Tight Nebbiolo and open Sagrantino
I write my daily tasting notes on small Moleskine notebooks and employ a medium-sized spiral bound notebook for formal tastings. At times when I do not feel like walking upstairs to my office to fetch my daily notebook, I might instead grab a sheet from a notepad. The tasting notes I am publishing this week came from such loose sheets of paper because I lost my daily notebook, either on my plane or more likely, in the airport during my flight out to Seattle. There were only a few dozen unpublished notes from recently purchased bottles and a few bottles I have had for years. Oh well! I guess those empty bottles now go straight to the recycling!
Sagrantino and Nebbiolo are both capable of producing wines that must be aged before they are enjoyable. The 2011 Fattoria Col Santo, Sagrantino de Montefalco is the latest vintage of a wine which breaks the mold by being extremely enjoyable in its vigorous youth. Just think of a flavorful core of red and black fruits, graphite, minerals, excellent acidity, and some spicy tannins. This is seriously fun stuff at an affordable price. The 2004 Ca’Rome, Calimpia, Langhe clearly needs more age to resolve the firm and dry tannic structure. There are good flavors in the wine and in drinking it quickly, avoid double-decanting, it is a fine drink at $15. I would not gamble the original price of $48 because I am not entirely sure the flavors will outlast the structure. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2011 Fattoria Col Santo, Sagrantino de Montefalco – $18
Imported by Siema Wines. his wine is 100% Sagrantino sourced from vineyards in Montarone on soils of clay and lime. The fruit is harvested at the beginning of October, fermented in stainless steel, then undergoes malolactic fermentation in 70% wood casks and 30% stainless steel. The wine is then aged for 15 months in wooden casks followed by a further 12 months of aging in stainless steel tanks. Alcohol 15.5%. There are lovely flavors of ripe red and black fruit which come out in the vigorous start. These flavors are quickly joined by black graphite, spices, and eventually minerals in the spicy, tannic finish. The acidity is spot on for the great core of fruit. The wine add density and minerality with air. Well done. ***(*) Now – 2026.
2004 Ca’Rome, Calimpia, Langhe – $15
Imported by Empson. This is 100% young Nebbiolo sourced from vines on the hill of Barbaresco. Alcohol ? There is some roast on the nose but not in the mouth. With a start of tart black and red fruit, the wine takes on some weight as dry, mouth-coating tannins come out. This is a very dry wine with firm wood tannins that actually contribute a sense of extract. Clearly needs age but there are some interesting flavors in the work. **(*) Now – 2026.