Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Italian Wine Tasting: Salem

Last night, at my first wine tasting at Salem Wine Imports, was very enjoyable. And I even met a couple other wine bloggers.

Before the tasting began, Eric, the owner of the store, offered me a taste of Lindeman's Framboise Lambic. I generally dislike all beer so I was a bit hesitant to try it but gave it a shot anyways. I was pleasantly surprised though as it really lacked a beer taste. It had a light effervescence and a pleasant raspberry taste with only a hint of sweetness. Though it is a beer, I actually liked it. This would be most enjoyable on a hot summer day.

For the wine tasting, Eileen Wright of Adonna Imports presented six Italian wines from her portfolio. Four of the wines were new to me and two of those really impressed me. I am always excited to try whatever new wines Adonna has added to their portfolio.

I started the tasting with the white, a 2006 Azienda Agricola Martilde "Gelo" Bianco ($12.99) from Lombardia, Provincia di Pavia. This wine is made from the Riesling Italico grape and has a 12.5% alcohol content. The label has the picture of a sheepdog named Gelo, owned by the wine maker. The wine is bright yellow in color and a mild citrus nose. You taste citrus flavors too and it is not really sweet at all. It has a crisp acidity with a dry finish. I liked this wine and it would be best chilled in the summer.

Next up, a 2004 Le Piane La Maggiorina ($12.99), Colline Novaresi Rosso DOC from Boca in the Piedmont. This wine is made from three unusual Italian grapes and one common one, including Croatina, Vepsolina, Uva Rara and Nebbiolo. It has an alcohol content of 12%. I loved the lush berry flavors of this wine. It was just bursting with bright fruit. There is some acidity and it does pucker your mouth a little bit. This would be a great food wine, from pizza to veal parmigiana. At this price, this is an excellent value for an everyday wine. It should please everyone.

I then moved on to the 2004 Solatione Chianti Classico ($22.99). This wine has a 13.5% alcohol content. This is a very good example of Chianti. There are solid cherry and raspberry flavors though they are more subdued. It has a full body and sufficient acidity to make this an excellent food wine. It has a decent length finish and is a bargain at this price.

I was very impressed with the next wine, the 2005 ReDondel Teroldego Rotaliano ($22.99) from Trentino. Teroldego is both the name of the grape as well as the region it comes from. It has a 12.5% alcohol content and 2005 is supposed to be a very good vintage. The wine is very dark red, almost inky. It has a potent aroma of black berries and plums. It is a full-bodied wine with a complex melange of flavors, including dark berries and spice. The tannins do not overpower and the finish is very long and satisfying. This reminded me a little of a good Zinfandel. I absolutely loved this wine and highly recommend it.

After the tasting, while wandering around the store, I decided to buy a few wines from Switzerland. I recently read that Switzerland exports only a small percentage of their wines so I was pleased to see that the wine store had three different wines in stock. I bought all three, one white and two reds. This includes the 2006 Provins Fendant du Valais, 2006 Jean-Rene Germanier Vetroz Dole Balavaud, and the 2006 Cave de La Côte – DuBaril Gamay Romand.

I can't wait to see how those wines taste. Have any of my readers had any wines from Switzerland?

Lastly, I had the pleasure at the tasting to meet two local wine bloggers, Taster A and Taster B from Smells Like Grape. It was not a planned meeting. We all just happened to be at the same tasting and Eric introduced us to each other. They were a very nice couple and we spent a little time talking about wine and the local wine scene. I expect we will run into each other at future tastings and I look forward to further chats with them. If you have not checked out their blog, then take a look.

The tasting was quite busy and it already seems that this new wine shop has attracted a good clientele. If you are in the Salem area on Tuesday nights, then stop by and taste some wines. You never know who you might meet.

Salem Wine Imports
32 Church Street
Salem, MA
Phone: 978-741-9463

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