The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 114 of 136

1 10  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 To explore the quality of the wines, The Tasting Panel and a small group of curious wine buyers tasted Stella Rosa Moscato d'Asti and Stella Rosa Rosso—in addition to newer, sultrier expression Stella Rosa Black—next to similar wines in the same price category. David Milligan and Smiley Quick, Wine Buyers for Vendome Wine & Spirits, hosted us at the retailer's Toluca Lake location in Los Angeles. The store has a friendly on-site bar, and Milligan controlled the ambiance of our tasting with a fun selection of vinyl to keep us happy and engaged. Two professionals from grocery chain Pavilions— Wine Buyer Kirk Foldenauer and Beverage Steward Gerald Gates—joined for the exploration as well. The tasting was structured into three flights. We started with the Stella Rosa Moscato d'Asti, Cascina Castlet 2015 Moscato d'Asti and Elio Peppone 2015 Sourgal Moscato d'Asti. By law, Moscato d'Asti is a slightly sweet, slightly sparkling wine. Stella Rosa Rosso and Stella Rosa Black are both based on the Brachetto grape variety, which is native to Piedmont. For comparison, we tasted the Marenco Pineto 2014 Brachetto d'Acqui, a wine that by law must be slightly sweet and may sometimes be sparkling. Although not in the same semi-sweet and frizzante style, we were interested in tasting some other more obscure Northern Italian red grapes as well, so we included Bruscus San Valentino 2015 Lambrusco Amabile and Enrico Morando 2011 Ruchè di Castagnole Montferrato. As a New World representative, we included The Chook Sparkling Shiraz from Southeastern Australia. Conclusions from a Comparative Tasting A few poignant discoveries were made throughout the tasting and discussion. For me, the standout lesson was one in freshness. The Riboli family's winemaking facility in Piedmont lies in the town of Santo Stefano Belbo, about 18 miles south of Asti. In this area, fermentation typically hap- pens just once per year, during harvest. However, in order to maintain freshness and the heightened aromatics of these wines, Stella Rosa keeps the grape juice in temperature- controlled tanks to prevent fermentation from starting. Once the market demands more wine, they ferment more of the waiting juice. This explains why, as we tasted them almost a year after harvest, the Stella Rosa wines (which were likely fermented just a few months previously rather than almost a year) displayed youth and vibrancy. Another of our group's conclusions stemmed from the impetus for the Stella Rosa brand itself. These wines hit a sweet spot—no pun intended!—in the market. They are semi-sweet—that is, sweeter than most table wines but not nearly as sweet as dessert wines. The market possesses very few wines at this sweetness level, and yet customer demand is clearly there. In addition, in wines possessing this amount of sugar, the alcohol content remains lower as well—yet another attractive quality in these unique wines. And finally, these are simply interesting grapes—delightful and fun because they are so different. Proving repeatedly that they value innovation, the Riboli family's Stella Rosa wines are one-of-a-kind in the market. One hundred years after they established San Antonio Winery, the Ribolis continue to evolve and please their loyal customers. Stella Rosa is a flagship of that dedication. TASTINGS Smiley Quick, Wine Buyer for Vendome Wine & Spirits. "the Riboli family's Stella Rosa wines are one-of- a-kind in the market. One hundred years after they established San Antonio Winery, the Ribolis continue to evolve and please their loyal customers."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - August 2017