2016 Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne

Impeccable Vietti again. Sweetly ripe enough for immediate appeal but still plenty of  geological Piemontese..er…rocks, minerals. Poised acidity and a perfect tweak of very tasteful oak flavour and tannin. Fruit flavours are dark cherry and sort of red plum. Really would normally go for Dolcetto but Vietti put such care into Barbera it’s hard to say no when a Conad supermercato has just one bottle left.

14.00% alcohol. Diam. 12.50 euros believe it or not.

92 points.

2017 De Fermo Concrete Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

The full Monty of low fi wine production and a very successful one. All the bramble fruit, briar and deep extract of Abruzzo’s own great value but fresh, juicy and pure fruited too. Little bit of that low sulphur yeasty breath but clean gorgeous fruit charges forth and finishes with a dark summer pudding burst of fresh acidity and grainy, firm Monty tannin. None of the variety’s volcanic reductiveness either. Really good grapes and hands off in such a good way.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. 15 euros.

94 points.

NV Fattoria Moretto Canova Lambrusco Grasperossa di Castelvetro

Lambrusco is about to become as fashionable as skin contact, no sulphur, bottled on a full moon straight from the amphora drinks, really. Well, this is organic, low intervention, single vineyard and only 6000 bottles this year. Tart, sweetly austere dark cherries, yeast and something dark and earthy. Seems a bit wound up in its own spritz and didn’t budge much over two days. Of the two most important Lambrusci varieties it’s accepted that Grasperossa is the dark, tannic assertive one and this sure bears that out. A couple of aperitivi Sorbaras have really looked a completely different grape. Pale, strawberries and like a rosé fizz. This was scrumptious with local piggy bits and cheese. Great cut with full but not sour acid and tannin. So unhip it’s a super bargain. Lucky Modenese, food from heaven and this.

12% alcohol. Cork. 8.90 euros!

91 points.

2016 Josetta Saffirio Langhe Nebbiolo

From the passionate and welcoming enoteca La Bottega dei Golosi in Modena this gnome sized producer’s Monforte grown Nebb is pale ruby and perfumed. Bit sulky to start but in three days it just kept softening to a delicious red fruited crisp whole. In no way dense or profound but still true to place, evenly ripe and rose fragrant. Fresh red cherries and a hint of earth as well. Pure and sort of oxymoronically delicate for Monforte. It made good left over pizza taste even better.

14% alcohol. One of those horrible, should be a law against them, 1+1 corks. 14 euros.

90 points.

2015 Paolo Francesconi Limbecca Romagna Sangiovese Superiore

The first attempt to drink this was horribly thwarted by a foul cork. Trudging back to the friendly enoteca in Ferrara whence it came for a replacement and the second try was stymied by there being no more in the shop, no chance. So, third time lucky. Eating out in the riches of Emilia-Romagna it’s often worth asking for some advice if you fancy something local, even Lambrusco so close to home is really good, honest. Funny and great to see this again recommended and what a bottle of wine. Screamingly proper, clean, deep and meaningful Sangiovese. Extravagant savoury  perfume and a profound depth of maraschino cherries, walnut, earth, almonds, bitter chocolate and almost pomegranate flood the brain. Alive, fresh and clean. Rich and ripe tannins meshed to mouthwatering acidity. Fantastic balance. Well positioned in this year’s greatest hits. Bravissimo indeed. Biodynamic too.

Think about 14% alcohol. Cork prone to disgrace. Unbelievable 24 euros on the wine list, 13 retail! Still rarely possible to find great wine at an amazing price.

96 punti deliciosi.


2010 Antica Azienda Agricola Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso

A very belated post from some time spent in ancient and timeless Perugia that this ancient but sadly not timeless blog forgot to write, oops. After going on about avoiding high alcohols this largely Sangiovese from the long term cult of Bea was going to be interesting. A lot has been written about this fastidious, hard to find producer but I’ve only quickly tasted two of their Sagrantinos at a trade do. Autumnal bottle age and kirsch soaked leathery cherries in a rich and full body. Wham and thump. The ending does seem thinned and hot in a chocolate and fortified way. Some acidity still waves in vain as it sinks below the swell of fumes. Some old oak and clean too. Perhaps this style better suits the broad heft of Sagrantino than Sangiovese. Needs those full jammy blackberries. Coughing up the extra euros may have been worth it? Nonetheless, great to taste something made in an uncompromising and individual way.

15% alcohol. Cork. 30 euros.

Sort of 93 points in a stand back and admire way.

2017 Agriverde Natum Pecorino IGP

Pecorino seems to score so well on the price to flavour scale. This hasn’t the densest, most intense fruit but what there is swells so well in the mouth and shows real character. Not much up front but pears, a bit of stone fruit and a nutty twist emerge with a clean fresh tingle to finish. Googling the producer shows quite a sizeable organic set up. Their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo looks a must try if it turns up on one of those lovely Ital supermarket shelves, Good honest fruit here turned, without tinkering, into a simple deliciousness.

13% alcohol. Diam. 5.90 euros, how do they do it?

88 delicious punti.


2015 Marchesi Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico

Another label going back to the eighties with fond memories of crisp, mouthwatering high altitude red fruits. This is the first dabble in the ever expanding Antinori repertoire for some time. Quite dark and ripe compared to those of distant memory and a bit just Italian red winey maybe. Nonetheless cleanish, woody spice and cherries and good settled acidity. Only the last glass of a bottle that disappeared too quickly over a meal started to show some walnutty leather of proper Tuscan Sangiovese. Warm rich year, warmer climate, different vines or a dodgy memory the difference?

13.50% alcohol. Cork. 11.90 euros.

90 points.

1994 Azienda Agricola Adanti Arquata Sagrantino di Montefalco

The hill town of Spello in Umbria, rich in both beauty and probably money, has a bit of interest for the wine person. A well stocked, straightforward alimentari in the ever upward main street has quite a few oldies on the shelves, most with clean labels and good fill levels. Very fond memories of Adanti making great wine in the late 80s and early 90s made it easy for this to find its way into the backpack. The cork was firm and only stained for a couple of millimeters. The first tentative sniff was autumnal but still kicking. The flavours started a bit subdued but happily filled out toward the end with impeccably clean, still fresh cherries and blackberries. The tannins are becoming a melting ghost of what may have been but the acidity’s still just freshening things up. Held on and got better towards the end of the bottle. Looking a whole lot better in old age than this creaky blogger.

14% alcohol. Cork doing its job for once. 23 bargain euros.

94 points


2016 Marengo Barbera d’Alba Vigna Pugnane

Opened up straightaway quick smart with sweet berries and that earthy hard to describe any other way than Piemontese stoneyness. Rich, fresh and just medium weight. Maybe a pinch of barrel tannin for feel and salivating acidity seesaw the whole up and down. Second day the fruit filled out and the earthiness receded.

14% alcohol. Cork. 12.75 euros from another Conad supermercato.

92 points