approval and am glad I got it…;) I miss you, man.
You always have my unconditional approval, my friend! :-) You two should come over and visit, seriously!
Awwww, don’t get yourself in trouble. These unconditional approvals haven’t served Europe, and Germany in particular, very well…;)
I know, we should…let’s make Germany happen first. :D
Well, I meant it in a slightly more lighthearted way! ;-)
Yes, I am very focused on making Germany happen, even more so after I read your email! :-)
:D Just slightly more lighthearted…you’re cracking me up.
:D Just slightly more lighthearted…you’re cracking me up.
I don’t really like any of the wines from Bartenura. In my opinion they are mass-produced, low quality wines..
As a rule of thumb, most “good” Rosso di Montalcino age at least 12 months in oak.
Thanks for that info, Julian! I wasn’t even aware of Bartenura when I bought the wine. I just saw it was a Rosso di Montalcino so I wanted to give it a try.
So you’re saying there are producers that exceed the minimum requirements of oak ageing? Do you know which ones?
Yes 6 months is just the minimum time that a Rosso di Montalcino has to age in oak. If I’m not mistaken then a few years ago the minimum time of oak aging was lowered from 12 months to 6. It’s much cheaper to produce a wine that only has to do 6 months in oak.
The Rosso di Montalcino from Tenute Loacker ages 14 months in French oak.
The Rosso di Montalcino form Biondi-Santi ages 12 months in French oak.
The Rosso di Montalcino from Tenuta Silvio Nardi ages 12 months in oak.
The Rosso di Montalcino from Castello Banfi ages 10-12 months in oak.
Just to name a few :) I’m sure there are more out there but I’d have to look them up.
Thanks so much!! This is great to know!!
Oh, and just for the record: I didn’t find any info on the Bartenura so the 6 months I state are the general rules, not necessarily what Bartenura does.
I tend to agree with the previous comments about fermentation or turned wine. BTW love your “soothing red” descriptor, it is spot on. I admit it, I am soothed by wine.
Also; “pecan pie, slightly burnt cookies” ?? “cherry pie” ? “butter and cookie aromas” ?? I think your bodies are telling you something…. go to a bakery! LOL
Seriously though I was not aware Bartenura had reds. Their Moscato [which is certified Kosher by the way] sells itself of our shelf and their Pinot Grigio does okay too.
Thanks, Ernest for that info! I might have to pick up another bottle after all (if I can find it again at Costco).
Yeah, it was funny when I was writing up these two wines I realized that there was a lot of baking aromas around…made me wonder whether Nina had baked something when we tried them. But we had them on different days and don’t do much baking in the house anyway…
A couple of things–do you think there was maybe a flaw in the first bottle? Secondary fermentation perhaps? And second–you bought a wine based on the label?!? You have been in this country for far too long, my friend–you’re starting to act, um, American!!!
Oh, I am an unashamed and unabashed label buyer…I admit it. :)
I was thinking of secondary fermentation, but the only real indicator would have been that fizziness. Would that be enough to say it is?
Nice reviews of a couple sub-par wines. I like a nice Rosso with week night pasta but I’ll pass on that one unless I see other reviews that lead me to the conclusion you just had a bad bottle.
Yeah, that one just didn’t cut it. There is also no 2011 of that wine available from Bartenura…I’m with you in liking a decent Rosso.
The 2005 was ok, probably nicer last year.