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15 September 2011

Italy: south by northwest

So to speak... but I do enjoy a nice little movie reference pun every now and then (answers on an e-card please, a clue: Cary Grant snapping his fingers at a waiter at the wrong moment...). London based wine merchant Armit has a bit of a reputation for its posh Italian wines (and just posh wines full-stop actually), e.g. luxury-priced Gaja; and I tried a few recently so decided to theme it up, posting-wise, starting with Italy. Because, well, why not when there are seductive red and white wines like these out there waiting to be discovered. The selection I've tasting-noted below does indeed run from the glorious south (Salento) via the solid middle (Tuscany) to the unexpected northeast (Valpolicella) then heads way out west (Liguria and Piemonte). Plus a bonus island red thrown in from Sardinia, as you do. And you know what to do for more about 1, 2, 3...

2007 Salice Salentino Riserva, Puglia - Cantele (Negroamaro/Malvasia Nero, 13% alc.): perfumed nose enhanced by pruney dried fruit notes, smoky and lush palate with dry vs sweet texture, fairly mature and very attractive now with tasty savoury finish. 1+ £9.85
2008 Montessu; Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia - Agricola Punica (14%): sunshine wine with dried figs, hints of tobacco and savoury meaty edges; powerful grippy mouth-feel balanced by nice maturing fruit, tasty traditional Med style. 2 £15.99

2008 Promis, Ca'Marcanda, Tuscany - Gaja (Merlot/Syrah/Sangiovese, 14%): smoky rustic vs herbal peppery notes, quite rich dark fruits and punchy weight vs 'inky' peppery, tight vs maturing finish showing subtle concentration. Good oldie style. 2 £25
2008 Magari, Ca'Marcanda, Tuscany - Gaja (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, 14.5%): more Morello cherry and less earthy, again quite concentrated and lush with dark plum and a touch of chocolate oak, finer and more textured although has a bit more oomph too; fairly classy. 2+ £32.17
2004 Ca'Marcanda; Bolgheri, Tuscany - Gaja (Merlot, Cab Sauv & Cab Franc, 14.5%): complex savoury nose with liquorice and earthy tobacco tinges, rich dark and concentrated palate with smoky edges, punchy and lively still with underlying grip and acidity. 2-3 £67.17
2009 Le Volte, Tuscany - Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (13.5%): smoky dried fruit aromas, lush cherry fruit with sweet vs dry mouth-feel, maturing edges and attractive drinking now. 1+ £15.17
2009 Le Difese, Tuscany - Tenuta San Guido (14%): smoky Morello nose, dried fruits, liquorice vs tobacco hints; powerful vs fresh, layered with sweet maturing earthy fruit. 1+ £15.37
2009 Guidalberto, Tuscany - Tenuta San Guido (Cab Sauv/Merlot, 14%): sweeter fruit although it seems 1-2 years younger, intense and concentrated, stylish balanced palate with power and bite and delicious long finish. Yum. 2-3 £27.17
2006 Sugarille; Brunello di Montalcino, Pieve di Santa Restituta, Tuscany - Gaja (Sangiovese, 15%): lovely coffee and tobacco notes vs dried cherry fruit, a touch of coco/chocolate on the palate adding roundness to its punchy lively firmer side, the alcohol's a tad warm but this is very concentrated and tasty. 2 £89

2005 Valpolicella Superiore - Romano dal Forno (Rondinella/Molinara, 15%): "lightly appasite" it said on the backlabel, meaning towards Amarone style I think. Seductive smoky dark fruits with hints of chocolate and cedar, lush vs tangy palate with cassis vs prune fruit profile, still pretty solid and impressive yet balanced too. 2-3 £61
2006 Barolo, Piemonte - Giacomo Fenocchio: pretty classic Nebbiolo profile with maturing dried fruits and 'cheesy' edges, soft vs firm palate and tasty savoury finish. 1-2 £29

2010 Vermentino; Colli di Luni, Liguria - Cantine Lunae (12.5%): zesty zingy citrus with peachy apricot hints, tasty and refreshing with nutty vs 'mineral' intensity, roundish yet crisp finish. Nice style. 1-2 £12.99
2010 Roero Arneis, Piemonte - Bruno Giacosa (12.5%): aromatic nutty nose, tighter more 'mineral' palate, juicy and lees-y too with fresh acidity. Dear though at £21. 1
I didn't like this guy's reds by the way...

More 'themes' on the way from this tasting: Pinot Noir, Champers vs English fizz, classic Rioja, Quinta da Falorca (Portugal), a couple of enticing red Rhones & white Burgundies...

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