Wine Reviews

Donnas 2009, Caves Cooperatives de Donnas

Dear readers,

Today I propose a review of an Aosta Valley native wine, the Donnas produced by Caves Cooperatives de Donnas.

We are in Donnas, in Aosta Valley, and the vine is Nebbiolo (from which Barolo and Barbaresco): here Nebbiolo “gets” the nickname “Nebbiolo of the mountain”, given by the proximity of the Aosta Valley to Piedmont and by the vineyards placed at the foot of the mountains.

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The Donnas by Caves Cooperatives de Donnas is an austere wine, with an elegant character, dry, with a good body and structure. This wine is aged in large oak casks at least for 12 months, giving the tannin roundness and pleasure at every sip!

I tried the Donnas 2009.
At the nose, perfumes of small red berries, cranberries, currants, raspberry, black cherry, cloves and black pepper.

On the palate the Donnas is dry, quite rounded, quite tannic, with a good freshness.

I recommend it in pairing with medium-aged cheese and hard cheese, red meat preferably not grilled, stews and, according to local tradition, the Carbonada (link here).

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Recipes and wine pairing

Caramelized apple pie

Dear readers,

Today I tought about the caramelized apple pie recipe, really tasty and quite simple to prepare: your weekend will be much sweeter!

Let’s go step by step to prepare the recipe and you will see it will be less difficult than expected.

Ingredients (12 slices):

2 egg yolks
2 entire eggs
200 gr of flour (7 oz)
200 gr of sugar (7 oz)
50 gr of melted butter for the mixture (1.8 oz)
60 gr butter to melt in the pan for the “caramelized” process (2.1 oz)
80 gr of sugar to caramelize the apples (2.8 oz)
Juice of half a lemon
250 gr of thinly sliced ​​apples (moisten with a few drops of lemon juice to prevent them discoloring) (8.8 oz)

Preparation

Beat and mix the two egg yolks in a bowl, the two whole eggs and 200 grams of sugar.
Melt the 50 gr of butter for a minute in a pan, at low heat, being careful not to boil it and blacked: let cool before adding it to the mixture or else you could risk to “cook” the mixture and make a real mess!
Add the cooled melted butter to the mixture, the juice of half a lemon, the flour (a little at a time) and stir gradually.

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Meanwhile, cut the apples into thin slices and moisten with a dash of lemon juice, to prevent them blacken. Turn on the oven at 180 °C (356 °F) to preheat it.
Melt the 60 grams of butter in a pan of 30 cm (11 inches) diameter and then add the 80 grams of sugar: caramelized the sugar until it has reached a golden color, taking care to stir it very often, otherwise you could burn the sugar.
At this point, place the apples (as shown in figure) into the pan, pour the mixture and bake it for 45 minutes at 180 °C (356 °F).

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Overturned the cake, using a plate and being careful not to burn your hands with the melted butter that may leak during the operation!

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We’re done, now we could enjoy the piece of cake!

Conservation

You could store the Caramelized apple pie in a sealed plastic or glass box in the fridge up to five days. I suggest you to warm a little bit the slice before eating to enjoy more the caramelized apple.

And the wine?

For the cake with caramelized apples, I picked the 2011 Chaudelune, produced by Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle.

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I chose the Chaudelune for its fruity notes of pear, apple and other white pulp fruits, which is well aligned with the main aroma of the caramelized apple cake, broadening the whole taste. Moreover, the softness of the wine surrounds and fits perfectly with the sweetness of the cake and the caramelized apples.

For more about the Chaudelune, have a look directly to the review here.

If you can not find it, I recommend a sweet wine that has similar characteristics to Chaudelune, a Moscato Passito di Chambave or a Verdicchio Passito. If you cannot find these two, I recommend a more common Passito di Pantelleria or Moscato di Pantelleria, both dessert wines, however, with different characteristics, since the predominant perfumes and aromas are related to apricot, peach and dried fruit: a pleasant pairing, but not superb as the first!

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Wine Reviews

Chaudelune 2012, Cave du vin blanc de Morgex et de la Salle

Dear readers,

Today we’re talking about the Chaudelune, by Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle.

We are in the Aosta Valley, at the foot of the Mont Blanc: Chaudelune is an “ice wine” ( the harvest is done in December, with the first winter frosts) aged in not completely filled oak barrels, to encourage oxidative processes that enrich the wine’s aromas and flavors (as for some Sherry and Porto production technique) .

The grape, which is made Chaudelune, is the Prié Blanc, a Aosta Valley native vine, which is famous for the sparkling Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle .

I’ve tasted the 2012 vintage .

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At the nose, aromas of pear, yellow and white ripe fruits, cedar, herbs (thyme and rosemary) and a light balsamic note .

On the palate, Chaudelune is soft, warm enough, with good acidity and sap.

I recommend it in pairing with blue cheese and or aged cheese, though, to fully appreciate it in its special qualities, should be tasted by itself!

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Wine Reviews

Rossese di Dolceacqua 2010, Tenuta Anfosso

Happy weekend dear readers!
Today we’re talking about a native Ligurian wine, the Rossese di Dolceacqua.

In these weeks, I took a short break from the blog, in order to prepare the exams of the Sommelier course! Now that I’ve finished them and finally and officially I become a Sommelier, I can dedicate myself more to what I love: wine!

Now let’s come back to the Rossese di Dolceacqua.
Produced by Tenuta Anfosso, from the same Rossese grape, this 2010 Ligurian red wine is really soft, quite fresh, quite tannic and with a good alcohol structure.

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At the nose, perfumes of ripe red fruits, olives and a hint of white pepper.

On the palate is very soft with a good persistence. It is a full-bodied wine, even if with a delicate tannin .

Due its characteristics, I recommend it in pairing with medium aged cheese (e.g. Pecorino Toscano, young Parmesan cheese and washed-rind cheeses, like Taleggio) and grilled meat. I tried it with a roast duck and it was not bad!

And now, let’s celebrate the weekend to begin!

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Recipes and wine pairing

Duck white Ragù

Weekend time, dear readers!
For this one, I thought about a particular and sophisticated recipe, the Duck white Ragù.

Ingredients (serves 6):

2 duck legs
4 thigh duck (you can replace the thigh with chest, easier to find)
1 shallot
2 onions
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
3 sage leaves
2 liters of water for the broth
1 laurel leaf for the broth
1 glass of Sherry (white wine or port are fine the same)
1 knob of butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

 

Preparation

Wash the duck, dry it and debone it.
Put the deboned meat in the meat grinder; if you don’t have it, you can cut the meat by knife, working it until you get small pieces of meat. In any case, keep a little of skin duck in the meat, in such a way as to make softer the white Ragù. Once ground, stir the meat with your hands.

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Meanwhile, prepare the broth with the duck bones, the celery, carrot, onion and the laurel leave. Savory the broth and cover the pan with a lid, making sure to leave the heat to the minimum.

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Chop the shallots, sage, onion and celery and sauté it in a pan, adding a spoon of broth to avoid burning the sauté: turn off the heat once the sauce will have acquired a golden color.3_Ragù_Bianco_Anatra_Thewinelifestyle

 

In another pan, sauté the ground meat of duck with extra virgin olive oil and butter: brown the meat over high heat, in a way which does not make it “boil” in its juices.
When the meat has acquired a golden color (see figure below) and has dried the liquids in the pan, blend it with a glass of Sherry (or white wine): later, add the sauce and reduce heat to a minimum.
Add salt and pepper and then the broth, in quantities of three ladles (see figure below).

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During the cooking process (about 2 hours), remember to add broth whenever the Ragù is too dry: check it about every 15-20 minutes.

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You can serve the Duck white Ragù on a plate of pasta, preferably a “short” one: the best match would be with Garganelli, a fresh Emilian short egg rifled pasta which captures the Ragù very well.

Conservation

You can store the Duck white Ragù in glass or plastic sealed jars for about three days, in the refrigerator. You can keep for a week, if stored in the freezer. Before serving, thaw and heat quickly in the microwave.

And the wine?

For the Duck white Ragù, I chose “Capo di Terra” 2007 by Conti Sertoli Salis, a small Italian producer located in Valtellina.

It is a “Valtellina Superiore”, made from Nebbiolo grapes (the same for Pedimont Barolo and Barbaresco), Chiavennasca in the local dialect.

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Clear and quite transparent, garnet red in color with orange highlights, “Capo di Terra” is a quite rounded wine, elegant and quite tannic.
On the nose, aromas of blueberries, currants, raspberries and other small red and black berry and violet leaves flower.

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It pairs very well with the Duck white Ragù, without prevailing, but drying very well the oiliness of Ragù.

So, have a nice weekend and a good preparation!

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Recipes and wine pairing

Traditional “Bollito” (Boiled meat)

Have a nice weekend, dear readers!
For this weekend, I thought about a traditional italian recipe suitable for this winter days, the “Bollito“!

Let’s see how to prepare it, step by step.

Ingredients (4 people):

3 liters of water (102 oz)
1kg of beef meat suitable for cooking by boiling (in Italy we use Biancostato and Cappello del Prete) (35932oz)
15gr of salt (0.5 oz)
1 carrot
1 onion
2 celery stalks
1 sprig of laurel
2 sprigs of parsley
2 sprigs of thyme
1 dried clove
5 peppercorns (preferably pink peppercorns)

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Preparation

Prepare a main sprig, trying to tie each other sprigs, those of thyme, parsley and laurel.
In a deep pan, boil the main sprig, the peeled onion, the peeled carrot and the two celery stalks.

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When the water boils, add the salt and the meat: in the first minutes the broth could form a solid “foam” which should be removed with a slotted spoon (see figure below).

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Once “unfoamed” the broth, add the peppercorns and the dried clove.
Let everything boil for about three hours, covering the pan: the Bollito will be ready when the fork will come off very easily from the meat!

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I recommend serving the Bollito together with sauces, such mustard, salsa verde or mostarda.

Conservation

The Bollito can be stored in glass or plastic sealed jars, in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days. The broth can be stored in the same way and you can use it as a basis for the preparation of an excellent Risotto, soups, with meat Tortellini or simply consumed hot.

And the wine?

For the Bollito I thought about an Italian wine made from a native grape of South Tyrol, the Schiava.
I tried the Schiava 2013 by Melag.

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Purple red in color and transparent, this wine has a quite soft character and it’s fresh, fruity and slightly tannic.

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It’s a very simple wine, with aromas of fresh fruit such as strawberries and wild berries, which goes very well with Bollito, given its characteristics of freshness, acidity and light tannins.

And now, bon appetit!

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Wine Reviews

Vin de la Sabla, Les Crétes

Good Morning!

Today we talk about a very interesting Italian wine from Aosta Valley, the “Vin de Sabla” by “Les Crétes”.
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This wine is produced mainly from local vine varieties, which are grown in the same area of their historical origin: it is therefore not a vine transplanted from other areas.
The native vines at the base of the Vin de Sabla are Petit Rouge (in percentage to 30%), Fumin (30%) and Mayolet (10%). The remaining 30% it’s Barbera grape.
Petit Rouge is one of the most used and valuable Aosta Valley native grape: it gives the wine a purplish red color, tending to garnet, intense and fruity perfumes and a good softness on the palate.
Fumin is the last native grape enhanced recently in the Aosta Valley: it gives the wine purple hues, slightly herbaceous aromas and, if aged, hints of earth and leather.
The Mayolet is a native Aosta Valley vine mainly used to “blend” other varieties: it brings finesse, smoothness and alcohol to the wine. (editor’s note: The “blend” is a mixture of different wines by grape variety, provenance or age)

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The Vin de Sabla by Les Crétes, purplish in color, comes with a good consistency and structure.
It’s a young wine with intense aromas of fresh fruits, strawberry, cherry and red and black berries.
On the palate this wine is rounded and fruity, pleasant in pairing with meats, medium-aged cheeses and meat dishes.

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