Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer hunting for a good Italian wine.

(Both images are clickable and will open a larger format)

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
Age of Vines: 3 out of the 13 ha. are over 100 years old.
Winemaker: Chiara Vigo
Vineyard: We are 700 meters above sea level. The importer showed me an image of the vineyard and just a few meters next to some of the plots, lava swept away 60ha of land in 1981.
Bonus: The 2007 are the debut release of this wine.
Glass: Zalto Bordeaux

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.


Voodoo Child said...

Ciao Thomas,
Italian vino is very nice, just don´t drink those look-a-likes, tuscany crap vino, Etna is surely different, I have one ready to go TASCANTE where the last letters are written so it says ETNA, vintage 2008, should be almost Pinot Noir, not tasted yet!Then I would go for Barbera under dosed Barrique or Langhe...here is the secrets.
Andrea Sottimano does it good, though he is my friend, I believe his wines are on top.
Go Piemonte my friend.

Anonymous said...

ciao Thomas, i wanna be in your celler :)

Thomas said...

Hi Ebbe,

Etna is interesting. Although my knowledge is limited, I like the coolness of these wines and it seems like the volcanic soil element is a big part of the wines.

I have good memories with the 2004 Passopisciaro (100% Nerello Mascalese) from Franchetti...he is the guy behind Trinoro in Tuscany...you should try it.

Piemonte is something we rarely drink, as Signe are not fond of these wines, as they often goes to 14 - 14,5% in alcohol. I like them mostly at winter. Sottimano...I have only tasted it once....good stuff, but not something I am eager to buy anymore...there are so many other wines out there...you know the drill....;-).

Take care...

@ Anonymous...Well - I suppose that could be arranged ;-).

P.s. Søllerød Kro tonight....Champagne and Burgundy is the theme...I think?