TRIPLE THREAT: THREE DELECTABLE REDS
Three new reds liven things up this weekend, beginning with a French gamay- but not from Beaujolais, instead from the diminutive region of Côte Roannaise in the Loire! Then it's on to a luxuriously intense Rioja from one of the region's top producers. Finally, we detour off the beaten path to Liguria, on the Italian-French border, to feature a relatively obscure grape, rossese. Little known outside the Alps, it's been prized since Greek times, and even enjoyed by Napoleon. Come taste what the excitement is about!
Vincent Giraudon "Tentation" Côte Roannaise 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: CÔTES ROANNAISE / Varietal(s): GAMAY --- Sometimes called the 11th Cru of Beaujolais, the Côte Roannaise is actually one of the southernmost appellations of the Loire. Still, comparisons abound, with the vineyards of Beaujolais running parallel 100 km to the east, and gamay the red grape varietal of both regions. In size, though, Côte Roannaise is miniscule, barely 220 hectares with its vineyards situated in the foothills of the Monts de la Madeleine to the west of the Roanne. One of the youngest winemakers in the Côte Roannaise, Vincent Giraudon is already an acclaimed producer in an area with a tradition of winemaking dating back to the 8th century. “Tentation” is a beautiful gamay, medium plum in color, with seductive soft spice and black currant notes. Medium bodied, its enticing acidity, ripe red berry flavors and soft tannins invite you to sip this with quinoa-stuffed eggplant, or try it with roast chicken.
Bodegas Olarra "Laztana" Rioja DOCa Reserva 2010
Country: SPAIN / Region: RIOJA / Appellation: RIOJA DOCA / Varietal(s): TEMPRANILLO+GARNACHA+GRACIANO --- Bodegas Olarra is world renowned as a top producer of the Rioja region, thanks to their extreme attention to detail throughout the winemaking process, and their careful balancing of cutting edge technology with traditional winemaking methods of Rioja. Established in 1973, Bodegas Olarra is located just outside the city of Logroño in the heart of Rioja, within the celebrated Rioja Alta area.The unique beauty of the winery’s buildings have led to its nickname as “The Cathedral of Rioja,” with the architectural feature of 111 hexagonal domes in a Y-shaped layout. Oak aged for 18 months, the Laztana Reserva is sumptuous, intense, and balanced. It displays enticing notes of dark cherry, berries, spice, and tobacco on the nose, followed with elements of vanilla and cedar on the palate. A wonderfully concentrated, velvety finish displays complex tones of red cherry fruit, woody herbs, leather, and licorice. Perfect for those raw late-winter/early-spring days, pour this with black bean and sweet potato stew.
Maixei "Barbadirame" Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC Superiore 2013
Country: ITALY / Region: LIGURIA / Appellation: ROSSESE DI DOLCEACQUA DOC / Varietal(s): ROSSESE --- Rossese di Dolceacqua, although rather obscure and often overlooked, is arguably the finest red wine made in Liguria, in northwestern Italy, near the French border. The rossese grape variety is rarely encountered outside of the Mediterranean Alps, making this an off-the-beaten-track treat! Recorded history of the rossese grape dates back to the ancient Greeks or to the earlier Etruscans, and Napoleon, as a guest of the Marchesa Doria, imbibed rossese at the end of the 18th century. Dolceacqua is five miles inland from the Italian Riviera, nestled in one of the many valleys between the alpine foothills. At Maixei, vines are tended by hand by the growers of the cooperative, due in part to the steep slopes where the vineyards are located, and minimal intervention is used throughout the winemaking process. Fermented in stainless steel, ageing and malolactic fermentation take place in second-use barriques, and after bottling the wine is held until November of the following year. Named in tribute to an eminent artist from Dolceacqua – Mario Raimondo, known as “Barbadirame”, this wine is ruby red in color, with aromas of wild strawberry, rose petals, and violets which give way to a mellow, full-bodied, velvety presence on the palate. Lip-smacking acidity and faint notes of licorice and crushed herbs on the finish make this a delight to drink with food. Try it with lentil soup with smoked ham hock, mature cheeses, or pizza margherita.