Italy beyond Tuscany Recap

Post date: May 15, 2011 5:21:08 PM

So much has been said about the Super Tuscans that we needed to look beyond Tuscany at the other great wines of Italy. In doing so the Wine Lover’s Group discovered some extraordinary wine values.

The top wine of the evening was the 2009 Cantine Valpane Barbera del Monferrato ($16). This wine from the Piedmont region of Italy had it all. Great fresh fruit flavor, balance and finish. By the time I headed back to West Concord Liquors, Chris Saia had sold out of the wine to other ABNN members. (He did order me a case which I am now enjoying.)

Among the white wines we tried that evening there were two standouts, the Aragosta Vermentino 2009 ($14) a crisp white wine from Sardinia and the ColleStefano Verdicchio ($16) from the La Marche region. The Aragosta showed lots of white Burgundy Chablis characteristics. It has a distinct pleasant minerality that pairs perfectly with shellfish, seafood and delicate fish. The ColleStefano Verdicchio was preferred by our guests that wanted a wine more fruit forward with acid to balance the wine. I was really pleased to find this to be as good as the much more expensive Verdicchio di Castello Jesi.

Barolo is a great wine if you are willing to wait. I tried my best to get the Paolo Scavino Bric Del Fiasc 2003 to open up. I decanted it at noon. I ran it through the Vintori multiple times. I shook it vigorously to aerate it. Niente! At the end of the evening you could begin to see what this wine will be like in another fifteen years. The Barolo is a legitimate 92+ point wine from a very good vintage.

“Scavino’s 2003 Barolo Bric del Fiasc is without question the most balanced of these 2003 Barolos as it has more than enough fruit to stand up to the wine’s structural components. A big, dark, brooding wine, this richly-textured, sumptuous Barolo is packed with sweet dark fruit, chocolate, menthol, smoke and spices that coat the palate with superb intensity. Not for the faint of heart, it is an over the top, extreme Barolo that captures the freakishness of this vintage. That notwithstanding, this wine has an enviable track record and with bottle age it will likely develop into an outstanding Barolo. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.”

Our friends at West Concord Liquors were able to get us an exceptionally good deal on this wine. When this wine hits full commercial release expect it to retail for $105 per bottle.

The other wines that evening included a Tizzonero Montepulciano 2007, Masi Campofiorin Valpolacella and a Adriano Adami Prosecco. Each of these wines were well made and representative of the regional style of wine but didn’t have the strength of character to earn anything above honorable mention. The Adami Prosecco was a bit of a disappointment for me. It was good, but not a good value at $16 per bottle.