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This summer has also included some Italian wines. It has been so so…no news there. It’s still the struggle with some of these Tuscan IGT things, which I have in my cellar – they are IMHO missing some awareness and seem to be more about (rudely generalizing of course) too much stylish wine making. I tend to compare everything against my Italian Nirvana; Soldera’s Brunello “Case Basse”, which of course is a bit idiotic. At the end of the day – the problem might not lie with these wines, but maybe it’s just me getting more critical and grumpy with age.
Anyway…I had the 2004 Paleo from Le Macchiole, which almost made me fall asleep. Don’t get me wrong; Paleo is indeed a well made wine and the 2004 can very well have a bright future ahead of itself. But at this current stage it falls into a category of thousands of others wines, with polished newborn fruit, tons of new oak and unfortunately a way too tarred finish.
I opened another Le Macchiole wine; the 1999 Scrio, which has never disappointed me. Sadly - I have to say, the wine is beyond its peak and now struggles to show energetic and vibrant fruit. It’s a very dark scented wine, with black fruits, peppers and unfortunately evolving notes of prunes, which to me is proof of a tired wine.
Still continuing, I tried the 2006 “Percarlo” from San Guisto Rentennano. I was again disappointed – a muscular wine, with tons of oak and dark bitter phrasing. Yet Percarlo drinks okay’ish – it’s not alcoholic or anything, it’s just rather monotone. Percarlo cellars well, so of course it could just be a dull phase.
Fourth try was better – the 2004 "Cepparello” from Isole e Olena even though it started pretty lame – with the darker side of the Sangiovese expression (which I don’t like) – black cherries and herbs. But with air the wine lifted itself above average and became extremely gentle and elegant on the finish line. A really well drinking wine.
But I had to fly all the way to Sicily / Etna to find the best Italian summer experience of 2011 –
2007 & 2008 “Vigo” from Fattorie Romeo del Castello.
Blend: Nerello mascalese & Nerello capuccio
Why is this better than those mentioned above?
For me it has a far better terroir style - meaning a rather intense soil attack and sublime inner coolness.
At opening, the 2007 don’t really stand out. It’s a result of an incredible charming style with round healthy fruit, which of course is all right – wine is also about pleasure. But!! – It just doesn’t interest me in the long run, if there is no edge. However, examining a bit more, the wine opens up and the fruit core reveals more purity with the red cherry / kirsch flavors’ getting more and refined. It’s exactly that red fruit I look for in Italian wines. The taste is almost even better as the wine is really cool tempered; with an intense soil feeling of graphite and possessing a bright acidity. You feel the 14% alcohol, but the wine is in balance.
The 2008 vintage are quit different – yet more sophisticated. The start is incredible with tightly packed red fruit, which goes in the direction red cherries and rose petals. It’s once again a very fresh, slim and cool style. Yet it closes down after 20 minutes and catches bitter notes of vitamin pills, gauze bandage and menthol. From here I rested it one hour in the bottle. Despite still possessing some of the vitamin pills notes – the red fruit was brought back to life and together the formed a sophisticated package, which possess that intense soil graphite feeling with remarkable freshness and firm acidity.
Both wines performed best at a low serving temperature to really bring out that refined style.