Three from Italy

Hello friends. It has been exciting watching the development of Antonio Galloni’s new site (Vinous) after he parted ways with Wine Advocate. I consider Galloni about as strong a source of information and as strong a palate as there is covering Italy. Many of his best reports highlight underloved regions or under-the-radar producers in mainstream regions. We have both types today:

2007 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino

Starting with the latter type. Brunello is certainly mainstream, serving as it does as one of the world’s beating hearts of Sangiovese, but Mastrojanni is anything but. We were able to secure a terrific price on this parcel (we’re well off the release price of $65, and as low as I can see nationally in a cursory internet search). Getting that tariff required grabbing the entire remaining stash, which we were all too happy to do. So this is in the warehouse and ready to go right now, and it’s now sold out, at least in the Seattle market.

Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “($65); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

I agree with much of this note, but I’d pick a nit with the drinking window. Already garnet at its rim, for me this is in the middle of its drinking window and should be consumed within the next five years. Perfect for immediate gratification. I love the maturing leafy and mushroom notes to pair with dried cherry fruit. This is autumnal, crepuscular, evocative, with loads of smoky earth (almost like a peated Islay Scotch), licorice, and cherry-pit bitters. The finishing swallow is fine-grained tannins, softening and evolving but still redolent of chamomile. Characterful juice indeed.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles.

2010 Terlano Pinot Bianco Riserva Vorberg

I’ve been looking for interesting producers in Italy’s great northern Alto Adige, which has more in common with Alsace and Austria than Rome. And I’ll admit it was entirely Galloni’s introductory text for this winery that sent me scampering off for samples:

“[TEXT WITHHELD].”

The best of the bunch that we sampled was indeed their Riserva Pinot Bianco Vorberg bottling, a glorious white drinking somewhere between Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner, whose only drawback was the meager quantity available. But we grabbed the entire parcel again (yes, I know this is against the FP business model; thank goodness we don’t have a board of directors), which is (barely) big enough to warrant inclusion in an offer.

Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

Please limit order requests to (sorry) 2 bottles.

2008 Le Piane Boca

Staying in the north, Boca DOC definitely qualifies as an under-loved region. One of the smallest and northernmost parts of the Piedmont, we’re far from the stars of Barolo and Barbaresco here. In this part of the world, they blend Nebbiolo (called Spanna here, and it must be 70-90% of the cepage) with grapes like Croatina and Vespolina. With a terroir formed from old glacial lake moraine (you can see the lakes on the map), these wines are generally lower-alc, higher-acid, and earthier/more minerally than their southern neighbors.

Le Piane has become something of a reference point winery for the region, and this bottling is 85% Nebbiolo and 15% Vespolina, aged in large Slavonian vats for 36 months. In a recent tasting, the wines of Le Piane were impressive across the board, but Boca DOC was the star of the show, a breathtaking pastiche of rose petals, earth, mint, and savory umami notes, carried on an electric, vibrant, live-wire palate.

Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 96pts.”

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles.

Two of the three wines are already in the warehouse, and Le Piane should arrive in about a week, at which point all will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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