Cruase – Italian sparkling rose, yes, I said rose, wine

It’s Italian week here on the Winesleuth. Yes, more stories and wine finds from my recent trip through Lombardy in Northern Italy. I like rosés and like sparkling rosés even more. Italy’s not really known for their rosés, let alone sparkling rosés but that’s all about to change thanks to the Oltrepò Pavese consortium. Oltrepò Pavese is located in the region of Pavia, Lombardy on the 45th parallel, the same as the region of Burgundy and like Burgundy, the region has historically grown pinot noir or pinot nero, as they call it in Italy. The Consortio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese has taken as it’s mission to produce naturally sparkling rosé wines from the region and launch them onto the world. Cruasé is their sparkling rose, the name being a hybrid of the words cru and rosé. In an interesting twist, while researching the history of the region, it was discovered that in the 17th century, cruà was the name given to vines and the wines that were produced in the region. Cruasé is made in the  traditional method and have a minimum of 85% pinot nero with the remainder being made up of the local varieties. It’s a DOCG wine which means that there is are strict rules and regulations regarding the production of the wine before it can be labeled and  sold as Cruasé. I was quite delighted to be offered a glass of sparkling rosé as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, straight off the plane. We tried Cruasés from various producers and I found most of them to be clean and fresh but not terribly exciting. The reservas, however, now there was something to get excited about. Aged 24 months on the lees, these were the ones that I liked best but you know, I always go for the oldies. The wine was showing very nicely, candied red fruits on the nose and palate with that familiar aroma of a bakery on a early Saturday morning hovering above the glass....

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dal Pescatore with the wines of Lugana DOC, Italy

Driving through the Italian countryside I was beginning to feel a bit peckish. I mean I hadn’t eaten in, like, the last 15 minutes so I was due for some lunch. Such was our timetable on my recent press jaunt to region of Lombardia in Italy with Gambero Rosso. I’m not complaining at all, it was a fantastic trip, we sampled some excellent cuisine and discovered (well, I did anyway) a new and exciting wine producing region, but it was a lot to take in in 5 days. One of the highlights was lunch at dal Pescatore paired with the wines of Lugana DOC, one of the lesser known appellations but one that should not be overlooked. It’s amazing the variety and quality of wines that are made in Italy. It’s a country with over a thousand different wine varieties so it’s no wonder I had never really come across the wines of Lugana. Situated quite close to the southern shores of Lake Garda, the area specializes in producing white wine made from the Turbiana  or Trebbiano di Lugana grape, as it is known there. The soils are mostly clay and produces wines that are dry and delicate but also quite lively, aromatic and well balanced. There are two types of wine that come for the region. Lugana DOC anad Lugana Superiore DOC. The Superiore is made from selected grapes and is aged for a year in oak. This makes it a much fuller wine then the Lugana DOC with more structure and spicer, riper fruit flavours and aromas. By law, producers can use up to 10% of grapes from other regions but they cannot be aromatic varietals. We were literally in the middle of nowhere, heading to dal Pescatore, a legendary restaurant of Mantua to sample their wares matched with the wines of Lugana. You definitely have to know how to get to dal Pescatore as it’s situated in a nature reserve, the Oglio Sud park, on a country road in a village...

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Can’t touch this….La Tunella Friulano

Don’tcha just hate when you go away on holiday discover this great wine and then when you get back home, find out that it’s not available in your home county? Well, now you know how I feel after a recent tasting I had with Giovanna Borreri of La Tunella and  their importer Corney&Barrow at Tsuru sushi in Bishopsgate. La Tunella was the name and white wines were primarily the game that afternoon. La Tunella is a family owned winery situated in the north of Italy, Colli Orientali del Friuli to be exact. Friuli is known for the exceptionally mineral laden and elegant white wines they produce. The region is divided into 8 D.O.C.’s with a very distinct terroir of sandstone and marl and a favourable and unique microclimate which shields the grapes from the Alpine winds coming down from the north while still allowing the warm breezes of the Adriatic to waft up and warm the grapes. La Tunella take their terroir seriously and even brought along a small box of the flat rocks that make up the terrain. La Tunella really does rock! We got down to tasting and matching the wines with the sushi and curry. The 2008 pinot grigio while at first, a good specimen of what pinot grigio should be, really woke up in the mouth when combined with the sushi. It was a great food wine,crunchy minerality and balance of fruit with an bright lemon-lime finish. All too often pinot grigio is an insipid, pallid, glass of lemon water but here was a pinot grigio that was worth the £10 asking price. The 2008 Friulano however, was the wine that we all raved about. Friulano used to be called Tokay Friulano but the Hungarians took issue with the use of the word tokay and in 2007, the Italians were forced to drop the tokay part of the name. No matter, it is still a fantastic wine and Friulano refers not only to the grape but also the land and...

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Tenute Rubino Negroamaro ’06

Over the holiday season, I managed to drink up a few everyday wines but didn’t really get around to blogging about them. Now however, I’ve got plenty of time on my hands so here’s one of my favourites from December. First up, a lovely, juicy negroamaro from Puglia, Italy, the Tenute Rubino Negroamaro ’06. Italian wines are underrated in my book, well the lesser known grapes anyway such as this lovely negroamaro (translation: bitter black) from Southern Italy. The southern Salento peninsula is where most negoramaro comes from and this is one fine example from one of the most modern wineries there, Tenute Rubino.   This wine was lip-smackingly good. At first I detected  black cherry but then a savoury character crept in followed by notes of black pepper, almost dusty.  On the palate, dark chocolate with a nice tannic structure, lively acidity, loads of black cherry. It was great with pasta and the fresh tomato, avocado, buffalo mozzarealla salad I had thrown together.   The black cherry fruit really came out with the food, a lovely finish. The acidity of the wine cleared the palate – nice dark chocolate finish with hints of black pepper. I thought this red was a great food wine, fresh and lively.  I couldn’t get enough of the nose – after about half an hour brambly dried herbs, violets, and fresh black cherries started to emerge from the glass. At £7.99 it might not be exactly budget but there are some things you really shouldn’t scrimp on, don’t you think? Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Prosecco in a can – The video

Well, the Winesleuth has taken her very first steps into video blogging. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now and finally found a very easy site to make videos. My friend Ricard recommended Viddler and it was as easy to use as falling off a log. I found prosecco in a can (£1.69) at Lidl ( a German supermarket discounter here in the UK) the  other day and thought, “What the hell…I’ve had other wines in a can and they’ve been quite good”.  Well, click on the video to see my thoughts on this particular prosecco. [viddler id=425d6dee&w=437&h=333] Making the video was fun but I’m not going to be doing it everyday like our friend Gary V! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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