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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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1994 Felsina, Cru Rancia and 1997 Elio Altare, Vigna Lirigi

I went to L’s for Italian wine at the beginning of February.  It was just a casual mid-week get together to drink some wine and eat leftovers.  The Felsina was a $25 winter clearance wine from Cecile’s and the Altare was $60 at MacArthur’s.  We did not bother to decant the wines.  Instead we just drank them from the bottles over three hours.  I did not take formal notes.  Both wines were lovely and different and in no way overshadowed each other.

1994 Felsina, Cru Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva
Tasted 02 February 2011.
This wine is more brick colored and has a stronger nose of mature, sweet, dusty, spiced fruit.  There is good mouthfeel, medium bodied, completely integrated and still has occasional waves of fruit.  It is mature but has years of easy life left.  It was still going strong when we finished the bottle.  It was ready to drink shortly after opening.  An outrageous deal at $25.  **** Now-2017.

1997 Elio Altare, Vigna Lirigi
Tasted 02 February 2011.
This is literally and behavioraly a younger wine.  It sports hints of purple in the color and maintained a muted nose.  There is quite the core of young, brambly red fruit that slowly fleshed out and took on more blue/black berry profile.  Tannins are resolved and acidity makes for juicy, berried fruit.  The fruit is surprisingly young and tasty.  It is a good wine that is well made and a pleasure to drink.  If I drank it again I would decant it for two to three hours before drinking.  I think it was about to hit its stride when we finished the bottle.  ***(*) Now-2022.

Three Wines From Italy, 25 July 2008

From time to time I ask my local wine merchant for Italian recommendations and I’m usually not disappointed. The Cavallotto was clearly a step up in quality (and price) from the Giochi and Venosa. I imagine this will smell great once it matures. For now you must inhale deeply. The Giochi delivered well straight from the bottle and wouldn’t get lost in a crowd of budget wines. The Venosa took some time to get going but maintained is pervasive smoked tea leaf aromas and flavors. It reminded me of tea smoked duck (the process not the duck), perhaps this is tobacco to others. Jenn and I preferred the Giochi over the Venosa but then Jenn took a liking to the Venosa.

2004 Antichi Giochi, Boci, Monferrato Rosso – $13
This wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. It was made in steel and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. It is a very dark, deep purple ruby. There is a light nose of dark fruit and perhaps fresh green veggies. In the mouth there are tart berries, that start off tight but slowly round out with air. There medium to full bodied wine has an inky aftertaste, with very fine but thorough tannins. A different type of wine than I am used to but enjoyable and well done at this price point.

2003 Cantina di Venosa, Terre di Orazio, Aglianico del Vulture – $13
This wine is 100% Aglianico that is 15-30 years of age. It is aged for 12-15 months in 5-10 year old Slovenian oak casks. A little light in color and more garnet than the Giochi. A light to medium nose of smoked tea leaf and tar. In the mouth there are some blue fruits with a pervasive smoked tea leaf flavor. The fruit sweetens after several hours of air. It is medium to light-bodied with fine, assertive tannins.

2005 Cavallotto, Nebbiolo, Bricco Boschis, Langhe – $26
The Cavallotto family has been growing Nebbiolo since 1929 and bottling their own wine since 1948. This 100% Nebbiolo wine is mature in oak casks. There is a very subtle nose of beautiful, dark red fruit. In the mouth there is dark fruit with immediately noticeable acidity, combined with tea/tobacco flavors and a good amount of ultrafine tannins. This is clearly a young wine but is drinking very well. The tannins are very nice considering it spent 18-24 months in oak.