On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Aurelio Settimo - The Zoom Tasting

27 May 2021

 

(March 2021) ... These Zoom Tasting are starting to have a very worn feel to them … thankfully the wines are always the star of the show – I know I speak for everyone in the wine industry in Canada when I say “I can’t wait to get back to in-person tastings”

Today it’s a sit down, in front of your computer screen with Tiziana Settimo of Aurelio Settimo Winery in Piedmont, Italy. For those not familiar with Piedmont, it is most notably the home of Barolo wine - those wines made with the Nebbiolo grape.

Here’s the Skinny …

Green ExperienceAurelio Settimo, the winery, is currently self-sufficient in their grape and wine production, as they only use their own grapes: Nebbiolo and Dolcetto to make their wines, plus as of 2017 they have signed onto the “Green Experience” with more than 100 other producers of the area. This means the use of natural fertilizers, no chemicals are used in the vineyard and special products are used for spraying the crop ... They are not organic, and this is not an organic certification, but they are moving in that direction.

The wines we tasted were mainly from the 2018, 2016 and 2015 vintages - though we did also get to pop the cork on a 2012 Rocche dell'Annunziata Riserva Barolo.  Tiziana

According to Tiziana, when asked about the vintages we were about to taste, she had this to say: 2018 and 2015 we're similar during winter time ... 2012 and 2016 were similar in temperature ... 2015 was the anomaly in the whole mess with its extreme temperatures, making it a much hotter vintage - while the other vintages involved in the tasting were not as extreme. As an example, in 2015 the grapes were picked early and harvest ended at the end of September – for point of reference: usually harvest begins at the end of September.

Terroir

The Wines ...

Aurelio Settimo 2018 Dolcetto  Dolcetto
These Dolcetto grapes were picked in September, which is a much more normal time, compared to 2017 when they were picked in August (which is the earliest ever) all to maintain the acidity and freshness Tiziana craves in these wines. The result is a fresh and fruity wine with really good acid balance - the fruit profile ranges from cherry to cranberry with a subtle herbal note.  (*** ½)

“This is what I am looking for in my Dolcetto, lower alcohol, fruity and freshness.” - Tiziana Settimo

Nebbiolo LangheAurelio Settimo 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo
Not sure it needs to be said anymore, but 2016 was a “great vintage” in Italy - and Piedmont was no exception. This Nebbiolo wine uses the grapes from younger vines (though a minimum of 10 to 12 years), sees no oak - but it does see the inside of a concrete tank for about 36 months. The first vintage was way back in the 60s and was meant to show the true expression of the Nebbiolo grape. It's here where power meets elegance, for a non-oaked wine, there's nice weight and great structure, both spicy and earthy, with blackberry, mineral and good acid punch ... This one's ready now or ageable 5 plus years.  (****)


The Barolo Wines...

Production is the same for both the single vineyard and “estate” Barolo: using 2,500 to 3500 L barrels. They start with 12 months in new Austrian oak (which has a tighter grain) then move from there into French Allier / Never 2500 to 3500 L barrels for 7 months (these barrels are all “used”).

Aurelio Settimo 2015 Barolo 
Usually, you need to lay a bottle of Barolo down years to get the full benefits, but 2015 was a very different year, and while this could see the cellar for a number of years to come, there is an approachability factor here worth exploring now. Aromas of floral, cherry, cranberry and spice lead to very much the same on the palate ... the wine comes across light and easy, almost silky, with more spice notes than tannin bite. Rugged yet approachable with a medium length finish and a real drink now feel; but cellar time will also bump up that complexity.  (****+)

Rocche 2015Aurelio Settimo 2015 Barolo, Rocche dell'Annunziata
This single vineyard, or “cru”, Barolo is aged extra time in barrel, cask and bottle - a total of 42 months before release and most of the wood is of the older French variety (between 12 and 18 years) large casks with no toast ... When all is said and done only 20% is new, meaning the wood does not play a significant role in flavouring. The Rocche is just a baby at the moment with aromas of rose petal, mocha, black cherry, black cranberry and all those smells translate to the palate, but with a power and weight on the tongue – plus there’s great structure and a hint of smoke. Ready in another couple of years, but will age well for a decade or more (many more) but it’s all going to depend if you want to keep that fruit profile intact.  (****)


The Riserva Wine ...

Aurelio Settimo 2012 Rocche dell'Annunziata Riserva Barolo  Riserva Rocche 2012
The Riserva wines are made from the oldest vineyards and are a vineyard selection, in 2012 they were from 40-to 60-year-old vines - this is a wine that is not made every year. The previous time it was made was in 2009 and the next will be 2016. They are looking for a low yield (3 to 4 bunches per plant). The 2012 was bottled in 2019; spent 26 months in oak and another 2 years in bottle. Only 3,500 bottles were produced. There are interesting notes of walnut and pecan shells, but also cherry, strawberry, red currant and spice - there's a nice velvety texture on the mid-palate, but there is still some tannin grip along with spicy, balsamic and even some Worcestershire notes on the finish ... Tannins continue to be pretty big and impressive (not oppressive) as it opens.  (****+)

 

Wines available thru the Profile Wine Group website.

 

 

Ontario Wine Reviews: 37 more Wines from 14 Wineries - Spring 2021 (Part 2)

17 May 2021

Not all reviews make the newsletter, there's just so many good wines and not enough space ... so every three to six months (or so) I clear out the backlog of wines ... here are the reviews that were written but until now have never seen the light of day. 

This time there were 80+ wines to review so I broke them down into two sections - this is PART 2

(click on the wine name to link to the full review)

 

Lake Erie North Shore

Sprucewood Shores 2017 Cabernet Merlot, Lady in Red
Sprucewood Shores 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Sprucewood
Sprucewood Shores 2017 Chardonnay Barrel, Hawks Flight Reserve
Sprucewood Shores 2018 Hawks Flight Appassimento
Sprucewood Shores 2018 Riesling Dry
Sprucewood Shores 2018 Sweet Select Riesling
Sprucewood Shores 2019 Pinot Grigio

 

Niagara Escarpment

Domaine Queylus 2018 Chardonnay Signature
Domaine Queylus 2018 Pinot Noir Signature
Lundy Manor 2016 Chardonnay, Wismer Vineyard

Malivoire 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stouck Vineyard
Malivoire Malivoire 2018 Chardonnay, Estate Grown
Malivoire 2019 Gamay Small Lot
Malivoire 2019 Gamay, Genova
Malivoire 2019 Gamay, Le Coeur
Malivoire 2019 Gamay, Wismer Foxcroft
Malivoire 2019 Pinot Noir Small Lot

Peninsula Ridge 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Speck Bros. 2020 Pinot Grigio, Three of Hearts
Westcott 2017 Brilliant Sparkling
Westcott 2020 Chardonnay, Lillias
Westcott 2020 Riesling, Butler's Grant

 

  Niagara-on-the-Lake

Pondview 2018 Red, Bella Terra
Ravine Vineyard 2018 Chardonnay Reserve Ravine
Ravine Vineyard 2018 Chardonnay, Sand and Gravel
Ravine Vineyard 2019 Cabernet Franc, Sand and Gravel
Ravine Vineyard 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Ravine Vineyard 2019 Riesling, Patricia's Block
Trius 2019 Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented

 

  Prince Edward County

Rosehall Run Rosehall Run 2013 Stardust Brut Cuvee
Rosehall Run 2019 Cabernet-Merlot
Rosehall Run 2019 Pinot Gris, Hungry Point
Rosehall Run 2019 Pinot Noir, Mottiar Vineyard

 

 
Other Regions & Virtual Wineries

Meldville 2020 Muscat Bubble Meldville
Old Tun Cider
Studio Gamay 2019 La Petite Nina

 

 

 

(See Part 1 - click here)

 

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