Off the beaten path

Christian Troy, by far the most voluble and prepared of wine salesmen, was in the restaurant last week showing me some wines that he had picked out keeping in mind my affinity for Barolo and Champagne. Christian works for Polaner Selections. He brought me a vermentino, a frappato, a barbera, a Pugliny-Montrachet and two Spanish wines from Lopez de Heredia, a red and a white, both crianzas.

From the OCW:

A crianza red wine may not be sold until its third (second for whites) year, and must have spent a minimum of six months in oak barricas (barriques). In Rioja and other regions such as Ribera del Duero, where the term is most commonly used, the wine must have spent at least 12 months in oak casks.

What was interesting about the white, the Gravonia Rioja Blanco Crianza, was that it is a 1998. Christian says they wait to release their wines. The red is a 2002 vintage.

The white is 100 percent viura and at 10 years old, it’s deep lemon to an almost pale gold with nutty, candy aromas. The fruit was still bright and somewhat citrusy. Christian thought is was like beeswax and peach and dried apricot. On the palate it’s dry and gives an almost tannic-like structure, drying out the tongue just a little bit.

The red is oxidized on the nose. Christian says it works, but I’m not so sure. It has the hallmarks of tempranillo, with a garnet color and a rim that’s starting to orange and dried strawberries some chocolate and leather on the nose. The wine is aged in old French barrels, which bucks the trend for American oak in Spain. It has high acid, and medium tannins in between grainy and powdery. There must be a word for that.

I liked the Valle dell’Acate Il Frappato di Vittoria 2007. Christian likened it to Beaujolais and said he was drinking it chilled at home. It reminded me of a Bisson ciliegiolo 2006 rose I had opened at home.

On ciliegiolo from OCW:

central Italian red grape variety of Tuscan origin named after its supposed cherry-like flavour and colour. It is declining in extent, although it can make some excellent wines, and could be a usefully soft blending partner for sangiovese, particularly in Chianti. Unexpectedly, DNA profiling revealed that Ciliegiolo is one of the parents of Sangiovese. Some good varietal Ciliegiolo from Umbria and Toscana, including one from the Rascioni and Cecconello estate in the Maremma, raised interest in the variety in the 1990s.

The frappato was bright cherry with medium tannins medium high acid and earthy berry aromas.

What’s frappato?

lesser Sicilian red grape variety, which can add fruit and freshness to the more powerful nero d’avola in the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOC.

There you go.


1 Comment

Filed under Frisky Business, Tasted on

One response to “Off the beaten path

  1. Ha! Those are the young wines at Lopez de Heredia. Their current rose’ release is the 1997. Try their old wines, which are also available.

    I recently visited/toured their incredibly winery in Haro. They make wines the old way and make them to age and age.

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