Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old World and New: Italy, Falanghina Campi Flegrei DOC, Nova Scotia, L'Acadie vineyards 2006 Alchemy.

In light of my recent post on "Straddling two Continents", I decided to have a little taste of both.

I'll start with the white, from the DOC zone where I live in Italy: Campi Flegrei.

Campania, Italy
Producer: Grotta del Sole
Grapes: Falanghina DOC, must contain a min. of 90% falanghina grapes according to DOC standards. This bottle does not mention whether or not it is 100%
13% ABV

This area is known as the "Terra del Fuoco" for all the volcanic activity in the zone. Falanghina is the characteristic wine and grape of the area. Some of the vines are over 100 years old, and many are on their original rootstocks.

The wine is crystal clear, straw-transparent yellow, with greenish hues. It swirls fairly heavily in the glass, and leaves little traces of bubbles on the sides of the glass. There are particles in wine, but none that would fault its clarity.

Everything in the glass is reminiscent of Spring. It is Spring outside as I write this, and this wine evokes a fairly complex bouquet of the sweet smells of the orange trees in blossom, some jasmine, some citrus, fresh grass, and lastly some mineral notes. Based on the olfactory sensations, the wine would seem to be of good quality.

To the taste it is dry, medium-warm and smooth. It has high acidity, but the length brings out the minerality of this volcanic wine. And what length! It is very persistent lasting over 10 seconds. It is beautifully balanced, intense especially in the mineral finish, very good quality wine. It is medium-bodied, ready to drink, and harmonious.
This area of Italy produces fresh fish dishes, and with them is often the suggestion of the local Falanghina.

A taste of bread, a drink of water, and I'm ready for my New World wine.

Nova Scotia, Canada
Producer: L'Acadie Vineyards
Grapes: 40% Leon Millot, 30% Luci Kuhlmann, 30% Foch, produced in an Amarone style
15.5% ABV

The colour is deep, rich and opaque. It is almost black-cherry red in colour with an orangey hue towards the rim. It is so thick when I swirl it in the glass that I get a clear impression of the term "chewey" as it describes wine, though I'm only going by sight at this point. This is clearly a viscous wine, with some body to it. Slow, long legs form down the sides of my glass.

The nose...oh la, la! This is not what I expected from a Nova Scotia wine. This wine is not one of those "foxy" wines that bely the Concord grape that is better off left in jams. Oh no! I would never guess, in a blind test that this is a Canadian wine, made from all Canadian, Nova Scotia grape. The bouquet is intense and complex, suggesting this vintner has some experience making wine. I smell, "terra bagnata" or wet, rich earth, ripe red fruit, a sweetness of caramel or is maple syrup, and finally a faint suggestion of acidity. I can't at this point smell the chocolate or coffee that is suggested on the back of the bottle, but that may come out as the wine breathes.

I taste the chocolate! Another lovely surprise. The wine is dry and leaves some warmth from the alcohol as I swallow it. It does have a high acidity that I could smell through the more powerful scents in the glass, which is always good in a wine. It suggests that it has a lot more time to age well. It is also fairly tannic, and if I could fault it at all, it would be that it is only slightly minerally....maybe even barely minerally or spicy. The acidity and the oaky caramel-maple syrup-chocolate flavors pervade. I'm looking for the smell of black pepper, but it's not there.

The wine is however well-balanced, intense, persistent and of good quality. It is full-bodied and fairly harmonious.

This is not as robust as an Italian Amarone, but it is an interesting promising wine. I would pair it with grilled or barbequed steak, and hope that the pepper on my steak would make up for the lack of spiciness in the wine. There were some lovely surprises in this wine. Here is the website where you can read about the description of this wine:

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