After spending a month in Italy I was delighted to be revisiting my memories so soon at the Berry Bros tasting. The Autumn season in London is always very busy but this was an excellent way to kick things off.
With David Berry Green now based permanently in Italy, their selection has steadily become more complete with some exceptional new names joining their already impressive rostrum. It is interesting in a wider context to see the emphasis being given to Italian wine from an historical bastion of Bordeaux / Burgundy. It seems to follow a worldwide trend looking for better value than Bordeaux and more availability than Burgundy.
Here they were showing more than 50 producers and were particularly keen to introduce their 6 Sicilian fine wine producers. Unfortunately I had time constraints and wanted to see how the wines of Piemonte and Tuscany had travelled as they were the two regions I had just visited. I look forward to a future opportunity to meet the Sicilians.
Meanwhile, a few highlights from the day:
The Piemonte Wines
I was hugely impressed with Roagna a father and son team. Luca the son was presenting the wines, Alfredo remained in their new cantina in Castiglione Falletto, where they are surrounded by their monopole La Pira vineyard. Their old vine Barbaresco Pajé 2009 comes from vines which are all over 50 years old and produce a polished, gorgeous wine bursting with wild strawberry fruit and a thrilling freshness. The Barbaresco Montefico 2009 (also old vines) is a small plot (0.24ha) which sits on blue and grey marl with some limestone. This seems to be a perfect expression of what Barbaresco should be with sensational mineral tension yet sumptuous and beguiling fruit. This is deep and long, I loved it. The Barolo La Pira 2009 is so profound and complex, with bright, tight fruit and almost provocative acidity sitting over broad, brooding fruit and cream underneath. A powerful beast which should be an incredible pleasure to drink in time.
Trediberri is a start-up company (founded in 2008) and were showing a wine from the first crop (4 yr old vines). It was ripe and juicy and an easy pleasure to drink, naturally no complexity or much depth but so interesting to see a baby Langhe Nebbiolo 2013.
Marcarini had 2 Barolos there which beautifully demonstrated the differences in cru terroir. They were both from La Morra, the first one was La Serra 2010 a cooler and slightly more northern site than the second one, Brunate 2010. The La Serra was delicate and feminine with roses and a hint of raspberry on the palate. There is a little spice and structure there, and very much a La Morra style. The Brunate is much more intense and dark fruits dominate. The amphitheatre in which this vineyard sits has helped the grapes to ripen beautifully and completely but it will take time for the grainy tannins to settle down and envelop the fruit with any genuine show of emotion.
Chiara Boschis makes very different wines to most of the others that I tasted – a rather modern approach with new French oak barriques. The Barolo Mosconi 2010 from Monforte d’Alba has lush, sweet fruit – and could even be decanted and enjoyed even now. The Barolo 2010 from Cannubi is an entirely different experience – it is both powerful and seductive but with a searing saline minerality washing through it. There’s mint and eucalyptus as well as intense black fruits and sweet vanilla oak which will settle and integrate with ease it seems like. So much there, my notes end with GORGEOUS – in capitals.
I recently visited Maria Teresa at Bartolo Mascarello and tasted with her a range of wines including the Barolo 2009 – of which there is no more left to buy at the cellar. During the visit a German tourist arrived and asked if he could purchase some of the 2010. Maria Teresa told him in no uncertain terms that the wine would be released in September and not before. He pleaded that it was only 3 weeks away , that no-one would know, that he wanted to buy just 24 bottles. But MT would not be swayed and escorted him off the premises. Do not mess with this stalwart family – they have nothing to prove. The 2010 which I finally tasted here in London is exciting and nervy, clean lines but no sharp edges. The fruit is pure and high, polished redcurrants with some floral notes too. I can’t wait to taste it again in a few years. Better get some bottles in now while it’s still possible!
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