Posts Tagged ‘Italian wine’

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Prunotto Occhetti Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009

Vintage: 2009

Style: Full bodied red.

Country: Italy 

Region: Piedmont, d’Alba 

Overview: I have never imagined Nebbiolo as a pretty or elegant variety, it is a brute that requires manhandling to make it do what winemakers want it to do and even then it remains defiant. Nebbiolo is a variety that is lighter in colour but higher in tannins. It requires extended aging in oak for the tannins to soften. When young and unoaked these tannins would be far too aggressive to be a pleasurable drink. Imagine trying to drink a cup of black tea made from 20 teabags that had been left over night to infuse. When these tannins soften the spice and herbal characters of this grape shines but still Nebbiolo really needs a few years in the bottle to come into its own.

The most famous example of wines made from the Nebbiolo grape is Barolo. Barolo wines are produced in Piedmont of Italy and must be at least 90% Nebbiolo. Some Barolo can spend up to five years in oak and 3 years in the bottle aging. It has been said that a Barolo needs at least 10 years aging before it is approachable.

The wine in this review spent 1 year on oak but is from the d’Alba region which grows a more approachable style of Nebbiolo but in saying that I did find the tannins were quite powerful without food. With food where this wine really impresses. Tannin needs protein to bind to so have this with red meat, piles and piles of red meat. This wine is also a fraction of the price of most Barolo.

Tasting note: The brick colour of this wine could be unappealing to some but keep in mind that this is typical of Nebbiolo, it turns orange very quickly. A brambly, minty nose. This mint carries on to the palate. Pepper, chocolate and blackberry foremost on the palate which way to spicy cedar and dusty tannins.

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Final Say: Looking for a wine to throw in the cellar and forget about for a few years? Look no further. Give this brute five years in the cellar and you will be rewarded. It sells for around $45 a bottle.

 

Score: 17 out of 20

 

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Jack Davis

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Pieropan Soave 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Dry white

Country: Italy 

Region: Veneto

 

Overview: “How soave”, drum roll and a dry cough, tumbleweed tracking across the keyboard. Sorry, couldn’t help myself there, puns are like bad jokes, they sound so good as they are leaving your lips but once they are out there, spoken and free there are always followed by a cringe and a moan.

Soave is an Italian white wine that is produced in the Veneto region of Italy. Soave is made from a grape variety called Garganega. The name sounds like an evil Transformer. Soave is made up of 70-100% of this variety but other varieties can be blended in small quantities. These varieties include Trebbiano and Chardonnay. Never heard of the variety before? I’m not surprised, there is only one producer that I know of in Australia that produces Garganega, Domain Day in the Barossa Valley (If there are more I’d love to know about them, email below).

The wine in this review is probably the most recognized Soave outside of Italy, it’s made up of 85% Garganega (Michael Bay, I’m watching you. You’ve ruined my favourite childhood cartoon and I will not let you do the same to poor old Garganega) and 15% Trebbiano.  Soave Classico means that the fruit comes from a specific area within Veneto. This fruit comes from the hillsides around Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone.

 

Tasting note: Aromas of straw, lime juice and underlying mineral tones. A palate of spice, rich pineapple, melon and elegant citrus. Well integrated acid helps the wine linger.

 

Final Say: This is a benchmark Soave, elegant and rich. It will match well with seafood and delicate pre-dinner dishes. If you’re familiar with other Italian styles such as Pinot Grigio and Arneis but want to try something new give this wine a go. It sells for between $30-$40 a bottle.     

 

Score: 18 out of 20 (90 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

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Jack Davis

 

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Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti

Vintage: 2009

Style: Medium red

Country: Italy

Region: Tuscany

 

Overview: Sangiovese may be a variety that is relatively new to Australian grape grower but it a variety that has been used in the old world for a very long time. Its prolific use dates all the way back to the 16th century and its origins reach back even further.

I see its name often tease the Australian consumer who has never heard of it before, firstly it taunts them with the pronunciation of its name. My favourite attempt at sounding out its name has been ‘sag-nee-o-vay-see’, apparently the order of the letters has no importance in this case. Often when presented with a lovely Sangiovese I see the consumer’s face drop and they look to the fool presenting it to them with a look on their face that says ‘well you tell me how to say it, smart@#$%’. To help the consumer associate the variety with something they may know the presenter says, ‘Sangiovese is the predominate variety used for making Chianti’. Finally, a light of recognition, the consumers face lights up and they say, ‘So it’s sweet?”… NO! NO ITS NOT SWEET!!!!!! Damn the cheap imports that came through a decade an ago. Damn those sweetened reds, packaged in bulbous bottles and a straw cage. These sweet, cheap reds did what Blue Nun did to Riesling.

It may sound like I am a little to invested in this but it is a personal pet hate of mine. Sangiovese is savoury, spicy and complex just as the wine in this review is, a great example of what Sangiovese and Chianti has to offer.

 

Tasting note: A spicy nose, pepper and cedar. Sour cherry on the palate joined by the spice mentioned on the nose, cinnamon and other savoury spices. Soft tannins and a great length on that allows the wine to linger after each sip.

Final Say: Help me dispel the myth! Go out and try this, savoury, complex wine. Enjoy with lighter red meat dishes. It sells for around $35 a bottle. PS, please pronounce San-gio-vee-se

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20 (93 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

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Jack Davis

 

San Vincenzo Anselmi Bianco 2010 I.G.T

Vintage: 2010

Country: Italy

Region: Veneto

 

Overview: Sauvignon Blanc is a variety that wine enthusiasts love to hate and everyday punters love to drink and even though our market is flooded with cheap Sauvy’s at the moment I do believe they play an important part in helping beginners understand wine. The main reason being that the characters are so easy to discern. If you tell somebody who is tasting a Shiraz for the first time that they should taste flavours of blackberry, pepper, tobacco and spice they generally look at you like your head just exploded from your body. However, if you tell someone who is tasting Sauvignon Blanc for the first time that they should pick up characters of passionfruit and cut grass they normally pick it up on the nose, even before they taste the wine simply because the flavours are simple and pungent not layered and complex. Cat’s piss and sweaty arm pits also sit in this category of pungent Sauvignon Blanc characters. Wine Educators teaching flavour association should try trading tinned passionfruit for novices to sniff next to a glass of Sauv Blanc for a vial of cat urine and a quick rub of their sweaty armpit on their student’s nose.

So I can hear you saying, what, in the name of sweet baby Jesus does sniffing cat’s piss and licking armpits have to do with the San Vincenzo Anselmi Biano? Well just like Sauvignon Blanc works as a bridging wine for wine amateurs so too does this wine ease beginners into Italian wines. It is a little bit more pungent and rich which would help accustom a novice’s palate who is not used to the subtle fruit and minerality of Italian whites.

Tasting note:  Upfront herbaceous aromas on the nose, cut grass, sandalwood and ripe citrus. These flavours follow through onto the palate joined by characters of pear and finishes with a fresh acidity.   

Final Say: This is a fun wine, while it doesn’t display the minerality and subtleness that I love about Italian whites I do see its merits and think it’s a great buy for around $20 a bottle. If you are curious about Italian whites but haven’t tried any before give the San Vincenzo a whirl.

 

Score: 17 out of 20 (85 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check you the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

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