skip to Main Content
The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

I love the Piedmont region of Italy! The beautiful landscape and lovely people are added bonuses to the glorious wines found throughout the region.

My husband and I were there a few years ago, and we absolutely loved it. We tasted in many of its regions, but visiting Barolo and Barbaresco was a dream come true!

While Barolo is often considered the “King” of Piedmont’s wines, Barbaresco is its “Queen”. Both 100% Nebbiolo, Barbaresco tends to be a bit more graceful and feminine than it’s Barolo counterpart.

For dinner last night I made fresh spaghetti with marinara sauce and burrata cheese, and I was determined to open a nice Italian red with which to pair it! So I went to our cellar and found a 2012 Socré Barbaresco. I was happy with my decision.

The wine has cherry, violet and baking spices on the nose. On the palate are the cherry, cinnamon, licorice and smooth tannins. This Barbaresco is very approachable right now and is nicely balanced. It’s easy to drink and yet complex as well, and paired beautifully with the simple marinara sauce on the pasta.

My husband gave me thumbs up on dinner last night, and I give Socré a definite stamp of approval on their 2012 Barbaresco! This pairing was a match made in heaven!

To find out more about Socré, check out their website:

My New Summer Wine? Pecorino!

My New Summer Wine? Pecorino!

The warm weather is already here in Florida. Yes … already! Along with warming weather comes the dwindling days and nights remaining to enjoy sitting on my deck at home with a glass of wine. Warm temperatures also mean starting the search for some fun and different white wines to enjoy along with the deck’s view! So I headed to my favorite wine store to see what they had.

I found a bunch and I cracked one open the other night for dinner. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

Pecorino is a white grape variety from Italy. Grown for hundreds of year in the Marche region, it was slowly replaced by more “productive” grapes, particularly Trebbiano. Rediscovered in the 1980s, Pecorino has made a comeback and is producing some lovely wines.

From Abruzzo’s subregion Colline Pescaresi, the 2015 La Valentina Pecorino is very aromatic with white flowers, pineapple and Meyer lemon on the nose. On the palate is exotic rich fruit, but with such great acidity, the richness is not at all overbearing. The palate also has some green apple, lemon, great minerality and an oily texture. Plus, the light golden color makes it look very pretty in the glass!

This wine sees no oak, and the richness is undoubtedly due in part to sur-lie aging, as well as some skin contact before fermentation. What’s not to like about a full-bodied complex white wine with great acidity that makes you keep wanting another glass?

For dinner, I had made a white pizza with roasted cauliflower and spinach. The acidity of the wine cut beautifully through the richness of the Béchamel sauce on the pizza. The fruitiness of the wine complimented the mozzarella and the vegetables. The pairing was a success!

If you want to change up your white wine world, and perhaps are looking for something other than a Sauvignon Blanc, check out Pecorino. In fact, why not try the La Valentina Pecorino. I can attest to it being a really nice wine, and at below $20, it’s also a great bang for the buck.

You can find out more here:

My Favorite Red of the Day!

I attended a blind tasting yesterday with Master Sommeliers Andrew McNamara and Matt Stamp. Not only is it always very educational to taste with such knowledgeable wine pros, but it’s also a great chance to taste some nice wines!

My favorite of yesterday’s red flight was the 2010 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino.

Brunello is a clone of the well-known Sangiovese grape. Sangiovese is Italy’s most planted single grape variety. It comprises 67% of Tuscan vineyard acreage and is the main grape in 25 DOC(G)s of Tuscany. Sangiovese is an ancient grape and tends to be genetically unstable and very adaptable. Because of this, many clones exist.

Brunello is thought, by many, to be the ultimate Sangiovese clone! Grown in the beautiful region of Montalcino, the grape tends to have thicker skins and more anthocyanin (plant colorants) than other clones of Sangiovese.  Therefore, the wine tends to be richer in color and deeper in tannic structure than say, Chianti, another wine made with the Sangiovese grape. 

The 2010 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino is a dark colored wine with bright red fruit, tobacco, a touch of mint and some vanilla on the nose. The palate is wonderfully silky with great expressions of the fruit, especially tart cherry and raspberry, some spice, mouth-watering acidity and velvety tannins. The long finish of this elegant wine completes the deliciousness.

The 2010 vintage for Brunello is considered by many to be outstanding. So … if you happen to run across any of the Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, grab them and lay them down for a few years. You won’t be disappointed!

Do You Love Italy???

Lo amo l’Italia!  I love Italy!  I love the Italians!  And I love their wines!!!!!

The times I’ve visited Italy have been delightful.  It’s a spectacularly beautiful country with the nicest people and fabulous wine!!!

Shopping at my favorite wine shop in Orlando last week, I was introduced to a really fun (and not overpriced) Italian wine.  The 2012 Torre d’Orti Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso is from the Veneto region, located in northeast Italy.

What is a Ripasso wine?  It is from the Valpolicella region north of the picturesque hometown of Romeo and Juliet, Verona.  “Ripasso” is Italian for “repassed”, and it refers to the process of fermented Valpolicella wine being “repassed” over the skins and lees left over from the fermentation process of Amarone wines.   This imparts extra color, texture and flavor to the Valoplicella wine!  This process also increases the alcohol content, because a second fermentation is induced.  This produces a wine that is bigger, darker and more flavorful and complex than the original Valpolicella.   Ripasso della Volpolicella received its own DOC designation in 2009.

This 2012 Torre d’Orti Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso is a blend of three varietals, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.  The color is bright ruby red.  On the nose are dried plum, black cherry and chocolate.  The juicy palate is loaded with the black cherry and dark berries and is soft, with an almost creamy texture.

If you like big, juicy, fruity wines (for example, are you a California Zinfandel lover???) you’ll definitely enjoy this.  Check this one out!!!  I think that you’ll love it!


June 2nd was one fun night!  Our tasting group got together for an educational tasting of Franciacorta.  We normally do daytime tastings, but agreed upon an evening gathering for this tasting.  Who in their right mind wants to spit high quality bubbly????

In case you’re not familiar with Franciacorta, this is a wine area in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy.  The Terre di Franciacorta DOC represents the area’s fine still wines, while the Franciacorta DOCG represents the sparkling wines made in this region via the méthode traditionelle, which is the “traditional method” of the Champagne region of France.  In Italy this method is called Metodo Classico or Matedo Tradizional.

As you probably know there are many other famous sparkling wines made in Italy.  Prosecco, Brachetto d’Acqui, Lambrusco and Moscato D’Asti are just a few of the bubblies that are becoming huge sellers in the US.  These wines are usually made using the tank method, also known as Charmat, which is when the second fermentation takes place in a large tank rather than in the bottle.  This isn’t necessarily bad.  In fact, many winemakers believe that this is the preferred method for sparkling wines that are produced from aromatic grape varieties (such as Riesling and Moscato) because the yeast characteristic often found in Champagne can upstage these specific grapes.

Franciacorta sparkling wines, however, are produced byway of the second fermentation occurring in the bottle, as is done in the Champagne region in France.  In fact, Franciacorta is the only region in Italy that REQUIRES sparkling wine be made via the traditional method of the Champagne region, and they are widely regarded as Italy’s finest sparkling wine. The grapes used for Franciacorta are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (also called Pinot Nero), with Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) also allowed.  By law, the Non-Vintage wines of this region must be aged for at least 25 months after harvest, with at least 18 months in contact with the yeast in the bottle.  For Vintage Franciacorta these requirements change to 37 months for each.

We sampled four lovely wines that night.

The first was the Il Mosnel Brut N/V, composed of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc and 10% Pinot Noir.  This delicate Franciacorta is crisp and refreshing and was a great way to begin the night.  It has green apple and unripe pair on the nose and palate.  The mouth feel is very foaming and fun and it displays firm, small beads.  It spent 18 months sur lie and is aged another 24 months in bottle before being released.

Our second wine was a light and youthful bubbly.  The Franciacorta Brut 25 Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi is 100% Chardonnay with wonderful yeast and bread crust aromas spilling from the glass.  The color is straw yellow and has bright, fresh bubbles that tickle the palate.  The green apple and unripe pineapple kept me wanting to drink more!  Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berluchhi is owned by five brothers who are keeping their father Antonio’s wine dreams alive.  By the way, the “25” is named after the number of months it takes to get from the grape to the bottle, as mentioned above.

Next up was the 2008 Contadi Castaldi Rosè.  In Franciacorta, rosè wines must contain at least 15% Pinot Nero.  This 2008 actually has 80%, along with 20% Chardonnay.  The color is of bright copper due to the large amount of Pinot Noir.  The complex nose has strawberries and a nice floral note.  On the palate are the strawberries and some clove and the mousse is nice and creamy.  This was my favorite Franciacorta of the evening.

The final sparkling wine of the evening was the Riserva Pas Dosè Origines 2007 Lantieri de Paratico.   “Pas Dosè“ stands for “zero-dosage”.  I’ll explain!  Right before bottling a sparkling wine that is being made in the méthode traditionelle, a small amount of “dosage” is added.  Dosage is basically just a sweet wine.  How much dosage is added determines how sweet the final bubbly will be.  The initial wine (before the dosage is added) is extremely dry because all of the sugar has been converted to alcohol.  Even bubbly that ends up dry usually has dosage added to balance out the high acidity of that initial wine, and gives the final wine more body and complexity.  When no dosage whatsoever is added the sparkling wine will then be called “zero-dosage”.  Other terms are “brut nature” and “sauvage”. 

This Riserva Pas Dosè Origines 2007 Lantieri de Paratico is almost golden in color with fine and continuous bubbles streaming up the glass.  On the nose are ripe golden apple, some orange peel and a bit of spiciness.  The palate is dry, but with such a nice fruitiness and warmth that it does not have the bitter dryness of many zero-dosage sparkling wines I’ve tasted in the past.  It has a long spicy finish.

After tasting four fabulous sparkling wine from Italy’s Franciacorta region, what do you think that a group of eight sommeliers did?  We opened more wine, of course!  A fun night indeed!

The next time you’re looking for a nice bottle of sparking wine, keep Franciacorta in mind.  You won’t be disappointed!

Back To Top