Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Castellari Bergaglio Gavi 'Fornaci' Cortese 2009 (Piedmont)

Sherried at the front, honey and lemon juice through the middle. Aromatics are quite subtle, lemon, pear and dry hay. Length is good, mostly about a salty, mineral character and the last bits of the mid palate. Like an aged cold and flu remedy, in a way. The kind of wine you like, but are not quite sure why.

Perhaps it is because I like the Cortese grape, something the Lost Valley winery in Victoria provided my introduction to.

This 2009 Gavi (a part of Piedmont close to Liguria) comes from the Castellari Bergaglio winery and the 'Fornaci' is a reference to a brick furnace that used to be found on their site. Tasted over three days, with and without food, and looked best on the second day.

Brought in by Trembath & Taylor.

Cork, purchase, $28-35 for the current vintage which is the 2012 pictured, 13% alcohol, website here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feudo Zirtari Inzolia Chardonnay 2011 (Sicily)

Lemon juice and curd, a bit of dry herb, a salty, briny lick of flavour, this attractively-priced Sicilian white blend of Inzolia and Chardonnay is a Costco offering. Not a wide, mouth-filling shape of Sicilian white, but there is solid flavour here, especially in the mid-palate. Length, not so much, but with a plate of sardines I think this might take some beating as a $10 white.

Gift, $10, screwcap, 13% alcohol.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2012 (Südtirol / Alto Adige)

Lots of flavour in this Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio, mostly in the pear (gris) spectrum. A little dried apple and the faintest trace of citrus, carried along by residual sugar to a finish that is astringent and slightly hot. Just under four grams per litre of residual sugar left in this, but it sticks out as much as the alcohol.

On the plus side, there is a screwcap and the price is reasonable if you are looking for a lighter style gris, or heavier style grigio, to pair with richer foods. Sound, but could have been picked a little earlier (or cropped a little lighter) and fermented out to dryness, for my palate.

Tasted with a simple, gentle Spring pasta dish of bucatini with broad beans, chilli, garlic, mint and fresh goats curd.

Imported by Negociants, purchase, screwcap, $20-$25, alcohol 13.5%, website here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Querciabella Chianti Classico 2010 (Tuscany)

Brought in by Beaune & Beyond, this 2010 Chianti Classico from biodynamic Tuscan producer Querciabella needs some time to settle and mesh. Previous Querciabella Chianti releases have had a 5% boost from cabernet sauvignon, but this 2010 is all sangiovese. Oak use is a small amount new and the majority as one or two year old French barrels.

Gentle, subtle, even-tempered, this is a good example of mid-weight sangiovese suited to a wide range of foods. Lamb sausages went well; even better, a garlic and balsamic dressed green salad.

But there is something brittle about this wine, verging on unconvincing. On first tasting, it was all-akimbo, jangling mixes of fruit, acid and tannin, lacking harmony. It took time, and a spell for the decanter in the fridge, to tighten up and pull together. So if you have some of this, be careful about serving temperature, give it time in a decanter, or leave it alone for another year or so.

Worth a look closer to $30, questionable value at $45.

Purchase, cork, $38-$45, 13.5% alcohol, website here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico 2009 (Tuscany)

The Vecchie Terre di Montefili site, between Panzano and Greve, is high (550m), rocky and low in soil fertility. Aside from the incongruity of those cypress (which reminds me a little of a Jeffrey Smart painting), you can see the stone and almost feel the sparseness of these soils, holding back the natural vigour of Sangiovese.

This 2009 Chianti Classico is 100% Sangiovese and is deep, dark and rich, especially to look at, where it is purple verging on black. Usually that would be a possible flag of blending, but this is all Sangiovese and all about the warm 2009 vintage. The rich, ripe fruit, full of black cherry and dark bramble berry, is reined in with varietal tannin washing over the mid-palate and carrying through the finish of the wine.

For my personal tastes, I would prefer a little less ripeness here, more brightness and red fruited character, but this is a balanced wine and would be a good match for richer Tuscan dishes like a peposo beef and pepper potter's stew. A good t-bone grilled over rosemary would suit this too.

Purchase, cork, $32-$40, 13.5% alcohol, website here.

Peter Zemmer Pinot Bianco 2012 (Alto Adige / Südtirol)

Here's a good example of a flavoursome white from the north of Italy that does not rely on fruit character. The Südtirol / Alto Adige producer Peter Zemmer makes a dozen different whites with an interesting split into two categories: wines with varietal character (like this wine) and wines with regional character. Smart and clear for the market, I suggest.

This Pinot Bianco from the 2012 vintage is ripe and long. Nothing along the line of the wine says any particular fruit character; lemon being as close as you might get. What you have here is some fresh acid and non-fruit flavour, particularly a mineral character that is almost salty (in a good way). Very easy to drink and fair value if you can get it under or about $30 a bottle. Good cork too.

Went very well with a spring risotto of peas, asparagus & french tarragon, made with an asparagus stock. Would suit schnitzel, I suspect.

Purchase, cork, 13.5%, $29-$37, website here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fattori Roncha 2011 (Veneto)

Continuing my run of northern Italian whites.

Fattori is a family-owned and run producer, operating since the 1970s out of the Veneto. Their white wines come from a mixture of varieties grown on the basalt slopes of the Alpone valley, including the hills of Roncà.

This 'Roncha' white blend starts with 50% Garganega, including 5% of partially-dried grapes. Pinot grigio (picked a little early) and Trebbiano di Soave are 20% each in the blend. The final 10% component comes from the late-ripening, high-acid Durella variety.

The fruit sees a mix of stainless steel and barrels, but the complexity, the sense of 'work' in the wine is quite subtle. The most distinctive feature here is a clean and clear hit of mandarin flavour and mandarin acid. Perhaps this is the Durella influence, but regardless, this is the most mandarin-y wine I can recall having. Tasty, bright and fresh, yet not lacking fruit weight, this was a good fit with a Cantonese meal and I think even better with dishes containing fresh or dried citrus.

$28-$35, cork, purchase, 13% alcohol, website here, imported by Deja Vu Wine Company.