"In vino veritas." ("There is truth in wine.")
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was killed while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Prior to his death, he also would have noticed that some of the land of the Amalfi Coast was destroyed. It is an area that produces some, but not a lot, of wines. In fact, there were few enough that our wine guide, Dick, also included some wines from Sicily in our tasting.
Those we tasted ran the gamut from one that all liked to some that were -- well, not bad, but overpriced by comparison to some other excellent offerings.
Wines have been grown in this region since Greek times, but of low quality, Dick explained, adding that one wine expert said you could count the fine winemakers of the are on one finger!
Our first wine was from one of the Amalfi Coast wineries. It was a Terra di Briganti Falanghina Sannio 2009, a white wine from Campania, Italy.
I liked this quite well for a white and wrote "very pleasing" on my notes. At $12.59 it as our least expensive wine of the day.
In the white category, Rick favored the LeTerre del Gattopardo Vespro Grillo/Chardonnay 2009 IGT. I learned that IGT is the fourth and last in the classification of wines, less qualities than the initials VDT, DOC and DOCG (saving the best for last.)
Rick said "I could drink this one all day long," which might be an exaggeration, being the red-wine drinker he is! But it was quite nice. I enjoyed that it was feremented first in stainless steel barrels before moving into oak. I'm not big on oak and you could tell it didn't start there.
This was one of our wines from Sicily. It was $15.39.
Then back to Terra di Briganti for an Agliancio Sannio 2007, a red, again from Campania.
This wine is certified organic and a deep red. It was very fragrant and had extremely smooth tanins. Dick said this is one to open several hours before drinking. It was rustic with predominately tart cherries when first opened and he also recommended filtering it.
At $14.69, it was one we all liked.
The next wine, from a different vineyard but from the Terra di Briganti company, was Aglianco Sannio Martumme 2007 DOC Sannio and Taburno.
It was very dark with a nice finish and again, should be decanted and filetered many hours before. Rick liked this better than the first red. At $21.99, we probably won't be picking any up at the store.
Our fifth wine was Grifalco Aglianico Del Vulture 2007 DOC. It was very dry and Mike mentioned that the flavor didn't mellow out with drinking.
"It sticks to your tongue," Anne said, and Meredith agreed, adding "It's like sandpaper." (Pity -- it was such a pretty bottle -- and there is a lesson in that!)
It was the first time -- in all of our tasting -- that Barb put it in the dump bucket, and she likes everything! At $19.99, we all agreed to give this a pass.
Finally, another Sicilian wine, La Terre del Gattopardo Notte, Nero D'Avola 2009, IGT.
This had a wonderful finish was was a uniform favorite and it was my favorite of the day. (That said, we are always cautioned to beware of the last wine of the day -- the palate is desensitized by then.) It was $15.79.
As I said, I'll probably be giving most of these a pass, when there are so many tasty wines between $8 and $12. But of course it's always delicious and fun!
After the tasting, Roger took us "up the river" (the Grand River, that is) on a short boat cruise.
It was a perfect summer day, neither too hot nor too cold, sunny -- but not "too."
We noted some lovely wildlife. At first we thought these deer were statues.
Then we saw the doe move her tail.
Altogether there were about 10 or 11 of them, male and female, one rather determined to get into the house through the back door. It was lovely and tranquil.
We also spotted Harry the Heron's distant cousin (Harvey? Maybe!)
Our cruise ended back at the house where we enjoyed our always-wonderful dinner (Barb said it was becoming Gourmet Club!).
Meredith made place cards with photos reflecting various parts of our region and it was quite perfect!
Then it was time for yet another birthday celebration! And this time, Dick got to share in it and Rick a tad belatedly!
Good friends, good wine, good cake. It was a wonderful re-entry after vacation.