Saturday, June 17, 2006

Monsordo Bernardina Ceretto 2000 – Designer Red Wine

Monsordo Bernardina 2000 by Ceretto, an Italian red wine with an excellent price/quality relationship. This designer wine is part of an innovative project Ceretto began in 1987. Very similar to the concept of the Meritage wines initiated in the US, Ceretto believed it was possible to introduce new vines even into the Alba area and create a quality wine not based on percentages of grapes but on the mixed final product. Monsordo is an Italian Meritage of excellent quality.

This wine is a break from Italian tradition for quality wines. The process is quite interesting. Four different grapes are grown in the same vineyard, the traditional Nebbiolo and the new entries Pinot Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The 4 varieties are fermented separately. A common methodology is pursued; that is, a thermo-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 12-15 days, while transfers and punch-downs are taking place.

After the draw-off, the wines are allowed to breathe for 2-3 days. Then the wines are transferred to small barrels, where fermentation begins. Once this important bio-chemical transformation is complete, the blending takes place. The individual wines are then tasted and mixed to find the right balance. The wine never has the same percentages; rather, the proportions of each wine vary from year to year, depending on each grape's character in a given vintage. Then 16-18 months of refinement are required before the wine is bottled.

Raffaella prepares Gnocchi every week and this was Gnocchi day. Sausage, fresh peas in a heavy cream sauce a balanced but structured wine would be appropriate. We had been looking forward to trying this new Ceretto wine from Piemonte and this was a great opportunity. Raffaella was cutting the Gnocchi into small pieces with a pastry knife as I popped the cork. I smelled the cork quickly and brought it to her. She interrupted her preparation briefly, took a deep sniff and her eyes lit up. Raffaella’s reaction is kind of a dynamic wine spectator scale. The more excitement in her eyes the better the wine. If someone were to witness us during this process they would surely think we were trying to block some type of nosebleed with the cork.

Structured red wines require a bit of time to breathe, losing a bit of the bite from the tannins and balancing the flavors. Rarely do we allow the wine sufficient time before our first taste. This time was no different. Two glasses poured as the toc toc toc of the gnocchi being drained in the ladle signals time for dinner. A quick sip, a moment to reflect, and yes we have another winner. Monsordo Bernardina by Ceretto will be a perfect compliment to our dinner!

However unusual the process, the wine is great. It was encompassing, slightly tannic, and structured. The Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon balanced perfectly for a full-bodied, encompassing, velvety and soft sensation. Monsordo Ceretto 2000 can be found between 30 and 45$ depending on the location. Although it is a bit higher in price than what we would consider an everyday wine, it does merit regular consumption and should be a part of every cellar.

Grape: Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Nero.

Color: A deep ruby color, with orange highlights in the fingernails

Bouquet: rich and complex, clear notes of rose and violet, and a strong finish of spices and vanilla.

Flavor: Mature fruit, peaches, cherries, prunes, raspberries, juniper with hints of orange blossom transforming into a finish with a distinct flavor of leather.

Alcohol Content: 13.5 %

Serving Temperature: 18-20 c.

Decanting: ½ hour.

Pouring: No special conditions.

Glass: use a clear wide bellied, deep, stemmed glass. This will allow the wine to continue to breath and will release its aroma as you move the glass toward your mouth. This will allow the wine to continue to decant.


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Blogger RennyBA said...

I just love Italian wine. Thanks for this informative post and I will try to find the wine in Norway of course:-)

2:34 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Renny - This is a great all-purpose red wine. Great Choice!

9:02 AM


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