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Wine Advisor Express:
Wine and memories

Please permit me a moment to go philosophical before I give you today's tasting note: One of the happiest things about wine, I think, is the way that any given glass can bring back memories. Open a bottle with a familiar label, or a new wine from a place that you remember fondly, and as soon as you pour a glass, you're transported back in memory to the time and place where you first enjoyed it.

Last night's wine took us back almost exactly 20 years, bringing back in a rush a slide-show of recollections of the first wine trip to Europe my wife and I took together, back in 1982, a happy tour of sightseeing and wine tasting from Rome through Tuscany and Umbria, to Florence and Perugia and tiny hilltop wine-producing villages like ... Torgiano.

This little town, not far from Assisi, is dominated by a single winery, Lungarotti, which is not only a largish wine producer but owns and operates an excellent hotel and restaurant and one of Italy's more interesting wine museums. Lungarotti's trademark wine, Rubesco, had caught my attention back home as an Italian red of real flavor interest and value - it must have sold for less than $5 at the time - so it was a particular pleasure to visit the winery and join an international panel of wine writers as a judge at an all-Italy wine competition there.

Frankly, I have been away from Rubesco for many years. The winery went through a period after Dr. Giorgo Lungarotti's death in the 1980s during which its wines seemed to take a turn for the ordinary. But I spotted the label the other day and, prompted in large part by happy memories, decided to give it another try. I'm pleased to report that, while its price has tripled since those old days, it does seem to be back on its form as a warm and appealing table wine. (I'm also saving for a special occasion a pricey bottle of its high-end red, Rubesco Vigna Monticchio, a 1990 vintage that was held at the winery until its release just last year.)

Lungarotti Lungarotti 1997 Rubesco Rosso di Torgiano ($14.99)
Clear dark garnet. Ripe black cherry aromas and flavors, fresh and pleasantly tart, spicy oak present but not overbearing. A Chianti-like blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes, it lies toward the fresh and fruity end of the style spectrum. "Chianti Lite," perhaps? U.S. importer: Paterno Imports, Lake Bluff, Ill. (Jan. 10, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with a hearty dish of lamb meatballs over penne pasta in a fresh tomato and green pepper sauce.

WEB LINKS: The winery Website, which also includes information about the Lungarottis' hotel, restaurant and museum, is at http://www.lungarotti.it/, (in Italian), with an English-language version at http://www.lungarotti.it/welcomei.htm. The U.S. importer has a Lungarotti fact sheet at http://www.paternoimports.com/products/lungarotti/default.asp.

Correction: Kym's a bloke
Thanks to a number of Australian readers for correcting my incorrect assumption (in yesterday's Wine Advisor) about the gender of Adelaide University wine-economics expert Kym Anderson. "Kym's a bloke," one pal from Down Under assured me. I regret the error; a man named Robin ought to know better.

Administrivia
This is Wine Advisor Express, daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. For archives of previous articles, and to read more about wine, visit Wine Lovers' Page, http://www.wineloverspage.com.

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Friday, Jan. 11, 2002
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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