If you thought you had unraveled the world of wine already, wait, there’s more!
By: Isabelle Kellogg
Posted on: May 22, 2023
Fluctuations in weather in some parts of the world gave us an opportunity to review and recap some of the memorable and recent wine tastings we’ve been attending, doing our best to learn all we can in order to be able to share our discoveries with you. These tastings of red, white, rose and sparkling wines took place in New York City at various locations, which proved to be quite enlightening!
Far Niente's Chardonnay Room.
Two of the world’s benchmark California-style, Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, are produced by Far Niente winery in Napa Valley (Oakville). In an exclusive, one-on-one tasting with winemaker Nicole Marchesi, a graduate of UC Davis’ renowned Viticulture and Enology, I learned that she arrived in 2005 at Far Niente as a budding enologist before advancing to oversee an empire of award-winning, splurge-able wines. She is dedicated to making wines that elegantly capture “terroir” and legacy of the Far Niente house style that many people pay top dollar for. With 40,000 square feet of underground caves to mimic European wine aging with naturally cool environments, Far Niente ages its wines in 100% French Oak barrels, to honor and preserve the influence of European winemaking techniques and grape varieties which produce European Old World wine in the grand style. Yes, very grand indeed!
The classically structured Cabernets are rich, silky and seductive in texture, layered in flavor, complex with long finishes, cassis and blackberry notes, and spicy oak aromas. Their estate bottled Napa Valley Chardonnay vines grow in deep, well-drained gravelly loam and volcanic ash soils releasing aromas of fig, citrus blossom, lemon zest and a crisp minerality in the glass. One final, long sip was of their Dolce, a 2015 late harvest dessert wine. This decadent white wine with a golden color is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The nose is filled with aromas of honey and stone fruits, while the palate is treated to flavors of ripe peaches, Meyer lemons and crème brûlée. Yummy!
Vines in bloom at Domaine de Marrenon.
In France, AOC Ventoux is in the southern region of the Rhone Valley where 150 winemakers are making fresh, well-priced wines in vineyards located in this cooler climate region, framed by two national parks and UNESCO biosphere reserves. They produce 54% red wines, 38% rose wines and 8% white wines in various climates and soils made up of clay, rock, sand and limestone. I cozied up to Marrenon’s Rosace which is a showstopping rosé wine with gorgeously perfumed rosé and white peach aromas, with a crisp acidity in a deep pink color, and savored every sip before moving on to Château Pesqui’s 2019 Quintessence red wine. Cheers!
On to Italy and its Amarone wines which are made in the Valpolicella valley in the Veneto region. Organized by Famiglie Storiche, wine makers from 13 wineries took us through each of their wines. Each wine we sampled is made using the appassimento method of partially drying grapes after harvest prior to bottling or casking. Afterwards, I had a few minutes to speak with Alberto Zenato whose family founded the winery called Zenato in 1960. The family-run business champions local grape varieties (there are five in the Valpolichella region: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta and Negrara) and traditional wine making in the region of Valpolicella. The Amarone Riserva “Sergio Zenato” 2007 DOC was full of cherry, tobacco, truffle and leather aromas with a luscious finish. Open and enjoy, or cellar this beauty!
Domaine Bourillon Dorleans Vouvrays.
Tastin’ France featured 25 French wine producers from seven regions. We focused on Vouvray white wines, a personal favorite, and sipped a selection presented by Bourillon D’Orleans. The underground cellar of the estate, located in the Loire Valley, dates to the 15th century and is filled with barrels of wine and ancient large-scale cave carvings which can be seen when visiting the winery. Dry white wines and sparkling wines are produced here using the Chenin Blanc grape for Vouvray wines which are absolutely delicious for any occasion, with their unique flavor of apple and pear with honey aromas in a balanced acidity and elegant long finish. Make the detour when you’re next in the Loire Valley for an unforgettable experience that combines history with wine.
In addition to a career in communications and marketing focused on the luxury lifestyle sector, including co-authoring and lecturing a case study on French heritage jeweler Mauboussin with Harvard Business School, Isabelle continues to share her experiences about fine art, wine, travel, jewelry and culture as a freelance writer for internationally based digital publications.