Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 
Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide


 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 150, April 2016   
Contrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and CroatinaContrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Croatina Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 149, March 2016 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 151, May 2016

Contrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Croatina

Protagonists of wines having an immediate and direct character, the two red grapes of this month are widely used for the production of table and semi sparkling wines

 Semi sparkling wines have always played an important role in wine making and they are receiving a good appreciation from consumers. This wine style, different from fully sparkling wines, has always had alternate glory and their appreciation changed in the course of time and according to what producers were making. Semi sparkling wines - characterized by a lower pressure in the bottle than fully sparkling wines - are however successful and represent an important factor in wine market. Their consumption is typically associated to informal moments and to certain food traditions, to semi sparkling wines is usually recognized a lower prestige than the most “complex and joyous” sparkling wine. Irreplaceable companions of many Italian tables, semi sparkling wines certainly deserve a better consideration, while it should also be said - for the sake of truth - their quality is sometimes pretty low.


 

 According to the European directives, semi sparkling wines must have a pressure in the bottle of at least one atmosphere and not more than 2.5 at the temperature of 20 °C. For the sake of completeness, it should be noticed quality sparkling wines must have a minimum pressure of 3.5 atmospheres, 3 in case of generic sparkling wines. Semi sparkling wines are produced by using many techniques, of which the most common one is the fermentation in closed tank. In many cases, in particular for bulk wines, it is frequently used carbonation, that is adding carbon dioxide to a base wine. In Italy these wines are particularly common in the Po Valley, usually called “vivaci” (lively), and they are well matched to the cooking of those lands. Grapes belonging to the vast family of lambruschi, as well as Croatina, are particularly suited for the production of semi sparkling wines. For the sake of completeness, it should be said these grapes are also successfully used for the production of table wines.

 The family of lambrusco grapes is quite vast and its members are widely used for the production of semi sparkling wines, in particular in the western side of Emilia Romagna. Lambrusco grapes are also found in the eastern side of the region, however in this territory - the so called Romagna - wine making is mainly focused on table wines. Lambrusco has a very long history and it is considered one of the most ancient indigenous grapes of Italy, as it is a spontaneous wild plant already known at the times of ancient Romans. It is in fact believed Lambrusco directly originates from Vitis Vinifera Silvestre, that is spontaneous and wild, still common today and which gave origin to one of the most famous Italian wines. Virgil, Cato the Elder, Marcus Terentius Varro and Pliny the Elder have in fact written about Vitis Labrusca, although they did not mention wine making associated to this grape.

 It will be in the 1300s they will start writing about wines made from Lambrusco grape. In 1567 Andrea Bacci - personal doctor of pope Sixtus V - wrote that in the hills of Modena they were making wines from lambrusche grapes having a spicy and foamy character. The first one who worked on the classification of Lambrusco was Francesco Agazzotti - around the half of 1800s - and he identified the three main types: Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Grasparossa. To them will be then added Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Viadanese, Lambrusco Montericco and Lambrusco Marani, as well as other less known types and having a marginal wine making use. Today Lambrusco is mainly produced by fermenting it in closed tank and made as dry, slightly sweet and sweet styles, both red and rosé. Lambrusco Grasparossa - protagonist of our tasting - is characterized by an intense and deep ruby red color with purple nuances, as well as a particular richness of aromas. This Lambrusco is the main variety used for the production of wines belonging to Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC.


The color
of Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and its purple nuance
The color of Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and its purple nuance

 Croatina, the other grape protagonist of our tasting by contrast, is particularly common in the territory of Piacenza and Oltrepo Pavese. It is also found in Piedmont, Veneto and other areas of Lombardy. Croatina is sometimes confused with Bonarda - a grape of Piedmont and particularly common in the territory of Novara - as in Oltrepo Pavese and Piacenza this variety is frequently called with this name. It should be said Croatina has no connection with Piedmontese Bonarda and they are two distinct varieties. In wines of Oltrepo Pavese and Piacenza areas in which it is mentioned Bonarda, they are actually referring to Croatina. This variety is believed to have its origin in Rovescala, a town in province of Pavia and near Piacenza, where it is believed to be found in this area since the middle age. The first written mentions are dated back to the end of 1800s, when Croatina started to be spread in these areas.

 Croatina is mainly cultivated in the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata areas of Oltrepo Pavese and Colli Piacentini. It is also found in Piedmont and Veneto where it can also be used for the production of Valpolicella wines. In Lombardy is found in San Colombano al Lambro, the only DOC in the province of Milan. In Colli Piacentini, blended to Barbera and Uva rara, is used for the production of the most famous wine of this territory: Gutturnio. In Oltrepo Pavese, Croatina - here traditionally called Bonarda - is used for the production of table and semi sparkling wines, the latter style usually called vivace. In Oltrepo Pavese the semi sparkling style is more common than table wine, although this style too is certainly interesting, even though less common. Croatina is generally used for the production of wines for immediate consumption - therefore having a young and direct character - and usually vinified in inert containers such as steel tank.

 In order to spot differences even better, the wines of our tasting by contrast will belong to two different styles. The first wine is Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Frizzante (Semi Sparkling) dry style. The production disciplinary for this wine provides for a minimum of 85% of Lambrusco Grasparossa and the remaining part can be other Lambrusco and Malbo Gentile grapes. The wine of our tasting needs to be made with 100% Lambrusco Grasparossa, or however having the highest possible percentage. The second wine of our tasting is Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese and we need to make sure it is not the semi sparkling style and it must be vinified in inert containers. Also in this case we have to pay attention to its composition as the production disciplinary provides for a minimum 85% of Croatina and the remaining part of Barbera, Vespolina (here called Ughetta) and Uva Rara. Both wines will be of the last vintage in production and they will be served at the temperature of 16 °C (60 °F).

 The first wine of which we will evaluate appearance is Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro. As we pour the wine in the glass, we will notice the formation of abundant foam with a pink color, therefore confirming the well known liveliness character of this wine style. As soon as the foam is disappeared and it is possible to see the surface of wine, let's tilt the glass over a white towel. The color of this Lambrusco - observed at the base of the glass - reveals an intense ruby red hue, even deep, and a pretty low transparency. Nuances, observed at the edge of wine, towards the opening of the glass, show an intense purple color. Let's now pass to the evaluation of Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese which, let's remind this again, is made from Croatina grape. By tilting the glass over a white surface, at the base we will see an intense ruby red color, with a higher transparency than Lambrusco. Nuances, observed at the edge of the wine towards the opening of the glass, show a ruby red color.

 The olfactory profiles of Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese are characterized by fresh and intense aromas mainly recalling red and black fruits. Lambrusco Grasparossa gives the nose of the taster intense sensations of raspberry, cherry, strawberry, pomegranate and, frequently, almond. The profile of flowers is generally expressed by violet and cyclamen. In the aromas of Croatina are mainly recognized blackberry, cherry, plum, blueberry, raspberry and black cherry. Also in this grape can be appreciated aromas recalling flowers, in particular violet, cyclamen and rose. In Croatina can also be sometimes found the aromas of bitter almond. In this grape can also be common the aroma of strawberry and, sometimes, black currant. In Lambrusco Grasparossa - thanks to effervescence, therefore the effect of carbon dioxide - aromas will seem to have a pungent and crisp character.

 Let's start the analysis of aromas from Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro. Let's hold the glass in vertical position and, without swirling, proceed with the first smell in order to evaluate opening aromas. From the glass will be perceived aromas of cherry, raspberry and strawberry, a profile clearly recalling sensations of red and black fruits. After having swirled the glass, this operation will favor the formation of foam, therefore we need to wait for it to dissolve, let's do a second smell. The profile of Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro is completed by aromas of pomegranate, violet, cyclamen and a pleasing touch of almond. Let's now pass to the evaluation of Croatina's aromas expressed by Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese. The opening of this wine gives blackberry, cherry and plum, as well as blueberry and violet. After having swirled the glass, the profile is completed by cyclamen, rose and, sometimes, black currant and almond. Let's now compare the two wines: carbon dioxide in Lambrusco Grasparossa will make its aroma seem “fresher” than those expressed by Croatina.

 The evaluation of taste in both wines will emphasize differences, in particular the role of carbon dioxide in the perception of other sensations. Let's start from Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and take a sip of this wine. In the mouth we perceive the intense attack of the effervescence that, among the other things, contributes to the accentuation of acidity and astringency of tannins. The contribution of alcohol seems to be pretty modest: not only because the effect of the so called hard substances (effervescence, astringency and acidity) but also for the moderate content in alcohol, usually about 10.5%. Let's now pass to the tasting of Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese, produced with Croatina. In the mouth it is perceived a completely different profile and the absence of carbon dioxide allows a better appreciation of the round characteristics of wine. The attack is however characterized by a pleasing crispness, with a sensation of moderate astringency allowing the perception of the pseudo burning effect of alcohol.

 The last phase of the tasting is about the final sensations the wines leave in the mouth after being swallowed and how they develop over time. After having swallowed Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, let's evaluate its finish. This wine generally has a good persistence and leaves in the mouth flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry, as well as a pleasing perception of astringency and crispness. Two sensations, undoubtedly, inviting you to appreciate this wine again. The finish of Bonarda dell'Oltrepo Pavese - produced with Croatina - is characterized by a good persistence, leaving in the mouth flavors of blackberry, cherry and plum. Let's now compare the final sensations of the two wines, in particular body, astringency and acidity. Two immediate and pleasing wines certainly inviting you to take a new sip from their respective glasses. Two different characters, however good representatives of how a wine can also be agreeable and joyous, to be enjoyed for their exuberant and immediate fresh youth.

 






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 150, April 2016   
Contrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and CroatinaContrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Croatina Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 149, March 2016 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 151, May 2016

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Rosso di Montepulciano Fossolupaio 2014, Bindella (Tuscany, Italy)
Rosso di Montepulciano Fossolupaio 2014
Bindella (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (85%), Syrah (15%)
Price: € 9.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean and pleasing, starts with hints of black cherry, raspberry and cyclamen followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, carnation and plum.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, raspberry and blueberry.
6 months in steel tanks, 3 months in bottle.
Cold cuts, Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Sauteed meat



Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Desiderio 2014, Bortolin Angelo (Veneto, Italy)
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Dry Desiderio 2014
Bortolin Angelo (Veneto, Italy)
Glera
Price: € 23.00 Score:

Intense greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, peach and wistaria followed by aromas of pear, pineapple, hawthorn, broom, chamomile and tangerine.
Effervescent and crisp attack, pleasing sweetness, however balanced by alcohol, light body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and pear.
Fermented in closed tank for 40 months.
Cream desserts, Fruit desserts



Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Guia Brut Sommaval 2014, Bortolin Angelo (Veneto, Italy)
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rive di Guia Brut Sommaval 2014
Bortolin Angelo (Veneto, Italy)
Glera
Price: € 25.00 Score:

Brilliant greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, pineapple and wistaria followed by aromas of pear, tangerine, broom, hawthorn, peach, bread crust, sage and mineral.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and pineapple.
Fermented in closed tanks for 60 days.
Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Sauteed fish, Sauteed crustaceans, Dairy products



Fiano di Avellino Brancato 2013, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe (Campania, Italy)
Fiano di Avellino Brancato 2013
Tenuta Cavalier Pepe (Campania, Italy)
Fiano
Price: € 16.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense straw yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, peach and hazelnut followed by aromas of pear, hawthorn, walnut husk, pineapple, medlar, plum, broom, mineral and vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and hazelnut.
12 months in barrique, 10 months in bottle.
Roasted white meat, Stewed fish with mushrooms, Roasted fish



Taurasi Riserva La Loggia del Cavaliere 2008, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe (Campania, Italy)
Taurasi Riserva La Loggia del Cavaliere 2008
Tenuta Cavalier Pepe (Campania, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 37.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, vanilla, cocoa, tobacco, graphite, licorice, mace, leather and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry.
18 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Syrah 7 Dieci 2014, Fattoria Uccelliera (Tuscany, Italy)
Syrah 7 Dieci 2014
Fattoria Uccelliera (Tuscany, Italy)
Syrah
Price: € 23.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, black pepper, vanilla, chocolate and graphite.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
A part ages for 12 months in cask.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Castellaccio 2009, Fattoria Uccelliera (Tuscany, Italy)
Castellaccio 2009
Fattoria Uccelliera (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%)
Price: € 21.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of brick red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black currant and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, licorice, chocolate, leather, mace and eucalyptus.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry.
14 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Cuvée Secrète 2014, Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Cuvée Secrète 2014
Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
n.d.
Price: € 30.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of peach, pear and banana followed by aromas of gooseberry, apple, citrus fruits, plum, broom, acacia, nettle, elder, mineral and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and banana.
6 months in barrique, 4 months in bottle.
Pasta with meat, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Legume soups



Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2011, Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2011
Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 50.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, vanilla, peony, chocolate, tobacco, cinnamon, mace, pink pepper, leather and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
24 months in barrique, at least 8 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 150, April 2016   
Contrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and CroatinaContrasts of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Croatina Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
In what moment of the day do you usually drink wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What is the most pleasing aspect in wine tasting?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What kind of wine do you like having in March?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 


Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.