Sunday, September 7, 2014

Italy Unit 4 - Lombardia

The following are my notes for studying the wines of the Lombardia wine region of Italy. In these notes I provide information about the topography, climate, soils, important red and white wines and extensive information on the DOCs and DOCGS of the region. I then provide notes on the wines I tasted from this region.

Lombardia (Lombardy) is one of the few regions in Italy that is completely landlocked without access to the sea. To the west of Lombardy is the Piedmont wine region, to the south is Emilia-Romagna and to the east are the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto wine regions. Yet it does have many bodies of water such as Lake Como and Lake Garda. To the north are the Alps extending over the border into Switzerland and to the south in the valley is the Po River and its tributaries which provide water in the flat agricultural zone that includes Lombardy’s wine region. Lombardia is not as prominent as many other wine regions in Italy but it has made a name for itself as being the competitor with Champagne producing sparkling wines in the Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese DOCGs.


Located along the shores of Lake Iseo, vineyards are planted in well-drained morainic soils - glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated debris of soil and rock. Sparkling wines in the region are made in both the metodo classico and tank method. Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Noir), and a maximum 50% Pinot Bianco are permitted for use in the wine.

Styles of Franciacorta
The wines are required to have a minimum of 85% grapes from the indicated vintage and must be aged for at least 30 months prior to release, but it is common for the wines to be aged for a much longer period.
These wines must spend at least 18 months maturing on the lees, and may not be released until 25 months after the harvest
These wines must be aged at least 5 years on its lees, with release after a minimum 67 months.
These are a Crémant style wine that have less carbon dioxide than the standard sparkling wine but are more "bubbly" than a frizzante. Pinot Noir may not be used and they are bottled at less than five atmospheres, a lower pressure than the five to six atmospheres required for standard bottlings.
These must consist of at least 15% Pinot Nero grapes and is produced by blending red and white wine.

With the exception of the exclusively brut “Satèn” style, non-vintage Franciacorta may be released in wide range of final sweetness levels, determined by the dosato (dosage).

Residual Sugar Levels
The sweetness levels for Sparkling wine in Franciacorta are the same as Champagne, except there is no Doux, which are as follows:
Extra Brut
The driest with less than 6 grams per liter of residual sugar.
Less than 15 grams per liter of residual sugar.
Extra Dry
12-20 grams per liter of residual sugar.
17-35 grams per liter of residual sugar.
Demi Sec
33-50 grams per liter of residual sugar.

Oltrepò Pavese

Oltrepò Pavese (“Pavia across the Po”) is in the southern regions of Lombardy and forms most of the region's southern border with Emilia-Romagna. Here metodo classico sparkling wines are also produced as Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG. The dominate grape is Pinot Nero which must make up at least 70% of the blend. If they have at least 85% they may be labeled “Pinot Nero” and “Pinot Nero Rosé”. Non-vintage wines must spend 15 months on the lees and vintage wines must spend 2 years on the lees. Still wines from the region may be released as Oltrepò Pavese DOC.


Valtellina, located north of Franciacorta, is the most important zone in Lombarida for red wines. Nebbiolo (known locally as Chiavennasca) produces lighter wines than those found in Piedmont which is due to it being the most northern region for the grape in Italy. The higher altitude of the vineyards and the abundance of sunshine allows for slow ripening process of the grapes. Two DOCGs exist within Valtellina DOC:

(1) Valtellina Superiore DOCG with 5 subzones: Valgella, Inferno, Grumello, Sassella, and Maroggia. Vatellina Superiore must be aged for at least 24 months (12 in cask). Riserva wines must be aged at least 3 years prior to release. If it is bottled of Switzerland it must be labeled “Stagafassli”.

(2) Sforzato di Valtellina (also known as Sfursat di Valtellina) is a style similar to recioto, produced from Nebbiolo grapes (known locally as Chiavennasca). The term “Sforzato” literally means “forced” and is derived from the action of “forcing” the extending the ripening of the grapes after the normal harvest. The grapes are then gently picked by hand and then transported to dry and aired rooms called “Fruttai” where they are laid on racks to continue withering for about 110 days. This causes the grapes to wither and reduce the juice content. By the end of January, the grapes have lost 40% of their weight which concentrates the sugar and flavor and are ready for grinding and fermenting. After 2 years of ageing and refining between barrel and bottle they can reach as high as 15/16% alcohol by volume. During my study of Lombardia I sampled one of these wines, see my notes below.

Still Wines

The wine regions along Lake Garda are known for their Chiaretto style rosé wine made from a blend of Barbera, Gropello, Marzemino and Sangiovese. This dry wine is deeper in color than most rosés and typically has good acidity with very low alcohol levels. The Rosso (red) style wines are made with the same blend of grapes but in a darker, more full-bodied style. Varietal styles of Gropello are rich and tannic wines. The Lugana white wines are made from the Trebbiano grape and are known for their fruitiness and medium body. White wines from the San Martino della Battaglia are made from the Tocai Friuliano grape, which is best known for its use in the nearby Vento region. The Garda Mantovano white wines are based on Trebbiano and Garganega and its red wines are made from Merlot and Molinara. Other Lombardy region wines include the sweet Moscato Passito from Valcalepio and the light red wines from the Schiava and Barbera grapes in the Cellatica and Botticino region.

Dessert Wines

The Moscato di Scanzo DOCG is located west of Franciacorta and it surrounds the town of Bergamo. The region produces sweet passito red wines from a red Moscato grape which must be aged for at least 2 years, but may not be aged in wood. The wines are often released in slender future bottles.

The cool continental climate is primary influenced by the Alps to the North, the lakes of Garda, Iseo, Como and Maggiore and the Apennines in the south.
There are 16 IGTs which are as follows: Alto Mincio, Benaco Bresciano, Bergamasca, Collina del Milanese, Montenetto di Brescia, Provincia di Mantova or Mantova, Provincia di Pavia or Pavia, Quistello, Ronchi di Brescia, Ronchi Varesini, Sabbioneta, Sebino, Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio, Terre Lariane, Valcamonica
There are 22 DOCs in Lombardia (Garda and Lugana overlap with Veneto) which are as follows:
Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
The wine contains a minimum of 85% Croatina, with the remaining being Barbera, Ughetta, or Uva Rara. The production area consists of many hilly municipalities in the province of Pavia with mostly calcareous soil. Bonarda is produced in three versions, “firm”, “lively” and “fizzy” and three types, “dry”, “sweet” and “sweet.” It has a minimum 12% abv.
Botticino DOC
Botticino DOC is a small area adjacent to Brescia. Barbera (minimum 30%), Schiava Gentile (medium or gray, alone or together with 10% minimum), Marzemino (minimum 20%) and Sangiovese (minimum 10%). Red berry grape varieties authorized by the province of Brescia for a maximum of 10% can contribute to the production of this wine.
Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
Also known simply as Buttafuoco DOC the name means “throws fire”.  It was created in August 2010 and is a sub-category of the wider Oltrepo Pavese. The grapes include Barbera, Croatina and Uva Rara which are grown in 7 communes within the Pavia province: Stradella, Broni, Canneto Pavese, Montescano, Castana, Cigognola and Pietra de' Giorgi.
Capriano del Colle DOC
Located southwest of Brescia, the Capriano del Colle DOC Bianco and Bianco Superiore must be made at least 60% Trebbiano di Soave and Trebbiano di Lugana and / or Trebbiano Toscano. Capriano del Colle Bianco Superiore must be aged at least 12 months in wooden barrels. Capriano del Colle DOC Rosso Novello is produced by carbonic maceration of Marzemino (40%), Merlot (20%), and Sangiovese (10%).
Casteggio DOC
Includes the winemaking hillside of the town of Casteggio, as well as of the neighboring municipalities of Borgo Priolo, Corvino San Quirico, Montebello della Battaglia, Calvignano, Oliva Gessi and Torrazza Coste. The wines in this DOC must contain at least 65% Barbera with the remaining 35% individually or collectively consisting of Croatina, Uva Rara, Ughetta (Vespolina) and Pinot Noir.
Curtefranca DOC
Producers in Franciacorta decided that all Spumante wines should be classified under its own DOCG, which then only came to be called Franciacorta DOCG. Subsequently, the DOC name for still wines was changed to Terre di Franciacorta DOC but this sounded too much like Francicorta DOCG. So, in 2008 the name was changed to Curtefranca DOC. The name Curtefranca means “exempt farms” (“France Curt”) comes from the Middle Ages, when monastic orders were exempt from paying taxes. The zone lies south of Lago d'Iseo little northwest of Brescia. Curtefranca DOC is dominated by Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Merlot and Pinot Nero.
Garda DOC
Part of Lombardy on the eastern shore of the Garda Lake. It is part of a wider zone expanding from the provinces of Manrova and Brescia in Lombardy, through the Valpolicella hills to the province of Verona in Veneto. Bianco wines predominantly use the varieties Riesling Italico or Riesling Renano, while chiaretto wines use Gropello to produce elegant and fragrant rose wines. A typical Garda Rosso favors Sangiovese, Marzemino and Barbera grapes, creating a distinguished wine characterized by gentle acidity and subtle tannins. These wines are generally produced to be drunk young and to accompany a meal. A varietal Gropello is also made, displaying a full-bodied character rich in tannins. Additional varietal white wines include Garganega, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Cortese; in the reds, Pinot Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Corvina are the main grapes used. All varietal-labeled wines must contain 85% of the stated variety, the remainder made up of other authorized varieties of the same color. Amabile or abboccato versions may also be made alongside a secco, and spumante wines made from Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay or Riesling, and a frizzante comprising Chardonnay and/or Garganega.
Garda Classico DOC
The additional designation of classico can be applied to those wines made in the districts of the Brescia province. Classico Rosso (which can also be produced as a superiore) and Classico Chiaretto require a combination of Gropello variants Gentile, San Stefano and Mocasina (30–85%), Sangiovese, Marzemio and Barbera (5–60% of each) and up to 10% of other permitted varities. Classico Gropello must comprise 85% of this variety and can be made as a riserva.
Garda Colli Mantovani DOC
The vineyards which produce Garda Colli Mantovani wines are found between Lake Garda in the north and the rivers Minico in the east and Po in the south. The Colli Mantovani are the hills to the north of Mantua, and Garda is of course Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. The Garda Colli Mantovani rosso (red) and rosato (rose) are based on a roughly equal blend of Merlot and Rondinella, backed up by a 20% dose of Cabernet Sauvignon, making this an interesting halfway house between Bordeaux and Valpolicella. A traditional, characterful northern Italian pairing of Garganega and Trebbiano is at the heart of the DOC's bianco (white) wines, although even here a French influence is obvious in the form of a maximum 35% Chardonnay. The red varietal wines produced under this title are Merlot and 'Cabernet' (Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon are both used, either blended or individually). Their white counterparts are Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Lambrusco Mantovano DOC
DOC for sparkling reds and rosés (frizzantes) in the Italian region Lombardy . The zone includes portions of three municipalities Gazzuolo, Poggio Rusco and Sermide in the province of Mantua. It consists of two subzones Viadanese-Sabbionetano (between the Oglio and Po rivers) and Oltrepò Mantovano. With an alcohol content of 11 vol% (10.5% otherwise) not set to the subzone on the bottle label. Rosso and Rosato are in any use of Grappello Ruperti = Viadanese lambrusco, lambrusco = Grappello Maestri Maestri, Lambrusco Marani = Grappello Marani and Lambrusco Salamino (85-100%), and any use of Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grappello Grasparossa = Grasparossa, Ancellotta and Fortana (15%) pressed and expanded each in secco or amabile.
Lugana DOC
In 1967, Lugana became one of the very first DOC wines. It is shared with Veneto, is an excellent area for white wines comparable to Soave Classico. Lugana DOC wine must consist of at least 90% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes, and must not include any aromatic grape varieties. Lugana Superiore wine has been aged for at least 1 year. It will have a more intense structure, with a tasty and long-lived palate, and will age well for several years.
Oltrepo Pavese DOC
Production area for a wide range of red, rosé and white wines in the Italian region Lombardy. The Zone (DOC, DOCG and IGT Provincia di Pavia), with 16,000 hectares of vineyards to Asti and Chianti is the third largest in Italy. The geographical area is located south of Oltrepò Pavia, on the border Piedmont and the Emilia-Romagna. The total area is nearly 100,000 acres of mostly hilly and mountainous character in 300 to 400 meters above sea level. The climate is characterized by very dry summers, winters and ventilated, with high temperature fluctuations caused by the rising air currents on the slopes. The soils of the foothills consist of marine sedimentary rocks with a significant clay component. The pure DOC or DOCG area covers 12,000 hectares in 42 municipalities in the Apennine foothills on the south bank of the Po. The Oltrepò is the largest producer of Pinot Nero grapes in Italy, they are grown on approximately 2,000 acres of vineyards. The varietal wines must be produced from at least 85% of each variety, the rest must be approved varieties of the same color. Which are at least dry (secco) and partly in Amabile and dolce developed varietal types Barbera, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cortese, Croatina (Bonarda), Malvasia, Moscato (also known as raisin and Liquoroso), Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero (also know pressed and as Rosato), Riesling and Sauvignon. New from the 2007 vintage, that must be pressed to the Pinot Noir as a red wine made from 100% of that sort. Some of these wines, there are also variations in sparkling wine and sparkling wine. The Rosso red variants (also called Riserva with two years of aging) and Rosato are from Croatina (25-65%), Barbera (25-65%), and Uva Rara, and / or Ughetta and / or Pinot Noir (45%) blended. From the 2007 vintage, it is also a Bianco (50-60% Riesling, the remainder being other types). Certain wines of the two sub-zones Buttafuoco (sparks) and Sangue di Giuda (Judas blood) must bear this designation on the label. They are like the Rosso but produced with at least 0.5% by volume alcohol content higher than this. The Buttafuoco is also available as sparkling wine, the Sangue di Giuda there are only a sparkling wine and sparkling wine as well as from 2007 (Charmat method). The alcohol content must be at Sangue di Giuda at least 6% alcohol by volume, in 2007 he must have at least 90 g / l residual sugar have. The sparkling wine was made from the 2007 vintage to the Metodo Classico DOCG Oltrepò Pavese. The term spumante was deliberately avoided in order to emphasize the production method. The sparkling wine is made from at least 70% Pinot Noir, and a maximum of 30% Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio. How in the name explicitly mentioned, is only the fermentation in the bottle allowed. The sparkling wine must be at least 15 months, a Millesimato (Vintage Wine) 24 months from 1 January in the store following the harvest year on the lees. There is also a variant Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico Pinot Nero (at least 85% Pinot Noir). Both variants can Bianco and protected designation Cruasé be produced (dialect term for pink).
Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Grigio DOC
This DOC was established in August 2010 to designate wines are made from Pinot Grigio grapes and come from the Oltrepo Pavese viticultural zone.
Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
This DOC was established in August 2010 to designate wines are made from Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) grapes and come from the Oltrepo Pavese viticultural zone. This is now the fastest growing area in Italy for Pinot Nero.
Riviera del Garda Bresciano DOC
Also known as Garda Bresciano DOC, it covers red, white and rosé wines made around the western shores of Lake Garda. The whites wines produced from 100% “Riesling” including Riesling Italico (Welschriesling) and/or Riesling Renano (Rhine Riesling) yet these two completely distinct grape varieties. Red wines here are made predominantly from Gropello (30% - 100%), to which is added Sangiovese, Marzemino (locally known as Berzemino) and Barbera. They may be released as fresh, early-drinking novello (vinified via carbonic maceration), as superiore (with a slightly higher alcoholic strength) or riserva, which must be aged for 2 years before release. The rosé wine styles may be either still (chiaretto) or sparkling which may be labeled either as rosé or rosato, dry (brut) or very dry styles (extra-brut), all of which are vinified using the Charmat (tank) method.
San Colombano DOC
Also known as San Colombano al Lambro DOC, it covers the area of the hill communities Graffignana, the eponymous San Colombano al Lambro and Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in the province of Milan, as well as terms and Mirandolo Inverno e Monteleone in the province of Pavia. The red wine is blended from Croatina (30-45%), Barbera (25-40%), and Uva Rara, Bonarda (5-15%), and other red varieties (15%).
San Martino della Battaglia DOC
Established as a DOC in 1970, the principal white grape variety is Friulano which makes up at least 80% in bianco blends.  Liquoroso can be made by fortification of juice or partially fermented must/wine resulting in a wine with a minimum 40 g/l (4.0%).
Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese / Sangue di Giuda DOC
The name “Sangue di Giuda” means “Blood of Judas” and the wines must be made from grapes produced from Barbera (25% to 65%), Croatina (25% to 65%) Uva rara, Ughetta (Vespolina) and Pinot Noir jointly or separately, up to a maximum of 45%.
Terre di Colleoni / Colleoni DOC
Established as a DOC in 2011, the principal white grape varieties include Chardonnay, Manzoni Bianco, Moscato, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Grigio. The principal red grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Franconia, Marzemino, Merlot, and Schiava.
Valcalepio DOC
Valcalepio DOC was introduced in August 1976 and reviewed in 2002. It covers the hills between the Como and Iseo lakes in the southernmost foothills of the Lombardian Alps. It includes rosso (red) and bianco (white) wines as well as sweet Moscato Passito wines. Valcalepio Rosso is produced from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (25% - 60%). Valcalepio Bianco, is based on Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay (at least 50%) and the remainder is Pinot Grigio.
Valtellina Rosso /
Rosso di Valtellina DOC
One of the most prominent DOCs for red wines made from Nebbiolo which tend to be lighter than Barolo and Barbaresco due to the difference in the climate and soil. But they remain age-worthy.
Valtènesi DOC
Established as a DOC in 2011, the principal red grape variety is Groppello which makes up at least 50% of the rosato (Chiaretto) wines.
There are 5 DOCGs in Lombardia which are as follows:
Franciacorta DOCG
The Franciacorta DOCG designation applies only to sparkling wines made with Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco grown on the slopes around Lake Iseo. Still wines from the region may be released as Curtefranca (formerly Terre di Franciacorta) DOC or Sebino IGT.
Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG
A sparkling wine made in the metodo classico method. It was Originally referred to as Oltrepo Spumante but then was awarded DOCG status in 2007. Pinot Noir is the dominant grape (70% or more) in the blend which may be made either as white or rosé. This percentage increases to 85% for Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Pinot Nero. Other varieties allowable include Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay.
Moscato di Scanzo DOCG
While most moscato is yellow-gold, Moscato di Scanzo is a sweet red wine. The region became a DOC in 2002 and a DOCG 2009. The grapes only come from the vineyards around Scanzorosciate, a town just east of Bergamo in the foothills of the Southern Alps. The grapes are dried for at least 21 days (appassimento), then sorted and pressed. Once fermented, the wine is aged for a minimum of 2 years in neutral containers such as steel or glass.
Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG
Also known as Sfursat di Valtellina DOCG, these are strong wines made with Nebbiolo grapes using the passito method of semi-drying the grapes on straw mats for extra concentration.
Valtellina Superiore DOCG
Valtellina Superiore DOCG wines must contain at least 90% Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) in the four sub-districts of Grumello, Inferno, Sassella and Valgella.
Key White Grape Varieties
The dominant white grape in Franciacorta where it is used for both sparkling wine and still wine. Also grown in Oltrepò Pavese around Lake Garda.
Garganega is Italy's 6th most widely planted white grape. It is the same grape as the Grecanico Dorato (Grecanio) grape of Sicily. It is widely grown in Veneto where it the major competent of soave.
Pinot Bianco
The second most planted white grape in Franciacorta.
Trebbiano di Lugana
It is known locally on the banks of the Lago di Garda as Turbiana. It is not the same as Trebbiano found in Tuscany, Umbria, or any other part of Italy.
Riesling Renano
Also known as Rielsing Italico and it is the same grape as Riesling grown n Austria and Germany.
Key Red Grape Varieties
Grown throughout Oltrepò Pavese, it tends to be more rustic than Barbera d’ Asti and Barbera d’ Alba.
Bonarda is the local name for the Croatina grape in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna and bears no relation to the Bonarda grape varieties found in Argentina and Piedmont. The mid- to late-ripening grape delivers wines with dark color, gushing fruit, low acidity and soft tannins, often resembling Montepulciano or Dolcetto in expression. The best examples come from the Oltrepò Pavese DOC In wines alternatively labelled as Oltrepò Pavese Rosso, Sangue di Giuda or Buttafuoco. In blends it typically remains over 50% with the remaining usually being Barbera. It is also bottled as a varietally-labelled wines in in which it makes up at least 85%. Riserva wines are aged for a minimum of 24 months before release.
Known locally as Chiavennasca. It produces wines of finesse in the high mountain terraces above Sondrio.
The Lambrusco grape and wine originate from four zones in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy, principally around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio nell'Emilia, and Mantua. The most highly rated of its wines are the frizzante red wines intended to be consumed in their youth from one of the eight Lambrusco DOCS.
Pinot Noir
Grown in Franciacorta for sparkling wine and still wines in Oltrepò Pavese.
Uva Rara
Literally “rare grape” this grape is used in Oltrepò Pavese blends where it is often blended with Barbera and Croatina (Bonarda). There are only 608 hectares (1,502 acres) planted.

 The Wines

While studying Lombardia I tasted the following wines:

NV Bellavista Cuvee Franciacorta Brut

This wine is a blend of 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero made in the metodo classico (methode champenoise) process. This is a clear white wine, pale straw-color with very tiny bubbles. On the nose it is clean with subtle aromas of tart lemon, lime, and a hint of chalk. On the palate it has additional notes of yellow apples, pear, melon rind, Crème brûlée, and hints of clamshell on the return. On entry it is fresh, lively and crisp but on the mid palate it has a slight creaminess. It has medium+ acidity, medium- body and has a medium length finish.  This wine sells for $34.99 at Beltramos in Menlo Park, California.

2009 Tenuta Mazzolino Noir Pinot Nero, Oltrepo Pavese DOC

This is a clear ruby red wine with a touch of garnet at the rim and moderate viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderate intense aromas of ripe cherries, strawberry preserves, a hint of dried tomatoes, cinnamon candy, forest floor, and mushrooms. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it is dry with moderate tannins, medium+ acidity, it is medium bodied with a medium length finish. It is unmistakably old world in character and yet it isn’t as funky as your typical Burgundy. I also suspect (further research is required) that the dried tomato aromas may be a unique trait to Italian Pinot Noir. This wine sells for $35.99 at Enoteca Vino Nostro in San Francisco.

2009 Albareda Sforzato di Valtellina

This wine is made 100% Nebbiolo from the Valtellina Superiore DOCG Sassella and Grumellothe. The grapes are harvested and subsequently dried until the end of January. They are then pressed and fermented in stainless steel with 20 days maceration on the skins followed by aging for 18 months in new oak barrels and 10 months in bottle. 
This is a clear red wine, moderate intensity, ruby at the core to garnet at the rim with medium+ viscosity. On the nose it is clean with moderate intense aromas of concentrated “sweet” dried cherries, cranberries, a minute amount of tar, fresh tobacco and mushrooms. On the palate the nose is confirmed, on entry it is surprisingly soft and it is surprisingly silky on the mid palate but then on the finish very refined medium+ tannins show some grip. It is dry with medium+ mouth-watering acidity, it is medium bodied with medium+ alcohol and a moderate length finish. This is an elegant wine with plenty of finesse; one that provokes contemplation and deserves a lot of philosophical reflection. This wine sells for $54.99 at Beltramos, in Menlo Park, California.

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