A couple of weeks ago there was a show called Taste in Florence's Stazione Leopolda, the old train station that is now one of the nicest venues for shows and events in all of Italy. Though Taste was dedicated primarily to foods, there were a number of wineries as well, and I made a couple of interesting discoveries
Bellaguardia is an estate located in Montecchio Maggiore, in the Monte Lessini, not far from Vicenza, and produces a number of sparkling wines using Durello, an indigenous grape, and in some cases other grapes as well. I started with:
Bellaguardia Riserva di Mario Metodo Classico IGT Veneto
This is non-vintage, and spent 14 (!) years on the lees. It's a blend of Durello and Pinot Bianco. Elegant slightly greenish gold with brilliant lime green reflections and fine perlage. The bouquet is interesting and rich, with savory breadcrumbs supported by mineral acidity and very ripe lemons, and has something haunting to it. Great depth. On the palate it's full and quite mineral, with smoky overtones, and clean savory citric accents, while the sparkle, which is a little too charged to be called creamy, adds pleasant peppery notes and flows into a long peppery mineral finish. Quite pleasant, and an eye-opening illustration of Durello's potential.
It also develops beautifully in the glass; I set it aside as I tasted the other wines, and by the time I returned to it it also displayed smoky accents and menthol mingled with caramel, while sour lemons emerge in the finish and to a degree on the palate. Very much a moving target.
Bellaguardia Extrabrut IGT Veneto
This is a blend of pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero,and spends 30 months on the lees. It's pale brassy white with fine perlage. The bouquet is airy, with breadcrumbs and some minerality laced with citric accents. On the palate it's full and creamy, with the creaminess from sparkle, and some minerality. Coming on the heels of the Riserva it has a tough act to follow, but is pleasant in a light fairly direct key. A nice wine to drink as an aperitif.
Bellaguardia Capuleti Rosé Metodo Classico IGT Veneto
This is Pinot Nero, and is an intriguing shallot skin with greenish reflections and fine intense perlage. The bouquet is intense, with bitter minerality and breadcrumbs and some smoky savory notes. On the palate it's rich, with clean elegant savory bitterness supported by the sparkle, which confers creaminess and flows into a clean savory finish. Pleasant and quite versatile; it will be nice as an aperitif and will also drink well with foods, from fish through risotti. In a word, bracing.
This is an Apulian estate that has pretty labels, and yes, they do matter. They have three different Primitivo wines, from three vineyards of varying ages, and I think that they are wise to differentiate.
Tenuta Zicari Patruale Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2008
This is from a 25 year old vineyard; it's deep pyrope ruby with brick ruby reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with balsamic accents and savory notes mngled with plumft and some underbrush. On the palate it's full and rather languid, with moderately intense dry plum fruit supported by cedar-laced tannins with the cedar from grape, and savory accents that flow into a clean fairly dry finish. Pleasant in a chewy key; it's a touch drier than some of the Primitivo I have tasted, but has the softness I associate with Primitivo, and is nice to drink.
Tenuta Zicari Calabrìgo Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2008
This vineyard is 15 years old. The wine is elegant brick ruby with ruby reflections; the bouquet is cut from the same cloth as its sibling, with clean rich spicy notes, sweetness, and jammy accents with some underbrush as well. Zesty in a rich key. On the palate it's full and rich with elegant plum cherry fruit supported by clean sweet plum laced tannins that flow into a plume-prune finish. Quite pleasant in an open approachable key; it is easier and friendlier than the Patruale, and will be nice by the glass if you like rich, softer smoother reds. The Patruale has more to say, and is more distant.
Tenuta Zicari Apulus Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2008
This is from a younger vineyard. Lively ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is vinous and fairly tart, and considerably less ripe than the other wines; this is in part because of the immaturity of the vineyard. On the palate it's bright and fresh with cherry plum fruit supported by cedary tannins (cedar from grape) and bright mineral acidity. Quite fresh, and will drink very well with lesser grilled meats, or, for that matter, an elegant pizza. Approachable, and nice fruit.
In addition to the Primitivo in Purezza they also make a pair of blends, one Primitivo-Cabernet and the other Primitivo-Merlot, both of which are designed -- much as Supertuscans were 40 years ago, when Sangiovese was largely unknown on the world stage -- to appeal to international markets that won't know what to make of a Primitivo. I liked them both in this context -- they are quite approachable, and easy to drink with considerable fruit, and if you like lush fruit driven wines you will especially like the Solicato, Tenuta Zicari's Primitivo-Merlot blend.
Tenuta Zicari Diago Salento IGT 2007
This is a Negroamaro, and is lively ruby with some orange in the rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with sour cherry fruit supported by strawberries and raspberries, and some menthol, with underbrush too. Nice, and fresh. On the palate it's bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by smooth tannins that have some bitter accents and flow into a clean rather bitter finish. Quite approachable, and will work well as a cookout wine, with grilled meats, and they also say grilled fish.
The nice thing about fairs like Taste is the unexpected; just a few steps from Tenuta Zicari was Cantine Trexenta, a Sardinian cooperative whose wines I had never tried. I was especially impressed by:
Cantina Trexenta Corte Auda Canonau di Sardegna DOC 2007
Lively cherry ruby with cherry rim fading to orange. The bouquet is bright and brambly, with greenish accents and bright sour forest berry fruit, a mix of strawberry, tart raspberry, and pleasant mentholated spice from grapes. Scrappy, with quite a bit going on in a bright, wide-eyed key. On the palate it's deft, and fairly light, with lively sour berry fruit supported by brambly acidity and smooth greenish tannins that flow into a clean greenish finish. Quite pleasant, and will drink very well with grilled meats or summer foods. Expect the bottle to go quickly.
The above was last week. This week I instead went to a celebration of Wine Surf, with all sorts of wines. I mostly swirled and tasted, but did take a few notes too.
Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche 2002
When I tasted Tiziana's 2002 Barolo Rocche for the first time, I was unimpressed, and told her that I would have simply made Barolo from that vintage, which was the coldest and wettest in decades. A number of years have passed, and I was quite happy to retaste it now. Deep brownish ruby with almandine rim paling to onionskin. The bouquet is fairly intense, with mentholated berry fruit and considerable underbrush and wet leaves, and some pungency too. On the palate it's fairly light and brambly, with brambly tannins and acidity more than fruit supported by green leaf tobacco and acidity that flow into a dry bitter finish. It is graceful, in a cool weather key, and I found it fascinating. In other words, Tiziana was right and I was wrong. This said, it is not a wine for the casual wine drinker, but rather for the wine lover who is willing to quietly listen to the tale it has to tell.
Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche 2003
This vintage was instead the hottest and driest vintage in decades; the wine is garnet ruby with orange in the rim, and has a much richer bouquet with berry fruit that manages to be not too jammy supported by rosa canina and some leather. Clearly from a hot vintage, and some of the heat emerges. On the palate it's full, smooth, and enveloping, with berry fruit supported by brisk acidity (brisker than displayed by many 2003 wines) and smooth sweet tannins. It's quite young, and very different from the 02; it's more approachable (in youth) than the 02, but has less depth, and this is due to the vintage, which was anything but subtle.
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Barolo 2001.
This was poured from a magnum, and is deep cherry ruby with garnet rim. Elegant bouquet, with berry fruit and dried rosa canina mingled with the beginnings of leaf tobacco and spice. Delicate, with considerable harmony and quite pleasant. On the palate it's ample and rich, with elegant berry fruit underlain by leaf tobacco bitterness and supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean,rich, dusky finish with underlying bitterness. Impressive, one of those wines one hates to pour out at a tasting.
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte 2007
Deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is still closed, though swishing brings up red berry fruit and some spice. On the palate it's elegant, and rich, with ripe deft berry fruit supported by berry fruit and currant acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean berry fruit finish. A beautiful, graceful wine that displays great finesse even in youth, and is well worth seeking out.
Castello di Bolgheri
Riccardo Margheri pointed them out to me, and I thank him.
Castello di Bolgheri Bolgheri Superiore 2006
Deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is very young, with underbrush and dusky vegetal-laced bitterness. It says "I'm here," but is a babe. On the palate it's impressive, with lean rich very smooth fruit and nice minerality that flows into a clean rather bitter finish. Considerable depth despite its obvious youth, and it has a great future.
Muri Gries St Maddalener Sudtyrol 2007
Pale brick ruby with white rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with berry fruit and some underbrush , and as it opens bright jammy cherry fruit. Young and zesty. On the palate it's bright and rich, with cherry and currant fruit supported by underbrush bitterness and brambly acidity that flow into a clean brambly finish. A lark of a wine that will be fantastic at a cookout, and nice at a picnic too. Or, indoors, with simple grilled or fried meats. Expect the bottle to go and for people to clamor for more.
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Between Here And There - I took this shot during the Pelleginaggio Artusiano in the spring of 2011. The mirror is somewhere between Castrocaro Terme and Portico di Romagna (on the ...
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