On the Road with the Grape Guy16 Jul 2021
- Category: On the Road with the Grape Guy
(March 2021) ... This “web show” had been in the works for a number of months before it finally came about. Dates were offered up as potential, but due to conditions and other factors that I'm sure have to do with getting wine into the country, the delay stretched on ... Finally, Gambero Rosso was able to have their show and we (as journalists) were privileged to enjoy these wines.
Who is Gambero Rosso???
Gambero Rosso is an Italian food and wine magazine and publishing group founded in 1986. The name translates to “red prawn” which is the name of the tavern in Pinocchio (where the fox and the cat dined). They have produced 24 editions of “The Italian Wine Bible” including the new 2021 edition.
The web show was broken down into two parts, held over two days (March 26th and March 30th) - each day eight wines were highlighted from throughout Italy - and each was specially selected by Gambero Rosso because of its high quality in showcasing Italian wine excellence.
Below are my selections/notes from the day one tasting:
(rating are out of 5 stars and appear at the end of the tasting note)
Casale del Giglio 2020 Anthium Bellone (Lazio)
I had tasted Giglio’s Cesanese previously, and was so impressed I created a video review of it, so the winery was not new to me. What is new is this Bellone grape, which, as it turns out, is on the rise in popularity in Italian restaurants, although it is in limited plantings at the moment. The first vintage of this wine was in 2014. The grapes are harvested at the end of September, it is then macerated on skins (for aromas) and then gently pressed - finally it is wild fermented (partially in wood). The results are a wine with a nose that hints at peach, pineapple, mineral and vanilla; the palate is very fruity with notes of tropical, citrus and even some salty minerality finishing with notes of white peach. It's a lovely wine with texture, structure and beautiful minerality. (****)
Video Review of This Wine
Poggio Le Volpi 2017 Roma Rosso Ed. Limitada (Lazio)
"Manlio Merge laid the first stone of the winery in 1920, when he began to produce and sell bulk wine.” - Gambero Rosso
A blend of Montepulciano, Syrah and Cesanese is grown in volcanic soils and spends one year in barrique. The nose is full of gentle spice and blackberry while the palate has a softness and juiciness to it: cherry and blackberry with a savoury / herbal character and meaty texture (almost chewy). It has a lovely balanced Zinfandel-like character that has a juiciness even while the tannins manage to keep it all in check. (****)
Coppi 2017 Don Antonio Primitive (Puglia)
"The family business [was] established in 1976 by [the] Father, Antonio, who took over a winery founded in 1882.” - Gambero Rosso
This 100% Primitivo has lots of smoky dark cherry notes along with spice ... but it’s surprisingly fresh and light, considering it's 14.5% alcohol level, probably, and due in part to the great acidity, keeping this wine in balance (which is quite the trick). Fruit forward but backed with character, structure and deliciousness. (****+)
Speri 2016 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Sant'Urbano (Veneto)
"The family were among the first to link their wines to their vineyard of origin ... Owners of one of the most beautiful vineyards on Mont Sant’ Urbano for over eighty years." - Gambero Rosso
70% of the wine is made up of Corvina Veronese and Corvinone with both Rondinella (25%) and Molinara (5%) - aged in 500L Allier oak casks (French) with 24 months and in 20 to 40 heciliter barrels for 18 months ... It’s not usual to call an Amarone "delicate” but this one maintains that with notes of licorice and spice, plus an incredible balance, even at 15% alcohol, which is hardly even noticeable - instead it's the dark fruit and acidity that takes center stage ... After 5 hours open it turns floral with lively cherry, and some smoky notes along with cigar box and chocolate: smooth entry, big tannins on the finish with an explosion of fruit / oak and spice mix. (**** ½)
Late Arrival ...
There were two wines that were late arrivals due to being “blocked at customs”. One wine for each tasting this is a wine was from part one that arrived late.
Dal Cero - Renita Corte Giacobbe 2018 Soave Runcata
"The areas of Ronca and Terrossa, on the slopes of the Calvarina, Crocetta and Duello volcanoes, represent a new frontier for Soave." - Gambero Rosso
This Soave is made from the winery’s oldest vines (80 plus years) and are grown at high altitude, helping them to retain good acidity. Not your typical (read: chuggable) Soave, this one shows complexity like beeswax and floral on the nose with honey, lemon, floral and minerality on the palate. (*** ½)