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Saturday Night Fever

[vineyard]Pratello 2006 Garda Classico Groppello “Discobolo” (Veneto) – Spoofy Garda? That’s what it seems to be, anyway, with tortured fruit of great tartness forced to wear a tuxedo and dark, dark makeup. One might even call it blackface. This wine is a struggle from bottle to gullet, and not for one moment is it enjoyable. (6/08)

TN: On Garda

Vezzola “Costaripa” 1999 Garda Classico “Campo della Starne” (Lombardy) – Long-aged red cherries and orange squeezings with suggestions of a once-bright acidity, but now settling slowly into a caramelized, old-oak miasma. Probably better a few years ago, it’s quite tasty for the first half-hour, then fades inexorably away. (8/06)

30% groppello, 20% barbera, sangiovese and marzemino, 5% cabernet sauvignon and merlot. To be honest, it’s probably only creeping internationalization – cab and merlot, plus new wood – that has preserved this wine for seven years, as the appellation is not known as a long-aging one. Alcohol: 12.5%. Closure: cork. Importer: Empson. Web: