Collavini Merlot - Printable Version

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- Innkeeper - 04-09-2001 06:04 AM

1998 Eugenio Collavini, Merlot, Riserva di Casa, Collio DOC ($13.72). Was a little apprehensive about this one because of youth and the "riserva" thing. Had hope because of slopped shoulder bottle. Guessed right. It was wide open and ready to go. Gorgeous dark garnet red color. Ripe cherries and spice on the nose and upfront. Earthly complexity and smooth (but not flabby) tannins across the palate, and a lovely finish. Reminiscent in structure of out of the boot Louis M. Martini Cabs we've had in the past. This Collio Merlot married splendidly with the last Nebraska sirloin in the freezer, Crimini mushrooms, and salad. Did refrain from drinking it with the salad, but enjoyed the last glass by itself afterward.

Beginning to think that Italian wines are more predicable by price than, say, American wines are. Have long known this about Italian Barbera. The less expensive ones are lighter, fruiter, and even crisper than the more expensive ones that have greater structure and concentration, a little oak, a whole different family of food to go with, and a different degree of approachability. Same is true of these Collio Merlots. At five dollars more, Bortoluzzi, for one, is a much bigger and tighter wine, requiring two or three more years in the rack than the one reviewed here.

- winecollector - 04-09-2001 06:50 PM

Either my memory is failing me, or perhaps I have had too much wine already tonight- but is not merlot one of those three evil grapes Innkeeper? Shame on you!

- Innkeeper - 04-09-2001 07:01 PM

WC, you may have a failing mind, but we have an open one. You need to try these Collios.

- winecollector - 04-10-2001 05:47 AM

All things considered, I guess I will have to try the wine that is causing so many WITHSTAND members to burn their membership cards! But, if you've actually come over to the "dark side" Master Carl, then who am I going to pick on now? Winoweenie only has 20 more days of sabbatical left....

Innkeeper- If you are able, any chance you can e-mail those recipes to me again to my new e-mail address? I must go on my sabbatical from carbohydrates again....

- Innkeeper - 04-10-2001 06:17 AM

Bad news and good news. Bad news is we just finished swapping two Collio Merlots for two Washington Cabs. Neither of us can go near either for a couple or few years. The good news is that for everyday we still mostly consume pinot, gamay, barbera, and syrah. WITHSTAND LIVES.

- winecollector - 04-10-2001 06:49 AM

Ever consider running for public office? You play both sides of the fence rather well Master Carl. "May the "force be with you!"

- Innkeeper - 09-21-2001 06:12 PM

Just to make sure we had not completely lost our minds we popped another '98 Collavini tonight. Bells & whistles!!! It was wonderful. Just as great as before. Still the same ($13.72) price from Pops, and this is one Collio they never seem to run out of. This one, at a whopping $1.72 more than the best second stage Chilian, is no comparision what-so-ever. It matched with a simply grillpanned shell sirloin, with veggies and the last of an eggplant salad splendidly. Viva la Collio.

- Innkeeper - 06-08-2002 06:08 PM

Just in case you all asleep at the wheel, popped another '98 tonight. It seems to be getting better; really. Although just a tad over medium body (13%), it is really holding its own. Full fruit with plums, it is showing very earthy complexity, and finishing strongly. It is still available at the same price from Pops. Married it tonight with grillpanned boneless rib steak (mislabeled rib eye), baked potato, and salad. Wonderful.

- Drew - 06-08-2002 06:14 PM

You and Mother popping two bottles a night now???? Clos du Bois not enough?


- Innkeeper - 06-08-2002 06:59 PM

Popped the CDB last night.

- scimmiatinit - 06-09-2002 04:46 AM

Eugenio Collavini still produces also a very interesting and appreciated sparkling wine from italian(north-east)grape variety Ribolla gialla at a very "bargain" price (at least in Italy..), if You can find and buy it do not hesitate, and let me know...

- Innkeeper - 08-18-2002 06:35 PM

Well, tonight was the last night since this past Tuesday with one of our daughters and family. She insisted that moi not cook again, so we ordered pizza. Went down the basement looking for something Italian to drink it, and noticed there was still a half case of this sitting there. Guess what? It was great with the pizza!!!

- JohnG - 08-19-2002 09:09 PM

"Had hope because of slopped shoulder bottle."

IK, I was wondering if you could explain this comment. I assume that you meant "sloped", but I don't know what that reveals.


- Innkeeper - 08-20-2002 05:56 AM

Sorry about the extra "P." Red wine basically comes in two kinds of bottles; the high shoulder Bordeaux type and the slope shoulder Burgundy type. The high shoulder is so designed to catch sediment as you decant it. Sediment usually is a byproduct of aging. Not all Bordeaux needs to be aged, and not all Burgundy is ready to go on release.

Most other red wine in the world comes in one of those shapes. As a GENERAL rule of thumb red wine that needs to aged comes in a high shoulder bottle, and ready to consume reds come in slope shoulder bottles. When a wine such as merlot normally comes in a high shoulder bottle, arrives in a sloped shoulder one; an educated guess (knowing nothing else about the wine) is that it is ready to go.

This turned out to be true in this case. Most Collio Merlots, like those from other regions, come in high shoulder bottles; and require at least a little aging.

- JohnG - 08-20-2002 10:29 AM

That's good to know. Thanks for the tip!

- Innkeeper - 08-20-2002 01:31 PM

Had a mid-day meal at Uno in Bangor today. Mother ordered a glass of Berringer Founders Estate Merlot. With no prompting at all she immediately stated that it was thin and watery. I asked how it compared to the Collavini with had the other night. She said there was no comparison what so ever. Interesting to note that they retail at the same price. Can't understand why anyone would buy the Berringer.

- Botafogo - 08-20-2002 02:16 PM

Karl, these days (and ESPECIALLY in Italy) people use what ever type of bottle they think will be best for marketing. You could go to an enoteca in Friuli and find similarly structured Merlots in everything from classic Bordeaux OR sloped Burg bottles to tall flasks like Alsatian Riesling comes in to some VERY exotically shaped bottles stolen from Olive Oil producers.

The MOST structured and potentially sediment laden Italian Cabernet we have in the store (Vallona Selezione) comes in a sloped Burgundy type bottle and the LEAST structured red we have EVER had (TreVini from Sicilia, nearly rose and even chillable) comes in a Bordeaux bottle...


[This message has been edited by Botafogo (edited 08-20-2002).]

- Innkeeper - 08-20-2002 08:29 PM


- scimmiatinit - 08-27-2002 03:44 AM

sorry but I really do not understand Your problems with the italian way of bottling wines...
Bottle shapes should follow some useful requirements... that's oK... but who cares...
YOu should better concentrate on the wine You choose... TREVINI sicilian reds ... never heard about it...
Ciao Fabio

- Botafogo - 08-27-2002 10:43 AM

I have NO problem with it (we often look for the most offbeat packaging we can find, our current favorite is Serenelli Trave Rosso Conero which looks like an armor piercing artillary shell), I was just pointing out that the generalizations about uses of different shapes almost never apply in Italy.

Where in Italy do you live? We sell over a thousand Vini Italiani from Arneis to Zibbibo and from Aosta to Pantelleria...


PS: with 30,000 wineries and over 200,000 wines in Italy is YOUR personal knowlege of a thing that much of a guide to quality? The wine in question is a label made for us by a very distiguished cooperative as an export label from Nero d'Avola and Frappato, provides excellent value at $4.99 and is hugely popular with young ladies...

Fabio, you can ask Dino Illuminati or Enzo Mecella or Comte Cesare Salis or Josko Gravner or Gianni Venica or Enrico Abbona or Francesca Planeta or Marco Caprai or Roberto Stucchi or Attilio Pagli or Ampelio Bucci or Marilisa Allegrini about our selection. They have all been in and are proud to be represented by our enoteca..... BUT, we are more interested in finding the NEXT big thing so we keep beating the bushes.

[This message has been edited by Botafogo (edited 08-27-2002).]