Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Angiuli Donato: Eye-Opening Wines from Gioa Del Colle and the Val D'Itria, Revisited

Donato Angiuli is a small winemaker located in Gioia del Colle that Enzo Scivetti introduced me to last year at Vinitaly. The wines were a revelation then and continue to be one now. Truth be told, Enzo took me to see him because of a white, rather than the reds that are the mainstay of production, and I returned as much for it this year as for the reds.

A word of explanation: Though the winery is located in Gioa Del Colle, they also have some vineyards in the Valle D'Itria, home to some of Puglia's finest white wines, and in addition to making a Verdeca, are reviving an almost forgotten grape called Maruggio, which they are producing in a sparkling version that is -- so far as I know -- unique.

It's sparkling, and though the sparkle is obtained through bottle fermentation it's not obtained by the Metodo Classico. Rather, they ferment the wine almost to completion in tank, and then bottle it, thus capturing the last of the gasses produced by the primary fermentation, and producing the sparkle. The bottles are then disgorged, topped off, and recorked, and that's it.

Sounds odd, but Donato says it's how the farmers of the area used to make a little sparkling wine, and when the university people who are studying Maruggio suggested he make it sparkle, he decided to use the old technique.
Angiuli Donato Spumante Binaco Brut
This is from Maruggio and is bottle fermented (look up last year) Pale milky yellowish white with fine intense perlage. The bouquet is fresh and savory with considerable sea salt and some yeasty notes that almost bring whey to mind, and also some citric accents. On the palate it's full, with the fullness coming from both wine and sparkle, and decidedly savory, with underlying minerality and slight citric accents that fade as the finish come forth, giving way to the mineral acidity that continues throughout, mineral accents, and slight sea salt. It's a very, very different sparkling wine and one that isn't for everyone, but if you like deft savory sparkle supported by mineral acidity you will enjoy it. It stands out, and is worth seeking out if you like this kind of wine.
2 stars

This year, something new:

Angiuli Donato Spumante Rosato Brut
This is made from Malvasia Nera and Montepulciano, with indigenous yeasts as is the case with the Bianco. It's pale slightly cloudy pink with fine white perlage, and has a bright bouquet with savory notes mingled with raspberries and some vegetal accents. Bracing. On the palate it's dry, with mineral laced sour berry fruit supported by mineral acidity and savory accents, with some underlying bitterness, that carry into the finish. It's not quite as full as the Bianco because the sparkle isn't quite as powerful, but does have considerable character, and if you like this sort of thing you will enjoy it. It's not for all, but will hit the spot perfectly for some and be a nice apritif
2 stars

Angiuli Donato Maccone Moscato Bianco Puglia IGT 2010 This is dry, to go well with crustaceans and other things along those lines. The wine is brassy yellow with bright brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is elegant, with rich slightly greenish honeysuckle supported by clover honey and some dried apricot with underlying savory accents. It's quite pleasant to sniff, and has a lot to say. On the palate it's ample, and dry (as dry as a Moscato can be), with rich loquat and dried apricot fruit supported by deft apricot acidity that gains depth and complexity from considerable savory notes, and flows into a clean savory loquat laced finish with some minerality as well. Very nice, and will work well with crustaceans, and also be a nice wine for antipsti, especially fish or cheese based, and I could see it working well with a frittata on a hot summer's day.

Maccone Rosso Vino Da Tavola
This is a 2008, obtained from red grapes (Primitivo) trained in the Alberello, or bush style. 17 gradi, 17% alcohol. It's impenetrable pyrope with cherry rim, and has an elegant bouquet with prunes and cherry fruit supported by deft sandalwood and spice with some hints of bramble as well. Quite harmonious. On the palate it's full, and rich, with sweet plum cherry fruit supported by warmth and cedar laced tannins that flow into a fairly dry finish with underlying tannic bitterness and more sweetness that is a consequence of alcohol; it's absolutely classic and very pleasant, and if you like this sort of extreme Primitivo (which isn't for everyone) you will enjoy it very much.

Maccone Primitivo Dolce Puglia IGT 2007
This is again from vines trained in the Alberello style. It's impenetrable pyrope with cherry rim, and has a powerful, sweet bouquet with iodine laced jammy plum fruit and some savory balsamic accents, also slight seas alt. Quite a lot to say. On the palate it's full and sweet, with rich plum cherry fruit supported by tannins that have some sandalwood accents, and as the richness of the fruit fades some warmth that continues at great length, while the fruit works from underneath to provide a sweet counterpart. It's very fine, and a superb expression of Primitivo Dolce, which I would rank among the finest sweet wines in the world, bar none.

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