My new grape crush seems to be Teroldego. Possibly. We only have two different ones available here so it’s impossible to make any generalisations. The cheaper one, Mezzacorona, was kind of meh but still kindled my interest enough that I bought the expensive one. But Foradori 2014 – Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, 12,5% abv; c.30€ is seriously tasty. It has vivid, bright berry aromas of the kind that promise saliva-inducing tartness on the palate. And it is just like that on the palate. Sour and acidic and with pure fruit. This is tasty.
Is the grape always this much fun? Is Foradori typical of it? Which other producers should I try?
I dropped into an Alko looking for something new I hadn’t yet tried. I spied this recent arrival and an acquaintance working in that Alko told me that it’s certainly worth trying and was really nice. Our tastes are alike enough that I will always trust a recommendation from him.
Jean Stodden Blanc de Noir Spätburgunder 2015 – Ahr, Germany; 12,5% abv; 7 g/l RS; c.23€
It’s almost colourless. The first surprise is how aromatic it is. I was expecting something a bit neutral from a still white made from Pinot Noir. But no. Rather it has tantalising, fleeting glimpses of red wine Pinosity: strawberry fruit and even a touch of damp earth. To be clear, it is an aromatic white with spice of the non-oaky kind and crisp forest berries being the dominant scents – but I really never would have expected such Pinosity from a white Pinot. But I don’t know if that’s my mind being biased and thinking that the lack of Pinot’s skins should make it neutral; or whether my mind is putting these Pinosities into my nose when they aren’t even there. I think I should stop writing about wine if I can’t even figure out where my mind is going wrong with this wine.
It tastes quite yummy, too. Ripe and sweetly fruity with playful, joyful acidity that makes it incredibly moreish. The very slight RS doesn’t bother me one bit. Clean, pure and fun. Even knowing the tastes of who recommended it to me, I was still surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It’s just a bit pricey for a fun, crisp, joyful, aromatic white. Take 5€ off the price and I wouldn’t complain.
There are some styles of wine that I have found extremely difficult to get to grips with and that I genuinely very, very rarely like. Sauvignon Blanc (even from the Loire) is such; Amarone is another; Barossa Shiraz one more. Sure I have had nice examples of each of them, but the ones I dislike are in such a great majority that I don’t dare use my own money on them. But I was persuaded to try an Amarone today since I like weird, freaky and natural wine and this is a producer that identifies with that religion.
Tenuta Sant’ Antonio Tέlos L’Amarone 2011 – 15,5% abv; Corvina 70%, Rondinella 20%, Croatina 5%, Oseleta 5%; c.40€
It smells strongly of medicinal herbs and tomatoes/rust/bell pepper; plenty of dried fruit; very dark fruit tones. Rich, concentrated, nicely tannic, slight sweetness (12 g/l rs) and amazingly perfectly integrated alcohol which I never would have believed from 15,5%. Well balanced for such a big wine. You can’t tell this is “natural” wine – it most certainly is not in the freaky end of the “natural” spectrum. It just seems like a typical Amarone except that it is far more drinkable than almost any other I have had.
So did this convert me into Amarones? Nope. But it does seem like a very well made wine and though still far from styles I genuinely love, even I found this perfectly drinkable and interesting enough to post a note here.
But we also received a “natural” white from the same producer that I tried some time after.
Tenuta Sant’ Antonio Tέlos Il Bianco 2015 – 12,5% abv; Garganega & Chardonnay; c.20€
Well this scent is quite weird: it is a right punch up the nostrils, a combination of candied sweetness in the fruit section (well, there’s a fruit aroma so vivid from my childhood in East Africa that Proust would be proud: it’s guava!) and really quite extreme sourness, very much like in those sour sanded candies I so loved as a child. Now I know we’re supposed to differentiate between the scent and the palate and the nose can’t sense such things as sourness and the palate can’t sense much more than structure. But I’m not so sure the brain compartmentalizes things like that but rather looks at the whole so can we just roll with it and not make too much of an issue of this? The whole was strange and unique and it was strange and unique in ways that were fun and exhilarating. Sophisticated? No idea and I don’t care. I think that sometimes interesting, rather than refined or sophisticated, is the new 100 Parker points. But if this is my idea of guava + childhood candy concentrate, it might not be. But that doesn’t make it any less fun. So on my –∞ to +∞ scale this certainly receives a solid +100 points.
Finnish wine bloggers all agreed to taste Travaglini’s Gattinara 2011 and post about it today. I of course completely forgot about it. But I’ve always rather liked the wine so I thought I’d be fashionably late to the party and buy one today to try since it’s a year I haven’t had before. So, half a day late, here are my thoughts on the 2011.
It is its usual lovely little self. It doesn’t need massive amounts of decanting to be aromatically open and is wonderfully approachable even at such a young age. It has lovely bright aromatics, all sour cherry and rust/blood and earth. Nicely tannic and bright on the palate, not too tight or ungiving – though it’s good to remember I like proper structure so those who prefer softness in wine might think it’s a bit tough at this point. Clean and refreshing and moreish.
It’s a happy wine with proper Nebbiolo character though the character is in a fairly easygoing style. I really enjoy this kind of wine.
The other bloggers who took part:
Occasionally I still try wines from styles I know I don’t really enjoy. Today it’s a New Zealand Pinot Noir. Yes, yes, yes, I know there are several terroirs in NZ where PN is grown so I shouldn’t make such sweeping statements about the whole country. But at least the examples that have been available here have tasted pretty much the same wherever they were from – this is probably due mostly to a small sample size, but also because the more unique, smaller producers just haven’t been made available to us.
I’ve seen very positive mentions of Greywacke, especially their wild Sauvignon Blanc, so I had hopes that this might be something outside of the uniform mould that our other NZ PNs have been. So was the Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 different? Or was it another confected, oaky, Ocean Spray -style mix of tartness and extreme sweetness?
Well the good news is that it wasn’t your stereotype and that it did not remind me of tart but overly sweet cranberry juice. But the bad news is that it was massively oaky and quite frankly whatever personality it might have is pretty much lost underneath all that glossy oak and ripeness. It is still recognizably PN but, well, for 36€ I’d want a lot more from it than a kind of big, kind of anonymous, but perfectly innocuous PN in the big, oaky style that is made pretty much everywhere.
I do like the acidity on the finish, though. It makes a big oaky wine surprisingly moreish. This is the kind of wine annoying friends will probably open for me in 10 years and say: “ha! I told you so! you were just being intolerant of oak! see how well it’s integrated now!” Yeah, well I still want to spend money on other wine than this despite what my future annoying friends will say.
Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Savagnin 2011 – 13% abv; c.33€
Nice floral scent but it is also steely and stark. With air, it even becomes a little yeasty and gets the tiniest stench of wet wool which actually IMO works very well in such amounts. So it’s an ouillé style of Arbois, aged so for five years before release: squeaky clean and unoxidised. But it is a pretty tasty wine anyway, though I prefer the ones that make me say “ooh yeah!”. Clean, crisp, good bite, refreshing, citric, high acid. Nice.
Ironically it is rarely the ouillé-style wines that make me say “oooh, yeah!” Rather I tend to make such exclamations with the oxidative, wilder styles. And though the ouillé Savagnin was perfectly nice, I am more than happy that the other Arbois is not an ouillé but an oooh, yeah!
Domaine de la Pinte Cuvée d’Automne Arbois Savagnin/Chardonnay NV – 13,5% abv; c.30€
Now this is good stuff. Aged four years ouillé with some of the Savagnin being aged like a Vin Jaune. Wonderfully complex aromas, yeasty, oxidative, kind of Musary except without Musar’s sweet edge and with a more dried fruit profile than Musar’s ripe peachiness. Quite full body, fruity but dry, plenty of grip, friendly sharpness. Incredible length. Very nice.
I am a massive Musar fan. I think many would say that sentence was an understatement akin to describing a hurricane as a gentle breeze. So naturally I will always want to try the newest vintage – usually several times. Well, ok, several dozen times.
The first time I tried the Musar Rouge 2009 I was busy talking archaeology so didn’t really concentrate on the wine apart from noting that it seemed a clear step up from the 2007 and a slight step down from the 2008. Now having tried it again, it would seem my initial impressions – despite not really concentrating on the wine – were correct.
Some Musar fans have complained that it is a bit clean. And it is true that this isn’t a naughty, shitty wine like some of the wildest 1997s have been. But there is some lift from VA and bit of something stinky, the kind that makes one take a surreptitious glance at one’s soles to see if one stepped on anything on the way to the tasting. So pretty perfect amounts of both volatility and shite IMO. Coupled with the sunny but tangy fruit and refreshing structure, it seems a pretty classic Musar. Very good but not great like a 1991 or 1999. I’d be happy to have tons of this in my cellar.