TN: Some Italian Varietals...(long/boring)

We tasted last night (5/17/17) Some Italian Varietals:

  1. Ridge Primitivo LyttonEstate/DCV/SonomaCnty (14.4%; 42 brls; bttld 2/15; 89% Primitivo/11% PS; Drk: 11/14-
    11/19-11/20: JO; 3.8% water addition) Healdsburg 2013
    : Med.dark color; rather toasty/smokey/vanilla/Ridge oak
    strong raspberry/Zin/spicy bit earthy/dusty classic Ridge Zin nose; quite tart/tangy strong raspberry/Zin/spicy
    rather toasty/vanilla/Am.oak flavor w/ modest bitey/tangy tannins; long rather tart/tangy strong vanilla/smokey/
    Ridge oak strong raspberry/Zin/spicy slight earthy finish w/ some bitey tannins; more like just another Ridge
    ATP Zin on the level of Ponzo or Carmichael; not particularly distinctive from another Ridge Zin. $34.00 (ATP)

  1. Ridge Primitivo LyttonEstate/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (95% Primitivo/5% Carignan; 14.6%; 43 brls; bttld 12/2015;
    Drk: 10/15-10/20-10/21: JO) 2014
    : Dark color; light vanilla/oak/smokey strong blackberry/Zin/very spicy/bit
    boysenberry some dusty/OV bit licorice/pungent more complex/different nose; bit softer rich/lush strong
    blackberry/Zin/very spicy/black cherry some dusty/OV/earthy light vannila/oak bit licorice/pungent/RCCola
    lovely flavor w/ modest ripe tannins; very long/lingering bit soft strong blackberry/Zin/boysenberry/black
    cherry cola light vanilla/smokey/oak some dusty/OV bit complex finish w/ modest smooth/ripe tannins; the best
    Ridge Primitivo yet, some distinctive from their Zins and one of the best Calif Primitivos I can recall;
    almost to the LyttonSprings level of quality. $34.00 (ATP)

  1. FieldRecordings OldPotreroVnyd/ArroyoGrande (92% Zin/5% Mourvedre/3% Syrah; Plntd: 1992; 44 brls; 14.9%;
    50% new Am.oak; FieldRecordings/PasoRobles 2015
    : Very dark color; very intense
    boysenberry/blackberry/Zin/ripe/jammy quite dusty/OV bit herbal very strong toasty/oak very spicy quite
    ripe nose; extremely tart/screechy/tangy very strong blackberry/Zin/boysenberry some dusty/OV very ripe/jammy
    flavor w/ some ripe/hard tannins; very long bit alcoholic very ripe/jammy/boysenberry/blackberry/Zin slight
    earthy/dusty/OV strong toasty/oak very tart/acidic/screechy finish w/ modest ripe/hard tannins; loads of
    ripe/jammy fruit but painful on the palate because of the screechy acidity correction. $21.00 (WH)

  1. Unti Montepulciano DryCreekVlly (14.4%; 550 cs; TA: 0.55, pH: 3.69; 15 mo. in 20% new Fr.oak) Healdsburg
    : Very dark color; some reduced/H2S/rotten eggs strong charred/burnt/oak slight earthy/plummy/grapey nose;
    soft very strong burnt/charred/oak some plummy/earthy flavor w/ light bitey tannins; long quite charred/burnt/
    oak some grapey/plummy/boysenberry bit earthy somewhat rustic finsis w/ light tannins; loads of charred oak
    and not particularly distinctive or expressive of Montepulciano. $35.00

  1. Marotti Campi Rubico DOC: LaCrima di Morro d’Alba (13%; www.MarottiCampi.It) Giovanni e Francesca Marotti
    Campi/Morro d’Alba/Ancona 2014
    : Very dark color; very strong black cherry cola/DrPepper/root beer/spicy rather
    dusty/earthy/bit loamy beautiful perfumed classic LaCrima nose; rather tart rich/lush very strong black cherry
    cola/DrPepper/quite spicy fairly earthy/dusty/loamy flavor w/ light ripe tannins; very long/lingering strong
    black cherry cola/DrPepper/spicy/classic LaCrima light earthy/loamy finish w/ modest ripe/round tannins;
    a beautiful classic expression of LaCrima at a stupid/silly price. $17.50 (CB)

  1. Unti LaCrima DCV (13.2%; LaCrima di Morro d’Alba; 85 cs; NV ('12-'13-'14): Med.dark color;
    some toasty/oak some black cherry cola/plummy light earthy fairly strong nose; fairly tart some black cherry
    cola/Lacrima/plummy fairly strong toasty/vanilla/oak flavor w/ light ripe tannins; very long rather toasty/oak
    strong black cherry cola/plummy/licorice light earthy finish w/ modest ripe/lush tannins; speaks of Lacrima
    under all the oak; quite a nice red at a very fair price. $22.00

  1. Idlewild Nebbiolo FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (14.1%) 2013: Med.light garnet color; some floral/Nebb/lilacs some
    tarry/pungent quite perfumed nose; fairly tart/tangy strong floral/rose petal/lilacs/violets/Nebb light
    tarry/pungent light toasty/oak flavor w/ modest tangy/bitey tannins; very long/lingering bit tarry/pungent
    strong floral/lilacs/rose petal rather tart slight earthy finish w/ light ripe/tangy tannins; quite a lovely
    expression of Calif Nebb. $45.00

  1. Bava Albarossa RosinganaVnyd DOC: Cocconato d’Asti /Piemonte (Nebbiolo X Barbera; 13.5%;
    Cocconato d’Asti 2011
    : Dark color; slight bretty/unclean strong Barbera/dried Italian herbs/Italian sausage
    slight metallic interesting nose; very tart/acidic/tangy rather earthy/dusty/rough somewhat bretty/unclean
    rather Barbera/Italian herbs flavor w/ modest hard/rough tannins; very long somewhat unclean/bretty/horsecollar
    rather rough/rustic fairly Barbera/Italian herb finish w/ rough/coarse/gritty tannins; speaks of a rough/
    coarse/rustic Piemonte Barbera and no classic Chatus character to speak of. $20.00 (CB)

  1. Palmina Nebbiolo Sisquoc SantaMariaVlly (14.5%; Lompoc 2004: Med.light garnet color
    w/ no bricking; rather pungent/tarry very strong dried rose petal/violets/lilacs/Nebb bit tobaccoy/cedary/
    pencilly/oak incredibly perfumed/aromatic complex nose; quite tart very slight brett/leathery very floral/
    lilacs/violets/dried rose petal/Nebb light earthy/road tar/pungent light cedary/pencilly/oak very complex
    flavor w/ light drying/bitey tannins; very long/lingering very strong floral/Nebb/violets/dried rose petal
    some pungent/tarry/earthy light pencilly/oak very complex finish w/ light bit bitey/drying tannins; starting
    to dry out a bit on the palate but lovely complex aromatics. $nc (SC)/$60.00

  1. Palmina Nebbiolo Rocca SBC (14.9%) 2008: Light garnet color; beautiful floral/Nebb/rose petal/violets/lilacs
    light road tar/pungent bit less aromatic very complex nose; lightly tart slight herbal/Kansas hay mow very
    strong floral/rose petal/violets light pungent/road tar bit softer/smoother rather complex flavor w/ light
    gentle tannins; very long/lingering very floral/rose petal/Nebb/violets/lilacs some pungent/tarry bit herbal/
    earthy very complex finish w/ light slight angular tannins; a beautiful complex very floral Nebb and one of
    the best from Calif; beautiful expression of Nebb. $nc (SC)/$90.00

  1. NinoNegri Quadrio Dd’OCG: ValtellinaSuperiore (90% Nebbiolo/10% Merlot; 13%; Chiuro
    : Med.light color; strong earthy/dusty plummy/blackberry/licorice very slight Nebb/floral rather simple
    nose; bit soft slight tangy/metallic plummy/grapey no Nebb/floral rather earthy/loamy simple/dull flavor w/
    light soft tannins; med.short grapey/plummy earthy/loamy soft finish w/ light ripe tannins; dull as dishwater
    and no Valtelline Nebb character to speak of; blame it on the Merlot I suppose; no bargain at $19.50 (KK)

  1. NinoNegri Sfursat CarloNegri Dd’OCG: Sforzato di Valtellina (dried for 3 mo.; 2 yrs in Fr.oak barrels; 15.5%)
    : Med.color; bit alcoholic slight cardboardy (non-TCA) simple grapey/pungent no Nebb rather earthy/dusty/
    loamy/root cellar nose; lightly tart bit alcoholic/hot very slight pungent/Nebb earthy/dusty simple/grapey dull
    flavor w/ light ripe tannins; med.short bit alcoholic grapey/plummy earthy/loamy soft finish w/ light tannins;
    a very dull red that speaks neither of Nebb nor the Valtelline; way overpriced at $49.00 (KK)

More fake stuff from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. NinoNegri: These wines used to be as good as any from the Valtelline. I hadn’t tried any in a good many yrs.
    So when they showed up at Kokoman’s, I thought I’d give them a shot. I was dreadfully disappointed. Two of
    the dullest expressions of Valtelline Nebb that I can recall.
    At one time, the NinoNegris were some of the best of the Valtelline Nebbs. As were the wines of Arturo
    Pelizzatti, which were even better. A family dispute led to the selling of the label (only) to a Swiss group,
    who folded it into the NinoNegri line. These wines are now owned by the Gruppo Italiano Vini conglomerate
    (as in Constellation Brands). The grandkids of ArturoPelizzatti went on to found the ArPePe winery. As
    grandaughter Isabella Pelizzatti-Perego says of the current Pelezzatti wines: “It became a crap wine.”

  1. FieldRecordings: My first experience w/ this wnry. Winemaker is AndrewJones. OldPotrero vnyd is in a high
    vlly near the town of Huasna, due East of ArroyoGrande. Planted in 1992. It reminded me a lot of the old
    SaucelitoCanyon Zins. Haven’t had a SaucelitoCanyon Zin in yrs.

  1. LaCrima: A grape that originated in the Marche of Italy. Mostly found as Lacrima da Morra d’Alba from the
    town around which it is mostly grown. This MarottiCampi is one of the best of that variety I’ve had. The
    rule is that they’re best over the short term, which I suspect is true.
    In that area, they also make a dessert wine called Visciola, after the Visciola cherry variety grown in
    that area. Made several different ways, it is a blend of Lacrima and cherry wine. Every example I’ve tried
    has been exceptional…a real treat. With chocolate-covered cherries or a CherryMash…to die for. It would
    be a no brainer for Calif. I’ve leaned heavily on MattRorick to make one as there’s lots of PetiteSirah and
    cherries in the SuisunVlly.
    The Unti planting is the only one thus far in Calif that I know of. Alas, the vines are badly diseased
    and don’t yield well. BryanHarrington recently brought some Lacrima in to FPS, so there’s hope for the
    future if he can find someone crazy enough to grow it. It’s a variety they should be planting all up&down
    the coast of Calif.

  1. Albarossa: A grape variety created in 1937 for use in the Veneto. Originally thought to be a Nebbiolo X
    Barbera. DNA showed it to be a cross of Chatus (Nebbiolo di Dronero, a very old French grape) X Barbera.
    No evidence here that it’s a variety they should be planting all up&down the coast of Calif.

  1. Primitivo: Identical by TNA to Zinfandel and Tribidrag. Yet the TTB does not allow Primitivo and Zinfandel
    to be used interchangeably. If it’s labeled Primitivo, it must be from that clone brought in from Italy.
    At one time in the '80’s, HopKilnWnry, who made a terrific OldVine Zin, started calling it Primitivo and
    then went on the trademark the Primitivo name as if it were a proprietary name. The Feds were clueless
    that Primitivo represented a grape variety name. That trademark was eventually rescinded.
    I’ve walked two vnyd that had Zin & Primitivo planted side-by-side. The vines certainly looked
    different to my untrained eye. Supposedly, from what I’m told, Primitivo is a much more even ripener
    and you don’t get the wide variations in sugar level within a bunch that you do w/ Zin.

  1. Palmina: This is the Italian effort of Steve & Crystal Clifton. He and JimClendenen presented some of their
    library Nebbs last year at NEB#6. They were mightly impressive. These two btls were leftovers from those
    that Steve brought.
    One of the things that most attracts me to Nebbiolo is that soaring/ethereal aromatics the variety can
    show. These two Palminas showed that character that you only see glimpses of in Calif Nebb. The '04 was
    starting to dry out on the palate but the '08 was just about perfect. Steve & Jim make some of the
    consistently best Nebbs in all Calif.

Hi Tom
I have to agree that blending merlot in with Nebbiolo is really stupid. All it can do is fatten the wine up and muddy the aromatics. If that’s what they wanted to achieve, then it sounds like a success. I’d suggest they get some toasty barriques in as well, but IIRC they already do.

Sfursat / Sforzato is a style I’ve yet to warm to, despite having no problem with Amarone and variants such as Graticciaia and Joe Grilli’s Primo Moda (Amarone) from Australia. I did buy a bottle of Travaglini’s Il Sogno to see if a Piemontese producer could make the style work for me, but I’ve not tried it yet. In truth I’m not too hopeful, but we’ll see.

I’ll keep an eye out for Visciola, sounds interesting, albeit there would be a little trepidation still! Lacrima di Morro is something I’m keen to get a few more bottles of, as a single bottle went down well.