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A Sample of 3 from Giordano Wines

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Disclosure: I received these wines as part of a free sample package from Giordano Wines. No reviews or any other considerations were promised in exchange for the samples.

I recently received a sample set of three wines from Giordano Wines.  Giordano has been producing wines in Italy since 1900. To this day, it remains a family-owned business. The wines I am reviewing are reasonably priced, the most expensive being in the $15.00 range. While they may not be a go-to wine for an event where you need to impress someone special, they are good wines for a casual dinner amongst friends or to bring to a party featuring cheeses or hors d’oeuvres.

Giordano 2012 Pinot Negroamaro — This is a fun, good value wine as long as you know what you are getting. It has jammy aromas of strawberries and cherries with hints of bananas. The wine has a bright acidity and is medium bodied with red fruit flavors. It has a jammy mouth feel, but a dry finish. It is different and enjoyable (if you don’t mind the jammy notes), particularly at this price. 3/4, Appx. $10 per bottle.

Giordano 2011 Chianti DOCG — This wine has a bouquet of violets and red fruits. It is light to medium bodied with high acidity and gentle tannis. Flavors of cranberries, cherries, and unripe strawberries dominate. Definitely on the light end of Chiantis, this would be a good match for pastas, cheeses, and lighter meat dishes. 1/2, Appx. $15 per bottle.

Giordano 2012 Soave DOC — Straw-colored wine with mellon and floral aromas. Light and refreshing with good acidity and flavors of tart citrus with light stone and mineral notes. It would be nice with light past dishes and seafoods. 1/2, Appx. $9 per bottle.

You can follow Giordano Wines on Twitter @GiordanoWinesUS.

Dinner Party: Four Lovely Reds and a Dessert Wine to Die For

As some of you know, my family has moved from the Washington, DC area to Nashville, Tennessee. While I will try to continue following Virginia wines, and will post about them when I can, the move will (hopefully) result in more posts about the Tennessee wine world and a broader range of wines generally. In fact, my first goal is to visit some of the many Nashville wine & spirit shops and recommend some of my favorites. And, of course, most of the restaurants I write about will be Nashville establishments as opposed to D.C. and Virginia eateries.

That said, I am still in the process of writing about some of my experiences in D.C. before the move. One of those was a dinner party that my wife and I threw for some of our closest friends. Moving is a wonderful excuse to drink down one’s wine stash. Given that we had a lot of red left in the basement, we decided to cook up some skirt steak and share a few of our better wines with some folks who we knew would appreciate it. Here are the wines we tasted, in the order in which we opened them. Any of these would be a treat for your dinner guests.

1999 Opus One, Napa Valley, CA — Violet color with a garnet hue, this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petite verdot had aromas of black cherries and blackberries. It had smooth and slightly bitter tannins that provided the wine a strong backbone. Dark fruits and cassis on the palate, later accompanied by a lovely smokiness. 1/4, Appx. $200 per bottle.

Castello di Brolio 2005 Chianti Classico DOCG, Chianti, Italy — Deep red/violet with aromas of leather, pepper, and cassis. This wine has a bright palate with rich tannins and a warm mouth feel. There are notes of cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries. This was lovely with the steak, but could also be appreciated on its own. 1/2, Appx. $90 per bottle.

Chateau O’Brien 2005 Limited Reserve Tannat, Virginia — Deep purple color with aromas of old leather, oak, blackberries, and plums. Well balanced with soft, smooth tannins and a bouquet of dark fruits. This is an excellent varietal wine that also went well with a nice, creamy gorgonzola. , Appx. $70 per bottle.

Chateau Ladouys 2003 Saint-Estephe AC, Bordeaux, France — Subtle aromas of cherries and strawberry jam with flavors of cherries and raspberries. This Bordeaux has a warm mouth feel and softened tannins. A bit of blue cheese brought out a bit of complexity absent at first sip. 1/2, Appx. $35 per bottle.

Oh, and even after these lovely reds, we just couldn’t help ourselves . . .

Inniskillin 2002 Cabernet Franc Icewine — Brown/purple color with aromas of raisins, prunes, and honey. I tried to write full tasting notes for this, but I could not sufficiently describe the experience. Outstanding dessert wine. , Appx. $80 per dessert bottle.

Italian Wine Adventure: Chianti

In my previous post on Montalcino, I noted that we only had one day to see and taste what we could. As difficult as that was, our Babymoon schedule permitted us only half a day to experience Chianti. Accordingly, Massimo suggested that we combine a tour of Chianti’s history and culture with our wine experience by visiting Barone Ricasoli — Castello Di Brolio.

Brolio Castle’s Chapel Dwarfed by its Towers

Parts of Brolio Castle date back to the middle ages and it was the main Florentine defense against Siena. Historical home to the Ricasoli family, the castle survived numerous battles throughout its history, but it lost none of it grandeur. It now serves as a museum displaying family’s history, which includes wine production dating back to the 12th Century. Castello di Brolio claims to be the oldest continuously-operating winery in Italy. The castle is also home to an olive grove and provides a breathtaking view of the Chianti countryside.

A View from the Wall of Brolio Castle

Castello Di Brolio produces a number of different wines and spirits. Not surprisingly its flagship wine, the Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico, was a standout. The 2005 vintage that we tasted received 92 points from Wine Spectator. A second wine that we brought home, the Casalferro 2004 Toscana, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, received the same rating. I had a chance to open a bottle of the Casalferro just a couple of weeks ago. This Super Tuscan is a deep violet color with a bouquet of leather and dark fruit. It is medium bodied and well balanced with good acidity and flavors of blackberries and cassis with chocolate and coffee notes on the back end. It was an excellent compliment to a blue cheese from Cheesetique. 1/2, appx. $55 per bottle.

Brolio Castle is a great destination in Chianti, whether you are in a bit of a rush as we were or you just want to combine your wine tasting with a bit of old world mystique. Click here for information on Brolio Castle wine distribution.