Tag Archives: Terrano

Wines from Trieste

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Wines from Trieste.

By Filippo Bartolotta

From Collio to Carso is a little hour drive.

One doesn’t even have time to get thirsty, but in case the wines from Carso will wake anyone up!

Streams of rivers flow underground this Northern East Costal area of Italy.

People here have got names which sound pretty different from the usual Italians like Mario Rossi: Kante, Zidarich, Skerk, etc. And wait to get to the wines: Vitovska, Terrano and more…

This is just the peak of the iceberg, just a little sign of the million extraordinary differences that make Italy 1000 countries within one!

It is more exotic to travel across Italy that going to London or Paris!


In some areas not only they speak a very strict dialect, but actually speak a language, in same cases officially recognized by the European Community.

Trieste and the wine area around it is one of those places where this feeling of exotic is very welcoming. People are very reserved over here, but this doesn’t stop them from being

pleasantly generous and hospitable. The food is a an Austro-Hungary-Italian combination with plenty of succulent meat dishes, but also local sea food and irresistible desserts.

Anyway this time I started a little more inland than Trieste, in Cormons.

In the little Hotel where I have stayed I thought I was going to have some rice and a salad and instead I was fed Ravioli with a potato and venison filling, Pork with apple sauce and veggies and when I was about to leave table a luscious ice cream with a figs and rum jam on top with an orange spirit made by the owner!

In this place every year there’s a celebration for an Austrian emperor with thousands of Austrians coming down to party!


The pictures on the wall with the white and red Austrian flags are everywhere in the hotel. This area of Italy was Austrian till 1918.

I was still thinking about the pretty little Cormons when I arrived to Prepotto on the coast.

My first stop here is at the Zidarich cellar.

Benjamin’s wife -Nevenka-  opens the door of the lovely wooden-stone house a few km away from Duino. This is a village of very few little houses.

ZIdarich Estate

It might be proven a little difficult to find it and in case you get lost you won’t be having too many people around to ask, but as anticipated…it is all worth it.

We go waiting for Banjamin Zidarich on a big terrace with a stunning view of the sea on top of the cellar.

My son is given a platter of local salami and some bread. He eyes open as he doesn’t get to have such a succulent and naughty snack every day.

I must confess that I couldn’t resist to do a “quality check” of my son’s meal, despite I didn’t need any more calories that day. Was it good? Ohhh yes!

Benjamin arrives and we head straight into the cellar, but as we get to the door he begins to show first some of his vineyards and then a bit of history of the farm.

He seemed to be working to building up some kind of expectations and as we get in I don’t quite get it as it is like entering any ground floor of a regular cellar: bottling line and some storage space.

Yes the stone chosen by Benjamin were cut locally, he also had an artist carving some of the columns  in a very delicate and impressive way and yes, I was quite thrilled to see so many of the super savory and juicy Vitovska, but this wasn’t enough to match Benjamin’s talks on his big investment.

He was very calm and kind of secure, then he says: let’s get down to taste some wines.

Benjamin Zidarich

We start getting down a staircase and all of a sudden I understand: a deep underground cellar, carved in the natural rock of Carso always wet by little springs here and there.

Every floor we were reaching down the temperature was getting more austere, till we see the first barrels.

Zidarich Cellar

Zidarich cellar is literally a cave. He has done an amazing job in obtaining rooms out of the mountains without using any cement, or other building materials: the wines got to feel happy here, I say, he smiles and says: I am trying to do my best to secure the best conditions possible for my wines, after a long year in the vineyard!

We start tasting from the Slavonian and French oak cask and regardless the barrel or the variety, the “rocky minerality” is the true essence to his wines.

Zidarich Cellar

Mineral Wines

Minerality is a very abused word (I use it a lot too), but some wines do have an extra edge of flinty-stoney-watery-mouth filling complexity which can’t be described otherwise.

To understand minerality have a drop of any of Zidarich wines and everyone will get it.

Very often though minerality is related to very austere wines, here his wines are important but always extremely drinkable and refreshing.

Benjamin belongs to a group of “natural wine-makers” (see http://luxwinetrip.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/no-hung-over-in-verona/) under the provocative name of: “true wines”; as if anything else in the market wasn’t!

Point is that anything is true, even Mc-Donald! The clue therefore to me is not “truth”, but linking authenticity to natural wine making and quality. In my next blog I’ll try to tackle this very difficult  subject for the moment we stick to Carso.

NOTES ON THE WINES.

Vitovska

As mentioned, although a simple variety, very often used with other grapes, Zidarich Vitovska is one of my favourite with its inner powerful energy, smooth balance, intensity and length. Watch our its drinkability: its overwhelming with its oriental perfumes and fruits! Despite the wine is made naturally and like a red -with a long maceration, no filtration, no additives of any kind and a couple of years of big oak aging- this is a true elegant dancing butterfly!

Prulke

This is a blend of Malvasia, Sauvignon Blanc and Vitovska.
The first gives the wine loads of floral seductiveness, which seems to be pushed even further by the backbone of Sauv. B. and the Vitosvska to smooth out and mineralize this very complex lengthy wine!

Benjamin Zidarich

Terrano

I love this wine for its marvelous fruit driven and salty contrast. Yeas you heard me, salty. Great red berry crush, black cherries and spices. It’s a wine with a unique character which will surprise most wine lovers!

After this wonderful spelunking wine experience I now have a problem: I am late with Skerk and with the Kante, apparently not the easiest and accommodating of people!

Fearing the worst Benjamin offers to take me to Kante, not before saying hello to Skerk who makes one of the most elegant and well interpreted Malvasia in the area.

We arrive in a small, little cement house in the middle of the wood with a lovely vineyard garden in front, and a few free-run roosters roaming around.

Kantr's roosters

Milo gets all excited as he finds a way to explore a little house in the woods, but Daphne and Vanessa seemed to be getting tired by now. I, on the other end, am extremely impatient to meet the man whose labels have helped me so much in inspiring great moments and relieving me from difficult ones.

Kante's vines

We are offered some amazing cheeses and some sparkling wine by Miss Kante while waiting for Edi Kante to come back from the field.

I was expecting to meet someone arriving tired and dirty from the work in the field and instead I see an extremely well groomed and super tall man approaching us with high-tech spectacles and a very outspoken attitude.

Kante

He goes straight for my little duckling (Daphne) who seemed pretty happy about it.

He kindly asks permission to hold her and Daphne doesn’t hesitate a second.

I immediately think: two atomic bombs together!

You can tell straight away that Kante is an extremely energetic man with a lot of character and personality.

He gets Daphne back to Vanessa and finally looks at me: are you ready?

I, kind of get a little scared, like before an exam, but promptly respond: sure I am!

We get inside the house, he hands me over a big jumper and we get down the cellar. He asks me a little of the wineries I have been before and we start chatting about wine. A minute later we are in an engaging one-to-one wine philosophy and wine making techniques drama.

We get together well, He seems to like what I have to say and I like his style while I thin to myself: very soon you are going to taste his wines with him in his cellar!

My dream couldn’t get any better as we start from the lowest floor. A grotto with cement cylindrical structure with circular  steps to get people up and down.

Once at the bottom we are in a round cellar with circularly displayed barriques surrounded by wet walls and cold temperature.

Kante's cellar

Soldera told me I used too much concrete to build it, but I am pretty happy about this, he says.

Kante’s cellar gives the feeling of a secret Batman like cellar.  There is indeed a lot of cement to support the cylinder shaped underground cellar surrounded by carsick rock.

Very often I have to ask producers to speed up tastings, to taste more. But here with Kante I should have been careful of what I wished for.

After the tenth barrel I understand that I might have entered like in a “wine casino” where you know when you get in, but you don’t know when you are going to be out.

An hour passed and we start getting to the floor above but I all of a sudden think of Vanessa and the kids. Usually one gets to taste a few barrels, but not the whole production. I now have mixed feelings between the wine tasting adrenaline and the thought of my family going -rightfully- crazy.

He ensures me that his wife is taking the best care possible and so I feel better.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Vitoska, Pinot Blanc from new barrels, from different parcel, from different areas, from different countries as well!!!

If I were to report here all the tastings we had together it would be like a directory, so I will spare you that. What I can say is that Kante is one of the most serious, technical, passionate and thorough wine maker I have ever met in my life.

He asks me to be honest during tasting and so I go straightforward and he seems to appreciate better my criticism than my praises.

Kante is a strong personality, but he doesn’t make any unquestionable statements as one would expect from a famous producer. He has more questions than answers and he tries to understand the wine world through a lot of experimentations in the cellar without having the consumers to pay for it. A kid inside one of the most authoritative Italian wine makers! I like this. I like to see people taking risks in their life and profession; I like wine makers that don’t give anything for granted, people who want to learn all the time from any occasion.

He has been experimenting to produce in every way possible: natural with no sulphur; plenty of sulphur and manipulation and more. All his tests are kept in the cellar for years and then tasted over and over. He would put in the market only the production he has been experimenting for more years and that he is certain 110%.

Kante is a man of science, he is open to different theories and different practices, but he is also an empiric and pragmatic person and an artist too (painter).

At the third underground level up, after a good thirty wines tasted I thought I had a vision: my wife and kids all covered in blankets appearing behind a cask. It must have been hungry! Then Milo runs towards me, I hug and see in his eyes that is time to go.

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We try to get back on the surface, but not before going for another 10 wines and the last bit of show with the Saber and one of his KK Spumante Brut NV with plenty of life and zest…just like Edi!

Some Wine Notes

Kante Sauvignon Blanc

This is one of my favorite Italian Sauvignon Blanc. Year after year Kante release this very sleek wine, which sometimes might be a little more oak driven, but always with an irresistible seductive style and drinkability. It’s a wine for lovers!

Kante Chardonnay

A more alcoholic style wine with a rounder and fattier mouth-fill. It gets better with a few year of bottle aging to get rid of some oak. In the cellar I had a lot of cask samples with a lot of fruit and savoriness which I would like to see more in the bottle.

Kante Vitoska

Kante’s Vitoska is a cleaner and more austere version than the many macerative and salty ones.

Very clean and zesty wine quite simple. I am sure we are going to see more intriguing versions coming soon.

Kante Malavasia

I have tasted so many amazingly different Malvasia in Edi’s cellar that he would be able to produce ten labels.  What I love about his approach with this aromatic variety is the balancing of the “aromatics” avoiding to go for too obvious floral and fruit style and reaching for more complexity.

Hotel and B&B in Trieste

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Duchi d’Aosta.  wonderfully authentic Italian 18-19th century 5 star with original wooden floors and authentic furniture. Great bar and terrace overlooking the beautiful and spacious Piazza Unità d’Italia. One of the best coffee menu in town.

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Daphne&Milo at the Duchi d’Aosta

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Duchi d'Aosta Trieste

On a budget but don’t want to give up authenticity, elegance and Mittel European flair?

B&B Decò. This is Sonia&David’s place. They live in this beautiful historical 19th C Palazzo on the 4th floor with their little super behaved four year old Sara and a reserved cat -Asia-. Sonia is an Interior decorator of great talent, she also make hand make bags and more. Wooden floors, antiques and lovely decorations make you feel very well here.

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B&B Decò Trieste

My favorite restaurant.

Ristorante Scabar on the hills of Trieste. Giorgio and Ami Scabar will approach you asking what you have seen in the menu. Then they think a few seconds and the give you their proposal based on your choices, but always adding or subtracting something in order to try and balance everything out for the best. Dialogue with this passionate restaurant owners is great. It does work for me and the result is always better than expected. Wine list is to die for Scabar is a very knowledgeable Friulan wine lover from whom anyone can learn. Let him light the way for you. Great Scampi, very fresh marinated sardines, the three version cod…I wish I could be there now!

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Avoid Caffe degli Specchi.

This is a beautiful historic place in the main square in Trieste, but is run in the most touristic, rude and speculative way possible. The Duchi d’Aosta right in front is a more friendly and high quality option.


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Decanter’s Great Italian Fine Wine Encounter 2008


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Il Drappo Rosso, Sicilia IGT, Benanti 2004

Basil and peppermint on a dense blackberry extraction. A wine full of natural sweetness and vibrant acidity and a juicy lingering finish. (FB)

£16.97

Avignonesi, Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice NV

Top of cream caramel, toffee, vanilla and coffee with some toasted hazelnuts and almonds. This is just the beginning for a never-ending and extremely complex real Tuscan Vin Santo. Quince marmalade, baked pear and yummy cough syrup and liquorice. Luscious, decadent, viscous and vibrant world-class dessert wine. (FB)

Valle d’Aosta, Chardonnay, Les Cretes NV

Elegance and character for a unique Alpine Chardonnay. Superb fruit extraction and oak integration, great acidity on a very silky and structured palate. Some sweet floral scents get together on a creamy and mineral intriguing finish. A wine to drink and keep. (FB) approx £30

Taurasi, Naturalis Historia, Mastroberardino 2003

Complex perfume of white truffle and mushrooms match some dense and very compact blackberry and prune aromas. A structured and firm wine with a lingering liquorice and tobacco finish. A wine to keep for many years. (FB) £27.99

Barolo, Parafada, Massolino 2004

My top wine of the tasting. Exteremly expressive despite being a Barolo from the tough Serralunga. It’s a great classic which you can drink now or keep – forever. Elegant dry roses, back cherries and leather with an extremely refined tannic structure make this wine a total beauty. Mineral, juicy, meaty and very lingering. A must have. (FB) approx £45

Gratius, Toscana IGT, Il Molino di Grace 2004

Nice perfume, an explosion of ripe black cherry with some spice and a hint of chocolate. Beautiful balance, with a fine acidity and smooth tannin, good structure and complexity. (CG) £24-25

Capo di Stato, Colli Trevigiani IGT, Conte Loredan Gasparini 2004

Elegant nose, aromas of black fruit with some spice and hint of vanilla. Elegant complexity on the palate, balanced and well-structured. Drink up to 2013. (CG) £27.40

Chianti Classico, Rocca di Montegrossi 2005

Lovely perfume of crushed fresh red fruits and some undergrowth. Very fine acidity on the palate, some smooth tannin with complex red fruit characters. (CG) £15.99-17.99

Chianti Classico, Casanuova di Nittardi, Fattoria Nittardi 2005

Very vibrant fruit on the nose, some ripe cherry with hint of violet; very perfumed. Ripe tannin but smooth and well-integrated with the acidity and the perfumed characters. Great depth. (CG) £15

Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 2004

A northern style, authentic and very well-interpreted Sangiovese – strength, good fruit extraction, zippy acidity and loads of earthy/leathery complexity. It’s an austere wine which will need time to open up but your patience will be rewarded. (FB) £18.99

Barolo, Cerequio, Batasiolo 2000

Some development with notes of chocolate and tobacco. Complex palate with intense spicy and savoury character; balanced structure with firm tannin. Great depth. (CG) £21.65

La Grola, Veronese IGT, Allegrini 2005

Dark jammy fruit with a chocolate hint and well-integrated oak. Balanced on the palate, medium bodied with a vibrant acidity; smooth tannin. Drink up to 2011. (CG)

Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, Pojega, Guerrieri Rizzardi 2007

Black pepper and chocolate with a dense cherry and blueberry nose. Seductive and decadent, with an elegant earthiness and a tobacco leaf touch. Very lingering, with a sweet and mineral blackberry finish. (FB)

£15

Val di Cornia, Molisso, Rubbia al Colle-Suverto, Fratelli Muratori 2003

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Complex fruit characters with some undergrowth bouquet. Robust palate with a good structure, and clean fruit on the finish. Drink up to 2011. (CG)

£22.75

Vintage Tunina, Venezia Giulia IGT, Jermann 2006

A creamy and round wine with a full-on tropical character. Very ripe, with a citrus fruit-driven style and yet retaining a lovely honey-scented minerality. (FB) approx £30

Torgiano Rosso Riserva, Rubesco ‘Vigna Monticchio’, Cantine Giorgio Lungarotti 2003

Complex ripe fruit aromas supported by spice. Balanced on palate, with firm tannin and clean ripe fruit. Good length. (CG) £20

Chianti Classico, Barone Ricasoli 2004

A leathery and earthy nose with scents of Mediterranean herbs, violets and cherries. Good tannic structure, length and ageing potential. (FB)

£30

Soave Classico, Capitel Croce, Anselmi 2006

Concentrated and very fresh aromas of apples and pears. Intriguing creaminess and finesse on the vanilla and floral-scented palate. Very good and intense. (FB)

Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT, Masi 2005

Made using the Ripasso method, this wine is packed with red cherry fruits and has a rich texture and a fine acidity. Drink up to 2010. (CG)

£8.99

A Sirio, Toscana IGT, San Gervasio 2003

Made with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet, this wine shows blackberry fruit with a hint of cedarwood. Full bodied and dense on the palate, robust. (CG)

Alto Adige Pinot Grigio, Franz Haas 2006

Intense aromas with notes of bread, almond and flowers. Crisp acidity on the palate, and a long finish. Drink 2008. (CG) £10.49

Terrano, Venezia Giula IGT, Castello di Rubbia 2006

Full of forest fruit aromas with delicate spice. Medium bodied on the palate, lots of juicy red fruit with a vibrant and fresh acidity. Drink 2008. (CG) £13.99 Colasanti

Maremma Toscana, Dromo, Tenuta Poggio Verrano 2005

Perfume nose with ripe cherry fruit. Intense and complex palate, clean and pure red fruit with spice. Great depth. (CG) £27-30

Moscato d’Asti, Nivole, Michele Chiarlo 2007

Very expressive, explosion of fruit-floral aromas. Fresh acidity with low alcohol, lots of apricot and peachy notes, very refreshing, a perfect summer wine. Drink 2008. (CG) £6.99

Barbera d’Alba, Vigna del Cucculo, Cavallotto 2004

Black cherry aroma on the nose following through on to the palate, sweet spice. Good complexity, with a vibrant acidity and lots of fruit purity. (CG) £16.-20

Leverano Rosso Riserva, Terra, Conti Zecca 2004

Leather and tobacco with a fine earthiness and foral complexity. Great blackberries extraction yet retaining a lot of freshness and savouriness. Very well balanced, with an elegant black pepper finish. (FB)

Rina Lanca Grillo-Viognier, Sicilia IGT, Feudo di Santa Tresa, Casa Girelli 2006

Lots of ripe fruit, with notes of dried apricot and peach. Complex with good weight; ripe apricot on the palate and a fresh acidity. Drink 2008. (CG) £7.95

Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friulano, Colutta 2007

White pepper and acacia flowers. A very refreshing and aromatic white with a natural unoaked spiciness, aromatic power and a long mineral finish. (FB) £11.50

Cortona, Syrah, Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro 2006

Spicy, elegant and fruit-driven wine with an extremely refreshing palate. A very natural wine with character, savouriness and a jucy red-berry lingering palate. Great value. (FB) £8

Grechetto dei Colli Martiani, Grecante, Arnaldo Caprai 2007

Very attractive nose, clean and fresh apple with some zestiness. Crisp acidity on the palate with lots of fresh white fruit. Very enjoyable. (CG)

£10.95

Aglianico del Vulture, Il Sigillo, Cantine del Notaio 2004

An extremely slick and seductive full-bodied red displaying great extraction without being overdone. Elegant menthol and prunes aromas take your nose into a very rich and intriguing realm. Evident yet silky tannins and a vibrant acidity keep this dense Amarone-style wine from the Volcani Vulture in truly juicy shape. A must try. (FB)

Galatrona, Toscana IGT, Fattoria Petrolo 2005

Great example of Tuscan Merlot, with an elegant, smooth and dense character of blueberries, violets and black cherries. Loads of weight and body, but well integrated, with superb acidity. Rather opulent and mineral. (FB) approx £45

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Bertani 1998

Lots of ripeness on the nose, layers of chocolate and ripe cherries. Velvety palate with some sweet spice characters; full bodied and complex. Drink 2013 plus. (CG)

£60

Gattinara Riserva, Travaglini 2004

A developed bouquet with hint of violet, dried fruit with some spice. Full-bodied palate with lingering tannins and a balanced acidity. (CG) £25.76

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vigneto Poggio Sant’Enrico, Carpineto 2001

Expressive cherry and liquorice scents with a fresh floral touch. A great Sangiovese with structure, elegance and length. (FB) £43.99

Chianti Classico Riserva, Rancia, Felsina Berardenga 2005

Great freshness on the nose and the palate, some dark berry flavours with some smoky characters. Great texture and complexity on the palate supported by firm tannin. (CG) £31.69

Impero Blanc de Pinot Noir, Marche IGT, Fattoria Mancini 2006

This 100% Pinot Noir displays some lees characters with some spice from the oak. Lots of weight on the palate with creamy fruit and apple flavours. (CG) £23.99

Taurasi, Fatica Contadina, Terredora 2001

A classic Aglianico – intense leather, tobacco and liquorice nose with jam-packed blueberries. A juicy and luscious refreshing red, with undeniable ageing potential and loads of character and expressiveness. (FB)

£14

Decima Aurea, Merlot, Veneto IGT, Tenuta Santa Maria Alla Pieve 2002

Good fruit concentration on the nose; full of red cherry aromas. Firm tannins on the palate, well-structured with some savoury notes on the finish. Drink up to 2011. (CG) £29.49

Vin Santo di Carmignano, Tenuta di Capezzana 2000

Dry figs, hazelnuts and saffron. Some intriguing toastiness and vanilla scents, and then iquorice, dry apricots, dates and orange peel on the palate. A sweet and delicious Vin Santo, very viscous and lingering. (FB)

Poggio Valente, Fattoria le Pupille 2005

Delightful wine with lively blackberry fruit characters and some spice. Great balance between the acidity, the fruit and tannin. Complex on the finish. (CG) £25.15

Kepos, Maremma Toscana IGT, Ampeleia 2006

Lovely intensity, clean ripe fruit with some minerality. Ripe tannin with some black fruit; complex and good acidity. Long finish. (CG) £17

Costa di Giulia, Toscana IGT, Michele Satta 2007

Made of Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine displays vibrant aromas of apple and lime with some smoky hints. Crisp on the palate but with lots of weight; clean and fresh finish. (CG) £13.45

Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, Bellavista NV

Made of 80% Chardonnay with some Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, the wine shows fresh and pure citrus aromas with fresh apple. Good intensity on the palate with elegant fruit, vibrant and pure on the finish. (CG)

Pergolaia, Toscana IGT, Caiarossa 2004

Lovely perfume, elegant and delicate red fruit with some spice. Rich on the palate with a lively, lingering acidity and good depth of fruit on the finish.

Chianti Classico Riserva, Marchese Antinori, Antinori 2003

Despite the hot vintage this is a truly old-time classic Chianti Classico. A restrained and elegant red full of liquorice, cherries and leather and a touch of violets. Big tannic structure with an earthy and juicy cranberries and leather complexity. (FB)

Cepparello, Toscana IGT, Isole e Olena 2004

Smoky and tarry notes with plenty of berry fruit; well integrated new oak. Full bodied with good acid; ripe but firm tannins; spicy new oak on the finish. (CG) £38.49

Barolo, Aldo Conterno 2004

An intense and very powerful Barolo packed with cranberries and cherries. Modern and slick showing superb extraction and big tannins. Needs time to develop though. (FB) £57

Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Volpaia 2005

Red cherry and spice on the nose. Full bodied and well-structured on the palate. Great depth of fruit on the finish. (CG)

Nero d’Avola-Merlot, Ramione, Sicilia IGT, Baglio di Pianetto 2004

Orange peel and prunes with some Mediterranean spices and a cranberry complexity. Great concentration and an intriguing black pepper finish. (FB)

£25.50

Cerviolo Rosso, Toscana IGT, San Fabiano Calcinaia 2004

Ripe red cherry fruit with hint of violet and spice. Powerful on the palate, lots of black fruit with a vibrant acidity; robust and well-structured. (CG)

Freisa is Nebbiolo’s genetic father so get ready for your tar and roses fix – but with a more refreshing approach on the palate. A vibrant red berry crush wine with excellent ageing potential and great character. (FB) £7

Sassoalloro, Toscana IGT, Jacopo Biondi Santi 2005

Lots of cherry fruit with some herbaceous characters. Firm tannin with some black fruit and sweet oak on finish. (CG)

£17.53

Ribolla Gialla Brut Millesimato Spumante, Collavini 2004

Peaches and bananas for this ‘Collavini sparkling method’ Ribolla wine. A unique floral and mineral character, with a very fresh and zesty finish and a pleasant touch of creaminess. (FB) £25

Chianti Rufina, Nipozzano Riserva, Marchesi dei Frescobaldi 2001

Well structured wine with robust tannins, an elegant earthiness, some red berries and a meaty, leathery palate. Good length and balance. A classic Tuscan wine – verging on four stars. (FB) £14.99

Terrine Rosso di Toscana, Castello della Paneretta 2003

Elegant perfume with notes of blackberry and liquorice. Intense palate, elegant fruit characters with a hint of violet, silky tannins on the finish. (CG)

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Castello di Semivicoli, Masciarelli 2006

Seriously refreshing wine with a touch of hazelnut and violets. Quite lingering, with some pleasant liquorice, vanilla and peach flavours. (FB)

approx £15

Cometa, Sicilia IGT, Planeta 2007

Sweet vanilla spices and a fine apricots and jasmin flowers nose. On the palate, some lovely thyme and camomille contribute to an aromatic and smooth honeydew texture. (FB)

Collio, Pinot Grigio Russiz Superiore, Marco Felluga 2007

A well rounded wine with a tropical character, some hazelnuts and peaches, and with a pleasant spicy finish. (FB)

£14.99

Colli Orientali del Friuli Rossazzo Bianco, Terre Alte, Livio Felluga 2006

This wine has a refreshing green and grassy character with some elegant floral scents. A lingering wine with rich white and citrus fruit flavours and a well-structured (almost tannic) pleasant body. Bordering on four stars. (FB) £40

Barbaresco, Starderi, La Spinetta 2005

Blackberries and more dense black fruit combined with tobacco and chocolate make this Barbaresco a most modern and richly-extracted monumental wine. Gets a grip with some great acidity and a savoury, lingering complexity. Too young to drink now – needs time when it could go up to four stars. (FB) £85 T

Nero d’Avola, Sagana, Sicilia IGT, Cusumano 2005

An expressive tobacco and menthol-like nose. A rich and dense wine packed with ripe prunes and black cherries. (FB) approx £20

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Gersemi, Fazi Battaglia 2003

Lots of savoury aromas with some spice and cherry fruit. Full bodied on the palate, rich fruit characters with firm acidity. (CG) £17.54

Biddas Arrubias, Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Feudi della Medusa 2005

Coffee beans and dark chocolate for a very spice-driven wine. Prunes and vanilla and more black fruit, and an elegant gun-flint finish. (FB)

£25

Cappello di Prete, Salento Rosso IGT, Candido NV

Spicy and gun flinty with a yummy red berry crush nose. A light yet intense and lingering red wine. Rich and full of character. (FB) £8

Terre del Guiscardo, Salento Rosso IGT, Antica Masseria del Sigillo 2005

Dark and inky with loads of prunes, vanilla, liquorice and cocoa powder. A dense leathery and blackberry-driven palate and a dense and complex coffee and vanilla finish. Almost warrants four stars. (FB) £14.49

Text from the decanter.com. Authors Christelle Guibert, Filippo Bartolotta

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