Category Archives: Chianti

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 Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa and NV Segura Viudas Brut Reserva

2010 Melini Chianti and N.V. Seguras Viudas Brut Reserva

As I indicated last Thursday, we had these two magnum bottles to accompany our Thanksgiving festivities.

I have written about the Melini chianti previously, you can check out the review here. All of what I said back then held true, and the nice acidity in the wine helped with the rich sauces and dishes on our table.

We started the day (around 1pm) by popping the NV Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, a cava that we had bought at a previous Costco run. I think the bottle was $12. Cava is the Spanish equivalent of a sparkling wine. According to the producer of this particular sparkler, it is a non-vintage blend of Macabeo (50%), Parellada (35%) and Xarel-lo (15%) grapes (YAY, great for our Wine Century Club application – see more here -, three more grapes to tick off!!) and was made in the traditional method of making champagne.

I love magnum wine bottles, but I love champagne magnum bottles even more: Because of the pressure in the bottle, the glass has to be much thicker and sturdier which makes these bottles look even more humongous. Add the pop when opening a champagne bottle, and everything is in the right place. Our friends’ kids loved how the fog came out of the bottle after opening (they called it smoke), and I couldn’t wait to try the wine. One more caveat: As much as I like champagne bottles, I am not the biggest fan of sparkling wines. I drink them, I can enjoy them, but they don’t do as much for me as for others (cough, cough, thedrunkencyclist, cough).

But to this one. There was not much of a nose going on, quite low on aromas. But on the palate, this one really hit all the right notes: apple and citrus, refreshing and balanced with nice acidity. One of my biggest problems with a lot of sparkling wines is that the bubbles are offensive to me, which was not the case with this one at all. Really pleasant. It was so good that Nina opted to drink it straight, without the helping of crème de cassis that I offered her. And that says a lot, because who can resist a Kir Royal? :) But seriously, even without that “helper” this one is really good for its price. I have had champagne that cost a lot more and was not better…

We used the crème de cassis pictured below, a gift from my exchange partner in France. We go back to 7th grade, and he is like a brother to me. So I did not want to open this cassis without a proper reason. And this Thanksgiving seemed just right. In Dijon, Burgundy, where I spent my school exchanges, crème de cassis, a red currant liqueur is added to either white wine to make a Kir, or sparkling wine (usually a crémant de Bourgogne) to make Kir Royal. The result is startlingly good in either case, and has become one of my go tos when in Burgundy. It is a great aperitif, sweet and acidic, fruity and zesty. Just right. If you get a chance, pick up a bottle at your booze store and add about 1/4 or a 1/5 to your dry chardonnay or sparkling wine. Be warned: It is addictive.

Edmond Briottet Creme de Cassis

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Happy Thanksgiving!

2010 Melini Chianti and N.V. Seguras Viudas Brut Reserva

These are the two magnum bottles we’re taking to the feast. The Cava (a Spanish sparkler) will be pimped with Creme de Cassis to make Kir Royal.

This is my fifth Thanksgiving. I celebrated the first one in Louisville, KY in 2008, meeting Nina at the Chicago Airport and then heading on to my friends in the Bluegrass State. 2009 and 2010 was celebrated with our international bunch of friends in Trier, Germany at American friends’ of ours. We fried turkey both times and it is still my favorite way of preparing it. 2011, I had just arrived in AA a few days before heading to friends of ours’ here for a small Thanksgiving with them. This year, we are going to go to their house again, and some of their family will be there, too.

I have to say, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday: tons of great food, no commercialized gift giving and stuff, just focused on food and company really. I have been able to successfully incorporate a German dish into the routine by now: Red cabbage (the red cabbage is marinated in red wine vinegar and then cooked with apples, onions, cloves, cinnamon and red wine). It goes amazingly well with turkey and mashed potatoes. Nina loves it, and I always liked this savory, sweet and sour dish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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