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Old Italian Wines 1996 – 1949 | Part 3 Largely Unknown

In this third and last post about the Old Italian Wines tasting, I cover the group of largely unknown wines.

Mostly Unknown

The goal of this grouping was to taste wines from unknown producers or wines of known producers without published tasting notes.  I thought it was the most interesting set.  The 1971 Lungarotti, Torgiano Rubesco is my favorite of this group for it is aromatic, fruity, and crisp.  I should very much like to try a Riserva.  From the same excellent vintage, it is not surprising that the 1971 Giovanni Scanavino, Barolo Riserva drinks well.  What is surprising is that the 1961 Molinelli Giuseppe, Valtidone Gutturnio will outlive all of the wines we tasted.  This is a zippy, red fruited wine given life by the acidity.  It is bottled in heavy, substantial glass.  From the same vintage I also enjoyed the more linear 1961 Cantine di Venosa, Aglianico del Vulture, Riserva Enoselezone.  It is a dry wine with sappy acidity and a foxy note.  While it will not develop further it is very much alive.  By far the oldest Sangiovese I have tasted is the 1949 Fattorie del Piceno, Cantine di Montefano, Montefano Sangiovese “Dry”, Rosso Piceno Extra.  This is a label created just one year prior to the vintage.  I thought the wine had faded off but then it came back to life and hung around for a few days.  It is a gentle old wine with interest from the menthol and old leather.

In the end, the average quality of the wines tasted, as well as the peak quality did not match those we tried at An exploratory tasting of mature Nebbiolo 1975-1954.  This is not surprising.  However, the oldest wines tasted, made from Raboso, Aglianico, Barbera, and Sangioviese (!) while simpler in flavor than Piemonte wines, certainly have longevity.  I can imagine these wines lending life-lengthening qualities to the Alto-Piemonte bottles we tasted before.

1979 Angelo Gaja, Nebbiolo del Piemonte
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  Not attractive on the nose, actually it stinks.  Robust tart red and cherry fruit, some animale notes then it becomes undrinkable.  Not Rated.

1971 Giovanni Scanavino, Barolo Riserva
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 13%.  Concentrated aromas of sweaty, sweet old fruit on the nose.  In the mouth spearmint greats.  This wine still has grip and structure with sweet mint, slightly racy in the middle, bits of minerals and lipsticky finish.  Watering acidity throughout.  Holds up well.  ** Now but will last.

1971 M. Mascarello, Nebbiolo d’Alba
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  Not right compared to other bottles of this wine.  Not rated.

1971 Ricasoli, Chianti
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  Tart, simple, and short with wood notes.  Not undrinkable, rather a survivor of very simple flavor. * Now.

1971 Lungarotti, Torgiano Rubesco
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  A light to medium color.  Sweet, concentrated aromas on the nose of old wine then it freshens up with air.  Still fruity in the start with a fresh personality, old-school flavors in the middle, and a crispy finish.  Satisfying.  *** Now.

1967 Giacomo Conterno, Freisa
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  A medium, brick color.  Roasted aromas on the nose.  In the mouth is tart, red fruit, strong acidity, then a finish of gentle red strawberry.  The roast returns indicating this is past prime.  *(*) Now.

1966 Cantina Sociale Ponte di Piave, Raboso Piave
Cantina Sociale Ponte di Piave was founded in 1948 by a small group of winemakers trying to survive during the tough postwar years.  A new facility was built in 1955 and by 1964, there were more than 360 members of the cooperative.  Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 13%.  Nuts on the nose.  Plenty of tart, red fruit in the mouth, acidity, still structured, and acidic end.  A blood note develops.  This wine drank the same for days, it appears to be true to the grape.  *(*) Now but will last.

1966 Cantina Centrale Cooperativa, Cacc’e Mmitte, Riserva Enoselezone
Cacc’e Mmitte, located in Puglia, is named after an ancient vinification technique where the farmhouses equipped with tanks for the crush rented them out.  Tenants had to be finished by the end of their term for the next person.  Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  A very light, browning color.  Delicate, sweet old fruit in the mouth.  A gentle wine with low acidity, sweet red fruit in the finish.  Appealing in a way but soft, simple, short, and solid.  *(*) Now.

1961 Cantine di Venosa, Aglianico del Vulture, Riserva Enoselezone
Cantine di Venosa was founded in 1957 by 25 members and today has more than 400.  Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%.  Good nose with dry, linear flavors in the mouth.  Sappy acidity, a polished wood note, and dry extract.  This is a good, sharp with with an attractive foxy presence. ** Now but will last.

1961 Molinelli Giuseppe, Valtidone Gutturnio
Most likely a blend of Barbera with Croatina (Bonardo).  Guttornio is located in Emilio-Romagna.  Imported by T. Elenteny.  Powdery flavor with noticeable, zippy acidity, and red cranberry flavors.  There is a firm wood note.  In amazing shape, the red flavors match the zippy, crisp nature.  Drank well for hours.  ** Now – 2028.

1949 Fattorie del Piceno, Cantine di Montefano, Montefano Sangiovese “Dry”, Rosso Piceno Extra
The “Cantine di Montefano” brand was registered in 1948.  Montefano is located in the Marche.  Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12-13%.  Dry and linear but dimension comes from dry extract.  Solid and initially appears to not hold up but then it breathes back to life.  Hints of menthol mix with finely textured red fruit and leather.  Modest body.  ** Now.

Patent for “Cantine di Montefano” business mark granted in 1948.

Mature Akronte from the Marche

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2000 Boccadigabbia, Akronte, Marche represents the top bottling of this estate.  With the grape and oak representing the previous French ownership of the estate this is a modern style of wine.  The long oak aging has ensured this wine is still very robust to this day.  What is within this robust structure are mouth filling flavors, the right amount of weight, and spot on acidity. Tim is clearing out the last few bottles at MacArthur Beverages so why not try something different?

2000 Boccadigabbia, Akronte, Marche – $20
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 18-20 months in new French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The maturing color is a dark brick and garnet.  Some hints of roast are on the nose but none in the mouth.  Instead, there is a cool entry of flavors which quickly builds with mouth filling power yet maintains a controlled core of weight and even a fresh finish.  The structure of dry and textured tannins is still noticeable in the finish and aftertaste.  With air this wine has perfect acidity that matches the firm black cherry flavors and wood notes.  This modern-styled wine is too robust for higher marks but is  nonetheless a treat at this price.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

From Frappato to Nebbiolo

This is just a quick post as I have more house sale and moving tasks to attend to today.  My two favorite wines in today’s post are both from the 2009 vintage in Italy.  The 2009 Carminucci, Naumachos, Rosso Piceno Superiore has taken on attractive maturity but still offers ripe fruit, texture, and a hint of minerals.  It drinks great right now and I suspect if you are a fan of the Southern Rhone you will dig this wine.  I will buy more and so should you!  The 2009 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Agamium, Colline Novaresi is an attractive, mature wine made from Nebbiolo.  It is not terribly complex but strikes a good balance between maturity, interest, and price.   I like Frappato and was very much looking forward to the 2013 Paolo Cali, Mandragola, Vittoria Frappato.  It smelled good but I was too distracted by the elevated level of carbon dioxide to enjoy it.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Carminucci, Naumachos, Rosso Piceno Superiore – $18
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese that was aged in French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There were aromas of ripe fruit, cedar, and mature notes.  In the mouth were focused flavors of ripe black and blue fruit that had attractive texture and density.  The maturity was evident in the middle.  The texture continued through the wine as a hint of minerals, a little smoke, and creamy blue fruit wrapped things up.  Drinking well.  *** Now-2018.

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2009 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Agamium, Colline Novaresi – $20
Imported by Tenth Harvest.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo.  Alcohol 13%.  There were candied red fruit aromas.  In the mouth the wine fleshed out with some concentrated red fruit supported by very fine and powdery texture.  The drying, tannins persist through the finish where a bit of tart, yet creamy fruit come out.  Mature but will last  **  Now-2018.

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2013 Paolo Cali, Mandragola, Vittoria Frappato – $17
Imported by RWK Imports.  This wine is 100% Frappato that was fermented then aged for 4-6 months in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  An attractive nose but one is quickly distracted by the rather frizzante beginning.  There was unique bright and mineral infused blue fruit that was brought forth on assertive grapefruit acidity.  A little odd.  * Now.

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Italy!

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

From white to red this post features an array of Italian wines so there is bound to be a wine for you.  In focusing on two wines the 2012 Castelluccia Miano, Miano, Catarratto, Sicilia is made to good effect from the second most widely planted grape in Italy.  The unique combination of acidity, creamy fruit, and chalk will last all week.  I have heard it from several merchants that the warm 2009 Barolo vintage combined with contemporary winemaking techniques yields early drinking wines.  One example of which is the 2009 Reverdito, Barolo.  I never would have thought this true until I tried this contemporary wine that blends Nebbiolo traits with bottle aged notes.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages and Weygandt Wines.

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2012 Castelluccia Miano, Miano, Catarratto, Sicilia – $15
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is 100% Catarratto sourced from vines grown at 2240-2880 feet in altitude.  The wine was fermented and raised in stainless steel.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a light nose of white fruit.  The crisp, textured entry made way to creamy, yellow and white fruit flavors.  The acidity prickle on the tongue tip remained over night.  It had a hint of toast, chalk infused finish, and fresh aftertaste.  *** Now-2015.

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2011 Cantina Sant’Isidoro, Montolmo, Marche Rosso – $19
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese raised in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%. There was an interesting combination of tuna roll and smoke to this round, inky wine.  It was robust with ripe flavors of black fruit, dark flavors, glycerin, and a smoky aftertaste.  **(*) Now-2018.

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2010 Cantina Sociale Dorgali, Viniola, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva – $19
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  This wine is 100% Cannonau that was aged for 12 months in barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a very subtle nose of raspberry.  In the mouth were focused flavors of black and red fruit.  The wine had some lift as well as ripe, textured spiced in the finish.  The long, ripe tannin remained on the gums.  There was a touch of roughness in the finish followed by fine, drying tannin the aftertaste.  **(*) Now-2020.

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2006 Falesco, Marciliano, Rosso Umbria – $22
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc .  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed some greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth were nice, tight black fruit flavors.  The wine had a close vein of fruit but was mouth filling with clean, greenhouse-free flavors.  The wine was appropriately young with good structure as well as leather hints, saltiness, and cinnamon.  *** Now-2024.

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2009 Reverdito, Barolo – $35
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Nebbiolo raised in 1000L oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  This wine was immediately approachable with floral red fruit, wood notes, and a focused ripe finish.  The wine is taking on secondary flavors.  The good, modern fruit became savory, taking on a hint of tea and sweet wood notes.  Nice. *** Now-2024.

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A Hearty Red Wine from Fattoria Coroncino

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

I randomly grabbed this wine from Fattoria Coroncino off a rack at MacArthur Beverages.  With no prior knowledge about this wine I pulled the cork and poured it into our glasses.  The nose revealed dried fruit aromas which were reinforced on the palate immediately confirming this wine was fermented with some dried fruit.  Sure enough, it is a passito.  Fattoria Coroncino was founded by Lucio Canestrari and his wife Fiorella De Nardo in 1981.  They produce wine from 17.5 hectares of vines spread over three vineyards.  These vineyards are located between 250 and 400 meters in elevation.  They farm and produce wine using a common sense approach.  They started grassing their vineyards in 1983, started using organic methods to control diseases and pests, and stopped using fertilizer in 1995.  They harvest the fruit by hand. This is certainly an interesting wine for a cold fall evening.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2007 Fattoria Coroncino, Ganzerello,  Marche – $17
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Syrah produced in a passito style.  Alcohol 16%.  The nose is heady with some dried fruit and jammy, red fruit with air.  In the mouth there are red fruit and prune flavors, ripe tannins, and a little warmth.  With air there is dense dried red fruit, fine+ wood tannins which coat the teeth and lips, and warmth in the throat during the aftertaste.  This needs a few years to come together.  ** 2014-2019.

Another Interesting Italian Wine

The wines of Velenosi first came to my attention this spring when Anne Hay (Domaine Select Wine Estates) brought Andrea Bianco (Velenosi) to MacArthur Beverages for a tasting. You may read my impressions of those wines here.  I had tasted the 2008 vintage of Il Brecciarolo so was surprised to find the an older selection from the strong 2006 vintage.  Both Jenn and I rather liked this wine.  I would be tempted to cellar this several more years but it may be drunk now.  Perhaps pair it with some meat.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2006 Azienda Vitivinicola Velenosi, Il Brecciarolo, Rosso Piceno Superiore – $15
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.  This wine is a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese sourced from vines grown on mostly clay soils at 200-300 meters.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel before aging 12-18 months in 2nd and 3rd use barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is light and subtle with aromas of wood and roast.  In the mouth the wine gently introduces itself with soft, dusty flavors of blue and red berries.  The flavors are a little tart with good acidity.  Black tea and licorice follow supported underneath by a tannic structure.  With air it reveals a bit of bottle age and ripening black fruit along with the structure which underpins the entire wine.  *** Now-2021.

Sampling the Wines of Velenosi at MacArthur Beverages

February 24, 2012 1 comment

I was recently at MacArthur Beverages when Anne Hay of Domaine Select Wine Estates and Andrea Bianco of Azienda Vitivinicola Velenosi were sampling five wines from Velenosi. Tim called me over and as this was a new producer for me I had great fun trying the wines because I rarely drink wines from the Marche region of Italy. I started with the strongest value of the bunch. The 2010 Querci Antica which was a stand out for its intense floral qualites, perhaps polarizing to some, it is one I enjoyed and a bottle I will certainly purchase. Stepping up in price the 2007 Rossio del Filare had an edge with its depth of fruit over 2007 Ludi. My quick impressions are below along with the suggested retail prices.

2010 Velenosi, Pecorino Villa Angela, Offida DOC – $19
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. This wine is 100% Pecorino sourced from vines grown on mixed soils with sand at 200-300 meters. It is fermented then aged for five months in stainless steel. This revealed subtle sweet fruit that was a blend of tropical and citrus. After the initially rich mouth the flavors turned structured.

2010 Velenosi, Querci Antica, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba – $19
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. This wine is 100% Lacrima di Morro d’Alba sourced from 25-year-old vines grown on mostly clay soils at 100-150 meters. The medium strength, pure nose revealed floral aromas of roses. In the mouth the youthful, bluer berry flavors met with a floral vein which carried through to the good finish leaving a remarkably fresh and floral aftertaste. I would drink this over the near term.

2008 Velenosi, Il Brecciarolo, Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC – $20
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. This wine is a blend of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese sourced from vines grown on mostly clay soils at 200-300 meters. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel before aging 12-18 months in 2nd and 3rd use barriques. The wine is named after the broken stones typical of the region. There was a darker, subtler nose with darker fruit in the mouth, dried spices, and barrel notes. Drinkable now or over the short-term.

2007 Velenosi, Rossio del Filare, Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC – $50
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. This wine is a blend of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese sourced from a special selection of vines grown on mostly clay soils at 200-300 meters. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel before aging 18 months in new French barriques. There were concentrated aromas of mixed berries on the nose. In the mouth the flavors were rich and inky with fine grapey tannins whose chewy nature coated the mouth. This needs several years of age. A good step up from the Il Brecciarolo.

2007 Velenosi, Ludi, Offida DOC – $70
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. This wine is a blend of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot sourced from vines grown on clay with limestone soils at 200-300 meters. Harvested mid-October the fruit is fermented in stainless steel before aging for two years in new wooden barrels of various sizes. This wine reveals redder fruit and herbs with even finer grapey tannins than the Rossio del Filare. There is a hint of incense as youthful acidity coats the back of the tongue before the drying finish.