Italian Red and White Wines (September - December 2014)

In this brief article, I will review the following wines:

1989 Bruno Giacosa Barolo “Rionda” Riserva  
1990 Altesino Brunello Montosoli  
1990 Guiseppe Mascarello, Barolo “Monprivato”  
1997 Solaia  
2001 Vernaccia di Oristano
2004 Calabretta Etna Rosso  
2007 La Stoppa “Macchiona”  
2008 Sardus Pater, Sulsic, Carignano, “Nur”  
2010 Agricole Parovel Vitovska “Vinja Barde”  
2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo “Frizzante”  
2010 Tenuta Terre Nere, Etna Prephylloxera, “La Vigne di Don Peppino”  
2012 Occhipinti “Il Frappato”  
2013 Punta Crena, Rossesse, Liguria  

Red Wines

2010 La Stoppa Trebbiolo "Frizzante" 

Tart and peppery nose followed by a juicy blackberry palette with an interesting finish that alternates between sweet and earthy. Perfect match with spicy salumi and cig kofte, kibbe and Adana kebab. Not to be scorn at. 90/100

1997 Solaia

Sweet red and black berries, tree bark, cedar and tobacco aroma. Silky, sexy and sweet and underlying acidity keeps it alive. Earthy finish. At its peak. Successful example of international style. Actually better than 97 Sassicaia. 13.5% alcohol. 92/100

2007 La Stoppa "Macchiona"

Earthy, dried red berries aroma. A bit pruney but acidity saves it. The fruit disappears fast and the medium-long finish is earthy and spicy and has some heat. It became more fruity in glass. An intriguing wine which went well with an earthy Bolognese sauce linguini. I found the cheaper “frizzante” better balanced though. 15% alcohol. 88/100

1989 Bruno Giacosa Barolo "Rionda" Riserva

A great Barolo. Still no browning at the edges. Both the aroma and palette is complex and the finish is sweet and delightful. Iron minerals, spices, freshly roasted Jamaica blue mountain coffee, tar, ginger, touch anise and cumin nose. The palette displays a range of flavors of earth, spice and both red and black fruits which are candied but not heavy due to perfect acidity. The tannins are felt in the finish showing that this will continue to improve. Clearly the wine has not been over-extracted and the tannins have not been polished through micro-oxidation. This is what great Barolo should be with a unique depth but rarely is. 97+/100

2004 Calabretta Etna Rosso

A very good Nerello Mascalese. The aroma is Burgundian with soft spice, sweet red and black berries. Silky texture, well integrated tannins. Pinot like Napoleon cherry, black raspberry, blueberry on the palette. The fruit is sweet but not jammy. There is an iron-mineral finish coming from volcanic soil in the medium-long finish. The acidity is buried in the fruit. 94/100

1990 Altesino Brunello Montosoli

This is an elegant brunello with melted tannins, good fruit and underlying acidity which is in proportion with the mostly cherry and pomegranate fruits and a medium long finish with touch earthiness that developed over 2 hours. 92/100

1990 Guiseppe Mascarello, Barolo "Monprivato"

Outstanding and at its peak but will hold. Complex and intoxicating aroma with rose and sweet flowers and summer berries. Tannins have melted and acid-fruit-tannin are all in perfect harmony.  The texture is silky and elegant. The fruit is reminiscent of the small and white colored Ottoman strawberries of my youth, along with blueberries. The finish is iron like minerality and the sweet fruit lingers. Complex and gives great pleasure. 97/100

2010 Tenuta Terre Nere, Etna Prephylloxera, “La Vigne di Don Peppino" 

Good but not as good as Calabretta above. The nose is more attractive than the palette with Burgundian notes of soft spice and ripe plums and black berries. The palette is slightly diluted and all elements have not yet come together and the oak detracts from the overall pleasure. The finish is complex with iron minerality and a green-herbal element. Maybe the year was quite hot and it is possible that over time the wine will become jammy. But I had very good bottles before so there is hope that this will give pleasure in five years. 89+/100

2013 Punta Crena, Rossesse, Liguria

A very light red which gives pleasure. The nose is very floral. Low acidity, no tannins (carbonic maceration?), soft red fruits, peach, cantaloupe, strawberry. 89/100

2008 Sardus Pater, Sulsic, Carignano, “Nur”

Quite earthy, fungus and wild thyme aroma. Mostly black fruits are on the ripe side but not over-extracted and the medium finish is interesting reminiscent of red clay soil. This wine has character and quite different than old vine carignane from Priorat. Paired well with a stew of wild boar, venison and goat with a rich tomato and saffron broth. 91/100

2012 Occhipinti "Il Frappato"

An interesting Sicilian that goes against the trend of jammy wines in the region. Freshly cut herbs, grass, cranberry juice cinnamon and ginger aroma. Light and zippy on the palate with tart red raspberry. Short to medium finish is herbal but not green. 12.5% alcohol. I like this food friendly wine. 90/100

White Wines

2010 Agricole Parovel Vitovska "Vinja Barde" 

My first experience with Vitovska from Friuli. This is a lean, clean, focused white with a saline and floral nose and very precise pit fruits backed by underlying bracing acidity and crushed sea shell type minerality in the finish. Smooth texture. 92/100


I did not write down the producer but wanted to highlight this high alcohol, oxidative wine with a saline finish (reminiscent of Manzanilla sherry) as an excellent accompaniment to a rich bottarga pasta, as well as fregola with tuna hearts and sea urchin.