Notes on the Wines
Virna 2017 'SoloUno' Arneis, Langhe, Piedmont
From the fabulous Borgogno sisters, Virna & Ivana, who provide our exceptional Barolo. Arneis is an exciting wine, fresh and crisp, medium-full bodied, with complex aromas of white flowers, chamomile, citrus, apricot, white peach, and almond. Good acidity with a silky finish.
Bisci 2015 'Vigneto Fogliano' Verdicchio di Matelica, Marche
A 'Tre Bicchieri' winner, Italy's highest award. This is a vineyard-designated Verdicchio from the tiny mountainous region around the town of Matelica (as opposed to the much larger coastal Jesi area). Verdicchio di Matelica has higher acidity, more body and higher alcohol than Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi, and this stunning wine from Bisci shows classic characteristics, delicately fruity and floral, with notes of sweet almonds and pleasing bitter aftertaste. It's quite Riesling-esque, and will age and evolve for many years.
Roccafiore 2016 'Fiorfiore' Grechetto, Umbria
Really impressive and very complex, from extended sur-lie aging post-fermentation (in inox), followed by maturation in large neutral Slavonian oak botti. This wine exudes minerality, with pineapple, yellow apple, floral & spice notes. Savoury and very appealing, best served not-too-cold, with olives and charcuterie. Very fine.
Mosole 2016 Pinot Grigio, Venezia
Textbook Pinot Grigio from Lucio Mosole's meticulously-tended estate vineyard north-east of Venice. The pale grey-pink colour suggests the hue of properly-ripened Pinot Grigio fruit, while the nose brings appealing scents of almond, apricot & pear. Medium weight, very good acidity – this is perfect for aperitif or with a meal (think spaghetti con vongole...).
Prà 2017 'Otto' Soave Classico, Veneto
Graziano Prà is one of a small cohort of winemakers who, in the late 1980s, started to challenge the perceptions of a population raised on crap (ie. industrial) Soave. Estate-grown Garganega, from hillside vineyards on volanic soils results in mineral-driven, complex and extremely appealing wines. These were perhaps the first Italian whites to gain attention for the highest international quality.
Vie di Romans 2016 Friulano 'Dolée Vineyard', Friuli Isonzo
Fruilano at another level. Period. Gianfranco Gallo is one of Italy's greatest white winemakers. In his hands, this indigenous grape reaches heights of complexity and pleasure (and ageability) that are simply stunning. Quite intense, with good weight on the palate complemented by excellent acidity. The wine has heft without being heavy.
Vie di Romans 2016 Sauvignon 'Piere Vineyard', Friuli Isonzo
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Eastern Friuli for over 200 years, so I guess we can consider it native. This vineyard-designated wine is grown on complex, gravel-pebble soils on clay. Italian clonal selection (rather than French), and neutral oak treatment, bring a Sauvignon that is vibrant, herbaceous, floral, and high-toned, with pure fruit and varietal character. Stunning.
Villa Papiano 2016 'Tresche' Sauvignon, Emilia-Romagna
A very different interpretation of Sauvignon Blanc when compared to Vie di Romans. Tresche is Dizzy Gillespie to Piere's Pat Metheny... The terraced, high elevation vineyard contributes salinity and intense aromatics, while extended aging on it lees post-fermentation brings weight and texture.
Noelia Ricci 2016 'Bro' Bianco, Emilia-Romagna
This vibrant wine is made from the ancient variety Trebbiano Romagnolo with a small amount of Pegadabit – both varieties very specific to the area. Long maceration on the skins of the Pegadebit contributes complexity to the natural brightness and minerality of the Trebbiano. It's a vibrant and mineral-driven wine, pefect for fresh seafood & oysters.
Valdibella 2017 'Munir' Catarratto, Sicily
From a remarkable organic co-op in Monreale (near Palermo), producing almonds, olives, grains and wine with a staunchly 'AddioPizzo' and socially responsible philosophy. This Catarratto is a dramatic wine, quite full, with characteristics of thyme, sage, tropical fruits, ripe citrus, and an appealing nutty finish.
De Conciliis 2016 'Donnaluna' Fiano, Campania
Ian D'Agata states that Fiano may well be Italy's greatest native white grape, and Bruno De Conciliis is one of Campania's most famous producers. This fame is perhaps due as much to his outgoing, generous, and highly-entertaining personality, as to his wines, which are in fact quite scarce. Donnaluna has a steely-minerally character, with refined aromas of hazelnut, green apple, pear and honey. If you can resist, save a few bottles to explore the impressive ageability of Fiano over 5-8-10 years.
La Guardiense 2017 'Janare' Falanghina, Campania
Falanghina is perhaps Campania's oldest grape variety, with a history dating to the ancient Roman era. It is belived by many experts that Falanghina is actually the same as the celebrated Falernum cherished by the Roman Emperors. Floral & fruity (but not sweet) it has excellent refreshing acidity, with Golden Delicious apple, apricot & stone fruit flavours. This is a highly appealing wine for aperitif or antipasti.