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VinItaly 2002 - Part II

by Nerval

Part I - Piedmont; Emilia-Romagna; Friuli; Alto Adige; Veneto
Part II - Marche; Abruzzo; Umbria; Campania; Puglia; Sardinia; Sicily
Part III - Tuscany

MARCHE

Oasi degli Angeli
I've reported extensively on my visit to this winery in an earlier post. Now I had an opportunity to taste three of the four vintages released so far alongside. The wine is a 100% Montepulciano from very low yields, aged in new oak.

Kurni IGT 2000
Very dark, minor currantey rim. Nose is very voluminous, dried-fruity, dark, concentrated, warm with some bacony oak and cigar smoke notes, later sweeter pâtisserie notes appearing betraying a portion of passito fruit blended into the whole. Lacks a bit of elegance perhaps. Quite sweet-glyceric and again reminiscent of ripasso in mouth, very mouthfilling and tannic but as if mildly hollow in fruit terms; flavours of blueberry and blackberry marmalade. Not as great as expected from the barrel tasting last autumn but still seriously fine.

Kurni IGT 1999
A shade lighter in hue but still very concentrated colour. A bit more vegetal in character with a hint more volatility, as extreme in style as the 2000, yet quite elegant, notes of cedary oak, some slatey minerality adding to the very convincing whole. Also some vegetal notes or lead pencil. This is more Bordeaux in style than expected.

Kurni IGT 1998
Balsamic, not warmer but eminently fruity on the nose, with an almondy note and baked bread crust again, orange peel, some mixed flowers. Very long and juicy, really quite featherlight in mouth for what it is. Probably the best, most harmonious of the three with a sweetness truly hard to resist. No hard edges here.

Fattoria di Forano

Colli Maceratesi 2001
Mainly Maceratino with some Trebbiano blended in. Showing very mineral, much more so than other vintages tasted at the estate last September. Fat and herbal, with marzipan on the finish. Great personality.

Colli Maceratesi Monteferro 2001
Barrel sample. Good golden-green colour. Very enjoyable nose with highly ripe fruit, soft and round but not buttery; not in the least yeasty, shows the typical varietal bitterness on the finish but avoids the annoying cooked finish character of many modern whites. Interesting, long, lacks some intensity in mouth and could use more filling. Soft in character but very enjoyable. The finesse on the nose gives it extra interest and the whole is likely to come together with a year or so in bottle. Very fine, IMO the best vintage of this bottling so far.

Rosso Piceno 2000
From a bottle opened overnight. Very dark colour. Lots of coffee character on the nose, dark and brooding but with good finesse of dried fruit, not so much oak showing but smooth and balsamic, in fact dense and a bit volatile at this stage. Fine juiciness, notes of vanilla and baked biscuits, soft but structured. Very convincing and highly attractive for the price (which should be around 5€).

Rosso Piceno Bulciano 1999
Even denser and more coffee-roasted in character and texture, notes of grilled meat, less finesse on this nose I think, softer and milkier in mouth than the normale; fine fruit, but less immediately enjoyable today and lacks the normale's great finesse and purity. Some buttery character from the oak, but not necessarily more structure. I liked this less than the previous wines.

Sartarelli

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2001
Good dark golden colour. Nose still quite yeasty, leafy, slightly bitter-herby but with that amazing Sartarelli creamy texture in mouth.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Tralivio 2001
Tank sample; this is a single-vineyard version aged in steel only. Saturated gold. Slightly denser on the nose, meatier and drier and less fruity-immediate than the normale. Juicy, still quite soft, very delicate, losing the directness of the above while becoming even more refined.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Tralivio 2000
Herbal nose, with a mysterious note of fruit liqueur; still green in profile but already very harmonious, less aggressive than remembered when tasted last year. Fuller in mouth, liqueury touches, alcohol high but reasonably in check. Great sweet-fruity finish of fine precision. Much more impressive today. Really a truly great white.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Balciana 2001
A late-harvest version from a north-facing slope, vinified dry. Sweet-perfumed and more liqueury than the Tralivio, today this is the more precise and defined of the two vintages, with smokey overtones and a mineral core thanks to the slow maturation. Good character, quite vendange tardive in style indeed, with veyr good length. Again an impression of sweetness on the nose. Perhaps without the obvious character of Tralivio but very confident winemaking and a very interesting wine.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Balciana 2000
Very dark golden. More herbal than the 2001, some Riesling-like petrol overtones appearing, this is considerably rounder than remembered and shows the great advantages of bottle age for Verdicchio. Liqueury sweetness of fruit, showing quite round and soft as a whole but with enough grip for interest.

Bucci
I spoke with the owner and winemaker Mr. Bucci. He explained he likes complexity in his Verdicchio which is why he blends his five crus to bottle a single wine. I like both the normale and riserva a bit less than when I visited the estate last autumn but they remain among the most interesting of Italy's whites.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2000
Good golden colour. Quite pungent on the nose with notes of lemon and lemon peel, this is sharper than the Sartarelli style, perhaps the big botte ageing gives more pronounced character to the acidity. Green in style, lighter in texture than the very dense Sartarelli wines, this is drinking well when served only very lightly chilled. Less impressive technically but with depth and personality.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva 1998
Colour saturating a little. Slightly rustic and over-alcoholic on the nose perhaps, perfumed with bitter herbs, fruit sève and other trademarks of Verdicchio. Juicy texture, good length, with the bitter character of Verdicchio dominating. Less interesting than expected after the great 1997. Lacks a bit of distinction really.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva 1994
Last dregs of the bottle. Showing quite honeyed in a reductive way with flowery overtones, has a certain harmony, having lost the biting vegetal character of young Verdicchio. But seems a bit thin in mouth as if lacking real fruit filling for the structure and ageing, or at least has sharpened substantially compared to the younger versions. Lacks a bit of length as well, quite evolved. Interesting but not necessarily advocating the idea of ageing Verdicchio for so long (in wood and bottle).

Rosso Piceno 2000
A blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. A rather dark purple colour announces a well-defined nose of familiar elements: strawberries and gravelly minerality, slightly animal but juicy, clean and sweet in mouth. Rather short and not very complex but a very decent basic red for drinking in quantities and with pleasure. Good fruit sweetness.

Malacari

Rosso Conero 2000
Colour is clean and saturated but not over-extracted. Very serious French-styled nose, austere and almost meaty in the griotte component, quite warm and alcoholic but not volatile, rounded off by a bitter-herby component. Elegance and depth Well-accentuated structure in mouth, especially vivid acids on the finish. A wine of class and dimension, not epiphanous, but greatly revelatory for the zone – and price (7€).

Rosso Conero Grigiano 2000
Sweeter in character, also more spicy-caramelly oak showing, a bit blunt perhaps but seems likely to integrate in the bottle. Has a great elegance for Montepulciano and the style seems again very French in the Adriatic context. This is in fact almost too serious to taste during the last hours of a five-day fair but if my note sound under-enthusiastic I want to make clear how I much I still believe in this wine and estate.

Aurora
I tasted these wines alongside Le Caniette bottlings (see below) but re-organised my notes by estate for easier reading. All Aurora wines are organic. Yet another confirmation of the massive potential of the Rosso Piceno zone.

Torile Bianco IGT 2000
100% Pecorino, aged in French oak (one third new). Interesting ripe milky-liqueury nose, very Italian in style. Not too long, with well-present acidity. Drinking well, different from your everyday Chardonnay. Has character.

Falerio DOC 2001
Passerina, Pecorino and Trebbiano. Only aged in steel yet seemingly quite oak-stinky, lettucey, lacking the definition and obviousness or in-your-face style of the Caniette wine below.

Rosso Piceno 2001
60% Sangiovese, 20% Montepulciano, 10% Merlot, only aged in steel. Good dark purple colour. Quite concentrated nose, dark fruit and bacon, fine grape material evident here. Perhaps just slightly hollow in mouth, could use more natural density and character but quite interesting. Good acidic structure, a mineral edge. A wine of dignity.

Rosso Piceno Superiore 2000
Equal parts of Sangiovese and Montepulciano, aged a year in botte. Softer, with again that bacony note, fruitier yet more concentrated, long and juicy, more forward and immediate in style. More fruit here I think. Still lacks a bit of filling, the acidic structure being a bit too evident I think. This seemed to have a dimension of cheapness. Long, paint-like finish, very tannic. Tasty wine though not necessarily better than the above.

Barricadero IGT 2000
75% Montepulciano, 25% Cabernet. A year in barrique of which 50% new. Will be Offida DOC starting with 2001. Very dark colour clearly boosted by Cabernet. Again starting wiht lots of bacon on the nose, fat, good structure, this is juicier and more approachable than the above. More serious although I missed the purity of the straight Rosso Piceno.

Le Caniette
I reported on this outstanding estate in a previous article. Retasting wines in a different environment after having been so impressed when visiting in situ; I am happy to report that I couldn't have been more impressed. Le Caniette will soon be very high in the ranking of new starts in Italy.

Offida DOC Iosonogaia 2001 [?]
Barrel sample of 100% Pecorino aged in oak; 14.5% alc. Fat, dense, quite bacony-sausagey from the oak as yet, but the length and intensity are superior.

Falerio Lucrezia 2001
Blend of four grapes in varying proportions (Pecorino, Passerina, Trebbiano, Verdicchio), of which the latter aged in oak. Barrel sample. Very dark colour. Slightly foul-eggy at first, then cooked and petrolly from the oak. Very powerful with lots of charpente in mouth. This needs time; difficult to assess today.

Sibilla Agrippa 1997
A sweet passito wine of 100% Passerina. Bottle 3,875 of 4,097. Very orange colour. Very reductive, lots of stale herbal or vegetabley aromas; lanolin and varnish on the nose with subsequent chemical overtones. But good dense concentrated sweetness in mouth. A difficult wine, consistent with Giovanni's style of pushing the extremes.

Sibilla Agrippa 1998
This is partly fermented with wild yeast. Opaque (unfiltered?) orange verging on beige. Very aggressive sulphur on the nose, quite chemical, even more concentrated than the above with Vin Santo-like hints of oxidation, varnishy-animal and almost kitcheny, clearly not entirely clean at this stage but obviously made for the very long haul. Difficult to understand again, has some innate harmony but the size of the ingredients is such that the whole seems rather crude today.

Rosso Piceno Morellone 1999
70% Montepulciano, 30% Sangiovese, aged 13 months in oak of which 50% new. Dark and elegant colour. A bit raw-meaty at first with warm overtones of sausagey barrique, highly drinkable but the fruit filling shows minor weaknesses compared to the amount of oaking. Quite chewy with the structure coming up naked on the finish. Does not seem overtly alcoholic (though note it was served rather on the cool side).

Rosso Piceno Morellone 2000
A totally different beast: very crunchy cherry fruit of great freshness on the nose, amarena and marasca and griotte and all kinds of cherry fruit, similar to the above only in the saturated purple colour. Minor oaky residue of sausage rind but clearly will fade to relieve the amply fruit-filled structure. The progress over the 1999 is very clear here. Very fine ageing potential. At core there is a succulent softness of fruit. Perhaps being the 'second vin' helps in this case (notably with the oaking). Lacks a bit of purity but potentially outstanding. Confirms my impressions from barrel tasting.

Rosso Piceno Nero di Vite 1998
Very dark. Again those sausagey notes, this is already relatively fused with the fruit emerging from underneath the oak but doing so rather slowly. Juicy, slightly crisp or tart in mouth, attractive balsamic texture. This is larger in size than the preceding wine of course, very convincing despite that recurrent bacony-sausagey oak which is mildly overdone in context (?). But the softness of amarena cherry is there and compared to the Morellone there is a degree of elegance and definition which sets it apart. Fatter and denser, more paint-like also from the oak, I presume, great intensity, not world-class yet but getting there.

Nero di Vite 2000
50% Montepulciano and 50% Sangiovese; Giovanni believes the latter was particularly successful in this vintage although having tasted the component parts from barrel, I am inclined to disagree since I had found the Montepulciano absolutely stupendous. Whatever the secrets of the kitchen, this is a beautiful red, showing terroir typicality, evasive but irresistible elegance of fruit and lead-pencilly austerity of tannins all in superior harmony. It is in a way larger than life, or at least larger in dimensions and body than either of the above, yet with depth and elegance that counterbalance the sheer weight and warmth / heat of highly extracted raw material. Flavours of sour cherry, high acidity, very finely structured, within the style (not to mention the context) this is indeed close to perfection.

ABRUZZI

Gianni Masciarelli

Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2001
Slightly mineral, fresh and fruity on the nose but lacking real interest; not much definition, has a flowery character as of roses or rather gerberas. Pleasant but diluted. A peasant's wine, I thought.

Villa Gemma IGT 2001
90% Trebbiano, 10% Cococciola. Denser and more solid nose with a more pronounced minerality, not necessarily more interesting than the above though. Denser also in mouth but still watery and lacking character, not terribly long. So-so.

Chardonnay Marina Cvetiè IGT 2000
Bottled after a hefty 20 months in oak. Very fat ripe oaky character, pleasant, warm Chardonnay style in mouth, with a decent amount of buttery varietal character. Banal, but very 'well-made' in the glossy magazine sense. This was much more interesting when tasted from barrel.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo Villa Gemma 2001
48 hours of maceration. Rather dark pink in colour. Very pleasant in mouth especially, not fat, lots of strawberry flavours, not too heavy or concentrated, juicy, long but not too intense on the finish.

Rosato IGT 2001
This is a straight-pressed version of the above, with not much colour difference if not for a lighter hue. Vanilla and strawberry on a rather standardised rosé nose, showing quite neutral also on the palate, more acidity but less flavour than the above, also lacks the latter's alluring softness. But drinkable.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2000
Very dark Montepulciano colour. Slightly damp-gravelly on the nose, with mainly bitter cherry flavours showing, has some expression and roundness, but not very exciting. A touch of bacony or spicy character. Typical but light in register.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma 1998
Barrel sample. Very dark. Finally something interesting: this is incomparably more serious than the above, with bitter cherry and red currant syrup or ratafia notes, minor bacony overtones of oak, but mainly warm, extracted and concentrated fruit. Does not show any particular complexity or length at this moment but has potential to improve. Consistent with my impressions when tasted from barrel last autumn and IMO not much changed since then.

Torre dei Beati

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo 2001
Deeply coloured. Slightly stinky and austere Montepulciano character; juicy and intense, perhaps a bit too foody and bitter, with a cooked character showing especially in mouth. Well-made, if not particularly long.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2001
Barrel sample, aged in 50% new oak. Very dark. Heavily bacony and warm-oaky on the nose, not much fruit emerging from under the oak for the moment. Savoury and pleasant, foody, quite meaty, medium long, seems too warm but also not served at the perfect temperature.

UMBRIA

Arnaldo Caprai

Grechetto dei Colli Martani Grecante 2001
Only steel-fermented. Nice soft nose of a Verdicchio-like density, slightly neutral or standardized but a pleasant commercial white.

Poggio Belvedere IGT 2000
80% Sangiovese, 20% Ciliegiolo, aged in steel. Dark purple in the glass. Dense paint-like nose; also quite thick on the palate, showing the aridity of the Montefalco zone also in a gravelly minerality. Pleasant and appealing, if a bit neutral; cherry and paint Sangiovese character underpinned by good acidity. Well-made, not exactly technological but certainly a hygienically clean red which has some appeal.

Montefalco Rosso 2000
12 months in large botti and a bit of barrique. Another clean and dark colour. Denser, slightly softer and fruitier nose, slightly volatile edges to the red and black cherry aromas. Pleasant, but seemingly less defined than the Belvedere, slightly rough edges and without the intense fruit of the above. Killed by the oaking?

Montefalco Rosso Riserva 1999
80% Sangiovese, 20% Sagrantino, 50% barrique, 50% botte. Dark and dense in colour. Good spicy notes with oak overtones but integrated and relatively complex, if still rather mass-product in character. Juicy, good acidity, fine length, very convincing and in a way the most alluring Caprai wine today. It is amazing and sad to hear that Caprai plans to discontinue this wine as of next year.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano 1999
18 months in 50% new barriques. Hints of minerality and bitter cherry, some paint character from the oak but as smooth as Sagrantino gets, with the rustic character of the grape very much tamed; interesting and pleasant again. Bitter cherry in mouth, some tannins on finish but rather round and softened, with just a hint of the contradictory character between structure and fruit peeping through. Too soft in the fruit character, I thought, slightly bready and spicy from the oak, has some complexity but lacks the grip of the Rosso Riserva IMO. Tasty but slightly neutral and lacking in intensity in mouth.

Sagrantino di Montefalco '25 Anni' 1999
20-22 months of 100% new oak, released after 34 months on average. Dark, Baroque colour here. Nose shows some bacon and sour cherry, fruit and spice being in harmony; rather dense but not overdone, if mildly volatile. In mouth this is really astonishingly un-tannic, mostly focused on soft, round black cherry. Tasty, with a fair deal of definition, clearly very good quality, with some softness from the bacony oak and hints of milk chocolate on the finish. Has a bit of structure but the tannins are really much tamed. Not great IMO, and hardly justifying Thomases' praise as one of Italy's best reds (I could for examples think of a dozen Montepulciano from the Marche-Abruzzo coast that are better and much, much cheaper than this).

Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito 1999
20 months of barrique previously hosting the 25 Anni. Colour same or even darker than the above wine; nose is slightly cooked as typical for many sweet reds, quite volatile, with some interest in the bitter chocolate and red and black cherry concentration, some blackberry notes perhaps, fruit syrup or ratafia but not liqueur since it shows little alcohol. Pleasant in mouth, good acidity, tannins and sugar evident but balanced (this has 20 g/l of sugar – I would have guessed 80 – as opposed to 1.3 in the 25 Anni). Has harmony and is in a way more attractive and individual than the 25 Anni. Certainly the smoothest and most well-mannered Sagrantino Passito I've tasted.

La Carraia
Wines tasted alongside Falesco bottlings (on which I've posted before). Very reliable and confident winemaking here.

Orvieto Classico 2001
A blend of five traditional varieties, aged in steel only. Pleasant, soft and herbal nose in a very Italian context; minor yeast stink, nice light-bodied lemony palate impressions, with hints of sweetness to the properly concentrated and balanced fruit. Good acidity. Very good.

Orvieto Classico Poggio Calvelli 2001
This has more Grechetto and a touch of Chardonnay; fermentation and ageing in new barrique. Colour is rather light. The only sign of oaking is a softness of milk-boiled rice, otherwise a riper version of the above, but tends ot disappear on the palate despite the sheer tastiness of the green fruit profile. Good length, dense but not fat. Very skillfully oaked.

Sangiovese IGT 2001
Aged in old Nevers oak. Nice violetish colour. This is a more mineral and bitter cherry-like Sangiovese than the modern Tuscan style, earthy-gravelly with almondy notes. Could use a bit more freshness and richness on the palate; soft, round, with consistent flavours of cherry and almond biscuits (actually an Umbrian speciality of torciglione marzipan cake is a very precise descriptor). Very good quality for an everyday wine (this retails for 5€).

Tizzonero IGT 2000
First vintage of ths wine. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6 months of oak. Dark Bordeaux colour. Elegant and inky on the nose, seems a bit metallic after the crunchiness of the Sangiovese, spicy and meaty, has some elegance despite bits of cooked character. Some volatility as well? Bell-peppery style, simple, uncomplicated, finishes a bit softer and more almondy. Tasty and good although not preferable in any way to the above.

Fobiano IGT 2000
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet aged one year in new oak. Great purple colour. This is softer than the above wines, more elegant than the Falesco Merlot tasted alongside; quite powerfully tannic and paint-like on the palate; longer than the Falesco and quite convincing with its concentrated black cherry character.

Fattoria Le Poggette

Grechetto IGT 2001
Very dark orangey colour. Neutral, vegetabley, not very pleasant. Foody, has power but no definition. So-so.

Montepulciano IGT 1998
Not greatly defined, showing some crisp fruit on nose and palate. Served a bit too warm though. Has some harmony, soft tannins, nothing aggressive about this red but the whole seems a bit vague.

Colli Amerini Rosso Superiore 1999
65% Sangiovese, 25% Montepulciano, 20% Canaiolo, only aged in steel. Slightly fading colour. Another bitterish cedar and cumin nose; long in mouth, a bit softer than the above, with some biscuity flavours but lacks definition in mouth

CAMPANIA

Feudi di San Gregorio
I visited here twice. Probably the rudest service of the fair – first we were told the winemaker would not be available at all to talk to us; we insisted and he arrived to spend 5 minutes with us, but all the time talking on his mobile about dinner arrangements. The second time I was denied entry to the VIP stand and offered a glass of Falanghina, despite having taking special appointment the day before. Oh well. A word on the new Feudi ventures outside Campania: there is already an Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata, Puglia is coming up with a Primitivo and a Negroamaro; Gaglioppo also has great potential, says the winemaker, but the company has no plans to move to Calabria for now. Sicily is too far and there are other players there, he adds.

Fiano di Avellino 2001
Medium golden in the glass. Yeasty, not very varietal; banana (green banana) flavours in mouth, backward acidity, soft and long. Good winemaking but lacks a glimpse of genius. Low acidity and the whole seems a bit technological, plus there's an obtrusive nail polish remover element. Tasty for sure.

Sannio Falanghina 2001
Rather yeasty and medicinal on the nose and showing too young, medium long, on the savoury side but lacking character and fruit. Dominated by fermentation aromas today.

Greco di Tufo 2001
Same yeasty character as above, a bit more finesse perhaps, smoke, gravel, baked bread but also showing more fruit in a pear liqueur touch, juicier than the Falanghina (or perhaps just earlier-maturing). Citrus and tangerine on the medium finish, good structure, shows promise and based on earlier vintages I think it should emerge as a very good technical white.

Chardonnay IGT Puglia 2001
From the new Puglian venture. Again soft and buttery, with more mineral structure IMO, yeasty and medicinal character covering the varietal one. Very bready and biscuity at the moment, impossible to assess. May be the longest of the dry whites but so unlike Chardonnay it is almost puzzling. I could not see the point of bringing completely unfinished wines to the fair.

Rubrato IGT 2000
100% Aglianico. Light rim to the medium colour. Peppery and stemmy nose which could use a bit more definition, butter and strange softness from the oak, not much fruit to be found, slightlybitterish cherry on the palate where there's more fruit, but also rather vague, again too soft, might come together one day but as unexciting as this bottling usually is.

Sérpico IGT 2000
100% Aglianico, 100% new oak. Pure buttery popcorn on the nose, where are the grapes? Then emerging slowly in a damp, soaked-minerality kind of way, has some juiciness and length, with a bit of tannins on the finish. Tiny amount of fruit for the telluric magnitude of the oak used.

Ognissole Primitivo IGT Puglia 2001
Barrel sample, scheduled to see 12 months of new oak. Black colour. Warm nose of soy sauce and bean sprouts, inky but too soft in mouth. But has length and definition in mouth and IMO preferable to the Serpico. Tasty, really too soft but a certain similarity of flavour should see this work quite well with Chinese food.

Pàtrimo IGT 2000
Very dark indeed, verging on black. Bacony and rather hard nose, meaty and not too attractive, in fact almost stale, oozing oak but lacking interest; decent structure and length, OK acidity.

Taurasi Selve di Luoti 1998
Slightly more volatile than the Patrimo with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg spices, cedar perhaps; quite pleasant and long in mouth, with the acidity nicely punctuated.

Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine 1997
Colour clearly darker and denser than the Selve. Good concentration and rather more elegant on the nose, if still under heavy influence of blunt, blurring oak; still rather hard and muscled in its density, very showy, but lacking any finesse. this is perhaps the most watery / juicy of the Feudi reds, showing a suggestion of fruit and lots of spices; masculine, in fact rather macho, and too austere to be really enjoyable today. Judgement reserved.

Privilegio IGT 1999
Dark peach-amber. Good nose: concentrated dried and syrup-macerated apricot and peach, also hints of candied and especially crystallised fruit, good concentration, though still elegant and juicy, not overdone and not showing any botrytis character. Quite sweet on the palate, pleasantly soft, if a bit hard on the finish where the dried fruit becomes too dry. Honeyed finish. Very good, and better than the award-winning 1998.

Mastroberardino

Greco di Tufo 2001
Medium golden. Slightly vegetal on the nose, with hints of citron givré, pleasant, quite traditional in style, cooler and sharper in character than the Feudi Greco above. Juicy, slightly watery, needs more focus. A bit pedestrian and hard-mineral in mouth.

Falanghina IGT 2001
Quite dark golden. Fatter on the nose with hints of petrol. The glyceric and liqueury in mouth, dominated by high alcohol at this stage but likely to integrate. Good.

Fiano di Avellino 2001
This is more Riesling-like in the flowery, petrolly and oily character, more character if softer in mouth, apple and good length.

Greco di Tufo Nova Serra 2001
Oaked. Rather saturated but not too dark colour. Again a bit watery and glassy, with eggy and chickeny notes, vague but with some character. Oak is a non-issue here. Lots of mussel flavours in mouth, damp and almost stale-watery, bitterish and not too long. Again lacks sharpness, concentration and character. Not to my liking.

Fiano di Avellino Radici 2001
Fatter if still mineral-slatey on the nose, slightly hard but finally with more filling and good juiciness; still has something unconvincing, vague to it, perhaps lacking sharpness and definition of perfume. Juicy but quite green, all these whites seem to be a variation on the same theme.

Avalon IGT 2001
100% Coda di Volpe, sees some oak. Ever more saturated colour. More interesting, hints of honey and stale vegetables, slihgtly liqueury if still rather green in character, alcohol showing a bit. Denser in mouth, if still not thoroughly exciting, the quality progression in these whites being clear but somewhat problematic. Pleasant, dense wine with an earthy mineral profile, good effort, although fails to convince me really.

Fiano di Avellino More Maiorum 1998
Aged in barrique. Rather dark; fat and warm oaky character showing, rather bitter in mouth, still lettuce-vegetal, not too interesting in mouth really, well-made but lacking any particular qualities.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio 2001
100% Piedirosso. Medium to dark purple. Nose is very gravelly and damp-rocky; juicy in mouth, showing some fruit underpinned by the granitey mineral character.

Avellanio IGT 2000
100% Aglianico. Saturated colour. Warmer nose from the above, softer cherry fruit here, less mineral, more concentrated, good juicy, almost syrupy fruit which paradoxically shows signs of dilution; lacks character again. Has some charm but needs more attention to detail.

Taurasi Radici 1998
Colour as above. More juicy, slightly smoked / burnt strawberries here, dried currants, juicy, quite syupy-concentrated again, with good ripeness and no hints of that unforgiving minerality; the sweetness of the fruit seems however a bit cheap and obtrusive, as of a teenager's wine if that makes sense. Medium length and moderate interest though a pleasant glass of wine.

Avalon IGT 2000
100% Piedirosso. Slightly more purple-violet than the above. Again damp, sweet fruit with hints of mineral depth and stale vegetable bitterness; rounder in mouth, lacking even the modest definition of the Radici though perhaps more accessible due to the easier nature of the fruit, i.e. less sharply acidic and without the dried fruit edges of the above. Still not tremendously exciting, less interesting for me because oak-blunt, but more or less on the same level. These rustic stale water notes appear here again.

Naturalis Historia IGT 1998
Second vintage of this wine which is based on 85% Aglianico and 15% Piedirosso, aged 12 months in oak. Dark, quite serious colour. Slightly oaky at the moment, with fresh paint and similar barrique scents as well as a good deal of volatility; has some softness to the dried fruit profile. If anything this just does not seem too individual in a range of wines which all sin from a lack of character. Has some intensity, decent length, juiciness yet paint-like concentration, a sweet syrupy toch to the fruit; a relatively interesting red but nothing too special. Has some structure, drinking well, juicy, soft, quite long, some depth but I found the whole a bit pedestrian still.

Melizie IGT 1998
A passito / late hravest of 50% Fiano and 50% Greco. Light peach colour. Honey, wax, old wood, reductive character on the nose here, again so traditional in style and refusing to be expressive. Soaked raisins character, less pleasant in mouth, old wood and dilution, lacks any lushness.

Anteres IGT
A NV fortified sweet red; grapes unkown (100% Aglianico?). Slightly lightening at rim; stale, very traditional, slightly woody sweet wine nose, some dilution rather evident, showing a bit of finesse and old wood tannins, syrup, smoked strawberry, with a strong port-like note. Good sweetness on the finish, shows a bit of fortified character but also has a balsamic touch to the fruit which is quite attractive. A nice surprise.

Villa Matilde

Falanghina Rocca dei Leoni 2001
Only aged in steel. Good nose, slightly buttery-waxy with the Falanghina fat or breadth, but fresh and fruity with notes of apple and pear. Tasty if uncomplicated. Good length and intensity. Good Southern Italian white which has a bit more definition than its peers.

Falerno del Massico 2001
A 100% Falanghina from lower vineyards: the former was from plains close to Benevent, this is from Tenuta San Castrese in Caserta. This is slightly riper on the nose but shifted towards notes of boiled egg and milk; as mouthfilling as the above, showing some ash or sulphur residue at this stage. Similar in mouth, a bit ashy and vegetal but quite pleasantly fruity. Length as above. Perhaps a bit diluted? Both see some cold-soaking and are cold-stabilised but unfined.

Falerno del Massico Vigna Caracci 2000
From magnum. This is fermented in new French oak to soften the high acidity of Falanghina, says Mr Avallone; bottled in April it sees some extra six months in cellar before being released. Serious nose, some bitter ashy residue and boiled egg white, plus more minerality than any Italian white south of Trento. Broad and voluminous in mouth, waxy, manages to stay cool and almost alpine. Imposing structure, great personality. Acidity might really seem a bit too low. But far ahead of the competition for the title of Southern Italy's best dry white. This has 14% alc. and 33 g of dry extract.

Falerno del Massico Vigna Caracci 2001
Barrel sample. This is of course a lot yeastier and gooseberrish; vaguer and less defined, only approximatively similar to the above but essentially ocnvincing on the palate with crunchy apple and apricot fruit. Good length, soft, not very concentrated but has delineation and a certain perfection of execution within the style. A true discovery. This is showing what can be done with Falanghina. These two might well be the best whites of the entire fair.

Terre Cerase IGT 2001
Aglianico and Primitivo. A light rosé which is cryo-macerated and -extracted. Light violet colour, great hue. Very cool nose of vanilla and strawberry, rosé-typical but with some extra elements added. Elegant and eminently juicy, with some bitter cherries and cigar smoke creeping in on the finish. A bit of structure and the impression of bitterness on the crisp finish increases. Not much body though. Highly intellectual but very nice to drink. Harmonious in its style although this is way above 14% alc.

Aglianico del Taburno 2001
Bottled two weeks prior. Good dense colour. Meaty on the nose, some smoke, good and interesting perfume. Tasty strawberry and aged beef in mouth juicy but serious, with a bit of structure in the background although rather for current consumption. Very well-made, a textbook example although perhaps a bit too soft for an acid pig like me.

Falerno del Massico 2000
80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso; 50% of the wine is aged in large barrels whose insides are polished each year to remove the crust, 50% in a mixture of different-aged barriques. Very dark colour. Lots of bacon and balsamic vinegar on the nose, not as fresh as the above, has juiciness and length although a bit disjointed on the palate perhaps. Less likeable than the above but the acidic-tannic structure is well integrate into the whole and ageing can only help.

Cecubo IGT 2000
45% Abbuoto, 30% Primitivo, 25% Piedirosso, aged only in barriques of which 1/3 new. Dark. Great nose of currant and blackberry gelée, with again a minor balsamico whiff and bacony oak. But has an intellectual purity for those open-minded. Structured, but balanced with vanilla pâtisserie character on the palate. High ripeness. A bit drying on the finish, still somewhat vague at this stage but promising and individual – a convincing modern interpretation of a Roman classic.

Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato 1999
100% Aglianico, vines ranging from 25 to 60 years of age. Around 50% new oak. Almost black in colour. Very extracted on the nose, bacony-crusty oak, carrying the house style to a possible extreme; only at this level does a signature of Cottarella appear in a petrolly tension to the overripe fruit and high-toasted barrique. Some bell-pepper and mixed spices.

Eleusi IGT 2001
Barrel sample. This is from Falanghina dried first on the vine and then on straw matts; botrytized grapes are discarded; fermented and aged 6 months in barriques formerly used for the Caracci Falerno. Medium golden colour. Fat and broad with an apricotty nuanced, warm and concentrated, minor volatility, with time some pulpier peach character. Vanilla and caramel softness in mouth, almost burnt-butterscotchy. Good definition. This is really quite thick and almost soupy. Interesting, lacks some elegance perhaps.

PUGLIA

Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Copertino
I saw opened bottles standing on the counter on Sunday afternoon (but a few hours before closing) and nobody around so I helped myself.

Ciliano IGT Salento 2001
A white from unknown grapes. Stinky camphora and artificial perfume on the nose here, not too pleasant, also in mouth, although here the modest pineapple flavours are quite pleasant. But rather so-so.

Ciliano IGT 2001
A rosé from unknown grapes. Colour is medium pink. Slightly stinky strawberry fruit here, seems a bit cleaner aromatically than the white version, showing a lot of sulphur and ripe chichen meat. Pleasantly juicy in mouth, but watery and with only neutral, though pungently acidic fruit.

Copertino 1998
Transparent purple. Lots of slightly bitter, gravelly-minerally infused but ripe red cherry; fresh paint and soft fruit in mouth, structure rather subdued, drinkable but nothing flashy.

Copertino Riserva 1998
95% Negroamaro, 5% Malvasia Nera. Same colour as above. More meat and soft ripe cherry fruit on the nose here, not too long and lacks some fruit filling, a bit problematic evolution; bitter almond character, astonishingly lacks the charm of the normale.

Castel di Salve
These wines were tasted from opened bottles at a distributor's stand, after hours, with nobody around. It is still unclear to me where exactly in Puglia these wines are made (Castel del Monte?) – may be someone has info on them?

Santi Medici IGT 2000
This has a sweet passito nose with a very dense fruit in mouth, jammy and very glyceric, but with good acidity for balance. Slightly chewy-meaty today, needs some time. Odd but serious.

Armécolo IGT 2000
Negroamaro with minor amounts of Malvasia Nera. Again very sweet pâtisserie nose, dark in character but slightly more vegetal than the above, showing more juicy and 'normal' than the rather extreme Medici. Still lots of sweet jammy fruit. Gives the impression of being the product of a sheer cellar magician, but… Very good.

Priante IGT 2000
Negroamaro and Montepulciano. Very dark. Slightly more volatile on the nose but thankfully drier in style; slightly almondy, thick and inky in texture, with some fruit emerging from under the extractive make-up. Juicy and quite harmonious. Probably a fine wine.

Cosimo Taurino

Salento I Sirri 2000
Chardonnay, Malvasia Bianca and other grapes. Rather leafy and not entirely clean nose, tasty, with the soft ripe fruit character of many Southern Italian whites. A bit green and unsubstantial to be really enjoyable.

Salento Scalóti 2001
A rosé of Negroamaro. Rather light strawberry colour. Juicy, slightly acidic, quite mineral nose without too much definition or intensity, but has a juiciness and opulence of fruit superior to all the Taurino releases which this year I found rather under par. Savoury, if lacking cut, though doubtlessly solid and dense. Good.

Salice Salentino Riserva 1998
Strange nose of boiled egg, milk, animal musky notes, warm Southern character rather evident; perhaps even too organic and milky to be really captivating, with notes of fried Chinese food. Tasty but not too long in mouth, finishes with good currant or red cherry fruit. The cooked organic character on the nose is not too enticing but might come together.

Notarpanaro IGT 1997
More finesse here, crunchy dark and sour cherry, slightly softer in style, with balsamic and macerated notes from the oak, but more interesting IMO. Finesse and clean fruit, but again too soft, a bottle that seemed opened for some time and wine had aromatically settled a bit. Round, pleasant, fruity, savoury, if lacking the interest of the previous release (1995). But honestly priced. (around 7€).

Patriglione IGT 1995
Closed on the nose, not immensely likeable, combines the roasted coffee and balsamic character of Notarpanaro with the eggy organic profile of the Salice. Disjointed and slightly vague, lacking definition, has impressive ingredients but a wines of that stature should show more immediate integration, I thought. Slightly more serious in mouth, a mineral solidity, shows a bit more finesse thanks to a vital touch of acidity, the fruit being juicier than expected, though still somewhat short of impressive. Lacks character. Another underwhelming vintage of this wine after the 1994.

Agricole Vallone

Corte Valesio IGT 2001
90% Sauvignon, 10% Malvasia, aged in steel only. Slightly stinky, sulphury and old-woody, but has some finesse and substance in mouth. Fresh if with a touch roasted character to the fruit.

Brindisi Rosato 2000
70% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera, 10% Montepulciano. Colour is slightly fading rose. Interesting nose of strawberry pie and mulled orange, rather masucline, deep and serious; then follows with soft strawberry on the palate, then finishes drier with reductive old wood notes. Great length. Impressive rosé.

Brindisi Rosato 2001
Almost a copy of the above but more sweaty character and some burnt-match sulphuriness apparent. More standardised but also quite good. Also a bit softer in structure and valid within the style.

Brindisi Vigna Flaminio 1998
70% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera, 10% Montepulciano, aged for 10 months in 1000-liter botti. Colour is rather dark but orangey at rim. Very clean hygienic and muted nose, then opens up with mulled wine, orange and again old wood; dense and soupy but has some acidity and vigour. Pleasant mouthfeel. Very good. Classic Salice style.

Salice Salentino Vereto 1998
80% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera; blended from the 13 classic Messapic crus. Aged in 5000-liter botti. Not very dark in colour, rapsberry rim. This shows a bit warmer and brothier on the nose, but quite clean on the nose. Concentrated, slightly roasted strawberry, old cask, smoke, raw beef. Serious, still with good acidity, a bit less definition than the above. Likely to age well. All wines here are made in a very clean and transparent style yet have indivuality.

Gratticiaia IGT 1996
From overripe Negroamaro grapes left to dry on the sun in special boxes for 30-40 days. Aged 18 months in barrique of which 1/3 new. Dark colour but visibly lighter at rim. Rather dense and petrolly nose with hints of burnt paper; not overdone, not too warm; ripasso thickness in mouth but dry in style. Lacks superior definition but a peculiar and quite captivating red. Some soupiness ot the texture here. Perhaps a bit underwhelming for the bottling however, plus note this is not inexpensive (20€ and more).

Passo delle Viscarde IGT 1997
90% Sauvignon, 10% Malvasia, passito grapes, a part is aged 6-8 months in barriques. Starts almondy, then elegant citrus flowers notes, magnolia flowers? Very light and airy retronasal impressions, perhaps a bit medicinal-bitter on the palate. 14% alc. which are nowhere to be felt. Drinks (and especially smells) better from a smaller glass. Highly sweet in mouth but very elegant, with vanilla pâtisserie notes. Very good.

SARDINIA

11/02 Argiolas Monica di Sardegna Perdera 2000
Aged in botti. Very dark purple. This is positively fishy on the nose (sardines), with soft and lean fermenting strawberry in mouth. Pleasant and well-made but rather peculiar. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Cannonau di Sardegna Costera 2000
Aged in botti. A bit lighter than the Perdera and starting to rust at rim. This is a bit more vegetal and a lot more spicy than the one-dimensional Perdera, with hints of soaked old wood and smoked fish in this case. Less warm and petrolly than remembered from a few previous vintages. Juicy in mouth, better acidity but slightly metallic on the finish, showing good Grenache character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Korem IGT 2000
Mainly Bovale Sardo with minor amounts of Carignano and Cannonau and 5% between Merlot and Syrah; aged in barriques of which 50% are new. Colour is quite dark. Some oak on the nose but pure and fruity; starts with another glassy-fishy impression but opens up quickly in the glass towards a highly spicy, mildly old-woody profile. Juicy and defined, has intensity and concentrated. Very good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Argiolas Turriga IGT 1998
Mainly Cannonau with some Bovale and Carignano, 100% new oak. Dark. Has quite some finesse and delicacy on the nose, boasting precise perfume of black cherry, mixed spices and currants, more fresh and less dried-fruity than expected and not showing any signs of particularly pushed extraction. Has finesse and will probably acquire more aromatic focus within short time (i.e., probably already has since I tasted this in April). Dense yet juicy on the palate, on the verge of being raisiny but always sufficiently fresh and vigorous. Some tannins but generally balanced and on the soft side IMO. Not the merest hint of oak. There have been negative reports about this wine but this hardly could have been more convincing. Outstanding. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Giuseppe Gabbas Cannonau di Sardegna Lillové 2001
Barrel sample? Very dark in the glass. Juicy, much more refined and elegant than the Taurino wines from Puglia tasted alongside, with some softness from the oak showing, plus roasted coffee and vinegary touches. Lacks perhaps a bit of definition and not tremendously interesting. Juicy and round sour cherry and strawberry in mouth, showing quite fresh, again with hints of grilled meat and vinegar. Not too long nor complex. A bit underwhelming for this bottling. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Giuseppe Gabbas Dule IGT 2000
Very dark. Dense, almost solid-substance nose, but inviting with concentrated fruit. Juicy and tasty. Really quite good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Giuseppe Gabbas Arbeskia IGT 1999
More bitter and almondy-extracted with some cooked notes, not as clean as the above, but sweet jammy fruit on the palate, good acidity and length. Interesting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Monica di Sardegna Duca di Mandas 2001
Brief one-month passage in large botti. Nice concentrated colour. A bit unclean on the nose, damp and granitey, but pleasant and decently long on the palate despite some more hardness on the finish. Good everyday wine on a competent level. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Cannonau di Sardegna Baione 1999
Aged in Seguin-Moreau tonneaux. Colour is quite dense. Fine nose of dried currants and cherries, some fresh paint and fruit ratafia. Clean fruit and good precision. Juicy and transparent despite some faint meaty bitterness on the finish. Truly excellent in its style. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Trexenta Tanca Su Conti IGT 1997
Cannonau, Carignano, some Mandrolisai and Cabernet Sauvignon; aged in a mixture of American and French oak. Minor browning at rim. This again displays an unexpected dried-fruity finesse on the nose, slightly Bordeaux-ish perhaps in notes of chalk dust and cinnamon. Very well-integrated, if still showing some fresh paint power and structure. Long. Lacks perhaps a bit of definition on the palate and the finish is slightly unfriendly in a chalky dryness. But this is really impressive for a co-op lost somewhere in Sardinia. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Nieddera Rosato IGT 2001
A rosato of Nieddera and Carignano, kept on the skins for 12 hours and aged in steel only. Pink-reddish colour. Good strawberry and soft cream on the nose, typical and focused, with some depth. In mouth succulent vanilla overtones to a rather chewy substance; quite long. Really quite well-made and inviting on the nose. Mr Contini insisted this is the best Sardinian rosé and he might well be right. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Nieddera Rosso IGT 1998
50% botte and 50% barrique. This has a slightly dusty granitey nose but somehow it only seemed a rustic ornament to the opulence of the fruit; showing harmonious, flowery (violets and faded roses), with flavours of strawberry and cherry. Noticeable acidic structure in mouth. Good length. Drinks quite well. A good wine. All the Contini wines are on the verge of the "unpleasant traditional" category but somehow always seem to defend themselves. Very interesting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Cannonau di Sardegna 1999
Soft strawberry and fresh paint on the nose, round and integrated, perfumed, just slightly roasted but reasonably fresh. Pleasant and round in mouth, a bit fat and meaty, but showing good acidity. A light-bodied wine for drinking soon. This sees a minor amount of botte. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Attilio Contini Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 1998
Aged in second-hand barrique. Darkish but fading colour. This is more aggressive and mildly volatile on the nose, with notes of cherry and strawberry; but soft and elegant and without the rusticity of the Nieddera red. Not too long however, and perhaps a bit blunt in mouth. But another very solid wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Tre Torri Rosato 2001
Vanilla and mie de pain on the nose; tasty on the palate but unsubstantial and neutral aromatically. Pedestrian. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Monica di Sardegna Antigua 2001
Rather dark ruby. Again those soaked bread and granite notes on the nose, some bitter herbs, seems a bit superficial really. Soft and round, relatively simple. Neutral. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Grotta Rossa 2000
Colour is a much darker purple than above. The nose shows intense red and sour cherry with a smokey character; concentrated and fruit-syrupy if totally dry. Despite a minor cooked character this is quite good in mouth and clearly superior to the above. Egg-custardy notes and decent length. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Araja IGT 2000
85% Carignano, 15% Sangiovese. Dark ruby. Again a bit syrupy on the nose, with sweet cherry scents; this has some depth and complexity despite being unoaked (it only went through malolactic in concrete vats). Dense and paint-like on the palate but never loses a natural juiciness. A very pleasant wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Baie Rosse IGT 1998
100% Carignano. Not much darker than the Araja; however on the nose there is a clear difference in major purity and focus to the cherry fruit. Some paint-like oak appears in the background but never dominates. Slightly almondy, some complexity here, perhaps a bit too soft to my tastes but surely interesting. Same criticism to the palate – a bit too soft and lacking definition. But good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Riserva Rocca Rubia 1999
Medium dark purple. Juicy and crisper on the nose than the above, no hint of cooked character, only a bit of warm balsamic or macerated fruit texture. A bit one-dimensional today perhaps. Round and inviting, with flavours of cherry and strawberry again. Uncomplicated but rewarding. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Sociale Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Superiore Terre Brune 1998
Much more extracted purple-violet colour. Almonds, walnuts, grilled meat on the serious nose; more intense, more fruit-filled, more paint-like-oaky, more charged but sadly less acidic-delineated; always down-to-earth drinkable and juicy but perhaps just a bit too stretched – which shows in an almondy, extracted note akin to young Château Musar. this wine has quite some followers; I appreciated it but failed to go gaga about it. (Nerval, Poland)

SICILY

11/02 S Murana Criccio DOC Sicilia 1999
80% Nero d'Avola, 20% Carignan, aged 12 months in barriques. The first bottle was cooked and unpleasant. The second sports a very dark purple colour and shows macerated fruit with good definition thanks to the lively acidity, dense, balsamic, juicy, pleasant to drink and with some character. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Salina Rosso DOC 2000
50% Nerello, 50% Calabrese (=Nero d'Avola), 3 months of oak. This starts with a vegetal stink and seems corked, but opens up with acceptable warm red fruit. Much better on palate than on nose, though still with that cork rind residue, weak watery finish. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Hauner Antonello IGT 1997
60% Sangiovese, 30% Calabrese, 10% Corinto Nero (a local grape traditionally added to Malvasia), aged 3 months in barriques previously hosting the Malvasia. 13.5% alc. Quite dark with a light rim. Lots of almonds, some oak showing on top of ripe black fruit, juicy and rather soft in mouth, good structure with especially well-marked acids; interesting soft pâtisserie and almondy character on the finish where there is perhaps some caramel. This finish betrays its stay in sweet wine barrels (although Carlo Hauner says this caramelly touch derives from the Corinto component in the blend). Served too warm but very convincing and could improve with age. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Garbazzale Rosso IGT 2001
Bottled two months prior. Medium ruby verging on violet. Nose is buttery as if from oak, with nice baked vanilla-scented ripe fruit, mainly amarena cherry and currants. Some fresh paint, quite powerfully perfumed, juicy, medium long, with more vanilla echoes on the finish. Perhaps a touch of dilution. Strange note of almond bread in mouth. Drinks very well. Served slightly too warm but again technically spotless, lacks perhaps a bit of expression but very good for a basic red. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Fatagione IGT 2000
80% Nerello, 20% Nero d'Avola, 80% new and 20% 1-year-old barrique. Darker colour; nose shows fresh paint and balsamic vinegar notes, perfumed, elegant and expressive, with that Cottanera sweetness and ripeness on the nose but nevertheless a mineral granitey base. Dense and dark in character. Very long and convincing finish. This is getting quite exciting. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera L'Ardenza IGT 2000
Barrel sample of 100% Mondeuse aged in 100% new oak. Violet colour which seems quite cool in character and clearly stems from the special soil conditions. Captivating nose with a good deal of bacony barrique on top of the warm roasted fruit; slightly volatile, juicy, quite pungent, sharply delineated, acidic but highly ripe. Good complexity, broad fat fruit, showing some buttery character on the palate. Good persistence, fine length and striking mineral and citrusy acidity which enlivens the whole package. Full-flavoured, greatly intense, finally a supremely defined red, lacks perhaps a bit of elegance to the quite dense palate; powerful but not weighty at all. Has personality. Very fine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Sole di Sesta IGT 2000
Barrel sample of 100% Syrah aged in 100% new oak; yields of 40 q/ha. Dark and consistent colour with just a bit of rim. Bigger nose with lots of varietal character, meaty and spicy, empyreumatic, again a 'made' wine, quintessentially modern but with rare character, in fact perfectly delineated and one wonders how such a winemaking panache has been achieved in just two vintages. If tasted in different circumstances than from opened bottles in ISO glasses in an overheated fair hall, this would probably show great. Fine length, on the palate there is a most attractive sweet note, but the acidity reigns supreme and now the uniqueness of the terroir is obvious as only the most unforgiving of rocky soils could retain this level of pH while allowing such physiological ripeness of grapes. A tour de force of modern viticulture and winemaking but seemingly effortless and made of one block. Great panache. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Grammonte IGT 2000
Barrel sample of 100% Merlot aged in 100% new oak. Tasted from the dregs of a bottle. Slightly lighter in colour perhaps than the Syrah. The nose has a balsamic sweetness which can charm many but too me seems a bit too fat, in fact so much less young-viney than the first release, 1999, that one wonders how possibly such a progress could have been made in one vintage of this wine. Sweet biscuits, almonds, vanilla, all familiar notes but well fused and quite elegant, if difficult to criticise honestly when tasted this warm. Of the three this is clearly the most glyceric and liquoricey but perhaps not as natural-tasting as the two preceding ones. Juicy, again rather warm in character, but the acidity is just as outstanding. This today shows less linear and less integrated, as if still rather blunt from the oak, than the Ardenza and Sole, or at least lacking the exoticism of the former and the supreme definition of the latter, but while being the roundest and most vulgar today it would not surprise me if it emerged, in this or subsequent vintages, as the most promising of the three. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Morgante Nero d'Avola IGT Sicilia 2000
Aged mainly in steel with some old barrique. Not too dark, elegant and medium-hued purple. Some cork rind aromas, showing very young in mouth, strawberrish, with some softness from the oak. Good. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cottanera Don Antonio IGT 1999
12 months of new oak. Dark, slightly violet at hue, with a light rim. Some camphora, slightly bottle-sick perhaps at first. Juicier in mouth, quite long, but with an unnatural camphora note of extraction. Not as pleasant to drink today as the basic Nero, and I think not superior in quality. Has length and structure but lacks aroma. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta La Segreta Rosso IGT 2001
60% Nero, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah, aged in steel. Dark, quite saturated purple colour. Starts somewhat stinky-barnyardy on the nose, the follows with juicy strawberry, slightly Pinotish but typical. Some mineral and gravelly elements as well. Meaty and foody on the palate,well-made and agreeable. Good length, meaty finish. Round. Technically perfect, not surprisingly. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Santa Cecilia IGT 2000
100% Nero d'Avola. Serious nose which again starts with some funk of rubber and camphora, almost Cabernet in style. Quite fresh on the palate, with paint and blackberry and currant jam. Concentrated, with some sense of structure, slightly oaky today and too soft. But having tasted the 1999 recently I am sure it will come around. Perhaps a minor petrolly extraction note. Drinks well, even if it's another purely oenological wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2001
1st vintage of this wine which mixes 60% Nero d'Avola, 40% Frappato and some oak. Colour is quite saturated, not rosé at all, rather medium purple. Slightly stinky strawberry and carbonic-macerated, rosé in style on nose. Bready, juicy in mouth, showing slightly too soft, and without the juiciness of the best Planeta wines. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Merlot IGT 1999
More bottle age here. Serious Bordeaux color. Nose starts reductive, then spicy, cinnamony, slightly bitter-extracted and volatile perhaps. Juicy, sweet and long in mouth, also rather round or blunt, as if clouded by the oak. Petrol aftertaste. Very Australian in style. Good quality but nothing great. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Syrah IGT 2000
2nd vintage of this wine. Dark purple. Very hygienic nose, just slightly reductive-stinky, not much definition, bacony-sausagey from the oak. This is at the same time the least defined and the least oak-blurred of the reds here. Needs time in the bottle. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Planeta Burdese IGT 1999
1st vintage of this new 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Minor rim to a warmer colour than other wines here. Has quite some Cabernet character on the nose, with cool scents of cassis and raspberry, not really peppery. In mouth this is juicy and sweet again in an Australian style, perhaps slightly too warm, though less petrolly than others. Yet somehow the least likeable, least individual of the reds here. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cusumano Nadaría IGT 2001
100% Syrah. Dark. Very bready and raw on the nose, with hints of soaked rye bread and macerated marasca cherries, and top notes of sweet oak and cloves. Shows fine intensity of sweet strawberry and cherry fruit on the palate, very appealing already, if not too complex and perhaps lacking a bit of elegance. Almondy, extracted finish. (Nerval, Poland)

11/02 Cusumano Ságana IGT 2000
100% Nero d'Avola. Black in the glass. Huge nose of fruit spread and jam, bittersweet yet showing quite a lot of crispiness, I thought, carrying on to the palate with sweet blueberry and blackberry which again have that texture and savouriness of breakfast spread. Fragrant, expressive, very fine, but is it Nero d'Avola? The purity of fruit is superlative, however. (Nerval, Poland)

Part I - Piedmont; Emilia-Romagna; Friuli; Alto Adige; Veneto
Part III - Tuscany

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