Give Me a Break. Seriously.

This "eye-opener" was sent to Fermented Thoughts by one of our friends in the field, whilst on a wine scouting mission. If ever the importance of line breaks needed to be emphasized, I'd suggest we start here.

Who was asleep at the wheel of this ship?

Ad wizards indeed...

There's More to Life than Chardonnay

Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Bourgogne Aligoté 2006

Welcome to Bourgogne, France (aka Burgundy). Home to eastern French headliners Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Oh, and Aligoté [ah-lee-goh-TAY] a lesser known, almost rambunctious yet immensely pleasant grape from the small appellation of Bourgogne Aligoté.

Who doesn't love an underdog? Consistently in the shadow of its enormously popular neighbor Chardonnay, Aligoté gets very little play but when produced from old vines, for those in the know, a special treat awaits.

Lost among my mid-summer wine purchases, I discovered this racy bottle while searching for the right wine to enjoy with some fresh roasted pumpkin seeds. It's that time of year again and let me state clearly, I've stumbled upon paring perfection...

Golden lemon in color, this Aligoté opens with the generous perfume of sweet, spiced citrus, mild carrots and layers of rich tropical fruit. The palate is no less than electric. Medium-bodied with a knife-sharp initial acidity that smooths into an intense marriage of lemon, salted nuts and grassy bay leaf flavors. Bright, fresh, clean and complex.

The mixture of citrus, tropical and nutty characteristics lead me to believe that this wine saw time in oak and possible aging on the lees, thus adding to its rich character. With a dual-sided, crisp yet savory nature this Aligoté served as a delightful complement to the season's first batch of roasted pumpkin seeds and delivers pleasure far beyond its value-based price of $16-18.

In buying, pairing and sipping remember, there's more to life than Chardonnay.

Return to the Cinque Terre

Back in Monterosso al Mare at Al Pozza, we sampled a rich version
of Ligurian wine from the Colline di Levanto DOC. Unlike the last
Levanto this example put on a facade similar to Cortese. Thick fruit
and a slight sweetness gave rest following the roasted peppers and

Pane Dolce

Ah, Italian sweet bread. Fresh and warm, direct from a little old lady's oven in Riomaggiore. Dark and golden raisins with dried currants, candied orange chunks and pine nuts.

I enjoyed my breakfast with a warm cappuccino.

Off to Pisa.

Ciao Ciao!

Bello Brunello

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003

Beautiful Brunello. A welcome reward after hiking the six mile Cinque
Terre coastal hillside.

Sun warmed earth, dried Turkish figs, spice and black berry purée in
the nose. Full on the palate with tannins as smooth as my college
roommate on a Saturday night. Coffee, cedar and dense black plums pop
out in the end.

Excellent Brunello, worth the praise.