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

UK Wine Forum - Italy part II

N.B. there are even older Italian notes archived at here.

reds - whites


07/02 1997 Silvio Nardi, Vigneto Manachiara Brunello di Montalcino
Deep ruby a colour, fading to cherry at the edge. Nose has toasty oak which blows off after 15 minutes, supported by demarera sugar, cinnamon and supercharged black cherry fruit. The palate is thick and like all Brunello's shows mouth cleansing acidity. Well hidden, though substantial tannins support fruit that is more intense than the 'standard' cuvée, though is currently less obviously Brunello in character. This is an early phase while the oak is taken up – after all you shouldn't really drink it until it's 10+ years old. Excellent, silky wine and a perfect counterpoint to the 'standard' version – 12 of each in the cellar would keep me quite happy ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 1999
Ripe, elegant CC - not too spikily acidic, but not flabby either. Tangy, tasty mouthful that slips down rather easily. Soft tobacco-edged red fruits. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 Contini Bonacossi Villa di Capezzana Carmignano 1998
Prominent toasted oak and black kfruit nose. Deep cherry flavours, crisp acidity, quality oak, but all just a bit disjoint and young at present. For now, VG. But may merit more if the components marry pleasingly over time. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 1997
I'd held off opening this since Ama wines really do benefit from time in the bottle, and indeed this was drinking much better now than on release. A lovely tight-ish Sangiovese nose of cherry and violets, and fine, sandy tannins. I'd guess this will continue to develop over the next 5 years or so, and last for perhaps another 10? Very good wine, old fashioned style ***+. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

07/02 1997 Silvio Nardi, Brunello di Montalcino
Beautiful deep ruby colour. Nose starts of very fruity – almost in a right bank Bordeaux way. Behind the fruit are some lovely high flowery tones. The fruity palate is very acidic – but with food is 'just right'. Furry tannins and good length make this an excellent food wine – harder without. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 1996 Della Robia, Brunello di Montalcino Annata
Colour shows some maturity with garnet centre and brick rim. Nose is a leather and meat affair but sweet. The palate doesn't have the concentration of the 97's tasted to-date, but is still pretty good. Acidity is quite high, though this blends well with food. Tannins are quite subdued, with a decent finish length. A good and enjoyable wine – particularly with food, but perhaps the 1997 Brunello's (tasted to-date) hold a little more interest. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barbaresco Asili 1996
Not too dark but saturated purple, watery rim. Slightly bell-peppery nose which is not too Nebbiolo-like and slightly hollow. Very tannic and hard in mouth with a chalky dryness. Has the bitter touch of Chiarlo wines. Not too interesting. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 1997
Colour is not too dark, light to medium purple. Herbal nose with good balsamic and macerated fruit, with all the ingredients of Barolo but lacking intensity and harmony. Some mixed spices: cloves, slightly bitter caraway, finishing with unfriendly tannins. Not too rich, lacks sweetness and definition. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 1996
Denser on the nose, with sweeter macerated fruit character, also rounder, without the hollow character of the 1997. Fuller in mouth, especially towards the finish, showing modest intensity of tar and spice flavour similar to 1997. Astringent finish. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 1995
Dark in colour, perhaps more towards violet than other vintages here. Also more into the macerated fruit territory, with some barnyard notes appearing together with smoke or smoked cheese. Very tannic in mouth, again slightly bitter perfume as of caraway; slightly naked structure, although starts with a good moment of intensity; but overall rather less convincing than the 1997. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 1993
Slightly faded but still medium purple shade. Nose again showing deeper, macerated, with hints of strawberry and raspberry syrup. Still rather crude on the palate, though decently intense in mouth, with the structure seemingly more filled with fruit if still austere. A touch of milkiness as of not-yet-mastered barrique. Good. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 1990
Colour similar to the 1993. Softer nose, some spiciness in the background, softer and sweeter in mouth than the younger wines with a strawberry milkshake note, but still lacking definition and intensity and finishing harsh. Again not a convincing Barolo. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Countacc! 1997
Dark purple. Nose is animal, barnyardy, even slightly dirty with some chalk dust; quite cooked in character, rather unfriendly today, but with a completeness that all of the Barolos lacked; not hollow. Despite some sweetness on the finish the rather uncharming Cabernet character is evident here and patience is recommended. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti La Court 1997
Slightly lighter, more transparent colour than the Countacc. The most balsamic, roundest nose of all the Chiarlo wines. Aromatically mainly consisting of some barnyard and minerality as of rock dust with a note of cucumber or bell pepper. Not as mouthfilling as the recently tasted 1998, although perhaps rounder and denser in mouth. Good length. By far the best Chiarlo wine and the only one I would really care to buy, apart from the Moscato d'Asti Nivole 2000, delicious as always. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Fratelli Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco IGT 1998
Stemmy, spicy, quite animal nose with intense juicy dark cherry notes. In mouth there's some bitterness from the ripasso and lots of dark flavours especially on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Capitel Monte Olmi 1997
Fruit marmalade, walnuts, hints of pâtisserie as of panforte, the nose here is slightly warm or cooked but certainly beautiful, with eminently concentrated and rich fruit. In mouth showing softer than expected, very fruit-focused for an Amarone of its age. Some bitterness on finish, could even use more residual sugar for balance. Traditional style. Wonderful Amarone. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Tedeschi Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Capitel Monte Fontana 1997
85 g/l r.s. Lots of almonds on the quite fresh and juicy nose, with minor soupy touches (pheasant soup?), but not volatile. Medium sweetness only, quite a balanced mouthfeel with a tannic finish. Suffering at this stage from the soupy texture but not bad at all. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Umberto Cesari Villa Giulia IGT 2000
100% Sangiovese, aged in tonneaux and 50 hl botte. Medium ruby. Typical Sangiovese with a slightly cooked edge and hints of balsamico (this is from Romagna after all); rather neutral on the palate, watery, not very interesting. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Umberto Cesari Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva 1998
24 months of oak. A wine I've tasted before (see my separate post on Cesari coming soon), showing qiute well again, balsamic nose with a hint of apple soap, juicy, if slightly austere fruit on palate. Not a bad wine for sure. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Umberto Cesari Liano IGT 1998
70% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet, 16 months of barrique, which is medium toasted and ranges from new to 4 years old. Darker colour than the much faded Villa Giulia. Pleasant nose with hints of cedar and cinnamon, with the Cabernet quite forward. Good juiciness, some tannins on the finish. More likeable than the Sangiovese Riserva I think due to better complexity and elegance. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Rémole IGT 2000
85% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet, aged in steel only. Hugely extracted colour. Good nose of fresh, acidic fruit with hints of almonds. Medium intensity, no great definition, but an enjoyable, very drinkable red. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Morellino di Scansano Santa Maria 2000
Grapes as above, aged in steel only. From an estate established in 1995. Again very deep colour. Bitter cherry on the nose, more authentic character perhaps than the Rémole, some coffee notes. In mouth showing a bit bitter, slightly more intense, on the same level but more appealing stylistically – more Italian in character – than the Rémole. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Danzante Merlot della Sicilia 2000
1st vintage of this version of Danzante. Opaque nose with no apparent Merlot character if not some vegetal touches on the finish. Good intensity in mouth, dense and inky, though lacks both some definition and freshness. I asked the Frescobaldi rep, Mr Bernini, about the extraction methods and he confirmed that all the company's estates use rotofermentors and specially designed fermentors with vertical plungers. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Chianti Rúfina Riserva Nipozzano 1998
92% Sangiovese, 8% between Malvasia Nera, Merlot and Cabernet. 100,000 bottles made. A bit fresher nose than the above wines, not as chalky as remembered in this vintage; in mouth slightly cooked, with some inky-soupy character to the texture. Decent amarena cherry flavours. A bit austere in style, medium length. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Lucente IGT 1998
85% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, grapes from Castelgiocondo (Brunello) and Castiglione (Colli Fiorentini). Impenetrable colour of course. Lots of lettuce on the nose, quite soupy in character, reminding me of some high-end Spanish wines with excessive use of American oak if that makes sense. Some vegetal Merlot coming to the fore. Very tannic in mouth yet with a buttery smoothness and aftertaste. Some unpleasant petrolly character. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Chianti Rúfina Montesodi 1996
This is not called a Riserva but is Frescobaldi's top Chianti cuvée from a selection of the best lots. 100% Sangiovese, 2,500 bottles made. Very dark colour. Old wood and some macerated cherries on the nose, very closed aromatically. In mouth perhaps the best of the bunch (though all Frescobaldi reds seem to be pretty much on the same level): soft and elegant, with some rougher edges on finish. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Cetamura 1999
Rather light in colour, raspberry-hued. Nose is rather closed, typical of Chianti with its dark amarena profile. Juicy on the palate, rather short but pleasant. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Roberto Stucchi 1999
100% Sangiovese. Again raspberry hue to the colour, though this is deep and saturated. Not a wonderful nose IMO: rather closed, with some baked bread perhaps, in a way less interesting than the above. Shows an amount of bitterness and cooked character on the palate, has neither the definition nor the freshness of the Cetamura. Puzzling showing for this wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 1997
Colour is much lighter than above. The nose again shows a cooked character with hints of macerated fruit, rather slightly alcoholic but more interesting than the Stucchi thanks to some well-focused cherry and spice notes. Good intensity but only medium length; quite austere, acidic style. Not bad, though nothing too special either. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto IGT 1997
39,644 bottles made. Nose is slightly eggy-custardy but with intense black cherry, showing some amount of oak and spiciness reminiscent of Cabernet: cinnamon, chalk, perhaps some cedar. Not a great wine in the Tuscan context, showing a bit of the cooked character of the vintage and finishing bitterish. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1995
Trebbiano and Malvasia aged four years in caratelli; 15% alc. Nice nose of old wood with some varnish top notes but mainly focused on walnut and apricot jam notes. Some oxidation on the palate, excellent mouthfeel, raisiny-sweet and viscous but finishing walnutty-dry; interesting, round, well-balanced. Very good indeed. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Castello di Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva Petri 1998
Dark purple. Beautiful Sangiovese nose of musk and stems. Dark cherry on the palate, quite tannic in mouth, inky in texture, excellent concentration. Bitter extraction on the finish, but fine purity of fruit. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Castello di Vicchiomaggio Ripa delle Mandorle IGT 1999
80% Sangiovese, 20% barrique-aged Cabernet. Strange, quite perfumed nose in a register of chalk dust and cinnamon. Rather thin in mouth and lacking acid. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Castello di Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva La Prima 1998
From 45-year-old vines. Colour is medium purple. Some bell pepper, cedar and cinnamon on the nose, indeed showing quite old-viney; very concentrated, but almost soupy but austere in mouth. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Dino Illuminati Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Zanna 1997
Aged over two years in botte. Colour is dark ruby with some browning at rim. Excellent nose with a roasted coffee character, some balsamic vinegar and almonds perhaps showing later. Les temperamental than remembered? Slightly glassy and unsubstantial in mouth, especially on the finish. Nose better than palate here. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Dino Illuminati Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riparosso 2000
Opaque, dark purple colour, heavily almondy nose. Inky and dense on palate; bigger in size than the Zanna, though not necessarily better-defined, and with the same kind of unpleasant dilution. Hard and tannic on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Dino Illuminati Controguerra Riserva Lumen 1998
100% Montepucliano, two years of barrique. Some spicy and petrolly notes on the very dense nose. Sweet fruit on the palate, especially on attack, then becomes a bit lean and again slightly watery. Long, has some definition and good concentration while remaining on the soft, you-can-drink-me-now-if-you-want side, with the acidity rather low. Very good, though not an epiphany. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Villa Catone Casal Pilozzo Regina Vitae IGT 2000
95% Pinot Noir and 5% other grapes, two months of barrique. 3,000 bottles made, tasted from bottle no. 1; 14.2% alc. Shaded, rather opaque colour. Positively grapey nose with hints of dark cherry, juicy, not too complicated palate. A touch of fruit sweetness on the finish, not very long, but soft and attractive. A nice surprise. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Cosimo Taurino Salice Salentino Riserva 1998
A wonderfully fresh wine with an animal, smokey griotte nose with hints of liqueur, black fruit pulp and ratafia, perhaps some dustness but very atractive macerated aromas reminiscent of confiture du vieux garçon. Good depth and length, pure, concentrated cherry essence on finish. Impressive for a basic wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Cosimo Taurino Notarpanaro VdT 1995
Slightly rusty rim to the dense purple. Thick nose reminiscent of Amarone, with hints of almonds, violets and dried currants. Less juicy and sharply defined than the Salice, slightly harder on finish, and IMO shorter. Drier also, a bit in the austere register. Shows nothing of its age. Less convincing for me than the Salice but ridiculously underpriced and recommendable in every vintage. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Cosimo Taurino Patriglione VdT 1994
Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, aged 8 months of barrique and 5 years of botte. Minor rim. Highly vegetal, slightly cooked old wine nose, with same profile as above dominated by griotte, but seems greener. Apart from the green notes there's a kind of hollow character to the aromatics here which disappoints. Harder in mouth, slightly metallic on finish; seems much overexposed to oak ageing. There is a decent juiciness, certainly a well-made wine of some length but not as good as expected. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Fiorile Rosso IGT 2000
Vat sample of a Nerello Mascalese and Sangiovese blend. Very dark nocturnal colour with some faded ruby at rim. Juicy but not as impressive as the white wines; finishes with good acidity, slightly hard; lacks definition. Warm but austere fruit. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Cent'Are IGT 1998
Nero d'Avola with 10% Syrah, aged briefly in botte. Again nice dark purple colour. Slightly mineral, seems a bit thinner than the Fiorile; more austere in style but deeper and with more filling. Slight bitterness to the fruit. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte '100% Nero d'Avola' IGT 1999
Very dark purple. Lots of almonds and macerated fruit, juicy on the palate, much longer, with the Nero bitterness coupled with huge ripeness. Some slightly burnt strawberry comes up on finish. Good wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Gorgo Tondo IGT 1999
From barrel. 80% Cabernet, 20% Nero d'Avola. Very perfumed wine with notes of cassis, lots of ripe cherry of the amarena kind, fresh dark grapes, some rubber and burnt tyres. Good intensity in mouth and good overall harmony, rounded, made of one block. Lacks some length perhaps but good. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Ulysse DOC Etna 1999
Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio aged in barrique. Colour is dark, but not the darkest on the table. Some petrol on the nose, juicy fruit in mouth despite the slightly hard finish. Perhaps the nose will open up with some macerated fruit as the other wines. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Pantelleria Passito Liquoroso 2000
100% Zibibbo, 15% alc. Colour is dark amber with some peach. Nose is orangey, perhaps drier, more cottony than most. Quite syrupy mouthfeel, rich and honeyed though paradoxically slightly watery on the finish. Not bitter at all though. Typical. Not a great Moscato but pleasant. Could use a bit more elegance. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 1997 Frescobaldi, Brunello di Montalcino – CastelGiocondo
Colour is garnet with already a hint of brick. The dense nose has 'to die for' sweet black cherry and damson, which becomes more subdued with time plus a slightly more persistent faint 'spice-market'. The palate has no oak induced fat, but still has a good feel with strong, though not aggressive tannin and fine lingering acidity. Perhaps hints of sour cherry amongst good density fruit coupled with excellent length, make this a 'drinker' from release, but surely no rush! Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 1997 Lisini, Brunello di Montalcino
Colour is deep red cherry with some colour development at the edge. Nose is at first very expressive with tons of blackberry & blackcurrant and high tones like rose petals, follows on with more plumy fruit. Broad palate has really fine acidity and grippy tannin. This is very long and fine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 1997 Tenimenti Ruffino, Brunello di Montalcino Greppone Mazzi
Colour is much more developed than the above. Nose also has some plummy fruit but takes on a more spicy, leather effect in the glass. Again very good acidity, and tannins that only announce themselves if you look for them. Hard to put a name on the fruit, but there's plenty of it. This is not so polished as the Lisini, but very good anyway. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Merlot IGT Veneto 2001 Cantine dei Marchesini
Very light appearance -bright & very even ruby with merest hint of youth. Attractive fruity nose - raspberry/blackberry dominant. Nice clean attack. Fresh, light, lots of fruit. Nice light tannins. Fairly simple, but very attractive indeed. Touch of complexity develops on finish and after, when it's a bit chewy. VG length. VG indeed at the price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 1998 Scalabrone, Tenuta Belvedere, Bolgheri Rosato, Antinori
Looks very appealing in the glass; a bright but dark pink. Like a Rousseau Clos St Jacques from a light year. On the nose there are light cabernet sauvignon aromas and some earthiness. On the palate the cabernet is dominant but the merlot plumminess is evident. I couldn't possibly identify any of the other "local" varieties in the blend. A well-flavoured rosato for a change. The finish was of decent length but the earthiness detected on the nose came out again in the finish; might just be this bottle? A nice enough summer wine, properly tasted in the garden at sundown on our hottest day so far this summer. Stood up well to spicy pork sausages. (David Riach , UK)

06/02 Barolo Montfortino 1993 - Conterno
This wine did not appeal to me. Kirsch/cassis nose - I found the palate too oxidised and lacking structure. A bit cloying on the end. Others liked this but it was missing some depth/body for me. 16/25 (Neal Martin, UK)

06/02 Vignamaggio Mona Lisa 1997 Riserva
Tasted from a half bottl.e. A: deep ruby red core fading to slghtly purple rim. Young looking but I was taken a back at the deep intensity of the core. S: Delightful nose with the fruit and oak present but appearing to be in balance. T: Rich mouthfeel with typcial sangiovese notes of dark cherry mingled with the vanilla from the barrel. Long finish. (David Bennett, UK)

06/02 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 1998
Nose of sweet fruit, elegant but quite austere in the Ama style, some mixed spiciness and orange peel. Very Tuscan character but rather shy, lacking body and sweetness in mouth. Seriously tannic, more structured than almost all 1998 Sangioveses I've tried, although seems to lack some fruit really. Might improve with time. Overpriced at L15.50. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Dino Illuminati Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Zanna 1997
Aged 30 months in botte. Medium ruby colour. Quite spicy nose with some evolved fruit and musk, dried cherries perhaps, and lots of old wood. Palate is quite intense, paint-like in texture, with good acidity and no heaviness. Long, very dry finish. Interesting middle-style Montepulciano. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Dino Illuminati Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Lumen 1997
Between 18 and 24 months of barrique. Very dark purple core. Strongly oaky nose with some volatile acidity, but great purity of ripe cherry fruit I think. There's a spicy overtone which I believe comes from the oak. On the palate it is quite fresh fruit for the kind of extraction it has seen, with great acidity which others might find too overpowering. Medium long, with a lot of chunky tannins at the end. Very good indeed; a nicely perfumed, not too heavy, but definitely ageworthy Montepulciano. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Villa Medoro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1999
Yields of 90 q/ha, aged 6 months in 1-year-old barrique, 100,000 bottles made. Dark purple colour. Nose of fresh cherry and minor spiciness, with a whiff of kirsch. On the palate it is a fresha anicely perfumed Montepulciano, perhaps a bit neutral, with a dominance of unadulterated cherry fruit. Not bad. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Villa Medoro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Terramane Il Rosso del Duca 1997
The Colline Terramane is a new sub-zone of the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC. This wine is made from yields of 60 q/ha and has spent 16 months in new oak. Decanted for about one hour before I tried it. Very dark purple colour with a minor rim. Nose shows a vegetal streak over very fresh cherry notes, while remaining thick and opaque. Medium juiciness on the palate; marries very thick, concentrated but elegant matter with a vegetal, not entirely clean side. But quite convincing. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Montepulciano d'Abruzzo La Regia Specula 1999
6 months of botte. Medium purple in the glass. Slightly mineral, airy and fresh nose with notes of raw beef and vinegar. Medium body, no edges here, slightly neutral again. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Colle Funaro IGT 1998
A Cabernet Sauvignon aged in botte. Medium dark purple colour. Very ripe fruit here with a touch of orange peel and bell pepper. Good body, fresh cherry flavours, again lacks a bit of definition. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Liburnio IGT 1997
Orlandi's top wine, a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot, Sangiovese and Malbec. Aged for 12 months in barrique and 12 in bottle. Very dark. Lots of barrique on the nose, with some VA; moderately intense red currant and cherry fruit. On the palate there's medium length, some vinegard and meat on finish. There's much room for improvement, I thought. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Liburnio IGT 1998
Decanted for 2 hours. Slightly lighter purple than the 1997. Much fresher on the nose, with notes of coffee and currant marmalade. Also juicier and purer on the nose, if overpoweringly tannic at the moment. Nothing special, but could be close to excellent in three years' time. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Rocca dei Bottari Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1997
Aged in tonneaux for 24 months. Medium ruby colour. Nice nose with some spice and cherry liqueur, with a juicy, not too heavy palate. No ak here, in fact there's quite pure fruit, although no particular distinction. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Vini San Mauro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2000
Aged in concrete and steel. Medium ruby. Traditional Montepulciano nose with lead pencil and some glassiness, rather light and pure for what it is. On the palate there's an animal touch over quite intense sour cherry. A nice basic Montepulciano. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Vini San Mauro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Valle dei Monaci 2000
Aged in 3000-liter botte. Quite dark ruby. Closed nose. On the palate there's very juicy red cherry of great intensity, if lacking any particular definition. But quite good. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Capezzana Ghiaie Della Furba 1998
Very dark in colour. Significant tannins nicely balanced by soft red fruits and a hint of pepper. Grape not stated on label but surely sangiovese based; I wouldn't be surprised if there was something else in the blend given the hints of chocolate and spice. Oak is also evident but not overdone. Drinking really nicely right now but potential for further development over the short to medium term. Velvety and hedonistic, this is really nice stuff. (Bryan Collins, UK)

05/02 Mazzolada, Lison Pramaggiore Merlot 2000
Fresh cherry and lots of herbal Merlot character, quite mineral and gravelly on the palate, as one would expect from a Venetian Merlot. Has fruit and character. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Mazzolada, Lison Pramaggiore Vigna del Frassino Riserva 1997
Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 months of oak, 6,000 bottles made. Closed nose, but hints of sweet fruit perfume, slightly austere on the palate as well, but with an attractive cassis note. Lacks some panache, but very good. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Mazzolada, Lison Pramaggiore Vigna del Falco Riserva 1997
100% Merlot, 10 months of oak, of which 1/3 new, 6,000 bottles made. Dark in the glass. Fruit rather covered by oak at this stage, notes of ripe griotte and chocolate, but the mouthfeel is hard and tannic, though the oak does not show here too much. Very mineral style again, good balance. Attractive. Italian retail price 7€. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tenuta Carretta Langhe Bric Quercia 1998
A rather unusual blend of Bonarda and Barbera from old vines. Light airy Piedmontese nose with hints of dry spices, dense and soupy in mouth, with great acidity. Expressive. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tenuta Carretta Barolo Cannubi 1996
Medium ruby – purple. Anise, some pulpy griotte, sweet fruit perfume typical of the cru. Balanced by good acidity, attractive soft style. Good Barolo. 3.5-4 (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tenuta La Fiorit Trescone DOC Colli del Trasimeno 1999
Around 20,000 bottles are produced of this blend of 50% Sangiovese, 30% Ciliegiolo and 20% Merlot. The wine is fermented in steel and aged in second-year barriques for 4 months. This boasts a dark but austere purple colour. The nose is quite meaty and substantial, showing a bit of soft oak which however is covered by notes of macerated fruit, cured and grilled meat. Juicy in mouth, the wine shows a but hard and slightly metallic at mid-palate, with austere but pure griotte fruit. Quite French-styled, I thought, due to that austerity and ungiving noblesse. More complex and interesting than the 1997, with great stature despite its soft register. L65 per dozen, ex-VAT. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tenuta La Fiorit Trescone 1997
Again that austere but warm purple colour. This is developing some barnyardy notes, showing cool and austere, with the full structure evident already on the nose. Animal and eggy on the nose, surprisingly backward for a 1997, finishing with burnt meat notes on the nose. Slightly more herbal in mouth, with still that musky oakiness. Very soft, in fact lacking some substance and grip, and without the fullness of the 1999. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tenuta La Fiorit Campoleone IGT 1999
50% Sangiovese, 50% Merlot, fermented in French oak and aged in barrique for 12 months. Around 6,000 bottles produced, the entire UK allocation amounting to 40 cases. L400 ex-VAT per dozen. Very dark, with a violet tinge. Still in the bacony fat stage on the nose, with notes of salame evident. Soft and still a bit oaky mouthfeel, rather spicy from the barrique, not as massive in size as expected, rather elegant and with the same sense of restrainement as above. But what struck me here is how it differs from the Trescone, being substantially more expressive and with a broader, more generous aromatic sense that I found very Italian. Dusty and papery but finishes with elegant, very Bordeaux-esque cassis tannins. The length is superior and the texture is very special indeed. This improves massively in the glass, and even with 10 minutes aeration one can feel the sense of fullness and majestic intensity. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Michele Satta Diambra Rosso IGT 2000
70% Sangiovese is blended with minor amounts of Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera. 40,000 bottles were produced in 1999; I have no figures for the 2000. No wood. This starts with a warmer, more luminescent purple than the austere Lamborghini wines above. Slightly bretty and alcoholic / volatile on the nose at first, lacking some elegance but displaying the sweet fruit of Sangiovese I struggled to find in the Lamborghini wines. Quite thick and substantial on the palate, this nonetheless is a simple, immediate red with good fruit character. Finishes with a note of baked bread. L77. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Michele Satta Piastraia DOC Bolgheri 1999
This is now a blend of 25% each of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the 'Solengo cocktail' as it were. 38,000 bottles produced. Very dark colour. Start slightly almondy and reductive, opening up quickly with notes of juicy cherry, roasted herbs and elegant oak (this is aged 12 months in a mixture of botti and barriques). A note of nail polish, which I found characteristic of Satta in the earlier vintages, stays present throughout the palate. Quite chewy in mouth, lacking some elegance, a bit dull perhaps in its grainy, dense, well-structured and perhaps overtly muscular mouthfeel. High acidity, long finish. Very thick and impressively concentrated but needs better balance. L170. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Michele Satta Vigna al Cavaliere IGT 1998
100% Sangiovese, aged for 12 months in barriques only. 23,000 bottles released. A bit more ruby in hue but very similar colour to the Piastraia. This shows great Tuscan elegance in notes of dried currant, mild spices and grilled game meat. Very smooth griotte character on the palate, with notes of red currants and a slightly weak finish. Again improves substantially with time in the glass, with an even more elegant cassis and dried cherry profile emerging. Sophisticated and very fine, the most impressive vintage of Vigna al Cavaliere I have tasted. L210. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico NV
This states the sugar content on the back label (if only all other sparkling wine producers followed this move): 10 g/l. Very pale green. Very upfront fruity nose with hints of pear and paradise apple, a bit vegetal but ripe and citrusy. On the palate the sweetness, whch is not as integrated as in metodo classico wines, shows in a candy and peardrop character, plus there is minor foxiness as usually with Charmat method wines. Too sweet to my tastes, it could easily do with 2 g/l and still be balanced and pleasant. Rather foody and medicinal on the finish, which is not too long. L69. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Primo Franco 2001
This shows a bit dirtier on the nose than the Rustico, plus meatier and denser in mouth, though still with that obtrusive peardroppy character. Apparently Parker rated this 90, which means he has a sweeter tooth than I do. Decent drinking fizz but lacking elegance and fruit expression. L48 per six bottles. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tommasi Pinot Grigio Valdadige Le Rosse 2001
Lovely creamy, herby-doughy nose which is very Italian in style. Fabulous texture in mouth, eminently creamy and sweet, in fact almost too yeasty-sweet to be believed but not overdone and with no hint of artificiality. Not your every day tap-water Pinot Grigio, this is seriously concentrated yet elegant and classy, with fine length and a finish which is creamy but also bit citrusy-bitter. This is not hot at all (only 12% alc.) but almost too big in flavour. Bottled not more than two months ago, it will probably show more harmonious later in the summer. Great food wine. Leaning towards Alsace in style but still quintessentially Italian, be it alone for the sweetness of fruit. Very fine. L7.75. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tommasi Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2000
60% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and 10% Molinara. Great medium cherry colour. Sweet cherry on the nose, giving way to a powerful note of almonds and almond bread, with hints of aged meat. Rather lightweight in register, showing crisp on the palate with slightly musky fruit and a bit of prickly acidity as of ripe sour cherry on the finish (not a bad thing). A bit of gravelly notes on that finish which also shows an attractive meaty touch. Good length. Great restaurant wine again; everything you could expect from a Valpolicella in a light, very drinkable register (i.e., no ripasso, barrique or other frills). L6. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997
65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara with a long, 5-month appassimento, aged for three years in 3500-l botti and another in bottle. Medium dark purple in the glass. Great fresh griotte on the nose, followed by bitter herbs, grilled meat and musk, with a heavier gravelly bottom note. When first tasted this does not seem so Amarone-like on the nose, in fact perfumed quite like a ripe Sangiovese with its sweet frutto del bosco scent. But later on this grows meaty and almondy and there can be no confusion. Great intensity in mouth, if still a bit blunt in texture and expression. Long, smooth finish, with that thick, kirsch- and bitter amarena-like Amarone character. Mildly hot perhaps. A successful, structured but approachable vintage for Tommasi. Compared to the Florian below this shows considerably fresher, if perhaps chewy and slightly weaker in mouth but more fruity and altogether more exciting today. Softer vanilla finish and hence seemingly not so superhuman as the next wine. Finishes with a fine, long, balsamic, airy-spicy impression. Very fine traditional Amarone. L22. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Ca' Florian 1995
This is a blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara from the Ca' Florian cru. It sees an ageing of 4 years in larg botti with a brief 6-month stay in French oak. More or less the same colour as above. This shows sweeter and denser on the nose than the normale, less elegant, darker and more smoked in character. with a dominant of blackberry spread and a bit of volatility as of soy sauce. Same texture in mouth as the above, slightly bitter on the finish but quite juicy and with great length. Minor heat showing from the 14.5% alc. Less convincing altogether due to a slight lack of harmony but still very good inded. This needs a substantial amount of time to integrate. One of the Friarwood guys remarked this showed much Bordeaux-styled but I thought it has an irrepetible Italian sweetness of fruit to it, despite the sheer weight and concentration. But it certainly is the more structured and austere of the two. Revisit in five years at least. L26. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Tommasi Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Campo Fiorato 1997
60% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 15% Molinara, this only sees six months of large botti and six of steel tanks before ageing in bottle. Slightly lighter in colour than the Amarones, with a crimson hue that was absent above. Surprisingly, this shows meatier and more dry-vinous on the nose than both Amarones, quite almondy but not so sweet or soupy as expected. In mouth however it is a proper dessert wine, with a decidedly jammy attack and great smoothness of texture, while showing significantly warmer in style to the Amarones. Rather lightweight in style again, with a good fruity amarena character and lots of vanilla pâtisserie flavours, but lacking complexity and perhaps a bit of elegance as well, if not for a drier, juicier note on the finish. Not too weighty. This might emerge as a more convincing wine in the future but today it strikes me as one level less complete than either of the Amarones. L11.50 per 375 ml. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2000, Umani Ronchi
Back to its old self after a couple of unconvincing vintages. A cracking everyday Italian red with a baked cherry nose, with quite some depth, and ripeness. Lightweight in the mouth, but with plenty of flavour, and crisp, balanced texture. Great stuff at under £4. ** (Joel Hopwood, UK)

04/02 1997 Zenato - Amarone de la Valpolicella
This is almost saturated ruby in colour. Very sweet, heavy scent flowery nose, more like lilies than violets. High acidity but very well balanced with the fruit and alcohol. This is dense and mouth-filling with a long, almost liqueur type finish. Really good with food - or without ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/02 Valpantena Valpolicella Ripasso 1999
Colour is deep purple. Nose of griotte and the boiled rice & fresh almonds signs of ripasso, slightly heady on the palate, not too rich aromatically, but reasonably good. L8. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico Tacchetto 2000
Corvina and 5% Rondinella. Aged for 6-8 months in steel. Medium ruby. Sligthly spicy and rather cooked nose, not much character. Slightly fresher perhaps than the following wine. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico Superiore 1999
Corvina and Rondinella, aged for 12 months in 25 hl botti. Very pale rose hue, rather like a chiaretto. Stinky nose with hints of salame. Acidic, medium long, drinking nicely. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Bardolino Classico Fontis Vinae Munus 1997
Aged for up to 24 months in botti. Nose of dried cherries and spice, more serious in style, some sweet perfume touches, hints of nutmeg. Ripe round cherry on palate. Mrs Guizzardi says they elaborate this wine to show the potential of the DOC. Interesting serious style. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Valpolicella Classico Superiore 1999
Corvina and Rondinella, aged in botte for 12 months. A shade darker than all the Bardolinos. Not much of a nose. Very dry and rather acidic on the palate, with little fruit really. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Valpolicella Classico Superiore Villa Rizzardi Poiega 1999
This is a cru of which 23,000 bottles were made. More bacony and volatile in style than the normale, also gravelly, with chalk powder and some slate. Also quite meaty on the palate, with some depth of sour cherry and good length. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1996
Corvina with some Molinara and Barbera from vineyards Pojega and Rovereti, dried on special bamboo matts for 4-5 months. Not very dark colour, watery rim. Not much of a nose again, prunes, with a touch of sweeter fruit. Quite warm on the palate, slightly dusty, dried-out on the finish. Soft, feminine style, a bit hollow at mid-palate, not too heavy, but peasant, with some appeal. (Nerval, UK)

02/02 Barolo Riserva 1971, Giacomo Borgogno
Nose of blackberries and redcurrants with the palate showing lovely rich, soft redcurrant, spice and hints of licorice. Soft tannins on the dryish finish. 17/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Bruno Giacossa Barolo 1982
Medium brick red fading to tawny. The nose had wonderful scents of smoke, leather, cherry & cinnamon scented fruit. Mummmmm, nice. The wine its self showed a good rich full bodied palate, though a little rustic, with good acid, spicy concentrated fruit with tobacco , mushroom, some tar & herbs. There were no real hard edges in this and it opened out nicely during 4 hours whilst drinking it. Not to bad at all. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/02 Tignanello 1985
Lucid ruby colour. Super-ripe nose of cherries, vine tomatoes and apricots. Fully mature palate with v soft entry. V lush wine with good acidity and balance. Didn`t have the depth of the other wines but v pleasant to open a bottle now. (21/25) (Neal Martin, UK)

02/02 Vino Spanna, Campi Ravdii 1958, Antonio Vallana e Figlio, Piemonte
A: Reddish brown, slightly cloudy. Brown edges. Very mature looking (as one would expect !!). N: Farmyard earthy aromas and hints of tar and spice. P: Very mellow and round on the palate with flavours of sweet red fruits and tar. Rich kirsch flavours come through on quite a heady mid-palate. The finish is a combination of sweet fruit and dry tannin and leather. S: Very interesting. Still has some life about it, although I think I may have preferred tasting it about 15 years ago. Drink now. (Paul Anderson, UK)

01/02 Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata, Paolo Scavino 1990
Deep ruby/purple color turning crimson on the rim. Cassis jam and sweet cedar on the nose. Concentrated and very extracted cassis and black cherry flavors. Ripe-tasting with relatively low acidity. Tannins are still firm, but ripe and smooth. Powerful, dense and mouthfilling. It finishes smoothly, with good persistence. Clearly, the wine can easily last for several more years, but I enjoy drinking it at this stage where the power and ripeness are in full bloom. (Alex Bernardo, USA)

01/02 Barolo Bussia Soprana, Aldo Conterno 1982
Pale cherry color turning reddish brown on the rim. Very fragrant. Rose petals, gardenia, and cherries on the nose. This lovely bouquet did not oxidize at all and remained perfumy over the course of a three-hour lunch. Intense bing cherries and pronounced spice flavors, with melt-in-your-mouth tannins and good acidity. Very elegant. Lovely finesse. Musigny-like in character. Drinking perfectly . (Alex Bernardo, USA)

01/02 1997 Feudi di San Gregorio, Taurasi – Selve di Luoti
Colour is deep black cherry with purple hints. The wide nose just pulls you in with its low notes of earth and sweet spice with perhaps a hint of vanilla higher up. This is a big wine. The palate is quite thick with strong acid and really furry tannin – nothing out of balance though as the black stoned fruit is up to the task. This is quite long with a sour cherry and bitter chocolate tinged finish. Great fun now, but you should probably wait a bit. Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 1997 Luigi Pira, Barolo
Well developed deep garnet colour, brick at the rim. Nose has quite alcoholic (14%) high smokey floral tones. The palate is very smooth and thick with beautifully covered acidity and big tannins that give a soft coating. The fruit is hard to define, but sweet, though finishing more sour cherry, are you still with me ? The finish starts quite acidic, but is reasonably long with a liqueur type finish. A funny wine, all the parts are really good, but the whole didn't quite gell for me. Still pretty good though. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 1997 Luigi Pira, Barolo Marenca
Deep garnet colour, hinting at brick at the rim. Nose has again quite alcoholic (14.5%) with cooking plum notes. The palate has way over the top acidity making everything else hard to judge. I left this for an hour and in a sympathetic move tried it with food – spaghetti bolognese ! Quite a transformation ! Whilst the acidity is still high, no longer is it unbearably so. There is mouth furring tannin, good weight and a long mainly black fruit finish. On this showing I preferred the basic bottling, despite a certain RP giving this 95. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 Allegrini 1995 Valpolicella Classico Superiore La Grola
A nice, fading drink that still had plenty of fruit, and a nice violet / rosehip nose. It's slipping off the plateau though, and was better 18 months ago when then when the lovely black-cherry gateaux fruit had a little more crunch and grip. Still, a good wine that at its peak was worth a very good *** though it isn't quite that any more. Note that later vintages are reputed to be much more heavily oaked. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

01/02 Rosso di Montepulciano 2000 (Poliziano)
Nose of new sawn wood and bitter cherry, very powerful, quite long and simple. Drink young. Wonderful mouthpuckering acidity. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

01/02 Castello di Fonterutoli 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva
This really is excellent wine. Imperial purple colour, a typical modern Chianti nose of crushed berries, plum skin / stone fruit. Real class and depth here, and this is still so, so youthful. Mouthfilling and long, medium weight and crisp acidity (less than 1997, unusually so). This will surely improve for at least another 5 to 10 years. Don't underestimate it. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

01/02 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1995
Vivid dark red colour, leading to a potent nose of cherry and 'undergrowth'. Palate of cherries, silk and dry leather in perfect harmony. Super intensity allied to silky finesse. Went well with a mushroomy quorn au vin dinner. With more air over the evening, a delicious savoury almost salty tang emerged. Excellent, ready to drink, but no rush at all I'd imagine (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/02 Tre Uve NV
One of the best value wines on the market, for my palate. It is notable for its clear, fine berry-fruit nose, which is next to impossible to find at this price (a whisper over £5 at Oddbins). The Tre Uva "Ultima", only a quid or so more, has that fruit slightly obscured by (rather good for the price) oak and more serious wine-making, not perhaps entirely the point in a wine of this type. Both are very good wines to drink by the bottle, accompanied by rolled-up cigarettes, a good fire, and a copy of Tristram Shandy. The joy of cheap wine is that one does not feel guilty about taking great slurps and smoking. (George Horton, UK)

01/02 Primo Estate Joseph Moda Amarone Cabernet/Merlot 1998
Opaque purple colour. Powerful nose of ripe blackcurrants, oak and alcohol. Some noticeable tannin. Massive, but hides its 14.5% alcohol reasonably well. Masses of blackcurrants – almost sweet and jammy – with some vanilla, but not complex. Good length. IMO not quite ready. Needs a year or two. Quite good, but predictable at present – there's tons of fruit, but will it take on more complexity? A curiosity at £20, but I can think of many more enjoyable wines for the price. (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Quintarelli Alzero 1988
Opaque ruby almost to the rim. Absolutely no sign of age. Very port-like nose of dried fruits, spice and alcohol, with added pencil shavings! Some tannin, but ripe. Extremely full bodied. Complex flavours of plums, sloes and spice, tending with time (45 mins + after opening) to the black cherries of Amarone di Valpolicella. Very long and persistent finish. Well balanced despite 14.5% alcohol. Drinking well now, but will last forever. Excellent, memorable and unique, hence probably worth the £90 I paid. (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Gaia Sperss 1993
13.5%abv. Medium youthful plum with a slight fade. Good warming nose of smoke tar and earth but quite peppery at the same time. It almost reminded me of an Oz Shiraz on opening. The drink seemed to hold more fruit to go with the big acid and tannins. All this mellowed after a couple of hours to leave a good, but not hugely complex Borolo, with flowers, mushroom, earth and black fruits. Maybe this example of Nebbiolo was made in a more modern style as this example is drinking well now. Not bad. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Felsina Chianti Classico Ris. 'Rancia' 1997
The nose is very promising, with thick plum skins and a hint of smoky oak / coffee bean. The wine is incredibly thick in the mouth, and is extremely long. No problems with insuffcient acidity here, either. I won't be cracking another one for at least five years. Well, that's the intention anyway! Seriously good stuff, this Rancia. **(**) Might even be a five star wine in 10 years, the balance is that good. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

01/02 Bruno Giacoso Barolo 1982
Leathery and vigorous, in fact air didn't open this stubborn wine at all, all leather, acid and drying tannin on the palate, it seems like it's time has not come rather that it's time has gone. (Nick Alabaster, UK)


07/02 Ronco del Gelso Riesling 2001, Isonzo, Friuli
Pale green/gold colour. Very closed on nose and palate at first. Opened up with aeration and the warmth of the room. Pronounced grapefruit flavours and aromas. Very dry. Lot of acidity. Should improve to good, possibly better. (David Pope, UK)

07/02 Casa Vinicola Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2001
I've enjoyed previous vintages of this Tesco bottling, this didn't seem quite as good: dry, bitter-edged, herby, clean. Maybe not as much fruit as earlier vintages. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 Silvio Jermann "Vintage Tunina" 1997
Absolutely delicious, buttery, floral white wine that is drinking beautifully. Like many fine white wines, it's hard to describe the exact flavour, but there is no mistaking the very fine texture and length. Highly recommended! 4 stars for this. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

07/02 Michele Chiarlo Gavi di Gavi Rovereto 2000
Thick, fresh, leafy nose lacking definition, slightly hard in mouth. Consistent with my previous note on this wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Tedeschi La Fabriseria IGT 1998
A blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, vinified to 12 g/l of residual sugar. Only made in 1983, 1988, 1995, 1997 and 1998. This is the wine that stunned me at the 2001 Decanter event. Today it shows some bell pepper Cabernet touches, seeming less balsamic and intense than I remember. But very juicy indeed with fine purity of cherry fruit, not the longest wine on the planet but very pleasant indeed. The Tedeschi signature shows in a dark, smokey whiff on the finish. Delicious. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Umberto Cesari Trebbiano di Romagna Villa Giulia 2000
Aged in steel only. Slightly dirty but interesting vegetabley nose with hints of lettuce; not very demanding on the palate, neutral, correct acids, medium length. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Umberto Cesari Albana di Romagna Colle del Re 2000
Slightly more defined than the above, some cat pee on the nose, hollow, lean, quite crisp on the palate, shares a neutral character with the Trebbiano. Decent length. Not much to write home about. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Frescobaldi Pomino Benefizio 1999
100% Chardonnay in this vintage (sometimes some Pinot Grigio is included), partly fermented in oak, aged in oak that has seen the malolactic fermentation of another wine. Very buttery, almost doughy nose, quite fresh in mouth, pleasant, with some bitterness on finish. A rather standarised wine. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1995
Trebbiano and Malvasia aged four years in caratelli; 15% alc. Nice nose of old wood with some varnish top notes but mainly focused on walnut and apricot jam notes. Some oxidation on the palate, excellent mouthfeel, raisiny-sweet and viscous but finishing walnutty-dry; interesting, round, well-balanced. Very good indeed. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Castello di Vicchiomaggio Vin Santo Il Borgo di Vicchiomaggio NV
Faded amber. Typical nose of pasticceria, fresh and dried apricots, some fruit pulp and fruits macerated in syrup. Also lots of almonds. Fresh and at the same time stale fruit on the palate, not too sweet, partially oxidized. Not so convincing because of the odd style. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Gioacchino Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Podium 1999
Light golden. Rather animal on the nose, with cat pee and orange honey notes, showing rather reductive. Seems hollow on the palate, with all the fruit buried underneath an unpleasant oiliness. Not convincing, probably in a weird phase given its total dissimilarity to the 1997. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Serra Fiorese 1997
Discreet, just slightly aggressive oak here, following slightly fat in mouth, though the Verdicchio greenness is also evident. Well balanced. Quite likeable, interesting wine, much better than I remember. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Dino Illuminati Controguerra Ciafrè 2000
Only 1,068 bottles made from a single vineyard plangted with Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Passerina, Garganega, Malvasia and Riesling; no oak. Colour is dark straw. Some boiled rice on the quite herbal and Adriatic coast-typical nose, showing fused and balanced. Juicy, sweet fruit in mouth though there's some amount of marginally unripe pear and white peach character. Surely a pleasant white. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Villa Catone (Antonio Pulcini) Frascati Superiore Villa Catone 2000
A blend of Malvasia del Lazio, Malvasia di Candia and Trebbiano Toscano. Slightly oxidized, dirtish nose but more interesting on the palate with good balance and intensity, hints of walnuts, freshly chopped herbs and old wood. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Villa Catone Frascati Superiore Valle Chiara 2000
This contains 60-70% Malvasia del Lazio. Slightly lighter in colour than the above. Much more elegant on the nose, if still quite biting and cat pee-like, with a fresh pear note. Consistent impressions on the palate. Fresher in register than the Villa Catone, though not necessarily preferable. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Villa Catone Frascati Superiore Colle Gaio 1990
100% Malvasia del Lazio, yields of 35 q/ha instead of the 140 allowed by the DOC rulebook. 6,000 bottles made. Nose shows lettuce, fresh herbs and some rubber. Slightly oxidized on the nose and palate, soft, quite herbal, not very long, has some interest but rather for aficionados. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Villa Catone Casal Pilozzo Passito di Malvasia IGT 2000
100% Malvasia del Lazio, dried on the vine with minor amounts of botrytis, aged shortly in botte. Bottle no. 624 of 1,500, 15% alc. Dark golden to light amber. Nose is vegetal and softly fruity, with notes of apple marmalade; slightly green and very ripe at the same time. Great intensity on the palate, honey and candied orange, pineapple. Close to excellent. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte (Marco Pellegrino) Fiorile Grecanico IGT 2001
No wood. Standard nose of leaves and walnuts, with some acidity apparent on palate, altogether somewhat herbal or even chemical. Nothing great because of the weak concentration. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Cent'Are IGT 2000
80% Inzolia, 20% oak-aged Chardonnay. Slightly more perfumed nose with some petrol notes and fresh fruit, though still lacking somewhat in definition. Juicy, quite long. Well-made. (Nerval, UK)

07/02 Duca di Castelmonte Gorgo Tondo IGT 2000
80% Grillo, 20% Chardonnay. Darker in colour with lots of green hues. Positively oily and petrolly nose here. Fresh in mouth with notes citrus and spring greens, apricotty shades of overripeness. Not as long in mouth as the Cent'Are and slightly less exciting, but a juicy, fruity white of some complexity. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 1996 Gaja, Alteni di Brassica
(From a half) Pale gold colour. Nose is a 'bubble-gum' affair with some higher grapefruit tones. Concentrated palate which has melon, good acidity and a very long, hot, and slightly oaky finish. Yes there's good concentration, but this is certainly not a refreshing wine. I'd prefer 2-3 bottles of the Deiss Riesling for the same price as this half. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 Zenato Lugana Villa Flora 2000
100% Trebbiano di Lugana. Creamy Italian nose with hints of boiled rice, juicy and elegant, soft, with good acidity, all the hallmarks of Trebbiano in an appreciable if uncomplicated package. L5.50. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Dino Illuminati Cenalba DOC Controguerra 2000
100% Chardonnay, 100% oak-fermented says the importer, while an Illuminati leaflet only mentions steel vats. A closed nose with some herbal character. Medium intensity and medium body on the palate, with delicate oak and lemon juice on finish. Very good Chardonnay. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Villa Medoro Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2000
90% Trebbiano, 10% Falanghina from purchased grapes, with yields the nice lady says are as low as 50 q/ha. She adds 2000 was a great vintage for the zone, as will be 2001, with sugar levels reaching 24-26%. This shows a very soft and grapey nose typical of the variety, while on the palate it has good fruit intensity and excellent consistency. Medium acids, and finishes with an impression of sweetness from the very ripe fruit. Simple but delicious Trebbiano. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Podere Colle della Corte 2000
Has seen some oak. Less open and charming than the excellent Villa Medoro Trebbiano, this is still quite typical in its grapey, fleshy nose, while also quite consistent on the palate. A good drink, if a bit neutral. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Roccesco IGT 2000
100% Chardonnay, has seen some barrique. Nose starts with minor varnishy VA, quite neutral a and closed again, with in mouth a thicker texture than the Trebbiano, followed by a shortish, slightly watery finish. No oak here, just a decent, honest Abruzzese white. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Orlandi Contucci-Ponni Ghiaiolo IGT 2000
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Vegetal and gently fruity nose of apple gelée and gooseberry, not as artifial as some dreadful New World Sauvignons are nowadays, with again that touch of sweetness from very ripe grapes. Quite convincing, if lacking some cut. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Rocca dei Bottari Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2000
Aged in steel. Nice fleshy and grapey nose with some gooseberry, while remaining dry despite the softness. Good texture in mouth, lacks some grip perhaps. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Rocca dei Bottari Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 1998
From a wood-aged range, this spends 6-7 months in new Slovenian oak tonneaux. Nose is oily and petrolly, showing an elegant type of oak and lots of spring flowers. On the palate it is a bit vague, but with a good, solid fruit matter throughout. Good. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Michele Satta Bolgheri Bianco 2001
70% Trebbiano and 30% Vermentino; 20,000 bottles produced. This is very Verdicchio-like on the nose with hints of boiled rice, citrus rind and bitter herbs, gorgeously Italian and actually not stinky at all from the yeast, contrary to what I had feared. Juicy and pleasant in mouth but a bit foody and lacking freshness here. Medium finish. L68 per dozen. (Nerval, UK)

o5/02 Michele Satta Coste di Giulia IGT 2000
After a period of pure Vermentino content this wine is now one third Sauvignon Blanc and two thirds Vermentino. 30,000 bottles made. More elegant, with the Sauvignon contributing soft gooseberry notes and some spice, as well as a wonderfully aromatic note of freshly chopped parsley. Some minerality showing as well. On the palate this seems a bit pungent and chewy, opaque and again lacking some acidic grip, as well as some length perhaps. But a pleasantly drinkable wine for the summer. L75. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Mazzolada, Lison Pramaggiore Pinot Grigio 2000
A rather neutral Pinot which shows soft in mouth, despite slightly harsh acids. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Mazzolada, Lison Pramaggiore Vigna del Pruno Riserva 2000
100% Chardonnay fermented and aged for 6 months in barrique; 4,300 bottles made. Little more than a whiff of bacony oak on the nose, same on palate, with some fruit but rather anonymous altogether. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Dry Muscat; Basilicata IGT 2000 Cantina di Venosa
Blind Tasted (wife as adjudicator), Impression: Colour: very pale straw....northern climate quite viscous guess 13%? Palate: ooohh ripe tropical fruit, apricots and melons, rich mouthfeel (guess 2....Aus/NZ perhaps Califonia, possible well made Rhone). Finish: Short but satisfying enough (prob not rhone then...) Final guess: new world marsanne/rousanne/viognier (oops!) (David Bennett, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Soave Classico 2000
95% Garganega, 5% Trebbiano. Rather stinky fruit, some citrus, stale lemon, and a vegetal touch of Trebbiano showing. Fresh on the palate but slightly hollow, not very clean. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Soave Classico Costeggiola 1999
95% Garganega, 5% Trebbiano, aged sur lie for several months in steel, 26,600 bottles made. Quite floral compared to the above, though still a lot of yeast showing, soft and soave indeed. Not much depth on the palate, with a finish that is both creamier and stronger than in the normale. An OK white. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Guerrieri Rizzardi Recioto di Soave Classico 1998
This is the passito version of the above cru, aged 12 months in 500-liter French and Slavonian tonneaux; 2,666 bottles made. Crunchy apple pulp on the quite perfumed, if slightly odd nose, not so much overripe, with a bacony touch. On the palate slightly watery but elegant, with appley flavours; not the least syrupy, with a soft touch of varnish hovering above. (Nerval, UK)

02/02 Feudi di san Gregorio 1999, Campanaro, Campania
Apples and lime on the nose followed through with a quite buttery rich peach flavours coming through. Long finish with citrus flavours. 16/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Tercic Collio Chardonnay 1999
Colour: gold/straw, quite dark. Nose: melons, bramley apples, hazelnuts - but a bit diffuse. alate: nutty, very dry to the point of near bitterness. Flavours expand in the mouth leaving a waxy/oily coating and a long finish. Would score higher if it weren't for the bitter edge. Approaching the weight of a Rully - had hoped for a bit more lightness of touch. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Tercic Collio Sauvignon Blanc 1998
Colour: very pale. Nose: grapefruit. Palate: grapefruity fruit, plus bitter/earthy flavours. Nice depth of "gout de terroir", but not quite enough intensity of fruit to balance it out I felt. QG/G

01/02 Vintage Tunina 1997 (Silvio Jermann)
We caught this one absolutely a point. The nose was quite dumb at first, but developed into a subtle banana, flowers and white fruit affair. But it was the palate that was really impressive. Packing both the richness of a top-quality Meursault and the purity, raciness, focus and crystalline acidity of a Dageneau Pouilly Fume, it was just sensational stuff. Long, too, and with perfect balance. A bargain at £25 or so, and the second of a six pack. Rated an easy ****. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

01/02 Teruzzi & Puthod Terre di Tufi 2000
Pale yellow. Good complex nose of citrus fruit, elderflowers and vanilla. On the palate refreshing acidity, with good lime fruit backed up by subtle oak giving the wine substance. Long, with minerals on the finish. Fine now, but should last 3 years or so. Very,very good and good value at around £15. (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Frascati - Tesco 2000
I had it down as a Chenin from South Africa tasted blind. Although light this Frascati had surprising body to it although no real identifable flavours. It worked wonderfully well with the acidity putting the chilli in it's place. I actually quite enjoyed it! (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Terre di Fanciacorta 1997 - Az. BellavistaThe first time I tasted from this estate in Lombardy but a beautiful wine. Great definition on the nose: minerals and a touch of coconut. Palate has moderate acidity, again brilliant definition with a complex minerally palate. Very subtle creamy oak on the finish. Very long and delicious. (23/25) (Neal Martin, UK)

12/01 Villa di Vetrice Vin Santo Toscano 1979
Darkish, browned colour. High toned, intensely nutty (almonds! and hazelnuts) nose with raisins and dried figs playing around too, then marzipan and cookie dough. Sweetly fruited if slightly baked and distinctly madeirised palate, great length on the finish and remarkably complex. Delightful example of the style. (Stephan Muller, UK)

11/01 Azienda Agricola Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2000
13.5% alc., 180,000 bottles made, 7,500 lire / $3.5. Aged 5 months in steel, bottled March 2001. Medium golden-straw. Fleshy nose of ripe grapes and gooseberry, with some yeast and parsley. Long and persistent in mouth, with cool lemon peel and lemon juice notes on the finish. The main focus here, however, is the brilliant texture, which embodies the Italian word pastoso (creamy / doughy). Very typical, excellent Verdicchio. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Tralivio 2000
110,000 bottles made in this abundant harvest, price is 12,000 lire / $6. 14% alc., bottled April 2001 after ageing in steel. Nicely glowing light golden in the glass. Much more refined nose with notes of sand and dirt, vine leaves and other vegetal aromas, although pretty closed. Same smooth texture on the palate, though softer than the normale, with sweet fruit on the finish. Very long and complex finish with a dominant note of lemon sorbet. Very good indeed, if lacking the direct poise of the normale. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Balciana 2000
This wine comes from a 9.3 ha single vineyard of the same name, with a northern exposure, which gives a totally different kind of grape maturation. Although it is often harvested in November, this wine is not a passito and usually is not affected by botrytis either (although the 1997, a wet vintage, had a small percentage of botrytis-affected grapes). The resulting wine is very rich in aromatics and has 7 to 8 g of residual sugar. Medium to dark golden in the glass. Very late-harvest kind of nose with fresh and dried apricots, candied lemon peel and, later, more vegetal notes of parsley and sage. On the palate it has lots of lemon-like bitterness, the same texture as the two preceding wines, although slightly hollow on the finish IMO, and quite heady with its 14.5% alcohol. Needs time to integrate; for the time being it is less harmonious and less convincing than the two other wines. 22,000 bottles made, 30,000 lire / $15. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Balciana 1994
This is the first vintage of this wine, the vines having been planted in 1991. Rich golden colour with hints of apricot. Apricot also on the nose, which is elegant and fused, with musk, slate and a touch of oxidation. Again, the same smooth texture makes it very nice to drink, although it is clearly not as complex in mouth as the 2000s; flavours of parsley and other herbs, some fino sherry pungency, lean body and medium length. Interesting to try, although not in the same league as the recent releases. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2000
Medium straw colour. Nice rich fruity nose of ripe pear, green apple, some fig perhaps, followed by bread mie and yeast. Slightly hollow and much less convincing on the palate, with more green apple and quite high acids. Long and persistent. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Cuprese 2000
This is a vineyard selection. Nose of wet stones, ash, fresh leaves, as well as lots of grapes. Lean, soft and rather heady on the palate, with moderate intensity and a smooth, not too long finish. Nice, quaffable, uncomplicated white. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vigna San Marco 2000
From a single vineyard with a soil of sand and clay. Very yeasty nose with some lanolin, apparently not too clean, with lots of minerality as of slate and wet stones. Difficult to assess at this stage. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Túfico 1999
Second vintage of this new wine, coming from a single vineyard of 3 ha which is late-harvested in November (Pierlugi says the grapes are slightly dried at the time). Dark colour. Strange, not too complex nor open nose which has orange marmalade and lots of minerals, underpinned by a certain glassiness. Lots of body on the palate. Quite fat and creamy texture. Slight bitterness on end, good acidity. Not my favourite style of Verdicchio, but interesting. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Cuprese 1988
From magnum. Medium golden colour. Nose is again slightly chemical, but also very rich with honey, apricots, some minerals as well, if also with some hollowness. Very intense and mouth-filling on palate, slightly bitter and oxidised, lowish in acids, but very pleasant. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Cuprese 1992
From magnum. More complex nose of dried herbs, fresh fruit and mineral, still quite young I thought. Very creamy and smooth on the palate, mild and integrated, with good acidity left. If only all 1992 Italians were like this. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Colonnara Marche Brut Metodo Classico 1995
Disgorged fall 2000, dosage of 6 g/l. Medium golden colour. Slightly dirty nose with sweat and yeast. Fruity but vague on the palate, not too rich nor complex, with medium length. I haven't like the Verdicchio-based sparkling wines which I tried. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Vallerosa-Bonci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Viatorre 2000
Aged in steel, 100,000 bottles made. Meaty, quite typical nose with hints of dried herbs. Full-flavoured in mouth, quite acidic and bitter, with flavours of green apple and gooseberry and the telltale Verdicchio creamy texture. Some animal notes coming up as well. Ready to drink, in fact rather low in acids, but good. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Vallerosa-Bonci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore San Michele 2000
This single vineyard wine produced since 1968 made Bonci's fame. 30,000 bottles are made each year from yields which 'are naturally reduced', says Giovanni, to 80 q/ha, with vineyards planted at 1,800 vines per ha. Medium straw colour. Nose is animal again, with a whiff of lanolin, followed by ripe peach, some white flowers and stalkiness, overall rather muted for what it is. Highly intense in mouth, heady and a tad bitter, with very good acidity and overall much smoother than the normale, with a creamy custard note on the finish. Very good. Vallerosa-Bonci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Le Case 2000 18,000 bottles made, 20% fermented and kept until April in a mixture of new, 1- and 2-year-old barriques. Perhaps a bit darker than the San Michele. Lots of oak on the nose, but of an elegant style, with buttery pear and some stemmy notes. On the palate it definitely is a fat creature, although with the brilliant Verdicchio texture instead of easy butteriness; lemony acids at mid-palate, but the finish is a bit too sweet and oaky to my tastes. But skilfully done. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Vallerosa-Bonci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Barré 1997
Only 3,900 bottles made. Fermented in 100% oak, then aged 2 months in steel and at least 6 in bottle. A bit darker yet, with apricot hues. Buttery and herbal nose which closes up substantially, leaving an interesting note of fines herbes. On the palate there is a lot of stale or burnt butter and major bitterness, although the texture is good and the whole package stays quite elegant. The finish is very buttery again. Despite all the oak quite a likeable wine I must say. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Vallerosa-Bonci Brut Bonci 1995
100% Verdicchio, partly oak-fermented, disgorged in 2001 and dosed at 12 g/l; 5,000 bottles made against 40,000 of the Charmat, which I did not taste. Dark straw-golden. Very stinky nose with aromas of cat pee, musk, stale butter, asparagus, herbs and ripe apple. Palate is very green, celery-like, with very high acidity and a touch of sweetness. Odd, but quite good. (Nerval, UK)

Vallerosa-Bonci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Passito Rojano 1999
From grapes dried on the vine, 13.5% alc., sugar at 80 g/l. This is no muffato, although the 2000 has been botrytis-affected. Medium amber colour. Fine, acidic nose with lots of almonds, orange marmalade, and a buttery and slightly sausagey side to it as well. The palate is less convincing, fat and candied as it is, lacking in acid and slightly excessive in bitterness on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Mario & Giorgio Brunori Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2000
Mainly Verdicchio, with 5-6% of Trebbiano added. Yields of 110 q/ha, about 21 g of dry extract, over 6 g of acids. Price is 6,500 lire / $3. Medium straw colour. A meaty, fleshy smell gives a sense of rusticity, as do the positively sweaty notes that emerge with time. Quite intense on the palate, with very cool and fresh fruit completed by a touch of sweetness; creamy texture, medium to high acidity. Consistent, simple, but with a very solid core. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Brunori Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore San Nicolò 2000
100% Verdicchio, lower yields here at 80-90 q/ha; 9,000 lire / $4. Nose starts with fresh lettuce leaves, followed by some lemon; still very cool and fresh, but more clouded than the normale and difficult to assess. Better definition on the palate, although apparently less acidic (Giorgio says that acids are almost as high, but they're covered by the structure). Fresh, not fat at all, with a personality of its own. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Brunori Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2000
Special cuvée made for the 45th anniversary of the winery; 1/3 of the wine was aged for 6 months in barrique, of which half (i.e., one barrel) was new. Sold at 12,000 lire / $6. Giorgio says it is made from a stricter selection of more mature grapes. Medium straw colour. Nose of fermentation vat with hints of oak, bitter lemon peel, some ashes, sweet fruit a bit masked by the oak as yet, with a whiff of herb vodka. Palate has flavourful grey fruit and medium acids, with some bitterness on the finish. Needs some time to show its proper self. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Umani-Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Villa Bianchi 2000
100% Verdicchio from a single vineyard in Moie of 1.5 ha and 12-year-old vines (3,500 vines per ha); yields of 90 q/ha. Aged in steel only. 250,000 bottles made. Luminescent medium straw. Stinky nose of super-ripe fruit, with some ash notes and apparently closing up. Quite mineral on the palate, with an interesting texture; very ripe sweet fruit, long citric finish, some bitterness. Excellent. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Umani-Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Casal di Serra 2000
100% Verdicchio from a 14 ha single vineyard in Montecarotto; yields of 50 q/ha. Aged 95% in steel and 5% in oak, the latter with malolactic fermentation. 120,000 bottles made. Very dark straw-golden. Nose again of huge ripeness, with a raw fish note and subsidiary aromas of butter and milk. Very smooth, even a bit too much so, with a high final bitterness. Slightly flabby as well, and nowhere as convincing as the Villa Bianchi IMO. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Umani-Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Plenio 1998
From vineyard Villa Bianchi, aged 30% in French barriques for 6 months, and the rest in small steel vats. 12,000 bottles made. Lighter straw colour. First bottle slightly corked. Second is a bit vegetal with lettuce notes, quite fresh on the nose, although rather fat in mouth. Good mineral depth. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Umani-Ronchi Le Busche IGT 1998
50% Verdicchio from vineyard Le Busche in Montecarotto, 50% Chardonnay from Villa Bianchi and aged 6 months in new oak. 5,000 bottles made. Very dark amber colour. Nose of pineapple, candied fruit and some apricot, clearly some maturity tricks have been performed here. Very fat, almost oily texture, but there's huge matter with butter, sweet fruit and lemon peel flavours. Long. Not bad at all for an oaked white. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Umani-Ronchi Maximo IGT 1998
100% Sauvignon Blanc picked from 2 ha of Villa Bianchi vineyard in December, in two or three selective harvests. 12% alc., aged in steel only and not exported. 2,000 half-bottles made. Dark amber verging on light brown. Excellent marmalady nose of grape gelée, bacon fat, medium roast coffee and acacia honey, a bit one-dimensional, but beautifully focused. Palate is rather light-bodied, with a strong baked pear and apple note on mid-palate and more coffee on the finish. Slightly hot, though sufficiently fruity. Very honeyed, slightly lacking in acid, but brilliant nonetheless. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Gianni Masciarelli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetiè 2000
Fermented in new oak and kept in barrel since then. 15% alc., 29 g of extract. A huge wine with a very spirity nose, discrete oak and not many fruit aromas at the moment. A sensation of rocky minerality, great structure and balance. Good acidity on the finish. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Masciarelli Chardonnay Marina Cvetiè 2000
13 months of new oak, pH 3.8, 14.3% alc. Nose of boiled rice and rice crackers, with a green streak. Very fat creature, but noble, wonderfully elegant, with a sense of restrain. Superior integration. Very Puligny-like. Hard to judge now, but should prove great. These two wines will be staying in oak for another year. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Masciarelli Chardonnay Marina Cvetiè 2001
Two samples of this wine, which had just completed fermentation. One from a normal barrel was nicely round and fat, drinking quite well. The other, from a very heavily toasted Vosges barrique (a 'crusted' one), was extremely aggressive and acidic. Both will be eventually blended. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Fattoria di Forano Colli Maceratesi 1999
13% alc. Much lighter in colour. Very different nose, with notes of white chalk, freshly cut peach, elder flowers. Excellent acidic backbone on the palate, long and juicy in its lemony / grapefruity edge, with opulent grey fruit and, again, a slightly hot finish. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 di Forano Colli Maceratesi 2000
13% alc. Same medium straw colour as the 1999. Very yeasty and vegetal yet, opening up with animal and chicken stock notes. In mouth it is quite juicy, much riper than the 1999, rounder and also hotter, with some pear, celery and zucchine notes; unfortunately the acidity is indeed a bit low and the overall profile is a bit too veggie-like. 10,000 bottles made, 7,000 lire / $3.5. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 di Forano Colli Maceratesi Monteferro 2000
14% alc. A bit darker than the two last normale. Also quite yeasty and chemical, with a similarly high degree of maturity, almost soupy on the nose; boiled chicken and then rose petals and ripe peach emerging. Fat and ultra-ripe, but complex and refined at the same time. The palate is juicy and integrated, creamy, again a bit low in acids which I assume is a matter of vintage. Melon and lemon notes, alcohol less evident here than in the normale. A bit of bitterness on the finish is not obtrusive. Delicious to drink, but there is certainly room for improvement in the context of the grape and style. Huge bargain at 10,000 lire / $5. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Boccadigabbia La Castelletta IGT 1999
Mostly Pinot Grigio 'with some Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc added', says Alessandri. This is aged in steel tanks on its lees for as long as 10 months, since the fermentation often stops and then resumes after bâtonnage, which is done every 10 days. 7,000 bottles produced, 12,000 lire / $6. Medium straw. Nice and very typical nose with hints of bitter fruit and herbs, butter, ripe peach, with a feeling of very good grape maturity. On the palate it still shows lots of yeastiness and lacks a bit of texture, but otherwise a quite typical, enjoyable PG. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Boccadigabbia Montalperti IGT 1999
100% Chardonnay from a 1.5 ha plot, fermented and aged for 4-5 months in 50% new barriques, then transferred to steel for further ageing. 7,000 bottles made, 20,000 lire / $10. Medium straw. Very fat and herbal barrique nose with hints of fried chicken and public toilet, an oak hater's nightmare. In mouth it is quite integrated and balanced, though still herbal and bitter, especially on the finish. Not too heavy, long, but slightly metallic IMO, with an aggressive, not entirely natural type of length. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Boccadigabbia Villamagna Monsalunum IGT 1998
50% Verdicchio fermented in new oak, 50% Maceratino from the 'wrong' clone as discussed above. 7,000 bottles made, 15,000 lire / $7. Alessandri says he will increase the production of 1999 to 15,000 while also increasing the Verdicchio component. This one is limpid greenish in colour. The nose is very ripe, almost stinky and organic, with some yeast still quite evident, as well as gooseberry syrup, ladies' perfume and other overripe scents. On the palate it has good persistence, strong flavours of grey fruit and a long finish, which again is slightly bitter and aggressively acidic, also texturally. Needs some time perhaps. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Giovanni Domenico Vajra Langhe Bianco Riesling 1999
Medium straw colour. Very typical nose with hints of flowers, citrus, Turkish delight, pineapple, then some boiled rice setting in; very nice nose with a touch of fat. On the palate there is good acidity, flavours mainly of candied fruit, very consistent and well-tailored. Rather light-bodied, not too complex and perhaps lacking a bit of intensity, though the touch of pineapple on the finish is everything else than shy. Good, interesting wine. I was very surprised to find a Riesling of this quality in Piemonte, but then thought the grape behaves and tastes quite similar to Erbaluce or Favorita, so why not? (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Giacomo Brezza & Figli Langhe Chardonnay 2000
From single vineyard Romilda, aged in steel, sur lie, for 6 months, with 30% of malolactic fermentation. 4,000 bottles made. Light straw colour. Fresh vegetal nose with peach, lemon, green apple, a bit of celery and no oak. Juicy and quite powerful in mouth, aromatically perhaps a bit vague but that's Chardonnay after all. Long and very good. (Nerval, UK)

N.B. there are even older Italian notes archived at here.