I think this is the first time I've gotten wine samples in half bottles (375mL). I've certainly received dessert wines in that size, but that's how they're usually sold. I'm a fan of the format but it doesn't seem to be that popular in the US. Imagine dinner at a restaurant: you get one half bottle of white and one half bottle of red and the two of you leave sober yet satiated, without the unfortunate Russian roulette of getting wine by the glass.
I know from talking to distributors and retailers that half bottles are a hard sell, but I still have a fondness for them. And for some more special wines, they'll age a little faster than bigger sizes, giving you a preview of what the regular bottles might be like in a few years.
These wines are sold in the full size 750mL format, but I had to take a picture of them with a regular wine bottle in the back for comparison. Small bottles and corks can really mess with your depth perception. Part of me wants to serve them with Cornish game hen and quail eggs and baby corn and other wee foods.
All of these Monteverro wines are IGT Toscana designation from Maremma. Georg Weber decided to leave Bordeaux and experiment with French grapes in Italy back in 2003, and the first release of the Monteverro wines came in 2011. I don't have price or alcohol content info on these wines, but will update this post if I find them later. Update 10/19/2012: The US importer provided me with that information. All of the prices are for 750mL bottles.
2009 Monteverro Chardonnay
$120, 14% abv.
Strong oak presence with lots of toasted popcorn and vanilla on the nose. Underneath there's a tart ripe peach profile with bold acidity and a lasting, oaky finish. Powerful and one that demands a strong poultry dish for pairing.
2009 Monteverro Tinata
80% Syrah, 20% Grenache
$125, 14.5% abv.
Bright strawberry aromas, which initially made me think of a Pinot Noir from a hotter climate. Firm tannins and a big fruit presence make it seem very Australian in its composition.
2009 Monteverro Toscana
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot
The first of the two Bordeaux blends is a solid red with some great potential in couple of years. Delicious plum and cassis elements with balanced tannins and a touch of leather on the nose.
2009 Terra di Monteverro
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
My favorite of the group turned out to be this blend, which built upon the prior wine but also had bits of tomato leaf and tobacco, with milder tannins and a rich, smooth mouthfeel. Definitely the most French-like of the four wines, and a great bottle to take to a blind tasting to have fun with your wine loving friends.
Note: These wines were received as samples.