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Several Italian Wines Opened While Researching

Here are several different Italian wines I have opened while researching and writing about the history of wine.  At the affordable end of things the 2011 Elena Walch, Lagrein is appealing for contemporary drinking.  My favorite of the lot were the 2005 Rocca di Frassinello, Poggio alla Guardia and the 2008 Ricci Curbastro, Vigna Santella del Grom.  Both of these are blends with Merlot and Cabernet.  The former is attractively mature right now.   The later is more youthful and surprisingly contains Carmenere! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Elena Walch, Lagrein, Alto Adige – $14
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Lagrein which was fermented in stainless steel then underwent malolactic fermentation and aging in large French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was black and grapey.  In the mouth the wine had lighter and cooler flavors of red and black fruit.  It tasted like a cool-climate wine.  It was a touch tart but moved forward with structure, some pepper, licorice, and a delicate core.  Attractive.  ** Now-2014.


2005 Rocca di Frassinello, Poggio alla Guardia, Maremma Tuscany – $16
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Sangioveto sourced from seven-year old vines which was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for four months in stainless steel and cement.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a medium garnet mixed with brick.  The flavors were ripe and focused with black cherry that was lively on the center of the tongue.  There was gentle weight as the fruit coats the tongue then takes on texture with ripe, drying tannins on the tongue and lips.  there were some wood box flavors and structure with air.  There was a little coarse texture but the wine filled out with air and was supported by the structure.  *** Now-2018.


2004 Agricoltori del Geografico, Contessa di Radda, Chianti Classico – $16
Imported by Monarchia Matt International.  This wine is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero grape sourced from member vineyards total 480 acres.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose revealed a little roast and a hinted of stewed fruit.  In the mouth there was firm cherry fruit, a little roast, and firm acidity on the tongue tip.  With air there were some tea flavors, expansion in the mouth but not a lot of depth.  It was a little stemmy with a touch of salivating acidity.  It seems to be drying with its age.  ** Now.


2008 Corbera Vini, Nero d’Avola, ar Cera, Sicily – $13
Imported by Red Ink Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  In the mouth the flavors were very smooth with silky and smokey black/red fruit.  There were some strong tannins in the underlying structure which continues to emerge with air.  There was some acidity followed by a smoky, pervasive aftertaste.  ** Now-2017.


2008 Velenosi, Brecciarolo, Rosso Piceno- $11
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.  This wine is a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese which was destemmed, fermented in stainless steel then aged in used barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This had flavors of black cherry and black fruit with some ripeness.  There were cinnamon-like spices to this softer but textured black fruited wine.  It was tart with integrated acidity, and a small amount of tannins. The finish was shorter.  No need to hold on to this.  ** Now-2014.


2009 Fattoria di Fubbiano, San Gennaro, Colline Lucchesi – $20
Imported by David Vincent Selection.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and 15% Ciliegiolo.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was light with a  little perfume, greenhouse, and stems.  The mouth followed the nose with a core of focused, ripe vintage perfume and black fruit.  There were flavors of tart red and black fruit then a textured middle, and acidity in the aftertaste.  The wine is a little rough at this point but has good, yet firmer black and red fruit flavors in the aftertaste. Needs a little age. **(*) 2014-2017.


2008 Ricci Curbastro, Vigna Santella del Grom, Curtefranca – $23
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot, 12% Carmenere, and 10% Barbera sourced from the Santella del Grom vineyard planted in 1992.  It was fermented in stainless steel vats then aged for 18 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose bore some fresh, red berry fruit.  In the mouth there were focused raspberry flavors, a little ripe core, and acidity which moves things along like a wave.  The wine was red and tangy in the back of the mouth with a touch of weight behind the fruit.  Good quality.  This is a good youthful wine with cherry berry notes.  *** Now-2016.

  1. July 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Dear Aaron,

    I was happy that you lately wrote about my Lagrein. This indigenous variety, which grows mainly in Alto Adige, we are selling very well in the states – together with our other indigenous veriety, the Schiava. Whenever you find it, try it! We started to sell it in New York, with good results. Whenever you need more informations, feel free to contact us!

    Thank you, kind regards,

    Elena Walch

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