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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.

From Rondinella White to Sangiovese, Four Good Wines

There has been no shortage of good Italian wines lately.  First up, the 2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto has a significant proportion of Rondinella White in it, something not possible before 1999.  Rondinella is typically a red variety used in Amarone.  When a branch of a vine mutated to provide white grapes it was carefully cultivated for eight year until there was a parcel of vines.  This wine was really well done and reminiscent of an attractive orange-wine or very light red wine.  If you can only afford to purchase one of the wines featured in today’s post, this is the one.   The 2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano clearly has depth but also needs a few years in the cellar.  Its quite good.  I do not think (and I reviewed my notes) that I have had Aglianico as forward drinking as the 2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum.  There is a nice touch from the minerals and earth so why not enjoy this now?  The 2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico is a proper wine for aging.  I suspect it also reflects the strength of the vintage and the then newly banned inclusion of white fruit.  Stick this in your cellar and do not even bother broaching a bottle for a few years.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Zyme, From Black to White, Il Biano, Veneto – $23
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is a blend of 60% Rondinella white, 15% Kerner, 15% Gold Traminer, and 10% Cross Manzoni.  Alcohol 13%. The color was a light straw.  The nose was rich with aromas of white fruit, sweet nuts, and eventually a waxy note.  In the mouth were rounded flavors of nuts, pastille-like flavors, and there was even a tingling sensation on the tongue.  This wine was creamy with floral notes, and lively acidity but picked up weight and some grip.  It had a long aftertaste with lots of texture.  It had hints of orange-wine character and with one’s eye closed, that of red wine.  *** Now-2015.

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2011 Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte, Morellino di Scansano – $20
Imported by Cantiniere Imports.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese aged for 10 months in Slavonian oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed a good depth of black and red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors were more black with long, textured tannins, good depth, and some polished wood in the finish.  This will be a good wine and while air certainly helped, I would definitely cellar this a few years.  **(*) 2016-2026.

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2011 Azienda Agricola San Salvatore, Aglianico Jungano, Paestum – $28
Imported by Banville & Jones.  This wine is 100% Aglianico which was fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of tonneau, barriques, and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was surprisingly ripe and forward with blue fruit and ripe, sweet tannins.  The tannins turned dry with minerals before the earthy aftertaste.  There was lots of flavor, not huge depth, but strong appeal.  *** Now-2020.

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2006 Castello di Cacchiano, Chianti Classico – $26
Imported by Masciarelli Wine.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 30 months in French oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed pleasing aromas of cherry and strawberry candy.  In the mouth were wood box notes and cherry fruit.  Though the flavors were light and dry it managed to expand through the mouth with good acidity, leaving a minerally finish.  The wine remained firm over a few nights and clearly needs further age. **(*) 2016-2024.

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Two Affordable Wines from Italy

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

1976 Luigi Einaudi, Vino Da Tavola Dolcetto, Image from Poderi Luigi Einaudi

Maculan Estate is imported by Winebow and available for $15 at MacArthurs. The Poderi di Luigi Einaudi is imported by Neil Empson and available for $17 at MacArthurs.  The Maculan, Brentino is a decent wine at the price but there are more exciting wines out there.  I would recommend the Luigi Einaudi which is fresh with an interesting flavor and a sense of being complete and not over-reaching.

2008 Maculun Estate, Brentino, Veneto IGT
This wine is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vineyards on gravelly plains and tuffaceous hills.  It was aged for 12 months with 50% in stainless steel and 50% in barriques. This wine has a green pepper/Merlot note. The light red fruit is followed by tart acidity on the back of the tongue. It tastes like a cooler-climate wine but has a kind of ripe nature. It eventually opens up a bit but ultimately stays a decent, drinkable wine with not much complexity and not much to write about. * Now-2015.

2010 Poderi di Luigi Einaudi, Dolcetto di Dogliani
This wine is 100% Dolcetto that was source from three different vineyards surrounding Dogliani.  The vineyards were planted between 1937 and 2001 on generally marly-calcareous soils.  The wine was aged for 10 months in stainless steel. The wine began with a floral red nose. In the mouth the red fruits are supported by plenty of acidity, have a smooth texture, and a particular flavor, a sweet nut/herb combination, that is nice. The flavors comes out midpalate before fine tannins develop in the back-end.  Fresh and complete! *** Now-2015.