Amalia Cascina in Langa is a new (the first vintage in 2007) winery in Monforte, which Marco Sodini -- a fellow Pellegrino Artusiano -- introduced me to, and I have to thank him. The estate, which is centered around a Cascina, or farm house, was bought a few years ago by Luigi Boffa, who restructured the place, building a very functional cellar. His son Paolo makes the wines, under the direction of Gian Franco Cordero and Gian Piero Romana (consulting winemaker and agronomist, respectively), and though the Boffa family is new to winemaking, they are doing something right. Lots of things, actually.
Amalia Sant'Anna Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 Intense pyrope with violet rim. The bouquet is classic Dolcetto with berry fruit supported by bitter almonds and floral accents with some underlying jammy notes. What one expects of a Dolcetto. On the palate it's rich, with powerful slightly sour berry fruit supported by violets and bitter almonds, and tannins that are slightly splintery and flow into a clean fairly long tannic finish with violets and fruit. Quite pleasant, in a rich and friendly cast, and will drink very well with simple grilled meats or light stews, and also hearty pasta dishes. 2 stars
Amalia Barbera D'Alba 2008 Deep black almandine with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with red berry fruit supported by savory accents and cedar, and by some greenish warmth. On the palate it's bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity and by tannins that have a slight cedar overlay and flow into a clean sour cherry finish. The wood is less apparent on the palate than the nose, though it does contribute nicely to the tannic structure, and the wine is pleasant in a middle of the road key. It will work well with grilled meats or light stews, and will go quickly. 2 stars
Amalia Sogno Langhe Rosso 2008 This is a blend of Cabernet and Barbera; they decided to go with Cabernet because they had the opportunity. They make about a thousand bottles, and the proportions vary from year to year. This vintage is 90% Cabernet. It's deep pyrope with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is rather varietal, with red berry fruit supported by classic grilled green pepper and by pleasant underlying spice,with while there are also some jammy accents to it. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful berry fruit, a mix of sour cherry and some forest berry fruit supported by bright sour cherry acidity that is the contribution from Barbera, and supported by very smooth sweet tannins that have a slight greenish overlay and flow into a long warm fruit laced finish. Pleasant, and will drink very well with red meats, from a crown roast through leg of lamb. It will also age nicely for 5 or more years, though the brightness of the acidity at present is quite pleasant. 88-90
Amalia Langhe Nebbiolo 2009 Deep almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is elegant, with rosa canina and red berry fruit supported by deft bramble and hints of sandalwood spice; it's a fine expression of Nebbiolo. On the palate it's bright and rich, with elegant sour cherry fruit laced with raspberries and supported by bright berry fruit acidity, while the tannins are warm and slightly splintery, flowing into a clean rather savory tannic finish with lasting raspberry warmth. Quite pleasant and very fresh, a wine that will work well with read meats and light stews, and will also age nicely for 3-5 years. A pleasant discovery that will drink very fast. 90-91
Amalia Barolo 2006 Deep almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly intense,with ith quite a bit of cedar and some red berry fruit supported by chemical notes and spice. It's still very closed,a nd really doesn't want to be disturbed. On the palate it's ample, with moderately intense warm sour cherry fruit supported by tannins that are rather angry, with a decidedly peppery burr that continues at length into the finish, settling gradually into lasting warmth. It reflects the vintage, with a green aggressiveness to the tannins, and it needs a number of years for things to fold in. In the wine's defense this was their first vintage, and they were very much getting a feel for things when they made the wines. 1 star Amalia Barolo 2007 Cask sample The bouquet is muted, which can happen in a barrel samle, but reveals berry fruit and slight cedar. On the palate it's another animal with respect to the 2006, with richer cherry fruit and tannins that are much sweeter and softer, and though they do have a youthful burr they aren't aggressive, and don't have any of the angry peppery spice that the 06 displays. Quite promising and will be an elegant Barolo in a few year's time, in a middle of the road key that will be worth looking out for.
NO STAR goes to wines that are correctly made but nothing to get excited about.
ONE STAR goes to wines that are good. TWO STARS go to wines that are very good to excellent. THREE STARS and a POINT SCORE (90-100) go to wines that are superb to extraordinary. And I will give pairing suggestions, which I consider much more important than the scores.