2008 Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio

2008 Italo Cescon Pinot GrigioPrice: $14.99 @ Vintage Wine & Spirits imported by Bacco Wine & Spirit

What They Said:

Per Italo Cescon “A deep yellow, straw-like color. Intense aroma with slight hints of nutmeg, peach, and acacia. A dry, fresh wine with strong, fruity overtones and orange peel. It has a rich, persistent flavor. Is best served with seafood dishes.”

What I Think:

After a haircut I was wandering around town and the magnet drew me into the local wine shop. Given that I hadn’t come in for anything in particular I asked the folks there to share their favorites under $20 with me. This is one of those they identified as being a staff favorite, so even though a bit pricey for me, I decided to give it a go. This one is light in color and shows some bubbles in the glass. On the nose I get mostly floral aromas with hints of lemon. The front of the palate is crisp and clean with stony white fruit flavors appearing towards the middle. From there the zingy acid and mineral component come to the fore leading into a finish that shows notes of nutmeg. This is a pleasant wine for sipping on a warm afternoon.

As I was writing this post I came to a realization that while I find most Pinot Grigio’s from Italy very agreeable they rarely capture my full attention. As I followed this thought a bit further I was reminded of memories of fantastic Pinot Blanc’s I’ve had from the Alsace (disclaimer: As long time readers know I have a soft spot for the region). Once upon a time, Trader Joe’s had a fantastic Marcel Hugg offering from the region which I enjoyed immensely. I’ll have to grab another offering from the area soon. Let me know if anyone has any recommendations.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Blason Cabernet Franc

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. Generally I write about the easier-to-sell wines before the more difficult-to-figure-out. This time, I have to write about the 2005 Blason Cabernet Franc. This one is so good you won’t believe it! The flavor just bursts out of the glass, spice laden, black pepper, red fruits, vivacious, fresh and curvy all at the same time, and at an unbelievable price. Please try this wine if you haven’t or even if you have had Italian Cabernet Franc. (Greg St.Clair, K&L Italian buyer)”

What I Think:

I grabbed this one when my wife told me we were having hamburgers for dinner but by the time I got to the table the plans had changed. Not sure that it mattered…This wine was funky! On the nose the earthy, barnyard aromas seemed fairly typical but that is about where it ended. The wine seemed hot on the tongue and had a tart sour finish. Perhaps I need some food after all I thought. Not much difference. Still sour in the mouth, let me try and cleanse my palate to ensure the Amaicha Torrontes wasn’t throwing things askew.

Is it tart? Hot? Musty? Where is that wine aroma wheel. Unfortunately there is nothing pleasant resonating here. Chemical? Microbiological? Not even vegetal. It is bad but what is it? Nary a hint of fruit here. Headed towards the worst in a while. I’m even thinking I may dump the rest. I resisted and a few days later it started to show some fruit. Glad I didn’t dump it as it improved. That said it only made it to so/so by the end.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Blason Pinot Grigio

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. The 2005 Blason Pinot Grigio is the best Pinot Grigio Giovanni and Andrea have made to this day. The vines are maturing, and the addition of the temperature-controlled fermentation has added a level of spice to the already wonderful fruit, with body, freshness, balance, and well… it’s just damned refreshing. Last vintage we sold our 200-case allotment in 10 weeks. This year we’ve ordered 400 cases, but with the addition of our new Hollywood location this wine won’t last long. Buy now!”

They also said this in the May 2007 newsletter,”One of our BEST VALUE wines at K&L! Simply sensational! Perfect balance of acidity and is very aromatic, loaded with pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruit in an elegant, concentrated and superbly balanced wine. This is a perfect wine to serve for Mothers’ Day.”

What I Think:

After seeing this wine pimped at me from so many different angles I had to give it a try. So when I concocted a clam sauce pasta (my first) I thought I would give it a go. White wine with white sauce seemed like a good idea. On opening this the nose seemed racy. There were hints of fruit but it was clear this wine was going to have a zing to it. On the palate there were nice citrusy notes that quickly gave way to a tight-knit acidic backbone. The wine was very light and it was most certainly crisp and refreshing. I could have imagined drinking this on a sunny patio with a burger or something of the sort. This pairing was not made in heaven. In hindsight, checking my favorite pairing site an Arneis would have been a better call. Darn, should have checked ahead of time as I have been wanting to try one of those!

On a side note, in a recent post I was lamenting my ability to pick good wines over at The Wine Club. Given that I figured I would check on how I was doing over at K&L. I bought a couple cases back in May and have so far had 7 of the 24. Three of the four reds have been a hit while only one of the whites has delivered. Much better ratios here, especially with the reds. When I buy at K&L it is usually from reading their new arrivals email or newsletter. Then I order online and pick it up in the store. Seems to work better. Not sure why I care, sometimes I like doing analysis for the sake of doing analysis.

Back to this wine, it is a good effort. I didn’t find it nearly as riveting as the folks over at K&L seemed to. I find myself likening it to the Kono Sauvignon Blanc which I would certainly prefer to this. Given that I can get that one a few bucks cheaper, I’ll be sticking to that. That said if you love Italian Pinot Grigio feel free to give this one a go.

Rating: Skip It