Three Geeky Italians

Hello friends. Has it been too long since we have flown the geek flag? I think so. Today, let’s get our inner wine nerd on in Italy. Each of these probably deserves its own offering, but there are only so many days in the year, so we’ll roll them all into one, and I’ll try to keep the verbiage for each to a minimum.

If you’re looking for a dose of the Italian vanguard, a mixed bag of today’s wines will serve you well indeed:

2009 Coutandin Pinerolese Ramie

Among the most compelling wines I have tasted in 2012, this comes from the Pinerolese Ramie DOC in the mountains west of Turin (approx. location here). This is alpine winemaking at its finest: the vineyards at 2500’ and inclines of 70%-90%, such that Daniel Coutandin had to build a small monorail just to harvest the fruit from the ancient rocky glacial slate soils. A blend of indigenous varietals that would make a Master Somm student’s head spin (30% Avana, 20% Chatus, 20% Bequet, 15% Avarengo, 15% Barbera), this is fermented all with indigenous yeasts, sees no oak, and clocks in at 13.5% alc.

It is as thrilling an expression of mountain terroir as I can think of: a blast of alpine-fresh cherry fruit, mineral, pine resin, pine forest underbrush, and a fat tarry streak running right down the middle. Incredible fruit intensity, purity of alpine character, and most importantly: the taste of something new. Glorious juice, and a great label too. Just 150 cases produced, and only 35 cases imported. I don’t think anyone else in Seattle has picked this up yet.

2011 Matteo Correggia “Anthos” (Brachetto)

Brachetto is frequently sparkling and sweet (like a red version of Moscato D’Asti). Here we have a still, dry, version: 100% Brachetto grown in Roero. From a winery that was on fragile footing after the 2000 death of Matteo Correggia, who helped establish Roero’s reputation, but has since displayed a renaissance under the late Correggia’s wife, Ornella.

Blindfolded, you’d swear this was a white wine, with its aromatics of white flowers and tropical fruit. The palate brings an unusual, alluring mix of green papaya, red licorice, and orange-peel bitters. Loads of complexity for the tariff, all on a vibrant, light-bodied frame. Weird and wonderful.

2009 Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba “Marghe”

Okay, admittedly not the geekiest, but still: Nebbiolo D’Alba that could be identified as such for $14? That’s a rarity. This shows mentholated red cherries and cherry blossom and blood orange on an easy-drinking, soft-tannin, fresh-acid frame. It’s an honest Nebbiolo, now with a little bottle age, and I suspect the only reason for its price drop is the (gasp!) 89pt score from Galloni:

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni): “($19); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 89pts.”

First come first served up to 12 bottles of the Nebbiolo and 12 bottles of the Brachetto. Please limit Coutandin order requests to 4 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. All the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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