Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tasted at Vinitaly: Felice Scarpari's Botticino, a Wine I was Happy to Discover

Shortly before Vinitaly the Azienda Franzoni sent me samples of Botticino, a lesser known red wine made in the Province of Brescia from Barbera, Sangiovese, Schiava and Marzemino. The wines were good, in a lively, rather brash key that made them perfect for grilled meats, including fattier cuts such as lamb chops, and I decided to taste through hall the Bottocino in Vinitaly. This proved easier than I expected, because only one estate in the padiglione Lmbardia had it: Felice Scarpari.

Felice Scarpari Botticino 2007 DOC

Deep black cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with bright greenish cherry fruit supported by slight balsamic notes and some alcohol, mingled with slight sweetish accents and jammy notes. Nice fairly rich balance. On the palate it's bright, with lively berry fruit supported by considerable acidity and bright sweet moderately intense tannins that flow into a clean bright sour berry fruit finish. Pleasant in an aggressive key, and quite bright; if you like smoother softer wines it won't work for you, but if you like brasher wines it will be perfect for a platter of mixed grilled meats.
2 stars

Felice Scarpari Vinum

This is the same wine as the Botticino, and again a 2007, but is aged in the Minera Pezzaze Marsoli in the Alta Val Trompia -- an old iron mine -- whose tunnels are at a constant 95% humidity and 9 degrees C, about 48 F. The neck of the bottle is covered with gum Arabic, which transpires but keeps mold from forming on the cork, while the bottles stay in perfect darkness for 365 days.
It's the same deep ruby as the other wine, and has a deft bouquet that's somewhat brighter than the base wine, and also more brambly, with brambly berry fruit supported by balsamic accents and clean spice. Deft, and the lack of light may contribute to its slightly greater youth and finesse. On the palate it's bright, with clean sour cherry fruit supported by moderate brambly acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fairly bright tannic finish with a sour berry fruit overlay. On the palate the difference is more marked, with the Miniera displaying considerably greater finesse and elegance. Quite pleasant, and the difference that total darkness makes is surprising.

Felice Scarpari Botticino Riserva 2006

This is from a careful selection of grapes, and spent 6 months in large wood after temperature controlled fermentation. A slightly more charged black cherry ruby with white rim. The bouquet is more closed than the younger wine, though energetic swishing brings up berry fruit laced with spice and alcohol. It's still coming together, and brings to mind a person who is pulling his coat tight around his shoulders. On the palate it's medium bodied and brisk, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by warmth, some tart acidity, and tannins that have a warm peppery burr and flow into a warm slightly tannic finish. It needs time and will come together well. I would give it 3-5 years, and open it with a steak.
2 stars

Scarpari has also decided to introduce something new, a Botticino Chinato. They want a wine that's not overly aromatic:

Felice Scarpari Punta Castello Vino Aromatizzato alla China

The wine is a 2007, and is 16% alcohol. Ruby with brilliant reflections. The bouquet is intense and characteristic, with sweet warm red berry fruit shot through with quinine and herbal accents mingled with powerful spice -- nutmeg, cloves, hints of mint and more -- and underlying sweetness. On the palate it's pleasant and fairly rich, with initial sweetness and cherry fruit supported by dusky quinine bitterness that also contributes tree bark accents to the tannins, and flows into a long fairly sweet quinine-laced finish. Their goal was to make a wine to finish the meal with, one that would be less strong than a cordial -- a good thing considering the alcohol limits in force in Italy -- and they have succeeded. It will be a nice, rather particular way to wind up a meal.
2 stars

No comments: