Italian Wines

There has been some seriously good wine consumed at the Red House (TWD HQ) and at events. At home we’ve had some awesome Italian wines. All red and a lot of them have been because customers have tipped me off.

If you want more information or would like to order any of them (or all of them) you can email me or call 0418 23 04 82.

I love the wines from Veneto, and in particular from Valpolicella (including Amarone) as seen here, here and here. I think they have a good cross over point from new world wine drinkers who want to put their toe in the water in Italy. They are also extremely yummy, which makes them great for wine drinkers in general.
Allegrini is one of the best Estates in Valpolicella leading the ‘modernist’ charge.

Two awesome examples of the native Valpolicella style with a twist.
Modernist with a cause.

Allegrini La Grola 2008 $57ea I really enjoyed this wine. It is a blend of the traditional Valpol variety Corvina with a bit of Syrah(Shiraz). It had all the vibrant and rich, blue/black fruits, dense but fleshy fruit weight and the floral, leather and earth notes you’d expect. But it had lovely restraint and structure and a little bit more tannin and acid than I would expect from Valpol, which I would attribute to the Syrah. Beautiful balance and really a joy to drink. Will age very well.
Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2008 $52ea This is a blend of the three traditional varieties plus some Sangiovese. This wine uses the ‘ripasso’ technique (refermenting a wine on the skins of Amarone wines. More info) which adds more alcohol, weight, fuller tannins, and makes the wine more overt. It certainly had a lot of impact but still some nice finesse, and a lot of savoury characters.

Dolcetto, one of the best varieties from Italy in my opinion.
Dolcetto, the little sweet one… with massive tannic fangs!

Conterno Fantino Dolcetto d’Alba 2008 $41ea This guy has made an appearance before in our Wines to drink now March. The wine has a really expressive nose; dark, jubey red berries, smokey, violets & lavender, plums, meaty, raw oak.
Balanced, crunchy acidity, gritty tannins, great mid palate flesh, blue berries and chocolate, quite dry and savoury despite what the nose would suggest. A great wine for slow cooked meats in particular.

Ugly-antico… What?
Who here knows knows a lot about grape variety Aglianico? Not me that is for sure. My favourite Italian wine reference book “The New Italy” tells me that it was introducted by the Greeks into Campania and it spread to Basilicata and Puglia. It makes full bodied, well structured and generous wines that age gracefully. It highlights Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Vulture DOC as two examples to watch out for.
Being from the Southern regions of Italy I was not expecting elegance and finesse like Barolo or Barbaresco, or the lightness of fruit but density and savoury core of Chianti. But my favourite tasting reference – my palate – tells me it is a substantially good variety. Very reminiscient of good quality Australian warm climate Shiraz in terms of weight, balance and structure. But with the more typical Italian savouriness, texture and refreshing acidity.
Having bought some for a customer I tried some myself, here is what I thought.

Aglianico, a beautiful variety for the Australian palate.
The family that revolutionised Irpinia winemaking.

Mastroberandino Taurasi Radici DOCG 2006 $90ea Antino Mastroberandino revolutionised winemaking in the 70s in the regions of Irpinia and surrounds. Today, the wines from this Estate are still amazing. This wine offers an array of red berries fruit, dry, baked earth and a clay like density. There is plenty of volume in the mouth and it is well balanced by the oak tannins and fine acidity.
Despite it’s weight, this wine was quite refreshing and very easy to drink.

Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Rosso DOC Serpico 2007 $130ea The New Italy tells me this is one of the best producers in Italy. So it is not a surprise that, for my palate, this was probably the most impressive of the Aglianico wines.

Two awesome Aglianicos.
Feudi di… One of the best producers in Italy, and hardest to photograph.

Quite dense nose, red and dark berries, pepper and savoury/spicy/gamey notes, a clay or terracotta like note in there and even a slightly floral lift.
The palate had great depth, plenty of intensity, great persistence of flavour and almost perfect balance. Certainly on the young side but it is very drinkable. I suspect it will get better with time though.

Feudi di San Gregorio Aglianico di Taurasi DOCG Piano di Montevergine 2002 $120ea It is great to be able to taste a slighlty older example of Aglianico. This is from a single vineyard Piano di Montevergine and is released as a Riserva.
The extra aging in oak and time in bottle made this wine a lot softer and more round, but the structure was still there. As was the lovely depth and intensity of flavour. The extra dimension of developed, leather and undergrowth characters made this all the more enjoyable.
I do have a slight question mark over whether the cork was doing it’s job as well as it could. I will consult with the customer who bought some to see what his experience was.

Culture del Vulture?
Basilisco, easy to say, easy to take pics of.

Azienda Agricola Basilisco Aglianico del Vulture DOC Basilisco 2006 $70ea This was the only Aglianico not from Taurasi that I tasted. I found it to be the most straight forward, round and soft of the four Aglianicos, but it was also the cheapest. It showed lovely dark fruits and plums, a hint of chocolate and plenty of body. It was incredibly enjoyable and was awarded Tri Bichieri (Three Glasses) in the Gamberro Rosso – a much respected Italian wine guide (to put it simply).

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