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Preserving elli

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – “It’s cider!” remarks one dinner guest. Well, yes, in a way; anti-naturalistas will point and complain. And it’s true that it’s not very much like what it used to be. But lingering memories of muscat and a reminiscence of something that was almost, but not quite, sparkling do still mark the wine. What marks it more, at the moment, is a skin-bitterness that I think helps along the sensation of apple-derivation. All that said, the basic “problem” is mostly just that it rewards being held this long in odd and difficult ways, and it’s probably better to drink it earlier. (8/11)

Leave the gun. Take the Canelli.

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – 11.5%. There’s something between-two-worlds about this wine, with the off-dry(ish) suggestion of froth up front, and the laden structure of a skin-contact white out back. There’s not a whole lot of either, but the contrapuntal juxtaposition is brilliantly intriguing. (7/11)

Lactic infomercial

[vineyard]Bera 2005 Barbera d’Asti “Ronco Malo” (Piedmont) – The needle and pierce one expects from barbera are both present and vibrant here, though without the so-often accompanying thinness and over-transparency. Even among the cohort that avoid those flaws, this is a big’un, intensifying the vivid red-berried fruit and turning up the supporting structural and earthen harmonics. Complexities continue to emerge as the wine finishes, and airs, and there’s not yet an end to them by the time the bottle’s empty. All that said, there’s a somewhat clumsy adolescence to the wine that I think, but do not know, will resolve with time (certainly, there’s no indication that the wine requires immediate consumption). It really shines with a heavy, yet acidic, meal, while I think it might overpower something as simple and pure as a marinara. (2/10)

Little canals

Bera 2006 Cannelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – Open for four days by the time I get to it, but still hanging onto sweet-smelling, perfumed garden fruit and a deliberate lightness. Pretty, even in its diminished state. (7/09)

Arcese poofs

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – Pours with a near-explosion of tiny bubbles, which take a while to recede. Uh-oh. The nose is, at first, absent, then quivering with volatility, then once again absent. And there’s a staleness to the wine. First approximation: corked and refermented. An hour later, the secondary-fermentation stink starts to emerge, as does the wretched reek of TCA. The poor wine, which is usually full of appealing life, never had a chance. (1/09)

Sugar, sugar

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – Tastes like muscat, smells like muscat, but it’s not muscat, it’s favorita, cortese, and arneis. So, then: it’s floral and bubbly/spicy (no actual bubbles), with a bit of sweat but little toil. Eminently appealing at first sip, yet there’s a difficult component that not everyone will get past. I love it, because it takes muscattish obviousness and brings to it more complexity and balance than is the norm. And still, no muscat. It’s almost hard to believe. Fun wine. (7/08)

Luli lulay, my little tiny child

[label]Chinati Vergano “Luli” Chinato Moscato (Piedmont) – Moscato from Bera, plus cinnamon, coriander, vanilla, cardamom, quince, and more. Fascinating, exotic nose, white chocolate, and while its sweeter than most chinati I’ve tasted, the balance is good. Exciting and fruity. (1/08)

Leave the body, take the canelli

Bera 2007 Moscato d’Asti “Canelli” (Piedmont) – Not moscato d’Asti as it’s commonly understood, but an almost passito expression…and not gassed, but rather allowed to spontaneously referment. Plus – unlike the vast majority of similarly-labeled wines – meant to age. Its delicate bead is soft yet surprisingly persistent, and the palate is rich with melon and grape. None of the usual flower-truck-crashing-into-a-perfume-shop stuff here. The strength and, it must be said, seriousness of this wine are as surprising as they are profound. Absolutely terrific. (1/08)

New from Ronco

Bera 2005 Barbera d’Asti Ronco Malo (Piedmont) – Pure red fruit with deeper nut and soil tones pulsing from the core. Long, structured, and beautiful. Really excellent. (1/08)

Serra smile

Bera 2005 Dolcetto Monferrato Bricco della Serra (Piedmont) – Very floral, with good, chalky tannin and fine acidity that slices up black cherry skins. The finish is long and drying, with the dust and shells from freshly-ground peppercorns and other lingering floral suggestions. Good…only just…though there’s a potential future upside. (1/08)

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