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

UK Wine Forum - Italy III

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

reds - whites


12/02 San Guisto a Rentennano 1997 Chianti Classico - £12 (US$18)
I originally bought 12 bottles on release and have drunk 8 bottles so far. None have been corked and all have delivered unfussy pleasure. The 1997 vintage continues to impress me for Chianti Classico and this is no exception. A rich red colour, it displays an earthy nose of herb and tarry red fruits. The medium bodied mouthfeel is charming and balanced and complimented a range of dishes. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Barolo 1995 Michele Chiarlo - 13.5% - £26 (US$40)
A light colour, more deep strawberry than anything else, all the way to the rim, which surprised me as I thought it would be darker. The nose was classic Barolo comprising roses and backed up by noticeable tar and black liquorice and a dash of aniseed. The taste was initially dumb with the tannins pinching gently at my gums, decent length, slightly flat tasting. Needs more time? Hmmmm. I was expecting more from this wine. After a further 2 hours in the glass, the wine became sweeter and the nose of roses intensified. The finish however remained uninspiring. If the truth be old, I was disappointed, hence 80/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Uberti Terre di Franciacorta Rosso 2000
Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Barbera, aged in botte. Dense but not very dark purple. Some bell-pepper and pencil shavings, pungent Cab Franc vegetality, later more atractive juicy griotte appearing. Tasty if very bell-peppery in mouth, well-made, again authoritative. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Rosso dei Frati Priori VdT 1999
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18 months in oak of which 1/3 new. Dense purple, good colour. Good liqueury-jammy nose with hints of currant and blackberry, some cigar smoke but the whole stays focused on sweet liqueury fruit. Intense, almost aggressive but nicely-textured, a typical and most enjoyable red scoring high for drinkability. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Pinéro IGT 1999
100% Pinot Nero. Light candy ruby colour. Gravel and woman's perfume on the elegant and focused nose; complexity of small red berries and warm underbelly, some tar and amarena liqueur also showing. Perhaps fades a bit too quickly on the finish to be really interesting but varietal and tasty enough to get my bebitur. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Terre di Franciacorta 1999
This is warmer and sweatier in character to the elegant Pinéro, with the gravel note a bit more aggressive. Red-grapey, soft yet mineral, with seemingly a bit more filling (from the oak?). Good, tasty, quite long in mouth. Very convincing. Has personality. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Maurizio Zanella IGT 1999
A Bordeaux blend. Dense purple. More bready in aroma, with also a soft fishy note appearing somewhere; more (mildly mentholly) oak showing. Left a bit in the glass the nose settles and shows good sweet woman's perfume while staying deep and austere within the Bordeaux style. In fact in mouth it shows rather structured and perhaps overtly bitter-tannic to some tastes; to me it seemed enough to balance the fruit sweetness. Very slight technological impression but this is serious wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Carmenero VdT 1997
100% Carmenère. Medium dark purple. Huge animal nose with lots of musk and forward oak, fat and buttery, expressive and open. In mouth shows some soft cherry but also more austere bell-pepper notes; later some maturing cheese rind which was not unpleasant. But too soft in mouth with the acidity rather muted. Fine on the nose, needs more sharpness on the palate but promising (this is the first vintage). Interesting for sure. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Carmenero VdT 1998
Barrel sample. This is made from yields of 42 q/ha. Very dark and visibly darker than the 1997. Starts almondy and reductive, but all in all more finesse and less oak fat than in the 1997, though not necessarily more interesting. This is a bit higher in acids on the palate although still too soft (very late harvesting pretty much in evidence here). Good length with fresh paint and ink notes on the finish. Seems on the same level, both are quite complex wines showing very good promise. Perhaps this is marginally better indeed. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Terre di Franciacorta Rosso 1999
Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Barbera. Colour is rather light. Immediately rather mineral and gravelly on the nose, with a softness of cherry on the convincing nose. Again much more exciting than the sparkling ones here. On the palate however this shows rather vague, with a paint- or tar-like bitterness. Expressive but too neutral to be really interesting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Casotte IGT 1998
100% Pinot Nero. Very light colour. Quite Pinot-like on the nose, with notes of barnyard, baked bread, some strawberry and cherry; a bit pungent but interesting and characterful nose. Again seems a bit vague on the palate, slightly foody-bitter with a mineral hardness to it on the finish. Medium length. All in all a tasty effort but the bitterness seems a bit obtrusive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Solésine IGT 1999
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot. Colour is darker than the above but still on the light-purple side. More fruit filling here although still rather pungent and mineral in character, with some barnayrd again. Lacks definition. Juicy strawberry and some cherry with time in the glass, mixed spices on the nose. All these reds disappoint a bit on the palate: this is too soft despite decent acidity. Rather approximative, not much richness. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Colombiera Colli di Luni Riserva Terrizzo 1999
Almost 100% Sangiovese (some Ciliegiolo and Canaiolo thrown in). 10,000 bottles made. Aged in botte only. Medium-dark purple. Pleasant juicy-sweet cherry on the nose, good fruit character; finishes with bitter amarena. Quite tannic on the finish. A good wine with no thrills. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Vigneti di Foscarino 98 (inama)
It may be a bit young but the 2001 seems a little contrived at present. Some good fruit although not as much as one would have thought. The palate fades to wood and very little tannin. I think this is a young drinking wine and maybe 3 years at max? Anyway i thought the whole thing a bit unbalanced. Shame. I don't think i'll be buying recco's from RP in future....? ( :-)) (David Bennett, UK)

11/02 1997 Brunello di Montalcino, Argiano
Strong cherry red / ruby colour, yet clear. Gentle, deep nose of bitter cherry, smoky oak with hints of coffee. First impressions are of an elegant wine with warm fruit with a slightly bitter edge. Lovely smooth and balanced tannin. The taste expands really well in the mid-palate and the length is very impressive. Such a balanced, refined wine. It's obviously young, but very drinkable at this stage. Very good / Excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

11/02 1996 Brunello di Montalcino, Poggio Antico
Deep ruby red with a garnet core with a slight terracotta edge. Wild nose with smoke, and a slight vegetal edge. Both fruit and oak present. The palate does not quite live up to the aroma, with warm fruit and again a smoky flavour. This is slightly earthy in texture, and the wine feels a little bit dried out at the back of the mouth, with a bitter finish. Nice, but the nose flatters to deceive. Good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

11/02 1995 Brunello di Montalcino, Il Poggione
Deep dense ruby colour, clear to the rim. Beautifully perfumed, with smoke and mellow fruit with undergrowth aromas starting to come through. Great attack with an expansive mid-palate. Tannin is clearly present but is in harmony with the fruit. Very warm and approachable, and the fruit gives a velvety texture. This is a beautiful wine. Excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

11/02 Barolo 97 - Conterno Fantino
Slightly stinky and volatile. Cherries, tannin, deep, medicinal and smoky, interesting if it melds together more over time. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Brunello 95 - someone della Spinia
Volatile and slightly vegetal nose. Iron, dried fruits, spicy/earthy, piquant acidity, dry and austere style. VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Brunello Castelgiocondo Frescobaldi 90
Rather sour, muted nose. Palate: dry, minerally, incredible depth and length of "terroir" (as opposed to fruit) flavours. Mighty impressive, I admired this a lot but in all honesty found it difficult to love. I thought I was a fan of austere dry winestyles ( being a fan of red Graves for example), but with Brunello I seem to have reached a limit where I start to beg "could I just have a little more fruit please, to set against all those other earthy/terroir flavours". E? (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Falesco Vitiano IGT 2000
Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Dark purple-violet. Milky and almost unpleasantly organic, then lots of concentrated dark cherry and oak appearing. Inky on the palate, despite being so new-worldly it does display some elegance and refinement; actually this might be a bit too evasive and silky for the target customer group, I thought. Good density and balance, has some length as well, with hints of spicy structure on the background. A good wine for sure. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Merlot IGT Umbria 2001
Barrel sample? Extremely dense purple. This is more soupy and eggy-organic than the above (wines were tasted alongside the Carraia range from Umbria and each time they seemed by a noticeable margin less clean and more technological than their counterparts); but juicy, airy-spicy, although one cannot fail to think this is already on the over-extracted side. Strong tannins, overripe fruit character and no noticeable Merlot element; could be anything from anywhere. But technically OK if you don't care. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Montiano IGT 2000
100% Merlot. This is milkier and more organic than the above, less defined, with some vanilla custard notes from the oak. Overall quite juicy, not too dense, later becoming more precise and now discernibly bell-peppery and plummy on the finish. Perhaps hints of dried currants boding well for the future. Tannic. Not offensive at all, this is modern but balanced and will certainly be much more interesting in three years' time. A good wine. Said to retail for 25€ at the estate (any other data points?). (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Marciliano IGT Umbria 1999
First vintage of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Softer and more oaky than the Montiano, although still reasonably juicy, with concentrated cherry character. There is some vanilla barrique but nothing terribly shameful. More Cabernet character if left a bit in the glass. The follows as a structured but aromatically rather vague wine on the palate and ends with a kiss of anonymousness. Probably wa too expensive for what it is. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Pomele IGT 2001
A sweet red form Aleatico grapes. Some juicy cranberry and red cherry on the nose, rather candy-like if left in the glass. Juicy but vague on the palate, slightly hard on the finish. Almost unsweet in mouth but then without the sense of structure or acidity that dry wines are expected to have. This is somewhere between currant juice and white wine. Not very interesting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Pojer & Sandri Pinot Nero Dolomiti 2000
Light to very light Pinot colour wiht hints of violet. Slightly dirty on the nose but with attractive Pinot scents of griotte and sweet vanilla biscuits; juicy, well-delineated, with light strawberry fruit. Nice. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Pojer & Sandri Trentino Beslar Ross 2001
A blend of Pinot Nero, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Negrara and the rare Groppello. Sweet, almost syrupy spicy-chalky nose with hints of dried flowers. Complex and feminine. On the palate it shows well, with good juiciness, if lacking some intensity and thickness. But original and captivating. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Crêtes Côteau La Tour Syrah VdT
13% alc. From a vineyard planted at 9,000 vines per ha. Some pizza fried onion and baked (soaked?) bread scents; vague varietal character. Rather flat and low-acid, not very convincing despite a good drinking juiciness. Not much character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Crêtes Vigne La Tour Pinot Noir 2000
Aged in steel only. Dense Pinot colour. Juicy and soft but as nowhere-going as the Syrah above; mineral, with better acidity, again vague varietal reminiscences and overall showing rather neutral. The reds need better precision here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Chambave 2000
60% Petit Rouge, 25% Pinot and Gamay, 15% Fumin and others; only aged in steel. Dark colour. Fat but bright currantey-strawberrish Gamay fruit on the nose, juicy with some animal overtones. Rather round in mouth, seems quite blunt and could use more definition. Medium length. Decent. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Nus 2000
From a mixed vineyard of roughly 50% Vien de Nus, 25% Petit Rouge, 25% others, aged in steel. Surprisingly dark colour. Nose is a bit mineral with wet towel notes, mildly sweeter than the above and reminiscent of meat candies, if the metaphor makes any sense. Has a lightness to the palate thanks to higher acidity; finishes ratafia-like. An intellectual style but surely more successful than the above. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Gamay 2000
From Chambave. Only aged in steel and rather dark for Gamay. Buttery-strawberrish on the rather vague nose, varietal, juicy, well-vinified although not particularly expressive. Has some body and intensity. Fresh thanks to the noticeable acidity, really quite refreshing and probably a dream food wine. Nothing overstated about this. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Fumin 2000
Also from Chambave but this sees 100% barrique (due to diminish from the next vintage). Very dark. Griotte and amarena liqueur notes, juicy in mouth, broader than the above, carrying with a fruit medley on the palate. On the soft side, again could use more definition but good drinking. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Frères Grosjean Torrette 2000
70% Petit Rouge, 30% other grapes (Torrette is the sub-zone). Dense purple colour fading a bit at rim. A well-focused nose of strawberry and sweet currant fruit, a kind of Dolcetto without the tar, similarly bitter and perhaps even burnt in character. A reminiscence of wild red fruit ratafia which I found recurrent in many wines here. Then some musk and meat. Very good length, has more expression than others. Very good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Frères Grosjean Fumin 2000
Aged one year in oak, 5,000 bottles made. Very dark purple-blue. This shows a bit diffused with gravel minerality and red fruit mixed chaotically; but on the palate the filling is good and the finish longer than average, if bitter-tannic. Again showing slightly flat and bitterish but might improve with time. I was not particularly impressed with the examples of Fumin tasted here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Caves Coopératives de Donnas Donnas 1998
From 100% Picutener (=Nebbiolo). Lightish ruby colour; very dusty nose with reductive hints of wet towel; less interesting than the white here. Intense and powerful in mouth, juicy, with light tar notes, wild strawberry. The whole seems a bit aleatoric. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Agricola Pied de Ville Arnad Montjovet Supérieur 2000
From Picutener, Arnad Montjovet being the sub-zone; sees a minor amount of second-hand barrique. Concentrated sweet nose of currants and blueberries, fruit ratafia, with some pungent vegetal notes as well. This is denser in colour and substance than the other Nebbiolos tasted here. Again rather overpowering mouthfeel, quite long on the palate, very high acidity but well-focused fruity notes of dried currant and raspberries. Imposing linear structure. Very good indeed. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 René Anselmet & Fils Pinot Noir 2000
Aged in oak. This has more character than the Les Crêtes Pinot above: dense purple colour; not much oak on the nose which shows mostly overripe, almost stale sour cherry and meat. Also a note of lard and all in all quite fat in mouth. Finishes weak. Has some expression but moderate interest only. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Société Coopérative Enfer d'Arvier Enfer d'Arvier 2000
80% Petit Rouge aged in botte. Colour is dark purple. The hue might seem masculine and austere and so is the nose, despite an initial sweetness, with meaty-vegetal aromas. Almost artificially liqueury-sweet in a familiar tense, slightly volatile way. Some burnt fruit as well. Good length and acidity. Quite interesting though unusual - some might find the baked bread and pâté notes a bit awkward. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Costantino Charrère Prëmetta 2001
Aged in steel only. Very dark pink (but vinified normally as a red; Mr Costa says this indigenous grape has low anthocyanins but is high in polyphenolics); light nose with hints of walnuts, nice fruitiness of crunchy cherry. Good acidity. Fresh cork rind overtones on finish. Expressive and individual though nothing earth-shaking. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Sable Le Vin de Mon Aimé Père Antoine VdT
Petit Rouge, Fumin and Barbera from an old single vineyard; 20% barrique. Medium colour with quite some violet. Slightly damp and unclean; sweet cherry in mouth, not much aromatic focus, medium length. Surely not the best red tasted here but quite good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Cirò Rosato 2001
100% Gaglioppo with a few hours of skin contact. Rather light pink in hue. Nice nose of dried herbs (parsley and rosemary), also quite a lot of tart strawberry and fruit-pulpy softness. Quite complex aromatically for what it is. Long and multi-faceted in mouth, very ripe, less cool-juicy than expected, with a strawberry and vanilla finish. A winner. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Terre Lontane IGT 2001
A new rosé wine: 70% Gaglioppo, 30% Cabernet Franc. Dark pink colour which is cooler than the Cirò although the difference is minor. Nose is dry as of chinine or chalk dust, dried lemon peel; shows pleasant in mouth, more structured than the Cirò, aromas consistent with the nose: lemon, grapefruit and strawberry. Impressive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Cirò Classico 2000
100% Gaglioppo, aged in steel. Great nose of intense and precisely delineated strawberry, with slightly meaty touches perhaps. But a bit too soft in mouth, slightly smoked or roasted charatcer to the strawberry; yet reasonably pure and not volatile at all. A good wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Cirò Classico Riserva Duca San Felice 1998
A cru selection with longer ageing in steel tanks. Slightly browning at rim, medium strawberry colour at core. Good strawberry character on the nose with just a bit of roast; some other tasters were positive this stank of stale meat and made it clear to the Librandi people but I could not notice anything. Perhaps just a bit of musk but nothing obtrusive. Crisp, slightly cooked fruit on the palate, less defined than the simple Cirò. Tasty although nothing too special I think. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Gravello IGT 1998
60% Gaglioppo, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 70% new and 30% second-year barrique for 12 months. Colour clearly much darker than either of the preceding reds. Nicely scented balsamic oak-and-fruit nose, elegant and concentrated. If kept a bit longer in the glass this really shows outstanding finesse; then hints of roasted or seared duck meat, balsamic and long in mouth if always quite dry; cooked vegetables-like acidity. It could use a bit more charm for greatness but outstanding for Calabria. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Magno Megonio IGT 1999
100% Magliocco which Mr Librandi says is not related either to Gaglioppo or to Mantonico (some ampelographers maintain all three are basically the same variety). 13 months of barrique of which 70% new. More fresh paint and bitter cherries on the nose here, slightly volatile accents to the whole; more structured in mouth, a bit longer yet still somewhat blunt from the oak. Less finesse than the above; not rough or crude but dizzy from the oaking at this stage. Smoother in mouth while not sacrificing the structure. Tasty but far from the sheer class of the Gravello. Mildly disappointing for the bottling perhaps. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Scavigna 2001
A rosé of 50% Pinot Noir cryo-macerated for three days and 50% between Nerello, Gaglioppo and Greco Nero. Colour is dark, almost violet. Intense and almost buttery on the nose but showing intense strawberry and raspberry. Very fine. Has both softness and voluminous fruit filling on the palate, despite being perhaps a bit blunt, with a rather subdued structure. But one of the best rosés tasted from Southern Italy (i.e., from anywhere). (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Savuto 2000
Blend of Sangiovese, Gaglioppo, Magliocco Canino, Greco Nero and Nerello; 30% oak-aged in new Allier. Good finesse, deep nose of black cherries in syrup, dry in mouth, if slightly roasted and toasted, with hints of grilled meat. Savoury, if showing some dilution, not too long. Has a bit of finesse but needs more concentration. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Savuto 1999
Very dark. More integrated nose here, but still rather closed, juicy but as if slightly unripe, lacking character, though the length of sour cherry fruit here is superior to the 2000. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Savuto Superiore Vigna Mortille 1999
Some proportion of new barrique here. Very dark. Slightly sweaty on the nose with hints of vanilla, again rather closed and not showing too much character, a bit watery also?. A suggestion of structure but the whole lacks perfume. Less exciting and showing less fruit than the above. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Scavigna Vigna Garrone 1999
70% Gaglioppo, 10% each of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc; 18 months of new oak. Black colour. Nose shows lots of new oak but also a good deal of finesse, milky-buttery-vanillish in character, with much smoothness from the oak but also dried fruits and some volatile scents perhaps. Strange buttery texture in mouth but long and convincing. Perhaps a bit too warm and blurred but an interesting interpretation of the grape and terroir potential. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Langhe Sito Moresco 1998
Moresco is the previous owner of the site. Equal parts of Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; aged one year in barrique (1/3 new) and one in botte as all the reds here. Slightly fading in colour, with the widest rim of the reds tonight. Fresh sweet fruit on the nose, similar in profile to others when just poured into glasses but reminiscent more of freshly picked fruit than the preserves dominating in other wines. Subsidiary notes of smoke and lead pencil. Bitterish on entry, this is surely the fattest of the reds, with very good length and an elegant, dry finish. Opens up considerably in the glass becoming really very attractive and perfumed, deep, with just a hint of menthol artificiality. Always very long but now perhaps a bit too soft. Quickly turns coffee-like and vinegarish (nothing too obtrusive though), with the last sip clearly indicating the Cabernet content. Serious depth although the whole seems to lack a bit of precision perhaps. 86-88 (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Barolo Gromis Conteisa Cerequio 1997
This wine will only be labelled Gromis from 1998 onwards; with the declassification of Sperss it is now the only Gaja Barolo. Medium purple, a colour indicative of Nebbiolo although without the traditional orangey overtones. But very Nebbiolo-like on the palate, starting with balsamic spice and dust, then interesting mixes of old wood and new barrique sweetness, though perhaps a bit too smooth aromatically despite the good substance. At times it seemed the most individual of the Piedmontese reds, then it would slip into a muted phase. Surely very long, pungent-kirschy and spicy, with good acidity. Impressive. But not too convincingly evolving in the glass, tending to sharper vinegary scents after a while, plus with a mentholly-chloriney empyreumatic touch which was to an extent common to all the reds tonight. Closes up in the glass. Softer than others and at the end of the tasting it seems quite clearly oaky and blunt from the barrique, even if it remains the juiciest and most elegant. 89-90 when poured, 85 afterwards. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Langhe Sperss 1997
Medium timidly verging on dark purple in the glass, warmer in character, though fading into very dark rose at rim. Starts softer and crunchier in its cherry profile than others, sweet-oaky and gamey, with good thickness of fruit but not easily recognisable as Nebbiolo. I remembered what Bartolo Mascarello told me about naming a Barolo Sperss ("it is like the name of a toothpaste", he said comparing it to the noblesse of actual cru names such as Cannubi), and it occurred to me that the wine did show a toothpaste-like mentholly note in the background. But then again improves in the glass becoming drier and nobler, still with the chloriney or chlorofiley touch to the aromatics but now quite covered by blackberry jam thickness. A modern interpretation of Nebbiolo but the fruit is clearly superlative and no doubt a dream wine for aficionados of the style. In quality this seems on the level of the Barbaresco today (though other disagreed and preferred the latter). 89-90 (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Barbaresco 1997
Blended from 14 crus. Medium to dark purple, lighter at rim. Starts rather unappealing with a candy and oak confection character on the nose, plus a note of eucalyptus, but quickly shows its elegance and focus of the blackberry gelée and blueberry skin character. Very long in mouth as all the wines here, perhaps a bit bitterish and inky-oaky; this seems to have seen more oak than others although Mr. Klinger says the regime is the same for all reds vinified in Barbaresco. Greatly sweet, soft crunchy marasca cherry character, really impressively long and showing enough substance to withstand the oaking. Perhaps just a bit weak on the aftertaste. With time in the glass this is the most Nebbiolo-like of the Nebbiolo-based wines, overtaking the Gromis in that extent and thanks to the great sweetness of fruit and stronger structure clearly imposes itself as the best of the four from Piedmont (90 points). (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Magari IGT 2000
Very dark, well-delineated purple in the glass, minor rim. Starts oaky and roast-herbal on the nose boasting expensive oak and VIP cellar treatment; then like the others opening up quickly in the glass, showing outstanding perfume and ripeness reminiscent of blackberry spread and juniper berries, followed by meaty touches of Cabernet Franc at mid-palate. Not coarse or dry, just sweet fruit in abundance, so thick that it finishes ripasso-like but much smoother than any Valpolicella. Great finesse; clearly top-class and expensive, if lacking mildly in originality and rather diffused in the aromas. It does have an apparent manufactured nature to it and the whole idea seems to be a bit too simplistic to my tastes, but sensually this is hard to resist. Impressive and not as absurdly expensive as could be imagines: retail price in Italy said to be around 50€. 91-92 (Nerval, Poland)

10/02 1995 Castellani Chianti Classico Riserva
supple juice and another 2-3 years and this wine will be very impressive. Nice now, but still could use a bit more time to obtain some of its style which is noticeably reticent at the moment. Excellent spicy and pepper aromas and beautiful smoky cherry and gentle oak present. Revisit in 2004. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1995 Frescobaldi *Luce*
I am sure that everyone is aware of this joint venture between 2 kingpins. I have tasted a few vintages of this wine and never understood what all the fuss is all about. The price is inane too. I won't even bother with tasting notes, as in one word I can sum them up...UNDERWHELMING. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1995 Dardi Le Rose Bussia Barolo "Poderi Colla"
now if that isn't a mouthful, this wine is! Dried cherries and plums with lean and mean smoked meat nuances. This vino cries out for another 5-10 years of bottle age or at least a hearty lamb dish to soften it youthful exuberance. Still quite tight and reserved on the palate but the nose is complex and hopefully the flavors will open in years to come. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1996 Masi Campo Fiorin
A fine Ripasso (even though sold as "vino da tavola") made Valpolicella drinking perfectly now thank you. Some dusty cherry, meaty and earthy aromas with excellent plum, bitter chocolate and cigar/cedar notes. Two yums way up. I can't wait to break into my '97s! This is a very good value for a consistently very good Valp., especially for those that enjoy a wine that is more like a baby Amarone. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1996 Secco Bertani Valpolicella "Valpantena"
Although this is a very good vintage for Valps (see above), this one just lacks the guts and is too harsh to enjoy. I have had this over the past few years now and have waited and waited for it to come around. Not happening, but it did a nice job cleaning out my drain. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1997 Terra Bianca "Campaccio"
This is so much better than the 1993 that was reviewed above and coincidentally these were tasted nearly 2 weeks apart. Initially some bandaid aromas and lightly medicinal, but that blew off and the bacon fat and earthy aromas took over. Very nice wine and this was only $25. Medium body with distinct dark berry flavors and clearly not a wine that needs lots of aging as it was drinking well now. Would be great with a hearty beef dish or pasta and a red sauce and is 100% Sangiovese. Structured well and a good value for the money. Initially guessed as a Northern Rhone (blind of course!). (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1998 Fattoria del Cerro Montepulciano
A typical case of the aromas tantalizing and then the palate not delivering. I hate when this happens! A bit lean if not austere for my tastes and light bodied with drying strawberry fruit and a cinnamon note. Tart and tannic and a big, "what for?" (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1998 Altesino *Rosso di Altesino (Tuscany)
A fairly inexpensive bottle like the recent Colosi (from Sicily) I had which was about $10 and one of the few excellent Ital. QPRs I have had in 2002. This raspy red wine was quite rustic, a style that I have grown to love in Italian wines with some great black fruits and gentle prune and nutty aromas. Big, dense mouthfilling fruit with a finish to match, this beauty will hang in there for a few years. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1985 Masi della Valpolicella Amarone
From great vintages like this one, I can never have enough of this style of wine. Wafting notes of sweet sun-dried tomatoes, toasty notes of cigar with a slight maderized and toasty/nutty flavor of dried cherries that I loved. Soft and generous and worth the wait until this really opened up and was an absolute pleasure to sip slowly. It must have been a beautiful baby. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 1993 Terra Bianca "Campaccio"
100% Sangio based and had an intriguing red clay aroma and a smoky essence as well. First time trying this Ital. wine and although I know the producer, had never even heard of "Campaccio" and would like to know more, if anyone is familiar. All I know is that the winemaker had gone from a fashion designer to winemaker. Now there is a switch eh? Anyway, lush fruit that has already fully integrated and would be a great pairing with a portabello risotto. This wine is not going to improve much from here. Drink up. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 Vigna Flaminio (Vallone) Brindisi rosso 1998
I liked this lots. Nice...smelly farmyard stink and enough acidity to keep the fruit going with food. Ready now as there was no significant tannin element. Made with negroamaro and 2 other varieties I forget. Made in Brindisi in Puglia. Aviaabl on the First Quench Chain for arond eight quid. (David Bennett, UK)

10/02 Inferi 1998. Montepulciano D'Abruzzo
A gold medal winner this time. Chocolate, spicy nose, mulberries in chocolate in the mouth, quite an extracted style and well oaked. The finish is cleansing and slighty bitter (this is an Italian wine after all). Good and wouldn't mine this again. (Russ Sainty, UK)

10/02 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1998
15% alc. Consistent but somewhat pale and dim medium ruby-purple.Nose starts with a meaty edge to the otherwise also quite consistent chocolatey-pruney and very marasca brandy-like register, smoke, lead pencil, fresher if swirled and with airing time. Then a bit of Christmas cake and game meat, beaten egg and vanilla – although this only see botte I believ – old wood, soaked paper, orange peel, smoked bacon – the latter note growing quite a bit. Thick and vinous in mouth, good acidity and reasonable crunchy amarena fruit, rather light-bodied for Amarone and not for the very long term, in fact despite it might still seem a bit tight it is best appreciated in its youthfulness IMO (i.e. there is more to lose than to gain in this case). Later fruitier, airy-spicy, though still with prune and tobacco residue; hints of deep and bright wet-stone minerality. Textbook Amarone and textbook normale, should I say. Pairs well with quail and button mushroom risotto (porcini perhaps a bit too flavourful). (Nerval, Poland)

10/02 Falanghina Tenuta Rocca dei Leoni 2001 (Villa Matilde) (IGT)
Pale straw colour. Rather tropical nose, but still quite elegant. Litchi. Medium bodied. Fine, appetizing acidity with good length -- very fresh for a white from South Italy. Served as an aperitif. (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Copertino Eloquenzia 1997 (Monaci-Copertino) (DOC)
Quite dense colour. Modest nose of slightly sweet and jammy berries, typical of rather ordinary Negroamaro wines. Soft and pleasant in the mouth, very restrained bitterness. Nice, but simple and a bit disappointing. I remember the 1995 as more interesting. (This is, by the way, the producer's standard bottling. Severino Garofano is portayed by Nicolas Belfrage as a kind of Mr Negroamaro -- Copertino's Luis Pato?) (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Nero d'Avola Frappato 2000 (Bugatti) (IGT)
Fresh berry nose with spices. Red berries and plum. Well structured, pure and juicy. Quite stylish. (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Falerno del Massico 2000 (Villa Matilde) (DOC)
80% Aglianico, 20% Piedirosso. Dense colour. Very attractive nose of cherries, leather and something slightly medicinal. Substantial wine with good acidity and firm tannins. Still quite oaky, but I assume this will integrate. Impressive. (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Primitivo di Manduria 2000 (Felline) (DOC)
Almost pitch black. Red berries (cherry, strawberry), plums, spices and oak on the nose. Fresh, substantial, juicy wine. Pleasantly drying tannins. Very good Primitivo. (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Felline 1998 Primotivo di Manduria – Italy – 14%
One of the best value "Zin-like" bottles in my cellar. A nice ruby red colour leads to a herby and slightly alcoholic nose. A rich taste of plums and herbs, decent acidity, nice. Drinking now – don't wait. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1990 (Barbi)
Quite impressive depth of colour for its age. A little watery at the rim. It has that almost cedary sweetness on the nose that you find in mature Bordeaux. (The wine that springs to mind, is Luis Pato's Bairrada Vinhas Velhas 1990, which is also drinking beautifully now. I expect this one to be slightly fuller-bodied, though.) Same "cedariness" over berry flavours in the mouth, with dryish tannins and some acidity at the end of the tasting curve. Good with the food (lamb), which makes the tannins appropriate and the wine seem sweeter, as one would expect. I would say drink now. (Jan-Tore Egge, Norway)

10/02 1995 Giuseppe Cortese, Barbaresco Rabajà
Medium garnet with a little brown at the rim. Nose is a lovely high-toned affair; roses with pronounced red and black cherry fruit, just tending towards black. The palate has excellent acidity and again very red cherry fruit, nice sweetness and tedium tannins. The length is medium plus with just a little orange fruit. I'm glad this wasn't served blind, as I would have probably guessed it to be a Burgundy - and a good one at that. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 Monte Bernadi 1994 Sa'etta – Tuscany, Italy – 13.5% - (1999 vintage: £28 – US$42)
100% Sangiovese made by a Greek Cypriot winemaker Stak Aivaliotis, this brick red wine was the surprise of the day. Its chestnut nose became more expressive as the evening wore on. It tasted full-bodied, powerful but ripe tannins, good acidity, and it really opened up to reveal its mature fruit over 90 minutes. Very impressive, hence 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 1990 Lungarotti, Rubesco Torgiano Rosso Riserva
Medium garnet with just a little brown at the rim. Nose starts with a waft of oak, this is replaced by nail varnish, leather and marmite over a sweet background. Palate is sweet with cooked plum fruit, still some tannin but perfect balancing acidity. After an hour becomes a little astringent, very enjoyable, and given the age, for €24 not bad value! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1988 Isole e Olena, Chianti Classico
Dark, deep ruby colour. The sweet nose having dried fruits, cherries, cranberries and raisins - lovely. The palate was also sweet with good concentration of red fruit, good acidity and still a lick of tannin. The finish was beautifully long. An excellent wine. Normally I find Chianti Classico a little rough, now I know it's because I drink it too young! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 Fratelli Sportoletti Assisi Rosso 2000
A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot aged in second-year oak. Great purple-violet hue to a dense, almost opaque core. Sweet and dense nose of kirsch and cinnamon with jammy fruit substance. Juicy and not heavy at all on the palate, with moderate dusty tannins. Not too long, perhaps slightly cooked in character but again with a mineral acidity to take off any sense of heaviness. Drinking very well. The fruit has perhaps a bit of that 'damp' character, the extraction might be found a bit too pushed for the relatively easy-drinking style but the whole is balanced. A good basic red for sure. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 Fratelli Sportoletti Villa Fidelia IGT 2000
The winery's top blend of 50% Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a bit of Cabernet Franc, aged in new oak for one year. 14.5% alc. Unfortunately I was not able to taste the new vintage of this or the Villa Fidelia Bianco (oaked-aged Chardonnay and Grechetto), as these were coming in the eventually lost parcel directly from the winery. This in any case is boasting a very dark colour with a minor purple rim. At first showing very peppery and a bit petrolly-extracted, later opening somewhat reluctantly on the nose with notes of cinnamon, cedar, kirschy fruit and a bit of cooked berry character. On the palate it shows fine character: soft but very dense at the core, minor vegetal overtones of the French grapes, very well administered acidity and great length which might be the wine's best part. Soft finish reminiscent of ripasso in its density. A totally 'invented' wine as I call it but a virtuosic execution. Very good indeed. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 1998 Frescobaldi, Nipozzano Reserva Chianti Rufina
Deep ruby to the rim. Nose has sweet cooked fruit with some spice lower down. Good acidity, medium tannin, and again very cooked or macerated fruit comes through on the palate. The finish is of good length. A nice wine here, but I'm not a big fan of the cooked fruit style. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Riserva 1996
Vivid red/purple. Red berries and sourdough nose is captivating. Lovely intense silky red fruits, beautifully integrated acidity, savoury/mealy body reminiscent of a really top Graves. Hard to imagine this will get much better, it's so poised already. Excellent. (Paul Armstrong, UK)


12/02 1988 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella, Recioto
Medium ruby color with a tinge of orange on the rim. This Quintarelli shows a soft and bittersweet, multi-layered flavor profile of chocolate and dried prunes with some roasted nuttiness on the expansive finish. There is just enough sweetness to enhance the fantastic Amarone flavors and it is a toss up whether I prefer smelling or drinking this wine…well almost. This was my last bottle of Recioto style of Amarone from the 1980s. Anybody want to trade? (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 Russiz Superiore 2000 - Collio DOC - c£15 (US$23)
100% Pinot Grigio, this is not a cheap and cheerful restaurant version but a well made wine. Light lemon, the nose reminds me of sherbet sweets and freshly cut lemon and lime. It tastes medium bodied, surprisingly low acidity, ripe and fat with a good length on the finish. Enjoyed by me and all the others who tried it, hence 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

12/02 Planeta 2000 Cometa (Sicily) - c£15 (US$23)
100% chardonnay (14.5% alcohol) from this modern, prize winning winery. A bright golden yellow, it smells of lemon, new oak and pineapple. A rich, slightly sweet mouthfeel, a citrus feel to it and a moderately good finish with a dash of alcohol coming through. I feel that this wine has some similarities to a village Mersault and I would drink this within the next 2 years. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Brut
Good soft fruity nose with notes of pear and prune, good definition of flavours. Juicy apple in mouth. Slightly buttery Pinot Bianco touches, palate a bit less precise but still above average. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Brut 1998
This was shown on preview. Base wine matures in oak pièces here. Good liqueury nose with hints of honey and wax, shows proper ageing on the lees. Pleasant in mouth, more complex than the above, with the elegant butteriness less obtrusive. A very good wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Brut 1997
As good as the above with a slight shift in aromatics: still honeyed but with some pain grillé now, reductive on the nose and a bit foody on the palate but manages to finish fresh. Perhaps a bit less finesse than the truly very convincing 1998. Round but the acidity is good. Both vintage wines very easily and immediately appealing. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Satèn 1997
Golden colour, fine perlage. Mild vegetal start to the nose, vague but elegant; then denser and broader on the palate probably due to the higher Pinot Bianco content. Textured, slightly cooked perhaps from mid-palate on. Blurred finish and hence a bit less convincing. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Dosage Zéro 1997
Muted nose, some biscuit and prunes, gingerbread? A certain aromatic similarity to 1995 Champagnes. Bitter-vegetabley in mouth, as usually with low-dosage fizz, but surely not obtrusive in this case. Somehow all of these seem to lack the simple charm of the basic Brut. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Rosé 1997
Very light brass colour. Good buttery nose with freshness of pear fruit, some vegetality as of unripe lemon and vegetables in mouth. Tasty but the least exciting of the spumanti here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Terre di Franciacorta Cortefranca 2001
From tank. Medium golden in the glass. The nose is quite vegetal and liqueury, predictable within the DOC, with some density though manages to avoide fatness. Round, with a short moment of intensity. Pleasant and well-made but that's it. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Terre di Franciacorta Millenovecentonovantanove 1999
100% Chardonnay. Liqueury and elegant nose, not oaky, if slightly pungent-herbal. Pleasant but seems to lack some filling. But round and quite charming. Good length, the finish showing more bitter notes to the oak. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Ca' del Bosco Elfo 11 VdT 2001
Mainly Sauvignon with some Erbamata and other local grapes; from a higher-located vineyard outside the main estate nucleus. This is a Sauvignon version of the above liqueury vegetality; but has an added dimension especially in the texture. Pleasant in mouth, the acidity is a bit better here. Mr Tondo says this is made with Loire in mind. To me it seemed more like a Mâcon in style but surely a good wine. Elegant and worldly. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Franciacorta Brut
75% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Bianco, 10% Pinot Nero. Around 10 g/l r.s. Disgorged 2002 after 36 months sur lie. Very soft buttery nose, almost milky in fact, pleasant, quite champagney if not for a slightly aggressive animal touch. Good length. Soft-textured. Very successful. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Franciacorta Extra Brut
Around 5 g/l r.s., same blend as above, disgorged Jan 2002. Nice perlage, green shades to the colour. Good aromatic definition, showing a bit vegetal when tasted very cold; really quite pleasant, this is more intensely cooked-fruity and vegetal than the above and perhaps less charming for that. Denser texture and more vinosity showing however. Would show better with food; on its own seems a bit neutral despite the structure, and drinks less well than the Brut. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Terre di Franciacorta Bianco 2001
80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Bianco, aged in steel only. Soft but crisp, eminently Italian nose showing some butter in mouth, dense and rather vague but trying to be aggressive at times. Nothing very interesting but authoritative in its way. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Terre di Franciacorta Maria Medici 2000
A selection of the best Chardonnay grapes aged in steel only. Vegetal and vague, served too cold straight from the ice bucket; familiar boiled greens character but showing better and denser than the above. Reminds me of Verdicchio in a way. Pleasant. Has an edge. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Uberti Terre di Franciacorta Bianco dei Frati Priori 2000
Chardonnay aged for 4 months in barrique of which 1/3 new. This is more aggressively green on the nose with some oak apparent, juicy, almost spicy but always very green (is it unripeness of the oak?). Liqueury character. Puzzling and rather uninteresting today. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvée Brut
80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir. Slightly vegetal nose wiht some yeast to it, quite fresh and solid in texture, juicy in mouth, a bit below the very convincing basic NV wines from Uberti and Ca' del Bosco but quite good. Rather short and uncomplicated. Needs a bit more focus. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Brut Rosé 1997
72% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Noir. Not too dark in the glass, verging on orangey. Some beeswax on the nose but none of the expected honey, showing rather reductive. Pleasant in mouth but again rather short and not entirely fused IMO. Not much character and not a rosé at all. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Satèn 1998
No vintage indication on the label; this is 100% Chardonnay. A bit fresher and greener in style than the two above, also sweeter-fruity as of pear, with a dry smokey residue. Soft but more structured, better length than the two above. Nothing great but this is more individual. Tasty for sure. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Pas Opéré 1996
70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, this sees some wood but no dosage. Fresher on the nose, more freshly sliced pear character. Seems rather tight despite. On the palate shows a bit more oxidative, with a quince-reminiscent acidity, more old wood and honey. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Rosé 1997
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. A bit fresher on the nose again, especially after some airing; buttery notes mixed with tight and solid fruit. Very dense yet essentially soft in style, lacks a bit of definition and grip and the acidity seems a bit subdued. Tasty but still nothing earth-shaking. But this is more solid and better on the fruity-liqueur finish. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Terre di Franciacorta Bianco 2001
From Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco. Bottled three weeks prior. Good juicy fruity-vegetal nose, good definition, mostly apple and celery aromas in a soft fruit context. Slightly foody perhaps. A cooked character on the palate but on the whole this seems a bit more convincing than the sparkling wines here. More substance to it for sure. Not too long but juicy and tasty for a basic wine. Very decent. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Terre di Franciacorta Uccellanda 1999
From Chardonnay with 12 months in large oak barrels. Nose is quite liqueury with buttery overtones, the oak not too aggresive. Tasty fruit character, quite voluminous in mouth, quite long also, overall greenish-oaky in character with mild herbal tones. Well-made for sure and gives rare pleasure for an oaked Chardonnay. But perhaps lacks a bit of distinction. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Bellavista Terre di Franciacorta Convento della Santissima Annunciata 1998
A Chardonnay only aged in large botti grown at the eponymous convent and vinified by Bellavista. Showing mildly more reductive with liqueury hints, but airy and lighter / less barriquey than the above, with notes of honey and almonds which seem almost Chenin in style. Good on the palate, still rather aged-reductive but surely interesting and with personality. Not too long, a bit watery, nothing great but convincing on its own terms. As noble as Chardonnay gets in these circumstances. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cooperativa Agricoltura di Riomaggiore Cinqueterre 2001
12% alc. From Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino. Fresh and interesting on the nose with some sandy-granitey minerality, rather soft but with a grip. A bit lean and neutral in mouth, with some organic scents similar to cat pee but difficult to pin down. Very soft, vegetal in register, lacks much character. Compared to the crus this is perhaps broader and fatter on the palate, not as linear, but holds up well. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Agricoltura di Riomaggiore Cinqueterre Costa de Campu de Manarola 2001
4,660 bottles produced of this cru. A bit denser on the nose with the same kind of sandy-dry impression to the nose; better texture in mouth though, quite vegetal but with sweeter (as if cooked) fruit. Has some mineral noblesse. Very fresh although not particularly acidic. Has more finesse and delicacy and is better than the above, if still rather evasive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Agricoltura di Riomaggiore Cinqueterre Costa da Posa di Volastra 2001
8,530 bottles made. Again not much definition or grip to the nose, based on the same familiar elements; a bit more voluminous in mouth but still quite crisp; the main interest here is in the mineral texture. Verging on brothy in concentration but still rather cool in character. Acidity much in the background. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Agricoltura di Riomaggiore Cinqueterre Costa de Sera di Riomaggiore 2001
5,600 bottles made. This seems the ripest and densest of the crus here, almost soupy in extract and full-bodied on the palate, but aromatically again shows very evasive and un-expressive: bits of stone fruit liqueur, cooler in style than the Volastra above, herbier. By a small margin the most interesting of the crus here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Forlini-Capellini Cinqueterre 2000
From roughly 8,000 vines of Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino, giving 6,950 bottles in this vintage. More expressive nose than any of the above, with dried herbs, sandy minerality and broth cube notes appearing; denser substance, warm, with hints of petrol after some time in the glass. A bit vague again in mouth, but a Riesling analogy does not seem out of place. Later notes of cabbage and caraway. This seemed to be cut above the co-op production above. Pleasant but nothing more. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Polenza Cinqueterre 2000
This is an oaked example. Fat and waxy nose wiht hints of baked bread crust, very foody-soupy but drinks pleasantly. Yet as neutral as the above. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Agricoltura di Riomaggiore Cinqueterre Sciacchetrà 1999
15% alc. From grapes dried for two months, aged in old oak. This is a vino da conversazione instead of the usual "da meditazione", says the Cinqueterre official at the stand. Dark gold verging on brown. Great nose of aged vinsanto with notes of controlled oxidation, leather, old wood, varnish; in mouth shows flavours of nuts and moderate sweetness much balanced by tangy, evolved character. A well-defined wine which could use a bit more definition. With time almond paste, some vanilla and dried fruit appear; the mouthfeel is perhaps excessively dry because of the varnish component. But very good for sure. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 N. Sassarini Cinqueterre Sciacchetrà 1998
More soupy-cooked edge to the fruit, less elegant and defined than the above; also a bit less complex. Sweet but lean and neutral in mouth, not really interesting. Varnish and cooked fruit throughout. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Colombiera Colli di Luni Vermentino 2001
Only aged in steel. Fresh, a bit lettucey in character, soft and juicy, with decent definition. A bit of aggressive animal character in mouth. A pleasant wine with some length. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Colombiera Colli di Luni Vermentino Celsus 2001
Tank sample. Aged for several months sur lie in steel tanks. This takes the lettucey Vermentino scents a notch higher in intensity, with dry sandy minerality appearing again. Juicy, with a moment of sur lie density at mid-palate. This is pleasant, reasonably precise and well-made, and recommendable. 3,500 bottles made as opposed to 30,000 of the normale. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Colombiera Colli di Luni Vermentino Celsus 2000
Less structured and shorter than the 2001, also seems to lack the latter's definition. Tasty, with good filling, although the vegetal notes are dangerously close to obtrusive in this case. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Colombiera Colli di Luni Poggialino 2000
50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in steel only. 5,000 bottles made. Colour is rather dense medium purple. This is showing quite mineral for a red, with ash and cigarette smoke. Not much character, light bitterness and tannins. Varietal but lacks charm. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Nuragus di Cagliari S'Elegas 2001
Yellowish in the glass. Quite herbal and lettucey on the nose, then perhaps a bit dusty-lemony, pleasant, tasty and simple. Soft and quite long, very Mediterrenean in character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2001
Same saturated golden-yellow colour. This is a bit more cooked and vegetabley on the nose, still some pungent sulphury notes perhaps. But good intensity of fruit in mouth, mixing ripe aple and perhaps peach with cirsper gooseberry. Good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Argiolas IGT 2001
A blend of Vermentino with 10% Malvasia Rosa. Colour consistent with the two above. Dense on the nose, mild gravelly dustiness pointing to some sulphur extract; ripe melon, buttery pear, softer in mouth than the two above but a cut more intense; full-flavoured. Ripe and deep, this is truly very good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Sardegna IGT 2000
A new wine based on Vermentino aged in oak. Dark in the glass. Very buttery on the nose with a huge density of ripe fruit complementing the oak; balanced, not overoaked, with bits of whisky-like liqueuriness. Sweet and voluminous fruit in mouth. Very good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Angialis IGT 1999
A late harvest (only partially passito) wine from Nasco and Malvasia grapes. Dark lemony colour. Soft passito nose properly enlivened by lemon peel and sorbet notes; good acidity but essentially soft and vanilla-like on the palate from the minor amounts of barrique used. Does show some oak which blurs the expression at mid-palate, but with time in the glass integrates rather convincingly and some more concentrated syrupy scents of botrytis appear. Very fine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Vermentino di Sardegna Donna Leonora 2001
Medium golden colour. Nose is yeasty and herbal but not unclean, though a bit pungent perhaps; a note of cat pee. Good structure in mouth, a bit warm in profile but long. Tasty if a bit too charged. Convincing. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Vermentino di Sardegna Tanca Sà Contissa 2001
This is a bit harder-mineral on the nose, less clean and fruity, perhaps a bit deeper and surely much riper than the above; pleasant, smooth on the palate, as long as the previous Vermentino. Two good Vermentinos in different styles: one rustic, one well-mannered. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Nuragus di Cagliari Tenute San Mauro 2001
Soft, rather buttery (though no oak here), with familiar lettucey notes. This is sharper and edgier in mouth than the Vermentinos due to spiky acidity; pleasant, less long than the above but quite good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Vermentino di Serdegna 2001
Very mineral and gravelly nose with chemical (chlorine?) overtones; blows off after a while in the glass. Dense and fat, this has over 13% alc. Some sulphur showing. Rather traditional in a full-blown style but not dirty or unenjoyable in any way. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Karmis IGT 2001
100% Vernaccia picked early, with a one-month passage in small casks to add roundness. This is another uncompromising traditional white with a green lettucey character, though softer on the palate than the Vermentino and seems to find some harmony in the glass. Better with food. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Vernaccia di Oristano 1992
This is the Contini speciality and a unique wine to the zone of Oristano, made from the local strain of Vernaccia and aged for a long period in wood to resemble a sherry style. This saw 8 years in 600-liter oak and chestnut casks which are not entirely filled (like sherry soleras). Light amber colour. Starts with caramelly notes, rather sedate and soft unlike sherry to which I was ready to compare it; but interesting, harmoniously oxidised, with whiffs of almonds. Dry and nutty on the palate, though rather lean and not very concentrated (again by sherry standards). Good acidity, more walnuts on the finish. Pleasant though not particularly expressive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Vernaccia di Oristano Riserva 1983
8,600 bottles released. Light beige in the glass. This is more caramelly and vinsanto-like; has some complexity and notes of dried apricot and eggy custard intervene. Dry. But again too lean and watery on the palate, lacks character to really catch one's attention. All that despite an obvious elegance and length. There seems to be potential for greatness for this style of wine if more concentration can be achieved. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cantina Sociale Santadi Vermentino di Sardegna Villa Solais 2001
Lots of stinky yeast, when this blows off a cool and juicy nose appears. Slightly sandy minerality on the palate, tasty but hardish. A bit too creamy-soft perhaps. But quite long. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Vermentino di Sardegna Cala Silente 2001
90% steel, 10% barrique. Not necessarily more character than the above, still quite soft but somehow lost the latter's attractive creamy texture. Rather vague. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Nuragus di Cagliari Pedraia 2001
Only steel. This is greener and more lettucey, mouth-drying probably from the sulphur, warmer in profile but with the recurrent thick texture of the two above. Too neutral in mouth, watery, and not showing much character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Villa di Chiesa IGT 2001
Barrel sample of a blend of 60% Vermentino and 40% new French barrique-aged Chardonnay. Fat and oaky on the nose, pungent vegetality, rather muted and neutral when it comes to the fruit character. Anonymous and uninteresting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Latinia IGT 2000
A late-harvest Nasco aged briefly in barrique; very famous since GR gave it 3 Bicchieri and awarded it "Best Sweet Wine of Italy" status. Medium amber to light beige in colour. Intense and focused nose of dried apricots mainly, almost reminiscent of apricot peel with some subsidiary orange notes. Medium sweetness in mouth, good elegance, minor wateriness on the finish. Juicy enough, highly drinkable but not very complex. A good wine but why Gambero Rosso think this is the best sweet wine in Italy? (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Salvatore Murana Gadí DOC Bianco di Pantelleria 2001
A dry wine of 100% Zibibbo (=Moscato). Dark golden in the glass. Nose of dried lemon peel with some Turkish delight, elegant, light and juicy; savoury in mouth, perhaps a bit too heftily Turkish delight-scented and too blunt in texture to be refreshing, but nice. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 S Murana E'Serre DOC Sicilia 2001
A dry wine of 100% Cattaratto. More organic and meaty-dirty than the above, less defined, soft and vague compared to the Gadí. Less interesting, organic, also less leafy and fresh than remembered from previous vintages. Quite foody and bitter in mouth, not so exciting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 S Murana Moscato di Pantelleria Mueggen 2000
Lots of orangey marmalade and orange peel, quite concentrated and instantly captivating, also showing more definition and character than in previous vintages. Honeyed and syrupy, herbal-medicinal, yet with good fruit freshness; creamy texture in mouth, slightly bitter on finish, good length. Could use more definition and freshness, shows rather sedate in fact, but attractive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 S Murana Moscato Passito di Pantelleria Khamma 1999
Amber-brown. This is much more towards a jammy concentration reminiscent of Kracher's lower TBA efforts; very candied and with a degree of bitterness as of roasted or smoked oranges. Buttery finish which seems a bit abrupt and easy. The smoked character is the wine's most distinctive part but the whole lacks a bit of definition on the finish. Only by a very small margin preferable to the Mueggen and hence not a particularly recommended QPR. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 S Murana Moscato Passito di Pantelleria Martingana 1998
This shows even darker, if at all possible in a Moscato, than the Khamma. Quite a lot of wood of a toasted, almost rotten character, evolving much into an aged Moscatel style of Jerez. Not the greatest Italian sweet wine, I thought, if still quite attractive and relatively harmonious, with a mellowness stemming from the wood ageing, but the finish again seems not too long. Not syrupy, with an elegance acquired during ageing. Very good, but not great. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Salina Bianco IGT 2001
Cattarratto and Inzolia. Vegetal-lettucey and slightly pungent nose, with some sulphur evident but not too unpleasant; juicy if watery on the palate, lacking character and not too interesting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Malvasia delle Lipari 2000
95% Malvasia, 5% Corinto Nero vinified white, aged in oak, bottled recently. Light, not too dense colour. Good flowery if quite warm nose with hints of honey, wax and medicinal herbs, but with a restrained, mysterious elegance. Has individuality and character; the sweetness is broad and generous but there is a touch of finesse which is quite inimitable. Very good quality. Easy to see how distinctive the island style is and how worthy of preservation. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Malvasia delle Lipari Passito 2000
From grapes dried in boxes, 13.5% alc. Not much darker in colour than the above. Nose shows much vanilla pâtisserie character with stange medicinal notes again; fresh, candied and mulled orange, more concentrated than the normale but rather stable and integrated now, good elegance, again truly distinctive, if not very long in mouth. Does not seem so sweet at all. Warm character but juicy and almost watery in texture (which might be a stylistic intersection with Madeira Malvasia). (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Malvasia delle Lipari Passito 'Carlo Hauner' 1995
This is a riserva style aged in steel, with no less than 18% natural alcohol. Colour as above; nose is also quite similar and dominated by vanilla and biscuits; perhaps showing more orange notes and something reminiscent of mulled wine and roasted oranges. Pleasant but not necessarily better in mouth than the above wines; in fact tasting the three alongside it is the normale that shows more charm and freshness. Good acidity on finish but not very long. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Garbazzale Bianco IGT 2001
100% Inzolia, aged sur lie in steel for 6 months. Stinky sulphury nose which for once seems quite correct; strange minerality backed by yeasty or bready character. Opens up in the glass. Pleasant if not too long, has structure and density, technically perfect, but lacks some character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta La Segreta Bianco IGT 2001
Quite dark. Very industrial-yeasty, lots of Sauvignon-like gooseberry. Juicy, sweet fruit in mouth, a pleasant food wine with no complication. Nice in its simplicity. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Alastro IGT 2001
50% Grecanico, 50% Chardonnay, aged in steel only. Sweeter perfumed, not as aggressively grapefruity and gooseberrish, pleasant, has more filling than the La Segreta, with good intensity on the finish despite the overall rather lean texture. Good acids. Very correct and pleasant wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Cometa IGT 2001
Barrel sample of a new 100% Fiano wine. Saturated clean gold. A bit of stink at first, more Italian in character than the above whites with the sweet pâtisserie scents, backed by some bitter herbs and a bit of of Fiano spiciness. Very pleasant to drink, long, juicy, sweet fruit, clearly an invented wine but by far the best white here and all in all quite impressive. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Chardonnay IGT 2000
I had to ask several times before being served a glass of this from under the counter. Stinky, toiletty and milky-oaky, with butter, beaten cream or ice-cream notes, yet quite cool in character and juicy in texture. Good acidity for an oaked Chardonnay, some vegetabley bottom notes but has some kind of balance. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Florio Grecale IGT 2001
A late-harvest Moscato wine. Very muscatey nose with overtones of Asti Spumante, orange flesh and white sugar, not much character here, slightly watery on the nose, diffused. Sweet but very soft, with flavours of vanilla and strawberry, as in children's milk drinks. No acidity, length rather poor. Some fruit gelée perhaps. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Florio Morsi di Luce IGT 1999
An already famous passito Moscato wine. Hidden under the counter, I had to ask several times to try it. Rather stinky nose dominated by bitter herbs, yet still liqueury and egg-soft, seems rather dusty (dirty glass?). Difficult to pin down. Orange jam thickness in mouth, very dense, honeyed, even less acidic than the above although light on its feet in a way, with that recurrent vanilla finish. Decent but nothing great, and surprising that it should get a sensational 3 Bicchieri from GR. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Marco De Bartoli Grappoli del Grillo IGT 2001
100% dry Grillo aged in barrique. Lots of medicinal yeast on the nose at first, has some length and filling, though it could use more of both, and character. Vegetal, not very well-defined. Rather vague. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Florio Moscato Passito di Pantelleria Bukkuram
A dark style of Moscato with roasted or smoked orange on the nose and some sherry Moscatel overtones of cooked fruit. Yet quite juicy in mouth, surprisingly cool and balanced though aromatically quite vague. Rather fruity than eggy as the Marsalas here, but exploring the same potentialities. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cusumano Jalé IGT 2000
100% Chardonnay. Quite some sweet and fat oak on the nose here, with tropical fruit and flowers emerging. Opaque from the wood in mouth, but showing some distinction. Quite good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Soave Classico 98 Foscarina (Stephan Inama)
The wine is very perfumed of peaches and ripe "white" fruits. The nose is inticing and invites you into the glass like a good mistress. seductively inviites to into the boudoir....(apologies to the girls and monogomous pair bonds - please substitute your desire accordingly..! ) The depth of flavour on the palatte is rich and the mouthwatering. acidity levels are still reasonable for a 4 year old white. It even matched well a panchetta parsnip/rosemary pasta dish I made. It coulod do with another year or so for my taste but we'll see if i can resist opening the rest of the case...(doubt it. though!) (David Bennett, UK)

11/02 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina Sannio 2000
Freesia/honeysuckle nose. Quite fat and nutty, but nice acidity with it, dry finish. As Russ commented, and I agreed, quite southern Rhone like. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Maculan Torcolata 99
Orange peel, smoke and grapes on the nose. Intense raisiny slightly mouldy-edged fruit, well balanced by clean fresh acidity giving an interesting contrast. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Valeo VdT [2000]
Made from Moscato di Valeo grapes. Quite muscatey notes with Gewürztraminer-like overtones of bitter herbs and lemon peel, sweet in mouth but not too heavy, savoury, lacking a bit of acidity and sharpness. Rather short and bitter on the finish. Nothing great but a decent and enjoyable sweet wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Gaja Langhe Chardonnay Rossj Bass 2000
Winemaking details unknown. The name comes from Angela's younger daughter Rossana. Dark greenish colour. Starts with sweet fruit and some fumé on the nose, rather muted and heavy-handed; then goes through many phases, some oakier than others, but always showing highly attractive ripeness and juiciness of fruit, with notes of melon, cashew nuts, whipped cream and ripe tangerine, all this mixed with sweet, peanut-buttery oak. The most impressive feature is the length. Careful not too serve this too warm as the oak dominates the whole easily. Quite impressive for what it is (I even prefer this to Gaia & Rey in this vintage). 87/100 (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Le Passule IGT 1999
100% Mantonico Bianco, harvested late and dried for 15 days, then aged in new oak. Colour is light to medium amber. Has a softness of crunchy peach and apricot and vanilla biscuits despite considerable weight and concentration; on the palate shows jammy and candied, with a distinctive note of Havana cigar smoke, plus some freshness to the high ripeness thanks to a lemony streak of acids. Confirms my impression from tasting the 1997: this is one of the finest sweet wines to emerge in Italy recently. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Dott. G. B. Odoardi Scavigna Pian della Corte 2001
Barrel sample, blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Riesling, 50% malolactic fermentation in oak. Soft and buttery on the nose, interesting, with vegetal touches but also showing good ripe fruit, not terribly intense or defined but pleasant and balanced. Good buttery fruit in mouth, again typical Southern softness, slightly aggressive on the finish perhaps, vegetal or vegetabley, with a minor cooked note. Good well-made white. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Cirò Bianco 2001
100% Greco Bianco aged in steel. Pleasant lemony style, seems drier in texture than the Basilicata whites tried just before; could use more vivid acidity perhaps. Soft and tasty, well-made, unproblematic white. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Librandi Critone IGT 2001
90% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon, 2% oak. This is quite powerfully yeasty and vegetal on the nose, seemingly more neutral and more anonymous, especially on the palate. Less convincing than the above but clearly tasted prematurely. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cooperativa Agricola Pied de Ville Chardonnay La Chiuva 2001
Boiled rice, melted butter, dried herbs on the nose; very fat and luscious in mouth, verging on whisky or calvados character. This is really powerful but retains a spicy-mineral core of interest on the finish. Will age well. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 René Anselmet & Fils Chardonnay Fût de Chêne 2000
Liqueury oak showing, sulphur also bit evident, later nobler notes of high-grade butter appear with time. Acids are on the low side, while the structure is imposing. Very convincing in the Aosta context. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Caves Coopératives de Donnas Pinot Gris 2001
Dark golden colour. Familiar buttery-and-liqueury mix on the nose, with notes of ripe citrus fruit. More body than others, good length. Pleasant and interesting if lacking a bit of character as most whites here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Nus Malvoisie Flêtri 2000
From grapes dried on nets, aged in oak. Around 90 g/l r.s. Rather dark peachy colour. This shows a bit of botrytis tension and fresh varnish on the nose, then in mouth pleasantly round and sweet, dominated by peach and apricot flavours. Rather fat, seems to show more botrytis with time in the glass. Competent but nothing great. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Chambave Moscato Passito 2000
Aged in steel only. From grapes dried for two months. 105 g/l r.s. This seems a bit lighter in hue than the above. More pâtisserie on the nose which is softer and sweeter-seeming than the Malvoisie, although there is a dryness to the texture, especially on the finish. Some lanolin, almondy retro-olfaction, grows more medicinal and herbal with time in the glass.A bit longer and more balanced acidity-wise than the above, poweful, almost chewy. Drinks well although I generally expected more from the sweet wines here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Lo Triolet (Marco Martin) Pinot Gris 2001
A bit muted on the nose, fat and buttery with some varietal character but otherwise a bit neutral. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Frères Grosjean Petite Arvine 2000
This is almost Gewürztraminer-like in perfume, showing signs of overripeness to the lemon, tropical fruit and quince liqueur character. Also quite powerful in mouth, long, although it could use a touch more acid. But confirms my impression that this grape has huge potential. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Nus Malvoisie 2001
This is grown on 1200 meters from a local, very small-berried strain of Malvasia which ripens well (Mr. Costa mentions in passing that it is identical to Pinot Gris but I am not sure I understood correctly). Very buttery nose (though wine is unoaked) as of fresh high-grade butter; balanced mouthfeel and a degree of fruit sweetness, longer than other whites here. Finishes with good acidity. Stylish and individual. The best white I tasted here I think. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Chambave Muscat 2001
This is similar to a few of the above with an overripe character to the pear and peach fruit, and a certain breadth or fatness of aroma; also sharper notes of lemon peel and varietal grapiness. Slightly unclean seemingly, also on the palate which finishes bitter. A bit lower in interest than the rest. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 La Crotta di Vegneron Muller-Thurgau 2001
Planted on the northernmost slopes as it ripens more reliably than anything else in the valley. This showed a bit neutral and sulphury-unclean on the nose; shares a buttery intensity with other whites here but less interest really. But well-made. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Conte della Vipera 1998 Sauvignon Blanc - Umbria, Italy - 12% - £14 (US$21)
Colour: Very light yellow. Nose: Subtle cut grass, green plums. Palate: Fresh, soft, decent acidity. Well like by everybody including me. Very drinkable, unlike a great deal of New World Sauvignons these days, IMHO. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Falesco Est Est Est di Montefiascone 2001
Very light colour. Lots of sulphur and glassiness on the nose, only modest lemony aromas. Vague. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Est Est Est di Montefiascone Poggio dei Gelsi 2001
Slightly different grapes here (Trebbiano, Roscetto and Malvasia), aged in steel with no malolactic. This is more liqueury / late harvest-like, still a bit sulphury, a fresh, crisp wine to have with food. Nothing great but a decent bottle. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Falesco Ferentano IGT 1999
100% Roscetto white grapes, aged in barrique. More towards golden but still not very dark. Stinks of camphora and decomposing meat at first, as if mildly oxidated or maderized? Lots of camphora on the palate as well, at the same time candy-sweet, not very pleasant to drink. Puzzling. We objected the bottle was flawed but the guy on the stand said it was supposed to be like that. In that case avoid. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex Blanc de Morgex Rayon 2001
This is a grape selection cuvée. Rather soft and yeasty on the nose, showing slightly overripe pear and apple fruit while staying crunchy and crisp; a bit more aggressive in mouth, with quite some body and pungent cat pee retro-olfaction. Some sulphur still showing? Pleasant if not too long; powerfully flavoured finish. Confident winemaking. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex Blanc Fripon Extra Dry Método Charmat
100% Blanc de Morgex grape, vinified in Valdobbiádene (the Aosta winery has no technology for producing Charmat sparklers). Not very clean nose with rather fat and sweaty stone fruit scents. Sweetish in mouth, as coarse as Charmat wines usually are. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex Brut Método Classico 1997
From magnum, disgorged Dec 2001. Medium golden colour. Fresher on the nose than the above, quite herby; pleasant but some fishy (or fried-calamari) notes appear with time. Perhaps a bit foody on the palate. These two didn't make a huge impression on me. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex Chaud de Lune VdT 2000
14.5% alc. An ice wine grown at 1000-1200 meters a.s.l., from Blanc de Morgex grapes, picked during the first frosts in November, aged in barriques and tonneaux. Slightly reductive nose with wet towel and soaked raisins, cheese rind, various aged semi-sweet scents which, needless to say, are hardly very attractive. Oily and sweeter than expected in mouth, long and persistent, powerful but with a certain amount of refinement. Mostly almondy biscuits showing in the aromatics. A curiosity. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Crêtes Chardonnay Cuvée Frissonière 2001
Rather dark in colour. Powerfully scented with smoke and ash; pungent, broad, again showing a bit too much sulphur at this stage. Fat in mouth, not much aromatic focus, but quite drinkable. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Les Crêtes Petite Arvine Vigne Champorette 2001
Petite Arvine is a local grape. Same buttery breadth s the above but this is more spicy and complex on the nose, with some sulphur and cigarette ash showing. Tends to become a bit vague in the glass. Fat in mouth, lower acidity than the Chardonnay, quite some mineral character while the fruit shows very ripe and almost liquery-oily in texture. Not great depth. A pleasant wine which would show better with food (smoked fish?). Surely more characterful than the Chardonnays and Pinots Gris from Aosta. (Nerval, Poland)

10/02 1995 Lungarotti Vin Santo
Although I am a big fan of fine Vin Santos, this was a shrill version and I usually fond of the Lungarotti lineup. Not this dessert wine that was thin and lacked compunction. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 Greco di Tufo Loggia della Serra 2001 (Terredora) (DOC)
Straw yellow verging on golden. Again tropical fruits on the nose with a hint of wet stone, which some would call minerals. In the mouth it feels quite soft in spite of 6 g/l of acidity (not on the level of German Riesling, I know, but one would expect to notice it more). Pleasant, but perhaps a bit lacking in concentration. Seem to remember that 2000 had better structure and concentration. (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 Fiano di Avellino Terre di Dora 2000 (Terredora) (DOC)
Straw colour. Tropical fruits again. A rather soft wine with a citrussy aftertaste. Went well with Gorgonzola Dolce, according to some. (We served good bread, cheeses, ham and charcuterie.) (Jan-Tore Egge, Sweden)

10/02 2000 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Gaiospino, Fattoria Coroncino £14.95
Deepish gold. Attractive, v fresh, herbaceous nose with some nettles. Notable legs - long, thin and very distinct. Remarkably full attack. Fills v well on the palate. Quite rich and buttery. I really would not guess at this being an Italian white: would probably think in terms of a new world chardonnay/chenin blend. Definitely has a touch of chenin about it. Falls away a bit on the finish and fades a little, but very fair length. Perhaps a bit in your face and upfront, but I'm definitely impressed. Good, verging on very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

09/02 Tedeschi "La Fabriseria" 1999
Full of fruit and spice and all things nice. Possibly still a little young and maybe becoming a little more international than earlier vintages, but still a very nice bottle of wine indeed. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/02 Soave Classico 2001 Pieropan
The first of a couple of bottles bought on a flying visit to Valvona & Crolla on saturday morning. Lovely fresh white fruit and rather more intensity than any of the few Soaves I've tried before. Are Pieropan's single vineyard bottlings simply more intense than this? Nice wine and one to lead me to investigate Soave further. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/02 Salice Salentino "Aleatico" Candido 1998
A bottle purchased from V&C by a friend who noted that V&C thought it went well with cheese (we'd also been to Ian Mellis) and dsecribed it as "semi-sweet". Knowing nothing about this wine surprise on pouring was its colour. For some reason I'd assumed it was white, but it came out of the bottle a pale red (but red, not rose). This did just what it said on the shelf-talker. A fine accompaniament to a selection of cheese it was fruity and sweet, with very soft tannins. It also hid its 14% alcohol well. (Mark Pearce, UK)

08/02 Latimis 2000
A blend of Pinot Bianco, Riesling and late-harvested Tocai, aged in steel. Showing a quite saturated golden-green, this starts rather bretty and toiletty on the nose, though not aggressive nor yeasty in any way, then opens up substantially while remaining throughout the tasting quite wild and heavy. In mouth this is thick and dense, broad in flavour, with medium length and smokey-sulphury aftertaste or Rückaroma. The Pinot Bianco component is showing much, I thought, in a citrusy-flavoured fatness at mid-palate. Juicy and interesting, with slightly spiky acidity. Retasted later this showed terribly thick on the palate, sharing a toffeeish core with the two following wines. A truly distinctive (and distinguished) wine. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 Chardonnay 2000
This sees 40% barrel fermentation. A bit lighter than the Latimis in colour. More herbal on the nose, softer and rounder, without the same core of citrusy acids as above; again somewhat bretty on the nose but altogether more neutral, with cat pee-like acidity which would not be out of place in Sauvignon. There is some minerality and a custard apple or nougat flavour which is attractive but this is shorter than the Latimis, and by far less expressive. Not so interesting, I thought at first, although surely a wine of dimensions and style, and showing quite dense on the palate, likely to improve with age. Retasted later this was starting to show dusty-minerally, with indeed huge substance but a sense of restrain. Quite good. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 Pinot Grigio Sot Lis Rivis 2000
100% barrel fermentation. Same colour as the Chardonnay. This has a soft and elegant toffee and ice-cream scent on the nose, with also a bit of that animal character which is the dominant feature of the Latimis, and with airing time evolving towards more vegetal notes and some smoke? On the palate it is however quite oaky and not very expressive, with a core of minerality and some herbal overtones to an extent blurred by the oak today. Medium length. Lacks a bit of freshness and seems too fat today, although this is surely not an easy overoaked style. Later some attractive and sweeter coconut milk notes, appear. Intense, quite interesting style again but definitely needs time. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 Fratelli Sportoletti Assisi Bianco DOC 2000
80% Trebbiano and 20% Grechetto (Sportoletti's website indicates some Malvasia as well), aged in steel only with no malolactic fermentation, 13% alc. Good nose of celery, parsley and chicory, with some yeastiness left but relatively pure chrunchiness of fruit, if not for a minor animal note. In mouth this is quite powerfully alcoholic, as many Grechetto-based wines tend to be today, and would need food for balance. But overall in a pleasant Central-Italian register of soft, juicy fruit with herbal or lettucey overtones. (Nerval, Poland)

08/02 Fratelli Sportoletti Assisi Grechetto 2001
This sees some large barrels. Not particularly dark, especially in a dimly lit cellar room. This is showing more expressive than the above, petrolly-animal with vague surmaturité banana character. Great substance on the palate, juicy-green, with fine acidity enlivening the whole. Dense and quite fat yet dry-foody, if that makes sense; the Italian word asciutto describes it well. Perhaps reminiscent of high-grade sake at some point. Very typical Umbrian white and I continue to be impressed by the average quality of Grechettos coming up from all corners of this wonderful region. Later this shows some celery and lettuce flavours akin to the blended Assisi. No oak showing. Very good, needs some time in the bottle or, better yet, a powerfully flavoured dish to balance the alcohol. (Nerval, Poland)

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