Sunday, June 30, 2013

Report from ... Special Banfi Single Vineyard Component Tasting - May 8, 2013

Today a special component tasting of the flagship (estate) Brunello di Montalcino of Castello Banfi

with co-CEO Enrico Viglierchio
and Cristina Mariani (sorry it's slightly blurry)
We started with a tasting of the barrels samples from 2011 of the individual components that go into the Brunello, they hail from four vineyards:
Sorrena, Podernuova, Poggio d'Orcia, Casanova
These are never bottle as single vineyard wines here, we are just looking at the components of the finished wine ...

Sorrena (2011 Barrel Sample) ... gravel and sandy soil that suffers in dry vintages - "more elegance than style" (Enrico) - tasting note: the fruit really shows through on this one.

Podernuova (2011 Barrel Sample) ... soil is richer in calcium - "structure based, less elegant, rustic" (Enrico) - tasting note: big tannins and rough around the edges.

Poggio d'Orcia (2011 Barrel Sample) ... lowest part of the estate with rich soil, good drainage and the highest nutrition, this vineyard does not produce a lot of tannins -  "soft profile" (Enrico) - tasting note: soft, supple and red fruited.

Casanova (2011 Barrel Sample) ... one of the first vineyards planted; the makeup is limestone, sand and pebbles - "highest level of acidity" (Enrico) - tasting note: lacks fruit character on the nose gives lots of acidity and some fruit.

After the component tasting we moved on to tasted the finished wines from both current and paste vintages of the Brunello (2007 & 2001), as well as wines from Poggio Alle Mura (1998  & 2007); Alle Mura Riserva (2007) and Poggio All'Oro (1995& 2007) ...

2001 vintage notes:  spring frost decimated 40% of the crop
Tasting Notes: this wine is starting to show some leafy notes along with dried cranberry and sweet cherry
the palate is dried yet tasty with hints of forest floor; good acidity with a cedary finish
2007 vintage notes:  warmer than 2001, harvest was late because they needed to mature grapes
new vinification department opened for their high end wines

Tasting Notes: soft and easy on the nose with lots going on in the mouth including bite-y tannins and high acidity
you'll also find anise, blackberry and cassis
Alle Mura is 40-50 hectares surrounding the castle ... the first vintage of this wine was in 1997
"Defined by its soft elegant style" - Enrico

Tasting Notes: nose of sour cherry, blackberry and cassis with a touch of vanilla
lovely dark fruit, soft and supple with good tannin / acidity balance with cassis and a deep cocoa finish. (*** 1/2+)
Tasting Notes: The 1998 Alle Mura has plenty of licorice, dried leaves and smoky notes
with dried cedar, dried blackberry and forest floor; finish backs off of the cedar.  (****+)
This is a limited production wine made only in the good vintages
Tasting Notes: supple, sexy and well-structured; this wine has big everything,
it's just a baby with a long life ahead of it. (**** 1/2+)
Oldest vines on the property (planted 1979)
1985 was the first vintage of this wine, made only in the best vintages, 10 have been made since its inception
Decision to make this wine is made after first year in barrel

Tasting Notes: chocolate, blackberry and cassis with a sweetness of black fruit and licorice
nice tannin structure that plays off the bigness of the fruit. (**** 1/2)
Tasting Notes: fresh. lovely and easy drinking; the fruit still seesm to be fresh and lovely and it's drinking so well now
still has good acidity, lots of dark fruit ... smooth, sexy and silky.  This wine is at its peak.
Enrico calls this an "under-rated vintage"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Report from ... Peller Food Truck Eats (The Ultimate Food Party) - May 18, 2013

The glasses are lined up on the table with care ...
The stage is set ... the truck stand at the ready

The red wines are lined up ...

and the whites are chilling on ice ...
the bar stands at the ready to welcome the guest, because ...
Word has spread ... Peller Food Truck Eats is back and town ...
And it's more popular than last year.  The line goes back further than the eye can see ... it was a sell out crowd and the festivities, food and fun went on for two days on the May 2-4 weekend - what a kick off to summer.
Trucks from all over, 20 in total, have come to feed the crowd ... like the General Lee inspired Dirty South truck
And Buster's Cove ... all three from over the river in New York state
There was Feisty Jack (British inspired fare you think?)
And Food Man & Culture Boy (food to make you fly?)
Roaming Buffalo was there (with a name like that they should have been from New York)
Gourmet Gringos
and Southern Smoke
All were welcomed into Peller's backyard to feed the masses
On the menu was inspiring food, fun food and stuff you've never thought of
like this Mole Braised Beef Short Rib (Gourmet Gringos)
or Bacon Wrapped Ribs (R & R BBQ)
and Pulled Pork (Southern Smoke)
This 2nd (hopefully annual) event was much cooler (temperature-wise) than last year's event, which made things much more comfortable - it's as if Peller ordered it up.
Peller Club members were allowed early arrival (for the first hour) - and was one of the perks to be in the club
but it wasn't just the savory foods that were there
Check out the sign for the Itty Bitty Pie Co. - proving that sweets were also on the menu
Other trucks in attendance were Tony's Corner (Greek)
Wood Fired Pizza (I'm thinking they made pizza)
And Hank Daddy's BBQ ...
Home of the Pulled Pork Parfait
and some delicious Honey Mustard Smoked Wings
There was Gorilla Cheese - who seem to have brought all their fans along, they filled up the fastest once the gates were opened
There were local trucks like Gastronomo Vagabundo
The Big Chief (Indian Food ... just kidding, or am I?)
And Caplansky's Deli from down the QEW in Toronto

It seems the trucks just kept on coming ...
and so did the people
It's as if people were prepared to camp out and spend the weekend tasting all the delicious fresh food they can't get at home - it was not a day for cooking yourself ...
it was for finding new favourites and experience the Food Truck revolution that is sweeping North America
and still they kept on coming ... because it was so worth it.
But it wasn't just about food ... these folks were captivated by something else ... another spectacle
The band ... covering everything from the Black Keys to Neil Diamond ... and adding great tunes to the party atmosphere
It's one fantastic event ... one worth coming out for.  With trucks as far as the eye can see and food that makes you want to make it yourself - or at least wonder, who thinks of stuff like this ... 
Delicious fresh and inventive food (never mind the bag of chips)
The line might be long but the excitement is high - what will we try this year, who's going to be here and what foods will we be enthralled with and wish we had thought of that
Those who were turned away at the door will know for next year - this event sells out fast
Peller's Food Truck Eats is worth every penny - form the wines to the food to the friends you meet under the umbrellas ... it is becoming one of the premier go-to events in Niagara and one that will define Peller's contribution to the wine and food scene here in Niagara ... or at least prove that they can throw one heck of a great (and tasty) party to kick off summer.