Brandolini Vistorta 2009
Merlot from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
- red wine
- Smooth & Supple
- 13.0% abv
Vistorta is a vibrant ruby red. This wine has intense aromas of red cherries and plums mingled with notes of green olive and spice. Medium-bodied and well structured, with rich, concentrated flavors of black currant and wild berries set against a backdrop of silky tannins. A powerful yet elegant wine.
Outstanding served with roasted or grilled red meat, lamb, polenta, mushroom risotto and semi-hard cheeses. Uncork at least a half hour before serving.
Conte Brandolini Winery
Count Brandino Brandolini's true passion is revealed in his role as owner and winemaker at his family's historic Vistorta estate in northeast Italy's Friuli region, just 25 miles north of Venice. This down-to-earth, Venetian-born graduate of Texas A&M and the University of Bordeaux took the helm at Vistorta in the 1980s. Influenced by his experience in Bordeaux and recognizing the outstanding potential of his family's estate vineyards (planted with Merlot for over a century), Brandolini set out to produce a world-class red wine from Vistorta.
Working with his close friend and colleague Georges Pauli, winemaker at Chateau Gruaud-Larose and consultant to a number of leading Bordeaux properties, Brandolini implemented a series of radical improvements at the estate. Using select Merlot clones from Bordeaux alongside his existing Merlot vines, Brandolini implemented a system of high-density planting in Vistorta's well-drained, limestone-rich vineyards. Here, protective mountain ranges to the north and west combine with the moderating influence of the Adriatic Sea to create a superb microclimate for the cultivation of outstanding Merlot grapes. Now, 20 years later, Vistorta enjoys a reputation as one of northeast Italy's most sought-after red wines.
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About Friuli-Venezia Giulia
(free-oo-lee veh-netz-ee-ah gwee-yee-ah)
The furthest east of the Tre-Venezie, Friuli-Venezia Giulia (usually just called Friuli) is celebrated for its zingy and zesty whites. Hugging the alps and the Austrian border, the climate here is cool and the vines are planted on the hillsides, allowing for more sun exposure. The cool temperatures of the region result in the lively acidity found in the wine. Colli Orientali del Friuli and the Collio are the most recognized regions here – they are located just on the border of Slovenia.
Successful grapes of the Friuli include Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Then of course, there's the famed local variety, Tocai Friulano (not any relation to Tokay d'Alsace or Tokay of Hungary), which produces wine that is floral and nutty in character but light-bodied. Ribolla Gialla, another white grape making wine with the floral notes and acidity common to the region - it is a delicious alternative to the international varieties of the area. Reds are not to be forgotten, although found less often. Merlot is the most planted, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and few indigenous varieties. Most exports are white.
A little ditty about Italy...
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.