This is the first of two collections of tasting notes that don't fit in to my themed reports, focusing on the following regions, the first three of which we do not regularly cover:
See also Walter's collection of central and southern Italian tasting notes.
The 111 reviews are grouped by region and then, regardless of colour, in descending score order.
2011 vintage. 100% Vernatsch. ‘I wanted to be free to do what I wanted – it is an effort to make a long-lived St Magdalener.’
Current vintage! Quite dark ruby for a Vernatsch. Fine, salty nose with underlying strawberry and cherry fruit. Wonderful Vernatsch, truly fresh and with a finely-tuned balance. Just medium bodied and finely structured, with fine tannins. Stunning wine, and a flag bearer for the much needed Vernatsch revival. (WS)
Grapes come from the Trattmann estate in Mazzon, the latter considered a cru site for Pinot Noir in Alto Adige.
Super-heavy bottle! Pale ruby. Quite tight and serious on the nose, with hints of savoury raspberry and just a touch of oak. Fine fruit palate with an impressive coating of powdery tannins. Well balanced, complex and tannic, but closed and really needs more time. Pretty impressive stuff. Elegant! (WS)
Clearly a mature white wine but not oxidative. Still taut and fresh on the palate, with just a touch of mushroom. Sweet white fruit and lemon curd underlined by oak. Still not at its peak! (WS)13.5%
Almost like a Vernatsch with strawberry and raspberry, but pale as a rosato. Creamy strawberry fruit with a hint of marzipan and fine tannins (stalks were added to the ferment), and really fresh. One of the best rosatos I have tasted in Italy. (WS)13%
100% Vernatsch. A touch of oak on the nose. Great purity of raspberry fruit and fine, almost Verduno-like tannins. Still a little locked up, but amazingly expressive. Vernatsch renaissance! (WS)12.5%
60 days on the skins, part in amphora, aged for 10 months in barrique.
Soft glowing mid crimson. Fine sweet raspberry and iron nose with savoury notes and hints of bread crust. Really closed on the palate, but with great aromatic development on the finish. Firm tannins yet not overpowering. Wonderful stuff. Elegant, with vibrant acidity. (WS)
Mazzon is known as a Pinot Noir cru site. Lovely vigorous, earthy nose of blackberries, blueberries, sweet cherry and stones. Lots of minerals under the blueberry and raspberry fruit. Cool climate fruit on the palate, like crushed red berries and with soft tannins. Like a mountain breeze. Would cut through fatty food perfectly. Very pure and direct. (WS)12.5%
The grapes come from the Ganger vineyard, a monopole owned by Girlan in Mazzon, an area that is considered a cru site for Pinot Noir.
Lustrous and just mid ruby. Very fine, precise sweet raspberry and strawberry fruit with a stalky note and a hint of oak. The fruit on the palate is a little marked by creamy oak for the moment, and this clearly needs more age, but it certainly oozes class as well as potential. Very promising and complex, and totally convincing without it aping either Burgundy or New Zealand. Very long and fragrant. (WS)
One month on the skins. Dark ruby with an orange rim. Ripe nose with notes of garden herbs, gingerbread and a hint of beeswax. Needs lots of air. Vibrant acidity and gripping but fine tannins, with a long red fruit finish. Very long, intense and bone dry. Not ready yet. Very pure and acidity-driven. (WS)13%
2009 vintage. Medium deep ruby with orange tinges. Talcum and a little rich and intriguing with hints of rosehip. Sweet and pure strawberry compote and fine acidity. Wonderful depth and length for a Vernatsch, truly different and unique. Fine, firm tannins and acidity on the finish. (WS)
100% Vernatsch, aged for two years in large oak casks and cement tanks.
A little closed and balsamic on the nose. Signature Pranzegg feather-lightness with fine but firm tannins. Fresh, but needs a little more age to open up. Hugely original. Long. (WS)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Almost buttercup yellow. Lovely honeyed peach and apricot and bread crust. Really pretty. Wonderful lemony peach and apricot fruit with really fine chew. Elegant. 'You have a very fine hand in making wine' – ‘exactly, that is what I look for.’ (WS)13.5%
Old vine Vernatsch with a tiny quantity of Pinot Noir.
Palest of ruby. Firmly spicy on the nose and at the same time ethereal, with hints of brooding fruit underneath. Light and yet concentrated and with considerable tannins. Long and gripping finish. Spot on! (WS)
Unusual deep yellow. Exciting, almost powerful ripe yellow fruit nose perfectly matched by subdued oak and top notes of mandarin. A full bodied and late harvest style with ripe, dense fruit interspersed with lemon. Really deserves posh food. Big style pulled off with aplomb. More than a hint of Alsace here and, perhaps tellingly, the wine is labelled as Pinot Blanc rather than Pinot Bianco. (WS)14.5%
Brilliant straw. Chalky nose with lemony apple fruit. Proper depth, real poise and lightness of touch. Mouth-watering, minerally and long. (WS)13.5%
Half the grapes were fermented in tonneaux.
Brilliant straw yellow. Beautiful peach and spice nose with a touch of oak and grapefruit. Featherlight on the palate, but will gain weight with a couple of months in the bottle. Wonderful and chalky on the finish and finely textured. Truly succulent. (WS)
100% Pinot Noir, called Blauburgunder here.
Mid ruby. Sweet Pinot nose with an elegant oak note and just a touch of undergrowth. Wonderful creaminess, and at the same time contrasting bright acidity and firm yet fine tannins. Totally convincing. (WS)
Half the grapes were fermented in oak, the other half in stainless steel.
Almost buttercup yellow. Cool almost Graves-like nose, if more lemony, and with savoury, meaty hints and garden herbs. Shows varietal character yet is complex, ripe and multi-layered. Fine chewy texture. Long finish with hints of passion fruit and lime. Impressive. (WS)
Pale ruby. Much more complex and intriguing than the 2011 (‘now comes fine tuning’), and no longer sweet. Wonderful fine chewy/grainy tannins. Super-elegant. (WS)13.5%
Lustrous mid ruby with orange tinges. Sweetly perfumed and with the first hints of undergrowth and a touch of oak. Supple and juicy with firm tannins and still plenty of potential. (WS)14%
Mature but still amazingly fresh and poised on the nose. A little honeyed and smoky. Wonderful honeyed peach and fine acidity. Amazing! Really fine and unostentatious. (WS)
Impenetrable dark ruby. A little sweeter and deeper on the nose than the 2010, and just a tiny bit lifted. Very slow to open up and showing amazing potential for Lagrein. Very long with hints of dried cherry. Very different from the rest. Firm, grainy tannins that dominate the fragrant finish for the moment. Still not at its peak. (WS)13%
2010 vintage. 100% Lagrein, but judged as ‘not typical’ by the controls, hence only labelled as Vino Rosso. Whole bunch fermentation and five to six weeks on the skins.
Enticing, deep nose of cherry and camphor with a hint of mostarda (mustard fruits) and earth. Brisk acidity pushing fragrant cherry fruit on the palate. Bags of grainy tannins that integrate on the finish. Closes up quickly. Hugely serious for a Lagrein. Lots to chew on. Long and bone dry. (WS)
2012 vintage. 100% Teroldego. Whole bunch fermentation.
Impenetrable dark violet crimson. Fine, sweet dark fruit with depth but not entirely open yet. Hints of iron. Lively cherry lifted by plenty of acidity and gripping tannins. (WS)
Lagrein planted with a north-westerly exposure. Half is trained on pergola, the other half guyot. Skin maceration for up to seven days with 70% of the stems added. Aged for two years in oak casks.
Quite pure Lagrein nose with hints of ink and violets. Succulent dark fruit and then firmly tannic. Complete! (WS)
100% Lagrein. Deep nose with leafy notes. Really fine and not opulent at all, elegant and gripping. Just a little astringent still, and should be given another year. Serious stuff – new school Lagrein! (WS)13%
Vernatsch. Palish ruby with a broad rim. At first stalky, then lifted and pure with a note of spice. Lithe and playful red fruit with soft bitter tannins. Fresh and youthful and still plenty of potential. Pure, refreshing and long. Pan-fried monkfish would the perfect match. (WS)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Brilliant yellow. Soft and sweet yellow fruit with hints of iron and savoury, bread crust notes. Complex. Fine acidic structure and very fine chewiness on the finish. Real energy and length. Really fine for a skin contact ferment, and no oxidation (‘I keep the amphoras completely full and topped up’). Very long and precise. (WS)13.5%
60 days on the skins, part in amphora, aged for 10 months in barrique.
Concentrated crimson. Almost opulent sweet raspberry with gingerbread notes and cherry. Just a touch of oak and then juicy, vibrant and long with lots of grainy tannins. (WS)
Almost a bit like Alsace and late harvest on the nose. Honeyed lychee, rose petal and spicy grapey notes. Viscous and honeyed fruit palate which is practically dry. Supple, with integrated acidity and a little rich. A little old fashioned and thoroughly convincing. (WS)14%
Mainly Chardonnay, but with all other white varieties of the estate added. All the grapes are harvested and subsequently fermented together. ‘It is a more complex way of working, because you have to coordinate the exact harvest point of all grapes involved. But we believe it results in more complexity than if you blend them together later.' Fermented in oak.
Brilliant straw. Soft, creamy oak, vanilla and oatmeal with hints of Chardonnay and the aromatics and lift of Traminer, but it could well be Sauvignon Blanc. Lifted, succulent, fresh and finely textured. The oak is clearly noticeable but the fruit can stand up to it. Viscous and yet lemony. (WS)
Old vine Vernatsch with a tiny quantity of Pinot Noir. Late harvest.
Just mid ruby with orange tinges. Beautiful, pure blueberry and raspberry with hints of oatmeal. Really gentle, light palate underlined by stalky tannins. Still very young and closes up on the finish. Needs at least a year longer, but already impressive. Not unlike Ahr Pinot Noir, but drier. Great potential. (WS)
Almost pitch black ruby. Sweet dark fruit nose with savoury notes, with just a touch of oak and hints of bacon and black olive. Lovely fresh acidity and proper grainy tannins. Supple and succulent. A real success for this very rainy vintage. (WS)13%
The winemaker here is Patrick Uccelli. Fermented in old barriques with indigenous yeasts, followed by two years on the lees. Not yet released.
Lemony yellow. Fine leesy and lemon nose. Lovely white fruit with wonderful lifted acidity that melts into the finish. Lithe and fine. Unbelievable that it is a three-year-old white wine. Still so fresh! (WS)
Brilliant lemon. Resin and stones and a little waxy on the nose. Notes of grapefruit skin and mandarin. Vibrant acidity and lemon pith fruit. Pure yet unpolished and highly original. Mouth-watering finish. (WS)12.5%
Watery yellow with a green tinge. Still fresh but with a clear petrol note. Almost Riesling-like on the palate with green peach fruit. Vibrant finish. (WS)14%
Completely different from the 2014, with real concentration and depth. Hints of spice and ripe red fruit. Still a little locked but with underlying concentration and fine-grained tannins. Really different from most Vernatsch. A joy to drink. (WS)13.5%
Almost a little earthy and leafy yet ripe on the nose. The fireworks are on the palate, with lovely soft fruit and fine grainy tannins. Supple and light and intriguing. Has real finesse. (WS)13.5%
From a site in Bolzano. Aged for one year in barriques, 30% new.
Deep, impenetrable ruby. More sweet on the nose and a little thicker than the Lagrein Furggl, while the palate is juicy with bright acidity, a medium-bodied feel and stalky tannins. (WS)
Lots of minerality and savoury hints, and so different from the cliché of Pinot Grigio. Beautifully textured and fresh. (WS)
60% Viognier with the balance being Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and a tiny bit of Petit Manseng. In the future this will only be a blend of Viognier and Petit Manseng. Fermented in oak.
Juicy peach and perfumed lemon on the nose. Long and finely textured. Great length and juiciness. Real excitement, even if the fruit is quite sweet. (WS)
Fine, nutty oak and apple nose. Citric acidity and creamy oak building a unity on the palate. Elegant, poised and finely textured. (WS)13.5%
‘Lagrein is always cultivated on sandy moraine soils in Bolzano, but we made this in Magreid on limestone’.
Not sweet at all, and with a proper, stalky tannic structure. Interesting and with real tension. (WS)
Single vineyard. 60 days on the skins, part in amphora, and aged for 10 months in barrique. This was harvested on 1 November! ‘We are at the very limit for producing Cabernet Sauvignon here.’
Just mid crimson. Cool raspberry with earthy notes. More Cabernet Franc-like (10% of Cabernet Franc is interplanted with the Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard). It is clearly ‘natural’, yet fine and enticing. Hints of bell pepper. Fine, firm tannins and wonderful, supple red fruit. Really well done. Has the structure of Pinot Noir. Juicy finish. (WS)
Impenetrable dark crimson. Quite pure dark fruit nose with a note of oak. Just a tiny bit singed, but doesn't distract too much. Amazing acidity and freshness on the palate, and supple dark fruit on the finish. Just medium bodied and completely dry. Modern style, yet with plenty of personality. (WS)
Palish straw with a green tinge. Fresh lemon and tropical fruit nose without being banal, and with a chalky note. Fresh and zippy, with genuine freshness and a very good length. (WS)13%
Schiava. Palish crimson. Fragrant, sweet and a little chalky on the nose. Almost rosé-like on the palate. Lithe, fresh and perfumed on the finish and with a little chew. (WS)12.5%
Lemony yellow. More stony on the nose than the 2012 vintage, with top notes of white flowers. Lemony acidity and then finely textured. Elegant and minerally. (WS)13%
Just mid ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Subdued, earthy strawberry and beetroot. Quite perfumed and almost a little sweet on the palate, then fine and lithe with soft grainy tannins. Very long. (WS)13%
Super-heavy bottle. Pale ruby with orange tinges. A little dusty with hints of sweet, spicy oak. Light, supple and fragrant, and really captures Pinot Noir. Pleasantly light. (WS)13.5%
Very watery yellow with a green tinge. Chalky and floral, and a little piercing. Super-clean and fresh. Minerally, fresh and zippy with very good length. Great aperitif style in spite of its 14.5% alcohol. (WS)14.5%
15% was fermented in new oak and went through malolactic fermentation in the same cask. ‘Weissburgunder can have an aggressive acidity, and with malolactic fermentation in oak barrels you can tone it down.’
Watery greenish yellow. Subtle, subdued and minerally on the nose, with a hint of oatmeal. Finely textured and almost a little light on the palate. Lemony acidity on the finish. (WS)
Palish green straw. Piercing but not brutal on the nose, with grassy and gooseberry notes and hints of passion fruit. Same lightness on the palate as the Weissburgunder. Not exactly mouth-filling, but with great length. A mountain wine. (WS)14%
‘We were the last to harvest here, because in September we had a couple of nice days. My wife was getting anxious because everybody else had already finished’.
Just mid ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. More focused and more concentrated and perfumed than the 2014 Alte Reben Vernatsch. Just a tiny bit stalky. Pretty soft and gentle, light strawberry fruit. Pretty, but not for the uninitiated. They might find it too light. (WS)
This year for the first time in a burgundy bottle. ‘Rondell is our best site with old vines, and it has always been vinified separately.’
Only just mid crimson. Lovely ripe strawberry and cherry nose with stalky hints. Fresh on the attack then soft and concentrated. Very fine, bitter-sweet tannins. This actually needs food. (WS)
Deep ruby. Subdued like the 2014, but with a more focused, ripe cherry nose. It is a Lagrein made by a Vernatsch specialist: very complete, but light of touch. Fresh violets and sweet cherry yet with a certain lightness to it. Firm tannins. (WS)13%
Soft, fresh and pure. Fine and pretty much still closed. Finely textured and with lovely precise lemony fruit. Not enormously long, but fine. (WS)
Deep ruby with an orange rim. Chalky cassis and bell pepper on the nose. Impressive tannic frame and sweet fruit. Powerful tannic corset, which it may never shed. (WS)13.5%
Very dark ruby with a very narrow orange rim. Subdued yet brooding and ripe on the nose. Cherry and herb liqueur. Electrifying acidity and subdued fruit on the palate. A little less persistent than the 2007, but highly original. Slightly bitter tannins, but by no means over the hill. A little lean. (WS)13%
Dark mature-looking ruby with a bricky narrow rim. Slightly dusty nose displaying the sweetness of age. Just the beginning of oxidation, but this adds interest. Fine, ripe cherry with hints of dried fruit. Quite tart acidity, which integrates in the finish. Firm almost Nebbiolo-like tannins. Begs for food. (WS)
2009 vintage. Impenetrable dark violet crimson. Firm nose of pepper, dark cherry and gingerbread. Seems a little dusty, but this disappears with aerations. Long and with oxidative notes adding depth to the finish. (WS)
15% is fermented in barrique. Brilliant straw. Elegant oatmeal and white fruit with just a touch of spice from the oak and a hint of hazelnuts. Very skilfully done. Fresh and lemony. Perhaps not enormously long because of the cold 2014 vintage, but this is elegant and fine. (WS)13%
100% Vernatsch (Schiava). Pale crimson. A nose of strawberry coulis spiced with nutmeg. Fresh, subtle strawberry fruit. Long and yet super-light. True to its variety. (WS)13%
More youthful-looking with the beginning of orange tinges. Fresh yet dense nose of ripe strawberry, and a little stalky. Just a tiny bit green, then cherry and strawberry with lively acidity and fine tannins. More convincing and more fun to drink than the 2012. (WS)13%
Fermented in stainless steel and aged in both stainless steel and large oak casks. ‘2014 was a problem child, also because of the Drosophila Suzukii fly (attacking the fruit). We spent a lot of time cutting out any affected grapes, which we carried out of the vineyard.’ They had to harvest at some stage because their time was literally up. ‘It is untypically light for us’. So, unwillingly they returned to the old school, light style, ‘if only for one vintage, hopefully’.
Palish crimson. Lovely perfumed raspberry and cherry. Light and fresh palate with soft tannins giving it just the structure it needs. Old school, but well made. (WS)
Just mid ruby with orange tinges. A little closed and brooding, and just a tiny bit jammy with hints of raisin. Supple and light-bodied (even if this has 13.5% alcohol) and long, with just a touch of dried fruit on the finish. (WS)13.5%
Impenetrable violet crimson. Really closed and reluctant on the nose. Bright, fresh cherry fruit with underlying, grainy tannins. Not crazily long yet more supple and less sweet than many Lagreins. (WS)13%
This is the current vintage, first released in 2013. The grapes were dried for six months. At the final stage of the drying period, come spring, the ambient temperature goes up and the grapes are attacked by botrytis. The grapes are taken off the racks and put in large plastic containers with a lid to further promote botrytis for three to six days. After this they are pressed in a basket press. Fermented in stainless steel by indigenous yeasts, and it takes two to three months to reach 12.5%, but sometimes the fermentation stops well before having reached this. Aged in oak cask. Certified organic!
Golden copper. Beautiful intensity and sweetness on the nose. Very clean with only a hint of botrytis and a little lifted. Wonderful complexity, elegant and lithe with sweet apricot and peach and balancing acidity. Quite stunning. A truly modern version of Vin Santo. (WS)
60% Solaris, 40% Bronner, crossings from Freiburg, Germany, and planted in 2009. First vintage was 2012. At first these crossings were not allowed by law, but Poli persevered and just went ahead and planted them. The results were so promising, that beginning with the 2014 vintage they will now be officially registered for IGT.
Quite intense straw yellow. Ripe, perfumed yellow fruit with a clear minerally, chalky note. A little honeyed too. Peach and apple palate with a lemony vein. Refreshing and mouth-filling aromatics. Almost Germanic in style and a little chewy on the finish. Wonderful stuff. (WS)
Nosiola grapes that were dried for 10 days in the plastic crates they had been picked in. Fermented on the skins for 10 days and racked off and put in 5 hl acacia wood vats.
Brilliant intense yellow. Intense, honeyed nose with hints of hay, but no real impression of skin ferment. Quite an elegant, chewy palate with real crunch and just a hint of apricot skin. Really deserves food. (WS)
100% Nosiola macerated on the skins for 12 hours before pressing.
Brilliant straw yellow. Wonderful cool nose of lemon peel and green peach, and energetic lemony fruit on the palate. Clearly from a cool year, and just mid length, yet lovely and fresh. (WS)
Impenetrable dark violet. Deep, dark, chalky sweet nose with a passito note of dried cherry and a hint of chocolate and oak. Perfumed, medium bodied and supple. A little like an Amarone but much less opulent and thick, and with real freshness and soft persistent tannins. (WS)14.5%
A rosé more than anything, and the juice was only kept for a couple of hours on the skins before pressing, ‘because the year was so bad. Normally it has a deeper colour’.
Cool, subtle strawberry nose and spicy top notes. Fresh and a little chalky, and softly perfumed. (WS)
Fermented using indigenous yeasts, with only one pigeage and no pumping over. 10 days on the skins until the alcoholic fermentation was finished. Racked off and not left on the lees, as Poli pointed out that, like his Schiava, it would run the risk of becoming overtly reductive.
Palest of ruby. Subtle sweet strawberry nose that is almost a little waxy. Raspberry water ice popsicle with a tiny bit of tannin on the finish. Very light yet perfumed. Idiosyncratic but fun. (WS)
Only stainless steel. Impenetrable violet ruby. Almost explosive, sweet, blackberry and blueberry and just a tiny note of browning apple on the nose. Light yet supple palate with a heady aroma of wild strawberries and bittersweet tannins. Curious. (WS)13.5%
Lagrein aged in barriques and tonneaux and 10 hl vats ‘but not necessarily new’.
Impenetrable, blackish ruby. Creamy vanilla and dark bramble fruit on the nose with a hint of coconut. Supple, crunchy red fruit that ends completely dry. Just a tiny bit too oaky on the nose but much more juicy and fruit-driven on the palate. (WS)
Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Sangiovese fermented and aged in oak.
Noble pale salmon. Exciting savoury nose of oatmeal, orange skin and hints of wild strawberry. Wonderful texture, freshness and complexity and truly a proper rosé that is not a coloured white wine. There are only very few inspirational rosatos in Italy, and this is definitely one of them. And, as an added bonus, it is biodynamic, too. (WS)
Flowery white fruit and blossom nose. Fresh almost citric peach fruit that is balanced by just enough residual sugar to keep it playful, and with persistent fine bubbles. Suitable for ‘elevenses’. (WS)11%
80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 10% Molinara. Biodynamic. Aged for 10 months in used French oak.
Pale ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Fine, understated and lifted herbal redcurrant and raspberry nose. Supple, light, fresh and elegant. Lots of personality. Very light. I would serve this lightly chilled. Would be interesting to see how this ages, as the label promises for up to six years. (WS)
Deep ruby with a brickstone rim. A little more intense than the Prognài and with more depth, but the green note is also noticeable here. Much better balanced and more convincing. Certainly true to its category without trying to be a ‘baby Amarone’. Good acidity and slightly bitter tannins on the finish. This will certainly improve with food. (WS)14.5%
2014 vintage. Quite foamy for a frizzante when pouring this into the glass. Col Fondo haziness – the wine was bottle fermented but left undisgorged, and goes onto the market with a crown cork. A Prosecco by everything but name. Fresh subtle apple nose with hints of breadcrumbs. Doesn’t display the sweet aromas of conventional Prosecco. Assertive bubbles on the attack, then melts into the ripe apple fruit. Completely dry and something that you’d serve with starters. Well made. (WS)11%
Much less fragrant than the Extra Dry, and a little honeyed on the nose. The bubbles seem a little aggressive in this drier style. Leesy, fragrant, appley finish. Not as charming as the Extra Dry, but the quality of the fruit is obvious. Will satisfy those who like a really dry Prosecco. (WS)11%
80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 10% Molinara. An ambitious, more concentrated rendition of their Bardolino, but admirably only using indigenous varieties and without the so-often-used Merlot. A selection of the estate’s oldest vines, and bottled unfiltered.
Ripe red berry fruit with plenty of freshness and a lick of wood. Very well made, but the undisputed star of this estate, at least for me, is the much gentler and highly original Bardolino Chiaretto. (WS)
A look at the back label states 15%, so the alcohol content has probably been boosted by apassito or dried grapes.
Deep ruby with orange tinges. Dense nose of cherry confit, orange peel and a touch of green bell pepper. Passito hint of earthy, chocolate-dusted cherry. Supple fruit palate but with surprisingly brisk acidity, as if it has been acidified. Very soft tannins, but there is a green sting on the back of the palate. (WS)
Impenetrable, deep, lacklustre ruby with orange tinges. Fresh passito nose of dried marasca cherry, with a touch of green bell pepper and oak. Sweet attack and viscous, but not too thick, fruit on the palate. Creamy and sweet finish, which is no doubt a result of the high alcohol as well as residual sugar. Firm and slightly astringent tannins on the finish. Just too sweet and lacking in originality. (WS)16.5%
Ridiculously heavy bottle. Dark, dark ruby. Intense, complex nose of sweet chocolate-dipped dried cherry and a hint of baked apple. This is Amarone, alright! Intense, concentrated and sweet. Lots of residual sugar on the finish. Looks like this will be difficult to match with any dish, in spite of the bags of stalky tannins, because it is just too sweet, at least for me. Ready now, why wait? (WS)
Almost impenetrable crimson. Beautiful, lifted violet and blueberry nose that is almost a little wild. Lifted, intense and vibrant fruit on the palate with chalky, chewy tannins. Long and fragrant finish. Clearly can age. (WS)14.5%
Concentrated ruby with orange tinges. Youthful cherry and strawberry nose. Striking purity of fruit on the palate and with masses of tannins. Hugely promising for a first (!) vintage. (WS)
‘We release this on the market four years after the harvest, like a Barolo. The zone is classified as Annunziata and was planted in 1996 with a density of 8000 vines/ha’. Aged for two years in barriques of which 30% were new. Only available in magnum.
Deep, lustrous crimson. Impressive, rich nose of dark fruit and peppery oak. Almost salty/iodine. Lots of concentration and depth on the palate; an explosion of blackberry fruit. The oak certainly isn't shy but the wine displays an amazing balance. Polished but Piemontese-like tannins, and lots of them. Youthful brashness, but with real class. (WS)
Deep ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Clean, deep nose full of personality. Fine and still a little closed on the palate. Unusual, and the acidity doesn't jump out. Liquorice on the finish. Key word is balance. Finely grained, persistent tannins. Really different from lots of other Barbera d’Alba. Overachiever. (WS)13.5%
An Australian wine, but tasted in Alba, because Dave Fletcher is Cerreto's oenologist. Made from grapes bought in from Pyrenees, King Valley and Yarra Valley. The wine was vinified at Mac Forbes. 30 days on the skins and malolactic fermentation in barrel.
Pale, lustrous ruby with orange tinges. A tight nose hinting at oatmeal with perfumed, sweet-sour cherry underneath. Grainy, chalky tannins and sour cherry on the palate. Quite a tannic finish, but with plenty of fruit to hold it up. Like a Langhe Nebbiolo with lots of fragrance on the nose after aeration. Needs time! (WS)
Nebbiolo fermented for 10 days on the skins. Aged for 10 months in large casks, and 12 months in bottle. From young vines.
Lustrous crimson. Pure, sweet Nebbiolo nose with a cool edge to it. Playful and gripping on the palate. Lovely stuff. (WS)
Pale yellow. This wine always reminds me of Eden Valley. Lemon, cut lime and green peach on the nose. Really fresh, with mouth-watering acidity and quite pure lemon and lime fruit. Could do with a couple more months in the bottle. (WS)
From the Bricco Viole and Bric Berton vineyards. Deep, violet crimson. Brooding, concentrated dark fruit with a peppery edge and a hint of lees. Slow to unfurl on the palate but then goes on and on. Fine, chewy tannins. (WS)
Youthful mid ruby. Lovely Nebbiolo fruit with a touch of oatmeal. Lovely depth and length with fine, clinging tannins. Very good introduction to Barolo and showing lots of promise for the 2013 Barolo vintage. (WS)
Intense yellow. Ripe, peppery quince nose with hints of bread crust and saffron. Ripe quince fruit and pear with the merest suggestion of liquorice. This must have had at least some skin contact. Very unusual for Roero, certainly original, quite full bodied and just a tiny bit alcoholic on the finish. (WS)13%
Impressively concentrated crimson. Spicy and a little savoury with the fruit just beginning to come out. Lovely chewy tannins and great balance. (WS)13.5%
Just mid ruby with a broad watery orange rim. Pretty and lifted cherry nose, impressive tannic structure and savoury fruit. Just mid bodied and nothing forced. Elegant and food-compatible. (WS)13%
‘Difficult growing season, but we are happy with the result, even if we got less than 50% of the normal production’. Aged for one year in large oak casks (25-50 hl).
Lustrous violet crimson. Flowery, peppery blueberry nose with great lift. Lithe, pretty and perfumed palate with a gripping finish. (WS)
Aged for two years in large oak casks (25-50 hl).
Just mid crimson. You could have fooled me into thinking this had seen new oak, but apparently all large oak cask. Attractive, cool nose of blackberry and raspberry with a distinct spicy note. Super-classic palate with vibrant acidity and a juicy mid bodied finish. Bright and fresh. (WS)
Lightly sparkling due to a slight refermentation in the bottle triggered by a little residual sugar left before bottling. Firmly reductive and with a hint of saddle, but lifts with air to show some classy, beautiful blackberry fruit. Brisk, linear acidity. The tannins are a little drying, but the whole is hugely original and needs food. (WS)13%
Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Nascetta. Riesling dominates the nose. Honeyed lemony peach with a touch of lees, and a little lifted. Lovely viscous palate with long-lasting peach fruit. Well made. (WS)
Just mid ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Firm, concentrated nose, with ripe, peppery strawberry fruit. A genuine expression of Roero Nebbiolo with soft fruit and fine tannins that turn up on the very end. An impressive first try. (WS)13.5%
Intense crimson. Proper concentration, density and lift on the nose. Fragrant and a little tart on the palate, with a fine tannic spurt. Vivid blueberry finish with real length. (WS)13%
VSQ (Vino Spumante di Qualità) from Piemonte. 100% Nebbiolo, bottle fermented.
Pale salmon. Plenty of white fruit, redcurrant and a note of Nebbiolo’s spiciness on the nose, but not a lot of autolysis character. This sets all on freshness. Ripe white fruit and with a hint of strawberry and lemon, and fine lasting bubbles. Admirably doesn't try to imitate anything. Good balance and not too dry and not to sweet. (WS)
VSQ (Vino Spumante di Qualità) from Piemonte. First vintage 2006.
Pale fuchsia. Fresh and with a little yeast impact. Lively and lasting CO2. Very fresh and almost a little mouth-watering. Lovely aperitif style. (WS)
Giuseppe Vajra’s stab at recreating the Nebbiolo Jefferson might have tasted in the 18th century.
Mid ruby with orange tinges. Proper Nebbiolo with a little bit of fizz and a bit of tannic pick up. Work in progress, but certainly interesting. For now. Served lightly chilled. (WS)
A selection of two vineyards (Coste, Fossati). Lustrous violet crimson. Firm and serious nose with a touch of lees. Intense blackberry fruit and firm but fine tannins. Ageworthy and bone dry. (WS)
Violet crimson. A little tight on the nose. Blackberry with peppery notes. Sweet, red fruit on the attack and then very fresh and supple. Easy to enjoy. Simple and delicious. (WS)
Mid crimson. Lifted blueberry and a touch of ink. Perhaps a little medicinal and a little light, but with pleasant freshness. Light blueberry fruit palate that holds up on the finish, but it is clear that this needs to be drunk quickly while it is still fresh. A tiny bit short. (WS)12%
Violet crimson. Tight nose of blackberry, and a little inky. Fresh blackberry palate with hints of violets, and good acidity. Grainy tannins. Easy to like and drink, but nothing earth-shattering. (WS)