Scarbolo Campo del Viotto 2015 ($43.99) Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy From the producer: "An intense deep ruby red color with pomegranate hues. Ripe notes of marasca cherries, sweet tobacco, dark chocolate and ripe wild berries. Intense on the palate, with soft sweet tannins and spiced persistent finish.
Grapes: 100% Merlot
Fermentation: The first whole clusters harvested are dried out for about 20 days, then the fermentation occurs in small Oak Barrels. After the fermentation, barrels are sealed and the wine remains in contact with the skins until mid December.
Aging: 2 Years in small Oak barriques; then 6 Months in the bottle prior to release Production: 850 Cases"
From me: Another wine from Scarbolo that flips the script. Hate Merlot? Think it's an unimpressive varietal? Try this wine. From the partial raisinating of the grapes to the long aging, this takes Merlot to the next level. Elegant and rich.
We previously tasted the 2013 vintage, which is wonderful (both on the day of opening and the next day). This is the 2015, which was an excellent year for Italian wine. As of this posting, Sage is the only store in Upstate NY that carries this vintage, but there is still very little of it. This is a perfect special occasion or gift wine.
1. Taste with as clean a palate as possible. Try to avoid smoking or chewing gum just beforehand. If you have just eaten, drink some water to clear the flavors of the meal.
2. Keep an open mind. Try new things! We all get into ruts when it comes to our palates, but the fun of a tasting is that you don't have to commit to the whole bottle. If you don't like what you've tasted, you can spit it out.
3. Spit or swallow--it's up to you! Just make sure you use the spittoon!
4. See, swirl, smell, sip, savor. Give attention to all aspects of the wine. Here are a couple of links that explain the process:
5. Have fun! Wine tasting has an air of elitism around it, but unnecessarily so. Your palate is your own-it's as individual as you are-and the most important part of appreciating good alcohol is knowing what you like and why you like it. You don't have to use fancy words or spend a lot of money on a bottle. As the kids say, you do you!