Browse Tag


Samperi Como

de Bartoli Marsala Vecchio Samperi “Ventennale” (Sicily) – On the other hand, this is one way to grab my attention, hard, and wrench it back to the wine in front of me. That no one in his region makes wine like de Bartoli is well known, that no one in his region makes wine as well as de Bartoli is pretty widely acknowledged, and yet he achieves something beyond mere iconoclasm and superiority. I’m not sure these are the right words, but there’s a palpably different sort of life to them, as if they’re existing simultaneously on this plane and another that can’t quite be perceived with straight sight. Some might point out that the previous is really just another way of describing complexity, and they’d be somewhat right, but I think it’s necessary to specify that the complexity is not of the usual, three-times-the-descriptors, type. It’s something else. Though the wine doesn’t suggest electric guitar to me at all, this particular quality puts me in mind of Jimi Hendrix as he was first perceived, channeling a muse that was so far afield from that of his peers that it was often clear he was working in a different language, that whatever he was hearing inside his head (which didn’t always translate to his hands) was something that others weren’t going to be capable of hearing for a long time, if ever.

I note, at this point, that I haven’t actually described the wine in any useful fashion. Well, it’s dry, complex in both the usual way and [see above], incredibly persistent, and monumentally compelling. I suppose my lack of enthusiasm for actual descriptors here is more or less a suggestion that you should go out and try this yourself rather than listening to me ramble on about it. One action is much more rewarding than the other. (11/11)

Madonna moon

de Conciliis “Donnaluna” 2008 Cilento Aglianico (Campania) – Spicy, rocky, coal-dusted darkness with a fair bit of unintegrated acidity. I want to like this more than I do, but there’s an insubstantiality to the wine that becomes apparent with greater attention. (11/11)

Antece subject

de Conciliis 2009 Fiano “Antece” (Campania) – There’s a real presence to this wine that surpasses the usual ash-and-bones structure of Campanian fiano, something that hums and beats in a texturally persistent way. Also present are waxy memories of lemon and a bit of salt at the finish. As tannic as it is acidic (though not all that much of either), and much of its story seems as-yet untold. (11/11)


San Francesco 2009 Cirò Rosso Classico (Calabria) – 100% gaglioppo. Big and sun-drenched, of course, but the heavy shoulders are rounded as they support leathery black-strap fruit and a roughened cashmere structure, giving the whole thing a surprising amount of symmetry.  (11/11)


Venturini 2007 Recioto della Valpolicella (Veneto) – Concentrated berry residue, sticky and just a bit plastic, with in-control volatile acidity and the requisite tension between light residual sweetness and shriveled-prune tannin. You know, reading back over this note, I should say that I liked the wine more than the descriptors might indicate. It’s no great recioto, but it’s decent enough. (11/11)


Allegrini 1997 “Palazzo della Torre” (Veneto) – Dead. Dense, purple-black, and texturally rich, but dead. (11/11)


Castello della Paneretta 1999 Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) – Ashen red fruit, wan and fading. Drink up a few years ago. (11/11)

Pigato in a poke

Terrebianche 2010 Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato (Liguria) – Almond flesh and pine nuts, hearts of palm, vibrant but ripe acidity, white pepper. And inside, a beige-toned and bony skeleton of structure. It’s worrisomely short, but that’s really carping about a generally quite decent wine. (10/11)

Here’s Johnn

Zidarich 2008 Carso Vitovska (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) – Flowers and saline-infused nettles scraped with the rough edge of a dull razor of tannin. A wine that will not be ignored, but to pay it sufficient attention demonstrates how its skin-contact has, at least in the interim, gotten a bit out of hand in relation to its fruit. Will that change with time? Quite possibly. It’s a fascinating exploration of one of the edges of orange winedom, but even such edgeworking vinification needs an occasional sense of restraint, and I’m not entirely sure it was exercised here. Still, this can all be mitigated – somewhat – with sufficiently fatty food, the sort that would typically require something from the much more russet genre. (10/11)

Campofiorin’s five miles long, doo-dah, doo-dah

Masi 1997 Rosso del Veronese “Campofiorin” Ripasso (Veneto) – Masi wants me to put a copyright symbol on “ripasso.” But…let me be polite about this…screw them. And screw their attempt to claim ownership of a widely-practiced technique and an extremely generic term. Anyway, it hardly matters here, because the wine is as corked as any wine I’ve ever experienced, filling the room with its trichloranisolic reek. (10/11)