Tua Rita and Two from Notri

We had just finished tasting six wines from Damilano with Thomas Cuni at The Fine Wine Source, Livonia, Michigan and then we were going to taste four wines from Azienda Agricola  Tua Rita.  Tua Rita is located just outside Suvereto in the Colline Metallifere hill country of Tuscany.   They are famed for their Redigaffi IGT Toscana and the 2000 vintage was the first Italian wine to get a perfect 100-point rating from Robert Parker.  Rita Tuan and her husband, Virgilio Bisti bought two hectares of land in 1984 and planted it with Cabernet and Merlot.  They later purchased an additional 17.5 acres and did more planting.  It has been said that the wines of Tua Rita are some of the most difficult wines to find in Italy.

We started off this tasting with Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri Toscana IGT 2019 and is their entry-level wine showcasing recently planted vines of Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot.  A hillside vineyard of twenty-five acres of pebbles and clay soil with southern exposure.  The first vintage of this wine was in 2000 and this wine is a blend of forty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, forty-percent Merlot, ten percent Syrah and ten percent Cabernet Franc.  Initial Fermentation is for fifteen days, with maceration for an additional twenty days and then Malolactic Fermentation for twenty days in Stainless Steel.  The wines are then blended aged in French Oak for three months, and then six months in the bottle before release.  A deep ruby wine that offered notes of black fruits along with cocoa and spices.  On the palate tones of black cherries, blackberries, plums, silky tannins, balanced and a nice finish of fruit and spices. An ideal wine immediately.

We then had the Tua Rita Giusto di Notri Toscana IGT 2018 and the first vintage of this wine was 1992.  The word “Giusto” is in homage to the Patron Saint of Suvereto and “Notri” is the name of the winery’s exact location.  The wine is a blend of eighty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, ten percent Merlot and ten percent Cabernet Franc.  Initial Fermentation was for fifteen days, with a maceration period of twenty-five days in Stainless Steel.  Malolactic Fermentation and about twenty months of aging in French Oak barriques (a mix of new and once used).  A deep purple wine offering notes of black fruits, florals and spices.  On the palate tones of blackberry, plum and currants and some vanilla, in a full bodied wine with good tannins, a silky texture and a nice finish of fruit and terroir.  This wine would be wonderful with a bit of aging in the cellar.                 

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Damilano Barolos – Lecinquevigne and Two from Cannubi   

Thomas Cuni, the Brand Manager for Damilano Azienda Agricola srl was really pouring some stellar wines at The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. Damilano is located in the La Morra district of Barolo, and Barolo is so revered in Italy, that when they created the DOCG status, only Barolo and two other areas were awarded.  There are twelve parishes of Barolo, and it is almost to the layman’s eye as Byzantine as Burgundy.  The area has a very complex topography with countless small hills, and the southern exposures are planted in Nebbiolo and the northern exposures are planted with another varietal.  Even the soils and meso-climates can very between the communes.  In fact, there is an informal “cru” status, based on the official, structured model used in Burgundy, and winemaker Renato Ratti was instrumental in this map and designation for : Cannubi, Sarmazza, Brunate, Cerequio, Rocche, Monprivato, Villero, Lazzarito, Vigna Rionda, Bussia, Ginestra and Santo Stefano di Perno.

The first of the Barolo wines was Damilano “Lecinquevigne” Barolo DOCG 2016.  Lecinquevigne is made from five distinct Nebbiolo sites in Barolo, and the fruit is from five vineyards in four different parishes: Barolo, Grinzane Cavour and Monforte, and they all are on elevated sites with southern exposure with calcareous and clay soils.  The vineyards were planted from 1970-1990, hence the average age for the vines is around forty years. The first vintage of this wine was 2002.  Initial Fermentation is done for fifteen days in Stainless Steel with an additional ten days of maceration.  Then the juice is aged for twenty-four months in a mix of 20 hl to 100 hl barrels.  This is followed with an additional twelve months of aging in the bottle, before being released.  The ruby red wine offered an intense nose of roses, leather, tobacco, violets and tar.  On the palate tones of black cherry, cranberry, with really tight tannins and a nice long-count finish of dried fruit and terroir.  I am sure as this wine matures more, the tannins will open up with secondary and tertiary tones of truffles and chocolate.  This may have been opened early, as 2016 is considered one of the best vintages for Barolo.

Then we had a real treat as we tried Damilano Cannubi Barolo DOCG 2017, followed by Damilano Cannubi Barolo DOCG 2016.  Cannubi “Cru” is found within one of the six core zones which comprise the fiftieth UNESCO site in Italy.  An elevated hillside vineyard with a southern exposure on soil that is a mix of Calcareous Marl of Clay, Limestone and Sand with low potassium and a high calcium/magnesium content that offers unique notes and tones to the wine.  The first vintage of this single vineyard “Cru” wine was 1935.  The vineyard underwent replanting from 1970 – 1990, and now the average age of the vines are forty years.  This wine is pure Nebbiolo and the Initial Fermentation is for fifteen days in Stainless Steel, followed by ten days of Maceration using the Submerged-Cap technique.  The wine is then aged for twenty-four months in a mix of 20 hl to 100 hl barrels, with an additional twelve months of aging in the bottle.  We started with the 2017, a nice ruby-red wine that offered notes of black fruits, leather, tobacco and menthol (tar).  On the palate tones of cherries, plums/prunes, spices, and tight tannins, and a nice long-count finish of dried fruit, some heat and some terroir.  The 2016 had similar offerings, but on the palate, it was a bigger wine that was really chewy, a term that I learned fifty years ago, and I still like using it, when a wine is very expressive.  I think that both wines were still youthful, the 2016 has been outstanding each time that I have had it, and I am reading that some feel that the 2017 may end up being another stellar vintage.     

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Damilano Marghe and Barbera d’Asti

One of the true joys of going to my local wine shop the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan is when they have a wine tasting, like the one recently conducted by Thomas Cuni of the winery.  Some wine tastings are very stiff and rigid, but not here, they are very accommodating and everyone becomes friends by the end of the tasting; even with that obnoxious guy that is always taking photos, when he should be tasting.  The Damilano name has more than a hundred years of winemaking in the heart of Barolo.  Damilano Azienda Agricola is located in the La Morra district of Barolo, and as a side note, the winery also owns a Michelin starred restaurant in La Morra. They produce five wines from Barolo and they also produce wines from Alba, Langhe, Asti and a Grappa di Nebbiolo di Barolo.

The first red wine to be tasted was the Damilano “Marghe” Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2019.  The Nebbiolo wines of the Langhe are often looked at as a “junior” version of a Barolo or a Barbaresco and the region does not have hard and fast rules like the other two.  This wine is dedicated to “Marghe” the nickname of Margherita Damilano who passed away in 2010.  The vineyard in Langhe for this wine is eighteen acres on calcareous and clay soil on a south-facing hillside.  They began planting vines in 1970 through 1990 and the average age of the vines is forty years and the first vintage was 2011. The wine is pure Nebbiolo and Initial Fermentation is for twelve days, with twelve days of maceration.  Then full Malolactic Fermentation and aging in barrels for twelve months, followed by an additional two months in bottle.  A pretty ruby red wine of red fruits and violets.  On the palate dark cherries and spices with velvety smooth tannins and a nice finish of fruit.  Definitely ready to drink or to put away for a bit.

We then went with the Damilano Barbera d’Asti DOCG 2019.  The regulations require that the wine must be at least ninety percent Barbera.  The alcohol level must be at least 12 (12.5 for Superiore).  This wine is pure Barbera from a forty-acre vineyard of southern exposure that was planted in 1998 on calcareous soil and the first vintage was 2008, and the average age of the vines in thirty years.  Initial Fermentation was for twelve days, with six days of Maceration in Stainless Steel.  Full Malolactic Fermentation for six month is Stainless Steel.  A deep purple-red wine offering notes of red fruit and spices.  On the palate tones of currants, cherries, violets, and a trace of vanilla and almonds; nice acidity and soft tannins with a nice finish of fruit.    

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Damilano, Thomas Cuni and a Tasting

The old expression that there is no place like home, is so true, especially after holidays and I stopped at my kind of home away from home, that is The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. It was an extremely fun, lively and informative session and this Raconteur took a back seat to another Raconteur and I enjoyed the entire time.  They were having a wine tasting and I was able to meet Thomas Cuni the Brand Manager for Damilano Azienda Agricola Srl.  Thomas Cuni was born and raised in Northern Italy and is quite passionate about the wine industry.  He has been in production, import and distribution and direct to consumer sales in the industry.  He studied Food Science Technology and Oenology in Bologna (the oldest University in Europe).  After ten years working in both New York City and Los Angeles, he returned to Italy to take over the export business for the historic Damilano in Barolo for the USA, Asian and European markets.

Damilano Azienda Agricola is located in the La Morra district Barolo.  The family business dates back to 1890 when Giuseppe Borgogno began producing wines from his own vineyards.  It is one of the jewels of Langhe area, and in 1997 the winery was passed on to his grandchildren Paolo, Mario and Guido who are still striving to constantly improve the wines, each and every vintage.  The estate has fifty-three hectares, and they produce four single vineyard wines from plots in four Barolo Cru vineyards.  They also produce wines from outside of Barolo as well.

The first wine I tasted after introductions was the Damilano Arneis Langhe DOC 2021. Arneis is in the Roero area between Langhe and Monferrato.  Millions of years ago the region was salty water up to the Alps, as the water receded the seabed became the deposits of sand that the Roero hills are located.  Arneis is a white grape from the Piedmont, and it was almost extinct, and is now enjoying a revival. In the old days, many of the wine growers would have vineyards of Arneis surrounding the Nebbiolo plantings for protection.  By the Sixties there were only a few hectares still planted and with the new interest Arneis has become synonymous with Roero, and is affectionately referred by some as “White Barolo.”  Damilano had their first vintage of Arneis in 2006 and today the average age of the vines are twenty years.  The fermentation of this wine is in Stainless Steel is for twenty days and then aged for two months.  The straw yellow wine offered notes of white florals.  On the palate, where one would expect a delicate wine, this wine has body, moderate acidity and tones of pears, apricots, apples and a nice finish of terroir and hazelnut.  As we were discussing this wine, I mentioned that I still have maybe six bottles of another Arneis wine, and this one just surprised me on so many layers, we had a couple of different discussions of this wine with different people and all agreed that this wine was special and a great value.    

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fine Wine Source Club – March 2023

It is so enjoyable to go collect my wine club selections each month at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan.  I know that every wine on the shelves has been personally curated by the owner and his staff, and once in a blue moon, I may even be asked my opinion about a wine, that will later be one of the selections.  It is always a joy to look forward to the wine club selections, because, as I have said they may not appear on my radar, for a wine that I am looking for at the moment.  The club selections have always offered one wine from the Old World and one from the New World.   Though the club also allows me to get case discounting, even if I stop to get a bottle or two, and there is always the possibility of an impromptu wine tasting as well.

The wine representing the Old World is Gitton Pere et Fils Coteaux du Giennois Rouge.  Marcel and Huguette Gitton established their winery in 1945 from half a hectare of vineyards and now have over thirty-three hectares around the Sancerre area.  They are now in the third generation of family for the estate.  Coteaux du Giennois, formerly Coteaux de Gien is the appellation for red, white and rosé wines from fourteen parishes around Gien, which is between Orleans and Sancerre in the Loire Valley.  White wines account for sixty percent of the output and it is from Sauvignon Blanc, the reds are mostly Gamay and some Pinot Noir.  The terroir of the region is limestone or silica-based soils.  The area produces about one-million bottles of wine a year very little of it is sold outside of France.  This wine is pure Pinot Noir, with the vines averaging about forty-five years of age.  Vignoble Gitton respects the nuance of each plot, and hence each cuvee is made into a separate wine.  I couldn’t find any production notes, but this red wine per reviews offers notes of stone fruit, white pepper, and forest mushrooms.  On the palate tones of morello cherry, tart cherry and cranberry with a velvety feel and a finish of cherry and terroir.

The New World is represented by Tortoise Creek Wines “The Revivalist” Merlot Clarksburg 2018 and part of Winesellers Limited.  Winesellers Limited was founded by Yale Sager in 1978 and began as a one-man operation selling wines in the Midwest and over the last forty years has become a recognized importer and marketer of family-owned wineries produced in both well known and unique regions of the world. The concept of Tortoise Creek is to work with small farmers who focus on sustainable farming in California.  The wine is predominately Merlot with Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon mixed in.  Clarksburg is near Sacramento, and is very similar in climate to Carneros with sandy loams and alluvial clay soils.  The grapes are crushed into Stainless Steel vats for Initial Fermentation for ten days and pumped over three times a day to extract maximum flavors and color and then extended maceration on the skins for an additional week.  The wine goes through Malolactic Fermentation and aged for six months in French Oak.  The deep red wine is described as having notes of black cherries and plums, with herbs, spices and a smoky aroma.  On the palate tones of cherries, blackberries, blueberries in a medium bodied “jammy wine” with secondary tones of smoke, maple and brown sugar with soft  tannins.         

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Establishment in Charleston

We finally culminated Ms. Yoga’s birthday at the Establishment in Charleston.  Originally, another friend of Ms. Yoga was going to fly down for the weekend, but at the last minute that fell through.  Then Ms. Yoga invited another couple that we have never met, and it was different.  Ms. Yoga had suggested a chain restaurant and I thought we could find something more interesting.  I used my trusty Wine Spectator annual restaurant guide and found someplace very appealing, Ms. Yoga acquiesced, but the other couple that currently lived in Charleston were for the chain venue, until Ms. Yoga started asking around and got rave reviews, and when the concierge at her hotel gave it high marks, as well as the bar service at the two other bars did the same, it was all good.  

The Establishment list themselves as “Charleston’s Seafood Restaurant” and a lofty title that is.  It is located in the historic James Gregorie House in downtown Charleston and they have two dining areas, two private dining rooms, an open kitchen with a chef’s counter, a curated wine carte and a full cocktail bar.  My Bride and I decided to share an appetizer and an entrée, which is becoming our norm.  We started off with Chicken Liver Mousse and Duck Rillette, Cornichon and Blackberry Mustard.  Then we had Golden Tilefish, White Beans and Lacinato Kale, as this was a new fish for both of us.  I figured that since everyone at the table was getting fish or sea food, I would start with Senda Verde Godello Bierzo DO 2020. Senda Verde is a collection of artisanal wines that follow the 43ºN parallel along the northern coastline of Spain, the collection belongs to MGH Wines of Spain.  Bierzo was once inhabited by the Romans who mined tons of gold from the region.  The soil is predominately slate and granite, which makes for a mineral character and a very refreshing wine. Bierzo was accorded DO status in 1989, which greatly improved the region for popularity and profile.  The varietal Godello was considered for years as Verdelho, or the Portuguese Verdello, but DNA profiling shows that it is a separate entity of its own. The harvest is done by hand, cooled, then inspected, destemmed and pressed, the gross lees removed and then fermented.  The juice is then aged on fine lees for four months presumably in Stainless Steel, clarified, filtered, and bottled.  The wine was a straw-yellow color and offered notes of stone fruits, florals, spices, and minerals.  On the palate tones of stone fruit, zests of lemon and lime, balanced with a nice medium finish of terroir. Ideal for the fish.

I was asked for my opinion of another wine, and was told by the other couple that only big reds are with fish, so I tried to find a red that I thought would compliment fish.  I selected Domaine Julien Cecillon Syrah “Les Gravier” IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2021.  The estate was founded in 2011 by the American Nancy Kerschen and a Rhone native Julien Cecillon with a vineyard in Saint Joseph.  The Syrah is a blend of fruit harvested from Northern Rhone, Ardeche, and Provencal.  The vineyards are a mix of clay and granite.  Collines Rhodandiennes is the IGP for all three colors of wine for the northern Rhone Valley. The soil is a mix of sandstone, limestone, and granite.  A nice garnet red wine with notes of red fruit, pepper and a trace of violets.  On the palate this wine was red fruit, spices, and soft tannins with a nice finish of terroir, this wine was made to be enjoyed young.  My Bride and I enjoyed this wine with our appetizer. 

Ms. Yoga decided that she wanted to order a bottle of wine as well, and she selected Finca Sophenia “Synthesis” Malbec Tupungato, Argentina 2019.  Finca Sophenia started selling their wines form Tupungato, Mendoza in 2004.  Tupungato is the northernmost subregion of the Uco Valley of Mendoza.  It sits at the foot of a volcano by the same name on a high elevation as part of the Andes and has alluvial soil. It is considered one of the most important subregions of the area.  The fruit is hand harvested and starts with cold maceration for about five day, and Initial Fermentation is done with local yeasts and Malolactic Fermentation follows for a total period of about a month.  Then the wine is aged for almost a year in mostly French Oak with a small proportion of American Oak.  A nice ruby red wine with notes of red fruits, florals, and spices.  On the palate rich red fruit with some cocoa and vanilla, velvety tannins and a nice medium finish of fruit and terroir.  My Bride and I enjoyed this wine after we finished our meal.    

Posted in Dining, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“It’s My Birthday” Part Three

As we were slowly getting to our destination for dinner, we were still celebrating Ms. Yoga’s birthday and by this time in the afternoon, we were glad that we had borrowed the umbrellas from her hotel.  We ended up on Broad Street in Charleston at the Blind Tiger Pub.  We had only walked about seven blocks and this is my kind of town for a vacation.  Besides being the birth place of Rhett Butler, the downtown was thriving with a mix of emporiums and restaurants and bars, and they were all independents.  When we are out, I like to get the feeling of the town, the chains have to same feeling and architecture where ever you are and what fun is that?

“Blind Tiger” was coined in the late 1800’s to describe the illicit drinking and gambling establishments that were opening up, to counter the Temperance Societies and legislation, when Nanny States started permeating the scene.  In Detroit, I had always heard the term “Blind Pig” for the same type of business, and they still flourish, if one knows where to seek them.  Local lore even seems to suggest that Broad Street was home to houses of “ill repute” which may have added to the mystique of the area.  The Blind Tiger Pub that sheltered us from the rain was reborn in 2016 and as we entered the bar and the restaurant area was completely packed or had “reserved” placards on the tables, so the place was lively and popular.  It was suggested that we go to the back room with was an outdoor atrium with umbrella covered tables and bar built under an eaves and we found a spot that we could stay dry as we went to wet our whistle.

Ms. Yoga announced at the bar again that it was her birthday and she received another complimentary drink for the occasion.  My Bride decided that she would sit this round out, as she knew that eventually she would be the designated driver.  I joined Ms. Yoga and had a glass of Cambria Estate Winery “Katherine’s Vineyard” Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County 2021.  This winery was created when Barbara Banke along with her spouse Jess Jackson acquired the original Tepusquet vineyard in 1986, and then with their daughters Kate Jackson and Julia Jackson have kept the family business going, nurturing cool-climate varietals ever since.  The estate cover fourteen-hundred-acres of undulating topography and an assortment of soil types.  They use four different clones of Chardonnay to produce this wine and eighty-five percent of the vines were planted in the Seventies.  The fruit is whole cluster pressed and sixty-five percent is barrel fermented with malolactic fermentation; and thirty-five percent Stainless Steel fermentation, but not malolactic fermentation.  The wine is aged Sur-Lie for five and a half-month, with twenty percent in New Oak barrels.  A golden-colored wine that offers notes of white fruit and florals.  On the palate tones of peaches, pears and a touch of lemon zest, some oakiness, but balance with a lively acidity and a short finish of some terroir.    

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

“It’s My Birthday” Part Two

Ms. Yoga was taking Charleston by storm with, no prisoners as we were going to make a day of it, until her birthday dinner.  It looked like rain, but as the three of us left the Renaissance Hotel for another adventure, we availed ourselves of some umbrellas from the lobby and under the auspices of the doorman.  We started our adventure to the dinner location and Ms. Yoga wanted to stop at the Charleston Place, but the Grille was not open, so we went to their Thoroughbred Club and we bellied up to the bar and in typical shyness Ms. Yoga announced that it was her birthday. 

Lo and behold, Ms. Yoga was awarded a complimentary glass of Robert Talbott Vineyards Kali Hart Chardonnay Monterey 2021.  Now this winery is near and dear to my heart, as I used to get Christmas Cards from Audrey Talbott for years, because she and her husband back in 1950 moved to Carmel and began making silk ties for men’s stores.  In 1982, the Diamond T Vineyard was planted and it began.  Two of the vineyard’s are named after Robb’s (the son) children and one is Kali Hart.  This estate grown wine was a beautiful golden color and offered notes of nuts and melons.  On the palate Marcona almonds, lemon and soft butter tones in a delightful and well-balanced young white with a short finish of terroir.

My Bride keeping to her tradition had a class of Scarpetta Pinot Grigio Friuli DOC 2021.  Scarpetta wines began in the Friuli-Venezia Giuli region in 2007 and since then has expanded into other regions of Italy as well.  Scarpetta is an old Italian term for that last piece of bread that is used to soak up the last of the sauce on your dinner plate. The fruit is from the Graves (gravel) region of Friuli- Venezia Giuli and thirty percent of the fruit comes from the Colli Orientali steep hillsides.  The fruit is destemmed and fermented in Stainless Steel for twelve hours and then aged on the lees for six months in Stainless Steel.  A rich straw colored wine that offered notes of stone fruit and melon.  On the palate tones of stone fruit and melon, nicely balanced with bright acidity and a medium weight wine with a finish offering some terroir.

I decided to keep with the whites and had a glass of J & H Selbach Riesling Spatlese Mosel 2016 produced by Selbach-Oster in the Mosel Valley.  They have been producing wines in the region for over four-hundred years and they own twenty-four hectares of vineyards in the “golden mile.”  Almost none existent trade notes for such an old winemaker.  The wine had a soft-yellow color with a tinge of pink or salmon to it and it offered notes of white tree fruits and a touch of melon.  On the palate this was an off-dry wine with tones of apples and pears, with a soupcon of honey in a pleasant balanced wine.       

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“It’s My Birthday” Part One

No, not my birthday and not my Bride’s.  While we were staying at Hilton Head Island we made a side trip to Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate with Ms. Yoga.  Ms. Yoga doesn’t live in Charleston, but she decided to celebrate her birthday there and we went to join her.  We pulled into the Renaissance Hotel to check our car in, because it is another city that is difficult to find parking.  Ms. Yoga, had already made arrangements with the attendants, and they were well aware that it was her birthday, not only did they know, but the hotel en masse knew and she even received a chilled bottle of wine with glasses for the occasion. Auntie Mame lives.

Ms. Yoga wanted to start the day off with a picnic in the lobby of her hotel, and we went into a coffee shop there, and they really didn’t have anything of note to add to the festivities, but the young man there suggested that we go to “Caviar and Bananas” only a couple of blocks away to get some accompaniments for the wine.  The shop that we went to had a little bit of everything from lunches to go, beverages and munchies.  So, we got some crackers, a couple different wedges of cheese, and a sausage.  We also got some paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins.  When we got back to the lobby, I tried to used one of the plastic knives to cut the sausage to no avail.  Ms. Yoga went back to the coffee shop and returned with a knife that would, it was a steak knife by Laguiole, go figure.  While I was prepping our picnic with the impromptu charcuterie plate, the ladies went to get the complimentary bottle of wine and glasses.

As the ladies finished prepping our picnic in the lobby, I opened Ms. Yoga’s birthday present from the hotel, of Can Xa Cava Brut Penedes NV.  The winery was established in 2007 and is part of the wines from the De Andres Sisters and the vines are twenty to forty year olds.  The wine is fifty percent Xarel-lo, twenty-five percent Macabeo and twenty-five percent Parellada.  The wine is aged for nine months before disgorgement, in the classic Methode Traditionelle.  The wine was a pale golden color with plenty of intense smaller bubbles.  On the nose there were tones of apples, citrus, florals, and almonds; and on the palate apples, mousse, some honey, balanced with good acidity, probably a bit sweeter for a Brut, but I enjoyed it, with a nice medium count finish with terroir. 

Posted in Dining, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dining at Sea Pines

We were going to eat at The Crazy Crab at Harbour Town which is located in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.  I found this restaurant on the internet, just like everyone else and Harbour Town has a bit of a reputation, as there is a lighthouse there, that was strictly built as a conversation piece and not for what a lighthouse is actually designed for, and if you want to see the view from the lighthouse, you must pay for that right at the giftshop that is located in the base of the building right off of the marina.  And speaking of paying, to go eat or shop at Harbour Town, you have to pay a toll, which everyone seems to forget to mention in the websites and brochures, etc.  I mean we have taken 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, when we have stayed in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the toll is gladly taken off at a restaurant, bar or shop after you purchase or dine there.  In Harbour Town such a service was unknown. 

We got to Harbour Town, paid the toll at “Checkpoint Charley” and proceeded to navigate this extensive, for a lack of a better term, a gated community.  The shopping area at Harbour Town looked quite expansive, so we got there early to shop and to walk, which is one of our favorite pastimes.  Even after checking all the shopping and walking around the marina, it wasn’t as large as it appeared.  We went in to The Crazy Crab to relax after our strenuous walk, gets some wine and eventually to eat.  We started off with Castello Banfi San Angelo Pino Grigio Toscana IGT 2021.  Castello Banfi was founded in Tuscany in 1978 by the Italian-American brothers John and Harry Mariani.  Its origins is in their father’s business, Banfi Vintner, founded in 1919 and at one time was the largest Italian wine importer.  The estate encompasses 2870 hectares planted with both indigenous and international varieties.  Their portfolio is huge from opening price wines to muscular and bold “Super Tuscans.” The fermentation is done in Stainless Steel tanks, and then aged on the lees for two months in Stainless Steel.  A pale straw-colored wine that offered notes of pear and florals.  On the palate there were tones of pear and citrus with nice balanced acidity and very easy to start our meal off. 

We started off with She Crab Soup which is very rich and hardy.  Then we split an order of Broiled Scallops and Jumbo Shrimp.  I am getting used to the fact that I can no longer eat like a teenager.  Then we enjoyed a bottle of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Chardonnay Sonoma County 2020. In 1971 Joe Martin planted Merlot and Chardonnay in Sonoma Valley and by 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton, they created St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.  They now have over three-hundred-eighty-acres of vineyards with an assortment of terroirs.  This wine is a blend of fruit harvested from several of their estates and grower-contracts in Sonoma Valley.  The fruit is harvested at night and pressed whole cluster in the morning and fermented in different lots.  The wine then undergoes partial Malolactic fermentation and is aged for six months in French Oak.  The soft golden colored wine offered notes of butterscotch, apples and orange blossoms.  On the palate pear and almond with additional tones of almonds and lemon zest with a creamy, balanced flavor and a nice finish of terroir.    

Posted in Dining, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment