March 2013

March 2013                                             The Oconee Wine Club

Spring is finally in the air!  The time changes soon, so don’t forget to Spring forward.  This month I chose two wines from one of my favorite European countries, Italy!  The red, Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2009, is from the Veronese  area of Italy.  For centuries, the Allegrini family has defined winemaking in the Valpolicella area north of Verona, while continually engaging in their tireless pursuit of perfection. Today, they operate one of the most highly acclaimed Italian estate wineries, renowned in particular for their exceptional Amarone production. As one of the first families to develop several cru vineyards, including the famed La Poja dedicated to 100% Corvina, they continue to demonstrate a respect and devotion to Valpolicella wines paired with a modern sensibility. Years of research and experimentation are evident in every aspect of Allegrini’s wines, from the meticulous vineyards and cellars to the innovative grape-drying process; everything is done with the objective of enhancing and perfecting the intrinsic quality of their wines. While demonstrating the same quest for perfection, the winemaking style focuses on emphasizing local grapes and crafting enticing wines that consistently showcase elegance, intensity, concentration and complexity.

Franco Allegrini became Allegrini’s winemaker in 1983, assuming his father Giovanni’s responsibilities shortly after his death. Franco had worked closely with Giovanni for many years, acquiring both his father’s skill and passion for fine wine. Relying on his rock-solid intuition, Franco was responsible for a revolution of sorts in traditional Valpolicella winemaking, pioneering several fundamental innovations including the introduction of barriques, reducing the aging period to maintain a lively fruitiness in the flavors and aromas, modifying the well-known Ripasso technique and the drying process, with the creation a modern drying center called Terre di Fumane that today stands as a benchmark for the Valpolicella region.

Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT 2009  $19.99

89 Rating by Wine Spectator, “Flavors of blackberry, candied black currant and kirsch mix with hints of pomegranate, violet and balsamic in this open-knit, creamy red. Medium-bodied, with a lightly juicy finish. Drink now through 2017. 18,300 cases made”

This blend of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Sangiovese is a smooth, fullbodied cru made in an innovative ripasso style. After the harvest, the grapes from the Palazzo della Torre vineyard follow two different paths: 70% of the grapes picked are vinified immediately, and the remaining 30% are left to dry until the end of December. The fresh wine made at harvest is blended with the fermenting juice of the dried grapes, initiating a second fermentation, and rendering a more highly concentrated and complex wine. Allegrini affectionately refers to Palazzo della Torre as its “baby Amarone.”

Banfi Le Rime Pinot Grigio 2011  87 “Best Buy” from Wine Spectator $ 9.99
Exclusive use of free-run juice to avoid colour extraction from the skins. The temperature-controlled fermentation (15-16°C) is followed by a short storage in stainless steel tanks and, finally, by an early bottling to capture varietal freshness.  Colour: straw yellow with fresh green reflections. Bouquet: fruity, fragrant and harmonious.  Taste: fresh, floral, full and appropriately acidic.  Enjoy as an aperitif or charming complement to antipasto, pasta and light meals.

Connoisseur’s Club

Saintsbury 2010 unfiltered Carneros Chardonnay $ 24.99

92 Rating Wine Enthusiast, “There’s a bit of oak here, but not too much, giving a smoky, buttered toast richness to the orange, lime and pineapple fruit. It’s a rich, flashy Chardonnay, with crisp acidity and a clean, spicy finish.”

Powers Champoux Vineyard Reserve Cabernet 2009  $ 29.99

Past vintages have rated 90-93 by Parker!

From it’s inaugural release in 1992, Powers Winery has remained committed to crafting concentrated, structured and age-worthy wines, while practicing and innovating environmental, community and fiscal sustainability.

This shared view of integrated stewardship led to our partnership in 1996 with Paul Champoux and four other wineries to purchase Mercer Ranch Vineyard and form Champoux Vineyards, LLC. Under the management of Paul Champoux, the estate has become one of Washington’s premiere vineyards, boasting some of the state’s oldest root stock, planted in 1972. Champoux Vineyards forms the core of Powers’ Cabernet Sauvignon program.

Whether a single vineyard Reserve or a unique blend of diverse fruit, Powers wines have always been priced to provide exceptional value to consumers. Over the past 17 years the winery has continued to increase production and our wines are now available throughout the United States, select Canadian Provinces, many European countries, and some parts of the Pacific Rim.

Rich, layered and decadent aromatics of cherries, pine needles and forest floor. These brooding scents are woven with dark red cassis and granite in mouth-filling richness. This wine is dense and wild with layers of rich anise and pine. Not for the faint of heart, this is complex wine will compliment intensely flavored foods and is sure to gracefully age for many years to come.