Quattro Mani Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Quattro Mani Montepulciano d’AbruzzoQuattro Mani translates to mean “four hands” which supposedly represents four celebrity Italian winemakers who produce wines from indigenous Italian varietals, such as Montepulciano.  I tried to find out who these “celebrities” are but I couldn’t find any info on them. If anyone knows, please post a comment.
I also tried to visit the website of the bottler, Velenosi and that too was unavailable.  I’m having no luck on the research in the rear this bottle.  It was imported by Domaine Select in New York, but all they say is that it’s produced by four celebrated Italian winemakers.  That doesn’t help me either.  Sigh.  All I can give you on this is my tasting notes.
Barley and vanilla aromas with blackberry and cherry cola on the palate. Quattro Mani Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a very soft, simple and approachable wine filled with a nice abundance of fruit.  The end is honestly long and it is well balanced.  It’s a decent and enjoyable pizza or pasta wine, but it’s not extraordinarily elegant.
Wine: Quattro Mani
Varietal: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 85
Fee Paid: $8.99

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Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2008We head back to New Zealand today to try another Sauvignon Blanc.  As I’ve earlier mentioned, New Zealand has a reputation for excellent Sauvignon Blanc and this one lives up to the reputation.
The seeds of Nobilo as a winery started when Nikola Nobilo immigrated from Croatia to New Zealand in 1937 in anticipation of World War II.  The Nobilo family had been producing wines in Croatia for some 300 years and Nikola continued the tradition in New Zealand.  The Nobilo winery was bought by BRL strong in 2000, which was then bought by the wine and spirits giant Constellation Brands in 2003.  Nikola Nobilo continued to produce wines for the companionship after the acquisition by Constellation, but he passed away in 2007 at the age of 94.
Nobilo produces wine from many regions in New Zealand, but this Sauvignon Blanc comes from  Marlborough—reputed as the most desirable province in New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc.  After tasting this wine, I can be with you why.The intensity in the nose is excellent and it is a highly tropical Sauvignon Blanc.  Pineapple, honey, melon, pear and a hint of flint give this wine a wonderful bouquet. When I first opened the bottle, it didn’t have the vegetal characteristic that many SBs from New Zealand have, but after it opened up a distinct green pepper aroma came to the surface. The palate is flavorful, well balanced and just as exciting as the nose.  It has lemon, pear, melon, apple and mineral flavors.  The end is honestly long and enjoyable.  All told, this is a fantastic Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc at a decent fee.
Wine: Nobilo
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 12.5%
Rating: 90
Fee: $11.99 Read more

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde

Casa de Vila Verde Vinho VerdeThe additional day we reviewed a Vinho Verde from Fantastic Sense and tonight we’re checking out another one, this one from Casa de Vila Verde.
Like many European vineyards, Casa de Vila Verde has a long description, going back to the mid-17th century within the same family.  And like many European producers, the winery was modernized within the past 20 years — in this case it was in 1996.  While in the US it’s fascinating to learn about vineyards with such a description, the tale is so prevalent in Europe that when I speak to wine writers there they find it cliché.  Maybe it is, but I subdue appreciate the family heritage that goes into many wines in the province versus the corporate heritage we find on many of the shelves in the US.  That’s not to say there aren’t family wineries in the US, there are many of them, but very few with the extensive description of those from additional regions.The aromas on this wine are like fresh squeezed lime over green apples, with a hint of honeysuckle in the background.  The palate has really nice, vibrant acidity with flavors of fresh apple, lime and a touch of mineral.  The end is nice too, with plenty of citrus and mineral flavors lingering on.  This one doesn’t offer the fizz you would find in many Vinho Verdes, but the acidity gives plenty of life to the mouth feel.
Wine: Casa de Vila Verde Vinho Verde
Variety: Colorless blend
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 11.5%
Rating: 87
Fee: $10.00 Read more

Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc

Two Oceans Sauvignon BlancI haven’t had the opportunity to try many wines from South Africa, so I was glad to give this one a shot. Two Ocean wine is named for the two oceans that converge at the Cape in South Africa.The mark on this wine says that it has “ripe gooseberry flavors” but I don’t reckon I’ve ever tasted gooseberries, so I’m not sure about that.  What I am sure of is that this wine is characteristically different from Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted from additional regions.  There is something much more earthy in the nose on this one.  It does have the tropical fruit aromas you would expect from a Sauvignon Blanc, but they are slightly restrained.  That’s not a terrible thing, it’s just different.
Melon, apricot, lemon, flint and dried straw make an fascinating bouquet.  Really, it’s that dried straw aroma that makes this wine different than additional Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted.  It’s amusing though, often a SB will have a “grassy” characteristic but this one is like a dried grass building it rather earthy.  The palate is tart and minerally.  It’s like green apples and flint stones, followed by more apple, apricot and melon on a lengthy end.
To me, Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc is slightly off balance.  That said, there are some fascinating characteristics to it and if you’re looking for a very acidic colorless you may like it.
Wine: Two Oceans
Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 12%
Rating: 81
Fee: $7.99

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