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A selection Italian wines

by Tom Cannavan, 09/03

Campo San Trovaso (veneto) Prosecco Spumante Brut DOC
This Prosecco has a light gold/green colour and stream of very small bubbles. On the nose, it has that gorgeous sherbetty brightness that is so typical, with notes of summer flowers and delicate pear and apple fruit. On the palate the mousse is soft in this lightly sparkling format, and the broad, expansive, low-acid palate has plenty of sweet custardy notes and ripe, juicy apple fruit. This is clean and very sippable, without a lot of complexity, but with no rough edges and lots of elegance. Very good indeed.
Six Bottles £45.85 (£7.64 per bottle).

Fattoria la Monacesca (Marches) Verdicchio di Matelica 2000
The mineral rich soils are said to make the Verdicchis of Matelica quite different from those in the better-known Castelli de Jesi. This has an appealing pale gold colour, and a nose that suggests oatmeal, straw and nuts and a little honey, along with fine apple fruit and, yes, a touch of minerality. On the palate it is quite rich-textured, with a crisp, clean fruit quality of apple and underripe melon, and plenty of racy acidity. This has a lovely sense of elegance and class, with whistle clean fruit and that herb and nut character pushing through into a long finish. Very good indeed.
Six Bottles £37.75 (£6.29 per bottle).

Feline (Puglia) "Alberello" Rosso di Salento 2001
Puglia in the heel of Italy is a source of some terrific bargains; particularly strapping, dense reds with masses of power and stuffing made from local grapes. This, which has already appeared on wine-pages as Wine of the Week, is a blend of Primitivo (a close relative of Zinfandel) and Negroamaro, is a perfect example. The nose has a dark, fudgy quality of caramel, leather, spices and autumn berries, with a fine ripeness at its core. On the palate, the purity of cherries and red plum fruit washes over the palate, with a lovely rough-edged tannic grip and fine acid balance. This wine opens and grows in the mouth, coating the palate with some terrific fruit and leavig a lip-smacking impression of savoury, serious wine. This represents a brilliant value for money at less than £6 a bottle for such juicy, concentrated stuff with real character. Excellent.
Six Bottles £34.90 (£5.81 per bottle).

Le Calvane (Tuscany) Chianti Colli Fiorentini "Quercione" 2000
Quite a deep, bright garnet colour. Attractively fruity nose, with kirsch-like cherry fruit, some background spice and a slick of vanilla. On the palate it is quite firm, with a savoury quality to the fruit and a bite of tannin drying the mouth. There is a powerful suggestion of concentration through the mid-palate, and a finish that roughens up slightly, with good acidity. Very good.
Six Bottles £37.75 (£6.29 per bottle).