Tried these two Cortese this weekend:
- Castelvero Cortese DOV: MonferratoHills/Piemonte (12%; L6138; ViasImports) Araldica Vini Piemontesi/Baglione 2015: Med.light yellow color; lightly earthy/stony slight mango/appley rather simple nose; soft light stony/Cortese light mango/apple slight tangy/metallic light/vapid flavor; short rather watery/vapid light stony/Cortese bit mango/apple/fruity finish; a weak/watery/vapid white that speaks of Cortese in a whisper. $13.00 (WF)
- Idlewild Cortese FoxHillVnyd/MendoCnty (12.4%) 2015: Med.dark gold/Auslese color; some phenolic/resiny/skin-contact quite honeyed/orangey perfumed/floral/peach blossom/peachy almost muscat-like light stony/earthy/Cortese complex beautiful nose; fairly tart/tangy/bit metallic some resiny/phenolic/skin-contact rather honeyed/orangey rich/lush/mouthfilling light chalky/stony/earthy rather complex flavor; very long/lingering bit tart/tangy/metallic some phenolic/resiny/skin-contact light stony/chalky/mineral/Cortese some ripe/lush/honeyed/orangey complex beautiful finish; a world-class expression of Cortese the likes I’ve never seen from the Piemonte; a lovely balance between skin-contact/phenolic and ripe/stony Cortese fruit; has really improved dramatically since its release last Spring. $35.00
A wee BloodyPulpit:
- Cortese: A white grape found mostly in the SE Piemonte. The DOC Cortese di Gavi is the most highly regarded of Piemontese Cortese.
The Piemontese Cortese is a light-weight crisp rather simple little white that doesn’t seem to be taken to seriously. I find they typically show a rather stony/mineral character, not a lot of fruit, but seldom achieve any kind of greatness. Definitely a lesser Piemontese white that seldom holds a candle to Favorita/Arneis, or Timarasso.
- Idlewild: SamBilbro uses a unique technique in making his Cortese. On the south-facing side of the row, the grapes are exposed to greater sunlight, which increases their phenolics. Sam harvest them separately and makes them as a skin-contact white. The north-facing side are harvested separately and immediately put to press, making a more conventional Cortese that shows more of the fruit. They are then blended together to make his final blend.
This is probably the finest example of Cortese that I can recall having. I see no reason that it can’t go out another 5-10 yrs. You can make a world-class wine from Cortese. I plan to take a btl along to show the winemakers when I visit the Piemonte.
Sam gets many of his Italian varieties from the FoxHill vnyd in MendocinoCnty, a vnyd that he farms for the aging owners. In the near future, he will start receiving some of his Italian varieties from the Bilbro’s vnyd in the YorkvilleHighlands as they come into production. They should be interesting wines I suspect.