Mezzacorona Wine Takes You to the Alps!

Today January 31, 2015 is the final day to enter Mezzacorona Wine’s trip to the Dolomites so it seemed the perfect day to write about their wines and to encourage you to enter via this link. http://woobox.com/8ognsr/dgfbi0

Plus, after Tuesday’s Slow Wine tasting in Los Angeles where we tasted wine from 50 producers of Italian wines featured in the new Slow Wine Guide to Italian wine, I’m already in the Italian wine mood.

So Sue and I scoured through the cellar and found a few samples of Italian wine and set to researching them using the new Slow Wine Guide.

SLOW FOOD:The Slow Food Manifesto highlights the importance of  quality which is obtained by producing and creating food by processes that are Good, Clean, and Fair.”

SLOW WINE: “Small-scale wine makers working the land using traditional techniques with respect for the environment and terroir, while safeguarding the incredible biodiversity of grape varieties.”

SLOW WINE GUIDE: “Slow Wine Guide critiques wine through the perspective of the Slow Food philosophy giving prominence to small-scale wine makers who are using traditional techniques, working with respect for the environment and terroir, and safeguarding the incredible biodiversity of grape varieties that are part of Italy’s heritage.  Slow Wine is the only Italian wine guide that visits all of the wine makers included in the guide, in their vineyards.” 

While we didn’t find any of the wines we had in front of us in the Guide, we did find lots of useful information, and after a bit of deliberation, we decided to open and taste three wines from Mezzacorona and let you know about their contest before it is too late!

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One of the challenges of Slow Wine from Italy is that it is slow to catch on and slow to find. Not sure about your local grocery store, but mine carries Mezzacorona wines, which are  often on sale in the under $10 and the under $15 range –right in the sweet spot for dinner!

What we loved about the Slow Wine guide is it offers a map to help locate where the region is and offers an overview of the region plus information about the myriad of grapes which makes Slow Wine from Italy so exciting. It seems like every corner of Italy has their own indigenous grapes –many of which I got to taste last Tuesday.

So many kinds of grapes are grown in Italy, many of them known little outside of Italy and with little exposure. Rumor has it most Italian wineries keep the best for themselves and export the rest so there’s many we don’t know because they haven’t been exporting them here–you have to go to Italy to experience them.

Mezzacorona is located in the Trentino wine growing region in the Dolomites which is in the far north of Italy next to the Swiss border.

According to the Slow Wine Guide, “Trentino is a controversial territory, a land of a thousand nuances, species of yin and yang where positive aspects and negative live side by side.”

While Trentino has its share of rather obscure (at least in the US) vines, one Italian wine that has made a huge splash is pinot grigio and we tasted two 2013s from Mezzacorona.
The Slow Wine Guide states that 2013 was a challenging vintage in Italy but the whites fared better than the reds because of a warm summer.
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The first Pinot grigio retails under $10. It offers a nice nose with floral notes of honeysuckle. Sharp at first with citrus, it then has a long finish. Very interesting in that it shifts from when it is colder to be more acid with decent minerality steely at first then the finish is fruit– mostly white stone fruit like apricot and some jackfruit or juicy fruit. This is great lunch, beach or party wine because of the fruit but enough acid to be good with food

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The second “Cliffhanger” Pinot grigio is not as fruity, more acidic and hence better with food. This wine offers more balance, more minerality, so better with salads, and really great with seafood and oysters. Sue loved this one, and for under $15, it’s a great wine.

The third wine from Mezzacorona was also a “CLiffhanger” which on the bottle says  “Reserve level Proprietary Red Blend.” With some research on the Mezzacorona website, we learned that it is a blend of  two Trentino indigenous grapes: 30% Lagrein and 70% Teroldego. The grapes on grown on and around steep, granite terraces and ledges in the Dolomite Mountains. I’ll tell you, this is something I’d sure like to see and explore! The Adige River’s cool air creates a microclimate and they vines are watered by melting Glaciers.

Further research told us that Lagrein is a descendent of Teroldego and has been around since the 17th century.  Teroldego is the most common grape grown in the Trentino territory of Italy.

The red blend has a gorgeous deep dark dense color like a red rose making it a  nice wine for Valentine’s Day especially since the color is matched by a floral nose that’s also fruit forward. Overall a friendly, heady wine that made us think that if you liked zinfandel, you’d like this wine, and that it would pair with similar foods. It offers fresh ripe plum fruit with spice and richness and a little black pepper on the finish. We used some of this wine to cook wild duck with vegetables, apple, and cherry preserves, which I served with apple chutney, and it was wonderful.

Tonight I will pair these wines with seared ahi on field greens with blueberries and white Stilton. While usually you’d not think of red wine with white, ahi is a “red” fish and many red wines pair well with it.

Because of its value, Sue and I agreed that we’d look for the Cliffhanger wines on restaurant lists because these are exactly the kind of wine we are often looking for by the glass.

The Cliffhanger Proprietary Red Blend is $14 according to 1000 Corks.

Note these wines were sent to me as samples for my review consideration.

 

 

 

 

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