Now Cork & Flame

Mediterranean Tasting Seminar-Vineyard-June 19


We started up our sit-down type of tastings this season with a bang. Artie Macon, of Opici Wines, was our guide for an evening of Mediterranean wines as 22 tasters here at the Vineyard visited Spain, France, Italy and Hungary.

One of the surprises of the evening was how well the Hungarian Sauska Cuvee 13 was received. A well-balanced blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that lends itself to a fine meal or just by itself. I can see this wine being added to someone’s “everyday wine” list.

The wines were grouped by region rather than by varietal in this tasting. That meant a pattern of white, red, white, red with some rosé throw in. While some purists might not like following a white with a red in this tasting it made sense. Especially when it came to the Collegiata Frascati Superiore. Frascati, which Macon says is the “great white wine of Rome,” has body and richness that a grape like Chardonnay lacks. “This is a great summer sipper but it goes well with poached fish and shellfish.”

One taster added that this white has many of the characteristics of a red wine.

“Frascati”, he adds, “doesn’t get its due. This is a great wine to sip after having an awful day.”

With that comment he said, “being such a meaty white this wine is the perfect precursor to the [last] wine” of the evening, the Viberti Buon Padre Barolo.
“If you don’t like the Barolo— I have nothing to say to you,” he said with a laugh. This wine was originally produced by the Viberti family for their restaurant for 5 generations. “They only make 7,200 bottles for the World.”

This is a very nice red that has dark fruit flavors that remain with the long lingering finish. The hint of spices and touch of bitterness would pair nicely with rich foods. This would be a nice food wine.

Macon concluded the evening by saying “I hope you had fun tonight and if you didn’t it was still better than going to the movies.” On this night, I don’t think anyone didn’t. A nice trip through the Mediterranean.

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Here are the wines Artie presented (click to see more):

  1. Albet i Noya Cava Brut Reserva
  2. Domain Philippe Portier Cuvee des Victoires Quincy
  3. Chateau Beaulieu Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
  4. Chateau St. Didier-Parnac Cahors AOC
  5. Sauska Villanyi Rosé
  6. Sauska Cuvee 13
  7. Albet i Noya Xarel-lo
  8. Mas Igneus Barranc dels Closos Negra
  9. Collegiata Frascati Superiore Doc
  10. Viberti Buon Padre Barolo DOCG

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Albet i Noya Cava Brut Reserva
Located in the Costers de l’Ordal region in northeastern Spain, this Cava is produced from a total of 15 hectares of the Can Vendrell, Fondos and La Guixera vineyards. Nearly 95% of all Cava production occurs in this area. Albet i Noya practices organic and biodynamic viticulture, but only the Can Vendrell vineyard is certified organic by the organization: CCPAE.
It is a nicely balanced sparkling wine. It is light and elegant with nutty and buttery flavors. Excellent body and small bubbles tantalize the palate through the long finish.–From the Opici Website
From: Penedes, Spain
Winery: Albet i Noya
Cost: $19.99
Grapes: 25% Chardonnay, 25% Macabeo, 25% Parellada, 25% Xarel-loGoes with: Enjoy as an aperitif, either alone or paired with light, cold tapas. Also excellent with shellfish entrees.

Domain Philippe Portier Cuvee des Victoires Quincy
Produced from the Cuvée des Victoires parcel — for which it is named — this Quincy is a single-vineyard wine. The juice is fermented and aged on its lees in stainless steel tanks to produce an elegant, well-balanced white wine with intense aromatics of spring florals and citrus fruits. –From the Opici Website
From: Loire, France
Winery: Domain Philippe Portier
Cost: $18.99
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon BlancGoes with: Enjoy this wine in its youth as an aperitif or paired with seafood — particularly shellfish — or white meat entrées.

Chateau Beaulieu Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
Rosé is the specialty of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. Each grape variety of this Rosé is vinified separately in stainless steel tanks to preserve its natural character and is aged two to three months before blending. The wine’s subtle, yet expressive bouquet is met with crisp red fruit flavors. –From the Opici Website
From: Provence, France
Winery: Chateau Beaulieu
Cost: $12.99
Grapes: 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Cabernet SauvignonGoes with: Château Beaulieu Rosé is ideal as an aperitif and pairs well with grilled fish and crustaceans, as well as fruit-based desserts. Serve slightly chilled.

Chateau St. Didier-Parnac Cahors AOC
The dominant grape of this blend is Malbec, which is the predominant varietal of the Cahors region in southwest France. Fermented in stainless steel, this full-bodied wine is robust and boasts complex aromas. –From the Opici Website
From: Bordeaux, France
Winery: Chateau St. Didier-Parnac
Cost: $15.99
Grapes: 80% Malbec, 15% Merlot, 5% TannatGoes with: Château St. Didier-Parnac Cahors is an ideal complement to duck and pheasant.

Sauska Villanyi Rosé
35% Blaufrankisch, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 7% Pinot Noir
A vibrant and fresh wine that harmoniously combines gentle acidity and lush fruit flavors of sweet strawberry at the core. –From the Opici Website
From: Villány, Hungary
Winery: Sauska
Cost: $14.99
Goes with: The perfect warm weather wine that pairs excellently with seafood and barbecue. Also tempers spicy foods well as it cleans and refreshes the palate.

Sauska Cuvee 13
Each blend is numbered using a prime number, meaning that it is only divisible by one and itself. This represents the uniqueness of Sauska’s wines. The lower the number, the higher the quality. Fresh ground pepper notes are followed by black currant and ripe plum aromas. Lush fruit floods the palate, perfectly balanced by serious tannins. A great wine for simple, every day fare.–From the Opici Website
From: Villány, Hungary
Winery: Sauska
Cost: $21.99
Grapes: 45% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot
Albet i Noya Xarel-lo
Albet i Noya practices both organic and biodynamic viticulture. Their wines are certified organic by the Spanish organization CCPAE.
It has fresh peach aromas abound on the nose. They are accented by notes of orange peel. Well-balanced with great acidity and minerals.
–From the Opici Website
From: Penedes, Spain
Winery: Albet i Noya
Cost: $12.99
Grapes: 100% Xarel-loGoes with: This refreshing white wine pairs well with a wide variety of cuisine, including vegetables, light pasta dishes and seafood.

Mas Igneus Barranc dels Closos Negra
The vineyards are located near a gorge, or barranc in the Catalan language. It has aromas of licorice and sweet red berries fill the nose. Lush in style, this is medium- to full-bodied in style.–From the Opici Website
From: Priorat, Spain
Winery: Mas Igneus
Cost: $21.99
Grapes: 80% Garnatxa Negra, 20% CarinyenaGoes with: Pairs well with cream-based pasta dishes.

Collegiata Frascati Superiore Doc
Collegiata Frascati is vinified in the hills overlooking the city of Rome. The grapes are harvested in late August to early September. The must is cooled and fermentation takes place under temperature controlled conditions. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks until it is bottled and released in the spring following the vintage.
The wine has a brilliant, pale straw hue with greenish glints. The taste is crisp, dry, and delicate with a clean finish. It is best enjoyed chilled and young.–From the Opici Website
From: Lazio, Italy
Winery: Collegiata
Cost: $8.99
Grapes: 65% Malvasia Bianca, 30% Trebbiano, 5% GarganegaGoes with: Frascati is the quintessential dry white wine. It is perfect with Pasta alla Matriciana, Fettucine al Burro or Alfredo, and Saltimbocca alla Romagna.

Viberti Buon Padre Barolo DOCG
Buon Padre, meaning “good father,” is named after the well-known restaurant owned by the Viberti family. This wine was created in 1923 to have something to serve to guests that would stand up to the rich cuisine of Piemonte. Produced from a total of 5 hectares of estate-owned vineyards located throughout the village of Barolo, including Bricco delle Viole, San Pietro, La Volta, San Ponzio, and Bricco di Vergne.
An elegant and complex bouquet rich in spices, strawberries, and wild flowers with notes of dried fruit. Full-bodied in flavor with pleasant bitter hints, dry tannins and a lengthy finish.–From the Opici Website
From: Piedmont, Italy
Winery: Viberti
Cost: $56.99
Grapes: 100% NebbioloGoes with: Pairs well with game, beef and seasoned cold cuts.

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