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- n144mann - 03-11-1999

OK guys, got a challenge for you. Was given a bottle of Chard to try when a retailer and I were discussing the oak-bomb "problem" in California. Its Peter Zemmer Alto Adige Chard 1996. Italian wine with a german name in a red wine bottle.....any of you heard of it??

Ohh I was also wondering if you guys know much about the chards from Chile. I noticed several today as I was browsing. Any good ones from makers like Santa Rita etc.??

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-11-99).]

- Jerry D Mead - 03-11-1999

Don't know the wine, but the region is noted for very fresh, crisp wines and you're right about the's the part of Italy that used to be Austria, and where road signs and even cities come with both Italian and German names.

Even at three years old, I'm betting on a fresh, citrus-y, lemony wine, crisp and maybe even a little petillant (sp?), that is almost gulpable. How's that for going out on a limb re a wine I know absolutely nothing about.


- n144mann - 03-11-1999

Not bad Curm, will try it tonight and let you know how you did.

- n144mann - 03-11-1999

Well curmy, didn't do too bad. Had the wine with dinner, and liked it. Was very light in color, refreshing with just a bit of spritz left, just enough to tickle the tongue.Didn't last long after the wine was in the glass! Fruity, peach?? Didn't get lemon. Also quite a bit of spiciness. Zero oak when compared to Cal chards. A VERY easy to drink wine,(what was your word. ..gulpable?) A food friendly wine. Was good at three years old, but would like to taste one that was younger, for a comparison. A good drink with a meal,everyday wine. IMHO worth popping the cork.

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-12-99).]

- Jerry D Mead - 03-11-1999

If you ever get to that part of the world, it's a lovely area to visit, in and around Bolzano...on the sunny side of the alps. Just a hop, skip and a mountain goat from Salzburg one direction...and only a few hours to Verona the other. (If memory serves me correctly.)

- n144mann - 03-12-1999

Im hoping in the next couple of years to be able to make a trip over to Europe to visit friends in the Netherlands and England. While there, will do other traveling. I will make a note of this area.

- Joe Schmoe - 03-12-1999


Tried a few of these a week ago. If you get to try the wines of Alois Lageder from this region, then search out Lowengang Chardonnay 1995. It is truly sensational, in my view. I don't know what your collective experience is on Chablis AC, but this particular Italian offering makes a mockery of some wines made in this image at twice the price. The topo-climate in Grand/Premier Cru Chablis is so unique that I can honestly say that I have only tasted 2 or 3 mature chardonnays that tasted anything like good Chablis, in reality. This is one of them. There was a little wood on this wine, but no more than you would find on a top Laroche Premier Cru. There was extended lees contact that gave, no doubt, the tight nuttiness, and the ability to age to this wine. The apple and mineral freshness on this wine will insure its slow citrussy development for 2 to 3 more years. Price would be $15-18 at a guess.
Great stuff! By the way, his Benefizium Porer Pinot Grigio 1997 is possibly the best of a very fashionable (over here anyway), mostly over-hyped, bunch of Italian non-starters. ($14-16)

Adios Amigos


- n144mann - 03-12-1999

Just a side note......I had the '96 Zemmer, but found a review done by FOOD&WINE mag. on the 97 Zemmer Chard. Basically says,
Aromas of pepper,talc,grapefruit. Spicy,juicy,floral, with ripe peach and melon flavor firmed by pepper and mineral notes. Finish slightly tart, but with very good thrust.
They gave two stars=very good,noteworthy intensity of flavor. Translates near I as I can figure to low/mid 80's?? on 100 point scale.

Enjoy the recommends JW!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-12-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 03-24-1999

Don't know about the "oak bomb" problem, because I don't think oak in, say, Italian whites are necessarily bad. Only if they "taste" oaky; i.e. like chewing on a piece of stick. But if they're aged and even barrel fermented in oak in order to achieve breadth and texture WITHOUT the oaky taste, they can be quite beautiful in oak.

Cases in point: The '96 Zenato Lugana Riserva (single vineyard 100% Trebbiano from the Soave Classico region), and the '96 Anselmi Soave Classico "Capitel Croce" (100% Garganega). Both are made from indigenous grapes not associated with oak treatment, but benefit tremendously from barrel fermentation and judicious aging in French oak. Both lively and fresh (as well they should be, but in their own way), yet fleshed out and made considerably more interesting with just whiffs of smoke and cream.

Another recent interesting encounter: Happened to be tasting through 20 new Italian whites, rated most of them as "okay as usual," but came across one that was extra, extra special -- the '96 "Where Dreams" Chardonnay by Jermann in Friuli. Gorgeous, pure, fresh, airy, apple aroma with pillowy soft creamy qualities -- like dew from heaven -- and tasting lithe, long and oh-so-elegant. I bet any money -- judging from the structural qualities -- that this wine saw French oak, but it was certainly no dreaded "oak bomb." The bad part was that I asked about the price -- retails for about $50! Like finding the most beautiful woman in the world, and then finding out that she is very much married to a far, far better man than you. Ouch!

- n144mann - 03-24-1999

Randy, the oak bomb problem was in reference to wine tasting like you were chewing on a piece of wood, in particular some of the California Chards. That is why the manager and I were working our way through some of the Italian whites as good alternatives. (my hubbie was tired of California chards giving him slivers on his tongue) I don't have a problem with oak being used. And I personally don't mind the taste of some oak. I like more oak than my hubbie, who likes to "taste" almost none.

Of course, I am finding he is a finicky thing when it comes to whites!!!! I have only found two that he SB from New Zealand, and a white from Spain. Most are just OKAY, but one glass is plenty!!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-24-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 03-24-1999

Figured so much. Just couldn't help philosophizing on oak in Italian whites. Getting back to your Chilean question: Have you tried the Veramonte Chardonnay from Casablanca Valley? Very reasonable ($8-$10), with quite pure, minerally varietal fruit qualities, smooth and balanced on the palate, and completely unfettered by the splintered wood feel. I've found it to be fresher than the Santa Rita's. The one to approach carefully, however, is the Casa Lapostolle Chard -- very, very toasty/oaky, and a little herbal, too, although unusually round and viscous for a Chilean.

But generally I think think that almost as a rule Chardonnay benefits texturally from oak; particularly barrel fermentation (unless you're Chablisienne). The full treatment -- natural yeast, ML, battonage, etc. -- can be done quite nicely without the actual "taste" of wood coming through. The best examples I can think of are the Ken Wright Oregon "Dijon 76 Clone" and the Frog's Leap from Carneros. I don't think these Chards taste oaky at all, but they sure are fine and pretty.