Monthly Archives: April 2014

Sofia – An Update

Sofia

Sofia

Just in case you were all chewing your nails wondering how Sofia is doing, she is now 6 months old and I am happy to report that she is doing great, growing up just fine both physically and mentally. She is sweet, sociable, smart and occasionally hyper as only a lab puppy can be ūüôā And of course, she is cute! ūüėÄ Most importantly, we are all very happy.

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As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

The Easter Bunny Is Real!

Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) in summer coat

Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) in summer coat

As you can tell from the image above, traveling to Canada’s arctic territory of Nunavut allowed me to undeniably prove that the Easter bunny does exist! ūüėČ

Happy Easter, y’all!

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As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)

Wine Review: Masciarelli, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo S. Martino Rosso “Marina Cvetic” DOC 2007

Masciarelli, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo S. Martino Rosso "Marina Cvetic" DOC

Masciarelli, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo S. Martino Rosso “Marina Cvetic” DOC

In¬†a previous post we reviewed an excellent white wine made by Masciarelli¬†(a quality producer based in the central Italy region of¬†Abruzzo)¬†the¬†Trebbiano d’Abruzzo “Marina Cvetic”. Today we are going to review another great wine made by Masciarelli, this time a red, namely¬†Masciarelli, Montepulciano¬†d‚ÄôAbruzzo S. Martino Rosso ‚ÄúMarina Cvetic‚ÄĚ DOC 2007 ($22).

Not unlike the case of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, even this wine is made from a¬†grape variety that over time has had some pretty mixed reviews.¬†Due to it being¬†so¬†widely grown a variety in central Italy, quality may vary dramatically from producer to producer, which in essence means that you need to be aware of who the best producers are in order not to be disappointed.

Masciarelli is definitely one of the great Montepulciano producers and hopefully this post will help readers become acquainted with quality Montepulciano wines and have an idea of what to expect from them.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the S. Martino Rosso was an excellent wine at a very attractive price point Рprovided, like I said, that before enjoying it, it is left aging enough to mellow its vibrant tannins. The bottle I had sported a great, complex nose, coupled with an awesome mouth feel showing great correspondence with its aromas. With seven years of aging under its belt, it had supple tannins, great structure, still good acidity and a long finish. For those who can wait, it can age for a few more years and continue improving.

Rating: Outstanding and definitely Recommended given its excellent QPR Outstanding Р$$

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

About the Grape

Montepulciano¬†is a black-berried grape variety that is¬†indigenous to Italy¬†(most likely, the Abruzzo region) and is widely planted across¬†central Italy¬†(about 30,000 HA), especially in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche and Molise. Beside Italy, it is also grown in California, Australia and New Zealand. It is a grape variety that results in deeply colored wines with robust tannins, that are often used in blends. On account of the wide diffusion of Montepulciano grapes, the quality levels of the wines made out of them varies considerably ‚Äď hence,¬†caveat emptor: you need to know which producers to trust and buy from.

(Information on the grape variety taken from¬†Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012 ‚Äď for more information about grape varieties, check out our¬†Grape Variety Archive)

About the Appellation

The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC appellation is one of the eight DOC appellations of Abruzzo (as at the date of this post). The appellation was created in 1968 and it encompasses a large area near the towns of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo. Its regulations require that the wines produced in this appellation be made of at least 85% of Montepulciano grapes, to which up to 15% of other permitted black-berried grapes may be blended.

Our Detailed Review

The wine that we are going to review,¬†Masciarelli, Montepulciano¬†d‚ÄôAbruzzo S. Martino Rosso ‚ÄúMarina Cvetic‚ÄĚ DOC 2007, retails in the US for about $22.

As mentioned on a previous post, Marina Cvetic is both the name of the wife of the founder of the Masciarelli winery (Gianni Masciarelli) and the brand under which Masciarelli’s flagship line trades.

The Montepulciano d‚ÄôAbruzzo ‚ÄúMarina Cvetic‚ÄĚ that I had was¬†14.5% ABV¬†and was made from¬†100% Montepulciano grapes¬†grown in¬†Masciarelli‚Äôs vineyards near the town of Chieti, at an altitude above sea level ranging from 655 ft (200 mt) to 1,310 ft (400 mt). The density in the vineyards¬†ranges from 1,600 to 8,000 vines/HA.

The must was fermented in stainless steel vats for 15 to 20 days at 82-86 F (28-30 C). The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and then aged for 12 to 18 months in 100% new oak barrique casks.

As mentioned in the About the Grape paragraph above, Montepulciano is a variety that makes wines with robust tannins: this means that, in order to really enjoy your bottle of Montepulciano, you need to give it some aging or you may be disappointed because its tannins may strike you as harsh and edgy. Much like in the case of Barolo’s and Brunello’s, drinking too young a bottle of Montepulciano is one of the main reasons why certain consumers are put off by this variety: let it age at least 6 to 8 years and you will see that your sensory experience will be entirely different, definitely for the better!

As usual, for my reviews I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.

In the glass, the wine was ruby red and viscous.

On the nose, it was intense, complex and fine with aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant, sweet tobacco, black pepper, dark chocolate and hints of licorice.

In the mouth, the wine was dry, with high ABV and smooth; it was acidic, tannic, tasty. It was full-bodied, balanced, with intense and fine flavors of black cherry, blackcurrant, licorice, black pepper and dark chocolate. It had a long finish and its evolutionary state was ready.

Resilient: Inuit Women Out Hunting

CANADA, Nunavut - 
Inuit women

CANADA, Nunavut Р
Inuit women out hunting

Inuit people are really quite amazing, and for sure¬†they are resourceful and resilient – and¬†their elders are no exception! I made this portrait of two elderly Inuit women while they were out hunting caribou for subsistence on a quad. I mean, hats off to these strong women who, despite their age, ride¬†for hours a four-wheeled bike on bumpy dirt roads looking for caribou for dinner! And when they find one, they pull out their rifle, kill the animal and then pull it up whole on their quad to take it back home for cooking. Wow, talk about driving down to the grocery store… ūüėČ

As mentioned on an earlier post, Inuit are one of the three groups of Aboriginal people who live in the Canadian Arctic (the other two groups being First Nations and Métis): Inuit speak a language called Inuktitut (Inuit is an Inuktitut word which means “the people“) and some of them also speak English (not these two ladies, though!)

For more information about this image, please click on it. If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to brow. se my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)