Negro Sudisfa Roero Riserva 2006
FACTFILE - Negro Sudisfa Roero Riserva 2006
Name: Negro Sudisfa Roero Riserva 2006
Grapes: 95% Nebbiolo and a splash of Arneis
Region: Roero DOCG
Style: Roero can be a confusing area. Some of the wines accentuate finesse, elegance and are less powerful while others, this Riserva included, are punchier, far more bold/structured and closer in style to their near neighbours, Barolo and Barbaresco.
Vintage: 2006 was an excellent vintage in Piedmont. The region was helped along with a fair bit of rain in September which was good for Nebbiolo (late ripening grape).
Food Pairing: Hard cheese, red meat and game dishes.
Ok, applause please for my first ever 6.30am Wine90 post.
*Basks in applause*
Right, now stop. That's enough of that thank you. I'm not really showing incredible dedication (although I am) for there are two reasons why I need to get up and blog about wine at 6.30am... 6.30AM. Firstly, today is apparently rapture day and I'd like to clear my desk and get my house in order before I ascend into heaven. Secondly, I am drowning in vino! Not literally drowning of course but my apartment does look like a wine warehouse, or if you prefer a cup half empty analogy, the local Oddbins off Old Brompton Road (Topical Points?)
So, got my cup of coffee, got my irritating morning bounce, lets review Negro Sudisfa Roero Riseva 2006. Now I must mention at this point that this Roero was sent to me by Great Western Wine. The guy at GWW sent two of his personal favourite Italian wines for me to try and I must credit him for his excellent taste. Roero DOCG is so often overlooked, not because it lacks quality or flavour but because it is seen as the 3rd Nebbiolo wine in the region. The siblings of Roero are Barolo and Barbaresco, arguably this could make for a Piemonte Holy Trinity (see, I deserve to ascend, not descend, ascend) but, unfortunately for Roero, it is Lepidus to their Mark Antony and Octavian. Too obscure? Wiki Triumvirate
This is the other Mark Anthony... isn't he creepy?
Roero is made from 95-98% Nebbiolo grapes and holds a position just North of Barolo and North-West of Barbaresco (although part of the zone faces Barbaresco - is anything ever simple!?). Although these three areas are separated only by a couple of miles the topography of Roero differs significantly to the Langhe hills. Roero's soil contains higher quantities of sand. So, the story goes, that Nebbiolo is not capable of reaching its fullest expression here but this may have more to do with the DOCG rules in Roero that allow the wine to be released 18 months earlier than Barolo and so do not allow significant time in barrique/barrel to tame the tannins. The riservas, however, get 32 months and are well worth seeking out as far cheaper, softer, easier and earlier drinking alternatives to Barolo.
So, we have a different style of Nebbiolo. This all works out well for the consumer because Roero places itself in that third position also in terms of price, and a fabulous hit of Nebbiolo can be had for up to a third of the price of a Barolo. In the case of Negro's Roero Riserva you could easily believe you were drinking a Barolo with a few years on the clock; it's pretty intense. It's Nebbiolo+. Perhaps this wine had simply reached its optimum drinking window (quite possible). This wine was so wonderfully Nebbiolo; perhaps too extracted for some palates, it reminded me of making myself a cordial and over pouring the Robinsons.
Negro Sudisfa Roero Riseva 2006 DOCG - BUY - £29.50
Super typical Nebbiolo nose, very generous, forward with sweet notes of strawberries, cassis and marzipan. This wine has layers of flavours on the palate and drinking the wine was a noticeable process as the tannins emerged but were then gently washed away with good acidity culminating in noticeable length on the finish. No hotness here even at 14.5% alcohol, everything in perfect balance to create a super sooped up Roero that's right up my alley. - 92 Points
Where can i buy this Wine?
UK - Great Western Wines - £29.50
USA - Hi-Time Wines - $52
Europe - Xtra Wine - €24
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*whispers* Before it's too late.
Calling all Iphone users & Italian Wine Fans - There is a really cool little app for the Iphone from Gambero Rosso whereby you can search for Italian wines by grape. The results this app produces show only the wines from wineries who are in with Gambero Rosso and by no means represents all wineries who tend this grape, nor all wines that contain it. Nevertheless, this app provides information on wines made from over 250 grapes.
I have decided to go through that list, really just to educate and entertain myself and find out all I can about each of these 250 grapes. So, in true Sesame Street fashion, let us begin with the letter "A".
As you may know, Italian Grapes are ridiculous, there are thousands of them and more are discovered every year, many more disappear forever but we don't get to hear about those, they are simply, like the many unknown species that expire each day, lost in time... how sad.
Let us not lament on this upsetting fact for too long because the grapes that have been brought back from the brink or survive in small quantities are often wonderful discoveries, the Abbuoto grape is one such marvel. Abbuoto is actually one of many MIA grapes within Italy that is being studied closely and experiments are taking place by wineries in the Frosinone region where this grape was "re-found" to try to tease the best expression from Abbuoto. It is not yet fully understood how best to treat this grape to make wines that can truly appeal to the modern palate and move away from the simple rustic wines it can thus far muster. There may not be a way, although producers like Terra delle Ginestre are having fun trying.
It's not a wine available in the UK and neither is it a wine that tends to win awards but it is an important grape most notably because of its historical ties with the Roman poet Horace. Most likely, you've never heard of this grape, or you have just heard of it today and typed Abbuoto into Google and found this rambling post? Luckily for you, I have collected as much information as I can about this grape and the following blog entry should help you on your way!
Who makes wine from the Abbuoto Grape?
Generally a grape used for blending purposes, rarely does Abbuoto survive as a varietal wine alone. Historically this grape is thought to be the main ingredient in the fabled wine “Cecubo”. This wine was mentioned numerous times by Horace. A version of Cecubo is produced by famous Lazio winery Villa Matilde who have "recreated" Cecubo using Primitivo as the main grape and adding a less generous splash of Abbuoto. Terre della Ginestra also make a wine showcasing the potential of Abbuoto called "Il Generale" though I have never seen this wine in the UK or US.
Where does the Abbuoto Grape come from?
Abbuoto's historic home lies close to the Lazio town of Frosinone a place already mentioned within the Wine90 annals but unfortunately for speeding tickets, not indigenous grapes. Abbuoto is sometimes credited as Aboto and Cecubo.
What are wines from the Abbuoto Grape like?
As a blending grape Abbuoto can offer depth and colour to a wine. On it's own Abbuoto produces only rustic wines (estate agent talk for rough) capable of some moderate ageing with a max life of about 10 years. The wine is most commonly mixed with Primitivo & Negroamaro, as is the case with both Villa Matidle and Terra delle Ginestre, to produce wines of great character.
Where can I buy wines from the Abbuoto Grape?
Not a chance. As of May 2011, there appears to be no importer of Abbuoto wines either as varietal wines or as a major part of a blend.
Why are you writing about the Abbuoto Grape?
It seemed like a good idea at the time. This is part one of my epic (cart before horse?) run down of Italian Grapes which I will write about one by one in between putting off the ironing and doing my online shop.
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Any experiences of Abbuoto?
Game, Set and Match - Italian Wine
Todd Martin. You must remember Todd Martin? He was one of my favourite tennis players back in the early 90's. On those occasions when I would drag my father down to that ivy-clad utopia of SW19 you may know as "Wimbledon", we would shout for "Old Todd" at the top of our lungs. Fans who were stood around the court (out on court 14 as it was then) imagined we were related to Todd Martin, why else would Yorkshire folk pump and cheer for Old Todd?
Well, there is no reason. Other than that old British tradition of picking a foreign player at random and supporting them just because we wanted to know what victory might feel like. We wanted to support an underdog but better an underdog that may actually win something. And Goran Ivanisevic must have gone out early!
Yet this isn't my hung portrait of Todd Martin. I wish. No, this photograph takes pride of place at the rather swish and too often overlooked Queens Club, just a short skip from my flat in London, W14. Todd won here and many other places so it's a little unfair to rank him alongside the Tim and Gregs of this world and even more unfair to call him "old" but still, it was a term of endearment we felt.
This is a wine blog, right?
I was invited to the Queens Club yesterday by Antonio Tomassini of Wine and Food promotions, a company committed to helping Italian wine producers get a foot in the door of the UK market. No easy task. If you're unwilling or unable to hand over your Primitivo or Montepulciano d'Abruzzo to Tesco or Asda for €1.40 a bottle or less then you have to go the long way round. The long way round could certainly be worse than the President's Room of Queens Club... talking to the likes of me.
In amongst all this tennis memorabilia and excitement the job at hand was to try Italian wines and of the 50 or so wines available to taste from roughly 12 wineries, these wines proved one thing to me, which I actually already know; that Italian wine is a bargain and the good stuff is not in Asda or Tesco. Are you shocked? I can tell you are. However, there were 87-88 point wines here that retail in Italy for between £2-3, wines with typicity, wines with verve even wines with structure and it makes me want to go home! Oh, sorry, I forgot I was British again for a moment.
So which wines stood out?
Two wines, the only two wines they produce, from Vivi, were both really very good for their €. Classic and simple examples of Falanghina and Primitivo both would make excellent food wines, a perfect wine for restaurants like Zizzi with a simple and modern branding. The Falanghina was crisp and fresh with good fruit and a fine streak of acidity, the Primitivo was classic dark fruit, blackberries with some extra, stand out notes you wouldn't expect from the price point with a bit of mocha thrown in, a touch green on the finish but not unforgiving. Watch out for Vivi at a Pizza Express or similar near you.
Then there were the wines showcased by the very knowledgeable and super-affable Maurizio Fava of Topwine. Maurizio was representing several wineries each offering something different, some lovely sweet wines, aromatic wines and crazily low priced Dolcetto and Barbera wines. The best of which were "Ray", "Aive", "Colle Manora' Minosa" (Sauvignon Blanc from the Piedmont) and the Tre Bicchieri "Pomodolce Grue". Have you heard of any of these? I bet not, and they're gorgeous wines. What doesn't make it 'ere is truly a tragedy.
The rest of the wines at the event lacked only the promotional clout that may be necessary to break the UK, there was no problem with flavour or value anywhere, but there was a lot of Montepulciano at this event and we are already awash with very cleverly branded Montepulciano. Many unknown varietals/docs were also present but I'm not sure the UK market are open to embracing even more Italian grapes/appellations. We need a push for education on Italian wine here in the UK, maybe then Albarossa (right), Schioppettino and the 20 gazillion others will get a chance. We're not great at holding lots of foreign grapes/appellations in our collective consciousness. Unless these terms are continually flashed before our eyes, we easily forget or our brains become tired. Even a most enthusiast wine promoter like Maurizio Fava can only list so many Dolcetto docs before my eyes get that slight glaze. And that's me. And I love Dolcetto!
Where can I buy these wines?
Go to Easyjet or Ryanair, pick a flight to Rome, Florence, Pisa or even Perugia, hop off, go to the enoteca or trattoria, buy them, accidentally miss the return flight. Live happily ever after.
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Am I unfair? Can us British really remember more Italian DOC/Grapes than we do, is it our brains or is it their promotion, is it a lack of quality? Why didn't Tim win Wimbledon? Will Andy?
Next Post > Abbuoto
La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
FACTFILE - La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
Name: La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
Grapes: At least 85% Verdicchio grape but this DOC allows Malvasia and Trebbiano in the blend. The last vintages I tasted of this wine were 100% Verdicchio although there is no mention of other grapes on the label... so we guess 100% Verdicchio.
Region: Matelica DOC
Style: The standard bottling Verdicchio from La Monacesca is one of the best value driven Verdicchio wines on the market with classic tones of anise, almond and a sour, bitter finish. Verdicchio is famous for its wonderful fresh acidity which makes it a perfect accompaniment to so many seafood/pasta dishes.
Vintage: A straight forward but very hot growing season in 2009 did little to hurt the wines in the Matelica DOC (whose wines seem perpetually less affected by vintage than their neighbours). The wines do not appear over-ripe and continue to zing with acidity.
Food Pairing: Seafood risotto, fatty fish/octopus.
The smaller and less famous of the two Verdicchio DOC's (the other being Castelli di Jesi), Verdicchio di Matelica DOC covers an area of around 300 hectares just under 4kms from the Le Marche town of Macerata. The area produces dry whites (this one), passito wines and a spumante.This DOC, and this producer, also produce a popular and lauded riserva version which is highly celebrated and this year scooped the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri award. These standard versions must contain at least 85% Verdicchio grapes and, as mentioned above, can include Malvasia and Trebbiano up to 15% in the blend.
However, if ever there was a white wine for food Verdicchio is it. It isn't that I am generously complimenting Verdicchio's ability to bring out the fuller flavours in food, as much as that, without food, it's, well, lets be polite, unpleasant. You know when you feed a baby a gherkin or give it a sip of black coffee for the first time and it pulls that "OMG why would you do this to me" face? For me, for my palate, it's a little like that.
Now don't misunderstand me. Verdicchio is a wonderful wine with food. La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 especially, is, a wonderful wine with food. Throw this wine at me alongside a seafood risotto and I'm happy as your 10 year old nephew with a new record angry birds hi-score. However, I'm yet to be bowled over by Verdicchio as a stand alone varietal wine, even when the DOC allows for a blend this grape asserts that bitter finish that many people love. Verdicchio is a very popular wine.
Setting aside my personal preferences, this Verdicchio is a perfect example of the grape. La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica is produced by one of the most consistent wineries in Le Marche and within a DOC famous for its year on year ability to conquer the vintage. This isn't because the soil and micro-climate around Matelica are so particularly favourable, it's because the producers in this region, as well as having good soil, are also rather good and competitive winemakers. What I'm saying is, if you want to give Verdicchio a go, or, if you're already a convert and are looking for a solid, well-priced and reliable Verdicchio then La Monacesca's Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 is one of the better bottlings readily available in the UK.
La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 - BUY - £9
A golden yellow in the glass with distinctive green hues. On the nose this wine gives out a tremendous waft of aromatic beauty with citrus, anise, honeysuckle and green under-ripe walnuts. Striking acidity and a luscious mouth-feel gives this wine a rich, opulent tone with sour citrus notes continuing to the mid palate. The finish is generous but very bitter, so much so as to shock the unexpecting. The wine's fruity, almost blossom-like nose is so beautiful that the bitter finish creates an unpleasant ending for my palate but this is Verdicchio and you must decide for yourself. My score: 87 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Americans - Luekens - $19
Brits - Waitrose - £9
Europeans - Bulzoni - €9
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Love or Hate Verdicchio?
There is still time to enter the Italian Wines 2011 Gambero Rosso competition on the previous blog entry. Well... two hours anyway, c'mon, chop chop.
Italian Wines 2011 - Gambero Rosso
It's back, it's blue, with four hundred and two... Tre Bicchieri awards. It's everything you need from an Italian wine guide and I'm giving away copies to the best comments left on today's blog entry.
How do you win a copy of Italian Wines 2011 from Gambero Rosso, very simply by giving out your own Tre Bicchieri award to your favourite Italian Wine of the Year. Simply tell me which has been your favourite Italian Wine of 2011 below, and why. The best stories/tasting notes will receive free copies directly from Amazon.
Why would you even want a copy of Italian Wines 2011 from Gambero Rosso? If you have any interest in Italian Wine at all then this book is invaluable, I use it every day, there are reviews on over 2000 wineries and 20,000+ wines. The wines are catalogued by region and a general overview of the Italian county is given with recent changes to DOC/G rules laid out and special mentions to wineries who are producing at a high level. From princely Piedmont to meagre Molise, every wine producing Italian region (which is all of them) gets a mention.
Italian Wines 2011 was compiled by a selection of Italian wine experts who spent the year touring the country and tasting wines region by region, shortlisting the best Italian Wines and keeping an eye out for exceptional wines made biodynamically. However, the most invaluable information in the 2011 Italian Wines edition is the inclusion of a list that showcases all the Tre Bicchieri wines that retail under €15 proving once again that Italian Wine is the best value wine in the world. No bias.
A wine for every week of the year (that's 52 in earth years) made the "Three Glasses under €15" list, some wines you would expect and others are a welcome surprise. Here are 10 of the most interesting wines to make the list, as for the others, you'll have to take part in the competition won't you!
Pedres - Vermentino di Gallura Sup. Thilibas 09
Ca' Bolina - Friuli Aquileia Pinot Bianco 09
Settesoli - Cartagho Mandrarossa 08
Cascina Corte - Dogliani Vecchie V.Pirochetta 09
Villa Medoro - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 08
Lungarotti - Torgiano Bianco Torre di Giano V il Pino Ris 08
Pietracupa - Greco di Tufo 09
Villa Venti - Sangiovese di Romagna Sup Primo Segno 08
Torrevento - Castel del Monte Rosso V Pedale Ris 07
Kuenhof - Peter Pliger - A.A Valle Isarco Veltliner 09
Can you buy these wines in the UK? Eh, probably not. However, Superiore.de deliver to the UK and are dedicated to shipping out Gambero Rosso recommendations.
Why else is Italian Wines 2011 useful? It also contains the phone numbers and email addresses of the wineries and indicates whether you can buy directly from the cellar door or visit the winery - very useful if you're touring the vineyards of Tuscany, Piedmont... or that one in Molise. Being rather long and thick, it's also good for getting at scared spiders and if you stand on it you become three inches taller. Almost instantly.
So, simply leave a comment starting "I would like to win a copy of Italian Wines 2011 by Gambero Rosso and my Tre Bicchieri award goes to....... blah blah". I have 5 copies of this book to give away and as the amount of comments I've ever had has never been beyond 30, you've got a pretty good chance of winning. Go for it! Forza, Forza!
All the Best! Wine90 (kisses)
P.S. I am very pedantic, you must start the comment... "I would like to win a copy of Italian Wines 2011 by Gambero Rosso and my Tre Bicchieri award goes to" or I'll disqualify you.
Taurasi Feudi di San Gregorio
Antinori Tignanello 2006
FACTFILE - Antinori Tignanello 2006
Name: Antinori Tignanello 2006 IGT
Grapes: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Cabernet Franc
Region: In the heart of Chianti Classico.
Style: Marl, shale and chalk soils in the centre of the Chianti Classico region produce Tignanello, the jewel in the CC crown. A year in barrel and a year in bottle; the IGT label allows Antinori flexibility over the grape percentage, barrel and bottle ageing etc, even so, Tignanello is consistent in style year on year.
Vintage: 2006 was a capricious growing season with fretful glances to the sky throughout. A cold autumn and winter led to late budding with both spring and summer bringing frequent rains, however a dry and hot harvest month led to perfect ripening and the vintage was not only saved, but excellent.
Food Pairing: Lamb/Veal Chops, Heavy Pasta/Mushroom Sauce & Beef.
I'm a year behind on Tignanello! The Tignanello posts for '04 and '05 are the most frequently searched on Wine90 proving that Tignanello is a wine of huge interest both at home and abroad, as a fine wine, it is perhaps the most famous Italian wine of all. The love affair for this "Super Tuscan" continues unabated even with the growing movement for well produced varietal examples of traditional Italian grapes. The Far East are now taking an interest in the "Supers" and with the price doubling just in the few years I've been writing this blog it will be interesting to track the movement of the Tig market in the next few years.
The Antinori Tignanello 2006 currently retails in the UK for between £65 and £75 per bottle and is totally overpriced. Just three years ago I was selling this wine for £38 a bottle and this for the brilliant '04. Back in 2008 Tignanello was still a bargain, in 2011 this wine would need to score huge in order to make this a fair QPR wine. As it stands, this will be the first Tignanello I've ever PASS'ed. Still a powerful and dense wine but no longer a fair price and with many other wines from Tuscany, Umbria and a few even from Lazio offering a very similar experience for half the price, Tignanello 2006 is a label only and not one I'll aspire to. The coming vintages will either have to be much more impressive or stabilize on price, or, as will likely be the case, be enjoyed in wine markets other than the UK.
Antinori Tignanello 2006 - PASS - £70
The wine sits intense, deep ruby red in the glass. Cherry, Spice, Herb and hints of oak on the nose combine for an initially stunted but eventual punchy and rich aroma. Great density of flavour and richness on the palate, firm tannic structure and solid acidity; this wine is in balance. Vibrant and fruit forward through the palate with a clean and satisfying finish. Very good wine, but not extra special or "super". 92 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Brits - The Wine Library - £70
Americans - NC Wine Market - $76
Europeans - La Loggia - €50
Leave a Comment:
Anyone in the UK willing to pay £70+ for Tignanello?
Top Wines of the Week
Other Recent Blog Posts - May 2011
Italian Wines 2011
Verdicchio di Matelica
This has been quite the week for expanding my wine education. Having visited both the Sampler in Kensington and Vagabond Wines in Fulham this week, I can safely say that I am now highly skilled in using Enomatic machines and a little closer to spotting a Rousanne at a thousand paces. The only drawback of having credit-loaded wine cards is the vast amount of tasting notes it generates and the number of quality wines you feel you must blog, tweet and generally rave about to anyone who will listen.
To that end today's blog entry will be a series of recommendations and tasting notes. What a joyous read! For the foodies who occasionally wander by Wine90, here is a photograph of a pizza I made from scratch. For those who think it may be terrific fun to make a pizza and have never made one before I have just one tip; be sure that your yeast grams are not fast-acting yeast grams. I used double the amount of yeast required for my dough and when I woke up in the morning, the remaining pizza dough had exploded out of its tin foil wrapping and taken over half of my fridge. No one wants to spend Saturday morning scraping cold hard dough off their appliances.
Remembering this is a wine blog... I managed to taste about 60 wines last week at the Sampler and Vagabond Wines. The very tip toppy best of which I've listed below in case you fancy trying them yourself or doing the old fashioned thing and actually buying a bottle!
Qupe Rousanne 2007 - £30
Arnaldo Caprai Rosso Outsider 2006
Hello everybody I am WineNineterchuk and this is your Daily Gr... oh wait, I got confused. So as not to upstage the terribly exciting news within the Wine Blogging community I thought I would just enter a simple tasting note on a top drawer wine that has to be among the best value wines anywhere in the world. So, keeping it tight ...
Last weekend I had the jolly good fortune to visit Umbria and the vineyards of Arnaldo Caprai, I've been to Caprai before, (link it up me - Arnaldo Caprai) the vineyard and tasting rooms are amongst the most informative and stylish in Sagrantino and it's a pleasure to taste here in such beautiful surroundings.
The main Caprai buildings are awash with in depth information about the soils of the area, ageing and oak etc, and for those really interested in the vinification of Sagrantino, one of the worlds most tannic wines, it is an informative day out. A free one too.
As I've already written extensively about Caprai's facilities and range in 2009, I'll let you follow the link above if your heart so desires and just get on with what I want to talk about, which is, the Rosso Outsider.
Now, Caprai already has two infamous wines, the Collepiano and 25 Anni Sagrantinos are the signature Caprai wines (amongst the best examples of the grape) but it's the Merlot/Cabernet Rosso Outsider that I fell in love with in 2005 (95 Points - me) and whose personality simply could not be ignored in the big, over the top, 2006.
Caprai Rosso Outsider 2006, is very similar in style to the 2005 but yet more extracted, concentrated and with a finish as long as your arm. The 2006 has an obnoxiously overwhelming fragrance of wet pencil and tobacco, you would think for all the world that this was some young slip of a Pauillac and yet, not sat even in Bolgheri, we're sampling Cabernet Sauvignon perfection? Blended perfection?
This is Umbria, but with the '06 vintage fairing so well for Brunello/Chianti we should not be surprised the Cab blend has fared so well. The structure of this wine, the biting tannins and length are a real power play and if the price of Bordeaux and Super Tuscans make your eyes water, this could be the next "go to" place for age worthy, merlot/cab blends. MARK IT DOWN. Super Umbrians are coming and Marco Caprai, the media savvy company head is leading that charge.
Arnaldo Caprai Rosso Outsider 2006 - £30 - BUY
Intense ruby red with pronounced, youthful aromas of graphite, blackcurrant and with sweet spicy overtones. On the palate the wine has extreme grippy tannins and an intense oak bent that I'm gambling will drop away over the coming years, I hope, to be replaced by the dark forest fruitiness that can be found on the long punchy finish. Incredible structure but not to be drunk now. 93 Points
The 2005, in my opinion, is far better for drinking over the short term and is much more fruit forward at this young age. If you're prepared to wait, the '06 would be an interesting gamble. However, if you buy a case of both, you're sure to win, and that's what I have done!
Where can I buy this wine?
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Are you ready for the Super Umbrians? Have you already heard their call, are you in fact, already enrolled? Vive la revolucion in the tiny village of Montefalco. Vive indeed.
Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton
The world of wine blogging can be a fickle mistress, one day you're swamped in enotecas for your autograph, cheered and back slapped, the next you're attacked with a Parma ham (on the bone) for dismissing a paisans favourite grape. As many of you know, wine geekery is not my formal training, I am actually a full blown net nerd paid to work in SEM/SEO, that little talent helped elevate this blog and the keyword Italian Riesling atop the Google rankings and my cheerful raspberry to Italian Riesling continues to top my e-complaint list.
So, just two years later and after one suit and several beatings, I have decided to write about another Italian Riesling and this one, the Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton from the Alto Adige is nothing short of scrumdiddly (winespeak for "on par with anything from Franken").
The Kuenhof estate, run by Peter and Brigitte Pliger is located just outside the town of Brixen (70% of the towns population are German speakers) or Bressanone as we shall call it and just a short distance from the Austrian border. This 4 ha vineyard in the South Tyrol holds the honour of producing Italy's northernmost wines. As such, the wines at the Kuenhof estate are Italian only in postcode, growing grape varieties you'd expect from the Austrian vineyards across the way. Strangely, grapes do not respect international borders and so it comes to pass that some of the worlds finest and best value Gruner Veltliners, Rieslings, Sylvaners and Gewurztraminers come from this part of the Alto Adige and the Kuenhof estate.
Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton, like all the Kuenhof wines from this tiny estate is produced in small numbers. Considering the quality of this wine and the small scale production these wines are hotly priced. The Sylvaner (as you could guess) has the largest production but still comes in at just under 11,000 bottles per year. The wines are also well received with Gambero Rosso year on year with the '07 Sylvaner taking the Tre Bicchiere and still we are getting change from a €20? You can buy the wines directly at the vineyard for closer to the €10 mark.
So, onto the Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton itself. At the beginning of this week I was in Venice and along with a chum shared a bottle of the '08 vintage sat next to the Rialto bridge feasting on seafood risotto as the the mosquitos, in turn, fed on me. I'm sure the location and late evening sun helped but this was perhaps the most elegant, lengthy and pure Riesling wine I've tasted from any region. No one made me say that. Honest. No one.
Kuenhof Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton 2008 - BUY - €19
A light golden colour in the glass. A focused and stylised wine with some herbaceous and mineral notes, even a little orange peel on the nose. The palate is concentrated, lustrous and coating with a long finish. This is one of those wines that is almost a little one dimensional but does that one dimension so well that it's a good thing! (that makes sense) 90 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Karadarshop.com - €19
Leave a Comment
What is your favourite thing from Austria? Apart from this wine... which isn't.
Foradori Granato 2004
Foradori's Granato 2004 is the first wine from Trentino to make the Wine90 blog. Probably not too surprising, there are only a couple of estates in this north eastern Italian province that consecutively turn out top notch vino.
If you're an Italian wine fan you've probably heard of Foradori, Ferrari and Tenuta San Leonardo but otherwise there hasn't been much to shout about.
Trentino, traditionally, is all about quantity with the highest yields in Northern Italy which is seldom a statistic matched by quality.
But what of the region's saviours and what of this, the Foradori Granato, not only (arguably) the regions best red wine but also its best exponent of the regions finest indigineous grape, Teroldego?
This grape was once a bit of a favourite in Italy, but like so many of her indigenous grapes was slipping into obscurity until taken on by a brilliant traditionalist with the Midas touch. This grape owes it's refound popularity to the indomitable Elisabetta Foradori. She alone is responsible for the resurgence of this full flavoured and moderately tannic red variety. Often compared to Zinfandel, recently it has been proven that one of the parents of Teroldego is actually Syrah.
It is in Trentino though, in the foothills of the alps, within the Foradori vineyards upon alluvial deposits and gravel and with Elisabetta's careful hand that Teroldego has found its greatest expression. The most exciting thing about focusing on Italian wines are stories like these. Every year you hear about another varietal that had been crucially important to the region in times gone by - almost falling out of existence, only to be brought back to life once more. It's an exciting time in Italian wine and Elisabetta's story, whilst extraordinary and dedicated is repeated in every region of Italy. There seems to be an underground society for the revival of indigenousness grapes in Italy; they just forgot to send my press pass.
The wine itself is unique and whilst us wine bloggers love to draw comparisons I'm going to resist temptation as to not do the wine a disservice. This is a wine of elegance produced under some harsh conditions with few peers to guide Elisabetta's path.
Foradori Granato 2004 - BUY - £35
A deep ruby red, the wine's bouquet is a sumptuous mix of tobacco, tar, graphite and cedar with the oak hanging in fine balance but Granato is also fruit forward with notes of orange, cocoa powder and spice. The nose really is stand out and gives the wine its unique quality. On the palate Granato shows well ingrained tannins, both dense and silky with a fine satisfying finish offering plums/dark cherry and some herbaceousness on the back end. I realise that's a lot of characteristics for a wine but it really is something else! 94 Points
Although undoubtedly well made, this will be a wine that splits opinion and so a great wino or dinner party wine. This is the wine to take to your best wine snobs house and trip them up with. If anyone picks this wine blind they should instantly be ordained as the new Jancis of your group.
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Italian Wine Selection - €30
Americans - The Wine Connection - $47
Brits - Antique Wine Company - £35
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Your best blind moment?
Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2004
Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc is the finest wine from the Scavino vineyards seemingly year on year, but the 2004 vintage is a masterclass in balance. It appears as though the true potential of Bric del Fiasc has now been realised, a project of over 30 years, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the Scavinos can raise the Barolo bar once more - vintage permitting.
Paolo Scavino has long been a favourite producer for Piedmont fans in the know, not simply for this top cru Barolo but for all his Barolo wines including the award winning Rocche dell'Annunziata. Scavino is currently producing 14 different wines that beautifully showcase the Piedmont with Langhe, Barbera, Dolcetto as well as making use of Cabernet Sauvignon in a couple of Nebbiolo dominated blends.
The Bric del Fiasc doesn't get close in price to the Barolo superstar prices of Gaja, Giacosa, Voerzio et al. As these wines are highly sought after and praised in Italy they sometimes struggle to reach our shores and those that do are snapped up quickly. The Bric del Fiasc 2004 had Antonio Galloni of the Wine Advocate in raptures. The producers top wine in a heralded vintage is still, in relative terms, a QPR hotshot. What other 96 point WA 2004 Barolo can still be found for under €60 a bottle?
So why is this wine so special? This cru Barolo wine was first produced in 1978 when Paolo's son Enrico convinced him that the grapes from this particular area should be vinified separately as they are the best of the bunch and the wine should be sold under its own cru label. Since then the wine has grown in stature. Currently a supporter of French Oak it will be interesting if the amount of oak and period in barrel remains constant for future vintages. However, it was, as always, the combination of grape, vinification and vintage that brought the 2004 vintage to new heights; this combination is also likely to produce a terrific result with age though that remains to be seen as I killed this bottle already.
Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2004 - BUY - €58
Wound tighter than a Woods backswing this wine had to be left 12 hours before coming out to play. A lovely deep and bold red to the rim with no signs of age to speak of, on the nose the wine offered up measured notes of blackberry, chocolate, blueberries, cedarwood and, for my nose at least, that classic touch of marzipan. Smooth on the palate a great balance of tannins and acidity already, fruit forward with blueberries coming forth on the 45 second finish. A wonderful wine regardless of the price. 95 Points
Unfortunately I don't have a time machine, I would love to see how this vintage performs 10 years from now.