Most of the top wines from the Tuscany region of Italy are made wholly or mainly from the Sangiovese grape. However there is another indigenous red Tuscan grape that I recommend you check out. 2011 Corte alla Flora Pugnitello is made from the Pugnitello grape, sometimes called Tuscany’s forgotten grape. Pugnitello means ‘little fist’ and refers to the grape’s tight bunches on the vines. It lost favor in the mid 20th century to Sangiovese partly because of its low yields. A research project by the University of Florence, in 1960, is believed to have pretty much saved it from oblivion. Continue reading
Tag Archives: wine
A big drawback of winemaking is that it is totally in the hands of nature. A great advantage of winemaking is that it is totally in the hands of nature. It depends what nature does that leads you to the first conclusion or the second. In the case of consulting winemaker Bob Pepi, it is the foundation for a lifestyle that sees him commuting quarterly to the southern hemisphere from his California base to make wine at Bodegas Valentin Bianchi in Mendoza, Argentina’s largest wine region. When home he consults with numerous domestic clients in California and Colorado (even in Texas at one point in the past). Plus he has founded his own label, Eponymous. Continue reading
by Andrew Chalk
Twenty years ago the entire sales of Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, in the United States market amounted to less than 500 cases a year. Last year sales exceeded two million cases and that was up 27% from the previous year. This is a category that we love, but why? What is it that makes Prosecco so popular?
I tried to throw some light on that recently when Prosecco producer Mionetto sent me samples of five of their wines, from simple and inexpensive to pricier examples near the top of their line. It is fitting that Mionetto should do this as they were the producer that first shipped Prosecco in volume to the USA (in 2000).
For most of its existence here, Prosecco has been popular for two things: its competitive price versus the best known sparkling wine, Champagne (from the homonymous region in France), and as a mixer to make the Bellini cocktail. While giving the wine publicity, neither role promoted the wine as a first-class style of sparkling wine in its own right. Continue reading
Readers in the tech. sector will be familiar with the concept of an incubator. It is a physical facility with the infrastructure and mentorship to enable nascent companies to grow. For example, it might provide legal, accounting, Internet hosting and marketing assistance. Incubators emerged during the iTulip boom of the late 1990s but the concept has endured.
Now comes news of one Texas wine entrepreneur’s plans to open an incubator for incipient Texas wineries. Mike McHenry is managing partner of Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba, on the northwest border of the Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area (AVA). Despite its short life, the winery opened in June 2012, it has already established a reputation for soundly made, award winning wines under winemaker Penny Adams. Continue reading
It is the middle of summer and people are away on vacation. If you are a Dallas steakhouse, how do you fill the tables? Answer, do a promotional special. Several Dallas restaurants have taken up the challenge (this is actually a great time of year to eat steak!) but one of the best is The Generous Pour currently taking place at all locations of The Capital Grille every evening of the week through August 31st. I was a guest at a recent media event at The Capital Grille where they explained it. Continue reading
By Andrew Chalk
2012 Tokaji Furmint, Pajzos Antaloczy Cellars,Hungary ($11)
Not the famous sweet wine of Hungary but a dry wine made from the same grape (Furmint). I had to buy it because of my experience with dry Furmint blends in Portugal last October. Dry Furmint is earthy and slightly oxidized. This one has good body and high acid making it an excellent match with a lot of food, I had it with pasta and Alfredo sauce. It stood up. Recommended. Sigel’s. Purchased at retail. Continue reading
by Andrew Chalk
It may be the largest California grape grower you have never heard of but John Kautz Farms has 6,500 acres of wine grapes in California, making them the sixth largest wine grape grower in the state. In terms of acreage, they are just behind household names like Gallo Vineyards and just ahead of Beringer and Sutter Home.
They sell most of the grapes, grown in the Sierra Foothills and Lodi appellations, to other winemakers but, increasingly in recent years, they have made their own wine under their Ironstone label. Continue reading