Archive for ‘Italy’

February 27, 2019

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, 2016

Maybe the lightest and most delicate red you’ll taste in a year; like raspberry soda.  Ethereal on the fruit front.  Tannins in spades, flowing like Niagara, but fruity and juicy and like a lure: take another sip.

 

Without any heft, it’s a wash against substance.  Try it as an aperitif or with nothing stronger than buffalo mozzarella or Gouda.

 

As a hot weather red, in the shad of vines spread across a pergola, probably divine.  But in the middle of winter a novelty.  Does not compare to their astounding Chardonnays.

 

Price: A rather hefty $38 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

 

Market Liquidity: Novelty makes a nice diversion, but that’s about the extent of it.

February 24, 2019

Fuiedo Maccari Grillo, 2016

Fuedo Maccari bottles some more than worthwhile reds.  Why not give the Grillo a go?  Crisp, light, sometimes sharp like grapefruit pith, our nominal experience with Grillo is it’s the arch enemy of Riesling.  But it’s a fine line between refreshingly appealing and innocuous.  This teeters towards the latter.

 

Like a whisper of breeze on a humid day, this wine has no staying power.  Not on the nose, not on the palate.  It’s simple, it’s one note, there is only a nuance of tropical fruit, and if there’s anything exceptional it’s how refreshing it could be eating fritto misto on a terrace in Sicily with a view of Malta in the distance where, truth be told, the wine doesn’t have to be very good to make the day especial.

 

James Suckling gave this a 90 and called it full body.  Wow, what planet was he on?  Full body? This couldn’t pass as a limbless bust in the ruins of Pompeii.

 

Price: $27 at Kitsilano Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Like the rat at the end of The Departed: not necessary.

November 20, 2018

Sartirano Figli Cantine e Vigneti Piemonte, 2015

This is a smooth, nearly tannin free red, with juicy tree fruit accents and a delectable smoky finish.  Oak but not too much.  Some Nebbiolo grabs you by the throat and never lets go.  This is more gentle persuasion.  We especially liked the low-ish alcohol content.  It sipped brilliantly, evocative as it opened, but was a bit of a shrinking violet with red meat.

 

Here’s the thing: Browse a bit online and you will find plenty of dissatisfaction, adjectives like sour, disappointment, undrinkable.  A mere two stars over at the Sunday Times wine club.  Yet nearly 10 stars in Denmark.  Then only three stars at an Italian blog.  So it goes.  Perhaps we scored with the 15?

 

Price: Gifted, but in the 30 range at private wine stores. With 60% consumed in Europe, you’re unlikely to find it handily on the West Coast.

 

Market Liquidity: Likeable but not lovable.

August 24, 2018

Il Grigio da San Felice, Chianti Classico, Riserva 2009

From the cellar: The Wine Advocate came out with a 93+ points rating for the 2009 Il Grigio (in 2013).  We bought six bottles.  I have rarely been more in accord with (what I call) The Robert Parkers.  The only regret is that six was far too few.

 

We drank our next to last bottle this week and nearly wept.  It was like velvet, slathered with cream, topped with faux fur resting on a water bed; it was like Ellington and Coltrane In a Sentimental Mood; it was like Frank singing Nice ‘N’ Easy crossed by Ella singing It Never Entered My Mind; it was like a zero gravity chair on a Quaalude.  It really was.

 

Last time we got around to reviewing this Chianti, proper content review, the layers of floral flavour, the muted tannins braced against a woodsy tang, the gorgeous lip smacking fruit bomb of it all, we were in similar awe.  This just keeps getting Wow and more Wow.  But the strange thing is of all the Il Grigio we’d drunk since the 09, nothing has measured up.  It’s like a good standby, an old reliable, but the 09, as I say it’s pure Wow: This is what it’s all about when it comes to lying down wine.  Buried treasure.  Sangiovese rocks.

 

Price: $18.60 USD in 2013; around $30 CDN for the current vintage.  Stellar value.

 

Market Liquidity: Manna from heaven.

June 8, 2018

Monte Del Fra Ca’ Del Magro, 2015

Superiore bianco indeed.  Fragrant and floral.  Enticing.  Light and lovely.  The yum in yummy.

 

A crazy legs blend of Garganega, Treviano Toscano, Tocai, Cortese, and then a smidgen of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Malvasio.  Aging on the lees is what the reviewers write.  Wine drinkers will just enjoy.  Or should just enjoy.

 

A most desirable departure from the usual suspects.  Here comes summer.

 

Gobs of gentle fruit, more blossom and aroma than meat, gorgeously balanced, a tight, acid finish with a plummy aftertaste.  Beautiful on the palate, a superb aperitif, and very friendly with light cheese and seafood.  Who can complain?  Buy six for the patio.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $23 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: It writes happily, Best Wishes from Napoli.

May 18, 2018

Cannonau di Sardegna, 2014

A relatively inexpensive red that didn’t impress on the first sip.  In fact it was near offensive.  So we decanted and let sit and low and behold manna from heaven.  Wowza.

 

Honestly, you could be on a rocky outcrop in Sardinia.

 

We’ve spent about a month focused on BC wines, some we love and repeat (Culmina, Bartier, Haywire, Sea Star) and others it’s a dabble.  But how refreshing to take a step back in time.  There is simply no red in the Pacific Northwest that comes out of the bottle with this much sense of place.  The only thing missing was cellar dust on the neck.  Two kraters please.

 

Price:  $26.50 at Kits before tax (but buy six and take a 10% discount).  Or pick it up for $17 in Toronto.  Sigh.

 

Market Liquidity: Golden like the Golden Girls.

March 12, 2018

Masseria Li Veli, Fiano, 2016

A light and refreshing “summer sipper” which as spring arrives prematurely suits the urge for fresh asparagus alongside seafood.  Puglia churns out some unusual but really appealing simple wines, relatively easy on the budget and novel enough to warrant a second purchase; we are always up for a test run.

 

Metallic like pure Semillon, hints of menthol, acidic and tangy as it hits the tongue, peach and honey on the palate, a soft nutty finish.  Umami without the other four components.  The proverbial “drink now” white wine.

 

The surname, an incidental pun on lively in English, seems apt.

 

Price: $26 at Kitsilano Wine

 

Market Liquidity: The only thing missing is effervescence.

August 18, 2017

Foradori Teroldego, 2013

First time ever we’ve blogged about a Teroldego.  Probably have had some in one of our many trips to Italy but don’t recall.

 

Overripe plum (in a juicy, appetizing sense), un-hulled strawberries (in a not so perfect balance sense), a smoky medicinal top note (in an interesting and provocative sense) and a striking acidity on the finish (in a palate cleansing red meat sense).  We found it exceptionally good drinking in that curious unusual out of the ordinary way you do when testing a new varietal.  But, honestly, we didn’t think it was quite as great as the generous lauds its picked up globally.  Maybe one of the most interesting and unusual reds readily available at BC Liquor?  Enormously food friendly; not your go-to sipper.

 

Price: $34 at BCL before the extras.  And kudos to BCL for having it on the shelves in the first place.

 

Market Liquidity: Delectable in a deer in the headlights sort of way.

July 19, 2017

ColleStefano Verdicchio de Matelica, 2015

Colossally satisfying.  This isn’t your classic verdhicchio in a fish shaped bottle.  It’s hard to find (in Vancouver), reasonably priced (all things considered BC-wise), ridiculously food friendly, and just good drinking.  Organic to boot.

 

There is something Orange Julius peach fuzz Creamsicle about it, with an oily nuttiness underlying the stone fruit.  It has gobs of flavour without being cloying.  Decanter listed it as one of their top verdicchios; we couldn’t agree more.

 

Price: Around $30 in private wine shops, give or take; if you’re smart, you’ll shop where they discount on bottles of six, and you’ll get six.  You won’t be sorry.

 

Market Liquidity: Just make the effort to find it.  It’s all reward.

July 17, 2017

Castel Del Monte Tormaresca Trentangeli, 2014

Puglia, down in the boot, produces some lively wine, without the heft of Tuscany (meaning price tag).  We are very fortunate that here in BC the Liquor Board stocks an enormously appealing and not too expensive red which is not only delectable but organic and can be sourced across the province.

 

This is an ideal red for the patio, for the BBQ, for sipping and eating and socializing.  It’s not top of the game, it’s no Brunello, on the palate it lacks, but the finish is all love, joyously generous, and in a group you can drink three bottles for under $75.  That is, unless you order it in a restaurant, where it will run you an exorbitant $55 or more.

 

It’s in Smithers, it’s in Stewart; it’s in Kaslo it’s in Fruitvale.  I think the Italians would approve.  And I believe it’s worth more, all things considered, than the 89 points Gismondi gave it.

 

Price: $19.50 at BC Liquor before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: I think if socialist filmmaker Ken Loach gave his seal of approval to wine he’d give this a gold star.