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Italian Reds – North vs South 1st July 2013

Regular readers of this blog will know I love Aglianico, Nebbiolo and well Italian wine in general. So with access to some lovely older Aglianico, known as the Barolo of the South, I thought why not taste them side by side. I don’t find that Aglianico tastes an awful lot like Nebbiolo. What it does do is keeps its tannin and acid in the hot dry climate down south but doesn’t get cooked in the sun or have to be picked unripe. Its ability to age is undeniable after this tasting.
For interest sake I included some curios to compare and contrast. Nero d’Avola from Sicily and an Amarone from Veneto in the North East. With all the corners of Italy covered when just had to taste the wines.

Feudi Di San Gregorio Aglianico Metodo Classico Rose’ DUBL Campania 2006 Despite Aglianico being responsible for bold reds of deep colour, strong flavours and firm structure they have managed to finesse elegance, subtlety and wonderful perfume out of the grapes to make a stunning sparkling that would stand up to the best Champagne has to offer. Rose petals, red berry fruits, dry spices and much more in layered underneath. The palate has good richness on the middle but the Aglianico structure keeps this wine taut and refreshing. Stunning drinking.

After mingling and discussing the quality of the sparkling (it is seriously good) we went straight into the reds.  

Feudi Di San Gregorio Piani di Montevergine Taurasi DOCG Campania Aglianico 2002 Vibrant, blue fruits, pure, Bordeaux like, spice. The palate has good structure and is fine and elegant. Definitely one for the Bordeaux lovers. Not sure if this wine will get much better but it won’t be failing over in the near future. Well worth tasting, this was the equal second favourite wine of the night.

Salvatore Molletieri Cinque Querce Taurasi Riserva DOCG Campania Aglianico 2004 Savoury, earthy, smoke, oxy fruits. This was very dry on the palate, earthy with some tea leaf notes. This didn’t quite have the freshness and purity of the Feudi but packed a punch in terms of structure. Lovely drinking and voted wine of the night.

Marabino Riserva Archimede Sicily DOC Nero d’Avola 2008 Having tasted the junior version of this wine not that long ago I had high hopes. And I was not disappointed. At first there was a bit of dissent about if it was faulty or not. But a bit of time saw that to not be true. Very earthy, herbal and blue fruited. This is a complex and savoury wine with hints of darker berries and compost. In the mouth it showed sweet dark fruits, compost, lanolin, aniseed and a port like quality. The vibrant fruits took the focus away from what was a firmly tannic mouth feel with a good amount of zippy acid. A wine that creeps up on you. Fantastic!

Punset Barbaresco DOCG Piedmont Nebbiolo 2005 This was just classic old school Barbaresco. Brown/orange, earthy, hung meats, dry spices. and a large amount of fine but firm tannins. Stunning wine that I’d count as a ‘must try’ as proved by being voted equal second wine of the night.

Tedeschi Amarone Classico Veneto Rondinella Corvina Molinara 2007 Amarone is an experience in its own right. Tasting it after all of these beautiful reds we almost didn’t need to go on. The big and complex flavours were plentiful. This is a dense wine showing prunes, herbal, red and black fruits, spice, smoke and much more. The longer it sat the more layers you detected. The palate is plush and beautifully rich. There was plenty of alcohol and great balancing structure. As I said, Amarone is an experience.

Mystery Wine Domaine Tempier La Migoua Bandol 1998 Silky, liquorice, bold flavours and Bordeaux like fruits. The palate showed a bit more Chateauneuf/Grenache silk and vibrancy. Tempier is just magic. Every chance you get to try these wines do so.

Chateau de Fargues Sauternes 1998 Elegant, refined and classy. What else would you expect from the family that owned Chateau d’Yquem? This is made identically to the famous d’Yquem estate the only difference is terroir. de Fargues offers lightness and grace, refreshing acidity and plenty of complex marmalade and citrus notes. The sweetness was at a perfect level for end of night sipping or starting the evening.

Tempted to try this at home? You can find all the products here.