A blog devoted to exploring wines made from unusual grape varieties and/or grown in unfamiliar regions all over the world. All wines are purchased by me from shops in the Boston metro area or directly from wineries that I have visited. If a reviewed bottle is a free sample, that fact is acknowledged prior to the bottle's review. I do not receive any compensation from any of the wineries, wine shops or companies that I mention on the blog.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Odds and Ends - Turina Wines Edition (Marzemino, Friulano, Schioppetino and sparkling Groppello/Marzemino)

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Odds and Ends, where I write about interesting wines that I've tried lately which I don't think merit a full post on their own.  All of the wines I'll be writing about today are made from grapes that I've already written extensively about in the past and those relevant links will be included in each write-up.  Additionally, all of the wines I'll be looking at today are imported by my good friend Paul Turina, whose new and improved company website can be perused here.  I profiled Paul and his company about a year ago (read here) and have since tried a handful of wines from various producers that he imports.  All of the wines I'll be writing about below were provided to me as samples by Paul, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own and I have received no compensation for any of the reviews below other than the wines themselves.

About a month after I first met Paul, I was introducing him to some people in the Boston area to try and get his wines distributed here (he is still looking for a Massachusetts distributor, so if anyone is interested, please email him).  One of the wines he poured at a meeting that I accompanied him to was this sparkling pink wine made by some distant relatives of his around Lake Garda in Italy.  I wasn't able to get a note written on the wine (unlike the sparkling Turbiana he also brought which I wrote about here), but I remember enjoying it quite a bit.  I asked him a few weeks ago if he still had any around and he said he had a few bottles from a recent shipment.  He handed the bottle off to me the next time he was in town and I promptly popped the cork on it.  It's a non-vintage, tank-fermented sparkling wine that is made from about 50% Groppello and 50% Marzemino and retail on the bottle (from Paul's website) is about $17.   In the glass the wine was a medium salmon pink color with fine steady bubbles.  The nose was fairly intense with aromas of fresh cut strawberry, red cherry, watermelon and pink bubblegum.  On the palate the wine was on the lighter side of medium with fairly high acidity.  It was dry and tasted like cut watermelon and strawberries with a touch of red cherry.  It finished with a clean, almost quinine-like bitterness.  It's a fun wine, but it's well structured enough to be serious as well.  I drank it around Valentine's Day and it's the perfect wine for that occasion.

His distant Italian relatives not only make wines from Groppello and Turbiana, but also from the Marzemino grape, which I wrote about around a year and a half ago.  Paul recently let me try his family's 2009 Marzemino from the Brescia region of Lombardy on the western shore of Lake Garda.  In the glass the wine was a medium purple ruby color.  The nose was moderately intense with aromas of sour cherry, blackberry, cocoa powder and leather.  On the palate the wine was on the lighter side of medium with high acid and fairly soft tannins.  There were flavors of tart cherry, blackberry, old dusty leather, black plum and cocoa powder.  It was a little lean, but it made up for it with a nice, bright, racy streak of acidity.  As I said in my previous post, Marzemino seems like a grape tailor-made for tomato sauces and pizza.  I had this wine with a big plate of spaghetti and it was a near perfect match.  While I'm not as fond of Marzemino in general as Don Giovanni was, I do like it in the right circumstances and this is a very well made example.

Paul imports wine from a number of different regions in Italy and from a number of different producers.  I've taken a look at some of his producers making wines from Vespaiola, Grechetto and Sagrantino in the past, but today I'd like to take a look at a couple of wines from a producer he works with in Friuli called Petrussa.  Petrussa is located in the Colli Orientali del Friuli region of northeastern Italy and they deal with many of the grapes that are common to that region.  One of them is Friulano, which we took a look at about a year ago.  This particular bottling is from the 2009 vintage.  In the glass the wine was a medium lemon gold color.  The nose was fairly reserved with aromas of white pear, lilac and eucalyptus.  On the palate the wine was on the fuller side of medium with fairly low acidity and a kind of oily mouthfeel.  There were flavors of eucalyptus, pear and lime with a kind of stewed vegetable quality that I find in many of the wines made from the Friulano grape.  This is a well-made wine, but it's a grape that I just can't fall in love with.

The next wine from Petrussa that I tried was made from the Schioppettino grape, which I did like quite a bit when I was able to try it before.  This particular wine was from the 2008 vintage and in the glass it was a medium purple ruby color.  The nose was moderately intense with aromas of black cherry, plum, fresh turned earth, damp leaves and leather.  On the palate the wine was medium bodied with high acidity and soft tannins.  There were flavors of tart cherry, blackberry, old leather and wet leaves.  Right after the cork was pulled, the wine was searingly, almost abrasively sour but it does round out a bit as it settles into the glass.  It's bright and zippy the whole time, though, so fans of high-acid red wines probably need not apply here.  The bright, tart fruits are really well balanced by the damp earthy flavors and the wine reminds me a bit of an electrified Pinot Noir.  It needs food and it needs high acid food so anything with tomato sauce would go quite nicely here.

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