Monday, August 17, 2009

Port4olio Tasting in San Francisco part 1: wines from Eastern Europe and Italy

Earlier this summer, I was invited by Frank Dietrich of Blue Danube Wine at the Port4olio Tasting in San Francisco. The tasting took place at the firehouse in Fort Mason where four California based importers and distributors were pouring wines from Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and South America.

Besides wine, there was an abundance of food including two humongous paellas, a whole roasted pig (that I missed unfortunately), and a selection of cheeses from Cheese Works West.

The paellas at the Port4olio Tasting

Cheeses from Cheese Works West

Outside the firehouse, you can sip your wine in front of Alcatraz

My notes for the wines I tasted:

From Austria (Blue Danube Wine):

• 2006 Juris Zweigelt Selection: Zweigelt, a cross of Blaufränkisch and Saint Laurent, is the most widely-grown red grape variety in Austria. Dark red color, fruity nose, spicy on the palate, reminded me of a Syrah.

• 2007 Juris Saint Laurent Selection: Saint Laurent is a grape variety related to Pinot Noir. Light red color, light-bodied, a subtle wine.

• 2007 Juris Pinot Noir Selection: floral nose, medium-bodied, spices on the finish.

From Hungary (Blue Danube Wine):

• 2008 Szoeke Matra Irsai Olivér: comes from Hungary's largest historic wine region, which is located at the foot of the Mátra Mountains in the northeast part of the country. Floral nose, strong muscat character, dry.

From Bosnia-Herzegovina (Blue Danube Wine):

• 2007 Citluk Herceg: a unique blend of three native grapes from Herzegovina: Zilavka, Bena and Krkosija. Light, fruity, refreshing.

• 2006 Citluk Kameno: a blend of Zilavka and Bena. Single vineyard, more serious, less fruits and more minerality.

From Croatia (Blue Danube Wine):

• 2006 Bibich Riserva: a blend of three native grapes from Northern Dalmatia, related to Zinfandel: Babich, Lasin, and Plavina. Red berry nose, light to medium bodied, flavorful, tasty.

• 2006 Bibich Mantra Grenache: Grenache from Northern Dalmatia. Sweet nose of ripe fruit, pruny on the palate.

From Italy (Siena Imports):

• 2008 Livon Friulano Collio: Friulano is a native variety from Friuli, previously known as Tocai Friulano. Light color, nose of stone fruits, good acidity.

• 2007 RoncAlto Ribolla Gialla Collio: Ribolla Gialla is a white varietal mostly found in Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and Slovenia. Fragrant nose, rich aromas of stone fruits and minerals.

• 2000 Costa di Bussia Barolo Tenuta Arnulfo: from Italy's Piedmont region, Barolo is made from 100% Nebbiolo. Red-brown color, sweet fruit on the nose, soft on the palate, mature wine.

• 2001 Di Meo Taurasi Riserva: Taurasi is an appellation from Campania that produces wines made primarily from the Aglianico grape. Deep color, notes of moka, rich and dense on the palate, good acidity.

• 2001 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Bosan: a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara , this is a single vineyard wine. The grapes are left to dry in special drying chambers for four months before fermentation. After that, aging lasts three years in oak barrels. Dark color, prunes and dried fruits on the nose, velvety palate, very distinctive.

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