When I’m breaking wine down into simple categories based on style I generally start out with the obvious. Does a customer want red or white, oaked or unoaked. This enables us to then focus on more nuanced qualities like – fruity or earthy, full or light bodied, tannic or soft – allowing us to get that one step closer towards a selection. It’s at this point where I’ll fall back to one of my favorite questions. Do they prefer new or old world.
The most obvious reference I give for new world would be California wines and even though such an extreme simplification of the region would open a colorful debate among a roundtable of wine geeks, this description would certainly fit for the most widely known mass produced California labels. New world wines are ripe, plush, full bodied and soft. They are ready to go in their youth and generally clean without polarizing aromas and flavors.
When I think of old world wines I immediately imagine French and Italian wines, both of which can bring a little barnyard, earth and herbal qualities that would stick out like a sore thumb in Californian or say, Australian wines. Ripeness is not always a given as the line between ripe and under ripe become blurred in temperate climates like Bordeaux or Piedmont. Simply put, I expect old world wines to be more tannic, more demanding of patience and more moderate in alcohol levels. Their acidic backbone also pegs them for cellaring or their desire to be paired with food.
Finding those wines that straddle the line between old and new world is one of the more satisfying discoveries when tasting. I’ve had some success with Malbec from Patagonia that brings bright fruit and chiseled structure that wouldn’t necessarily hint at its origin of Argentina. I’ve also found some Chilean blends that more in common with Bordeaux than their national brethren. But wine for wine I’ve had the most success with South African wines showing both old and new world characteristics.
Tormentoso’s Mouvédre from the Paarl region of South Africa is a new wine at the shop that is an appropriate example of what I’m getting at. Juicy, gamey and smoky on the nose, it shows ripeness while also revealing a meatiness and funk that points to old world origins. The palate is cloaked in polished new world richness while ultimately yielding to tension and structure. It finishes lean yet powerful at the same time, a tough task to pull off in any part of the world.
After pouring it one of Aroma’s Oles Farm Dinners, the response was so positive the store brought it in. For more information on buying Tormentoso’s Mouvédre click here.
The Aroma Group debuts its newest restaurant – Aroma at North French – Sunday, March 9, 2014 with an extravagant multi-course wine pairing dinner featuring six premium Italian producers.
Winemakers and owners from Garofoli, Inama, La Valentina, Aia Vecchia, Marchesi di Gresy & Selvapiana will be on hand to pour their finest wines and talk about their historic wineries alongside our exciting menu.
The conception and construction of our newest location has been an amazing journey and we couldn’t think of a better way to open its doors than with this one-of-a-kind wine and culinary event. Seats are $99 per/person and can be made by RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The availability for this dinner is limited so don’t hesitate if you want to be a part of the next chapter in bringing our passion and dedication to our customers through farm to table inspired food and our thoughtfully selected wine offerings.
Overall the 2009 growing season over most of Europe was mainly hot and dry, leading to ripe, powerful reds and round, fruit driven whites. It’s generally assumed that the downside to such warm vintages is a loss of structure, through lower acids and softer tannins – not something most of us associate with grapes like nebbiolo. Yet luckily in Piedmont the proceeding winter and spring provided plenty of snowfall and rain, ultimately providing enough moisture in the soils and reservoirs to add balance to the warm and dry conditions that lead to optimum ripening of grapes across the board.
One of those producers that benefitted was Silvio Grasso, a favorite of ours thanks to his value-driven entry level Barolo. While we (and it seemed like most of our restaurant guests and customers here at the wine boutique) drank up the deliciousness of the 2008 vintage while it was still available, we weren’t sure 2009 would pick up where that previous vintage left off. Well we were wrong…it has completely surpassed expectations in a fleshier, bolder frame that still evokes everything we love about nebbiolo.
Grasso’s 2009 Barolo balances fruit and earth, with inviting aromas of dark fruits, flowers and tar. The ying and yang of richness and tannin extends it pleasure into a sizable finish that drinks well on its own or provides plenty of ammunition at the table. Turns out Wine Advocate agrees, awarding it 92 points and the following rave review:
“The 2009 Barolo shows the powerful side of the vintage with a brooding, dark color and lively aromas of cassis, forest fruit, anise, fennel, licorice and tar. A dark, inky appearance is followed by smooth richness and long lasting flavors of black fruit and spice.”
We’ve got this wine at the boutique for $39.99 and on our restaurant’s current wine list as well. It’s just a superb Barolo at a price unbeaten by most.