Sunday, January 24, 2016

Alma Wines: A Tasting for the Soul, From the Soul #Winetasting

Wine Tasting with Alma Wines

Photo credit: Alma Wines
Alma Wines is a producer of Italian wine based on a revolutionary négociant model.  You may ask, What is the négociant model? I was not familiar with this term either, and so my interest was peaked when I came across Alma online and visited their site. It was fascinating to learn about this French term and how it was being used in Italy.  Alma holds this special designation, as négociant-eleveur, which is derived from the French word, elevage, meaning to bring up or raise in English. Elevage, then, refers to the progression of wine between fermentation and bottling.  Alma, as a négociant-eleveur, refines or brings wines to their full potential or maturity by blending, filtering, ageing and bottling.

Alma's Founder, Alessandro Berselli has more than 25 years of experience in the wine industry, as he has worked in every capacity.  Along with his co-founder, Marco Olivieri, expert enologist Roberto Gerbino and renowned winemaker, Jean-François Coquard, Alma Wines, which was founded in 2003, have produced diverse, fine Italian wines that cover 12 wine-producing regions throughout Italy.  Alma has won numerous awards for their wines, as well as being included in Wine Spectator's TOP 100, THE MOST EXCITING WINES OF 2015 list.
Alessandro Berselli, Jean-Francios Coquard, Marco Olivieri
Photo credit: Alma Wines

The Wining Hour’s Tasting: Alma Wines
We were delighted to receive three wines to taste: Supreno, Berselli & Olivieri Signature Merlot and Berselli & Olivieri Signature Cabernet Sauvignon.

Supreno is from Alma’s Masseria Supreno Estate in Puglia, where they produce both reds and whites. This particular wine, Supreno Sangiovese, was made from 80% Sangiovese grapes, Italy’s most widely planted grape along with 20% Merlot.  This wine underwent maceration and fermentation for at least 15-20 days and *barrique aging for 12+ months and 30% new oak.  The Supreno Sangiovese was a deep ruby to the eye.  To the nose, it smelled of dark berries, licorice and chocolate.  On the palate were notes of cherry, strawberry and even ripe plums.  It had soft to medium tannins, a lingering finish and was medium bodied.  This wine would pair well with typical Tuscan fare.  We paired it with cured meats, cheeses and olives.  This versatile wine would go well with lighter foods, as well as most meat-based dishes, such as spaghetti Bolognese or lasagna, as an apperitivo or by itself.  It was 13.8 % ABV.  As a big fan of Chianti (made mostly from Sangiovese grapes), this wine was both familiar and enjoyable.

Next, we tasted Alma’s Berselli & Olivieri Signature Collection Merlot.  Alma Wines’ Signature Collection is named after its Founders, Alessandro Berselli and Marco Olivieri.  This line includes the designation Vino Varietale, which allows the blending of specific grapes harvested throughout Italy.  Regarding their Signature Collection, Alma says, “Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah reach their pinnacle of quality, both varietally and enologically in these exquisitely crafted wines.”  Indeed.

The Merlot varietal is produced from 100% Merlot grapes in Alma’s vineyards in Piemonte, Lombardia and Puglia, with prolonged maceration and aged 12 months in the barrel. The prolonged maceration is behind the Merlot’s vivid, ruby, purplish appearance.  It had a nose of spice and ripe, dark berry fruit.  The taste was bold and complex, as the flavors unraveled in layers, yet it smooth with a persistent finish.  This Merlot pairs well with roasted meats and heavy meat/game sauces.   13.5% alcohol by volume. This Merlot pairs would pair nicely with roasted meats, such as roast pork, and heavy game meat sauces, like wild boar. So, even though we sampled this Merlot with the antipasto, it could have handled much much more.

Our tertiary wine was Berselli & Olivieri Signature Collection Cabernet Sauvignon.  This Vino Varietale was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Alma’s Lombardia, Sicilia and Toscana Vineyards. The Cabernet boasted a 14% ABV and was a dark, ruby red color.  It had a interesting, earthy smell, along with dark chocolate and fruit.  The palate was also of dark fruit, such as raspberries and chocolate.  It was rich, intense and medium to full bodied, with a smooth finish. We continued enjoying this wine with our next course, Truffle Ravioli, prepared by our Chef-in Training, Evan. The Truffle Ravioli paired very nicely with the Cabernet, and it is likely that it would have also paired well with the other wines.

Although each wine was tasty, our preference was the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sangiovese and then the Merlot. Maybe our order of preference was affected by our pairings-maybe not.  Either way, it was a pleasure and an honor to taste Alma Wines.  The soul of Alma is exactly what you get when you taste Alma's Wines. There is no question that the founders and winemakers put their heart and soul into their wines.  We intend to taste more wines from Alma, as they use this revolutionary négociant method to produce many different varietals throughout Italy.

Check out the video of our Alma Wine Tasting:



Read more about Alma Wines and their wine-making process.

Per leggere in Italiano, vedere Una Degustazione per l'Anima dall'Anima

*Barrique-is an aging method that takes place in barrique oak barrels, or small oak cask barrels, typically used to age Bordeaux.  Barrels must have a specific size and shape in order to be classified as barrique, and it is usually one that holds 59.44 gallons (225 liters).

**Thanks to Alessandro Berselli and Alma Wines for sharing your wines and your passion.

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