I had this wonderful wine from Baglio di Pianetto a few weeks ago at Salumeria Rosi. I was impressed with the blend of 50% Viognier, 50% Insolia. Viognier grows beautifully in this part of Sicily, relatively close to Palermo and at an elevation of 500-600 mt above sea level.
The wine was foral and rich with interesting nutty character as well that I imagine comes from lees stirring. The high tech winery built by the Marzotto family uses gravitational forces in the four story winery for their grapes, both those going into steel as well as wood.
I was really taken with this wine and remembered having met someone who worked at Baglio at a New York event last year. Doing some research I discovered that Tom Hyland has visited the winery and posted about Ficiligno here. Here rightly suggests this is a wine that can age. I agree with him and would love to taste it in a few years so see the evolution.
This winery is located in the Monreale DOC area. My mother and I visited the Cathedral in 2003 and I still regret not buying the large and heavy book with reproductions of the exquisite mosaics.
As I sit in my office and work feverishly to bring to fruition seven wine events in the next two weeks, I’m of course, fantasizing about vacation. Last year, I took a beautiful trip to Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia where I encountered these utensils that I hadn’t seen since I was 15 and visiting a dear friend from camp in Baltimore.
Anyone who has used them knows that they are for eating crab like the one above. I had this crab in Maryland after visiting the beautiful Barboursville Estate owned by the Zonin family from the Veneto.
While their red wines have graced the table of the President of the United States, it is their Viognier that speaks to me. I wish I had a glass right now. I wasn’t at this year’s blogger conference in Virginia but I believe many if not all the attendees would agree with me about these wines from Virginia.
I’ve wanted to visit the Barboursville Winery in Virginia for about four years or ever since I picked up a brochure on Virginia wineries and what great stuff an Italian named Luca Paschina had been doing with grapes, especially Viognier in that area. He was working at Barboursville which is owned by the Zonin family from the Veneto. Thomas Jefferson, once a residence of the big white house in the picture, actually designed the original home at Barboursville.
Barboursville is an odd combination of American and Italian touches. The restaurant, aptly named the Palladio – both for the Zonin’s heritage from the Veneto and Jefferson’s preferred building style, served a lovely combination of Italian specialties with an American flair. The head sommelier of course hailed from Italy and is a member of the Italian Sommelier Association, as am I.
Barboursville is very famous for a wine called Octagon which President Obama drank at the inauguration. It is a blend of Merlot, with percentages of Reserve Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The wines are vinified separately and then blended. They are fermentation in stainless steel tank for 5-7 days, then macerated for 10-20 days. It is then aged 12 to 14 months in barriques of new French oak and then spends six months in the bottle before release. This is their flagship wine.
I actually prefer the Cabernet Franc on its own and the Viognier which I thought was just splendid. I was also lucky enough to dry a dessert wine made from Malvasia on a visit to the winery in October and then at the Italian Embassy in Washington at a Vinitaly event.
Still, it is the Viognier which stole my heart. It is fermented in stainless steel, does not spend any time in wood, and instead goes through extended lees aging. This brings wonderful nutty and toasty notes to this wine which also has lovely fruit and floral aromas and flavors. I had this wine with lobster this summer on Cape Cod and it was perfect.
I’ve visited this winery twice now and highly recommend it as a day trip from Washington, DC or as part of a Virginia Winery tour. I’ve been a Jefferson fan since I was a little kid because of my Dad so this was a special trip for me and a perfect wine for President’s Day.