Monday, October 29, 2007

A Message from the Singing Sommelier and Vinea

To the True Lovers of Great Wines

Just a reminder, tomorrow night, Tuesday October 30th, we have a true Count (not the one that counts on Sesame Street or sell Coco Pebbles) coming to Nashville for a tasting at Sunset Grill. Again, this is a sit down tasting with 6 wonderful wines from northern Italy and a plate of food prepared by Chef du Cuisine, Dustin Prichet. It starts at 6 pm and only costs $15.

We still have about 25 seats available so make a reservation with me here at the shop 269-6880.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that he did his under grad work at Texas A & M, so if your a true Aggie you have to come.

Drink Great Wine
Mark Johnson the Sommelier

Conte Brandolini Merlot
$15.99 a bottle

Starting in the mid-1980s, Count Brandino Brandolini set about realizing his ambition to produce world-class Merlot at his family’s picture-perfect 500-acre estate in the Friuli district of northeast Italy. Several years of study at the University of Bordeaux, in addition to time spent at the family’s Bordeaux estate, the highly regarded Ch√Ęteau Greysac, convinced Brandolini that Friuli possessed the ideal terroir for production of superb quality wine. Significant investments were made in the construction of a state-of-the-art winery and cellars.Consumers will recognize this much more readily as an Italian wine than a Merlot, as it is dead dry and nicely structured with acidity -- unlike many vaguely sweet Merlots. The fruit recalls plums and dried cherries, with medium-bodied weight leaning toward the light side, making this a promising partner for chicken dishes or relatively robust fish preparations.

Conte Brandolini Treanni
$20.99 a bottle

Count Brandino Brandolini, a native Venetian, grows top quality Cabernet Franc, Refosco and Merlot grapes at his family’s picture-perfect Vistorta and Cordignano estates in the Friuli district of northeast Italy. From these historic properties, he proudly presents TREANNI (treh-ahn-ee), or “three years,” an inventive red blend uniting select batches of wine from three consecutive vintages.Much as a painter relies on different hues from a palette to create a work of art, Brandolini judiciously brings together the freshness of a young wine, the complexity and concentration of a two-year-old wine, and the elegance of a mature wine to yield this seamless composition of aroma, flavor and texture.

Conte Brandolini Pinot Grigio
$15.99 a bottle

Conte Brandolini owns the 325-acre Cordignano estate in the Province of Treviso, where Pinot Grigio, originally cultivated throughout northeastern Italy, is grown. Soil in Friuli creates a distinctive Pinot Grigio style which is richer and more complex. This historic estate has been owned by the Brandolini family since 1780. This line of estate-bottled wines represents the history and versatility of winemaking in Friuli.

Conte Brandolini Refosco
$16.99 a Bottle

The 2005 Brandolini Refosco has everything to recommend it: clear, bright, eye-appealing red color; enticing fruit aroma that reaches a midway point of strawberry meeting cherry; and a fresh, clean cherry flavor. Like many northern Italian red wines, the 2005 Brandolini Refosco has a noticeable acidity; it appears behind the excellent fruit giving the palate a constant refreshing cleansing for the next taste. This combination of fruit and acidity makes the 2005 Brandolini Refosco wonderful with food. During our lunch it was served with a variety of hors do'oeuvres: black olive pate, cured pork cheeks and copa ham. But I found myself returning to it with the northern Italian dish of risotto cooked with red wine, onion and radicchio. I'm sure the Texas A&M-educated Count Brandolini d'Adda wouldn't object to it accompanying a plate of barbecued spare ribs or a tex-Mex grilled pork chop with rice and beans. And ground beef empanadas or grilled chicken quesadillas would be good choices, too. Combining the quality of the 2005 Brandolini Refosco with the reasonable price gives the wine all the components of a good value wine.

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