TN: Some Italians on a Saturday afternoon

SOME ITALIANS ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON - Mike P’s (6/23/2013-6/24/2013)

On Saturday, a group of us got together to drink some wine. The theme was Italy. all wines were consumed blind over 1.5 hours and then another hour after unveiling. It was a good time and the wines showed well. Our host, thankfully, kept us indoors as the temps were in the mid-80’s and the reds anyway begged for AC. We all demonstrated our mastery over guessing blind as we missed every non-nebbiolo and even some of those. Its good to be able to laugh at yourself.

  • 2012 Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis Vigne Sparse - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (6/23/2013)
    Copper/gold in color. The nose is very nice. Some initial pineapple that fades to green apples. On the palate, tart but also a sweet sensation. Interesting. Green apples and minerals. Nice texture. Refreshing. Got better after being open a bit. (88 pts.)
  • 2010 Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (6/23/2013)
    Still drinking these from a $15 close out sale. Great value. Deep golden in color. A nice nose; vanilla, lemons, cream sickle. One of those wines that I wouldn’t think sees new oak, but comes across that way. Oily texture. Lemons and minerals, some peach on the palate. Long finish. The color makes me think this batch saw some heat, but for near term drinking, it is quite enjoyable. (89 pts.)
  • 2010 La Caplana (Guido Natalino) Gavi - Italy, Piedmont, Gavi (6/23/2013)
    Golden in color. The nose has lots of grapefruit with slight asparagus notes. Nice. On the palate, lots of grapefruits. Some minerals. Slightly bitter on the finish. Overall, a very nice wine, but I would drink up. (89 pts.)
  • 2009 Thomas Fogarty Gewürztraminer - USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County (6/23/2013)
    Blind, I was thinking Riesling, maybe Italy, but more likely Alsace. Not close, but this was very nice. Light yellow color. Tight nose eventually showed some grapefruit and a bit of a green note (in a good way). Grapefruit on the palate. Very nice. drinking much younger than its age. (89 pts.)

  • 2001 Sportoletti Rosso Villa Fidelia Umbria IGT - Italy, Umbria, Umbria IGT (6/23/2013)
    A blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv. and cab Franc. This was drinking much younger than its age. Purple/ruby in color. Cherries, black olives, green tobacco on the nose. Lots of tannins. Black cherries on the palate. Slight mint on the finish. Layers of complexity here, but still a big youthful wine. Exceeded my expectations. (93 pts.)
  • 1996 Balgera Valtellina Superiore - Grumello Riserva - Italy, Lombardia, Valtellina, Valtellina Superiore - Grumello (6/23/2013)
    Pale ruby in color. The nose has some barnyard/manure notes. Also some cherries. More alive on the palate. Still firm tannins, but they are overtaking the fruit. There is some cherry cough drop on the palate. This is past its prime I fear, and while still delivering some classic nebbiolo notes, it was probably better a few years ago. Still interesting though. (87 pts.)
  • 2001 Andrea Oberto Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (6/23/2013)
    Ruby in color, clear and bright. This is in a really good place right now. Cherries, licorice, roses, slight mint on the nose. Soft texture. Cherries and layered on the palate with some forest floor. Complex. Probably at peak. Gorgeous. (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo - Italy, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture (6/23/2013)
    This is really quite young and I think in about 8 to ten years will be at peak. Still, for now, it is very good in a fruit bomb/hedonistic sort of way. Not your typical Lou Rad wine :wink:. The nose is tight at first but shows plums, black cherries and charcoal. The palate has a wall of tannins, but copious amounts of black cherry pie filling. Delicious now. It takes some vigorous swirling to get it to open, so I would decant, but patience will be rewarded. (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco Rabajà - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco (6/23/2013)
    Lots of guesses all around for this one, but nobody picked up nebbiolo. Ruby in color, clear and bright. The nose is dusty with cherries. Cherries on the palate. Good fruit. Not much complexity at this point, but still interesting. Tart on the finish. I thought it was Brunello or some kind of sangiovese. Still, very nice wine. (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (6/23/2013)
    Ruby in color. Slight purple notes. The nose has some heat, and some cherry cough drop notes. Very nice texture. Lots of cherries on the palate. Much better on the palate than the nose. Still firm tannins. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (6/24/2013)
    Ruby in color, clear and bright. The nose has cherries, floral notes and tar. Great texture. Cherries and dark cherries on the palate. Medium tannins. This needs more time, but is drinking very well right now. Tightly layered with promise over the next few years to unwind. Very nice. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 La Serena Brunello di Montalcino - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (6/24/2013)
    I liked this as did the group. Most of us thought it modern styled although the guy who brought it, disagreed. Purple/red in color. The nose is sweet cherry fruit. On the palate, lots of fruit, cherries and dark cherries and oak. Lots of tannins. Some black cherries on the finish. There was a tight under layer of dried tea as well. I like big bold wines too, and for me this is the style here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Very enjoyable. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Lenotti Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Di Carlo Riserva - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (6/24/2013)
    Purple/ruby in color. The nose has slight chocolate with raisins. Nice. Lots of cherries and some milk chocolate on the palate. Slightly sweet. Very smooth. Drinking well now. I liked this wine very much. (91 pts.)

Thanks Mike for getting this organized. See you all soon.
Posted from CellarTracker


Pleased to know you were able to charm your way through Elena Fucci’s wall of tannins. She slammed the door in my face as if I was a peddler selling kitchen knives. I’ve got two more so we will certainly revisit in 8-10 yrs. Loved the La Serena BdM and scored it 3 points higher. The Sportoletti was in an excellent spot and so was the 2001 Oberto, both showing layers of complexity. The Pira & Figli surprised me at how approachable it was for a 2005 yet still had loads of youthful tannins. Nice little casual gathering with friends.




I’m wondering if the Almondo was a bad bottle, if the '12 was ‘coppery’ in color…

Good question. I thought it was Pinot Gris blind, mostly because of the color. The gris often makes for a light copper color.

My guess is that retasting the wine would give very different results, I think that bottle may have suffered from random oxidation. Almondo’s a great Arneis producer.