Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wine, Olive Oil and Regency at Principe Corsini

Principe Corsini: Wine and a Rich, Regal History 

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Winery
Chianti, Tuscany
"I try to make elegant wines, where refinement prevails over excess structure, wines that subtly seduce like a beautiful landscape, or the exchange of two people who use the same nuances in their speech, their glances. Wines that invite you to the table, to enjoy the company. Wines to drink.” ~Duccio Corsini
Corsini Family Crest at Principe Corsini Winery

Principe Corsini Winery
Principe Corsini has two locations in Tuscany, Italy: Villa Le Corti in Chianti, and Tenuta Marsiliana in Maremma. Duccio Corsini, is the Grand Innovator or Founder of Principe Corsini. At both of their locations, they produce remarkable wines. All of their Chiantis bear the classic Chianti insignia, the black DOCG rooster, which distinguishes them from standard Chianti. They make red, white and rose wines.  

Le Corti Olio
Extravergine di Oliva DOP
Chianti Classico

Principe Corsini also produces unique, quality, organic olive oil on approximately 70 hectares of land and 13,000 olive trees.  The olives are all completely cultivated and harvested by hand to guarantee maximum quality. When visiting, I was told that they use traditional methods and technologies which requires approximately 35 people about 45 days to harvest the grapes. Lots of love and hard work goes into this organic and authentic process. The olive oil is conserved in ancient terracotta vessels called orci in one of the oldest and largest orciaie, or traditional olive oil storage areas, in the Chianti Classico territory.  Principe Corsini produces an Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a DOP “Chianti Classico”, a certified organic extra virgin olive oil.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the beautiful grounds and gardens at Principe Corsini. Words cannot describe their breathtaking landscape-one in which I always feel right at home.  Their winery is the true essence of Tuscany and Chianti.  Take a look:

Lorenzo Corsini
Papa Clemente XII
Principe Corsini Family
The history of the Principe Corsini family spans over nine centuries. The Corsini's have made extensive contributions in almost every aspect of life.  From merchants and bankers to politicians and clergymen, the Corsini family has left their mark in trade, finance, real estate, politics, religion and agriculture. True patrons of Italian arts and architecture, the Corsini family is credited with constructing two Florence palaces (Palazzo Corsini in Florence and Via del Prato), the chapel of the Church of Carmine and the Gentilizia Gallery and more.  One of the most influential and notorious contributions in this family's history, is the commissioning of the world renowned  Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain in Rome) by Lorenzo Corsini. In 1730, Lorenzo Corsini was made Pope Clemente XII and served as Pope for ten years.  He is also recognized as the Founder of the Capitolini Museums, modernizing the churches of San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore, the construction of the Palazzo della Consulta in Rome, and the ports in Anzio, Ravenna, and Ancona.  There is still so much more.  The Corsini family has a remarkable history and the legacy continues.

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain, Rome)
The Wining Hour's Principe Corsini Wine Tasting 
We visited Principe Corsini's Villa Le Corti in Chianti and had a wonderful experience.  Here's what we tasted:

Principe Corsini Rosé Sparkling Spumante
What a great way to begin a wine tasting!  We tasted Principe Cortini's vibrant and refreshing Rosé Spumante.  I just LOVE bubbly, and when it's a sparkling Sangiovese...I just can't go wrong. This Rosé was made using the  Metodo Charmat, or Charmat Method, in which there is a soft pressing of the grapes (Sangiovese), which are fermented for 24 days at low temperature and then undergo a secondary fermentation for 12 weeks and elevage on yeasts for 1 month. This helps to preserve the aromas and effervescence in this tasty spumante rosé. Principe Cortini's Sparkling Rosato was light pink and aromatic with a floral bouquet of rose petals, citrus blossoms and strawberries.  The palate was delighted by delicious pink grapefruit, watermelon, wild strawberry and raspberries, which provided the perfect balance of acidity and fruit. Le Corti's Rosé Spumante was light, with low tannins and 11.5% ABV.  It would be great solo, as an aperitivo, or to pair with soft cheeses, sushi, shellfish, vegetables and salads.  

Le Corti Chianti Classico (DOCG)

According to the winery, "Le Corti is the classic “Vintage” Chianti of the winery, and it is produced with Sangiovese grapes and a small percentage of Colorino. The wine represents a priceless heritage for the winery, interpreting the elegance of Chianti Classico with a candid and sincere personality." Principe Corsini uses 95% Sangiovese grapes, which is more than the required amount to meet Chianti classifications and standards. Le Corti Chianti Classico was aged in vitrified cement vats for 12 months, and part in large wood casks. In terms of tasting notes, Le Corti's Chianti Classico was deep ruby and smelled of cherries and juicy blueberries.  The palate had notes of cinnamon and dark red fruits like black cherry and plum. Principe Corsini's Chianti Classico is a good medium-bodied, smooth and supple tannic wine with 13.5% ABV. Semi-seasoned cheeses, tomato-based dishes, pork or lamb make for a good pairing for the acidity in this Chianti Classico wine. Tuscan salume (cured meats) and formaggi (cheeses) would work as well.

Cortevecchia Chianti Classico Riserva (DOCG)

Cortevecchia Chianti Classico Riserva is a red wine that consists predominantly of Sangiovese (95%), and of the lesser-known Tuscan Canaiolo and Colorino grapes (5%).  The 'Riserva' title is only given to those Chianti wines that have been aged for 24 months before commercial release. Cortevecchia was aged in large French Oak casks and part in tonneaux, then for 6 months more in the bottle. This Chianti Classico Riserva was dark red, with complex aromas of violets, vanilla, stewed plums and pepper. The palate led with black cherry, and finished with pomegranate and tart cherries. This wine had a 14% ABV and proved to be a true expression of its territory. Cortevecchia will pair with more complex dishes, lasagna, beef, game or wild boar. Regional cheeses such as pecorino, served with honey, would be delightful! 

Principe Corsini makes several other delicious wines (Vermentino, Zac, Birillo, Marsiliana, Camporsino, Vin Santo) that were not included in this tasting.  However, we were able to taste and score a bottle of their star:

Le Corti Don Tomasso Gran Selezione Chianti Classico (DOCG)
Don Tomasso is the nickname for Principi Corsini's Founder, Duccio Corsini.  Don Tomasso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a rich, blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. It was aged primarily in
new barriques and then older barriques for 18 months and then 12 months in the bottle.  It was not until the 2010 vintage that 'Don Tommaso Chianti Classico' began being labeled as 'Gran Selezione.' We tasted their 2011 vintage.  This wine receives many high ratings and awards. It certainly is grand! Don Tomasso Chianti Classico has an intense ruby appearance, with a nose of black currant and black cherry.  The palate explodes with spice and fruity, dark blackberry and plum, violets, nutmeg and chocolate. Don Tomasso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a juicy, full-bodied wine with rich tannins and a culminating finish.  This 15% ABV packs a punch and would pair well with mushroom dishes.  The Tuscan region is known for it's tartufo bianco e tartufo nero, or white and black truffles, so any pasta with a mushroom based sauce would be a good match.  Other pairing options include steak, such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak), pork, game and mature or hard cheeses.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time and tasting at Principe Corsini's Villa Le Conti, as it entertained and educated both our palate and our mind. 

If traveling to the Tuscan countryside, do not miss Principe Corsini.  Of course, when traveling to Rome, do not miss the Trevi Fountain, which is linked to the Corsini family.

About The Wining Hour

The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
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Friday, July 15, 2016

7 Rosé's From Long Island Wine Country

Taste of Rosé on Long Island

Many of us recently celebrated National Rosé Day last month, or are still celebrating it, and are enamored with this rose-colored wine. You might just be wondering how it gets that pink, rosy color. Basically, rosés are made from skin-fermented red grapes.  Fermentation occurs for a shorter period of time (shorter than the time it takes to make red wine).  As the juice turns to a blush color, skins are removed and fermentation gets completed without the skins.  Voilà-rosé! Long Island Wine Country produces many delicious rosés. What better way to spend a day is there, than to spend a day nearby tasting rosé?

Long Island Wine Country has many fantastic wineries on both its North and South Forks, many of which produce rosé! For National Rosé Day, a few of the wineries on Long Island's Northfork decided to host a Rosé Crawl.  Four wineries participated in the crawl by offering complimentary tastings of their delicious rosés and some accompaniments.  The participating wineries included: Bridge Lane, Castello di Borghese, Roanoke Vineyards and The Lenz Winery.  We did the crawl, but then we crawled some more to a few other wineries we enjoy. The wineries are all fairly close to each other, so it is easy to visit many wineries along the way.  Our day was spent in wine country tasting just rosés. Well...ok, we tasted a few others, but we stuck to the rosé plan for the most part!

In pink...ready to sip some Rosé
The Wining Hour's Long Island Rosé Selections:
Although we have affection for all of the Long Island Wineries, we recently tasted 7 of their delicious rosés on National Rosé Day.  Here are the highlights:

Bridge Lane 2015 Rosé 
Bridge Lane Rosé

Bridge Lane's Rosé is a yummy blush wine blend, made with 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewürztraminer.  This wine is light and dry, an aromatic fruit basket with notes of guava orange peel and peach on the nose and strawberry, cranberry and watermelon on the palate. Balanced, with medium acidity, 11.9% ABV and clean finish. Bridge Lane's Rosé pairs well with roasted chicken, club salads, fresh trout or salmon, shellfish and spicy dishes. Bridge Lane's wines are also available as boxed wine, which make them a great choice for any outdoor activities such as the beach, boats and picnics. Their wines are actually available by the bottle, box or keg!
Visit Bridge Lane and their Parent Company Lieb Cellars

Castello di Borghese NV Fluerette Rosé
Castello di Borghese Flurette Rosé

This rosé is certainly my speed, as it is both refreshing and elegant.  This pale pink wine is light, delicate and considered to be an off dry rosé, with a fruity and floral bouquet of peonies and citrus blossoms. Fluerette Rosé was on the palate as it was to the nose-tasting of rose petals, strawberries, and grapefruit.  It was fresh and floral, followed by sweet, but not too sweet.  This 12.5% ABV. wine was very well balanced in terms of tannins, acidity and minerality.  Castello di Borghese's Fluerette Rosé would pair well with most salads, goat cheese, seafood and light fish dishes.  We didn't stop there thought.  Read on...
Castello di Borghese Rosé of Merlot

Castello di Borghese 2014 Rosé of Merlot
I am not a big fan of Merlot, but Castello di Borghese's rosé was rather nice. It was light pink in appearance, had bright cherry aromas and a palate of rhubarb, raspberry and watermelon.  This medium bodied wine was crisp with a clean finish. The Merlot grapes used were "lightly crushed and left to macerate briefly with their red skins, strained then fermented in stainless steel." Castello di Borghese's Rosé of Merlot had 12.5% ABV and would pair well with cheese plates, pastas, duck, bbq, sushi and spicy foods.

Castello di Borghese Vineyard

Ok, so here is where we got a little sidetracked.  But, in all fairness, their selections didn't leave us much choice. Castello di Borghese makes some excellent wines and after tasting their rosés, we went on to do several other flights.  De-lic-ous Long Island goodness!

Lenz Blanc de Noir Rosé

The Lenz Winery 2014 Blanc de Noir Rosé
The Lenz Winery produces a Blanc de Noire Rosé, which is a made from 100% Pinot Noir. This one is for those who really appreciate classic, dry rosés, like its French counterparts.  Aromas of lemon zest and cherry were on the nose, and it was cherry-laden with celery on the palate.  This wine was fermented completely dry and has 12% ABV. The Lenz Winery's Blanc de Noir Rosé is more of a full-bodied or full-figured rosé.  It certainly holds its own and would do so with creamy pastas, fish, seafood and meat dishes.

Raphael Rosé of
Pinot Noir

Raphael Vineyards 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Raphael Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir is made with 15% Chardonnay and 85% Pinot Noir grapes. This light pink rosé is dry, with floral and citrus notes on the nose.  On the palate was hints of pink grapefruit, strawberries, mint and lime.  It was crisp and dry, with a balanced mineral finish.  Raphael Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir is un-oaked with no malolactic fermentation.  Instead, it was aged in stainless steel for 3 weeks to maintain the flavors.   This rosé is one that will be a summer staple rose for me, as it is versatile and would pair well with almost anything. It's also one of my favorites. 13% ABV.  Visit Raphael Vineyards

Roanoke Vineyards Rosé

Roanoke Vineyards 2015 Rosé
Roanoke's 2015 Rosé is crafted from hand-harvested 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot grapes. This 11.9% ABV. rosé was very light and refreshing. It had a burst of citrus fruits on the nose and warm honey-dew melon, marmelade and cantelope on the palate. According to Roanoke, "It's a wine designed to pair with elegant summer menus and (absolutely) al fresco-dining." This wine is very pleasant and easy to drink. Roanoke also makes an unfiltered version of this same wine rosé.  The unfiltered one is a very limited production rosé made from Cabernet Franc and crafted in French oak. 

Wölffer Estate Vineyards 2015 Summer in a Bottle Rosé
Wölffer Estate
Summer in a Bottle Rosé
This Rosé is not only delicious, but it's also very fun to drink.  The bottle alone demands attention and sets the tone for something summery and good. Consisting of 57% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 12% Chardonnay, and 11% Gewürztraminer, this life-of-the-party rosé is full of ripe fruit flavors on the nose and palate.  Summer in a Bottle Rosé explodes with peach, white cherry and strawberry. It was well balanced, with just the right acidity, minerality and tannins.  Nice finish. Wölffer Estate Rosé has 12.5% ABV. and is tasty as a solo treat or as a pairing for most shellfish and grilled fish, smoked salmon, and soft cheeses. It can also complement pork and lamb dishes.  Wölffer Estate's rosé looked like summer, smelled like summer, tasted like summer. was summer-summer in a bottle! "Sometimes a glass is filled with more than just wine.  Our Summer in a Bottle Wines evoke the sea air, Hamptons sunsets and summertime adventures." I could not have said it better. 

While these are just a few of the rosé wines produced in Long Island Wine Country, this region has much more to offer.

Have you tasted Rosé from Long Island Wine Country?  Thoughts?

About The Wining Hour
The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
For more information, please visit­­­

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Friday, July 1, 2016

The Road to Orange Wine in Umbria

Red, White, Rosé and...Orange Wine

Knock knock.  It's orange.  Orange who? Orange you surprised? Yes. Many have been surprised, not only by my bad joke...but by the fact that Orange Wine is a thing. However, Orange Wines are not a new thing. They have been around for centuries, as in 5000 years or so and originated in Georgia (Eurasia). Orange wines have only recently garnered more attention and circulation in North America. Contrary to what the name may imply, orange wine is not produced by using oranges. Instead, the orange hue results when grapes have remained in contact with skin for a longer period of time--longer than the time required to make a rosé.  If the grapes are left with the skin and seeds to macerate for an even long period, a red wine is made. Therefore, time is a key factor in making different shades of wine.  Orange Wines, also known as "skin-fermented wines," are found in many different parts of the world. They can be found the U.S., Italy, France, Greece, Slovania, Austria, Australia, South Africa and other regions. Let's talk more on Orange Wine made in Italy.

Radikon Ribolla Gialla
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
COS Pithos Bianco
Sicily, Italy

These copper-colored wines were common in Italy in the 1950's and 60's.  Today, they are produced in several regions in Italy. We will only highlight a few. In the North, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna produce orange wine. There's Radikon Ribolla Gialla from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which uses ribolla gialla grapes, Ageno La Stoppa in Lombardymade from Malvasia and Ortrugo grapes, and then Dinavolino Bianco in Emilia-Romagna, made from Malvasia, Marsanne, Ortrugo grapes. In central Italy, Umbria makes a Terra dei Preti di Collecapretta using only Trebbiano grapes and a convent or monastery in Lazio produces Coenobium Ruscum Bianco with Trebbian, Grechetto and Malvasio grapes.  Finally, in the south, there's Bechar Fiano di Avellino, made with Fianowhich happens to be a DOCG wine.  Sicily uses the Grecanico grapes to make COS Pithos Bianco in Sicily. Again, this is certainly not an exhaustive list, but just a few of the Orange wines produced in different Italian regions.

In terms of taste, orange wines are are known to have more texture and body than most white wines. Moreover, they are typically more bold, dry and tannic due to the longer maceration. We tasted COS Pithos Bianco (Sicily) Orange wine in Italy and can attest to its full-bodied characteristics. Meanwhile, Orange wines are not cheap and not that easy to find in the Northeast.  Nevertheless, we were able to get our hands on a good one.  Sorry folks-it's not from Friuli or Sicily.  

The Wining Hour's Orange Wine Selection:

Our search for Orange Wine brought us to Umbria..and our friends at The Village Wine Merchants. We tasted a 2011 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara Bianco from Montefalco, Umbria. This wine comes from his Antica Anzienda Agricola Farm and Winery, which is completely organic. The grapes are organic and the wine is made without additives or intervention.  The labels for the wine are even hand-written with a description of ingredients.  To attain its beautiful orange color, this wine went through maceration with its skin for almost a month. Then it was aged for an even longer period of time on its lees in stainless steel, without any filtering along the way.

Paolo Bea's Santa Chiara Bianco (Orange) Wine is a blend of Grechetto, Malvasia, Garganega, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes. Definately dark gold and orange in appearance, this wine is fascinating.  We couldn't help but marvel and the copper-tone rims as they swirled and then slid down the glass.   The bouquet emitted quickly and powerfully.  On the nose, we immediately detected the sweet smell of honey and bourbon, with a hint of summer fruits.  I must say, the appearance and nose on this wine were deceiving.  We were expecting a much sweeter wine.
Instead, it had mild tropical fruits like apricot and melon on the palate and was rather dry.  Paolo Bea's Orange wine had ripe tannins, and if tasted blind, it could have been mistaken for a red wine. Although the notes of flint and other minerals might have given it away.  This 13% ABV Orange wine had a lingering finish.

We paired this wine with *baked clams (recipe follows), but it could have handled much more.  As this wine was hearty enough to pair with something meats and richer dishes, it showed some versatility.  Paolo Bea Santa Chiara Bianco would be a great choice to accompany pasta, roasted fish, white meats, vegetables and even fresh fruit.  So, after careful deliberation, we would have to say that Orange wine is not just a hipster wine, but instead, it's a traditional wine here to stay.

Orange you curious to read more about Orange Wine?  Read on...

More on Orange Wine... Join us this Saturday, July 2 at 10am CDT on Twitter at ‪#‎ItalianFWT‬ to chat about skin-fermented white wines from Italy. Here's what's in store from our Italian blogging group:

  • David at Cooking Chat shares “Bressan Pinot Grigio: Tasting an Orange Wine
  • Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares “Caspri Luna Blu and Grilled Moroccan Chicken
  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Piattino di Polpo e Patate with Skerk’s Malvasia
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels shares “There is Red and White, but Orange Wines too?
  • Mike at Undiscovered Italy shares “Gray Matters
  • Jill at L’Occasion shares “What Your Madre Never Told You About Orange Wine
  • Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva shares “The Aperitivo Hour with Orange Wine & Walnut Pesto
  • Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “What Color is Your Wine? Mine May Be Orange
  • Li at The Wining Hour shares “The Road to Orange Wine in Umbria
  • Jeff at FoodWineClick shares “Orange Duck, Orange Wine

  • Baked Clams

    1 dozen fresh clams, scrubbed
    1/2 cup of chopped clams
    1/2 cup of chopped shrimp
    4 garlic cloves (diced)
    3 tbsp oregano
    3 tbsp parsley
    1/4 cup of butter
    1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the butter, 2 cloves of garlic and paprika.  The clams can be made on the grill or sauteed in a pan.  Cook them until them open.  Remove from the pan.  Separate each clam into two open shells. Then use a spoon to scoop out the batter and put it into the open clam shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Drizzle with butter and garlic. Bake for another 5-8 minutes.

    About The Wining Hour

    The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
    For more information, please visit­­­

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