“V” wines were the topic of our Thursday night tasting at Fine Wines of Stockton. Does this mean grape varieties that begin with “V”? Or, maybe it’s the winery or region that begins with “V”. Craig, one of the wine staff at Fine Wines of Stockton, presented this tasting. Let’s see what he came up with. Our assignment for the evening was to choose our favorite wine.
2010 Zantho Grüner Veltliner. Grüner Veltliner is a widely-planted variety in Austria, where it originated. It is common in Slovakia and Chech Republic as well, where it is known as Veltlinské Zelené. This variety produces abundant fruit and is late-ripening. Often referred to at “grüvee” in Austria, flavors in this wine can vary widely depending where the grapes are grown. They can exhibit flavors of citrus, floral, minerals, spice or stone fruit.
Citrus and honeysuckle scents are followed by citrus, mineral and honey flavors with lots of acidity and a bit of a round mouth-feel. This very complex-flavored wine would pair nicely with spicy foods or rich, creamy dishes. It will taste great all summer long and was the favorite wine of the group.
2011 Roccadelle Macie Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This white grape variety, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, is unique to the hill town of San Gimignano in Tuscany. Although other varieties are referred to as Vernaccia in other parts if Italy, they are unrelated to this variety. It is vigorous, produces plentiful fruit and flourishes in the sandstone vineyards in this area.
This DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata garantita) is vinified from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano and is pale yellow in the glass. The nose is distinctly floral, think freesias. Flavors are completely different than the nose. The nose was so floral and the flavors contrast with citrus rind, minerals and a steely finish. I would describe this wine as austere. It has pleasant flavors, but is somewhat subdued, especially in comparison to the exuberant nose. This wine would taste great with oysters or steamed mussels.
2010 La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna. Vermentino is known by various names. In southern France it is Rolle, in Piedmont it is Favoria, in Liguria it is Pigato. DNA for all is identical. Vermentino is an important variety on Sardegna (Sardinia). In the northern portion of the island, DOCG designation has been granted to Vermentino di Gallura. DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) designation applies to Vermentino di Sardegna elsewhere on the island.
This wine was light yellow and slightly viscous in the glass. The nose was reminiscent of Riesling (petrol). Flavors tasted of summer melons and white peaches. This wine had great acidity and a rounder mouth-feel. It would be excellent with spicy food or anything rich and creamy.
2011 Sauvion Vouvray. In this case, Vouvray is the location, near Tours within the Loire Valley, France. Chenin Blanc is the grape variety grown almost exclusively within Vouvray. The grape variety is thought to have originated in Anjou, just downriver from Vouvray. Several styles of wine are made from Chenin Blanc depending on weather. Styles range from dry, to sparkling to sweet dessert wines.
This very complex Vouvray showed scents of pears and melons and followed with flavors of melon, tropical fruit and minerals. This wine was slightly sweet but still had great acidity.
2010 Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso. Once again, Valpolicella is the location rather than the grape variety. Valpolicella is located within Varona in northeastern Italy. Winemaking in this region is said to date back to the ancient Greeks. Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara are the major grape varieties included in Valpolicella.
Ripasso is a method developed to give the lighter Valpolicella more flavor and body. This process uses seeds and stems left from the fermentation of Amarone as an addition to the Valpolicella after initial fermentation to produce a secondary fermentation. Valpolicella has been granted DOC status.
This ruby-colored wine had black pepper and plums on the nose. It had a very light body and red fruit and plum flavors and smooth tannins. Overall, this was a very light-tasting red wine. It would be a good warm-weather red wine when a heavy-bodied red wine might be too much.
2007 Vinosia Taurasi. The producer of this wine is Vinosia. Taurasi is the location northeast of Naples in the Campania wine region of Italy. Tourasi has been granted DOCG status and according to regulations, wines must be at least 85% Aglianico, but many are 100%. Anglianico, most likely originated in Campania. It is a dark-skinned variety that is late-ripening and produces highly tannic, flavorful wines. It has been called “the Barolo of the south” for this reason.
This very dark ruby-colored wine had scents of sweet, dried fruit with concentrated dark fruit flavors of dried plums and figs. Tannins were significant and extremely drying. This wine was a mouthful.
There was something for every palate in this tasting. The white wines were all very crisp with good acidity. Flavors ranged from citrus and minerals to melons. All of these white wines will be good during the summer.
The red wines showed a contrast in style. The Vapolicella was a light-colored, light-bodied red wine and had very smooth tannins. This would also make an excellent choice for summertime sipping. The Taurasi was dark and rich and could pair with barbecued steak or a spicy tomato pasta.
What a nice selection of “V” wines. We were able to learn about new varieties, wineries and wine regions. Our wine education continues.
Reference: Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, José Vouillamoz