This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005

UK Wine Forum - Italy part IV

N.B. older Italian notes are archived here.

reds - whites


03/04 1998 Monsaccione - Coppo (Lange)
This unusual wine was made from 100% Freisa, a native varietals of Italy. Medium plum red, I smelled a complex nose of dried red cherries and rose petals, herbs and a little Syrah like smokiness. Vibrant acidity with more cherries on the palate, well made and with a clean if not exciting finish. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 2000 Il Bosco - Tenimenti Luigi D'Alessandro (Cortona)
Made from 100% Syrah, this was a dark plum red. Ripe morello cherries with a touch of burnt rubber. Is there too much sulphur showing at present and will this integrate? Medium bodied, smooth as velvet with ripe but slightly drying tannins and a good length. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 1997 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella
Dark plum red, the nose was pure mulberry, a little black liquorice and slightly sweet. Full bodied, spicy, not overtly sweet for my palate but ripe and well balanced. Long length and highly enjoyable. Definitely drinkable now. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/04 Montresor Capitel della Crosera. Ripasso 2000
Ok...ok!!.. So not an amarone to start but a delicious example of the ripasoo style. I liked this alot, fruit laden, sort of sour black cherries and dusty tannins. Yum. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Tedeschi Capitel san Rocco. Ripasso 2000
Oh well not another not amarone but corked. Shame as underneath the corkiness there was a good weight fo wine. Really foul to taste though! (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Sartori Amarone Classico 1999
Lovely nose.No bitterness. Cherryade inital palate but not really any initial bite (cf clive coates grip?)Improved dramatically 2 hours later when I really liked it. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Pascua Amarone Classico 1998
Complex nose, different animal to the Sartori. Lots f licorice on the palate, a worse intrinsic wine that the previous offering. Too disjointed at present with the alcohol really Sticking out. Not for me (and still not for me 2 hours later...!!) (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Tedeschi Amaorone Classico
initally similar to the sartori Sour cherry fruit, no tannin present more oaky, and a better wine thatn the Pascua (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Alligrini Amarone classico 1998
Really looking forward to this.. (RP95 points) Oh dear what a let down. seeet fruit and licorice on palate, more international is style (hence the PP's) very long (30s) but worth 30 UKP? "No way jose!" Some discussion ensued re Alligrini' wine generally I having commented that the Grola nad Poja VP classico's are super examples of the style. I thought this Amarone was not really a typical example. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Speri Monte St Urbano 1998
A bit spirity this one but lots of fruit and gentle tannin. MUCH better QPR than the Allegrini. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Alighiere Vaio
(Not sponsored by Sony)bright cherry fruit here almost raspberryish. Made by MASI. Here is the first bit fo Tar of the night. Simple though and not really worth it. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 MASI Costasere Amarone Classico 1997
Much better structure, more open and black cherry/coffee/vanilla. Long palate, very loively. The best wine so far. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 MASI Campalunga di Tarbi 1997
16% alcholol. Phew! Big acetone nose and too much of an alcholic fruitbomb for me. Too "in ya face". and not my style. The Costasere is SIGNIFICANTLY Better. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 MASI Mazzano Amarone Classico 1997
VERY complex, this has class and good acidity with damson and dark fruit. decent structure too. Thanks, I'll have more of this.! (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Montresor Capitel della Crosere Amarone Classico 1997
Bretty here on the nose and i like it. naother well balance offering. Very drinkable. More please! (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Tommasi Amarone Classico 1997
oakier, too much tannin and spirit here. However later tasting revealed a really nice wine. I liked this. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ca del Monte Amarone Classico 1995
Old style wine,making here with some initla oxidationn on the nose.I thought more ina raisiny style, balanced and very long. Preferred the Tommasi but neither are stunning. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Zenato Amarone Classico
stunnning. All elements rounded out and a lovely soft gentle palate, a real meditatzione wine. Hint of brett, a hint of Va as well, Fabulous. (David Bennett, UK)

01/04 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2000
This is Sangiovese and Colorino with little new oak. Label says 13% alc. Good consistent purple colour. First nose is intense but positively new-oaky, with a meaty red cherry fruit character and a good impression of juiciness. Quite modern and made me say "Merlotish Sangiovese" at first. But on the palate it is very varietal with a recognisable cherry juiciness and a sharpish or hardish type of acidity which is showing slightly too austere at this stage perhaps. Showing quite structured but not at all overpowering, this wine is quite stylish and integrates impressively even within ten minutes in the glass. Medium finish where there's a bit more thickness, but still very balanced. This seemed to be the best of the three thanks to a very convincing juiciness and purity of fruit. Excellent Chianti, very balanced for a 2000 vintage. Around 15 euro retail. (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva 1999
A more covered dark purple here. A bit more oaky on the nose with a barnyardy edge, slightly alcoholic (label says 13.5%) and seemingly a bit fruit-hollow at first, it follows the CC in integrating substantially in the glass. An impression of more density to the quite similar crisp red cherry profile, slightly longer in mouth, with a more voluptuous textural feel to te fruit. But compared to the CC this seems to differ by a very small margin, and perhaps lacks an extra degree of oomph or structure to be a real CCR. A very good wine nonetheless. 15 euro retail. (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 Il Molino di Grace Gratius IGT Toscana 2000
100% Sangiovese. Dark but not overtly dark purple. Very sweet- and slightly spicy-oaky on the nose, this is very similar in flavour profile to the two above but perhaps a bit more commonplace. Lots of amarena cherry presented in a very direct style, though paradoxically seems a bit drier and thinner in mouth than the CCR after a while. The whole is very clean, far from an overoaked modern ST style common these days, but like the CCR lacks perhaps an extra gear to make to the top category. Retails for around 30 euro. All in all a good showing for these appealingly classic Sangiovese wines. Perhaps not quite the best winery in Tuscany but Il Molino di Grace deserves to be watched in the future. (Nerval, Poland)

01/04 1999 Poderi Luigi Einuadi – I Filari – Dolcetto di Dogliani
No decanting, and again this 14.5% wine was poured straight into our stemware. Opaque cherry red, the nose is an interesting mix of dry earth, cassis and dry cherries with a hint of chestnut. The slightly sweet entry to my tongue then followed with a powerful and reasonably acidic and tongue tingling bitter cherry palate that persisted admirably. Concentrated (this is the top cuvee Dolcetto of this producer) and young, this wine is still developing but can happily be drunk now with food. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggiolo 2001 Rosso - Il Poggiolo (Montalcino, Italy)
A strawberry red, the nose a pleasant mix of herbs, wet earth and aniseed. The easy drinking mouthfeel and soft tannins led to a respectable length. Nice wine. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggiolo 2001 Rosse 'Terra Rossa' - Il Poggiolo (Montalcino, Italy)
Dark strawberry red, I found elegant cherry with a touch of herbs as I sniffed my glass. Definitely slicker and with more presence than the basic Rosso, this had a longer finish and more presence. The balance was also impressive. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggiolo 1998 Brunello di Montalcino - 'Podero il Poggiolo' - Il Poggiolo
Dark cherry red, an earthy and herb laden nose greeted me. Powerful acidity, the closed palate showed a good length, but I wondered whether there was enough fruit and whether it would ever shine through. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggiolo 1998 Brunello di Montalcino - 'Beato - Il Poggiolo
Dark cherry, the wild herbs really jumped out of the glass and into my nostrils. A slightly bitter sweet and vibrant acidity feel, some dryness from the tannins but not harsh. Long length and a well made wine. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggiolo 1999 Brunello di Montalcino - 'Beato - Il Poggiolo
Dark cherry red, the nose is pure ripe cherries and some herbs. On the palate, this was a stunner. Ripe, and powerful with such a long and interesting length, the waves of pleasure just kept on coming. I actually drank some of this and it really slid down beautifully. Easily the wine of the night for me. 95/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggione 2002 Rosso di Montalcino - Il Poggione
A light cherry red, with fresh cherries and earth on the nose. The expansive palate showed fresh acidity and ripe mouth coating tannins. Impressive for this poor vintage. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggione 1999 Brunello di Montalcino - - Il Poggione
Dark strawberry red, a good mix of cherry kirsch, earth and a touch of aniseed. The mouthfilling tannins certainly make their presence felt, and persist but not too harshly. Good length, but needs 10 years plus from now. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Il Poggione 1998 Brunello di Montalcino - Riserva - Il Poggione
A medium strawberry red, with clean fresh cherries on the nose. The elegant tannins support the fruit, most of which is closed at present. A good wine. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Poderina 1999 Brunello di Montalcino - - Il Poggione
Medium cherry red, pleasant nose with some vanilla from the oak. A big fruit mouthfeel, tannins make an appearance but play second fiddle at the moment. A good length but needing bottle age for complexity. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Togata 2001 Rosso - La Togata
Dark strawberry red, mostly fresh herbs with a touch of aniseed. Good length, more fruit than tannin, balanced, drinkable now and over the next few years. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Togata 2002 Rosso - La Togata
Dark strawberry with banana and crème caramel on the nose! Was the banana nuance a sign of volatile acidity? Certainly less fruit and more acidity than the 2001, drink now while the tannins are still in balance. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Togata 1999 Brunello - La Togata
Dark cherry red, the earthy nose also gave a little herb and ripe plum fruit. Although a silky wine the palate was quite closed but the finish was long and balanced. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Togata 1999 Brunello - La Tagata dei Togati
This is made from a selection of the finest barrels based on tasting. Opaque cherry red, a nose of rich and ripe morello cherries, with the subtle use of oak. A powerful and rich palate with smart tannins, bright acidity and a long finish. An excellent wine that needs time in the bottle. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 La Togata 1997 Brunello di Montalcino- Riserva - La Togata
Dark cherry, a very ripe nose with a dash of herbs. A ripe taste with good acidity and respectable length. Still a baby but definitely an excellent wine. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Marchesato degli Aleramici 2001 Rosso di Montalcino - Marchesato degli Aleramici
Strawberry red, an expressive nose of cherry kirsch and wild herb, a dash of aniseed. Good body, fruit is to the fore, the tannins and balance are in good balance. Drink now and for a few years. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Marchesato degli Aleramici 1999 Brunello di Montalcino - Marchesato degli Aleramici
Strawberry red with mostly earth and herbs on the nose. Silky, strong and with a core of acidity and dark fruits, this was a bold wine. A good length but in need of bottle age, drink this in 2013+. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Barone Ricasoli "Casalferro", 2000
Deep red. Sweet creamy oak on the nose, beautiful and pure with great definition. Lots of tannin in the mouth but with fruit to match and some spice. Grippy and long. Excellent. [NB I was disappointed to learn this was a Tuscan wine, because, for all its undeniable quality, it just seemed to lack character - it could have been a very good wine from virtually anywhere, most notably Australia]. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

11/03 2000 Gersemi - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Fazi Battaglia (Tuscany)
Deep purple black in colour. Dry, elegantly structured. Nice meaty nose. Akin to a good quality Bordeaux but silkier. I now know why I love Sangiovese based wines! (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 1999 Salarco - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva
The Gersemi's older brother that spends 3 years in oak. Very tight and closed up, but one can see the enormous potential.

11/03 1999 Monte del Drago, Azienda Agricolla Musella (Veneto)
An IGT wine made from 50% Corvina and 50% Cabernet Sauvigon. Made from semi-dried grapes. Medium-full bodied, plenty of really nice dry fruit framed by good ripe tannins. Finishes pleasantly bitter. For mine, a better wine than their Amarone. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 1997 Colle Lungo Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany, Italy)
Decanted about twenty minutes before it hit our Riedel Chianti glassware, a dark cherry red was the thing I noted. A pleasure seekers delight of a nose, with fresh cream and morello cherries. Impeccable balance, the cherries open up and linger for a long time. Excellent and still very young. Ron nearly had an orgasm he was so happy with its performance! Of course he own a few bottles (lucky him!). As the evening progressed, the wine gave off a distinctly chestnut nose and more earthy palate. Easily 93+/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Valpolicella Classico Superiore 1995, Dal Forno Romano
Rich, cherry fruit, porty nose. High alcohol. Lots ofoak. Palate has plenty of richness and power, some drying oak. Really quite heroic. Very high acidity. Not bad at all, but a bit butch. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Aramone TB 1998, Tomasso Bussola
Rich, pruney nose. Quite volatile. Really tannic and quite acidic but with real concentration. Plenty of style. Lovely richness. Really rather good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Paleo 1998
Ripe blackcurrant fruit nose, some sweet oak. Sweet fruit palate with some chalky tannins. Good length. Quite buxom. Pretty good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Ripa del More 1997 Vicchiomaggio
From Northern Italy, 100% Sangiovese Cuvee. Black ,this wine was too young and I think slightly closed (I decanted it and deep thick aromas filled the room-three hours later it was mute). The palate was full-bodied and very concentrated with a beautiful balance of deep chocolaty spiced fruits, medium acidity and a long smooth finish. Tannins were high and grainy and lacked integration. Big wine-needs time. Never would have guessed Sangiovese if served blind- I would have guess 70% Cab 30% Sangiovese. (nick wise, UK)

11/03 Tedeschi Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2000
(Aged for a year in Slavonian oak. 12%.) Medium ruby/cherry colour. A pure, fresh valpo nose of red cherries and kernels. Fresh acidity and also a little tannin and minerals. Noticeable oak. Quite light-bodied, as Valpolicellas usually are, with good intensity and length. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Valpolicella Classico Superiore Capitel dei Nicalò 2000
(The grapes for this wine are raisined for a month before cuvaison, with a weight loss of 8-10%. Aged 1 1/2 years in Slavonian oak. 12.5%.) Dense colour, purple at the rim. Dark fruits with some sweetness (ripeness rather than sugar). A more concentrated, rich and full-bodied with terrific acidity. Some oak. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco 2000
(30% corvina, 30% corvinone, 30% rondinella and 10% molinara, rossignola, oseleta, negrara and dindarella. Although marketed as an IGT, this is a true ripasso which has had a secondary fermentation from being filled in barrels with leftover marc from recioto and amarone production. Aged for two years in Slavonian oak. 13.5%.) Quite dense colour, purple at the rim. Sweet-and-sour cherry fruit and dried fruits. Sour cherries in the mouth. Good concentration, great acidity and quite a tannic finish. A very impressive ripasso. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco 1998
Looks more developed than the 2000. Also smells more developed. Slightly high-toned nose. Sweeter than the 2000 in the mouth, but with the signature acidity of the house. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco 1996
Colour slightly less dense and more developed. Bark and earth-like aromas in the glass at first, picking up some sweeter fruit after a while. Moderately sweet fruit in the mouth. Quite noticeable tannins. Stylistically different from the previous two, which is confirmed by Riccardo's saying that the vinification is different pre 1998, with longer maceration giving a more tannic structure with less overt fruit. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco 1990
Brick red. Almost mushroomy nose. [Plus illegible notes.] Again moderately sweet fruit with plenty of acidity and tannin and a dry finish. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi La Fabriseria Rosso 2000
(A kind of Super Venetian -- or is it Super Veneto? The first vintage was 1997. Contains 5% cabernet sauvignon, from partially dried grapes, which are vinified separately. Assembled after a year in French barriques. 13%.) Quite dense colour. Ripe/sweet fruit with violets and some oak vanilla. Quite a big wine, and the fruit seems quite sweet in the mouth (presumably from ripeness, as there is allegedly "only" 2 g/l of RS. Round tannins provide structure. Very good. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1999
(Average weight loss in the drying process is 30-40%. Aged for two years in Slavonian oak. 15%.) Quite a dense red/purple colour. Dark berries on the nose, and quite sweet. Great concentration in the mouth with dried fruits, glycerin and terrific acidity. Not the heavisest of Amarones, but very stylish. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Cepitel Monte Olmi 1999
(A single-vineyard Amarone produced in a similar way to the "normale", but with one year in French barriques and one year in Slavonian oak. 15%.) Looks more developed, presumably due to the barrique aging. Very impressive and expressive nose, more complex than the normale, with herbs and spices in addition to the fruit. Rich and structured in the mouth, with fruit/glycerol and lots af tannins. Nicely dry finish with some bitterness. Excellent. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Tedeschi Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Capitel Monte Fontana 2000
Impenetrable colour. Quite an intense frutti di bosco nose - especially bramble - rather sweet, of course. Rich, sweet cherry fruit in the mouth, with great concentration and balance. Good tannins. Lovely. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo 1999
(1999 had cool nights during the harvest, which resulted in complex fruit in the area.) Slightly brown and not particularly dense colour. Red fruits, tar, oak, spice and flowers on the nose. In the mouth, there is reasonably good fruit with noticable tannins and oak. Good acidity and moderate concentration. Dry finish. Young. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d'Alba 1999
(Whereas I think the "normale" is predominantly from bought-in grapes, this one has about 50% bought-in grapes, and the vines were subjected to considerable green harvesting. 30-40% of the wine spent one year in second-year Allier oak barriques, the rest of the wood aging taking place in Slavonian casks.) Denser (and seemingly younger) colour than the "normale". Richer, darker fruit. Better fruit concentration in the mouth, too, with the signature tannin and oak. And a little salt (!). A more interesting wine. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1999
(Finally, my first taste on La Rosa. The soil is said to be mainly clay and sand, and this is considered the most feminine of Fontanafredda's single-vineyard Barolos.) Quite dense colour for nebbiolo. Perfume not unlike pinot noir from Burgundy, with cherry/strawberry. Flowers (esp. violets). Very elegant fruit in the mouth, too. Considerable tannin, but that's what one would expect from such a young wine, and it doesn't seem intrusive. A Barolo for Burgundy lovers. Lovely. Develops very nicely in the glass. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo La Villa 1999
(From the commune of Barolo, from a vineyard whose soil is richer than that of La Rosa.) This wine too has quite a dense colour. Darker fruits than La Rosa, more spice, more leathery. A powerful wine with powerful tannins, but not too much (for "nebbe" fans, anyway). Good length. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Lazzarito Vigna La Delizia 1999
(From a vineyard at 450 metres' altitude and south exposure. Grapes picked almost ten days later than for the others. Usually considered the most masculine of their cru wines.) Medium depth of colour, slightly brown at the rim. Dark cherries and liquorice. Quite sweet fruit aromas. Powerful fruit and tannins in the mouth. Masculine, indeed. Very young and a very good example of its genre. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1998
Medium depth of colour. Aromas of darker fruits than in the 1999, with moderate concentration. Less fruit concentration in the mouth. More leathery, with some tobacco. Dry tannins. Considerably less impressive than the 1999. Winemaker, viticulture or vintage? (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1997
Not particularly deep colour. Already some brick/mahogany. Typical 1997 overripe fruit. Reasonable concentration and ripe tannins, but not my kind of vintage. (And I've tasted better 1997s, anyway.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1996
(A very cool summer. The grapes were green at the end of August, whereas veraison usually occurs around the 10th. Saved by a warm autumn.) Deeper colour than the 1997. Mahogany/brick. Brown at the rim. (Evidently, this was very dense when it was young.) This is my kind of wine. Flowers-and-spice nebbiolo. Quite leathery with some tobacco. Great spicy fruit in the mouth, too. High acidity and powerful tannins. Textbook Barolo. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1995
Brick/brown at rim. Another fruit, flowers and spices Barolo with some development. Not as concentrated as the previous one, but not bad either. Good balance in the mouth. Not a heavyweight, not massively extracted. Good tannins. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Riserva 1982
Good colour for a twenty-one year old nebbiolo. Slightly amber/orange at the rim. Almost a little hazy. Nose a little closed at first. (We had no information as to whether the wines were decanted; I assume they weren't.) Opening up to prunes, black cherries, spice and a little mushroom. Quite high acidity, which makes the wine seem remarkably young and fresh. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 1978
Brown/orange colour. Very attractive, mature nose of tar, fallen leaves, hazle, tobacco, leather and sweet-and-sour fruit. The fruit develops very nicely in the glass, and in the mouth balances the powerful tannins perfectly. A magic nebbiolo. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

11/03 Fontanafredda Barolo 1967
Good density of colour for its age. Like the 1982, this needs time to open up. Mushrooms (before I've had a chance to write, DD suggests truffles), mint, leaves. DD describes the aromas as "of the earth" (not to be confused with "earthy"). In the mouth, a very old-style Barolo which is very tannic and has reasonable fruit (if that is the right word). Coats the mouth almost like a terrine of chicken livers (!). Fascinating. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

10/03 2002 Baglio Curatolo Nero D'Avola, Villa Tonino, IGT Sicily
Gorgeous nose: warm, spicy and inviting. Round and full on the palate, yet also quite light. Soft tannins on the finish. Very Good Indeed. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

10/03 1996 Ornellaia, Marchese Lodovico
Lovely earthy mushroomy nose with blackcurrant and mint leaf. Very full attack. Excellent fruit, but huge massive tannins all the way through(though these did soften as the wine warmed). Enormous length - just went on forever. Very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

10/03 1995, Frescobaldi/Mondavi, Luce
Current vintages are 50:50 Sangiovese:Merlot - don't know about this one. Packaging - 100pts; Colour - 100pts; Nose - 95pts; Mouth - 75pts. Basically the bottle looks great, in the decanter or glass the wine looks superb. The nose develops over two hours, more and more interesting each sniff. In the mouth good acidity, fruit, drying tannins and . . . . horrible bitter oak, which subdues (a bit) over 2 hours. To be honest it will probably get a bit better with time, but in truth a great wine spoiled! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/03 Michele Charlo 1998 Countacc! (Monferrato)
£18 (US$30, 26 Euro) 'Countacc', I am told, loosely means 'bloody good' in Piedmontese. This premium red is from the Monferrato DOC. A nose of aniseed and wild herbs is appealing. The palate is silky smooth, with red currants and other red fruits showing off. A seam of bright acidity runs all the way through the fruit. The finish is respectable but a tad alcoholic (13.5%). I suspect that this will soften with a couple more years on bottle. It went well with the simple paste dish I ate. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/03 Dolcetto di Dogliani 2001 (Luigi Einaudi)
(13.5%) . Bright, ruby colour. Lovely nose of sweet-and-sour cherries and a hint of grass. Juicy, very fruity wine with unusually firm (but ripe) tannins for a dolcetto. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Barbera d'Asti Vigna Cua Longa 2000 (Alfiero Boffa)
(14% alcohol; 2.3g/l sugar; 5.5g/l acidity; matured in oak for 6 months) . Quite dense colour, maturing at the rim. Slightly hazy. Powerful nose of cherries, oak and chocolate. Perhaps a bit earthy. (The chocolate/oak bit may sound slightly New World, but it comes across as very Italian to me.) Juicy, quite rich. Good structure with a finish of acidity and spice. Give me some food! (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Barbera d'Asti Superiore Lureï 2000 (Il Falchetto)
(14% alchohol; fermented for 25 days in stainless steel at 26-28°C, with frequent remontage; aged in French and Slavonian (Yugoslav) oak for 12 months; average age of vines: 30 years) . Dense colour. Seems richer on the nose than the Cua Longa. Exotic wood/perfumed. Flowers. A big, rich barbera which to me is almost too much of a good thing. Good acidity, though. I would perhaps leave it a couple of years in the cellar. Incidentally, the producer claims this wine can take 10-15 years of cellaring. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Ghemme 1998 (Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo)
(12.5%) . Slightly browning colour. Not entirely clear. A hint of mushrooms and leaves in addition to the usual cherry, leather and tar. Unmistakably nebbiolo. In the mouth, it's juicy and somewhat lighter-bodied than a Barbaresco, with ample acitidy and tannin. Some people in the audience found this wine a bit closed, but I'm sure it would have come across as better had we opened and decanted it well in advance. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina 1998 (Cantina Parocco di Neive)
(13.5%) . Slightly browing, but clear colour, not very dense. Lovely nebbiolo perfume on the nose, with cherries, flowers, leaves and a bit of mushroom. In the mouth it's not as evolved as one might expect from the nose. Elegant, clean. Firm acidity and good (ripe) tannins. I would leave this for five years or so. Very promising wine in a traditional style. (Very modestly priced, too.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Barolo Vigna la Volta 1999 (Tenuta la Volta)
(14.5%) . Dense colour for nebbiolo. Not entirely clear. Intense nose of cherries/dark berries, leather, tar and spice (anise). Very rich and full-bodies (massive, actually). Supertraditional Barolo with a tannin structure to match. Very impressive. Very long. Very young. Not for the faint-hearted. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Barolo Buon Padre 1998 (Giovanni Viberti)
(13.5%) . Quite pale colour. Pure, stylish nebbiolo nose of cherries, tar, roses and mushrooms. More delicate than the La Volta. Quite rich in the mouth, though not as powerful as the La Volta. Good tannin structure. Still way too young. A traditional Barolo of exceptional quality in the elegant, western style. (Barolo/La Morra, as opposed to Monforte/Serralunga.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Amarone BG 1998, Tomasso Bussola
Heroic, alcoholic nose, vastly powerful. Big, butch and burly. It is good, rich and powerful with some sweetness, but I question the balance. A good fighting wine. (David Strange, UK)

09/03 Brunello di Montalcino 1998, Fuligni
Very ripe nose, good cherry/floral perfume. Ripe but not over-blown. Palate is really silky with a nice tannic/acid structure. Great fruit, really nice purity and great intensity. A really top Brunello and fun to drink now. (David Strange, UK)

09/03 Castello Di Brolio Chianti Classico 1999 £25.95
Dark centre with slight lightening at rim, morello cherry nose with woody notes and slight VA lift. Medium bodied,long with good supporting acidity, long finish, slightly furry tannin but very focused and precise. 14/20 80% Sangiovese 10& each of CS and Merlot (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Fontodi Vigna Del Sorbo Chianti Classico 2000 £27.49
Similar colour but utterly different nose, more oaky and diffuse. Richer palate with noticeable glycerin on mouthfeel. Very soft tannins on finish, tastes more "international" and blurry yet more enjoyable for me at least. Very long finish 16/20 90% Sang/10% CS (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Felsina Baradenga Rancia Chianti Classico Reserva 95 £40 approx
Wonderful nose with sour plums and earthy undertones, noticably more mature. Palate however is very austere with sour cherry very intrusive acidity and very high tannin levels. Very long but ungenerous. Easy to admire but difficult to like 13/20 (The group as a whole liked this much more than I did) 100% Sang (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Flaccianello 1997 Fontodi £35
Paler, ruby red, nose soars from the glass with raspberrry/cherry/red plum fruit. V. focused palate very long finish with still firm tannin. Impressive but palate a let down after the nose. One for sniffing 13.5/20 100% Sang (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Cepparello 97 Isole E Olena £36.50
More oaky with hint of vanilla on palate and nose. More dark fruit than red, singing in baritone rather than the alto of Faccianello. Tannin balanced longish finish, well made 14/20 100% Sang (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 98 Antica Chiusina £23
Richer and denser than the preceeding wines, lessfocused and very tannic. Not individual or distinguished in this line up and poorest wine on show for my palate 12/20 90%s/10% colorino (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio San Polo 98 £35
Some oak on nose with meaty notes on the nose. Palate has a smoky bacon edge to it. Noticably richer and more rounded than the preceeding wines. Tannin is present but not intrusive. Finishes very long. V good indeed 15.5/20 100% Sang (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Argiano Solenga 98 Montalcino £36.50
Internationally styled nose and palate, still recognisably old world, more sour than sweet fruit but balanced and very long. Tannin present ans is acid in the finish but not intrusively so. V good 15/20 33% each of Merlot Syrah and Cab Sauv (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Saffredi Le Pupille 1997 £ 46.95
Not Tuscan tasting could have been made in Napa, Margaret River or Pomerol to me. Very dark colour, very rich nose with fruit cake edge to it. Palate showed chocolate, plum and slight minty edge to the fruit. Perfectly balanced and extremely balanced 16/20 50% CS/35%Merlot/15%Alicante (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Sassicaia 99 Tenuto San Guido £95
Lovely nose, very rounded nose and palate.Very long elegant and layered but eluded further description for me so I guess lived up to its billing. Approachable already but will doubtless improve with time 16/20 but with potential. 85% CS/ 15%Cab Franc (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/03 Vigna Tecc Dolcetto 2001, Einaudi, Piedmont
Clear bright medium-deep crimson core, cerise at the rim. Clean youthful nose of ripe cherries and kirsch, hints of marzipan. Dry medium+ bodied palate (quite high glycerin), slightly jammy blueberry/briar fruit. Finishes with fine tannins and pleasant cleansing acidity. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Barbera d'Alba 2000, Bricco Maiolica, Piedmont
Double decanted several hours prior to being tasted. Clear deep purple, verging on black (almost opaque). Clean youthful nose of ripe cherry, aniseed and licorice. On the palate, dry, full bodied, very good fruit intensity, specifically dark plum and morello cherry, together with licorice. Fruit, acid, tannins and alcohol are well balanced. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Costa Grimaldi Barolo 1998, Einaudi, Piedmont
Decanted several hours prior to tasting - this wine transformed remarkably in that time. Clear medium garnet, fading towards the rim. Clean somewhat developed nose of medium intensity showing rose petal, tar and bubblegum. The palate is dry and full bodied, with ripe cherries, leather and tar. Finishes with firm tannins and cleansing acidity. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Villa Tonino, Nero d'Avola Sicilia 2001
Ruby red. Burnt nose, very ripe fruit and good acidity. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/03 1998 Alberello, Rosso del Salento, Felline IGT 13.5%
Clear bright garnet, no core as such. Damsen, plum and cherry notes with a classic Italian bitter edge. Soft tannin and mild acidity with gentle tannic grip on the mid-palate, a fruity core and a warm finish. Slightly smoky and smooth. Enjoyable, and more than just fruit. Very good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

08/03 1995 Barbaresco Valeirano, Ada Nada 13.5%
Clear, light ruby red with brick edge. Very reticent nose giving away almost nothing apart from very slight cherry aromas. Smooth on palate, gently expansive with softened tannin and integrated acidity. Soft muted cherry fruit flavours, with a mellow intensity. Good length, and likely to go on for several more years. Very Good.

07/03 Ceretto Barbera D'Alba Piana 1999. 13%. Majestic £8.
Smokey nose. Cherry on the palate and some VA. Powerful, but length a bit short. Tasted and enjoyed as an aperitif, but better later with food. G+ (Hugh Millar, UK)

07/03 1994 Sassicaia
Still dark ruby in colour. The nose, well, the initial impression is of burnt walnut(?), with hints of cherry fruit, clove, tobacco & a tiny hint of stagnation (or would that be wet moss-very odd though) and an ever so slight metallic note. The austere palate were both also somewhat metallic with sour cherry rather than a dose of cassis with the astringency of marmalade, hints of clove & tobacco following with still very drying tannins, high acidity & a shortish finish (but intermingled with slight hints of structure if that's still possible!). Seriously though, if I wasn't so label orientated with this wine I would have dumped it after the first glass, but no, I keep on trying in the hope this would improve! Perhaps it just needs food-I dunno but it needs something. A seemingly washed out & astringent wine lacking fruit & personality IMO. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/03 1999 Tenuta di Valgiano, Scasso dei Cesari
This is in the sale at a certain well known merchant... echhrmm. I bought this in the January sale and hadn't got round to trying it yet. So in the interests of those approaching the summer sales: Young light purple colour all the way to rim. Slightly high toned nose, but perfectly ok with food. A hint of cream and vanilla (French oak?), with claret like light berry nose. Some fine tannin left, continuing into the longish finish. I quite like this, but some people won't get past the high toned nose. Very good. (Jari Worsley, UK)

07/03 Cafaggio & Virtuoso - 2000 Chianti Classico Riserva £15 (US$22)
Dark red, the nose was earthy and I detected some sweet oak as well. A very good length with admirable acidity and enjoyable dark fruits. Drinkable now but ideally needs 1-2 years to settle down. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Cafaggio & Virtuoso - 1999 Chianti Classico Riserva £15 (US$22)
A very dark plum red, the nose released notes of earth and ripeness of plums. When I took my first sip, I knew this was going to be a pleasure. It had more depth, more length and a better balance than the 2000 vintage, the dark fruits singing their praises to me. I was under the general impression that good Chianti's from the 1999 vintage still needed more time to develop. This wine is drinkable now although I am fairly certain there is still some development to go. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Tenuta del Portale & Zenner 2001 Nero d'Avola £13 (US$20)
A dark plum colour, the nose letting go of some of those wild herbs. When swirling round the palate, I felt a tart cherry sensation with vibrant acidity and some bitterness. This wine obviously needs time but I am unsure about its balance at present. Not bad for the price but be patient. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Daviddi - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1998 £12 (US$18)
Not much on the nose, this dark beast was a tough customer. It showed very dry tannins, not enough fruit for my palate and seemed out of balance. Given that it is already over four years old, I am not sure that this ugly duckling will ever become the black swan it seeks to be. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Altesino - 2000 Palazzo Altesi £POA
A medium cherry red, this 100% Sangiovese wine had a nice earthy and herby nose to it. A medium bodied wine with nice acidity and a decent finish. This wine had spent twelve months in nearly new French oak and had undergone carbonic maceration. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Altesino - 1998 Brunello di Montalcino £POA
A medium rose red, I smelled earth and strangely model plane glue! A bitter sweet mouthfeel with good balance and nice integrated acidity. Needs time. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Il Palazzino - 2001 Chianti Classico La Piave £13 (US$20)
A blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% of other indigenous varieties. An earthy yet sweet red fruits nose, the crunchy red fruits were backed up by good acidity. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Il Palazzino - 2001 Chianti Classico Grosso Sanese £21 (US$32)
A deep and rich smelling nose with some herbs. A rich wine with bright acidity and a dash of tannins that were hidden behind all that fruit. Very good. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Piaggia - 1999 Carmignano Riserva £21 (US$32)
A blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, matured in oak (new I believe). A very dark plum red, the enticing nose was rich in black fruits with a hint of fine vanilla oak. On the palate, this wine really took off! Wave after wave of dark forest fruits caressed my grateful tongue with a richness that surprised me. A brilliant wine that is worth every penny and my wine of the night. 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Piaggia - 2000 Carmignano Riserva £22 (US$33)
This was a barrel sample, I believe in similar proportions to the 1999. I was not expecting anywhere near the experience that I had just tasted in the 1999 version of this wine. I was really surprised at how well this wine showed. The nose showed more primary fruit and the oak was more noticeable. It tasted gorgeously creamy and although it is too early for me to tell how this will develop, I was impressed. This winery is on a roll! 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Pertimali - 1997 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva £60 (US$90)
A medium cherry red, the nose released aromas of aniseed and wet tree bark. For me the wet tree bark does not mean the wine is corked, but it is akin to the smell you can sometimes detect when you lean against a tree after a heavy downpour of rain. On the palate, this wine is slightly sweet, has ripe tannins and a silky texture but is uninspiring at present. This relatively young wine needs time to develop more personality. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Corregia - 2001 Nebbiolo d'Alba, Val dei Preti £20 (US$30)
A light red in colour and I have to say this surprised me as I expected much darker. A nose of damsons, marzipan and chestnut. A high acidity and short finish mouthfeel disappointed me, and I did not enjoy this wine too much. Although it does need time I did expect a longer finish as a sign of staying power. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Feruccio Grimaldi - 1998 Barolo, Le Coste £36 (US$54)
A medium cherry red, the nose was quite powerful and filled with violets. The taste was medium bodied, with light red fruits and a short finish. This wine did not make a great impression on me. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Feruccio Grimaldi - 1999 Barolo, Le Coste £36 (US$54)
The 1999 Barolo certainly had more of a presence on the nose than the 1998, with the violets seeming bigger in stature. Although still medium bodied, this wine had more character and a greater length. Although it does need time, this wine has signs of positive future development potential. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Corino - 1999 Barolo Vigna Giachini £35 (US$53)
The colour was mostly red with a tinge of orange near the rim. The nose was flamboyant and perfumed, like Liberace playing the piano. The palate also performed well, with an elegant, balanced and silky texture making its way across my taste buds. This wine was enjoyable. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Corino - 1999 Barolo Arborina £35 (US$53)
This other single vineyard Barolo was very similar to their Vigna Giachini bottling. The only difference I managed to perceive was that this wine was ever so slightly bigger on the palate and had a tad longer finish. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Albino Rocca - 2000 Barbaresco Brich Ronchi £34 (US$51)
This wine has been matured in 80% new oak. A medium cherry red, the nose revealed some earth but frankly not much else. Tighter than a lid on an oil drum, the mouthcoating tannins showed good length. I am unsure as to whether there are sufficient amounts of fruit and if they will mature well while the tannins soften. Barbaresco needs patience, I am told, but this wine needs your fingers crossing on one hand as well. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

Marengo 1999 Barolo Le Brunate £41 (US$62)
Medium red colour, after much swirling I found some wild herbs in my glass. Red fruits with bright acidity and a good length, this wine needs at least five years further bottle age. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Azelia - 1999 Barolo, Bricco Fiasco £42 (US$63)
A medium cherry red, the nose showed some expressive character with wild herbs and earthiness. An attractive medium bodied mouthfeel, the ripe tannins are not hugely aggressive at the moment. I think this is a very good wine and will need at least five more years to gain its true personality. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Scavino - 2000 Barbera d'Alba Carati £20 (US$30)
A dark cherry red with a surprisingly open nose of liquorice and aniseed. Well extracted fruits with good balance and integrated tannins and nice acidity. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Scavino - 1999 Barolo Carobric £48 (US$72)
A medium cherry red, the nose was classic tar and roses. My palate detected vibrant acidity, ripe tannins and good red fruits. This wine needs a further five years plus to soften out, but it is very good. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Elio Altare - 1999 Barolo La Morra £40 (US$60)
Also medium cherry red, this was another contender for classic Barolo nose of the evening, with tar and roses being sensed. A rich taste, the ripe tannins providing good structure and the background acidity was not obtrusive. A very good wine with excellent ageing potential. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Elio Altare - 1999 Barolo Arborina £50 (US$75)
A dark cherry red, the nose was the most intense tar and roses of the evening, for me anyway. Although ripe, the tannins were more noticeable on this wine than the previous vineyard bottling. Good acidity running through the wine, this is to me the bigger and potentially better wines made from this Domaine in 1999. Be patient and you should be enjoying this wine for many years to come. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Valpolicella Classico Allegrini 2002
This followed the Soave. I've had more expensive Allegrini's before and thoroughly enjoyed them, but never had the Valpolicella. Very, very bright cherry colour. Looks very fresh and with a decent depth of colour too, not watery. Nose is masses of cherries. Real primary fruit. Palate follows through with the cherries and has a nice finish. Reminds me of good Fleurie or Morgan. Nice wine, but I won't be buying again. Prefer some of the Ripasso's out there for similar money. £6.50. (Philip Vaughan, UK)

06/03 Vigna Flaminio Brindisi Rosato 2002
Had this in the remains of the sunshine yesterday after some hard graft down the newly acquired allotment. Incredibly bright red colour. Kind of Tizar like. Initially I get a hint of strawberries and cream, but that soon passes and it becomes quite muted. Palate is full, pleasant, balanced and has a pleasant grip of tannin and a slight bitter aftertaste. Later the nose becomes like flat champagne or reserve wine from champagne - can't quite identify what that is. Quite average really. I won't be buying again. £5.50 (Philip Vaughan, UK)

06/03 1997 Salivolpe, Angelini (IGT, Toscana) 12.5%
Clear deep ruby with purple core. Colour extends to rim. Clean medium intensity nose, slightly reticent, giving away only a hint of blackberry fruit. This develops over time, opening up to reveal deep, smoky leathery overtones. Quite acidic with chunky bracing tannins - almost astringent at first. Black fruit eventually sticks its head above the tannin parapet. With time the fruit becomes more evident, and spicy notes come through on the mid palate. Long, warm finish with tannin present all the way. A good complex wine, very young at the moment, but with real character. Very good indeed/excellent (Ray Abercromby, UK)

06/03 Bondi Santi Morellino di Scansano 'Riserva' 1999
A nice herby smell led me to bright red fruits, a kick of acidity and a shortish finish. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Bondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino 1998
More developed herby nose than the previous wine, the taste showed good structure, evident acidity but obviously in need of time. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Bondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Villa Boggio Salvi 1998
The nose was the most developed of the three wines tasted from this estate, with bright red fruits and marzipan. It had a good mouth feel, was balanced but it held a shorter finish than the standard Brunello. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1998
A deep red wine, I found marzipan and tight fruits on the nose. A rich mouth feel with the tannins evident and fresh acidity running through it, this wine needs at least three years to start showing its true potential. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 2000
Another deep red offering, this wine was smoky and herby with fresh cherries on the nose. A long mouth feel with ripe tannins that made their presence felt. An excellent effort of a balanced wine with a good life ahead of it. 93/100. Incidentally, the 1995 that I tried a few weeks ago was excellent. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Planeta Santa Cecilia 2000
A dark fruits nose showing some bramble and vanilla was attractive. A good mouth feel with a solid palate injection of those dark fruits and a longish finish with some dry tannins showing up at the end. A well made wine. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2002
Bright red in colour, I smelled a focused red fruits and herb with spice personality. The medium bodied texture was savoury, lean, and frankly a disappointment after the promising nose. This wine was obviously very young and perhaps showing awkwardly after bring bottled recently. 84-86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Allegrini La Grola IGT 2000
A deep plum red with a cherry jam nose. I thought the mouth feel was acceptable with ripe tannins, some sourness and a not overly long finish. 83/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Allegrini Classico della Valpolicella 1999
The toasting for the barrels used to age this wine had been reduced compared to previous years. A style change perhaps? The nose was a heady mix of dried raisins, prunes and a dash of aniseed. A positive mouth feel which expanded with further contact of my tongue, the ripe but palate drying tannins were evident. Very good and needs time to develop. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Allegrini Recioto Classico della Valpolicella 'Giovanni Allegrini' 1999
The darkest red of all of the wines from this top Amarone producer, I smelled overripe black plums and blackberries. The taste was very pleasing, with soft and sweet black fruits sliding across my grateful tongue and holding a respectable length. I would really like to try this in five years. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Maculan Brentino 2001
This partially oak aged wine had a simple nose of oak with some bright red fruits. Although a good length held my attention for a short while, the dry tannins and shy fruit did not provide much pleasure at the moment. This wine is still young and may blossom into an easy drinking wine. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Maculan Fratta 2000
Quite a dark red in colour, this wine had more oak and red fruits evident on the nose. A bitter cherry taste with tannins that coated my mouth, this wine needs time to resolve itself. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK

06/03 Castello Guerrieri Rosso IGT 1997
A medium red with a slight orange colour on the outer body of the wine. This seemed light for a wine of this calibre from the highly acclaimed 1997 vintage in the Veneto. The nose was floral and had a soft presence. The medium bodied taste was balanced, drinkable now but certainly could hold for a few years. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK

06/03 Calcarole, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1995
This wine also showed a medium red with some orange near the rim. A fresh nose with strong hints of ripe raisins raised my sensory levels a notch. Medium bodied, this ripe wine showed a persistent finish with drying tannins that still need time to resolve themselves. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Tedeschi Nicalo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2000
A very expressive herby nose led me to a warm, drinkable red wine with a good length. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Tedeschi Amarone Classico 1999
A deep red with a slightly sweet nose. The taste was rich, balanced not sweet and bottle ageing will provide additional complexity. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Tedeschi Monte Olmi, Amarone Classico 1999
A more expressive nose with herbs and aniseed showing their presence. The palate is definitely a step up from the regular Amarone bottling, it shows more bitter/sweet character, firmer and drier tannins, and will require longer bottling ageing. Very impressive. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Tommasi Valpolicella 'I Pianeto' Il Sesante 2000
A bright ruby red with fresh red fruits and a rich balanced taste. Good length and enjoyable. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Tommasi Amarone Classico 1998
Dark red, the nose showed overripe raisins and prunes. The ripeness battled with the mouth coating ripe tannins. The wine appears to be balanced but it does need several years of ageing to soften its structure. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Zenato Amarone DOC Riserva Sergio Zenato 1997
Very deep red in colour, the nose was defined and definitely ripe. A rich, balanced wine greeted my palate with bright acidity. The tannins are unobtrusive and can be felt slightly on the tongue. A huge wine with a bold presence, this was my wine of the tasting and also seemed to me to have a long life ahead of it. 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Aldo Conterno Barbera d'Alba 2000
A bramble and herb nose showed good length and bright acidity in the mouth. This wine can be drunk now but will soften out in the next few years. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Aldo Conterno Il Favot 1999
Produced from 100% Nebbiolo, the deep smelling nose was like an Amarone, with a dash of caramel (could be the barriques used to age the wine for several months). Full-bodied, balanced yet some dry tannins are evident on the long finish. This wine should age well. 92/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Montanello Barolo 71
Cloudy in the glass, earthy, sweaty, dry, interesting but flawed. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/03 Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino Quercecchio 88
Earthy, minerally, cherry fruit, great depth and intensity. Impressive, demanding stuff. E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

05/03 Falesco Vitiano 2001
Nose - Some acidity, with fruits and some herbs (Sangiovese?) Colour - Dark Red with slight orange on rim, nice Taste - Very Italian in a well known way. A bit of acid for interest, fruity ,up-front, a little bit of spice & herbs and some length on the finish with a bit of tartness. Overall - Very good value, got 11 left will put a few away for a while (we'll see what happens) and thrash the rest! 15/20 (David Steven, UK)

05/03 1997 Visconti, Brunello di Montalcino
Medium-plus ruby to the rim. Nose is explosive black fruit - macerating cherries and blueberry. Concentrated palate with very good acidity that follows through to a cherry conserve finish. The tannins are a little grainy but still an enjoyable wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

05/03 1997 Della Robia, Brunello di Montalcino
Very deep ruby colour. Slightly more subdued nose, some high tones against a little toast and meat. Rounder and less intense palate though still good fruit. The acidity is quite good with medium drying tannins. Compared to Ciacci's, this is an every-day Brunello, but quite good value at 19EUR (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

05/03 1997 Giovanni Ciacci, Brunello di Montalcino Querceta
Concentrated garnet colour. A jump out of the glass nose of deeply black fruit. Excellent acidity, roasted, perhaps smokey fruit - blackcurrant. The tannins hide in the background, but pretty deep - there's that word again! This is excellent and should have a very long future. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/03 Il Latini Vino da Tavola (Toscana), 1994
Ah, another that looks a lot like claret and smells quite a lot like claret, but isn't. Delicious, savoury, juicy palate with crunchy red currant fruit and tasty, refreshing acidity. Very good indeed, and interesting style. (Stephan Muller, UK)

04/03 Laparzo Sangiovese IGT Toscana 2001
Lifted nose, marzipan, touch of rasperry, nice fresh acid on attack and elegant, slinky midpalate. Positively refreshing, slightly thinner palate than the previous wines, then a lovely sweeter bubblegummy note coming through and some darker, more serious liquorice, and yummy sour cherry flavours. Very good indeed (Stephan Muller, UK)

04/03 Gaja Sito Moresco 1997
85% Nebbiolo, 10% Merlot, 5% Barbera. Sweet, alcoholic nose with ripe, sweet fruit. There is something pruney about it. Palate is powerful and full with good acidity and a good tannic structure. Some good concentration. Pretty good, but perhaps could do with a bit more complexity. (David Strange, UK)

04/03 Tignanello 1995 – Antinori IGT
Opaque red, the nose is deep blackcurrant fruit and soft French oak. The taste was stunning, with wave after wave of black fruits with the ripe tannins supporting the whole shooting match. The finish was long and paired beautifully with the dry meat starter. Thanks Ron! 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

04/03 Taurasi 1995 Vigna Machia dei Goti
This 100% Aglianico wine had a nose of pepper, sur maturite, and beef. The spicy taste also showed cinnamon, more pepper and surprisingly it tasted younger and more powerful than the Tignanello and changed constantly before we polished off the bottle. Compared to the seemingly older and more mature behaving Tig, this is the enfant terrible who wants attention. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 Ottone I Barbera Cantine Silvestro 2001
From grapes sourced on southern facing vines in the Langhe hills, with only stainless steel vats; no oak. Purple rim with darker middle, on the nose, jam, cherries and damsons. A smooth mouthfeel with a touch of acidity on the finish, not unlike cranberry juice. Excellent value at under £6. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/04 Prunotto Dolcetto D'Alba 2001
100% Dolcetto from grapes harvested in mid September. Destemmed and pressed with a 4 day maceration. Again only stainless steel. Vibrant purple with damson edge. On the nose, cherries, blackcurrants with underlying elements of spice. A smooth wine in the mouth, with hints of cherry jam, medium length with a spicy finish. Faded in the glass very quickly and the least liked wine of the evening. Does not warrant its £9 pricetag. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/04 La Lepre Diano D'Alba 2001
From Dolcetto vines in a single 2.5ha vineyard in the village of Diano D'Alba. A 8 day maceration before ageing in stainless steel vats. Inky black centre with a pure purlple edge. On the nose overripe pluims with underlying elements of sweetness and spice. Smells wonderfully complex for an unoaked red. On the palate very fruity with a touch of almonds and blackberries> Full bodied but silky smooth tannins give way to a long length. Excellent value for under £10. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/04 Marne Brune Nebbiolo D'Alba 2000
The first of three wines made from the Nebbiolo grape. This grape gets its name from nebia, the Italian name for fog as it ripens late in the autumn when the Piedmont hills are shrouded in mist. A 10 day maceration with oak ageing for 6 months. Brick red edge with understated fruit on the nose: vanilla oak and caramelised sugar dominate. On the palate, a dry wine with pleasant smooth strong tannins, long length with hints of fruit coming through after the oak has faded. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/04 Coste Rubin Barbaresco 1999
Again from Nebbiolo grapes which are macerated for 13 days with regular pumping over. Aged in 50% new small French oak and larger casks both for a year each. Recommended in the latest Decanter magazine (P56) with three stars. A brown egde with an inky black centre. Vanilla, prunes, liquorice, toffee with elements of dense black fruit on the nose. A good mouthfeel with plum fruit to start, followed by the dryness of the grapes with strong tannins, good acidity and alcoholic balance. A long strong length and very good value at £20. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/04 Serralunga D'Alba Barolo 1997
From owned and contracted growers with a 30 day maceration. A long ageing in large oak casks from Slavonia and Central France for at least two years. A prune juice colour with brown edge. On the nose, oranges, spice, fresh mint, deep violets, vanilla and dead flower heads. An initial dark rich fruit mouthfeel with faint dryness, through to smooth tannins and a long finish. An "old" style Barolo but very approachable and drinking well now. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Cantine Volpi Barolo 1993
Put this up against 1993 Terre del Barolo. The Volpi (just lurve that name!) was a tad darker, but both wines were really quite orangey. The Terre del had a better nose (alas no rosewater) but the Vulpi had the less tannic, smoother, sweeter (what sweetness there was in these wines - and that wasn't much) palate. Not monster Barolos 13.0 and 13.5% abv for the Wolverine and Terre del, respectively. Both £9.49 from Idsall Cellars. (Daron Fincham, UK)

03/03 Bardolino Azienda Agricola Cavalchina 2001
Violets, cherries, bitter almonds with overtones of marzipan. Gamay type taste. Basically tastes like it smells. Good length. A lovely summer light wine with complexity. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso Valpolicella Superiore 1999
Produced by the renowned family owned Masi stable: darker than the Bardolino. Browner edge but still a glint of purple. On the nose, hints of deep mint, liquorice and chocolate. Soft tannins but still somewhat bitter on the taste, very much a food wine. Very complex with different phases on the mouthfeel time, with a lot of depth and a deep cherry after taste. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Ca Del Pipa Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 1998
This is a Ripasso, where newly made Valpolicella is partially re-fermented on the lees of Amarone. Produced by the Michele Castellani Estate which owns 23ha in Valpolicella. A lot darker in colour with crimson edges. Even more chocolate on the nose with intense liquorice overtones and a subtle spicy sweetness. On the mouth very chewy, very smooth and an opulent mouthfeel. Midway through get the Amarone kick-in with strong black cherries with an excellent long length: best value wine of the evening. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Corte Bra Sartori Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997
The Corte Bra estate is situated in the hills of the classico area north of Verona. The dried grapes are soft pressed in January, with skin maceration for 30D and subsequent ageing in oak casks for 4Y with a final refining in barriques for 12M. 1997 was an excellent year for Amarone and this example comes in at the required minimum alcoholic level of 14% dictated by DOC laws. Very dark red edge but cherry black middle. On the nose: marzipan, cappuccino, chocolate, morello cherries and liquorice all intertwined with atypical sweetness. A smooth sweet start, with a mid tannin kick rounding off into a smooth bitter meaty finish. Will keep and excellent value at £15.99. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1996
The three Allegrini children run this enterprise, and it is produced from 25 year old vines with SE exposure on the hills of the Valpolicella Classico region. The mixed is standard with 75% Corvina: interestingly the % amounts are approximate as the vines are not from separate parcels but all together and not separated on picking or vinification. Hand picked during the 2nd week of October and left to dry for 120D. Vinification in early January with skin maceration for 20D. Fermented and matured in Vosges/Cher oak for 20M and a further 12M in bottle before release. The web site does have a small downloadable quicktime movie showing the appasimento process. Parker gave this vintage 95 points. Dark with blood edges. Charcoal, truffles and black cherry gateau with strong alcohol on the nose. On the taste, excellent balance, hugh enveloping mouthfeel and a long smooth tannic finish. Suggest drink now and the style is very much modern rather than Bertani/Sergio Zenato/Castellani/VillaBellini where you get hints of the mustiness and dense dry sweetness typical of Amarones. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Domini Veneti Recioto della Valpolicella 1994
Produced by the largest co-operative in Valpolicella. Hand picked and the grapes are dried until early January when the fermentation process is stopped by decanting and filtering. Unusual to find a Recioto in a 75cl bottle and also at a steal price of £11.95. On the nose an array of different perfumes: Muscat, apricots, strawberries and cream with hints of figs, dates and dried fruits. Morello cherries on the mouth with a smooth subtle sweetness. Jammy notes of black fruits with a real moorish aftertaste. Unbelievably wonderful: and at that price a wine to die for. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Allegrini Grappa Di Amarone
Darkish peaty colour with a highly intense burning on the nose, an unusual smell of hints of almonds and the sweetness of Amarone interspersed with would you believe "vomit aromas" !! but not unpleasant. On the taste a real kick but incredibly smooth with a fiery extra long aftertaste. (Phil Jones, UK)

03/03 Castello di Rampolla 1997 Chianti Classico - £10 (US$15)
I have been drinking this particular vintage from Rampolla for the last four years and it has just got better and better. I still have several bottles left and I intend to try and space out their consumption to see how they age. A medium cherry colour with a slight pinking at the rim. The nose is earthy, with strong hints of black olives and basil. A rich and seamless mouthful of red fruits tingle the senses, with a good finish with just a hint of dryness on the palate. Very enjoyable and I think it will improve for a couple more years. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/03 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2000
(85% sangiovese, 10% canaiolo, 5% syrah; aged for 12-14 months in a mixture of barriques and 500-litre double barriques; up to 10% new oak, mainly French, but some American) Medium ruby colour. Not brilliant; a somewhat faded/dull colour. Cherry and spice on the nose ? quite warm fruit (in term of ripeness, not temperature of wine). Still, quite delicate and well-focused. Reasonable acidity and some tannin. Easy-drinking. Not as impressive as the 1999 (tasted/drunk on earlier occasions) or the 2001 (tasted immediately after), but good for the vintage, from my limited experience. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2001 (cask sample)
Younger colour than the 2000. Also more brilliant. Fresher fruit, but also more oak character. Very clean, stylish cherry fruit in the mouth, again with some oak vanilla, which I assume will integrate into the wine. Promising. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 Isole e Olena Cepparello 2000
(100% sangiovese, barrique-aged for 18 months; 1/3 new barriques -- 85% French, the rest American) Only moderately deep colour. A little brown at the rim. Slightly animal whiff. Warm aromas, verging on New World fruit. Not particularly concentrated. Rather lightish early-drinking wine. Nice, but not worth the premium price. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 Isole e Olena Cepparello 1999
Very dense colour for sangiovese. Cherry/blackberry nose with some flowers and oak still shining through. Above all, very stylish, with a near-perfect balance between ripeness and structure: pure fruit in the mouth with good (but not excessive) acidity and a good tannin grip. Definitely one for the cellar, though I wouldn't mind this with food even now. This one has the ripeness of fruit that I'm looking for in New World wines, yet it's still unmistakably sangiovese. Aahhh. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 Isole e Olena Cepparello 1997
Medium deep colour, a bit "muddy" (from the bottom of a bottle). Sweeter fruit on the nose (than the 1999). Obviously a warm vintage. Still reasonable acid and tannin grip. Would probably have showed better had it not come after the 1999 (or from the bottom of the bottle). (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 Isole e Olena Cepparello 1990
Getting a bit brown at the rim of the glass. Some tartrate deposits. Possibly towards the end of a bottle (again). The fruit is harder to define than in the more recent vintages. For all the wine's tertiary aromas, I find the fruit somewhat lacking. The tannins are sticking out (although apparently, the 1999 is technically more tannic, but better balanced). A rather rustic wine of a kind which is fun to drink (with food) occasionally, but I assume Isole makes better wines today than in 1990. (And probably has better fruit to work with.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

03/03 2000 Biondi-Santi, Sassoalloro
An IGT wine - don't know the cepage. Deep colour with a pronounced purple rim. Lovely brambly nose with some coffee. Palate was concentrated an voluptuous, nice acidity - drank very well. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 1997 Silvio Nardi, Brunello di Montalcino
Drunk directly after the above, deep ruby, more oaky nose. The palate is less lush than the Sassoalloro, though nicely concentrated Brunello character. I'm a sucker for Brunello so still preferred this one - close though. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 2000 Primo Estate, Il Briccone
Drunk directly after the above, but now with (very hot) Thai green curry. Down in price then, but not it appears, concentration. More obvious vanilla oak but survived well against the curry onslaught. Silky smooth black fruit with good length. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 1997 Taurasi, Montesole
Deep ruby core with a narrow brick red rim. Lightly smokey nose, rich with red fruits, herbs and truffles. The palate was quite closed intitially, but opened out to a smooth, medium to full bodied wine, with elements of both burnt and fresh red fruits, herbs and smoke. The wine had a good acidity and "medium" tannin, though it did seem a little green and stalky. The wine had a good overall structure and medium length. (Mike K, UK)

02/03 Pasqua (Italy) Amarone della Valpoicella 1998
Believe it or not I've been asked to do another TN in the Fast Show stylee. (Really!) This time the two tailors: I really liked the 1997 of this and the 1998 ain't half bad either. Oooh! Cherries on the nose as well as almonds. Oooh! You may as well have taken a Bakewell Tart and tossed it in the liquidiser with some prune juice. Oooh! Wonderful. Smooth tannin and a sweet long finish? Yes, Sir. Delicious. Oooh! Suits you Sir! 15% alcohol. Oooh, careful, don't want to get too tipsy, do we sir? And how much did the gentleman pay for it, I mean you did pay for it, didn't you Sir? £10.99 Morrisons. (Daron Fincham, UK)

02/03 Chianti Classico Monte Bernardi 1996
Surprisingly, better in every way than the 1995 (surprising because I have always rated 95 over 96 as a vintage in this region). Deep, dark and ripe, this has a classic bitter cherry nose and is quite big in the mouth, and long. My only complaint is a slightly monolithc (simple?) style - could this be one of those chiantis that would be lifted by a dash of quality Tuscan Cabernet from the same zone? No hurry to drink. *** (£10 in Seckfords sale) (Joel Hopwood, UK)

02/03 Anselmi San Vincenzo 2001
Another splendid bottle of this. Crisp, perfumed, so stylish. I could drink this all day. Really very good. *** (Joel Hopwood, UK)

02/03 Barolo Brunate 1995, Marcarini
Hints of amber in the colour. Lovely nose: tar, truffles and hints of raspberry. Builds and builds in the glass. What was Broadbent's phrase? "A huge chassis of tannin". Weighty and long, and just beginning to develop some of the class of maturity, but absolutely no hurry to drink. I would drink over the next 5 to 10 years. ***(*) (Joel Hopwood, UK)

02/03 1996 Vignamaggio, Chianti Classico Riserva - Castello di Mona Lisa
Deep garnet colour with a hint of purple at the rim. Direct from the cold cellar the wine showed a subdued nose of sour black cherry and tobacco. Mouth coating tannins and very good acidity. Not quite as long as the Castellare but finishes with a trace of vanilla. Very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 1994 Castellare, Chianti - I Sodi di S.Niccolo
Lovely ruby colour. Equally lovely nose of briary fruit and coal-tar soap. Red and black fruit palate of some intensity. Good tannic structure and acidity. Very long and very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 1993 Pieve de la Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille
A wine that is unfortunately closed down right now. Medium-plus ruby red with just a little colour development at the rim. The nose is faintly sweet and brambly in character. The palate hasn't the obvious strong acidity of many Brunello's, shows both depth and tannin but very little in the way of flavour. Hopefully just needs time. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 1997 Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino
Deep garnet colour. The nose has toasty aromas with very black fruits and a hint of black olive. The palate is smooth with good acidity and fine tannins. Nicely concentrated with good length. Whilst showing true Brunello character, I find this currently a little less involving than many other 1997's, so would look to leave for a while before opening another - still a very good wine though. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 1997 Castillo di Fonterutoli
Deep garnet/ plum. Smoky plumminess on nose. Large, big attack, with robust tannin giving a big warm earthy impression. Well balanced by acidity, with very good length. This is a young wine with much ahead of it. Excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

02/03 Planeta La Segreta Rosso 2000
A blend of Nero d'Avola and Merlot. Plummy ruby eith youthful purple at rim. V big black fruit nose with bramble and mint. Dencent attack, quite light. But fills quickly. Quite plummy ripe fruit and a definite sour cherry note. Has interest, but not especially special. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

01/03 Icardi 1998 Sarisjuan (Langhe) - £20 (US$30)
100% Nebbiolo from this fine producer. Double decanted 1 hour in advance. A purple plum colour at the core with a clear rim for this wine. I can sniff the rose petals and earth but otherwise it is not revealing all of its potential yet. The palate is medium bodied, which surprised me for this grape, and the tannins are covered by a wave of fruit of moderate ripeness. IMO, I believe that this has more room for development, but I am not sure for how long as it is easy to drink at present. Given the price, I did expect more "bangs per buck". 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Bruno di Rocca 1991, Vecchie Terre Di Montefili, Toscana
Deep red/purple. Concentrated raspberry and red cherry aromas. Wonderful complex palate of red fruits and leather with savoury acidity and dusty tannins giving excellent balance. The finish is rich and lasts for at least 10 minutes. Outstanding. Lovely now but with this combination of concentrated fruit and balance it should keep going for a good 15 - 20 years. (Paul Anderson, UK)


11/03 Monte Schiavo Le Giuncare Verdicchio dei Castelli Jesi Classico Riserva 2000
Baked biscuity fruit, but with some spice. Very hard to identify. Not my cup of tea, this, but its intriguing bitter/sweet complexity gives it some interesting dimensions. Long finish. Good plus plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

11/03 Josko Gravner Bianco Breg IGT Venezia Giulia 1999
13.5%, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon with long skin contact; I do not know what ageing regime was applied to the wine and whether the famous Gravner amphoras were used or not in this case. Judging by the colour - a stunning, onion-peel-oxidised, dark amber-reddish - there surely has been more than mere steel vats and wood barrels. An equally stunning nose, highly complex, very odd and individual, incorporating notes of fallen apple and apple peel oxidation, old wood, aged honey or mead, dried herbs (tarragon especially), vinegar-preserved pears, slightly stale or overripe gooseberry, sweet rose hip jam, slightly unnatural citrus sharpness, freshly sliced cucumber, and so on. On the palate it is immensely flavourful with again a woody or perhaps even slightly coarse impression of barrel oxidation that comes closest to an aged traditional Rioja (no matter whether white or red). Long in mouth, with some easily discernible residual sugar. What I found astonishing was the essential softness of fruit character and texture, that seemed to have had a roughish woody abrasiveness superimposed on it in the winemaking process; i.e. the deepest core of this wine was as soft and textured as a modern Collio Sauvignon or Chardonnay is. In any case a wine as individual as its legend tells, though perhaps sensually more problematic than I expected, and not easily digested. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Tedeschi Vin de la Fabriseria 2000 (passito)
(Made from 95% garganega, 5% saorin. In effect, a kind of Recioto di Soave from the Valpolicella zone, marketed as a VdT. AFAIK, one is no longer allowed to specify the vintage for VdT. I didn't check the label; the vintage stated here is from the tasting sheet.) Dark gold with a very slight hint of green. Caramel and dry fruits. Quite mellow. Nice. (If this doesn't sound too enthusiastic, bear in mind that Recioto di Soave isn't my favourite wine style - with the exception of Roberto Anselmi's I Capitelli 2001.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Soave Classico, Pieropan, 2001
A house fave, this was full of all the usual good bits but drunk after the vin jaune showed a little bit flabby. Good/Very Good. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/03 Langhe Arneis 2001 (Il Falchetto)
(12% alcohol; fermented for 20-22 days in stainless steel at 18-20°C) . Pale gold with a slight prickle in the glass. Peach/pear and a hint of sauvignon blanc-like aromas (gooseberry/nettle). Nice fatness and good, refreshing acidity. Slightly spicy finish. Very good. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

09/03 Pinot Grigio 2002, Schiopetto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Clear pale lemon, green hints. Clean youthful nose of lemon/lime zest, floral overtones. Dry, light-medium bodied, good fruit intensity in the lime/grapefruit vein. Finishes with cleansing acidity. Good, if slightly overpriced. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Blanc de Rosis 2001, Schiopetto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Clear medium yellow/green. Clean youthful aromatic nose of ripe apple and white peach, with floral nuances (apple blossom). Dry, medium bodied, very good fruit intensity, slightly creamy palate of custard apple, guava and lychee. Very good. I particularly liked the aromtics of this wine. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Rolando 2001, Bricco Maiolica, Piedmont
Clear medium lime/yellow, touches of gold. Clean nose of pronounced intensity showing some development, dominated by custard apple and white peach. The medium bodied palate is slightly creamy, again showing white peach, pear and well integrated oak. Good acidity. (Phil Shorten, UK)

09/03 Moscato d'Asti 2001, La Ghersa, Piedmont
Clear pale lemon with lime tinges, large bubbles. Clear youthful floral nose, also showing fresh apples. Medium sweet fresh palate, again showing crisp fresh apples, with the sparkle cleaning the palate. (Phil Shorten, UK)

08/03 Gaiospino Fumé Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 1998
Fermented and aged 23 months in new oak; unfiltered and not clarified. An interesting medium lemony yellow. A powerful, complex nose assails you with honeysuckle, citrus and a nice toastiness. Good attack. Lots of fruit and a hint of acid. Fills enormously - gosh, this really is a powerful mouthful. Great depth and complexity. Excellent structure. Oak just right. Huge, huge length with acid returning after. Very impressive indeed. Excellent. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/03 Sainsbury's Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2001
(Sainsbury £4.29) This was disappointing. I'd had it before, not long after tasting a few Gaiospino Verdicchios dCdJC, and had been rather impressed. Hence its appearance at this tasting. I think one determining factor was that when I bought it before it was on a lower shelf: this time it was on the top shelf next to the dreaded lights and the bottles were distinctly warm. I broke my own rule of never buying wines from the top shelf in Sainsbury's. Distinctly poor. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/03 Gini 2002 Soave Classico Frosca £11 (US$17)
A very light yellow with a predominately citrus nose and a hint of tropical fruit. A good length on the palate, this wine had a clean overall taste to it with moderate flavour. For me, a well made quaffing wine. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Gini Soave Classico Salvarenza 2001 £16 (US$24)
A more focused nose than the previous wine, there was definitely a stronger smell of pineapple. The higher level of acidity was evident on tasting, as was the longer finish, although the fruit was muted for my liking. This could do with six months to gain its balance and it will be the superior wine from the Gini range. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Soave Classico Superiore Calvarino 2001
Heard many recommendations for this and the La Rocca (not yet tasted) as *the* Soave's that prove it's worth spending more than £6 on a bottle. So, with great excitement I open this up. Clear and very pale. Hmmm, notes of melon. Er, that's it. Nothing else much. Struggling to find the melon now. Perhaps it's me - no, the consensus is "nothing much". Taste is not much either, although it has a very rich and full "feel". The balance is good and there's no bitterness I can sometimes get from Soave's. The length is good. It just really taste of anything. Is that the point? If it is I'll stick with the £6 jobs I think and put up with the bitterness. Certainly interested to taste La Rocca now! £11 (Philip Vaughan, UK)

06/03 Antinori Chardonnay Castello della Sala Umbria IGT 2002
Refined chardonnay fruit on the nose, I tasted good acidity with a slight lean, fresh finish. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Planeta Chardonnay 2001
A bright nose with ripe chardonnay fruit. While sipping this golden wine, I noticed the ripe tropical fruit counter balanced respectably well with the new oak used to age the wine. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Anselmi San Vincenzo 2002
A fresh yet slightly nutty nose, this wine was a blend of 95% Garganega and 5% Chardonnay. It tasted lean and semi-crisp with a short finish. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Anselmi Capitel Foscarino 2001
This white wine was made from 70% Garganega and 30% Chardonnay planted on volcanic soil. A more nutty and mineral nose, with a bitter lemon and lean taste. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Anselmi I Capitelli 2001
Bright gold in appearance, I smelled marmalade and ripe apricots. There was a medium rich taste, good length with a slight bitter lemon finish. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Maculan Dindarello 2002
A Muscat and apricot nose led to a good sweetness and good length on the palate. The less sweet of the two dessert wines, this is a wine to be enjoyed now and over the next 5 years. I drank a 375ml bottle of the 1992 vintage recently and was very enjoyable. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Maculan Torcolato 2000
A light gold colour, I found butterscotch and ripe apricots on the nose. The balanced taste of sweet apricots held together by admirable acidity finished in a good length. 91/100. I still have a couple of 375 ml of the glorious 1990 vintage which I am aiming to drink soon. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/03 Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1996
(Fact sheet says 65% malvasia, 35% trebbiano; dried until the grapes reach appr. 38-40 Brix ? 24% of potential alcohol ? i.e., for about five months; vinified to about 15% alc with 140 g/l RS, though I think Wojciech previously said there was 170 in this vintage; fermented and aged for about five years in small barrels ? caratelli ? without topping up before bottling) Brownish colour. Caramel and dried fruit/jam on the nose. Quite a bit of VA. Very sweet, rather fat in the mouth with enormous viscosity and moderate (lowish) acidity. A good way to use up white grapes no longer wanted for Chianti, but perhaps not my style. (I rather prefer Tokaji with its higher acidity when I venture down this path.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

02/03 Recioto di Soave, I Capitelli, Anselmi, 1999
Packed with white fruits and more than a hint of raisins or sultanas and something else I couldn't put my finger on but which reminded my wife of eau de cologne. Not as sweet as some dessert wines, but beautifully balanced and with good complexity. I don't know how this would age, but my guess is that it will get better for a while yet. Normally the two of us takes a couple of days to drink even a half bottle of dessert wine, this was gone in a flash and when it was gone I was left wanting more. I'll be tracking some more of this down. (Mark Pearce, UK)

N.B. older Italian notes are archived here.