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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

More Northern Italian Wines - August 30, 2006

And then last night (8/30/06) I inflicted on my group another set of Some Obscure Northern Italian Wines:

  1. AloisLageder Portico dei Leoni IGT: Vigneti della DolomitiRosso (Merlot/Cabernet/Lagrein; www.Lageder.com; 13%) 2002: Med.dark color; strong black curranty/earthy/minerally low kep/ smokey/ pungent/oak almost Burgundian/smokey very attractive nose; tart earthy/dusty/ minerally black curranty/slight herbal/grapey/blackberry some smokey/oak very interesting flavor; long dusty/ earthy some toasty/smokey/oak minerally/black curranty/plummy finish w/ some tannins; much like a Friuli Merlot w/ structure; quite an attractive red w/ good minerality; good price at $16.00

  2. Martilde Martuffo del gliane (PinotNero; 13%) 1998: Med.light color; unpleasant wet dog fur/ oxidized/tired nose w/ no fruit left; tart dried out/tired/wet dog fur/oxidized flavor w/ no fruit; this wine as see'd better days (I presume). $18.00

  3. CabanoN Augurio IGT: Provincia di Pavia (13%; 60% Croatina) 2003: Med.color; quite earthy/dusty/ walnutty some plummy/black cherry/licorice/grapey nose; tart bit thin/lean fairly tannic quite dusty/earthy low fruit slight plummy/black cherry flavor; med.long bit thin fairly tannic low fruit finish; passable rustic/rough peasant red. $14.00

  4. Fratelli Agnes Vignazzo Croatina (13.5%) IGT Provincia di Pavia NV: Dark color; very fragrant very spicy/black cherry/cola/cherry cough syrup/DrPepper/plummy slight tarry loads of fruit nose; big/ripe/lush very strong plummy/black cherry/cola/cough syrup rather tannic/bitey some pungent/ earthy/tarry flavor; long rich/lush grapey/plummy/black cherry/cola/DrPepper quite spicy/fragrant finish w/ fair tannins; needs several yrs; huge fruit w/ lots of interesting things; great structure and balance; great price. $22.00

  5. Fontanarossa DOC: OltrepoPavese RossoRiserva (13%) CantineVilide/Stradella 1998: Dark color; bit tired/aged earthy slight smokey/tobaccoy little fruit nose; tart/elegant bit tired/dried out slight tobaccoy/smokey no fruit old Chianti-like flavor; med.short tired/dried out/tannic light tobaccoy finish; rather tired & aged. $20.00

  6. Marco Donati Sangue di Drago DOC: TeroldegoRotaliano (13%) Mezzocorona 2002: Very dark color; intense blackberry/very plummy/Mourvedre-like loads of fruit slight toasty/oak slight dusty/cola very interesting nose; softer very lush licorice/plummy/blackberry huge fruit bit toasty/smokey/oak some tannic flavor; med.long lush licorice/plummy/boysenberry bit toasty/oak some tannic finish; needs a few yrs; loaded w/ ripe fruit, great structure, and a gentle hand w/ the oak; very attractive yet distinctive wine; some like Mourvedre. $45.00

  7. Tenuta Uccellina Burson IGT: RavennaRosso (13%) 2003: Very dark color; quite earthy/dusty /walnutty / loamy rather plummy/grapey/quite spicy classic Longanesi varietal nose; tart bit tannic walnutty/ earthy plummy/grapey/meaty quite spicy/fairly lush flavor; long bit tannic walnutty/loamy very plummy/spicy slight metallic/minerally finish; very classic Longanesi varietal character; a very interesting rustic Italian wine at a good price. $17.00

  8. Tenuta Uccellina Burson IGT: RavennaRosso (14.5%) 2002: Very dark/black color; rather alcoholic very ripe/overripe/pruney very intense grapey/black currant syrup/pomegranate molasses/licorice/ jammy rather Recioto-like some PasoRobles Syrah-like unusual nose; soft some tannic very ripe/ overripe/raisened/pruney licorice/pomegranate syrup/plummy slight oaked very jammy flavor; long somewhat tannic very ripe/pruney licorice late harvesty/jammy finish; very much like a dry Recioto w/ not nearly the interest of the '03; maybe more attractive w/ some blue cheeses. $26.00

  9. Girolamo Dorigo Schioppettino DOC: ColliOrientali del Friuli (12.5%) Buttrio 2003:Med.dark color; earthy bit blackberry/grapey strange gunpowder/metallic/used fireworks interesting nose; tart bit lean/hard earthy somewhat metallic/blackberry/plummy fairly earthy/pungent flavor; med.long bit tannic/hard minerally/earthy/metallic finish; somewhat interesting but rather strange wine. $25.00

  10. Borgo di Fradis DOC: Colli Orientali del Friuli Schioppettino Troi Dal Tas (12.5%) 2002: Med.dark color; very pungent/smokey/charred/burnt/oak low fruit slight musty/corked nose; tart very charred/burnt/forest fire/oak dusty/hard slight blueberry flavor; med.short charred/ burnt/oak little fruit finish w/ some hard tannins; pretty heavily slammed w/ well toasted oak; maybe just a bit corked that robbed it of its fruit. $32.50

  11. Picchioni Rosso d'Asia IGT: Provincia Do Pavia (14%) 2001: Very dark color; rather minerally/ gunpowder/metallic/iodine/gunflint earthy/dusty slight black cherry/fruit interesting nose; tart some lean/tannic/hard minerally/gunpowder/used fireworks bit DrPepper/cola/dusty slight black cherry fruit flavor; Med.long bit hard/tannic minerally/gunpowder slight licorice/pungent/ cola finish; interesting but sorta strange wine. $27.00

  12. Pichioni DOC OltrepoPavese Sangue di Guida (9%) 2003: Very dark color; earthy/dusty DrPepper/ black cherry cola huge/grapey/soda pop slight licorice nose; tart slight frizzante very grapey/ strawberry/black cherry cola/Nehi soda pop slightly sweet bit licorice/dusty flavor; med.short very grapey/soda pop/black cherry/jammy/DrPepper finish w/ little tannins; a lovely bright/ frivolous very grapey wine for non-serious drinking at a great price. $10.00

  13. BrunoVerdi Sangue di Giuda Paradiso DOC: OltrepoPavese Sweet RW (8%; www.MadRose.com; 65% Croatina, 20% UvaRara, 15% Barbera) 2004: Very dark/black color; intensely grapey/Lambrusco- like/black cherry/juicy/soda pop/RCCola some earthy/dusty loads of grapey fruit nose; tart very grapey/black cherry/cola/RCCola no frizzante off-dry/slightly sweet flavor; long intensely grapey/black cherry cola slightly sweet finish w/ light tannins; great drinking stuff. $15.00

  14. Cascina Ca'Rosso Birbet Mosto ParzialmenteFermentato (5.5%) Ferrio Angelo/Canale NV: Very light color; lovely perfumed/fragrant Nehi strawberry soda pop/laser-bright alpine strawberry some lactic/Philadelphia Cream Cheese terrificly aromatic nose; quite frizzante sweet bright/vivid strawberry soda pop/alpine strawberry/grapey slight PhiladelphiaCreamCheese/lactic slight earthy wildly vivid/fragrant flavor; med.short intensely grapey/alpine strawberry/Nehi soda pop sweet finish w/ no tannins; crazy/exotic/wild frivolous great drinking stuff; beautiful Roberto. $19.00

  15. ElioAltare Dolcetto d'Alba (14%) 2004: Very dark/black color; intense/fragrant plummy/blackberry/ grapey loads of fruit slight dusty/earthy nose; soft/lush bit licorice rather plummy/grapey slight dusty lightly tannic flavor; long very grapey/plummy/jammy loads of fruit finish w/ light tannins; one of the best Dolcettos I've had; great drinking stuff. $16.00

And yet another boring BloodyPulpit:

    1. Uccellina Burson: Here's what Roberto has to say about #7: Consorzio Il BagnaCavalo Burson Ravenna Etichetta Blu 2003, Emilia Romagna  $16.99. This is only the second time that any bottlings of this ultra rare wine ever brought to  America (you demolished the first load last year!). They are made from an ancient native  variety called Longanesi which has grown wild in the pine forests of
    Romagna since pre-Roman  times until revived from obscurity ten years ago by Alberto
    Rusticali of Tenuta Uccellina.  Very dark in color with rich pomegranate and red plum fruit
    supporting a smokey, gamey,  spicy, bring on the food and fun attitude bursting out of the glass.
    504 bottles for the  Western Hemisphere. This wine comes from the far Eastern part of Emilia-Romagna, near the Adriatic. These two  Bursons were as different as night and day. The '02 had a very ripe/over-the-top character  that reminded me a lot of dry Recioto. The '03 was much more
    restrained, less overripe, and  far more interesting to me. Is Longanesi the next great grape??  Nope....already way far too many varieties in Italy.

    2. Same salamis, round two: For some reason, I like the Bertoli Fra'Mani much more than I did Monday night. Rather garliky and quite tasty. I don't know who make the DiBruno Sweet Toscana, but it's also quite delicious as well.

    3. Sweet/fizzy wines: I absolutely loved the last three wines. I've
    served the Riunite Lambrusco in my wine classes often to demonstrate how bad wine can really be.
    Of course, no serious wine geek would drink sweet/fizzy/red wine when you can drink Barolo
    or Chianti Classico. You have to have SOME standards!!    My mind was changed 5-6 yrs ago when I ordered the charcuterie plate at Paul Bertoli's Oliveto in Berkeley. It was suggested by the sommelier there that I try a glass of their Lambrusco with the dish. I gave him this utterly disdainful look..."I ain't drinking NO LAMBRUSCO', knowing that my taste was far beyond that junk. Jeeeezzz...the nerve of the guy. So he brought me a glass of their new Barbolini Grasparossa di Castelvetro (an
    Oliver McCrum Import), gratis. Whatta eye-opener that was. Now I done see'd the light and those
    wines are my choice w/ salty/ smokey cold cuts.    I liked these last three a bit better than the Barbolini I had then. They were much more intensely grapey than the Barbolini that I last had a month ago, though that btl may have sat around on the shelf several yrs. Serious Lambrusco doesn't just fly off the shelves; it's very much a hand sell.    The Birbet is a genre that is made in the Roero from Brachetto grapes. This Ca'Rosso was the first Birbet I've ever had and I was blown away by it.    These sweet/fizzy red wines are a genre I'd like to see pursued more in Calif. I think they could do them very well there. Are you listening, Randall?? He's made a sparkling Freisa that he called Cold Duck or some such that I really liked. But a ParzialmenteFermentato Zinfandel?? Ohhhh...I just tingle all over at that thought!! And then after they succeeded with that genre, then they could give it a ton of new/toasty/Fr.oak and get the alcohol up to 16%....now we're talking real wine!!!

    4. Brachetto & Freisa: Now here are two varieties that I'd like to see pursued a whole lot more in Calif. I was first introduced the them by Darrell Corti in the late '70's when he brought in all the Scarpa/Piedmonte wines and those were in that bunch. Wildly fragrant and perfumey. They, and Marzimino and Aleatico, should be given a whole lot more attention. Of course, I wouldn't want to be the Marketing guy for whoever would make them; they'd be a tough sell in this Cab/Chard-ocentric world.

    5. Altare Dolcetto: This was Larry's mystery wine. I correctly identified...errrr...guessed it to be Dolcetto. He was incensed at Monday's tasting that I would deign to liken the Bonardas to Dolcetto... so I sorta guessed he'd try to trip me up. He failed.    This was one of the best Dolcettos I've ever had. It far/far more fit the profile of Italian Dolcetto that I've been told Dolcetto has than many of the ones I've had here in the USofA. Really tasty stuff.


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