Category White Wines

Italian Chiaretto makes a run at French rosés

wineChiaretto is exclusively an Italian wine phenomenon.

The word refers to a dry Italian rosé made in the beautiful Lake Garda region that straddles the provinces of Lombardia and Veneto.

The chiaretto process dates back to 1896, when lawyer Pompeo Molmenti used knowledge gained in France to delicately press red grapes at his Lake Garda vineyard and quickly vinify the free-run juice in cement vats. The pink-colored wines were light and fresh.

Through the years, area winemakers refined the method with the historic Bardolino red blend (Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara as primary grapes, with up to 15 percent of other local varietals). Their work paid off in 1968, when Bardolino Chiaretto became the first Italian rosatto to earn DOC quality recognition.

Chiaretto winemakers continue to innovate, a...

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Joseph Phelps built up quite a wine-asty

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I had a sip or two of Joseph Phelps Vineyards iconic Insignia a year ago at a wine tasting, and the taste stuck with me for a long time. It’s a beautiful Bordeaux-style red from Napa Valley.

Insignia is selling for $159 for the 2008 vintage up to $259 a bottle for more recent releases. Older vintages regularly fetch big dollars at auction. World-renowned expert Robert Parker Jr. awarded Insignia three perfect 100-point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages.

What I’ve learned about Phelps wines is that they are meticulously crafted from grapes grown in Napa Valley and western Sonoma County near the Pacific Ocean.

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Recently, I sampled two Joseph Phelps Vineyards wines that were more in my price range: the 2015 Chardonnay and the 2014 Pinot Noir from the family’s Freestone vineyards...

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For a road trip, bring a six-pack — of vino

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

It’s party pack time, a six-bottle sampler for a weekend getaway or an extended trip to the beach.

In my mind, the key to any good summer road trip includes a rosé, a crisp white wine, and a punchier red varietal or blend.

Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

THE ROSATTOS: There are simple, good rosés, and then there are the complex, intriguing styles that turn happiness into total bliss.

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Two sublime examples are Rosa dei Masi from Italy’s Veneto region and Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia. (Both are available for less than $15 in New Hampshire.)

The Masi company is one of Italy’s leading wine innovators as well as producer of the prestigious Costasera Amarone...

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Taster’s Choice: Four wines to kick start summer

Montes Cherub Rosé 2016, Chile

Montes Cherub Rosé 2016, Chile

The Mill City Oenophiles Club made its spring debut earlier this month, sampling an impressive array of five summer wines from Argentina, Chile and Italy’s Venezia Giulia region.

Four of the wines — two rosés, a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon — are discussed in this article. The fifth wine tasted, a Sauvignon Blanc, proved to be such an outlier with this grouping that it will be discussed in a later column dealing with the varietal.

Everyone’s palate is different. We all have unique preferences, so just because one person might be cool to a certain bottling doesn’t mean the wine is lacking in quality.

As tasters — or consumers — gain experience and knowledge, they discover and appreciate the “markers” that make up a well-crafted wine...

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More to Cycles Gladiator than a sexy label

The label for Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay is from a bicycle ad poster created in Paris in 1895 to attract women buyers. In 2009, the Alabama Beverage Control Board banned the label — and the wine — from sale because of its "immodest" characterization.

The label for Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay is from a bicycle ad poster created in Paris in 1895 to attract women buyers. In 2009, the Alabama Beverage Control Board banned the label — and the wine — from sale because of its “immodest” characterization.

California’s Central Coast wine-growing region isn’t as well known to the general public as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, but true oenophiles know this six-county zone is producing very exciting wines at affordable prices.

Vineyards stretch from Santa Barbara County in the south to San Francisco Bay in the north...

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Frankly, Finger Lakes is wine heaven

The Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in upstate New York, one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

The Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in upstate New York, one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

When you see the name Dr. Konstantin Frank on a wine label, it represents an American success story derived from the Ukrainian immigrant who used his brains and brawn to turn the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York into one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

For years, viticulturists struggled to grow high-quality grapes in the five-lake region. They blamed it on the cold weather and a short growing season that kept grapes — especially red varietals — from ripening fully.

DrEnter Dr. Frank, a professor of plant sciences with a Ph.D. in viticulture, who arrived in the United States in 1951 and later took a job at Cornell University.

Dr...

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5 wines to cure your spring fever

I’ve got spring fever for rosé and lighter white and red wines.

Lately, I’ve been sampling a bunch with the Wine Goddess, my wife Mary Lee, and here are five you should consider for your patio drinking pleasure. Most of these wines can be found in fine wine stores throughout the area and Greater Boston.

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling Rosé NV, Italy, $15 — This is one of the most exciting sparklers I’ve tasted so far this year (of course, it’s still early in the season). It combines the Glera grape, the foundation for the Veneto’s famous Prosecco wine, and small amounts of Pinot Noir. Both grapes are fermented separately as still wines and then combined in pressurized steel tanks...

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3 experts (and 1 novice) select top Easter wines

We’ve reached a new milestone. This is Wine Novice’s fifth annual Easter wine column, and it wouldn’t be possible without the oeniphiles who look forward to the selections and, of course, the expert contributors who make them. (See my “novice” list.)

Thanks to our three specialists, there are 26 fabulous wines to peruse and choose. Surprisingly, more than half are white or rosé, showing an emerging trend for aromatic, expressive and crisp styles for the holiday dinner.

Enjoy!

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Andrea DiFiore, Wine and Store Manager, Andover Classic Wines

Andrea DiFiore, Wine and Store Manager, Andover Classic Wines

* Col de Salici Prosecco Vintage 2013, $21.99 — Toast family and friends at Easter for all the blessings we have. A single vineyard Prosecco with hints of pears and wisteria in bloom...

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Post House Penny Black is stamped for your approval

In the glass, the Post House Penny Black looks inky-black, like the limits of outer space.

In the glass, the Post House Penny Black looks inky-black, like the limits of outer space.

If you’re looking for an exquisite new red wine for an adventurous palate, try the 2014 Post House Penny Black from South Africa.

This is wine every postal worker should want to call his/her own. More on that later.

Penny Black is one of the inkiest, black-colored wines I’ve ever seen. Once in the glass, it looks like the outer limits of space. Beyond the darkness, however, is a truly luscious blend of four estate-grown red grapes — Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot — and one fragrant white, Chenin Blanc.

The reds collaborate for intense dark cherry, black currant, raspberry, chocolate and peppery flavors...

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Goldschmidt Cabernets big, bold and beautiful

Chelsea Merlot 2014, $15.99

Chelsea Merlot 2014, $15.99

The only thing missing from a tasting of Nick Goldschmidt’s California wines was the winemaker himself.

I wrote Goldschmidt an email with several questions about the wines sampled recently at the Wine ConneXtion, and he quickly responded: “Sorry I am out of the country completing harvest down below the equator. … Sorry for the inconvenience but thanks for the email.”

He’s probably in his native New Zealand, where the harvest runs from February to April. (The California cycle runs from September to November.)

Goldschmidt Vineyards, which Nick launched with his wife Yolyn in 1998 in Healdsburg, Calif., has an international portfolio to go along with its domestic label.

Nick has worked on wine projects throughout the Southern Hemisphere, South America and Californi...

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