Browse Tag


For he’s a jolly good Chicchivello

La Querciola 2007 Langhe “Chicchivello” (Piedmont) – Dolcetto, barbera, & nebbiolo. I usually find such blends a confused jumble, and as a rule have little use for the vast majority of such Langhe rossos that employ this trio, but this isn’t bad. It takes the fine-grained adhesion of nebbiolo, chunks it up with bold dolcetto, and then gives it a little airspace with barbera. It’s a dark-fruited wine, leaning heavily on its tannin (which is, I fear, an unavoidable consequence of this particular blend), but it’s an amenable partner with food. There’s even some minerality. Maybe time will bring more? I wouldn’t place a large bet on it, but I’d probably wager a bottle or two. (7/12)


Bianco Aldo 2008 Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont) – Dark fruit, with tannin and some acidity in place, but also with a sticky, coffee-like residue that detracts. Awkward and generally insignificant. (7/11)

Don’t it make you wanna Colla?

Poderi Colla 2006 Langhe Pinot Noir “Campo Romano” (Piedmont) – A recent closeout, purchased for very few dollars due to the retailer’s belief that it was of dubious quality. Dubious is not inaccurate, but I’m not quite sure how to characterize the qualitative state of the wine as it is now. First, I’m not sure whether or not I’d peg this as pinot noir without knowing same…smelling it while looking at the label, there are some obvious signs in the form of gentle, sweetish-berry and leaf aromatics, but the color (despite a quick fade at the rim) is a bit darker than the already-progressing nose would indicate, and there’s a spiky, very slightly volatile stridency to the aroma that elevates a pineapple-ish stowaway as it evaporates. Structurally – and again, knowing what the wine is when I say this – it speaks more of the Langhe than the grape, with a not-green-but-far-from-soft tannin more reminiscent of dolcetto, or even nebbiolo in its simplest forms, than of pinot noir. There’s no lack of acidity, either…one’s palate is awash in reactive liquids from the first moment this wine is sipped. I can’t say I have much confidence in this bottle’s future, though of course as a closeout its provenance has not been assured, but I don’t know how much I embrace its present, either. Since I didn’t have it at release, it’s hard to say much about it’s trajectory, either. As it stands: a zippy mouthful of conflicted influences, recognizable as what it is and where it’s from, but also challenging those notions, and while tasty enough in need of a calming and/or masking food companion to tame its more brazen inconsistencies. (10/10)

Colla cab

Poderi Colla 2007 Langhe Freisa (Piedmont) – Freisa comes in a fair range of styles, though it’s almost never clear which one is going to get without actually opening the bottle. Here’s one of the tight-frothed, almost slushy versions, reminiscent of its spiritual (if not actually related) peers among the lambrusco set. The vibrancy and intense pong of the violent purple churn – as intense as any fruit bomb but with light and verve rather than weight and tedium – is astew with violets and exotic pepper dust. Really, really fun. (9/10)


Vajra 2008 Langhe Bianco (Piedmont) – No surprise, I suppose, that one of the most terroir-evocative grapes (in this case, riesling) shows something in equal parts unexpected and familiar in the soils of the Langhe. The familiar structure of crisp acid and steel-pole texture is there, with a little more generosity and openness, but there’s also a soft, almost mushroomy earth quality, and a slowly-rolling stew of clarified fruit chugging alongside. Really, really nice. (8/10)

A rosso is a rosso

Vajra 2006 Langhe Rosso (Piedmont) – Very pretty. Crushed, partially dried old roses, dark and a little dusty, but still pure. Soft earth. Gorgeous texture. And all for an absurdly low price. Hard to beat, really. (5/10)

Re of sunlight

Bologna “Serra dei Fiore” 2008 Langhe Riesling Renano “Re di Fiore” (Piedmont) – Very ferric, austere, and long. One must like drinking both iron and steel, though. Interesting. (3/10)

Don’t be an Asso

Bologna “Serra dei Fiore” 2008 Langhe Chardonnay “Asso di Fiore” (Piedmont) – Peach and citrus rinds. Straightforward. Nice. Hey, it’s only chardonnay, what more do you want? (3/10)