The second morning of Vinitaly I ran into Tom Hyland, who told me he would be meeting with the folks at Mastroberardino that afternoon, to taste all sorts of things including some older wines, and would I be interested in coming? Of course, I said -- Radici, Mastroberardino's flagship Taurasi, ages extremely well and I was certain other things would too. As often happens at Vinitaly, I arrived a few minutes late and therefore scribbled to catch up while Tom and Karen Phillips (whose notes are here) chatted and tasted at a slower pace.
Mastroberardino Morabianca Irpinia Falanghina IGT 2009
This is from a vineyard planted on calcareous soils that contribute to the bouquet; it's brassy yellow with brilliant brassy reflections, and has an elegant bouquet with floral accents and clean slightly savory honeydew melon. Quite pleasant. On the palate it's full and languid, with elegant, almost chewy honeydew melon fruit laced with savory accents and some smoke from the grapes, which flows into a clean fairly savory finish. Very pleasant in a rich rather voluptuous key, and will drink well as an aperitif, or you could open it on the terrace as the stars come out.
Mastroberardino Radici Fiano di Avellino 2009
This is a single-vineyard wine. It's brassy gold with brassy greenish reflections, and has a rich bouquet with floral accents and hints of honeysuckle and spice. Quite nice. On the palate it's ample and languid, with pleasing richness and fruit, honeydew melon with loquat supported by clean acidity that flows into a clean bright finish with loquat acidity and some savory accents. Quite nice in (again) a rather voluptuous key; it will work very well as an aperitif, or with egg or cheese based dishes, and will also go quickly.
Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo DOC Vintage 2002
They set aside 3000 bottles of the 2002 vintage; the next vintage available will be the 2006. Brassy gold with brilliant golden reflections; it's a pretty color. The bouquet is fresh -- no tiredness about it -- but also mature, with considerable minerality and some underlying acidity. On the palate it's full and bright, with elegant minerality and mineral acidity that flow into a long clean savory finish. Quite nice, and once again conferms that many Italian whites are much more ageworthy than people commonly give them credit for.
Mastroberardino Nova Serra Greco di Tufo 2009
This is from a vineyard whose elevation is 500 meters above sea level, with an abundance of calcite and magnesium, which do contribute. Pretty label too. The wine is brassy gold with greenish highlights. Elegant nose with rich savory honeydew melon supported by spice and honeysuckle; it gives an impression of sweetness, and is graceful too. On the palate it's rich, with clean fresh loquat fruit supported by sea salt and bright citric acidity that flow into a long warm savory finish. Quite pleasant and will work very well as an aperitif or with grilled or fried fish; a fritto di paranza, mixed tiny fried fish, comes to mind. An ideal summer wine.
Mastroberardino More Maiorum Fiano di Avellino DOC 2008
This is their only barrel-aged white; which ages in acacia -- not oak -- for 6 months. Pale brassy white with brilliant brassy reflections. The bouquet is deft, with honeysuckle and faint greenish mentholated accents mingled with slight sea salt. Delicate. On the palate it's graceful and rich, with deft greenish white berry fruit supported by a degree of sweetness and slight savory underpinning too. Quite pleasant, and the finish has some warmth and wood smoke. It will work nicely as an aperitif or with grilled or roasted fish, and will also age nicely for a number of years.
Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Campania IGT 2009
This is a Rosato di Aglianico, and is delicate salmon with brilliant salmon reflections and onionskin rim. It's intentionally quite plae. The bouquet was still sorting itself out with tart berry fruit and some underbrush supported by strawberry and hints of raspberry. The palate is fresh and rich, with soft berry fruit -- sour strawberry and raspberry -- supported by considerable warmth that flows into a long warm finish. It will be quite nice as an aperitif or with cold cuts and simple foods, and would also be a good bet at a cookout. A lark of a wine, which will go quickly.
Mastroberardino Redimore Aglianico Irpinia DOC 2008
This is the first vintage of a new wine; they have repropagated three or four Aglianico vines from old vineyards that have very small, loose bunches. The bouquet is fairly rich, with clean berry fruit supported by smoky accents and some underbrush, with underlying spice. Nice balance and quite a bit going on, especially for a first vintage. On the palate it's bright and rich, with clean berry fruit supported by moderate vegetal acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a fairly quick finish. It's quite nice but clearly from a young vineyard -- hence the shortness -- but has great potential for future vintages. It's something to buy and drink this year, but will be something to look out for anon.
Mastroberardino Naturalis Historia Taurasi DOCG 2005
This is from a 40-year old vineyard, and is deep pigeon blood ruby with garnet reflections and rim. The bouquet is quite young, with hot chewy cherry fruit laced with underbrush and spice. Quite nice but needs time, at least a couple of years. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful berry fruit supported by clean bright berry fruit acidity and some cedary accents that flow into a clean rather dry finish. Very young, and though one could drink it now with a succulent roast, it will benefit from another year or better yet two, and richly reward those who can wait longer. The score reflects today.
Mastroberardino Aglianico Vintage Irpinia IGT 1998
This is their Aglianico base, which spends a year in botti, the traditional large wooden casks, and is then bottle-aged for 10 years. Deep almandine with almandine rim paling to orange. The bouquet is elegant, with brandied cherries and dried flowers mingling with green leather, some smoke, savory accents, and underlying pungency. It has a lot to say. On the palate it's full, rich, and quite smooth, with rich slightly balsamic berry fruit supported by deft mineral acidity and by silky tannins that flow into a clean bright finish that gradually fades, revealing warmth and balsam-laced brandied cherries. Quite pleasant, and the lack of pronounced wood influence is especially nice, because it allows the Aglianic to strut its stuff unimpeded. One hates to pour it out, at least I did.
Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi DOCG Riserva 1998
Deep almandine ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. Looks young. The bouquet is powerful and elegant, with berry fruit supported by balsamic accents and hints of brown sugar laced with cedar and mentholated spice. Great complexity and harmony, and with more swishing peppery accents also emerge. On the palate it's rich and full, with powerful balsamic cherry fruit supported by warmth and sweet tannins that do have a slightly cedary underpinning, and are also directed by a degree of warmth. It has more depth and substance than the 98 Irpinia, and is clearly a better wine, but the other has a gracefulness born of the grape going it alone, without oak, that this lacks. Which you prefer will be up to you, because both are very, very good.
Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi DOCG Riserva 1997
Deep almandine with brilliant almandine rim. The bouquet is richer than the 98's and also a bit more mature, with pronounced leaf tobacco supported by savory accents and hardwood ash, with underlying dried flowers, balsamic accents, and some sweetness. A lot going on. On the palate it's full, rich, and very smooth, with powerful sour berry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that are decidedly velvety and move effortlessly, flowing into a clean rich brandied cherry finish with warmth, leaf tobacco, and clean spice that gradually fade into unending warmth. It's extremely elegant, and will drink well with roasts or stews; it's also a wine I would consider drinking by the glass, though I wouldn't suggest this to everyone: you should only drink it far from the table if you like brasher wines that are very much alive, supported by lively acidities. If you like the style, it's superb. But if you like softer wines, you will like it better with foods, from rich stews and roasts through succulent grilled meats.
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 ...
4 years ago