Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is it Napa or Friuli? Neither. It's Massican

When you hear the words Napa Valley, there are a number of things that may come to mind. Certainly the large scale Cabernets and Meritage blends that Napa is so proud of. Maybe the 1976 Judgment of Paris that put California on the international map. Or, if you’re truly initiated, it might be the exciting Sauvignon Blanc that has been hitting the market. However, one thing that doesn’t easily come to mind are Northern Italian-inspired wines that taste more of the old world than the new, yet somehow manage to still be truly Californian. Yet that is exactly what Massican has captured in each of their bottles.

Ribolla vines
photo courtesy of Dan Petroski
Now on its second vintage, Massican has succeeded in showing that lightning can strike twice. Headed up by Dan Petroski (of Larkmead Vineyards) and sourcing its fruit from around Napa Valley, Massican strives to show the world that California is capable of creating white wines of verve, rooted in the earth, and electric on the palate.

Is it just another gimmick? Absolutely not. The white wines of Friuli have been wowing palates around the world for well over a decade now. Names such as Jermann, Miani, and Vie di Romans have been finding their way into collectors’ cellars for a long time, and not just the cellars of the committed Italophile; these wines are pleasing to a wide range of palates. Such was the inspiration for Massican.

Sixty-four year old Tocai vines
photo courtesy of Dan Petroski
Having sourced their fruit from Tocai vines that are sixty-four years old, Ribolla from the only known Ribolla vineyard in California and Chardonnay, which is planted in the coolest climate areas of Napa Valley, Massican is showing us that California is capable of more. It's a refreshing take on a region that has proved it can make big, bold wines to compete with Bordeaux. Now Massican has set out to show that it is capable of wines of refinement, earth, acid and stone. Those who love the white wines of Austria, Germany and Northern Italy... These are are for you.

Sauvignon Blanc air-drying for the Passito
photo courtesy of Dan Petroski
To truly set off the environment for this tasting, I invited a fellow wine writer to join me in a taste of Friuli dinner, during which we followed the wines for over four hours all paired with the regional cuisine of Friuli, Italy. It was a stunning success. The Massican wines paired beautifully with the flavors of Friuli. I could almost imagine myself sitting by the fogolar (hearth, cooking, meeting and eating spot in the traditional Friuli home), sipping wines made by the same people who tended the fields and raised the animals that provided us with our meal.

On to the wines:

2010 Massican Annia – The 2010 Annia, a blend of tocai friulano, ribolla gialla and chardonnay, is truly rooted in the earth as aromas of minerals and schist filled out the nose. With further exploration, I found white flowers, lemon zest and green melon. On the palate, an earthy salinity followed by citrus and honeydew melon glided across the senses. There was a lean acidity that provided laser-like focus and a mouthwatering zing that lasted into the finish with flavors of herbs and melon. This wine continued to gain depth and nuance over the course of 24 hours. I would have never expected the Annia came from Napa, and I mean that in the best possible way. (90 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher!

The food for the wine: The Annia was paired with a salad of baby greens with Prosciuto san Daniel and figs poached in sweet Marsala. The dressing was a reduction of the poaching liquid with a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil. The pairing was perfect.

2010 Massican Gemina – The nose was floral with honey, almond skins and green apple. On the palate, it showed a fuller body than the Annia with a similar acid profile. Flavors of nectarine and white fruits filled the senses and gained sweetness toward the back palate. The finish was fresh and mouthwatering, as the fruits turned to sour melon. This blend of chardonnay and ribolla gialla was very pleasing, right out of bottle, but really came to life with time in the glass. (91 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher!

Photo courtesy of Dave Trieger
of Vigna Uva Vino
The food for the wine: The Gemina was paired with Paparot (a cornmeal-spinach soup) with a side of Salsicce al Vino (pork sausage poached in white wine). The softer character of the Gemina lent well to this pleasing peasant dish from Friuli. The biting acidity also gave a much-needed lift to the polenta and spinach.

2010 Massican Sauvignon Blanc – The nose on the Sauvignon Blanc showed lemon sabayon, a classic whiff of cat pee, buttery crust and herbs. On the palate, I found a beautiful balance and structure with flavors of lime and granny smith apple. The finish was long and tangy with citrus and stone fruits. It was a complete and highly enjoyable wine that had an alluring "drink me" personality. It will be hard to keep your hands off this now, however this bottle should continue to improve for a few years in bottle. (93 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher!

The food for the wine: Costicine di Maile con Verze (braised pork chops with savoy cabbage) with Rape e Patate All’Aceto (tangy skillet turnips and potatoes). This combination was a perfect example of how the bracing acidity of these wines can truly liven up a meal. The pork loin chops over cabbage were seductive in their rich and inviting flavors, but it was the zest of citrus from the Sauvignon that made it so memorable. Add to that the tangy turnip and potatoes with thick sliced pieces of bacon and you have a meal that was pure sinful indulgence.

2010 Massican Passito – The Passito, a sweet wine from air-dried sauvignon blanc and a small part ribolla gialla, showed a bouquet of honeysuckle with mint and sage pudding. On the palate, I found peach, sweet melon and lemon curd with a lush full body and zesty acidity that promised years of development in bottle. The finish went on and on with notes of sweet melon. (91 points)Find it: Wine-Searcher!

The food for the wine: What would you pair with a sweet Pasito-style wine? Some might say a cheese plate, but I’d rather go for a dessert that doesn’t depend on its own sweetness to satisfy—how about a tart? Torta di Mele is an apple tart with a crust made from toasted hazelnuts and breadcrumbs. Without the Passito, it’s a beautiful dessert with flavors of sour apple and roasted nuts in butter and toasty goodness, but with the Passito, it truly shined. Neither the Passito nor the tart took center stage; instead they complemented each other with sweet versus sour and a crispy buttery shell versus a smooth lush sweetness. It was a match made in heaven.

You can also join the Massican mailing list from their website. Here!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Restaurant Spotlight: Tolani

The Upper West Side, of New York City, has certainly defined itself as a restaurant destination in the last five years. There was a time when I started feeling like each time someone recommended a new and exciting place, it would be in that area. In fact, visiting this part of town is like a stroll down memory lane for me as I pass familiar signs and windows. However, these days there’s a new spot on the Upper West Side that has gotten me to come back over and over again, literally: Tolani Wine Restaurant.

From the outside, this unassuming restaurant may seem like just another wine bar with some sidewalk seating, but it’s far more than that. Upon entering Tolani, you find yourself enveloped by its warm atmosphere with a casual bar-meets-artful lounge feel. Warm wood tones and well-managed shaded lighting set the stage for comfort, romance or a meeting of the minds. However, it’s when you go downstairs that this establishment’s hidden treasures are truly revealed. The downstairs dinning area takes the warm comfort from the bar and transforms it into a candlelit fine dining atmosphere with full view of a glass-enclosed wine cellar and outdoor patio seating. The mix of atmosphere and mood setting makes Tolani a highly versatile hotspot for any event.

The experience continues as you sit down for dinner. With Executive Chef Luis Ulloa (and Consulting Chef Craig Hopson of Le Cirque), the kitchen at Tolani manages to turn out plate after plate in a mix of unique and eclectic dishes. Perfectly balancing a number of cuisines from around the world while still keeping the menu cohesive and flowing, there is a level of passion and attention to detail that truly speaks through the food. With each visit, I feel as if I’m surprised by something different and new. Add to this the exciting list of wines and cellar full of various treasures and you have the makings of a great evening out. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time that I was so impressed with a menu as a whole.

On to the food:

Cauliflower Soup
Blue crab meat, black truffle

The Cauliflower soup was a perfect example of how less can be more. The soup itself was creamy, almost decedent, invoking earthy flavors that were set off by the silken sweetness of the crabmeat. It was warming, like something you’d find in an Alpine Chalet, yet elegant with layers of flavor.

Grilled Octopus
Greek Salad & Romaine Hearts, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives

The Grilled Octopus showed the level of attention paid to details and fresh ingredients at Tolani. The meat itself was perfect, seared by an expert hand, which lent a satisfying snap as you bit into it and found the silky, buttery flesh beneath. It was fresh and delicious over an unassuming Greek-styled salad. Not overthought, not overdone, it was just perfectly cooked and seasoned. Serve this to someone who claims to not like Octopus, and watch their eyes light up.

Savory Crepe, Slow Braised Pork Shoulder, Apple ginger chutney

The savory crepe is an art not practiced often enough in restaurants, and at Tolani, they’ve done a masterful job. The aromas wafting up from the plate were intoxicating with holiday spices and baked apple in butter piecrust. You would think that this can’t taste as good as it smells—but it does. This dish provided a menagerie of flavors and sensations on the palate, but what impressed me most was the addition of the ginger chutney that lent just enough spice and zing to keep this rich and sedative dish alive and kicking.

Braised short rib, black truffle and arugula

Touted by one of my guests as one of the best pasta dishes he’d ever eaten, the Pappardelle may not have ranked in my top five, but easily in my top ten. Eating this invoked thoughts of sitting in a small trattoria in northern Italy. The homemade pasta was a rustic, stick-to-your-bones variety, which seemed to be from another time and place, however it still managed to fit in perfectly with the other items on the menu. The braised pulled rib meat was succulent with a parade of herbs, spicy flavors and a level of richness that can only be achieved through slow braising.

Pan-Seared Diver Scallops
Sweet Corn Puree, Succotash, Black Truffle Vinaigrette

The Pan-Seared Diver Scallop was another dish that Tolani managed to balance right at the brink of sweet and heat. The scallop itself was perfectly fresh and perfectly cooked with a satisfyingly sweet crunch to the flesh. Within the meat was silken smooth and luxurious. This was a dish that allowed you to explore through its many ingredients, experimenting with hot spices, sweet corn and the mouth-watering vinaigrette. In a word: exceptional.

Tolani Wine Restaurant Website!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Producer Spotlight: Sherwood House Vineyards

North Fork, Long Island

My tasting at Sherwood House was certainly meant to be, but it almost didn’t happen. It was one of the only tastings that I didn’t schedule but came highly recommended by another winemaker on the island. The confusing part was the tasting rooms, because there were two. One, was literally a small shack in the middle of a vineyard off Route 48 (right by Shinn), with limited hours, and the other (on route 25) was one of the most relaxing and stylish tasting rooms I visited during my entire trip. The wines were excellent, made by winemaker Gilles Martan at Sparkling point, and the surroundings were amazing. I even asked if the building, which housed the tasting room, doubled as a Bed and Breakfast, because it had such a feel to it that I can only describe as “welcome home to your luxurious rustic lifestyle.”

One of the most interesting displays
of wine that I've seen in a while.
However, there’s much more to Sherwood House than a beautiful tasting room. Their 2008 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay was one of my top rated of the trip, and the 2005 Merlot was an excellent value at $25. In the end, Sherwood House Vineyards should be on anyone’s short list when going out to the North Fork.

On to the wines:

2005 Sherwood House Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs – On the nose, I found lemongrass, florist shop, and sour apple. On the palate, this showed piercing acidity with flavors of crushed wheat, sour apple and herbs. The finish was dry but very refreshing. (89 points)

2009 Sherwood House Chardonnay Oregon Road ($18) – On the nose, this wine was almost savory, as spices and bacon fat filled the senses. On the palate, I found apple and pear notes backed by an herbal quality. This wine showed beautiful balance in its focused fruit and smooth plush mouth-feel. The finish was floral, fruity and long. (90 points)

2008 Sherwood House Chardonnay Estate Grown ($30) – On the nose, I found buttered toast, pure peach fruit and dried apricot. On the palate, this was smooth with flavors of apple, light vanilla and a core of minerals. It was long and balanced on the finish as the fruit faded away. (91 points)

2007 Sherwood House Chardonnay Estate Grown ($30) – This wine showed a luxurious nose with peaches ‘n cream and hints of new cedar. On the palate, this was full-bodied and smooth with buttery herbs, hints of lime, and vanilla, which lingered into the finish. This barrel fermented Chardonnay showed incredible richness and balance. (90 points)

2009 Sherwood House Merlot Sandy Blush White Merlot ($18) – On the nose, this was rich with an expressive nose showing cherries, melon and hints of burnt sugar. On the palate, it showed a medium soft body that was kept interesting by brisk acidity as white cherry washed across the senses. It finished fresh with floral notes and red fruit. (89 points)

2005 Sherwood House Merlot ($25) – The nose showed red berries, spice, and earthy stone dust. On the palate, it was velvety smooth with wild berries, herbs and spice. The oak was hardly visible in this beautifully balanced Merlot. (91 points)

2004 Sherwood House Cabernet Franc ($40) – On the nose, hints of floral perfume, with lots of spice and candle wax filled the senses. On the palate, I found blackberry, spice, and a hint of greenery. (87 points)

2005 Sherwood House Sherwood Manor ($55) – On the nose, I found red berries, herbs, spice, and cedar. It was finely balanced on the palate, with flavors of strawberry and slight peppery notes. This wine showed beautiful structure leading to silky tannins on the finish but with enough fruit to keep it pleasant, focused and fresh. (92 points)

2007 Growers Alliance Merliance Merlot – On the nose, I found red berries with greenery and tree bark. On the palate, it showed sweet dark red fruits with herbs and spice, which stayed into the finish. (87 points)

For more information and to purchase wines, check out The Sherwood House Vineyards Website.

My trip to the North Fork Long Island, for Snooth, was an eye opening event. Recent vintages have shown what the Long Island wine industry is truly capable of. To read more about recent vintages and the top 10 wines of my tasting, visit Long Island Wines: 10 top picks from the North Fork.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Producer Spotlight: Macari Vineyards

North Fork, Long Island

The most amazing thing about Macari Vineyards isn’t the gorgeous tasting room, outfitted from wall to wall with art, gifts and Macari wines, or the large dining area that can easily double as a banquet hall. It isn’t just the size of the vineyards that stretched from Route 48 to the Long Island Sound. And It isn’t just one wine or even a few. The most amazing thing about Macari Vineyards is that they can consistently produce such a large number of wines at such a highly level of quality. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Tasting at Macari provided taste after taste in a colidoscope of different varietals and styles that were all highly enjoyable. There is absolutly something for everyone at Macari.

Macari Vineyards, established in 1995, comprises of 180 acres, containing vineyards, animals, produce, a large green house and even their own compost production area. They pride themselves on practicing sustainable agriculture and employing biodynamic principals. In fact, pride was something that radiated from each of the staff I encountered at the tasting room. And what a tasting room it was. Macari allows visitors to sample the wines, relax with a view of the vineyards and enjoy a selection of cheeses or other edibles. It was odd for me to be visiting them on a quiet rainy April afternoon because I had a tremendous urge to be there when their season was in full swing, like it is now.

On to the Wines...

2007 Macari Chardonnay Estate ($19) – On the nose, this was almost meaty with floral notes and herbs. The palate was structured with good acidity and great balance. (89 points)

2007 Macari Chardonnay Reserve ($23) – This was big and rich on the nose but kept in check with earthy notes followed by apricot and stone. On the palate, it was full-bodied and showed some of the oak on the finish. (89 points)

2009 Macari Sauvignon Blanc "Katherine's Field" ($23) – The nose showed tropical fruits, sour citrus, chalky minerals and that textbook Sauvignon Blanc “cat piss” (I mean that in the best way). On the palate, it showed sour citrus, minerals and a nice concentration of fruit. It finished with a sour note. This wine was very enjoyable. (91 points)

2010 Macari Sauvignon Blanc "Katherine's Field" ($23) – On the nose, I found ripe tropical fruits, citrus and herbs. On the palates, it had a focused concentration of ripe citrus fruits and lots of brisk acidity to keep it fresh and very pleasant. The sour patch finish was long, long, long. This was one of my top 10 wines from my Long Island article on Snooth. (92 points)

2009 Macari Riesling ($30) (Sourced from the finger lakes) – On the nose, I found citrus with a spritz of minerally lime. The palate tasted like a citrus explosion with tart lemon and stone. The finish was long with sour patch and herbs. This is a New York Riesling made from fruit sourced at the Finger Lakes. (88 points)

2010 Macari Riesling ($30) (Sourced from the finger lakes) – The nose showed fresh floral notes and citrus. On the palate, I found hints of butter and lemon. It was softer and sweeter that the 2009 but well structured, as lime and herbs took me through the finish. (89 points)

2010 Macari “Early wine” ($17) (100% Chardonnay) – The nose was floral and fresh with white fruits and lime. It was pleasantly fruity and balanced on the palate with a finish that hinted at this wine’s tiny amount of residual sugar. This would make for a great summer sipper. (88 points)

(NV) Macari Merlot Collina 48 Merlot ($13) – The nose showed red berries, earth and chalk dust. On the palate, this showed a full body, yet it was fresh and focused with red berries, herbs and cedar. (89 points)

(NV) Macari Sette ($19) – The nose showed lots of blackberry. On the palate, I found wild berries and spice. The finish was dry and showed sour berry fruit. (87 points)

2008 Macari Dos Aguas ($27) – The nose showed sweet blue and black berries with spice. It was full-bodied and fruity on the palate. (87 points)

2008 Macari Cabernet Franc ($35) – The nose showed dark berries, spice and cedar. On the palate, I found red fruits and spice with a firm yet juicy structure; a bit vegetal but rich enough to hold its own. (89 points)

2005 Macari Merlot Reserve ($36) – On the nose, I found black cherry, sweet herbal tea, undergrowth and lots of earth. On the palate, this showed a broad full body with masses of ripe berries and spice. The finish was long and fruity. This wine really stood out from the lineup and is further proof that holding North Fork Merlot for later release turns out truly stunning results. This was one of my top 10 wines from my Long Island article on Snooth. (92 points)

2007 Macari "Bergen Road" ($46) – The nose was big and rich with crushed wild berries and hints of vanilla. On the palate, it was luxurious with fresh cherries and spice that filled the senses. The finish was long with cherry and hints of wood. (89 points)

2008 Macari Block E ($40) (Ice wine, 69% Viogier, 31% Pinot Gris) – The nose showed tropical fruits, herbs, nuts and butter. On the palate, it was rich and sweet but ultra fresh and floral with roast nuts, orange peel and spices. The finish lasted over a minute. (91 points)

To visit or purchase Macari wines, check out their website at: Macari Vineyards!

Find Macari wines on: Wine-Searcher!

My trip to the North Fork Long Island, for Snooth, was an eye opening event. Recent vintages have shown what the Long Island wine industry is truly capable of. To read more about recent vintages and the top 10 wines of my tasting, visit Long Island Wines: 10 top picks from the North Fork.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Producer Spotlight: Crociani

Italian Wine Merchant, NYC
The retailer that started me on the road
to Italian wine.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

When I first started my journey into Italian wine, it was a mixture of reading and knowledgeable sales people who helped me make my buying decisions. I still look back on those days with fondness, as I was trying so hard to taste everything and to understand all the differences from region to region and within all the Italian wine laws and regulations. It was dizzying, but magically so, in that each day held a new surprise and potentially a new wine that would peak my interests enough to dig deeper. Some wines stood out immediately and became the Italian foundation of my wine cellar, while others were nothing more than interesting enough to make note of or dedicate a brief time to study. For the most part, I succeeded, but I will admit that I made some hasty decisions.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was one of those hasty decisions. With all the amazing wines of Tuscany to explore, and so many other wines to taste, I somehow allowed one poor bottle of Vino Nobile to sway my opinion of this entire appellation in the wrong direction. For years I would reach for Brunello, Super Tuscans, Chianti, Carmignano, Chianti Ruffina or Bolgheiri before even considering Vino Nobile--and somehow, I managed to go the next four years without tasting a single bottle. I full-heartedly admit that it was a mistake.

This last February, while attending "The Italian Wine Masters" tasting in NYC, my eyes were opened to what Vino Nobile could be. A large part of this was from tasting back vintages of 1999 and 2001. These wines were majestic, pure, elegant, spicy, earthy and exactly what I wanted from a wine that is primarily Sangiovese at the age of ten or more years. However, another producer also stuck out to me, both because of the quality in the glass and the passion of the owner: Crociani

Susanna Crociani
Susanna Crociani carries on a tradition of winemaking that has lasted for generations in Montepulciano. Crociani produces a full range of wines made from the traditional Tuscan grapes Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese), Canaiolo nero and Mammolo at their estate vineyards at Le Caggiole. The Crociani name was not one that I had heard of before recently, as their distribution in the states has been limited. However, I full truly hope that this will change soon. The wines are fantastic and amazing values for what you find in the glass. Being a fan of Sangiovese in all its forms, tasting the Vino Nobile of Crociani was a breath of fresh air. The wines show such remarkable freshness in their youth, yet have the stuffing to age gracefully and, with aeration, take on a remarkable amount of depth and nuance.

Prugnolo Gentile 
The entry-level Rosso di Montepulciano is a great any-day wine that lends well to food pairings with its zesty acidity and Tuscan terroir showing through. However, the Rosso d’Arnaldo took things to a whole new level as it wowed the palate with a sheen of rich decadence, yet still retained the fresh and vibrant qualities of the Rosso. As I moved into the Vino Nobile, the wine showed more elegance and an attractive spicy nature, but it was the Riservas that truly stole the show. Being able to taste a number of vintages from ’99, ’04, ’06 and ’07, I was truly able to see the progression of this bottling. In their youth, they are tight and in need of decanting, but with a core of dark red fruits. With a few more years in the bottle, they turn rich and showy as the core of fruit expands on the palate and takes on hints of earth and woodsy notes.

In experimenting with these bottles, I found myself buying more Vino Nobile to try and understand this region better. What I learned is that I adore them. These are great wines that are easily able to stand tall next to whatever Tuscany has to offer, and they will find a place in my cellar.

So the next time your tastes turn to Tuscany, look for a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; it’s not just a pretty name or a gimmick. And if you can find Crociani, I think you’ll agree that they are well worth the price of entry, but give that Riserva a little time to blossom.

On to the notes…

2008 Crociani Rosso di Montepulciano Rosso d'Arnaldo – On the nose, an initial whiff of fresh herbs turned fruity and rich with cherries dipped in dark chocolate, cinnamon and notes of herbal tea. On the palate, it was mid-weight and silky as flavors of wild berry, mulling spices, dark wood and salinity spread across the senses. It turned slightly bitter, yet left a remarkably fresh impression on the finish. This was a joy to drink, and it’s an excellent and unique Tuscan alternative to Chianti. (90 points)

2009 Crociani Rosso di Montepulciano – The nose showed brambly fruit with violet and hints of pepper. On the palate, I found a good balance of red fruit and acidity with woodsy tones, but the finish was a bit drying. This wine truly shines with a good meal.(88 points)

1999 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose showed dried red fruits with undergrowth, hints of green stems and pepper. On the palate, the fruits turned round and sweet, as this wine strutted a fine, mature structure with flavors of lush wild berries and spice. The finish was fresh and juicy. (90 points)

2007 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose showed masses of raspberry, cedar, herbs and a bit of older wood. The palate was structured, but not austere, and savory with rich black cherry. The finish coated the palate with fine tannin. This wine would benefit from a few years in the cellar. (91 points)

2008 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – It took two hours in decanter before this wine truly began to shine, but it was well worth the wait. On the nose, I found floral notes, sweet spices, dried apple and strawberry. On the palate, it was soft and slightly spicy with plum and a hint of salinity. The finish rounded out nicely with decanting and showed notes of soil and herbal fruit tea. (90 points)

2004 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – The nose showed crushed wild berries, woodland notes and soil. With time in the glass, the bouquet turned darker and richer, as whiffs of sweetened herbal tea and cinnamon stick came to the fore. On the palate, it was elegant with rich red fruits, orange rind, rose petal and notes of beefy broth. The rich red fruit turned to juicy cherry as the wine came together on the finish. This bottle was beautiful and is drinking well now with proper decanting. (93 points)

2006 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – The nose showed red fruits, violets and a hint of toast. On the palate, I found a rich, full-bodied wine, with brambly red fruit and cedar. The finish was smooth and long. (91 points) Find it: Wine-Searcher!

2007 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – The nose showed crushed sour berries, sweet spices and lavender with hints of wood barrel. On the palate, a core of dark red fruit is wrapped in silky tannin with minerals, notes of herbal tea and hints of sweetness on the mid-palate. Red berries linger on the medium long finish. (92 points)

2003 Crociani Vin Santo di Montepulciano – The nose showed intense almond, cotton candy and coffee notes. On the palate, this wine was refined, showing roasted nuts, orange peel and toffee but with less sweetness than I’ve come to expect from Vin Santo. Ultimately, this was a pleasure to drink as it showed remarkable balance and refinement. (92 points)

Visit the Crociani Website.
Find the wines of Crociani on Wine-Searcher!