As mentioned in a recent blog post we were sent some wines from Jim’s Cellars and decided to have a few people over to help us enjoy them with some antipasto and a few slices of pizza. We purposely chose these Italian wines because our readership stretches way beyond our local shores so most of you will be able to source at least a couple of these, and they are available through Jim’s Cellars of course.
The weather was perfect on Sunday as we sat out on the deck sipping some enjoyable little Italians catching up on the latest.
First up was the Divici Prosecco, a sparkling labelled clearly and correctly as “extra dry”. This retails for about $15 and is quite light at 11% alcohol. Comments made about this one included…
- lots and lots of bubbles
- salmon to golden in colour with hints of apples reminiscing apple cider
- an unusual and interesting bottle that added to the experience and discussion
- a really enjoyable daytime fizz, give me a whole bottle!
- dry but with a residual background sweetness and some fruit but not packing a lot of flavour and not lasting a long time in the mouth
- went well with the salty green olives stuffed with anchovies
- perfect for “ladies who lunch” (lol, did I really just hear that?)
People did think it was a little more expensive than it actually was so it is quite decent value and totally suits the outdoors on a nice sunny day.
Next up was the Bellussi Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene, another lower alcohol Italian sparkling that comes in an attractive and distinctive bottle retailing for about $20. Comments made about this one included…
- golden in colour with an even array of bubbles but not as bubbly as Divici
- very dry with a slight but not offensive bitterness reminiscing beer
- less residual sweetness than the Divici and not as much fruit flavour
Both these bottles of Prosecco were spot-on for the sunny outdoor lunch matched with antipasto or light and salty pizza. Yum! If I were to rate one above the other I’d go with the Divici for the value factor but both were enjoyable fizz and worth trying.
We’d had enough of bubbles and had already started on our first pizza so we popped open the 2012 Italo Cescon Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio, a dry white wine from the Doc Piave Area, around Treviso, Venice and Udine, and retailing for about $24. Comments made about this one included…
- an intense and quite enjoyable fruit-driven aroma with a bit of spice
- a taste that was very similar and included a some citrus zest, although a bit light
- a creamy smooth finish in the mouth but it wasn’t overly long lasting
- light, dry and refreshing and it suited sitting outdoors on a sunny day
- an interesting label and an enjoyable wine
- someone threw the “ladies who lunch” comment in again… lol
This wine went well with both the honey soy prawn and chicken and camembert pizzas. The most interesting thing about drinking this wine was the funny and somewhat heated discussion Neal and his wife Melissa were having over whether or not they’d had this wine before. Memories…
Now onto the red wines. First up, the 2011 Artigiano Primitivo from Salento/Puglia which is right on the heel of the boot of Italy, a southern Italian wine retailing for about $18. It was discovered in the 90s that Californian Zinfandel is actually Primitivo. Comments made about this one included…
- a light and quite enjoyable red reminiscing merlot. A smooth operator!
- very dry, soft and not overly fruity or sweet at all
- hints of wood and tobacco but still some enjoyable fruit flavours including plum and blackberry backed up by a light dusting of pepper and spice
- a wine that would impress and goes well with savoury pizza but not BBQ sauce
- a couple of people’s favourite, but that was controversial and stuff was thrown!
This was a thoroughly enjoyable wine that went very well with the BBQ duck and bacon pizza. Neal ended up buying half a dozen himself from Jim’s Cellars (anonymously) and was stoked to discover that delivery was only $5 and it was shipped quickly. Good value all around in this one!
Next was the 2009 Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni from Puglia and retailing for about $50. To cut a long story short, I actually like this one and could smell sweet fruit and then discovered tastes of plums and coffee with a decently long aftertaste but there was a level of sugary sweetness that hit me straight away and which put most of the rest of the table slightly off it. If you want a red with a bit of sweetness then you’d like this.
Then out came the 20012 Villa Calappiano Chianti from Tuscany retailing at about $13. By this stage I could tell that people were more interested in laughing at each other than for taking notes but I did get these…
- quite light and mellow for a Chianti with a bit of cherry-like fruit with some length
- not much complexity and almost watery but smooth and very easy to drink
- it’s just… yes
- something someone new to red wine might enjoy as it wasn’t overly challenging
- a good light pasta wine
I then pulled out one of my own wines as I had wanted Neal to try it for some time, the 2009 Azienda Agricola COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico. I won’t go into this wine too much in this post as you can read about it here. Everyone really liked this one including my wife who was unsure about it the first time. Looking at the photo, I am wondering what Neal is sizing up… hmmmmm.
With these types of events you always end up with your “hangers-on” that stick around longer than everyone else. In this case these ones were good company so we opened the bottle of 2012 Artigiano Pinot Grigio from Puglia to say farewell. I’d actually given up on wine by then and had cracked a beer and was having “man-talk” leaving the girls to this one. They were no longer concentrating on the job but I still asked how it was and the answer was “Enjoyable”. Hmmmm, that’s good enough for me. 😉
Over 7 hours of fun… It was the perfect lazy Sunday arvo indeed!