February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Otto » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:51 pm

Feudo di Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG 2005 Sicily; 13% abv; 13,05€

DOCG rules state the grapes must be 50-70% Nero d'Avola and 30-50% Frappato, but I don't know the figures for this wine. A rather lovely scent, though not the ethereal, crisp cherry brightness of the '04. This '05 is rather darker and sweeter in its berry-like aromatics. No new oak that I can sense. Nice balance on the palate: it does show the ripeness and resulting sweet, sunny fruit of a warm region, but it is propped up by crisp acidity (I remember reading [but where? my regular sources turned up nothing at all on this grape?] that Frappato retains relatively high levels of acidity for such a scorching area). The result is a fruit driven wine that I enjoy very much: medium rather than full bodied, moderate in alcohol, cheap and refreshing. Buy again? Oh yeah!
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Agostino Berti » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:17 pm

Went to a mall, something I loathe doing, in the what the locals call "the hinterland" of Milan (basically the suburbs) to get my Apple computer fixed. I found out I had to make a goshdarned appointment. So I took a stroll in the mall and found a giant supermarket - and of course supermarkets have wine sections so that is where I ended up going. Wow, gotta love a country where the most expensive wine in the supermarket is 15 Euros! Well, that's good and bad, there's a ton of swill there, but the selection is quite large. I bought several wines below.

Gattinara 2001, Nervi
Can't beat a fine nebbiolo, already aged for you, at Euro 15.16
Very tasty, elegant, pure. Good nebbiolo nose. Classic translucent color. I like these northern piemonte nebbiolos cause they don't have that pasty, overweight quality of most Barolos. Not that this didn't have dusty tannins. It had a ton. I wish I could travel to the future and see what this wine would be like in 10 years at 20 yrs. old. I would be very curious, cause I don't think anybody knows for sure how wine evolves, despite all the predictions. Overall, a good wine, not a great wine. "Needs more time" as everybody says, although I don't know where that time will take it. Tasted over two days, tannins remained, no oxidation. I will buy more (at this price, why not?) and age it for ten years and then I will invite everybody from WLDG to come and taste for themselves.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Nicosia, Sicily
I think this was 2008. I'm not sure and the empty bottle was thrown out. I took no notes. This was a whopping Euro 5.69. Delicious stuff. Aromatic, round, full and elegant. Not a "serious" wine, but it was damn tasty, perfumed and pleasant. Great bargain as an everyday wine.

"BUIO" 2007, Carignano del Sulcis, Cantina Mesa, Sardinia
This wine was Euro 9.50. "Buio" means dark. The wine was disappointing. Not horrible, just too oily and sweet for me. Others will probably enjoy it. I needed a little more structure. The nose is herbaceous and roasted, not bad. The mouth is like a pastry. The "poetic" blurb on the back-label is quite funny, I'll try to translate: "the color of fire and black grapes, austere silence of stone, aroma of warm wind from the south, reflections of primitive strength simple and vigorous like a handshake." :lol:

Dolcetto D'Alba Vigneto Cotta' 2009, Cantina Parroco di Neive (Azienda San Michele), Piemonte
I was curious to try this cause its a 2009. Considering it's only February this is a young as heck wine and must have been bottled very recently.
Good stuff. Good bargain at Euro 6.89. Round in the mouth with good acidity, ripe, good body. Typical Dolcetto nose. Went great with a deep-dish style pizza with hot salami.

Now I'm drinking some Croatian no-label grappa I bought from a tiny wine producer near Rovigno (used to be Italy) called Visintin. He must have put it in some wood cause its amber colored. Very, very tasty stuff. Not your typical grappa cause its actually quite smooth and goes down almost too easy. Cheers!
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Tim York » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:37 am

Umbria adjoins Tuscany to the south. In many ways it is similar in its architecture, landscape, climate, food and wines, but all these tend to be slightly rougher edged and less sophisticated.

There are lot of interesting wines in Umbria. Here are just a few.

Probably the best known is the white Orvieto which has somewhat fallen into disrepute; I have been lucky enough to stumble upon some delicious examples, of which there is a TN below.

Perhaps the most original and respected wine in Umbria is Sagrantino di Montefalco, which can show real class with brooding tarry power needing quite some ageing; the most famous producers are Caprai, Bea and Colpetrone and their wines are quite pricey; below there is a TN on a much more QPR but still characterful wine from the Adanti estate in the same area.

About a generation ago Rubesco di Torgiano made by Lungarotti from Sangiovese and Canaiolo was ubiquitous and pretty good too; it seemed to have fallen by the wayside but there are now some reports of a renaissance. The famous Falesco estate, beloved by Parker, is headquartered in Umbria but its flagship Merlot derived Montiano comes from a site just over the border in Lazio. Antinori’s high prestige white, Cervaro della Sala, made mainly from Chardonnay with some Grechetto, comes from Ficulle in Umbria

Arquata Montefalco Rosso 2006 - Adanti – Alc.13.5% - (€8 ex-cellars), from Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot and Barbera. After my visit to the estate, I wrote that it showed plenty of body and savoury dark fruit but was more tannic than the deliciously balanced 2004. I am confident though that it will provide robust drinking with hearty Italian inspired food; 15.5/20 QPR. On Friday evening I liked it even better with tangy acidity and gravelly mineral notes emerging to supplement the savoury fruit and with the tannins receding into better balance. I kick myself for having only bought 4 bottles. An ideal wine for simple robust Italian fare (pasta with tomato and pesto sauces this time), which I would distinguish from good Chianti by perhaps a tad less acidity, a little more warmth and its price; on this showing 16/20 QPR!

When I tasted it at the estate, I liked Orvieto Superiore “Lunata” 2008 – Tenuta Le Velette –(c.€5 ex cellars), made from Trebbiano 40%, Verdello 20%, Malvasia 5%, Grechetto 30%, Drupeggio 5%, for its fresh and lively fragrance combined with smooth and quite rich fruit and lovely oriental spices. Although I have read that Orvieto does not travel, I can confirm that it was just as good, if not better, with the typically Belgian “moules marinières” at home; maybe limited ageing potential but my 6 bottles will be all gone before long; 16/20++ QPR!!.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:42 pm

I have enjoyed a few Orvietos the past few years. The last few posts here have been of real interest for me as the Italian content in my cellar is laughable. I will make the effort to look around downtown. I do have a Dolcetto lined up and a mystery white Nick gave me.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Paulo in Philly » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:42 pm

I am very Italy biased as I have spent many summers there, but, I think Italy is an amazing wine country. There are over 2000 varieties and many wine styles, so, one can never be bored drinking wine in Italy. While many wines can be flashy and produced for the international market, you do find many poetic and artistic wine makers whose wines move you to tears. The key is knowing the producers as well as knowing some of the varieties used, including local indigenous grapes as well as French varieties. Despite all of Italy's craziness, food and wine is still art!
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Oswaldo Costa » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:19 am

Paulo! Long time no see...
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:23 am

I keep trying to get back to this thread, but circumstances prevent it. I have a bottle of Italian Gamay ready to go if time permits.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:01 pm

Robin provided a nice lead-in for my report on two Valpoliella wines. One is labeled a Valpolicella Classico Superiore and the other is a Ripasso.

2005 "I Quadretti" Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Azienda Agricola La Giaretti
15% abv. Aged for about two years in French barrels. Imported by Country Vintner, Oilville, VA.
Dark, dense and opaque.
Black cherry nose. Light to medium body. Attractive fruit of black cherries and blackberries. This gives a hint of Valpolicella's charm short of the ripasso or amarone level. Tastes rich, deep and satisfying. Suggested pairings are grilled meat, braised beef, cold meat or salami, mature cheeses and pasta with spicy sausage.

2007 Solane Santi Valpolicella Classcio Superiore Ripasso
13.5% abv. Purchased for $14.99 at the grocery store. It is listed on several bargain red wines from Italy lists. Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons. Solane is produced from Corvina and Rondinella grapes, re-fermented on partially dry whole grapes. The wine is aged in wood for about 15 months. This was slightly more transparent than the "I Quadretti." Quite viscous. Seemed a little more tart than the "I Quadretti" and a little higher pitched. More boysenberry than black cherry but with some red cherry also. I prefered the "I Quadretti" (which was more expensive) but agree that the Solane from Santi is an acceptable QPR for everyday drinking or nongeek socializing.

Next up white wines from Umbria and Sicily.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Marco Raimondi » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:23 am

Malvoisie de Nus Felix Tassi 1979 Passito.

My wife and I stopped by an old friend of mine in the village of Nus (Felice Tassi) on our honeymoon in October, 1984, and were given several bottles of this lovely Alpine nectar as a wedding present. I still have some other bottles of the 1978, 1982, and this 1979.

My wife and I met in 1979 and married in 1984; we decided to open this bottle last night, just a bit late for our 25th wedding anniversary, but also in time for this focus on the diversity of Italian wines. We had the wine after dinner, without food or dessert.

Although called "Malvoisie" this is not a Malvasia at all, rather a wine made from a clone of Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio). For this wine (the passito) the grapes are semi-dried and then pressed & fermented in sealed vats; the 1978 Malvoisie (even after 30 years in the cellar) is as pale as a young Chablis, while this 1979 is slightly amber-tinged in color.

The nose has a glorious, expansive, rich chamomile, mountain-honey perfume with a delineated, laser-beam precision which delivers the aroma straight up the nostrils to the tear-ducts of each eye! The sensation on the tongue is a combination of marzipan, salinity, and an almost Riesling-like/electric jolt of acidity on the middle of the tongue, with an unbelievably long, penetrating finish. After the wine is spent in the mouth, there is the echo of pleasantly bitter peach-pit and hazelnut with no residual sweetness anywhere in the mouth. The wine has no overt sweetness! Instead: there is an almost perfect tension between medium weight and precise focus which dupes the mouth into perceiving delicacy, lightness.

I could not decide whether it was the completely direct simplicity of this wine on the one hand, or rather the unfolding complexity on the other hand which captivated me more... by which time the bottle was empty!
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:59 am

Marco....brilliant! This one has to rank right up there as WOTM on this Focus.

Here is my current contribution.......>

WTN: `07 Gastaldia Vesperaiolo Breganze, Veneto, It.

Nick at DeVines picked this dry white for me. $24 Cdn, 12.5% alc, dried cork, terroir is volcanic soil.
Quote "Vesperaiolo is virtually confined to the Breganze.....sweet version, either from passito grapes, called Torcolato, or from late-harvested ones which have contracted noble rot". Nick Belfrage in his book Barolo to Valpolicella.

Color. Light lemon, no green.

Nose. Intense, aromatic, pink grapefruit, acacia/floral. Nice!

Palate. Initial entry thought was bone dry, excellent acidity, tart, zippy. I find the mineral tones quite obvious, big citrus finish. "Granny Smith apples...herby finish...racy" from across the table.
Softened up somewhat overnight, I would have thought Sicily if told Italian and served blind.

Very uncommon grape varietal from a well-known producer. Might be hard to find I guess so lucky me eh.

Food was pan-fried cod which matched quite nicely. I am glad I did not go with pork tenderloin, would have been a disaster.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Oswaldo Costa » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:35 am

Sounds like my kind of wine, Bob!
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:04 pm

Oswaldo, so kind! It was very dry and quite high in acidity. The recent discussion about "minerally" has a number 1 contender here, grin wink.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby James Dietz » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:05 am

  • 2005 Campagnia di Ermes Cesanese di Olevano Romano - Italy, Latium, Cesanese di Olevano Romano (2/23/2010)

    I liked this a lot. Rough around the edges in some ways, big and brooding, but in a good way, not because the fruit is overpowering. It's not. Hard to describe. It's not Syrah-like or Bordeaux-like either. If I had to try to peg it, it might be more like a Mourvedre with nice structure and dark red fruit and good tannins. This is nice to drink on its own, but it as also good with a red curry chicken. Different in a very good way. (92 pts.)
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Some of the description from the original Garagiste offer back in 2007:

Cesanese is the Roman (or more accurately Lazian) grape that has languished as an indigenous afterthought for years (as in hundreds of years) but a few well-intentioned vintners have studied its potential and when properly raised and vinified, this fickle grape (similar to Pinot Noir) can produce a mysterious and esoteric wine with the satin of Vosne-Romanee and the dark, brooding personality of Aglianico. This varietal has so much personality that vintners will risk near total failure by leaving it hang on the vine until well into October (one or two big rain storms can swell this grape quickly diluting the entire summer's potential in one afternoon), to ensure it is perfectly ripe and balanced - the risk is worth it and Cesanese is here to stay.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Jenise » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:30 am

Jim, great note, and you made me want to do some digging to see if your Cesanese is the same as the one I owned (sadly past tense, I only bought two bottles). And almost--yours is the same house but one year newer. Here's my note on the 04 which I took to an offline themed "Weird Italian Night":

2004 Campagnia de Ermes Cesanese do Olevano Romano – My wine, and one of those irresistable oddballs that the boys at Garagiste come up with from time to time. This one went into decanter on arrival at the restaurant because of it's youth, and I think we were all quite amazed that it was this young once we tasted it. It showed like a 99 Cornas, with violets and spice and all that white pepper on a cherry frame. Not just different and very, very rare (only 50-70 cases of this wine get made), but lovely and very worth drinking in it's own right.

I don't remember being offered the 05, but this is one I'd jump all over a chance to repurchase.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby James Dietz » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:03 pm

Jenise wrote:Jim, great note, and you made me want to do some digging to see if your Cesanese is the same as the one I owned (sadly past tense, I only bought two bottles). And almost--yours is the same house but one year newer. Here's my note on the 04 which I took to an offline themed "Weird Italian Night":

2004 Campagnia de Ermes Cesanese do Olevano Romano – My wine, and one of those irresistable oddballs that the boys at Garagiste come up with from time to time. This one went into decanter on arrival at the restaurant because of it's youth, and I think we were all quite amazed that it was this young once we tasted it. It showed like a 99 Cornas, with violets and spice and all that white pepper on a cherry frame. Not just different and very, very rare (only 50-70 cases of this wine get made), but lovely and very worth drinking in it's own right.

I don't remember being offered the 05, but this is one I'd jump all over a chance to repurchase.


Me too, one I would love to have in other vintages for its distinctiveness.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bruce Hayes » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:36 am

Tommasi Valpolicella Classico 2008
Veneto

Rich cherry red in the glass.

Rich barnyard, leather and earth on the nose: the sort of nose I just love.

Quite weighty in the mouth, cherry, raspberry, tomato, spicy, smoky, barnyard, very full and round, good acidity, a moderate bitter streak, quite rich.

Mushrooms, earthy, roasted, bitter and cherry fruit on the finish.

A very nice and showy wine.

Screwcap closure.

Purchased on sale at $10.40 (Canadian).
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby JC (NC) » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:15 pm

I have two white wines to report on but left the notes on one of them at home so will post on Monday although we will officially be into March by then.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Otto » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:29 pm

Schreckbichl Colterenzio Pinot Nero St. Daniel Riserva 2004 Alto Adige - Südtirol

22,20€; 13,5% abv. St. Daniel is an estate in a relatively cool area in the east side of the Adige Valley. This is aged a year in wood: ⅔ in big casks and ⅓ in Barrique. Light colour. Quite a nice aroma, pure Pinosity in a quite forward, sweetly fruity, red toned, sexy style. The oak is beginning to be integrated yet the odd sniff or two produces more oak aromas than I really care for (i.e. very few people will be bothered by the amount of oak showing). Sweetly fruity yet vibrantly structured, this is an easy wine to like even though it is far from profound. This is like a Puccini Opera (except happier): it wears its heart on its sleeve. Fun wine, but hardly good value at Finnish prices.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:04 pm

I was going to open the `06 Vigna dei Prey Dolcetto from Boschis but feel it might be too young. What do others with more experience think?

http://www.marcdegrazia.com/mdg/catalog ... ncesco.pdf
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Tim York » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:07 am

Bob, I don't think that 06 is in general too young for Dolcetto. Some from Chiara Boschis, a different firm I think, are delicious within 12 months. But isn't Piedmont outside the scope of this WF :? ?
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:32 am

Oh dear, thanks for the reminder Tim. Another year in the cellar should be OK, think this is a serious effort.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:35 pm

I can't find notes on one of the two whites from Italy that I had recently but it was an uninspiring Orvieta Abbocatto that I probably wouldn't purchase again anyway. I thought I was getting a dry white wine but Abbocatto is semi-dry style.

2007 Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Bianco, I.G.T. Sicily. (A small "regal" lion on the label.)
Bottled by Count Tasca d'Almerita Agricola Regaleali Estate, Sclafani Bagni (Palermo, Sicily), Italy. Retails for about $11-$12.
Leonardo Locasio Selections. This is the everyday white wine from Tasca d'Almerita. The Regaleali Bianco is made from three grapes indigenous to Sicily: Inzolia, Catarotto and Grecanico.
12% alcohol by volume.
(I assume the name Regaleali is from the same Latin stem as "regal" and I sipped this while watching some regal figure skaters on the ice Thursday night.)
Medium gold in color. Aromatic with some light ginger spice, faint muskiness and pear juiciness. Acidic backbone--pleasant but a relatively short finish. I liked this better than the Orvieto from earlier in the week. I haven't decided if I like this better chilled or at room temperature--it has something to recommend it either way.
Possible pairings include scallops or mild fish dishes, a salad with fruits such as apples, pears or grapefruit, poached pear or a pear tatin, or mild Chinese cuisine.
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Victorwine » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:45 pm

I know I’m posting these a little late, but the last Saturday of February, my wine tasting group had a nice wine tasting. The theme was the “heel (Puglia or Apulia), instep (Basilicata), and toe (Calabria) of the Italian boot”. As usual our hosts Vinny and Linda did an excellent job (in choice of wines, cheeses and foods and Vinny gave a well researched and thought out presentation as usually). One side note about Vinny and Linda’s wine tasting every year, Vinny is a serious hunter and as a “meat” dish they always serve venison. Most admit I only eat venison once a year and that’s at Vinny and Linda’s house (I have been going to their house once a year now for the last 11 years). They could prepare and serve venison a hundred different ways and no matter what they do it’s always delicious (very tender, no “gamy taste” what-so-ever). This year, Vinny, prior to our tasting, BBQ the venison using a “ton” of onions (and the “onion juice”) and BBQ sauce, it was absolutely delicious and went especially good with my wine of the evening the Primitivo.

The Whites;
Catapanus, Bombino Bianco, D'Alfonso del Sordo – 2007 (Apulia)
Blend of Bombino Bianco and other; 12% alc by vol; IGT; $13
In appearance this wine was a pale straw color with a slight honey toned or brass color in the center. Found the nose to be very lively with a citrus, lemony and granny apple-ish aromas (pretty one dimensional though, not all that exciting). The wine has crisp and lively acidity. Well made, structured and nicely balanced wine. The aftertaste was very pleasant. (13; group average 12.6)

Rivera Marese Bombino Bianco Castel del Monte DOC- 2008 (Apulia)
100% Bombino Bianco; 12% alc by vol; DOC; $15
Very pale straw-like in color. On the nose and palate the wine does have a rich aroma, both fruity and floral. Very easy drinking white wine. Found the acidity to be a little deft (on the low side). Not much really happening with this wine, especially on the back end of the palate. The finish is short and pretty bland. (12: group average 14.3)

The Reds;
Cantina Val Di Neto Mutro- 2004 (Calabria)
75% Gaglioppo 25% Greco Nero; 13% alc by vol; DOC; $44
In appearance this wine is ruby red with a slight “watery” hue on its edges. The nose and palate offers some black and red fruit with a touch of earth. The wine seems to be a little “rustic”. Very easy drinking medium bodied with easygoing tannins, OK acidity. Aftertaste is lingering and pleasant. (14; group average 14.1)

Librandi Ciro Rosso Classico- 2007 (Calabria)
100% Gaglioppo; 13.5% alc by vol; DOC; $12
Ruby red color, clear and brilliant. On the nose nice cherry, hints of red berry and fruit, also a hint of earth, cocoa and chocolate. Light to medium in body and texture, easy drinking wine. Well made, structured and nicely balanced wine. Finish is pleasant and lengthy. (16; group average 13.4)

Il Falcone Castel del Monte- 2004 (Apulia)
70% Nero di Troia 30% Montepulciano; 13.5% alc by vol; DOC; $34
Dense red in color, brilliant and clear (in the center almost black). Complex and interesting nose, offering ripe dark fruit, slight vanilla, licorice, tobacco, spice and some earth and road tar. (Maybe even a little Brett action going on, well in my tolerance range, IMHO adding more complexity (or just making the wine more interesting). Well made wine and structural balanced. Pleasant and lingering long finish. (17; group average 14.2)

D'Angelo Valle del Noce- 2003 (Basilicata)
Aglianco del Vulture; 13.5% alc by vol; DOC; $56
Ruby red in color, clear and brilliant. Fresh ripe red and black fruit on the nose and palate. Tannins and acidity are a little outspoken, the wine is still too very young IMHO. Definitely made and structured for the “long haul”. The after taste is long but just a little on the bitter side because of the still “young” tannins. Needs more time in the cellar. (14.5; group average 13.6)

Cantine Cristiano Guttarolo Gioia del Colle Primitrivo-2007 (Apulia)
14.5% alc by vol; DOC; $24
Dense dark, clear and brilliant red color. The nose and palate is composed of ripe red and black fruit complimented nicely with earthy tones and a hint of road tar (just to make things very interesting). Well-made and nicely structured and balanced wine. Extremely pleasant and long aftertaste. (17.5; group average 15)

Salute
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Re: February 2010 Wine Focus: Diverse Italy

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:30 am

Victor
wrt the Falcone Castel del Monte, I don't know whether it's Brett or just regionality, but I've definitely noticed some funkiness in Puglian wines - and often it's been very much to my taste, and often in very moderately priced wines. It's a reason I remain very keen to taste more from the region.
regards
Ian
Drink coffee, do stupid things faster
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Ian Sutton
Spanna in the works
 
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

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