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Posts Tagged ‘Langhe’

High-alcohol Verdelho, old Freisa, and older Napa Valley reds

The latest round of wines that Lou and I tasted presented a challenging start.  Perhaps only the Scholium Project would offer a high-alcohol Verdelho white wine and the 2010 Scholium Project, The Wisdom of Theuth, Lost Slough Vineyards certainly exists outside of my conventional experience.  I found an attractive blend of yeast, nuts, and lemon such that I am reminded a bit of a mature, flat Champagne.  Lovers of mature white wine will find it engaging on the first night.  Tasted blind, I would have guess the 1999 Pio Cesare, Freisa to be a late 1970s Italian Nebbiolo from a lesser region.  It threw a tremendous amount of sediment.  On the face of things, it is a decrepit wine for being from 1999.  However, if you like very old Italian wine then you’ll enjoy it after it breaths for several hours.  It becomes round and sweet with some delicate berries.

We soon moved on to a trio of Napa Valley red wines.  The 1983 Villa Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is from a very wet year which shows in a lack of quality fruit flavor and staying power.  In comparison, the 1977 vintage is still rocking.  The 1983 improves with air to be a modest wine which set us up for our next pair of wines from Burgess Cellars.

Burgess Cellars was founded in 1972 when Tom Burgess bought a 19th century winery that had been resurrected by Lee Stewart and known at the time as Souverain.  Burgess Cellars was one of only two dozen wineries in Napa and Sonoma at the time of founding.  The 1970s was a period when the house wine style was under development with the winemaker Bill Sorenson.  At the same time the vineyards were expanded and replanted.  In 1978 and 1979 the winery itself was significantly expanded.  Long-term contracts were secured to provide an increased volume of fruit.

Perhaps this transitory period explains why the 1979 Burgess Cellars, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley is way past prime.  It looks and smells old but there is still an attractive mouthfeel.  Souverain and Burgess Cellars did have a legacy when it came to Cabernet Sauvignon which could explain the quality of the 1979 Burgess Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.  The bottle stink quickly blew off to reveal deep fruit on the nose which is confirmed on the palate.  This is a clean fruited wine with a bit of herbal greenhouse flavor wrapped in a seductive, textured mouth feel.  My one grip is that it could stand a bit more acidity.  Even Jenn enjoyed it and I enjoyed my last glass as I read my mystery book before bed.

 

2010 Scholium Project, The Wisdom of Theuth, Lost Slough Vineyards
This wine is 100% Verdelho that was fermented in both tank and barrel.  Alcohol 15.88%.  There is a bit of an apple orchard aroma but then it becomes primarily of yeast and white fruit.  In the mouth this is a weighty, nutty white fruited wine with a cutting vein of acidity in the finish.  There is an attractive yeast note, lemon peel, and tropical floral flavors delivered with a very fine, ripe grip.  **(*) Now.

1999 Pio Cesare, Freisa
Imported by T. Elenteny. 12%.  Between the brick color, nose, and initial flavors I would have guessed this wine to be decades older.  After several hours of air it improved markedly.  A bacon aroma moves on to very mature flavors in a wine that rounds out and becomes sweeter with air.  While the nose remains past prime the mouth shows delicate berries, a little spice, good acidity, and an almost chewy nature.  ** Now.

1983 Villa Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Alcohol 12.9%.  This is a drier wine which improved with air.  It is fully mature with not the best fruit at this stage though there are attractive notes of wood box and a hint of tobacco. It sports powdery density and a fresh finish.  ** Drink Up.

1979 Burgess Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13.1%.  The bottle stink quickly blows off to reveal deep blue aromas.  In the mouth is clean fruit which is ripe and weighty before transitioning to dry flavors underpinned by black fruit.  There is a seductive mouthful but truth be told this could use a bit more zip from acidity.  It is very enjoyable though with fine wood notes, some fresh greenhouse, and a textured finish.  *** Now but will last.

1979 Burgess Cellars, Pinot Noir, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13.4%.  A light to medium-brown color spells doom which is confirmed on the nose.  Surprisingly round and weighty in the mouth with a sweet core.  Not Rated Past.

Tight Nebbiolo and open Sagrantino

April 28, 2016 2 comments

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.

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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.

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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.

Tasting notes for Italian wines opened these last few months

The buying of the new house followed by the sale of our old house was a massively time consuming effort.  We mostly drank from a rotation of a dozen different wines but there were new bottles opened as well.  Throughout that period I continued to post on what I felt were the most interesting wines.  I did manage to take other notes and transport many empty bottles to the new house.  In this post I feature a range of Italian wines tasted during our house transition.

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The Italian selection at MacArthur Beverages provides a steady cache of affordable wines with some age.  The 2004 Calabretta, Nerello Mascalese, Vigne Becchie, Sicilia Rosso is old-school both in style and price.  It is a wine that everyone should try but I would suggest you set aside your bottles for the next several years.   The 2009 Pino, Barbera d’Alba offers the most maturity right now out of all that were tasted.  Two selections that drink well now but are poised to open up within the next few years include the 2008 Firmino Miotti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Breganza and the 2009 Pelissero, Tulin, Barbera d’Alba.  For those looking for a good wine to drink tonight then grab the 2013 Azienda Agricola 499, Freisa, Langhe and 2012 Pico Maccario, Lavignone, Barbera d’Asti.

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2008 Batzella, Pean, Bolgheri Rosso – $26
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc which spent 15 months in barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed dark tobacco aromas.  In the mouth this dry wine had a leather note followed by fresh, black fruit and an earthy hint.  The finish was lively with drying structure.  With air the structure became harsh and the wine unevolved though it developed more leather, tobacco, and spices in the aftertaste.  ** Now-2025?

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2004 Calabretta, Nerello Mascalese, Vigne Becchie, Sicilia Rosso – $26
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine had more coiled power with upfront and lovely  integrated acidity, lots of texture, and verve.  Clearly a young wine it sported complexity from an earthy and foxy hint in the acidity driven finish.  It even took on a perfumed note.  It has a vibrancy that reminds me of a glass aged wine that will develop for years to come.  **(*) 2020-2030.

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2012 Calabretta, Gaio Gaio, Sicilia – $17
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The attractive nose bore subdued aromas of roses, tar, and cherries.  In the mouth were tart and focused flavors of red and black fruit that were somewhat rounded.  The wine had salivating acidity, grip from the tannins, and an old wood note.  It continued to show very focused fruit.  **(*) Now – 2022.

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2012 Paolo Cali, Mandragola, Vittoria Frappato – $17
Imported by RWK Imports.  This wine is 100% Frappato.  Alcohol 13%.  There were heavy, wafting Frappato aromas highlighted by fresh pepper.  This was a light to medium bodied wine with fruit that bore weight and fine texture with extract.  It had the expected, unusual flavor with a dry finish of ripe, orange-creamsicle and dry black fruit.  The flavors were clearly hard for me to describe.  With air it became riper and a touch softer.  ** Now – 2016.

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2007 Castelluccio, Ronco dei Ciliegi, Forli – $23
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  There were dark, leaner aromas with some wood.  This firm wine, was stone-like with black fruit, watering acidity, and old polished wood.  The flavors were lighter in weight with a dry nature and a  hint of roast.  Even with only a bit of structure left this will live for quite some time.  **(*) Now -2025.

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2011 Cesari, Bosan, Valpolicello Superiore Ripasso – $31
Imported by Opici Wines.  This wine is a blend 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella.  Alcohol 14%.  The fresh nose revealed ample tobacco aromas backed by cola with undertones of raisins.  The flavors began with a mineral thread before a brief spell of maturity.  There were drier raisin flavors and a developing tobacco note.  This gentle wine had a rather subtle structure that matched the compote of fruit and underlying black flavors.  Though forward drinking, I would give this another year or so to integrate the ripasso flavors.  *** Now – 2022.

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2011 Conterno Fantino, Vignota, Barbera d’Alba – $26
Imported by Neil Empson.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The linear, black fruit took on extract and strawberry flavor.  It had juicy acidity and a dark, rather ripe note.  *** 2016 – 2022.

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2009 Gagliasso, Vigna Ciabot Russ, Barbera d’Alba – $17
Imported by .  Alcohol 14.5%.  This rather dark wine had matching aromas of dark red, raisined fruit.  The flavors were similar in the mouth but the forward acidity kept things sharp.  The drying structure was a touch coarse but the sweet, spiced, old wood was attractive.  With air tart, black and red fruit flavors developed some weight and became puckering in the finish.  Unfortunately some heat was breaking out.  ** Now-2020.

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2012 Pico Maccario, Lavignone, Barbera d’Asti – $16
Imported by Massinois Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  I kid you not, but the nose smelled of cat fur.  In the mouth were bright, yet tart and ripe red fruit which tasted fresh.  This wine had clean fruit, water acidity, a tough of verve and grip, and even some density.  A wine for now.  ** Now-2017.

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2013 Massolino, Barbera d’Alba – $22
Imported by Vineyard Brands.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The firm fruit flavors were of tart black fruit that took on a subtle red grapefruit note.  The acidity was noticeable from the start and matched the fresh structure which was evident in the finish.  There was a lovely, ethereal flavor in the middle which, when combined with the suggest of strength from the tannins, indicate this wine should develop.  **(*) 2016-2022.

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2008 Firmino Miotti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Breganza – $21
Imported by Il Pioppo.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a complex nose of cherry fruit that made way to round flavors of red fruit in the mouth.  Accented by some greenhouse notes this wine tasted like a cooler climate Cab.  The flavors turned blacker with more focus, integrated acidity, and some drying structure on the gums.  There were minerals in the finish followed by a tart aftertaste.  With air the wine tastes even young and should continue to develop for several more years.  It maintained good tension that keeps one’s interest.    *** Now-2022.

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2009 Pino, Barbera d’Alba – $23
Imported by Potomac Selections.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was reasonably aromatic with dark, plummy notes.  In the mouth was a mixture of cedar and red fruit before the mature flavors of the middle took on minerals.  There was some firmness in the finish with almost puckering acidity that left impressions of ripe fruit in the aftertaste.  *** Now – 2020.

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2009 Pelissero, Tulin, Barbera d’Alba – $26
Imported by Vinifera Imports.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were low-lying aromas of fruit on the nose.  In the mouth were savory flavors of blue and black fruit that worked well with the integrated acidity.  The wine tightened up in the finish with both tannins and polished wood.  With air, it exhibited cleaner fruit, that was tart and lighter but had a strength in the middle.  There was a touch of a spicy finish before the racy hint in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2025.

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2013 Azienda Agricola 499, Freisa, Langhe – $18
Imported by Free Run Wine Merchants.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The red fruit bore a touch of greenhouse the morphed into fuzzy red and black fruit.  There were fine,dry, coating tannins that did not overwhelm the fruit.  ** Now.

Young Nebbiolo for quaffing and contemplation

We have now lived in the new house for one week and at this point, I have unpacked most of my wine books.  Given that I am also beginning to feel rested means I am making progress on many fronts.  Another mark of progress was mowing all of the lawn.  I was hot and sweaty afterwards so while I tended the grill I gulped some glasses of the 2013 Brezza Giacomo & Figli, Nebbiolo, Langhe.  I never knew that young Nebbiolo could be so forward and refreshing!  While it is true there is structure for the short-term, this wine is best drunk at a cool cellar temperature on the first night.  The second wine in this post is completely different in nature.  Though made from young vines the 2012 Bruno Rocca, Nebbiolo, Fralu, Langhe shows good complexity and depth.  I really liked the flavor of this wine but the bit of oak coming out suggests you should cellar it for the short-term. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Brezza Giacomo & Figli, Nebbiolo, Langhe – $14
Imported by Tenth Harvest. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo that was raised in stainless steel and cement vats.  Alcohol 13%.  There were young grapey aromas from the nose.  In the mouth was a floral, red fruited start which quickly turned into black fruit.  The flavors were a little bitter with present and integrated acidity.  The rather fine tannins covered the gums in the finish.  A lighter, young wine for now. ** Now-2018.

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2012 Bruno Rocca, Nebbiolo, Fralu, Langhe – $26
Imported by Bacchus Importers. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from vines 6-7 years of age that were fermented in stainless steel then aged for 8-12 months in French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose brought deeper, scented ripe aromas.  In the mouth the fine, drying yet ripe and weighty tannins acted as a foundation from the start.  The wine showed depth of flavor with cool, dense black fruit, some oak notes, and an attractive inky finish. The structure became more evident with air as did a cinnamon note. **(*) 2016- 2020.

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Traditional wines from Cavallotto, Produttori del Barbaresco, and Selbach-Oster

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

This past Friday I found myself as Phil’s guest at his monthly wine-tasting group.  We sipped on the perfectly agreeable NV Jean Richecourt, Cuvee Speciale, Brut, Champagne as we waited for everyone to show up.  I found the citrus flavors and gentle effervescence whet my appetite for some serious wine.  The tasting of the red wines was conducted blind.  The nose alone of the 2011 Cavallotto, Nebbiolo, Langhe was a great start.  It was surprisingly serious for such a wine which, in retrospect, is explained by it being made from declassified Barolo Bricco Boschis fruit.  It was a good thing then that the remaining wines were all Cavallotto, Barolo Bricco Boschis.  Bricco Boschis is a cru solely owned by the Cavallotto family since 1929.  These wines are traditionally made with long aging in Slavonian oak.  Though they could exhibit a strong structure they all remained approachable.

Unfortunately the 2010 vintage was corked and the 2006 was believed heat damage, it was “old”, but still tasty in a way.  The 2008 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis was expectedly young but the minerally, racy black fruit was very attractive.  There is good potential here but I would wait several more years before opening another bottle.  The  2007 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis sported a good amount of concentrated fruit in a manner that came across as young.  It developed an interesting animale flavor in the finish.  I would try this again with the 2008.  The 2001 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis was easily in a place of its own.  The fruit was beautiful as well as the balance with the acidity and structure.  This was a serious yet enjoyable wine that was the first to be finished.  The 2005 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco proved a nice change at the end with its dark, dense fruit.  I did not spend much time with my glass but I should have.

We were very fortunate to finish with another excellent wine from the 2001 vintage.  This time in the form of the German 2001 Selbach-Oster, Zeltinger Himmelreich, Riesling Auslese *, Mosel Saar Ruwer.  It was everything I love in a German Riesling with its incredible aromatic nose, weighty mature flavors, and vibrant acidity.  I would have drunk the whole bottle if it were not impolite.  Thanks again to Phil for inviting me and for preparing the satisfying dinner of lamb shanks.

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NV Jean Richecourt, Cuvee Speciale, Brut, Champagne
Imported by The Lexington Import Group.  Alcohol 12%.  There were light lemon flavors with spiced, yeast notes, and gentle effervescence.  This fresh wine made for an easy start.  ** Now.

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2011 Cavallotto, Nebbiolo, Langhe
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo that was aged for 15-24 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a light to medium garnet cherry.  The nose was aromatic with exotic potpourri.  In the mouth the black fruit developed a little heat but there was good flavor to the ripe fruit.  The acidity was there with drier flavors in the finish and persistent aftertaste with mineral notes.  Drinking well now but should continue to do so.  *** Now-2020.

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2010 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from calcareous and clay soils that was fermented in stainless steel then aged in 3.5 years in Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  Corked.

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2008 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from calcareous and clay soils that was fermented in stainless steel then aged in 3.5 years in Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  It had a light to medium color with more garnet.  The nose was less exotic than the introductory Nebbiolo but there were similar cherry scents.  The red fruit in the start had more focus before minerally, racy black fruit came out.  There were very fine, powerful tannins with integrated acidity.  This strong wine was bright with acidity, a leather hint, and citric tannins.  ***(*) Now-2030.

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2007 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from calcareous and clay soils that was fermented in stainless steel then aged in 3.5 years in Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  This was a garnet color that looked younger than the 2006.  The nose was subtle with dark aromas.  There was more fruit that was concentrated and tasted young.  There was an attractive animale note in the finish.  The wine tastes young and was matched by very fine, drying tannins.  It clearly needs more time.  ***(*) 2018-2028.

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2006 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis
Imported by deGrazia Imports.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from calcareous and clay soils that was fermented in stainless steel then aged in 3.5 years in Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was an older looking garnet wood.  The nose was piercing with older (not in the prime of maturity) aromas.  In the mouth there was still some fruit concentration, old wood notes, and other ethereal flavors.  It was interesting but rough and coarse with plenty of dry tannins.  (I agreed with Roland in that I thought it a mature Rioja.) *** Now.

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2001 Cavallotto, Barolo Brico Boschis
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo sourced from calcareous and clay soils that was fermented in stainless steel then aged in 3.5 years in Slavonian oak casks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was a medium+ dark garnet color.  The nose was great and eventually piercing.  In the mouth were ripe, concentrated fruit flavors that had power but were balanced against the tannic structure.  The tannins had a citric edge with good weight that continued to complement the cool tasting red and blue fruit.  **** Now-2030.

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2005 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco
Imported by Vias Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  There were slight aromas of polished wood notes and I must agree, fennel.  This fruity wine was dense with strength to the very focused black flavors.  *** Now-2025.

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2001 Selbach-Oster, Zeltinger Himmelreich, Riesling Auslese *, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Imported by Michael Skurnik Wine.  Alcohol 8%.  This was a medium golden amber.  The nose was incredibly aromatic with a little honied note.  In the mouth were maturing flavors that were taking on a soft edge.  The wine had a weighty middle with ripeness and lovely, lively acidity.  The flavors were vibrant and clean.  **** Now-2030.

Even more from Italy!!!

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

There is so much to try from Italy that I always seem to have stacks of pictures and notes waiting to be posted.  This apparent bias stems from my trend of the summer to taste a smaller variety of wine and drink more humble southern French wines.  There are some good bottles below.  At the more affordable end both the 2008 Duca di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero d’Avola, Sicily and the 2008 Pio Cesare, Oltre, Langhe should be tried.  You can drink the former while the later develops. For a few bucks more the 2007 Montepeloso, Eneo, Tuscany reminds me of an Italian claret that is entering middle age. Fun!  I finally recommend you try the 2011 Pala, Cannonau di Sardegna Reserva.  There is a reason why both the 2011 and 2012 vintages won Tre Bicchieri. I recommend you find out yourself by pulling the cork.  Please find my tasting notes in order of increasing age.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Pala, Cannonau di Sardegna Reserva – $26
Imported by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants.  This wine is 100% Cannonau that was aged in large French barrels followed by stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed mixed blue and red berries along with spices and black tea.  The wine showed ripe, black fruit with air and was clearly blacker with a mineral hint in the finish.  This was a well-balanced all around enjoyable wine with tannins, extract, and a little spicy bit in the aftertaste.  I enjoyed the slight tobacco, spices, and wood box notes.  *** Now-2022.

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2009 Sella & Mosca, Tanca Farra, Alghero – $23
Imported by Palm Bay International.  This wine is a blend of 50% Cannonau and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for two years in oak casks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose of clean fruit mixed with herbacious notes from the Cabernet Sauvignon.  The mouth followed the nose with black, clean, herbacious fruit. This tight wine had firm acidity, some fresh herbs, and a dry, dusty finish.  ** 2016-2020.

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2009 Taurino, Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva – $14
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera that was aged for six months in small oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was an interesting nose with a subtle soil aroma, stones, and black fruit.  The flavors were closely played, ripe, and matched by integrated acidity.  It eventually revealed strawberry flavors with a slightly tannic finish.  Seems young and in need of a wee bit of age.  ** 2015-2020.

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2008 Duca di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero d’Avola, Sicily – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars.  This wine is 100% Nero d’Avola that was aged in barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a good deep nose of scented black fruit.  The black fruit flavors follow the nose and take on some wood notes as well.  This weightier wine was a little meaty with seamless acidity, subtle structure, and a finish of dense, dark wood.  It even had a little kick.  *** Now-2017.

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2008 Pio Cesare, Oltre, Langhe – $17
Imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines USA.  Thsi wine is a blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Alcohol.  There was an interesting grapey nose with mulberry aromas.  In the mouth this young wine opened up well after half an hour.  It had a certain brightness to the black and red fruit.  There was a tobacco note, round tart red fruit followed by a dry and black finish.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2007 Montepeloso, Eneo, Tuscany –
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is a blend of 40% Montepulciano, 25% Sangiovese, 25% Marselan, and 10% Alicante Bouschet that was aged in used French oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%.  There was claret-like red fruit and wood box on the nose.  with air it took on herbs and meaty aromas.  The flavors began with red fruit before taking on black notes and minerals in the finish.  There was good integrated acidity that was balanced by the structure of citric-pith tannin.  The wine is developing secondary flavors and after many hours of air it some some dense blue and black flavors that lean towards the dry.  *** 2016-2024.

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2007 Fattoria Del Cerro, Caggio Al Vescovo, Rosso Toscano – $20
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Colorino.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was tight revealing just subtle leather aromas.  In the mouth this modern wine had ripe grip to the flavors dominated by tobacco, smoke, and bacon in the drying finish.  This wine will clearly last but there is more structure than fruit.  **(*) Now-2022.

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2006 Taurino, Notarpanaro, Salento Rosso – $20
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is 100% Negroamaro.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine had a light nose of dark aromas.  In the mouth were dark red fruit and other low-lying flavors.  This was a cool, ripe wine that took several hours to open up and show black, almost mineral infused fruit.  **(*) 2016-2022.

A Pair from Castello di Neive

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Castello di Neive, Image from Castello di Neive

Castello di Neive, Image from Castello di Neive

Castello di Neive has its roots in the original vineyards purchased by Giacomo Stupino.  As a surveyer he had good knowledge of the land and purchased ideal vineyards or land whenever possible.  In 1964 the Stupino family purchased Castello di Neive from Count Guido Riccardi Candiani.  They subsequently renovated the extensive cellars and reorganized the vineyards.  Today the property is run by the Stupino brothers and sisters who produce wine from some 62 acres.  Though many of the vineyards were purchased in the 20th century the castle is rather historic and built for the production of wine.  The castle dates to the mid 18th century when it was built on 16th-17th century foundations.  It features a two level cellar which is built into the hill.  The cellar features tall vaulted ceiling to accommodate large barrels.  There is also an infernotto or cold larder use to preserve cured meats, eggs, cheese, and wine.  Wine is produced from eight different vineyards.  The wines featured in today’s post are specifically from i Cortini and Santo Stefanoi Cortini is the closest vineyard to the castle and only features 1.25 hectares of Pinot Nero.  The Santa Stefano vineyard was originally fallow land acquired during the purchase of the castle.  It was transformed into a vineyard right away with the oldest vines currently being replanted.  Here they farm Nebbiolo, Riesling (!), and 1.58 hectares of Barbera.

i Cortini Vineyard, Image from Castello di Neive

i Cortini Vineyard, Image from Castello di Neive

Both of these wines were solid bottles but not thrilling.  While I liked the grippy nature of the Pinot Nero I preferred the Barbera d’Alba.  It might be best in half a year or so to allow the nose to open up, it remained quite tight over two nights.  The flavors, which I wish had more depth, were certainly delivered quite expansively.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2008 Castello di Neive, Santo Stefano, Barbera D’Alba – $16
Imported by Castello di Neive.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from vines planted in 1948, 1979, 2001, and 2005 on calcareous soils at 825 feet.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for 9 months in stainless steel and 3500 L used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a medium garnet cherry.  The nose was tight, only revealing some red and black fruit.  In the mouth there was tangy red fruit which was delivered with some gusto.  The acidity expands the flavors into the sides of the mouth.  A gritty texture comes out with some gentle salivation.  There is a long finish with some cranberry flavors in the aftertaste. ** Now-2017.

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2010 Castello di Neive, i Cortini, Pinot Nero, Langhe – $17
Imported by Winebow. This wine is 100% Pinot Nero sourced from vines planted between 1988 and 2008 on marl soils at 750 feet.  It was fermented in stainless steel, underwent malolactic fermentation, then aged for one year in both stainless steel and used French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a nice, light nose of grapey, ripe red fruit.  In the mouth there was bright and tart red fruit with a little hint of red grapefruit.  The wine itself was a bit more linear than the Barbera d’Alba.  There was more red fruit in the finish which was a bit grippy.  ** Now-2015.

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