Wine Blogging Wednesday #16
Hosted by Derrick at
An Obsession With Food (and Wine)
(Link to the Roundup)

December 7, 2005 - Jack
Updated April 27, 2006

This month our two wines are from:

2003 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara

2000 Paolo Bea Montefalco Sagrantino Secco Pagliaro

This month, our friend Derrick of An Obsession With Food (& Wine) is the host of Wine Blog Wednesday. His challenge is to Choose a Wine By Its Label. In other words, a pretty bottle. But to me, it's got to be more than that, as our choice does. I chose pretty text that's informative.

Our TWO wines are from Paolo Bea (BEE-ah) - one white, one red. Their labels, as you can see to the left, have a tremendous amount of information and are also very pleasing to the eye. The Santa Chiara has, in both Italian and English, "Don't Litter The Environment", the temperate to serve it at (12-15 degrees celsius), how it was fermented, and lots more. What's key about this is that you can tell that a lot of thought and care went into the making of this wine. As you might guess, these are organic wines with no fining or filtering. They seem very pure.

Or take this, from the Madrose website, "The entire property encompasses 15 hectares: 5 of which are dedicated to the vineyards, 2 to olives, and the remainder to the fruits, vegetables and grains that are grown." Now think of another winery, where that's the case. (And I can't help thinking that many others would plant more vineyards on this property.) Click here for more of the history of this winery.

2003 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara
This 2003 Vino Bianco da Tavola is a blend of grechetto, malvasia, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and garganega.

Tasting Notes:
Joanne: Nose of broiled grapefruit. Tastes of shellfish, buttered shrimp and a touch of oak well integrated. Very clean and fresh flavors. Good acids. Nicely Balanced. Long finish. Really enjoyable - and interesting!

Jack: Great acids, robust flavor, and long finish. This wine tastes great and I'm not sure if I can resist ordering a case. To me, this is a $25 wine that tastes like a $75 wine. It most reminds me of Movia's 2000 Veliko Bianco (Joanne concurs).

It costs $25-$30 and is available from Italian Wine Merchants in NYC, Wine Exchange in LA, and some others. Just 3030 bottles were produced (about 250 cases). Paolo Bea's wines are imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant in NYC - contact them to find a source near you.

2000 Paolo Bea Montefalco Sagrantino Secco Pagliaro

Yes, this one is made from the Sagrantino grape (also being made famous by Arnaldo Caprai). (Secco means Dry...Passito is the sweet wine.) This wine bottle is also individually numbered - ours was 0681. I credit Sergio Esposito of Italian Wine Merchants for turning me onto this wine at an event in Chicago recently.

Tasting Notes:
Joanne: Bright red cherry-like, fresh red vines (the candy) on nose - with almost cherry cream. Intense red fruit on first notes which washes over you followed by really good acids leaving a clean palate on the finish. Some tannins make for a dry finish. The slight bitterness in the center is balanced by the bright acids. The wine seems young, but drinkable now. It should age well.

Jack: Vibrant, alive, big cherries. A long ager with the fruit, acids and structure to carry it. This is not the time to drink this wine - I'll open another in 4-8 years.

This wine retails for $67-$95 and this one is much easier to find, with 14,100 750ml bottles produced plus 150 double magnums. (About 1225 cases.)

Visit their new website: Paola Bea

The three images below are from Rosenthal Wine Merchant's website. What you can't tell from these images is that the paper the labels are printed on is very textured.

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