Category Archives: Veneto

Volpe Pasini 2014 Ribolla Gialla

Delle Venezie IGT, northeastern Italy; 12% ABV
imported by Diageo “Chateau & Estate” wines
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 12 April.  Still there.

The last Ribolla Gialla I reviewed was quite good, so I had to try this one, too.  It is even more tasty, IMO easily worth the dollar more.

I find the wine a little closed straight from the fridge, but warmed up a little, it shows good intensity of lemony pear, yellow melon, white and yellow flowers, slightly astringent minerality and grape skin bitterness, green lime, and a little orange on the finish.  In trying to help customers, I usually ask if they want something more fruity like a Chardonnay or more crisp like a Sauvignon Blanc.  To me, this wine is somewhere in between, more fruity than most SB, and more acid than most Chardonnay.  Yum!

The next day, the wine had smoothed out and integrated, and had a viscous minerality.  It was more mellow but still delicious.


Collavini 2013 Ribolla Gialla

Delle Venezie IGT, Italy; 12.5% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 15 Aug

Collavini_2013_RibollaGiallaThe grape varietal Ribolla Gialla sounded only vaguely familiar.  It turned out this site had only one RG review, and dluber wrote it.  This wine is interesting, and IMO very good for the price.

The wine’s color is of less intense golden yellow.  The nose of riper yellow and white fruit is immediately enticing.  On the palate, the wine gives medium-intensity flavors of yellow pear / melon, ripe (maybe slightly caramelized) yellow apple, white pear, green grape skin (with attendant slight bitterness), slight almondy nuttiness, supporting wood, and moderately crisp acid..  The taste has nice delineation and complexity for the low price.  While the wine does show its age a little, it is not at all over the hill, and makes for nice current drinking.

The next day, the wine has a more woody, getting-close-to-oxidized flavor, but the other flavors are still there, and the wine is still tasty and pleasant.

Villa Aganoor non-vintage Cabernet Franc

della Venezie IGT, northeastern Italy; 12% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 24 June

VillaAganoor_NV_CabFrancWhen we saw a Veneto-area Cabernet Franc in the order guide, we thought this sounded pretty good!  In particular, I thought that a CF from an area that makes lighter, more aromatic reds, could be really very interesting.  However, when the wine arrived, it turned out to be non-vintage, and thus likely lower quality.  Still, I had to try one to find out.  It’s not as bad as I had feared, but nowhere near as good as I had originally hoped.

I thought this wine needed about 1.5 hours of air in a decanter to open.  Then, it shows soft, purplish dark red cherry, cherry / red raspberry acid, hint of blueberry / blackberry, very slight sweet black pepper.  My impression is that, while it’s not bad wine, there’s neither anything especially expressive of Cabernet Franc (okay, it’s not Zinfandel, but it could credibly be Cabernet Sauvignon), nor anything especially Italian about it.  Except for perhaps slightly stronger acid, it could almost be Californian.

The second half, saved in a 375ml bottle and stoppered with very little acid, was very similar to the first half, so it’s at least a pretty solid wine.


Capitel della Crosara 2008 Amarone

Amarone della Valpolicella DOC (now DOCG), Veneto area, northeastern Italy
60% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, 10% Molinara; 15.5% ABV
from Montresor, part of Bronco Wine Company
$19 at the Richmond, CA, store on 13 Feb

CapitelDellaCrosara_2008_AmaroneThis wine was pretty expensive for GO wine, but I recalled a CdC Valpolicella Ripasso we liked for $9, so I hoped this would still be a bargain at just over twice the price.

I am not very familiar with Amarone but my impression was that it would be, as the Wiki page says, “very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid.”  I was a little worried because this doesn’t sound so much like my preference, but this wine did not strike me that way.  It was not sweet and while the fruit was more concentrated than previous Valpolicellas I’ve tasted (including ripassos), it was not at all raisiny.

The first thing I noticed was that the cork was wet almost to the end, hinting it may received some poor storage along the way.  At first pour, the wine showed fairly simple, rich, red cherry fruit.  But by about 80 minutes in a decanter when dinner was ready, this wine was opening up and soon became spectacular.  It showed dried red cherries, tangy purple / black cherry, blackened wood, a little tart red cherry, dark plum / blackberry, hints of licorice and cola, with a nice woody, light-earthy, slightly caramelly, aged complexity.  It was very smooth and elegant.  The fruit was ripe, but it also had a tasty, fruity, bitterness and pretty good balancing acid.

However, after about 2:25 after opening, the wine greatly simplified.  It wasn’t bad, but it was relatively boring to drink.  So, the summary is that there is a pretty small window of about an hour in which to drink it, but in that hour, it’s superb.  Since I managed to hit it in that window, I’m quite satisfied with my purchase.  Over my years of tasting GO wines, I’ve become a big fan of Corvina-based wines, and this is easily the best such wine I’ve tasted.  Sometimes when a wine shuts down after a while, it means it will improve with age.  In this case, especially since the Wine Advocate’s vintage chart says that 2008 Amarone is ready to drink, I suspect it means this should be consumed right away.

Masquerade Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2014 $8.99

Produced by: C.V.B.M. S.R.I. Salgareda-TV-Italia
ABV 11.5%
Purchased: Salem GO 6-17-2015

FullSizeRenderApparently the DOGC “Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene” is only given to the “finest Prosecco wines coming from the Veneto region” and they only may be labeled as such if they come from vineyards within the San Pietro di Barbossa area.

As to this particular wine, some of you from my generation might perhaps appreciate the Addams Family moment I had when opening it. As soon as the cork popped, some sort of condensation, giving the appearance of steam,  issued from the mouth of the bottle and continued to do so even as I poured a sample into the glass. It made me laugh and remember fondly the smoking toasts of Gomez and Morticia.

Color: palest straw, almost clear with a hint of golden tone.
Fragrance: citrus, floral
Category: I would put this at “Extra Dry”. It’s not dry enough to be Brut but there isn’t a marked residual sugar sweetness so I’m thinking it fits nicely in “Extra Dry”.
Taste: On first sip, there was a noticeable yeastiness and I was concerned (IMO, one will often find a yeastiness in the lower quality Prosecco but it should not be a factor in the best Prosecco), however it blew off almost immediately and was not discernible in the 2nd sip. What I did find was clean, crisp citrus at the fore with floral (hibiscus-like) supporting notes and a nice (but not overpowering) minerality. Overall, exactly what I’d expect from a tasty Prosecco.

I do not know what the MSRP of this wine is, originally…but $8.99 is a decent price for what I am tasting. I wish I’d picked up a couple of bottles. As of 6-17-2015, this wine was still plentiful on the shelves of the “D” Street Salem, OR G.O.

Edit: one thing my husband and I were talking about as we finished this off tonight…it is good and $8.99 is a decent price for a good Prosecco. However, we would be hard pressed in a blind taste test to tell the difference (taste/quality-wise) between this and Kirkland’s Prosecco (Veneto DOGC) at $6.99/bottle.

Fontana Gina 2013 Pinot Grigio

Veneto IGT, Italy; 12.5% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 4 May

FontanaGina_2013_PinotGrigioThis wine, with its solid yellow color through the bottle, immediately looked atypical for Pinot Grigio from the Veneto area, which is usually a more pale yellow with a tinge of green.  Indeed, as it turned out, it’s more in a Californian style, with softer, ripe fruit and less structure and tartness than a typical northern Italian white.  But, maybe because I’m a Californian, I love it.

It’s not as ripe and heavy as it might be if it were from Napa, but its more delicate body and sweetly ripe fruit could be from the Central Coast.  It showed typical Pinot Grigio flavors of lemon and pear, some atypical sweet yellow fruit that could be peach or mango, and a little freshly dried straw.  Although the fruit is ripe, it certainly has enough pleasantly balancing acid.

The next day, the rest of the bottle left in the fridge dominated by acid instead of by sweet fruit, but that acid was still ripe, juicy, and tasty.  The wood / straw was also a little stronger.  Although the overall character of the wine was a bit different, I thought it was still very tasty.

Re Midas 2012 Soave DOC

Soave DOC, Italy
100% Garganega; 12% ABV; screw cap
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 4 May

ReMidas_2012_SoaveI’ve previously enjoyed a number of GO wines made partly or entirely from the Garganega grape, so, since this wine boasted about its composition on the back label, I picked it up.  I’ve liked others better, but for this price, I think this wine is quite good.

In a gently textured medium body, the wine shows solid flavors of floral apple / lemon / pear, with a nicely minerally structure, pleasant acid, and a little supporting wood / roasted almond.

The next day, the rest left in the bottle was more forwardly fruity, maybe with more yellow grapefruit, and less minerally.  Still yummy.

NV Bosco dei Cirmioli Brut Spumante, Salgareda (Veneto), Italy $7.99

Silverdale, WA    11% alc.    (Purchased on 12/27/14)

IMG_1971Color & Clarity: Brilliant pale golden with an abundance of tiny bubbles.
Aromas: Slightly closed nose is more fruity than yeasty, but not overly fruity; shows some peach and grapefruit aromas.
Flavors: Little yeast and more fruit with flavors of grapefruit, peach and slightly bitter almond in a bone dry package.
Texture:  It shows a mildly foamy mousse; moderate acidity, so it’s not overy tart and lemony.  Not a lot of extract in terms of texture; more light and fanciful…a quaffer.
Finish: Clean, dry finish.  A decent food bubbly.

I could find nothing of any consequence about this wine on the internet.  I found a fair amount of info about their extra dry Prosecco, but not the brut spumante (which means only sparkling wine in Italian; not to be confused with Asti Spumante made from Muscat grapes).  Just guessing, I’d say this wine might well be made from Pinot Grigio, as it does have similar qualities.