TN: Focusing on Timorasso!

Timorasso is something I love - it is not only my favorite white Piedmontese variety, but perhaps my overall Italian white cultivar - but also something one does not get to drink too often. We don’t really have any available here in Finland and it’s not that often you see them in internet shops either.

Having pooled a good number of Timorassos, I deciced to ask some friends if they had a few bottles more lying around so we could have a decent tasting on this terrific variety. Fortunately a few friends had some extra bottles at hand, so we managed to get a nice, solid lineup of different producers around Tortona (aka. Derthona), the home region of this singular variety.

And, as almost always, we had a couple of extra bottles blind after the tasting proper!

  • 2019 Cantina di Tortona Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso, fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. 14,5% alcohol.

    Luminous neon-green Mountain Dew appearance. Youthful, somewhat sweetish nose with aromas of honey, some ripe pear, a little bit of orange marmalade, light sappy notes of herbal spice and a hint of something gaseous - perhaps a more liberal touch of SO2? The wine is focused and rather full-bodied on the palate with intense flavors of stony minerality, some ripe citrus fruits, a little bit of juicy peachy fruit, light honeyed tones, a hint of pear and a textural touch of waxy extraction that lends a subtle touch of bitterness to the taste. The overall feel is balanced and quite structured, thanks to the moderately high acidity. The finish is ripe and juicy with intense, subtly sweetish flavors of peach, some ripe orange, a little bit of sappy herbal spice, light stony mineral notes of a hint of pear. The high alcohol remains surprisingly effortlessly out of the way.

    A still very youthful but also wonderfully fresh and balanced Timorasso that is very true to the variety: the wine is quite big and high in alcohol, yet retains great sense of freshness and focus, coming across as surprisingly sleek for its size. The wine shows good potential for further development and based on its slightly acrid, gaseous hint in the nose, the wine might actually benefit from additional aging. Good already now, but will get better with age. Super value at 13€.
    (90 points)

  • 2015 Gian Paolo Repetto Colli Tortonesi Derthona Quadro - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso from a vineyard planted in 2007. Fermented and aged for 9 months in stainless steel tanks. Annual production around 15,000 bottles. 14% alcohol, 2 g/l residual sugar and 6,4 g/l acidity.

    Youthful pale yellow color with faint green highlights. Quite restrained and underwhelming nose with aromas of stone dust, some sappy herbal tones, a little bit of fresh red apple, light steely mineral notes and a hint of zesty citrus fruits. Doesn't really open up or give much. On the palate the wine feels crisp, bright and surprisingly crunchy for moderately full-bodied and even slightly extracted white wine. There are intense flavors of lemony citrus fruits, some steely mineral notes, a little bit of cantaloupe and bruised pear, light sappy herbal tones, a hint of very ripe and slightly extracted waxy character and a touch of tangy salinity. The high acidity lends great sense of focus and structure to the wine. The finish is fresh, long and quite zippy with focused flavors of lemony citrus fruits, some tangy saline tones, a little bit of ripe red apple, light nuances of cantaloupe, a hint of hay and a touch of steely minerality.

    The nose felt seemed rather underwhelming here, but otherwise this was a classically built textbook Timorasso with that unique varietal character that makes me think of a white wine which has the ripeness and oily richness of a Viognier and the structure and minerality of a Riesling. Although not as aromatic as Viogniers and Rieslings tend to be, this was otherwise aromatically precisely like a combination of them. Despite its somewhat disappointing start, this turned out to be a quite lovely, fresh and rather structure-driven Timorasso that still has many more years to go. Drinking really well right now, but will continue to improve for a long time. However, despite its high quality, I still must say that at 29,89€ this felt somewhat expensive for its quality.
    (91 points)

  • 2017 La Colombera Timorasso Colli Tortonesi Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% organically farmed Timorasso from vineyards planted in 1997 and 2000. The grape skins are macerated in the must for a few hours before pressed. Fermented spontaneously, aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks. Typically bottled with about 70 mg/l SO2. Annual production around 15,000 bottles. 14,5% alcohol, 1 g/l residual sugar and 5,8 g/l acidity.

    Luminous, youthful, pale lime-green color. Fragrant, sweet-toned nose that feels at first a bit reductive and plastic-y and slightly alcoholic, but opens up to reveal aromas of ripe Golden Delicious apple, some white peach, a little bit of mirabelle, light leesy nuances, a hint of quince and a nutty touch of slivered almonds. The wine feels rich, structured and moderately oily on the palate with a full body and intense flavors of ripe pears and mirabelle plums, some phenolic spice, a little bit of leesy character, light extracted waxy and slightly bitter nuances, a hint of tangy salinity and a touch of mealy red apple. The moderately high acidity keeps the wine quite well in balance despite the somewhat viscous mouthfeel, while the alcohol shows through a little, lending richness and some warmth to the palate. The finish is rich, broad and juicy with some alcoholic warmth and long flavors of white peach, some apple jam, light notes of mirabelle plums, a little bit of fresh orange, a hint of waxy richness and a touch of extracted bitterness.

    A rather substantial and voluptuous Timorasso where the hot 2017 vintage shows through quite clearly, yet the wine seems to be evolving in the right direction. Couple of years ago the wine seemed even bigger, heavier and clumsier with softer acidity, but this time the ripe, sweetly-fruited richness had subsided a little and even if the wine is quite big, the acidity seems to have moved a more to the fore. While the wine is still quite young, promising good potential for future development, I doubt this vintage is going to be as long-lived as the best vintages of Timorasso. Good, but not great - and still feels a bit pricey for the quality at 26,70€.
    (89 points)

  • 2018 Cantine Volpi Timorasso Colli Tortonesi Cascina La Zerba di Volpedo - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    To my understanding, Cantine Volpi is a large négociant producer, but Cascina La Zerba di Volpedo is an estate Cantine Volpi owns in Tortona and they produce wines from estate-grown fruit over there. 100% Organically farmed Timorasso. Aged for 12 months in the lees in stainless steel tanks. Total production 6000 bottles. 13% alcohol.

    Intense, youthful yellow-green color. Sweet and fragrant nose with attractive aromas of honey and white orchard flowers, some cantaloupe, light brambly notes of cloudberries and arctic brambles, a little bit of pear jam and a primary hint of gummi bear. The wine feels surprisingly fresh, precise and light on its feet for a Timorasso, thanks to its crunchy - not oily - overall feel, medium body and quite intense flavors of youthful apple-driven fruit, some chalky mineral tones, a little bit of arctic bramble, light bitter notes of phenolic spice, a hint of crunchy quince and a touch of pear jam. The wine feels ripe and even somewhat concentrated, yet not weighty or sweet-toned. The high acidity gives the wine a great sense of structure. The finish is crisp, long and quite intense with moderately acid-driven flavors of quince, some pithy grapefruit, a little bit of fresh red apple, light stony mineral tones and a hint of arctic bramble.

    A wonderfully fresh, precise and fragrant Timorasso that feels lighter and less oily than is typical for the variety. Aromatically this was also quite distinct - which really stood out in a Timorasso tasting - with its fragrant and quite Nordic nuances of cloudberries and arctic brambles. The wine shows great brightness, sense of structure and promise for future development, even if the wine is wonderfully drinkable already now. A very lovely wine indeed and a steal at 12,90€.
    (92 points)

  • 2016 Cantine Volpi Timorasso Derthona Zerba Antica - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    To my understanding, Cantine Volpi is a large négociant producer, but this wine is made at Cascina La Zerba di Volpedo, which is an estate Cantine Volpi owns in Tortona and they produce wines from estate-grown fruit over there. Zerba Antica is their flagship white, made with 100% organically farmed Timorasso. Macerated for a few hours with the skins, then fermented in stainless steel. Aged for 18-20 months in the lees in stainless steel tanks, followed by +2 years of aging in bottles. Total production 600 bottles. 13,5% alcohol.

    Quite youthful, but also rather deep and concentrated yellow-green color. The nose feels youthful, somewhat restrained and subtly sweet with layered aromas of sweet melon-driven yellow fruits, some waxy tones, a little bit of something vaguely plastic, light primary notes of jelly candies, a hint of citrus fruit zest and a touch of leesy autolysis. The wine comes across as pretty bold, concentrated and somewhat oily on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and intense flavors of apricots, some lemon marmalade, a little bit of honeyed richness, light primary notes of gummi bear candies, autolytic hints of leesy creaminess and subtly toasty tones and a touch of waxy funk. The overall feel is quite broad and muscular, thanks in large part to the high acidity which backs up the concentrated body of the wine wonderfully. The finish is long, ripe and juicy with intense flavors of cantaloupe, some leesy creaminess, light waxy tones, a little bit of honeyed richness, primary hints of gummi bear and marmalade candies and a touch of autolytic nuttiness.

    Contrasting the entry-level Timorasso of Cantine Volpi, which was surprisingly light and brisk for a Timorasso, this is very much true to the variety with its big body and oily mouthfeel. However, despite its size and concentration, the wine carries itself surprisingly well, although the overall feel is still quite youthful and at times even primary, making the wine feel a bit clumsy. Nevertheless, this is a very impressive and well-made Timorasso as a whole, not perhaps showing its real best at the moment, but coming across as very promising all the same. Terrific stuff, one of the best wines in our Timorasso tasting. Good value at 25€.
    (94 points)

  • 2010 Claudio Mariotto Timorasso Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% organically farmed Timorasso. Fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 14% alcohol.

    Deep, somewhat evolved yellow-green color with a deep golden core. The nose feels dense and ripe with complex, somewhat concentrated aromas of honey and pear jam, some floral notes of white flowers, a little bit of mirabelle plum, light stony mineral notes, a hint of alcohol and a touch of marzipan. The wine feels rich, dense and somewhat oily on the palate with a full body and intense flavors of ripe apricots, some apple jam, light honeyed tones, a little bit of spicy minerality and a sweet, fragrant hint of mirabelle plums. Even though the wine feels quite big and concentrated, the overall feel is remarkably balanced and harmonious with good sense of structured acidity. The finish is rich, juicy and slightly warm with intense flavors of juicy peaches and mirabelles, some honeyed tones, a little bit of exotic spice, light floral nuances and a hint of phenolic bitterness.

    An excellent, wonderfully matured Timorasso that has evolved beautifully since my last taste some five years ago. The wine has gained further complexity and is showing that concentrated, honeyed sense of richness typical of aged Timorasso, yet never coming across as heavy or ponderous - unlike, say, a similarly aged Viognier. This is drinking mighty well right now, but this will keep - if not improve further - for a good handful of years more. All in all, a superb case in point why Timorasso is one of the best white Italian grape varieties. A bargain at 15€.
    (92 points)

  • 2010 Claudio Mariotto Timorasso Cavallina - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% organically farmed Timorasso from the Cavallina vineyard, where the average vine age is 20 years. Fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 14% alcohol.

    Still surprisingly youthful and very slightly hazy medium-deep yellow-green color. The nose feels a bit closed but still wonderfully nuanced with slightly restrained aromas of ripe white peach, some steely mineral tones, a little bit of beeswax, light sweet nuances of apple jam, a leesy hint of creaminess, a touch of herbal spice and a lifted whiff of minty greenness. The wine feels clean, youthful and very slightly reductive on the palate with a sleek, medium-to-moderately full body and quite intense flavors of cantaloupe and yellow stone fruits, some apple jam, a little bit of stony minerality, light nutty notes of slivered almonds, a hint of evolved waxy funk and a touch of tangy salinity. There's a good deal of concentration here, but thanks to its high acidity and slightly lighter body than is typical for a Timorasso, this wine comes across as very focused and even somewhat high-strung. The finish is ripe, juicy and complex with intense flavors of ripe Golden Delicious apple, some cantaloupe, light honeyed tones, a little bit of apple sauce, developed hints of beeswax and a nutty touch of slivered almonds. The high alcohol makes the wine end on a subtly warm note.

    Just like in the previous Timorasso tasting about five years ago, this wine was - again - remarkably youthful, precise and light on its feet. Although this wine seemed slightly lighter than most wines we tasted in this Timorasso tasting, it didn't seem one bit less impressive in comparison - on the contrary, it did show great sense of concentration of complexity, to which the lighter body and freshness from the high acidity brought a delightful counterpoint. Based on its youthful overall character and very slightly reductive nature, I can see this wine still improving for years more, even if the wine has evolved and aged over these past five years. I'm glad the wine has apparently evolved in the right direction and I hope it will continue to do so. At just 12,50€, this has been a steal.
    (94 points)

  • 2012 Claudio Mariotto Timorasso Pitasso - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% organically farmed Timorasso from the Pitasso vineyard, where the average vine age is 30 years. Fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 14,5% alcohol.

    Evolved, deep and quite concentrated burnished golden yellow color with a pale bronze core. Big, sweet and surprisingly evolved with somewhat oxidative aromas of toasty nuttiness, some orange marmalade, a little bit of hay, light rich notes of apple sauce, a hint of smoke and a touch of caramel. The wine is very evolved, oily and quite heavy on the palate with a full body and somewhat tertiary flavors of somewhat oxidative nuttiness, some bitter notes of phenolic spice, a little bit of ripe citrus fruits, light tangy notes of saline minerality, evolved nuances of candle wax and sorrel and a touch of apple peel bitterness. The high alcohol lends a somewhat noticeable streak of warmth to the palate and the overall feel is quite heavy and slightly tired, in part thanks to the soft medium-plus acidity and in part thanks to the waxy concentration brought by age. The finish is warm heavy and slightly sweet-toned with rich, subtly oxidative flavors of soft apricots, some honeyed tones, a little bit toasty nuttiness, light salty notes of sorrel, a hint of caramel and a touch of beeswax.

    A very heavy, ripe and soft Timorasso that is already starting to fall apart. This is still quite enjoyable and the wine shows at times even quite nice tertiary complexity, but compared to any other Timorasso we tasted, this wine came across as pretty tired, clumsy and blowzy. It doesn't seem this will continue to age gracefully, so I heartily suggest opening any remaining bottles sooner rather than later. This wasn't one of the great vintages of Pitasso, obviously. I guess that at 17,80€ this might've been great value at some point, but not that much anymore.
    (84 points)

  • 2009 Claudio Mariotto Timorasso Pitasso - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% organically farmed Timorasso from the Pitasso vineyard, where the average vine age is 30 years. Fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 14,5% alcohol.

    Deep, evolved and quite concentrated golden-yellow color with a pale coppery hue. The nose feels sweet, powerful and very concentrated with complex aromas of beeswax and wizened peaches, some evolved creamy tones, a little bit of honeydew melon, light zesty tangerine notes, a hint of hay, a touch of ripe red damson and a boozy whiff of alcohol. The wine is bold, oily and chewy on the palate with a very full body and intense flavors of mirabelle plums and damson pits, some exotic spice, a little bit of evolved waxy character, light stony mineral notes, exotic hints of papaya and overripe pineapple and a touch of ripe tangerine. The high alcohol lends some warmth to the palate whereas the moderately high acidity keeps the wine effortlessly in balance. The finish is very long, rich and oily with powerful, concentrated flavors of apricots, some evolved notes of beeswax, a little bit of marzipan, light exotic notes of papaya and dried pineapple, a hint of hay and a touch of stony minerality. The high alcohol makes the wine end on a slightly warm note.

    This wine was already very impressive and complex five years ago, when I last tasted it, but it has obviously continued to improve remarkably well since. You could easily taste the pronounced ripeness of the warm 2009 vintage five years ago, and the wine has not lost any of that unctuous power during these years, yet still this wine manages to come across as wonderfully balanced and harmonious despite its immense size. It's getting quite hard to assess whether the wine has finally arrived to its plateau of maturity, or if it will improve even further from here, but whatever the case is, this is drinking wonderfully right now. A superb wine by any standards, and a steal at 17,50€.
    (95 points)

  • 2017 Vigneti Massa Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso made with fruit sourced from all Walter Massa vineyards. Cold-soaked with the skins for about 48 hours before fermentation, fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 13,5% alcohol.

    Youthful, luminous lemon-yellow color. Upon opening the wine feels somewhat reductive, a bit closed and even slightly skunky, but opens up to reveal somewhat Riesling-like aromas of fresh Golden Delicious apple and peachy stone fruit, some mirabelle tones, a little bit of stony minerality, light nuances and cantaloupe and hints of golden currants. The overall feel is quite aromatic, even if not particularly expressive - at least not without good aeration. The wine is ripe, rich and juicy with a full body and bright flavors of fresh pear and zesty citrus fruits, some mirabelle plums, a little bit of honeyed richness, light stony mineral tones, a hint of crunchy quince and a touch of ripe pineapple. Despite its size and ripeness, the wine is remarkably balanced and structured with its moderately high acidity. The finish is ripe, rich and harmonious with juicy flavors of apricots and fresh white peach, some honeydew melon, a little bit of stony minerality, light smoky nuances of reduction, a hint of crunchy apple and a subtly bitter touch of extracted character.

    A vibrant and quite powerful but also slightly reductive bottle of Massa Timorasso that is packing quite a bit of punch, but comes across as perhaps a bit awkward and clumsy, thanks to its very youthful character and light reduction. There's definitely a lot of potential here, but the wine seems to call for a lot more aging, just to lose both its reductive qualities and its primary fruit notes that make the fruit department feel a bit sweet at times. Fortunately there's a good streak of acidity that keeps the sweeter nuances well at bay and makes the wine come across as pretty brisk despite its rich, oily body. This really feels like a Viognier with Riesling flavors and minerality. Even if the wine start to come around very nicely with some air, i can't really recommend drinking the wine now - this needs another 5 years or more to really show its best. Nevertheless, this was a great purchase at 17,80€.
    (91 points)

  • 2015 Vigneti Massa Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso made with fruit sourced from all Walter Massa vineyards. Cold-soaked with the skins for about 48 hours before fermentation, fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 13,5% alcohol.

    Youthful and surprisingly light yellow-green color. Ripe, concentrated nose with sweet-toned aromas of pineapple and nectarine, some apple jam, light developed notes of beeswax, a little bit of honeydew melon, a hint of stony minerality and a touch of white peach. The wine feels ripe, juicy and balanced on the palate with a full body and intense flavors of yellow stone fruits and pineapple, some honeyed notes, a little bit of apple jam, light stony mineral notes, a hint of herbal spice and a touch of greengage. Although the mouthfeel is slightly oily and viscous, the overall impression is very structured due to the high acidity and a balancing, subtle streak of chalky bitterness. The finish is ripe, powerful and moderately acid-driven with concentrated flavors of honey and pineapple, some evolved waxy tones, a little bit of herby spice, light cloudberry nuances, a hint of apple jam and a touch of juicy apricot.

    A very impressive, powerful and structure-driven Timorasso that is still very youthful in character. Compared to the bottle I tasted some five years ago, this wine has changed remarkably little, perhaps developing only some of that waxy richness and light honeyed nuances, otherwise coming across as very similar to a freshly released bottle. Despite the rather warm vintage, the wine felt very impressive and structure-driven upon release, and so it did this time as well. A terrific bottle that will continue to improve for many years more, but perhaps at a quite slow pace. Good value at 25€.
    (93 points)

  • 2011 Vigneti Massa Derthona - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso made with fruit sourced from all Walter Massa vineyards. Cold-soaked with the skins for about 48 hours before fermentation, fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Bottled under an Ardeaseal stopper. 13,5% alcohol.

    Deep, luminous and quite concentrated neon yellow-green color. Ripe and somewhat evolved nose with aromas of fresh pear and peach, some mineral notes of stone dust, a little bit of woolly lanolin, light vegetal notes of canned asparagus, floral hints of white orchard flowers, a touch of crunchy quince and a green-toned whiff of chopped celery. The wine feels ripe, concentrated and somewhat sweet-toned yet still surprisingly youthful on the palate with flavors of apple jam and ripe citrus fruits, some lime marmalade, a little bit of juicy peach, light sappy notes of grassy herbal character and chopped celery stalks, a hint of steely minerality and a developed touch of dried stone fruits. Although the wine is full-bodied and the mouthfeel is somewhat oily, the overall feel is still very fresh and structured, thanks to the high acidity. The finish feels lively, fresh and quite youthful with long and rather concentrated flavors of ripe golden apples, some honeydew melon, a little bit of pineapple, light stony mineral tones, an extracted hint of waxy richness and a sappy green touch of vegetal celery character.

    Some seven years ago I bought a bottle of this (my first ever Timorasso) and was completely blown away by it, so I went and immediately bought another one just to see how it ages. Well, this is that aged bottle, tasted almost exactly seven years later. And the wine has definitely evolved: it still retains that unique dichotomy of Riesling freshness and aromatics counterpointed by that unctuous oily richness reminiscent of a Viognier. These seven years have granted the wine additional complexity and the richness seems to have increased a bit and those slightly grassy green nuances might've gained a bit more emphasis as well. However, the wine is still exceptionally bright, fresh and youthful for a Timorasso clocking in at over ten years old, promising volumes on its cellaring potential. Although the overall character has these somewhat atypical green, herby nuances, this is nevertheless an excellent wine that is drinking magnificently right now and will continue to improve for years more. At just 15,90€, this was a bargain.
    (94 points)

  • 2016 Vigneti Massa Derthona Montecitorio - Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi (30.3.2022)
    100% Timorasso made with fruit sourced from the east-facing Cru Montecitorio, where the grapes ripen slowly and are harvested late into the season. Cold-soaked with the skins for about 60 hours before fermentation, fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. 14,5% alcohol.

    Deep, concentrated and very slightly hazy golden yellow color. Rich, sweet and noticeably ripe nose with bold aromas of juicy nectarine and pineapple along with some canned peach tones, a little bit of apple sauce, light spicy mineral tones, fragrant hints of honeysuckle and minty herbal character, a lactic touch of yogurt and a whiff of alcohol. The wine is broad, concentrated and powerful on the palate with a full body and intense, youthful flavors of fresh apples and ripe apricots, some pineapple, a little bit of spicy minerality, light bitter notes suggesting some phenolic spicy character, hints of overripe yellow berries and a touch of warmth from the high alcohol. Although the wine is big and somewhat round, it still doesn't come across as soft or heavy, thanks to the structured, high acidity that keeps the wine impeccably in balance. The finish is bright, concentrated and powerful with persistent, lively flavors of ripe red apple and pineapple, some stony mineral tones, a little bit of zesty grapefruit, light extracted notes of waxy richness and slightly bitter phenolic spice, a hint of overripe apricot and a touch of youthful lactic character.

    A stunning example of Timorasso, by all accounts. For sure, the wine is big, powerful and concentrated, but unlike, say, a similarly ripe Viognier, this wine shows remarkable freshness, minerality and sense of structure as well, not just big body and voluptuous fruit. I must admit the wine feels still very youthful (especially for one already five years old) and exhibits subtly lactic nuances of MLF, but fortunately they stay quite well in the background and most likely will disappear with further aging. However, as a whole, the wine feels more about future potential - even if the wine is drinking surprisingly well, I have no doubts this will get so much better once it develops some additional tertiary complexity. Easily among the best Timorassos I've tasted. Not particularly affordable at approx. 40€ but delivers easily for the price.
    (95 points)

  • 1993 Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc Dry Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley (30.3.2022)
    Primarily composed of the aromatic musqué clone of Sauvignon Blanc with a small portion of other Sauvignon Blanc clones in the blend. Fermented spontaneously in oak barrels and 3500-liter foudres. Aged for six months on the lees in neutral oak barrels. 13% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Luminous, pale golden color with an evolved, subtly coppery core. The nose feels evolved, waxy and very complex with layered aromas of ripe green apples, some woody asparagus stalks, light creamy notes of cooked cream and browned butter, a little bit of oxidative caramel, a hint of honeyed richness, a touch of grassy greenness and a sweet whiff of toasty oak spice. The wine is evolved, complex and rather aged on the palate with a medium body and tertiary flavors of roasted nuts, some creamy notes of panna cotta, a little bit of grassy greenness, light oxidative notes of caramel, mineral hints of wet stones and tangy salinity and a touch of bruised apple. The crisp, racy acidity keeps the wine wonderfully in balance and lends a zippy lemon character to the otherwise more evolved taste. The finish is long and surprisingly fresh and zippy despite its very evolved, tertiary flavors of bruised apple, caramel, some oxidative nutty tones, a little bit of honeyed richness, light savory woody tones and hints of browned butter and creamy oak.

    A beautifully evolved, bright and still surprisingly zippy Sauvignon Blanc that has turned quite tertiary with age, yet still retaining a nice core of bright, zesty fruit. I managed to identify this wine correctly this time, because we tasted this exact same label half a year ago. A beautiful example of aged Californian Sauvignon Blanc at its peak - I doubt there is no room for any additional development, so best to drink sooner rather than later, even if I doubt the wine is going to fall apart anytime soon. Drink now or within the next handful of years. Ridiculous value at just 20€.
    (94 points)

  • 2018 Viñedos del Jorco El Jorco - Spain, Castilla y León, Cebreros (30.3.2022)
    This is a biodynamic mountain Garnacha from DO Cebreros, the new up-and-coming appellation in Sierra de Gredos. Although the high-altitude Garnacha wines from the Gredos mountain region are primarily associated with Madrid, Cebreros is located just across the border on Castilla y León's side. Vinedos del Jorco is a joint project between the acclaimed winemaker Raúl Pérez and César Ruiz, Flequi Berruti and Nacho Jiménez, who farm and vinify primarily old-vine Garnacha in Cebreros. Originally the wines were vinified in Perez's winery in Bierzo, but now the wines are made at their own winery in Cebreros. The fruit for El Jorco comes from a 2,5-hectare Garnacha vineyard planted in 1915. The wine is fermented spontaneously in oak fermentors and then aged for 12 months in old, neutral oak casks. 14% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Youthful, moderately translucent blood-red color. Impressively expressive, fragrant and sweetish nose with open aromas of strawberries and fresh forest fruits, some boysenberry tones, a little bit of blueberry, light lifted notes of balsamic VA, a hint of orange rind and a phenolic touch of floral-spicy brett character. The wine feels lively and bright on the palate with a light-to-medium body and ripe yet dry flavors of wild strawberries and crunchy crowberries, some peppery spice, a little bit of brambly raspberry, light funky notes of bretty leather and balsamic VA, a hint of blueberry and a sweeter touch of dark plums. The overall feel is very harmonious and quite sinewy, thanks to the high acidity and ripe, powdery and surprisingly grippy tannins. The overall impression is slightly wild, yet wonderfully clean and not at all "natty". The long finish is ripe, slightly warm and moderately grippy with clean, juicy flavors of dark berries and wild strawberries, some crunchy cranberry tones, a little bit of sweet boysenberry, light spicy notes of bretty phenolic character, a hint of balsamic VA and a touch of floral lift.

    An exceptionally beautiful, bright and harmonious Garnacha that drinks more like a Cru Beaujolais or Galician Mencia rather than anything one normally associates with Grenache. The wine is obviously made according to a hands-off philosophy, yet it never feels particularly funky or at all natty, just purely fruited with a touch of that sauvage lift that only adds to complexity without detracting anything. It's hard to say whether this wine will keep for long or which direction it will evolve to, but at the moment it is just painfully beautiful. A very promising first impression of this winery - I need to check out the other wines they produce! Highly recommended.
    (93 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

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what a fine spread - many thanks for posting this.

Cantine Volpi have been around for a while, but I’ve never dug into their setup. I’ve had a few bottles of their Moscato d’Asti, which is ok (nothing special, but even a middling Moscato d’Asti is usually a pleasure) and it’s priced competitively. Anything with a hint of cloudberries is a winner in my mind - a most wonderful fruit! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for their Timorasso, and I’m appreciative of the lower alc% (some high % can be a bit oily, though it’s fair to acknowledge I’ve also had a lower alc% timorasso that was a bit insipid)

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Indeed, Volpi has managed to create some wonderful Timorassos that are full of character despite their relatively modest levels of alc% - after all, Timorasso is quite known for its tendency for high potential alcohol and that can be quite problematic at times. Especially that 2017 La Colombera was starting to get a bit too much for me.

But therein also lies the problem - the variety requires quite a bit of ripeness to show its true colors. Although I, too, prefer wines with less ripeness and lower levels of ABV, it doesn’t really work that well with Timorasso. Just like you, I’ve had a few Timorassos with relatively low levels of alc%, and the wines were very underwhelming. For example 2014 Roagna Montemarzino was a rather disappointing effort and it was clocking in at just 12,5%. The more I taste, the more I think 13% is the lower limit Timorasso can get, but the sweet spot lies in somewhere between 13,5 and 14%. A bit higher than I’d prefer my whites to show, but fortunately Timorasso carries its high alcohol surprisingly effortlessly.

The same thing could be said of Assyrtiko. Almost all the varietal examples that have been below 13,5% have been quite dilute and/or herbaceous, but conversely, you often don’t even notice if the wines are at 14,5%! Don’t know what is their magic there.

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yes, I’d agree with that sweet spot - not that there aren’t good wines above and below it, but that’s exactly where I’d feel most confident.

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Agree with everything in this discussion so far and just love Timorasso. There is more Timorasso around now than there used to be even 10 or 15 years ago, but what is remarkable is that most wines are at least good or very good, some incredibly good, and there seem to be remarkably few disappointing or truly subpar Timorassos. Regarding Otto’s last point, incidentally, we had a bottle of Haztidakis’ 2015 Nyhteri just last night, clocking in at 15%. Mind-bending how, despite its otherwise crazy aromatic intensity and complexity of flavours, a white wine with that kind of ABV can feel almost weightless and have this degree of elegance and drinkability. A rare combination of qualities and a wonderful paradox.

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Also agree with everything is this thread. Love Timorasso, it’s layered flavors, complexity and texture-mouthfeel make it my favorite European white.
I especially agree with the sweet spot forTimorasso is the slight notch below full blown out ripeness. A recent Piedmont tasting showed off a Timorasso that showed that “sweet spot”. Here is a link to that tasting.

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Very nice notes. The only Timorasso I’ve ever had was via BerserkerDay. Loved it!

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I get this, especially when I tasted that Walter Massa Derthona 2011 for the first time in 2015!

I taste quite a lot of new grape varieties every year (now at +500 and counting) but most of them feel like something I’ve tasted before. However, Timorasso was something quite unique - even with most of the aromatic qualities weren’t anything I’ve had before. To me, the easiest way wasn’t trying to tell what it was or wasn’t using the terms from other varieties, but how it felt compared to other varieties: I’ve felt Timorasso has almost always just felt like a combination of Riesling and Viognier. Aromatically it usually shares qualities from both the varieties; the mouthfeel has the oily viscosity of a Viognier, but there’s always been a quite powerful streak of minerality and almost lemony acidity reminiscent of Riesling.

I’ve never been a big fan of Viognier: they are just too fat, oily and flabby for my taste - even if I do love the perfumed, fruity aromatics and the sense of richness in them! What Timorasso does is it helps me enjoy that kind of richness, power and depth by having very Viognier-like qualities, but not forgetting the freshness, focus and sense of structure. Truly a singular variety, something very few other grape varieties can do (basically Croatian Grk comes to my mind; Assyrtiko is in the same ballpark, but it usually doesn’t have the same kind of richness and is aromatically a bit more direct and neutral).

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Love Timorasso too. Big fan of Claudio Mariotto. Wonderlul estate
I can also recommend Vigneti Boveri Giacomo ‘Lacrime del Bricco’ Derthona Colli Tortonesi. Very nuanced Timorasso

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