Tag Archives: Melini

2005 Melini Vigneti La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva

2005 Melini La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva

2005 Melini La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva

Sometimes, you luck out in liquor stores. And sometimes you don’t. But I have learned that it is worth trying it out. And with this find, the 2005 Melini Vigneti La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva, I definitely lucked out. According to Wine Searcher, the wine retails for $25 and up. I found this lone bottle on the sales shelf for $12. There is always a good chance that an older vintage wine sold in a liquor store (instead of a professional wine store) has gone bad because of poor storage conditions etc. But it is sometimes worth a try, and it all depends on what discount the store is giving you.

Some of you know that I have made Melini’s 2010 Chianti Borghi d’Elsa my go to, everyday Chianti. It is nicely affordable and delivers refreshing, light wines. When bought in the magnum bottle, which are available at Costco, it is hard to beat price wise for a good dinner companion.

Cantine Melini is a big Italian wine producer. The winery was established in 1705 and today covers over 550 hectares of land in Chianti and Chianti Classico. The vineyards reportedly cover 136 hectares divided in 5 farms. While the Borghi d’Elsa is an everyday wine, La Selvanella is on the other end of Melini’s spectrum: It is their top notch wine which has garnered attention by Italy’s leading wine guide, the Gambero Rosso (the 2006 La Selvanella got the coveted 3 glass rating). This vintage received 2 glasses in Gambero Rosso and 4 grapes in the Duemilavini guide. The 2005 vintage was rather difficult as far as the weather was concerned (lots of rain and low temperatures from June to August), but the grapes are said to have ripened enough. The wine is made with 100% Sangiovese grosso grapes which come from 49 hectares around Radda in Chianti, one of the top villages in Chianti. The grapes were harvested in October and after 20 days of maceration it ripened 30 months in French oak. It has 13.2% ABV and the winery gives it 10 to 12 years of ageing potential. (All this information can be found on the winery’s website)

We decanted the wine for about an hour. It poured as a darker red wine with very slight browning on the edges. In the nose, I got raisins, lots of plum and some sweetness as well as herbal aromas. The medium bodied wine showed mostly plums and prunes on the palate, with good acidity and medium tannins which were nicely round. There was some spice going on and it had a medium length finish. The wine was still very, very fresh, which surprised me. It is by far not nearing its end yet.

I really enjoyed this wine. At the price I bought it, it was a steal. It also paired great with the Pecorino Toscano (a young Pecorino with delicate flavors that has none of the ripened Pecorino’s saltiness which I don’t enjoy much) I was able to secure in San Antonio and awesome different, thinly sliced bacons from my favorite sausage maker in town, Biercamp (which is right around the corner). It transported me right back into Tuscany, on a warm fall day afternoon, sitting outside, munching on Pecorino Toscano, prosciutto and panini and having a glass of wine…there is no better compliment I can make a wine.

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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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2010 Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa DOCG

2010 Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa DOCG

Besides the rather chilly temperatures in the morning, how do I know fall is creeping in? Because we start going through our red wine bottles that accumulated over the summer: gifts, the random buy, you name it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my rieslings and summer whites, and I will miss them dearly, but there is something about reds, calming and soothing.

Cantine Melini is a big Italian wine producer. Their top notch wines have garnered attention by Italy’s leading wine guide, the Gambero Rosso (e.g. the 2006 Chianti Classico Riserva La Selvanella got the coveted 3 glass rating). The winery was established in 1705 and today covers over 550 hectares of land in chianti and chianti classico. The vineyards reportedly cover 136 hectares divided in 5 farms. According to Snooth, the wine was produced with Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes and was aged for 6 months in large oak barrels as well as stainless steel casks.

I have always had a weak spot for chianti, mainly because the wines are tend to be distinctly different from brunello and vino nobile (which I both love), in that it seems lighter. I am not very familiar with the Northern Italian reds, and because I pretty much spent all my childhood summers in central Italy, that region is just closer to me emotionally. So these are my lighter Italian go to reds.

There are tons of reviews out on this one, because it is also a steal: the wine retails from $5.50 in the United States. So go and compare with my notes, if you care. We received the bottle as a gift from friends. The alcohol content is a moderate 12.5% ABV.

The wine poured red as blood with a silky viscosity. On the nose I got mostly floral notes (I noticed lavender), it is quite perfumy. Then I noticed strawberry jam, slight oak notes and a hint of soap. On the palate the wine was medium bodied with sour cherry, raspberry. I still got lavender and slight oaky smoke. The wine was a tad too astringent for my taste, but it had a nice level of tannins with a short finish. The acidity made the wine seem a bit off balance. However, this was a solid chianti, I think, especially given the price tag. It paired nicely with my pizza.

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