Well, the time has finally come for me to bid a fond farewell to Italy and turn my back on exclusively reviewing Italian wines. It’s time to spread my wings, broaden my horizons, put myself about a bit and enjoy the variety that London has to offer. Will I miss being woken at ungodly hours by construction work? Eating pasta and pizza for each and every meal? Being charged for things I didn’t buy? Not so much. I will miss the people, I will miss the sun and scenery and I will miss the fabulous prices you get on Italian wine which I will not enjoy in Blighty. We get stuffed on every import and unless I can attune my taste buds to Chapel Down and Camel Valley *stifles the bile* then I will just have to embrace the variety even if it comes at a cost.
So hello to French wine, Greek wine, German wine, English turpentine and all the other pleasures that await on that fair isle I’m growing increasingly proud to call home. My first love is, and will remain, Italian wine and I shall represent the Italian wines most frequently on the blog. So tomorrow I start my journey, leaving Venice, past Milan, up through Switzerland, past Geneva and stopping in Gex. On Saturday we make our way through a twisty and frightfully dangerous piece of Alpine terrain and through to a hotel outside Reims and then Sunday morning I take the cinder line Eurotunnel to Folkestone and wind up in London about 11am. So anyone wishing to take me out has the full gen. Monday I’ll be back blogging my celebratory Sunday wines so be sure to stay tuned.
As promised today I’m going to dig out the “best and worst” wines of my 3 years in Italy. They might not be the highest scoring but they are wines that, for whatever reasons, have stuck fondly in my memory bank. For Jill, the Petite Verdot I was telling you about last week.
Castello di Verduno Barbera d’Alba Bricco del Cuculo 2006 – PASS – €14
Nice colour, hues were lighter than expected for a 2006 Barbera. The nose, was giving me very little of anything, not the merest hint of fruit, just a very sugary winey artificial nose that did nothing for me. The mouth feel was ok, uninteresting tannins, extremely acidic, I can’t think of anything positive to say, I wouldn’t use it in a cooking sauce. 73 Points
Casale del Giglio Petit Verdot 2004 – BUY – €10
Dark purple in the glass, very deep intensity. A little timid on the nose but aromas of spice, berries and cherries with the most intense smell profile being blackberries. Shockingly refined and balanced on the palate denoting a classier wine that the price, some nice fruit on the mid palate. A really enjoyable and easy drinking wine. The lack of intensity on the nose is the reason this missed 90 points. Perfect for dinner parties. 89 Points
Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto d’Alba 2006 – €10 – BUY
A dull dark purple/violet with interesting ruby reflection, full bodied to the eye. Knockout nose, so strong that the glass had to be left for 30 mins. Characteristic nose of cherries and vanilla, very clean and with just a hint of spices and pepper. Full out attack on the palate, medium body, good acidity and balance with a mid length finish of berries and a touch of plum. Smooth with balanced tannins. Decant for a minimum of 1 hour. 89 Points
Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 2000 – BUY – €49
Mid ruby red in the glass with slight change in tonality at the edges. An opulent and feminine wine whose nose and palate flow perfectly, great balance. Aromas of strawberries and walnuts, really impressive nose with a second wave nose profile of vanilla. The palate is a joy, mid bodied with super rich and silky tannins. The wine is not forceful, its a truly beautiful, seductive wine with a good 30 second finish. 95 Points
Villa von Steiner Lagrein 2004 – PASS – €9
Fantastic penetrating dark purple, all the way thru, what hues? ink black vino. The nose just stinks, wet rocks mixed with onions, soil, even horse manure, I mean this nose is seriously unpleasant and here is where the wine can play mind games with you. The immediate mouth feel is gorgeous, black fruits and such a soft silky mouth feel, you begin to forgive the manure, and then it comes back in the mid palate and you lose all fruit, it turns acidic and very plain and uninteresting and then it gives you a really long finish of this foulness, and you think, “what the hell happened”. A confusing wine, but for that I have to give it some kudos for being so interesting. 82 Points
Arnaldo Caprai Rosso Outsider 2005 – BUY – €30
Sits ruby red in the glass and colour consistent on the tilt. Another stand out nose, really an occasion where words can´t describe the intensity of the aroma. Sensational nose, make a kebab out of a wet pencil, blackberries, cherries and strawberries and wear it as a mustache for a week, you´ll get close to a quick sniff of this wine. Majorly exciting for nosehounds. The palate is also knockout, still very tannic, needs time but super potent, super soft a really intense wine experience. 95 Points
So that’s a wrap. All that’s left to say is goodbye to all my ex-pat friends who read this blog, my poor old parents whom I dragged to Italy and then deserted and a fond farewell to the bureaucracy, bills and speeding tickets that financially crippled me. That’s ungrateful, I’m kidding, Rome is still my favourite city in the world, I still want to retire to Todi and no city offers as much “seat of your pants” fun as Naples. It’s been a blast!
So long Silvio and thanks for all the fish. *wipes away tear*
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What do you love (or hate) about Italy? Will you still read this blog when the dirty foreign wines creep in?