An outstanding Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a memorable New Zealand Syrah. Each is a particularly fine example of its kind. This month, rather than concentrate on a specific region or type of wine, I’d like to give single examples of several red wines, each different from the others, each outstanding in and of itself.
Italy’s Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 ($12–14) offers an aroma of plums and ripe berries with a hint of earthiness. A fragrant, assertive wine from the Abruzzo region, this is one of the best examples of wine made of the Montepulciano grape as you will likely find. Not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a wine made basically of Sangiovese in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano.
From California, there is Heritance Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($28) made by Bernard Portet, long the winemaker at Clos Du Val and considered one of the outstanding winemakers of Napa Valley. Now, out of retirement, he is engaged in a new wine enterprise. True to his Bordeaux upbringing, where all great wines are assemblages, his Heritance Cabernet is a blend, in this case 92 percent Cabernet and 8 percent Merlot. The result is an elegant, complex, smooth-as-fine-silk wine and, in Portet’s inimitable style, in perfect balance.
Bernard Portet is also making wine in Argentina — Nandú Malbec 2009 ($10–13) that I found to be bold, savory, intense and full-bodied with a hint of plum and dark berries and a touch of spice. Again, Portet blended, in this case enhancing Malbec with 9 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Te Awa 2009 Syrah from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand ($27), has the aroma of black pepper and other spices associated with Syrah — a dark color, suppleness and complexity. Unlike many Shiraz (same grape as Syrah, different style), however, Te Awa has richness without the jamminess.
And from Maremma, in Tuscany, Fattoria Le Pupille Poggio Valente Riserva Morellino di Scansano 2007 ($48) is a blend of 95 percent Sangiovese and 5 percent Alicante. Scansano is the name of the village, and Morellino is the local name for the Sangiovese grape. A nose that recalls dried fruits, it has texture, depth and fine structure.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.