Italy and France: Wine of the Week offerings from historical estates

-Posted by Alfonso Cevola-
This week, two time honored and historical wine families, making reliable and delicious wines, are in the press. Jeff Siegel reports from Italy and Rebecca Murphy from the South of France. Not a bad beat in the cold of winter, Sunny Tuscany and the French Riviera, eh?

Wine of the week: Coltibuono Chianti Cetamura 2009

Source: The Wine Curmudgeon
January 11, 2012
By Jeff Siegel

image from www.coltibuono.comThe Wine Curmudgeon has always wondered how to approach Chianti, which is not only the one Italian red wine that most Americans know, but the one Italian red wine that wine snobs turn their noses up at. If I review it, I run the risk of alienating both groups — a neat trick, of course, but right up my alley. The former would think the wine was too obvious for them, and the latter would think I was naive.

But that hasn’t stopped me before; there are handful of reviews and a variety of references to Chianti on the site (and, quickly, Chianti is the region in Tuscany where the wine is made, using mostly the sangiovese grape). And it won’t stop me now, because the Coltibuono ($10, purchased) is well-made wine that offers lots of value.

In this, it’s a simple, young, lighter Chianti with big dollop of cherry fruit (which apparently comes from a small percentage of the canaiolo grape, which also softens the wine). But there is still the telltale Italian acid, which means the wine cries out for tomatoes, pork and cheese. Or, in other words, pizza. I drank it with olive and tomato bruschetta, and that was terrific, too.

Source: Dallas Morning News
January 11, 2012
By Rebecca Murphy

The Languedoc region of southwestern France used to be the place where vintners from other parts of the country went to get grapes to pump up the volume in their wines. No more. Today seriously good, high-quality wines are being produced by people who are using today’s knowledge and equipment to make wines that speak of a place, such as this one from the Mas family. It’s primarily syrah, which gives the wine its full-bodied structure, dusty tannins and rich blackberry fruit with spicy black-pepper notes. Grenache adds juicy strawberry fruit, and a touch of mourvèdre gives a savory note. Serve it with a venison chili.

The Mas family has long been involved in winemaking and Paul Mas and his sons, Michel and Jean Claude, are making wines from several estates in the Languedoc region. Clos des Mures is a vineyard that gets its name from the wine mulberries, or mûres, that surround the vineyard. Maybe that’s where some of that rich blackberry fruit comes from.

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