Italian Wine News


California Zinfandels Tasted at Rome's Historic Hostaria dell'Orso
Loris Scaglarini - November 22, 2005

Hostaria dell'OrsoWineCountry.IT organized a tasting of quality California Zinfandels at Hostaria dell'Orso, the historic Roman locale opened since the Middle Age when, as a local taverna, hosted pilgrims visiting the Italian capital city.

  Wine Tasting
  From left : Lepori, Montano, Russo
  Montano, the Hostaria dell'Orso Cellar Master
  Hostaria dell'Orso
  Hostaria dell'Orso, interior

In the sixteenth century it became an upscale hotel and hosted many famous people, such as Rabelais, Montaigne and Goethe, among others. Around the mid twentieth century, the place become a trendy restaurant and night club, and was a regular hangout for the international jet-setters who inspired the late Federico Fellini's movie La Dolce Vita to. In those years, Aristotle Onassis and his erstwhile mistress, famous opera singer Maria Callas, were among the regular customers when they were in Rome. Other famous regular customers were Clark Gable, Tyrone Power and many other actors and actresses who were in Rome to play in movies in nearby Cinecittà (Film City), or the Italian version of Hollywood.

The restaurant closed in 1997, but personality chef Gualtiero Marchesi, the first Italian chef to receive three stars from the Michelin's Red Guide in 1985, reopened it, for the pleasure of Roman and visiting gourmands alike, who can enjoy world class recipes at the historic eatery.

WineCountry.IT brought the eight quality Zinfandel listed below from California exclusively for this tasting. The event was interesting for the italian tasters as Zinfandel has the same DNA as the well appreciated Primitivo di Manduria from the Apulia region.

  • 2001 DeLoach Zinfandel Papera Ranch
  • 2002 De Loach Zinfandel
  • 2002 Ridge California Zinfandel Geyserville
  • Cline 2002 Bridgehead Zinfandel
  • Cline 2003 Ancient Vines Zinfandel
  • 2003 Seghesio Dry Creek Valley Cortina Zinfandel
  • 2003 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel
  • 2003 Rosenblum Zinfandel

The tasting panel included Cristo Lepori, WineCountry.IT Italian marketing manager and wine expert; Francesca Russo, professional AIS (Italian Association of Sommeliers) sommelier; and Daniele Montano, the Hostaria dell'Orso cellar master, a knowledgeable wine professional with international background who takes extreme care in choosing the wines that make up the list of the famed Hostaria.

Below please find the results of the wine tasting, including the compendium of the tasters comments and observation, in addition to the score assigned to each wine.

We find the two Cline Zinfandels at the top, with the Ridge Geyserville 2002 followed by the DeLoach 2002. The Rosemblum did not fare well at all, as the Italian professionals found it unbalanced. The two Seghesio wines and the DeLoach 2001 Papera Ranch were judged not quite ready.

Excellent visual impact. Brilliant ruby red. Excellent harmony between fragrance and alcohol content. Good intensity and persistence. Excellent quality. Good balance, intensity and persistence. Excellent wine, harmonious and ready to drink. It pairs well with pasta, red meat and cheeses, but is good with the whole meal.
Good visual impact. Brilliant ruby red. Good harmony of fragrance and alcoholic impact. Good intensity and persistence. Good quality. Balanced, intense and persistent. Good young wine, almost at its peak. Pleasantly harmonious to the nose and the palate. Pairs well pasta with smooth sauces and grilled meats.
Ruby red, clear, good visual impact. Medium alcohol level to the nose. It shows good fragrance harmony. Good intensity and persistence. Excellent balance, Good quality, intensity and persistence. Ripe, well balanced wine. It pairs well with pasta, meat-based main courses and aged cheeses.
Clear, ruby red, excellent visual impact. Excellent nose, persistent with good intensity. Good balance of alcohol and fragrances of red fruits and leather. Good balance, intensity and persistence. Excellent quality. Very harmonious flavor and aroma. Ready to drink, is good with the whole meal, but at its best with pasta with meat sauce and aged cheeses.
Dull ruby red, clear, good visual impact. Good intensity and quality, medium persistence. Strong alcoholic impact which opens in a series of wild berry fragrances. Balanced, good persistence. Wine with medium structure, almost ready to be drunk. pairs well with grilled red meat.
Clear, ruby red color of medium intensity. Intense, sufficiently persistent and fine. Aroma of plums, red fruit and cinnamon. Dry, warm, tannic, sapid, sufficiently soft with medium body. Sufficiently balanced, fine and intense. Slight persistence. Sufficiently harmonious, almost ready to be drunk. It pairs well with cold cuts, red meat and game. Good also with elaborate seafood recipes.
Clear, ruby red. Sufficiently intense, fine and persistent. Perfume of raspberry and wild strawberries, bitter cherries, tobacco and cinnamon. Dry, warm, sapid, sufficiently tannic and soft, with good body. Sufficiently balanced, fine and intense. Slight persistence. Sufficiently harmonious, almost ready to be drunk. It pairs well with cold cuts and red meat
Good visual impact. Deep ruby red. Non-balanced, sufficiently intense. Good persistence. Strong alcoholic nose. Low balance and little persistence, medium intensity. The wine needs to grow. The strong alcoholic impact annihilates the perfumes. Pairs with pasta and boiled meat.

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