I didn’t post this on a Friday so I am reposting to keep in line with my women in wine series. Enjoy the holiday weekend and remember to think about what Memorial Day actually means, http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-memorial-day. Say hello and thank you to a sailor if in NYC during Fleet Week.
Today I am posting an online conversation I had with Maria Elena Jimenez, one of the winemakers at Pares Balta.
1. How did you get into the wine business?
Although it may seem sappy, love was the reason for everything. My husband, by then just my boyfriend, was the one to introduce me to wine and make me fall in love with wine along with him. I am a chemical engineer, and in those days working as a consultant, when my husband proposed me to return to the university to study enology in order to work together in the family business.
And all the tiny pieces began to fall in its right place after that, wine , love, family, children, passion till reaching the point where I am nowadays, managing the cellar altogether with Marta
2. What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in…
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This week’s variety hails from Tuscany and is called Mammolo. It tends to be mostly found in the province of Siena, Lucca and Grosseto. When I think of Mammolo, I think of Susanna Crociani, a producer and friend from Montepulciano. She always reminds people that Mammolo is also the name of one of the Seven Dwarfs, Bashful.
Mammolo is a hardy and somewhat rustic grape that is usually found in blends rather than as a mono-varietal wine.
It produces full bodied but not highly alcoholic wines. Mammola also means violet which comes out as the wine made from this grape ages. It is used in a variety of Tuscan DOCs and DOCG wines: Carmignano, Pomino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Chianti, Colli dell’Etruria centrale, Morellino di Scansano, Monteregio di Massa Marittima and Parrina.
Mammolo is a grape variety that also produces a pronounced pepper note when a certain portion is added to a blend. I have always found it one of the components of the Crociani line that I really enjoy.
This is my 16th and last post in the series on Malvasie. It has been very interesting to see just how many variations there are of this grape from the Malvasia family. This week’s variety is Malvasia Rosa which is a mutation of Malvasia di Candia which I wrote about here. This Malvasia can be found in the province of Piacenza in Val Nure. This wine makes a rose that is fruity and can be made into a sparkling wine, either spumante or frizzante.
This winery. Azienda Vitivinicola Mossi from 1558 which had until 2014 14 generations owning the property. They sold it to a young couple who are continuing the traditions of the Mossi family and are one of three wineries producing wines from this variety. That makes it quite that noteworthy and one that I would love to taste. Maybe the next time I am in that area. Another producer is Azienda Vitivinicola Montesissa. They also make a passito using this grape. What a pleasure these weeks of Malvasia have been. I had no idea it was such an interesting variety.
My wine of the week for wine Wednesday is from Apulia, from Tenuta Chiaromonte. It is a Primitivo from Acquaviva delle Fonti in La Murgia which is near Bari in Apulia. The winery started in the 1800s with 3 hectares and now has 32 hectares. I tried this wine at the Gambero Rosso tasting earlier this year. It had won the award for best red wine of 2017 and the owner, Nicola Chiaromonte was happily pouring this big, bold wine. At 16.5% alcohol, it didn’t fit into what I consider my typical wine style. Moreover, I am always hard pressed when it comes to Primitivo to find one I really enjoy but this one won me over. It had all of the juicy red and black fruits, spice and pepper, and garigue or Macchia Mediterranea notes one would expect from a wine from Southern Italy. However it didn’t have the oak treatment that I have found to be very common in that part of Italy. What you got in that glass was pure primitivo made on Calcareous soils in Southern Italy. I found it offered in California on Wine-searcher but I believe they also have a New York importer, Masanois.
According to the winery website, Primitivo can also called Primativo or Primaticcio. This last because it is an early ripening grape. The Phoenicians were already selling Primitivo in their day. Apparently a priest from Gioia del Colle, Don Filippo Indellicati, started the first monocolture of this variety.
I am so looking forward to this summer’s Society of Wine Educators conference. Founded in 1977, SWE’s Annual Conference is for educators, students, and enthusiasts to convene and learn more about the world of wine and spirits. In 2017, SWE will host this event in Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been to Portland and this is my chance. The 41st Annual Conference will be held Thursday, August 10th through Saturday, August 12th. Featuring over 65 sessions with topics, I will be speaking on wines from Lombardy, hence the picture of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan.
I was lucky enough to meet with many producers from the various consortium at Vinitaly. I think I will have a great and interesting line-up of wines for people to taste. This will be my eighth or ninth conference and has become part of my summer patterns. I look forward to visiting a few wineries and getting to know the city as well.
Today’s wine hails from Spain, specifically from the Penedes region from Parés Baltà. I tried it at a Wine Media Guild lunch I was lucky to be invited to at the beginning of the month. The theme was all about Spanish white wines. It was an exciting line-up in general and this one stuck out to me. I was also sitting with the export manager of the winery and that is always helpful. Then I found out the amazing story of the family and the two winemakers who are women and it seemed like a perfect fit for this blog.
The wine in question is made from Xarel·lo at one of their vineyards which is at 254 meters above sea level. I am always interested in monovarietal wines made from varieties that are usually blended. Xarel-lo is one of the principal grapes in Cava, Spain’s famed sparkling wine.
The wine ferments in stainless steel tanks and then rests on its lees with daily battonage for four months.
The texture of this wine indeed was one of the things that drew me to it. It paired perfectly with a variety of tapas dishes that were served at the luncheon. It also seemed to me like a wine which would lend itself to drinking more than one bottle at a time. At an average of $15 around the country, that is also a feasible option for a party wine of a great during the week wine with a chicken or fish based dinner.
While this latest variety, Malvasia Nera di Basilicata, has some of the same origins as the other Malvasias that I have written about, it is said to be less ancient than the white grape versions of Malvasia. This one probably came to Basilicata from nearby Puglia and has a lot in common with Malvasia di Brindisi which I will write about next week and Malvasia di Lecce. This red grape variety tends to be used as a blending grape rather than as a monovarietal. It brings aromatics, alcohol and acidity to the blend. It grow around the cities of Matera and Potenza. It is part of the Grottino di Roccanova DOC, which was given that designation in 2009. It is blended with Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon in the DOC. This winery, Cervino Vini has a few different versions of wines made with this grape variety as do a couple of other wineries I found. Sadly, none seem available yet in the States.
I’ve always had a thing about Basilicata. Many people know the region because it is home to the city of Matera, a beautiful city and absolutely worth a visit. I used to say I would never leave Italy unless I got to see Basilicata, a way of course of staying for many years. I finally visited in 2002 and remember fondly my trip there. Having just returned from Vinitaly, I am reminded of all the wines that I have tasted over the years with producers from Basilicata, specifically from Lucania.
Sadly none of my pictures of this region are digital so, here I suggest looking up a movie that came out in the last few years about Basilicata – Basilicata Coast To Coast. It will give you a flavor of the rugged landscape. Some 47% of Basilicata is covered by mountains and it has two coastlines, one on the Ionian Sea and the other on the Tyrrhenian Sea.