Back in mid-November, Ron Kramer and Joyce were very kind to offer a bunch of us access to their condo complex’s entertainment suite for a fun night of Italian food and largely Italian wines. Folks brought some really interesting stuff and it was great to meet several new people for the first time and also see a bunch of friendly familiar faces. I hope we find a way to do it again soon.
N.V. Feudi di San Gregorio Greco Bianco Dubl Campania. This is extremely bright on the nose, with lots of ginger, brown spice, lemon ball, yellow fruit and funky earth aromas combining nicely. In the mouth, it’s taut and zesty with lemon and chalk flavors exhibiting a rather individualistic and interesting personality.
2010 Radikon Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia. This is cloudy pink-orange in appearance, with a kaleidoscopic bouquet shifting constantly between fun notes of poached apricots, wildflowers, pink lemonade, Hawaiian Punch, wild strawberries and all sorts of other crazy aromas. It’s a similar story on the palate, with creamy but lifted flavors of wild strawberries, rhubarb and roasted nuts yielding to peach, pineapple, grapefruit and honeysuckle. It’s a bit of a wild ride, with nutty flavors one minute, citrus tones the next and red fruit elements in there, too. It’s hard to pin down sometimes, but a lot of fun to drink.
1998 Cascina Chicco Barbera d'Alba Bric Loira. This is a healthy dark garnet color, with popping aromas of black raspberries, baked cherries, red flower petals, persimmon fruit, tobacco leaf, menthol, charcoal and jalapeno pepper still showing serious depth. In the mouth, it’s smooth and easy-flowing, with fine balance, a lithe structure and solid staying power to the core flavors of dark cherry, dark chocolate, smoke and menthol. This is nice right now.
1997 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva. This wine displays a lovely nose of baked clay, dried cherries, red flowers, leather, cedar, horsehide, soft spices and dusty warm earth aromas that are showing some finely aged characteristics that I really like. In the mouth, it’s fine-flavored with resolved notes of cherry, raspberry, red currant and earth elements that show easy balance and a giving but refined personality. This is totally enjoyable.
2006 Tenuta Guado al Tasso (Antinori) Bolgheri Superiore. This blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 6% Syrah displays an impressive but still rather youthful bouquet of red flowers, rain forest, spiced currants, tomato leaf, dried earth and tobacco. In the mouth, it’s certainly young but also quite giving and juicy—with tasty flavors of chocolate, mocha, dried cherry and leathery earth that are polished and slippery-smooth despite late tannins.
2006 Argiano Non Confunditur Toscana IGT. Initially I smell blackberries, mulberries, slate, incense, charcoal and toasted oak on the nose of this wine, but over time it also shows a strong streak of white pepper and unappealing rubber scents that I’m not particularly fond of. In the mouth, it’s smooth and luxuriant, with a creamy texture to the bacon fat, white pepper and black olive flavors. It’s just not a taste or smell profile I like very much, I’m afraid.
2001 Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT. This was open about 4 hours by the time I got around to drinking it. I like what it’s showing on the nose, where one finds very nice aromas of cherries, green pepper slices, suede leather, tomato plant, dirt bombs and some funky dried sweat that deliver a great balance between earth and fruit. In the mouth, it’s still showing pretty young, with a rather grippy texture and some fine-grained tannin all the way through. However, it has a lovely flavor profile of black raspberries, earth, leather and savory herbs that are smooth and finely-layered, and lead to a muscled but nuanced finish. It’s really enjoyable today, but I suspect it will be even better in another few years.
2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli. This is concentrated, high-toned and sweetly red-fruited on the nose, with rather polished and stylized aromas of cherry paste, crushed wild berries, slate and sweet creosote. In the mouth, the flavors of sweet maraschino cherries, raspberries and baked earth are rather pretty despite a late kick of drying acidity and a solid tannic backbone. There’s a whole lot to like, but I’d like to see the finish smooth out and lengthen itself with a few more years in the cellar.
1996 Azienda Agricola Montevetrano Montevetrano Colli di Salerno IGT. This wine displays an absolutely beautiful bouquet of leather, cedar, graphite, smoke, jalapeno pepper, old baseball mitt, cherry paste and mixed currants that have a dark and exotic streak but otherwise display lovely Bordelais properties all the way. It features a delightful core of red currant, black cherry, earth and spiced leather notes that are kicking strong but also serious and distinctive. The acidity turns a touch astringent at times, but in general it shows great length, class and juicy-good flavor. I know this opened a few eyes to the benefits of seeking out this producer.
2008 Proprieta Sperino Coste della Sesia Uvaggio. This blend of 65% Nebbiolo and two other grapes shows a rather open and moderately interesting nose of black cherry, blackberry, currant, white pepper and herb aromas. In the mouth, it’s dark, chewy and fairly intensely-flavored—showing aggressive acidity beneath dense flavors of mocha, chocolate paste, dark fruit and smoked herbs. The wood influence is still acutely felt here and the result is some tough edges toward the back of the palate that will need time to integrate.
1990 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley. This wine is rugged, dark and old-fashioned on the nose--showing complex and extremely appealing aromas of volcanic rock, tomato plant, pepper slice, dusty dirt road, suede leather and background currant and black raspberry fruit. In the mouth, it’s again classic Dunn Howell Mountain—loaded with delicious dark mountain berry fruit, dark earth notes and leathery tannins that contribute structure, power and solid grounding. It’s a really nice wine.
1990 Calera Pinot Noir Selleck Mount Harlan. Ron had this and two other 1990 Calera Pinot Noir half-bottles lined up, but we only got around to opening this one. It’s showing fairly advanced on the nose, with pleasant aromas of spiced nuts, purple berries, BBQ sauce, lavender, tea leaves and dried sweat. In the mouth, it features cola nut, spice, birch, earth and wild berry flavors with good lift and a solid dose of funky earth. Drink now.