This is Umberto Cesari, who started producing wine in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy in 1964. This past week I had the honor of meeting and learning from his eldest son, Gianmaria. One can’t help but notice the resemblance to his Dad.
Emilia Romagna is about 60 kilometres away from Florence in Tuscany, and known for parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. It also has a reputation for high yielding pleasant wines that aren’t of the highest quality, but drinkable at lunch and dinner. Umberto Cesari set out to change that with a focus on quality. For example, this winery is only one of 6 wineries in Italy to own an Optical Grader, which uses an electronic eye to separate the best grapes. The Moma Rosso red has been a favorite of mine for a while now, but I had the opportunity to try more of these wonderful wines.
I’m going to start with a fantastic white.
The Liano Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, 2 of my favorite white grapes. On the nose I noticed smoky flint aromas and then learned this wine is fermented in oak. This is highly unusual for a white wine as most are fermented in stainless steel and I loved what it did to the wine. It was super smooth and you get some vanilla notes from the oak but it still wasn’t ‘oaky’. This wine would be a great compliment to fish.
I’ve written about the Moma Rosso red in a previous blog, it was my wine of the week because of the spectacular value. This wine is priced under $20. So I’m going to move along to the pinnacle of great red wine- the Liano Red.
Named after the hill where the grapes grow, I had this blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had the opportunity to write about it until now. This is the best wine I’ve tasted in a while, and I’m not just saying that because I got invited to the tasting. There are gorgeous spicy notes complimenting the luscious fruit and a nice long finish but not aggressively so. I can’t say enough about this wine, except love love love! I am having this wine again tonight as I am doing barbeque ribs on the grill.
And last but not least….
Umberto Cesari Tauleto. A blend of 90% Sangiovese Grosso (a clone of Sangiovese) and 10% Uva Longanesi. Say that grape 3 times really fast. Uva Longanesi is a grape that is native to the Emila Romagna region of Italy and we don’t get to experience it much in Canada. It didn’t even receive grape status with the National Register of Grape Varieties until the year 2000. This grape is known to add structure to a wine and I believe helped make the Tauleto the King of Wines. On the nose I picked up notes of balsamic vinegar and some spice and couldn’t help but notice the great structure on the palate. They don’t make a lot of this wine, as it uses the best grapes and best juice from the area. So if you see a bottle, pick it up! Coming in at around $45, this wine is worth every penny.
A big shout out to Nancy Johnston, the rep for Univins and Spirits, for the invitation. It was greatly appreciated to learn from this great winemaker.
Till next week, Cheers