Browse Tag


Nera word

Nera “La Novella” 2008 Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Chiavennasca Bianco (Lombardy) – I’m trying to drink up what is rather a quantity of this, given the lurid neon white closure. Absent that abomination, I’d be aging this. Who wouldn’t age nebbiolo, even if it’s white and nearly unrecognizable? It might be a disaster, but the experiment would have been fun. Alas, not under plastic dildo. And so: a little more tropical in flavor while less tropical in form, if that makes sense. The wine, in other words, has faded just a touch. Maybe my imagination. In any case, it’s still crisp, aromatic, zippy, and appealing. (10/10)

Nera “La Novella” 2008 Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Chiavennasca Bianco (Lombardy) – The most nebbiolo-like bottle yet, by which I almost certainly mean that I am fooling myself into thinking so and would never even approach the word “nebbiolo” were it not on the label. But the aromatics are, with the benefit of knowledge, turning rose-ish. Otherwise, there’s the vibrant peach honey fruit and lively acidity. And yes, there’s just a little bit of fraying, for which I blame the closure rather than the wine. But it’s still quite good. (10/10)

Zooty, zoot zoot

Pratello 2004 “Rebo” (Lombardy) – Fairly anonymous worldbeat rosso, indistinct as to grape, region, and intent (other than making money without trying very hard), but with a little more acid than usual. Um, yay? Sharp, dark fruit. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (10/10)

Sofia Vergombera

Verdi 2007 Oltrepò Pavese Bonarda “Possessione di Vergombera” (Lombardy) – Geez, is this the opposite of prosaic or what? Like some of the brittle northern Piedmontese reds, this makes a case for being a tinted version of riesling, but then subverts it with straps and lashes of tannin and an incisored chomp of reddish fruit. Now, I’ve gotten to this point in the note without mentioning its two dominant characteristics: residual sugar and aggressive, somewhat sloppy (like an overeager dog slobbering on your face) fizz. For me, honestly, there’s far too much distraction and flail in this wine for actual enjoyment, but at least the ride is on the breathtaking side. At a festive gathering, this might be a lot more appropriate than it was at my dinner table. (10/10)

Rainoldi on my parade

Rainoldi 2005 Valtellina Superiore Prugnolo (Lombardy) – Sapid and hexagonal, then spiraling into a gravitational tesseract of appealing oddity. Red fruit? Flowers? Gritty soil? Yeah, sure. And then again, not so much. There’s having a dialogue with your wine, and then listening to it deliver a Dadaist lecture. And you either like that kind of thing or you don’t. I do, sometimes…and this is one of those times. (8/10)

The end is Nai

Frecciarossa 2008 Provincia di Pavia Bianco Frizzante “Nai” (Lombardy) – Bright, almost (but not quite) brittle, bringing grass and clean greenness together with lemony citrus broth. Vivid, but only for a moment. Something’s missing here. Length? Breadth? Depth? Pick one. (6/10)

Little book

Nera “La Novella” 2008 Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio Chiavennasca Bianco (Lombardy) – Sweet fruit and pretty flowers. Tra-la-la, tra-la-la. Also, green apple, walnut skins, and puppy dog tails. Fresh’n’fruity. Not the most interesting bottle of this I’ve had. Too giggly. (5/10)

Santa Clà

Vercesi del Castellazzo 2005 Oltrepò Pavese Barbera “Clà” (Lombardy) – A heavier expression of barbera, with both supporting and masking elements (cellar- and site-derived), dialing down the varietal characteristics to a tangy yet ripe raspberry element as one among a host of more standardized northern Italian characteristics: pre-Alpine chill, rough but dense rock, a vague peppery quality. Honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to identify this as barbera in a blind tasting. It’s not a bad wine, but it’s either not particularly characterful or it’s a character I don’t appreciate. (2/10)

Gli club

Frecciarossa 2008 Oltrepò Pavese Riesling “Gli Orti” (Lombardy) – A bit on the heavy side for riesling, taking an unquestioned concentration and overdoing it a bit. Having now experienced a grand total of two Oltrepò Pavese rieslings, I can see that this weight is suggested by the terroir, but that not everyone handles it in the same way. Here, preserved lemon and leaden minerality are pleasant, and little accents of makrut lime and lemon verbena (both in tisane, rather than fresh, form) are even more welcome, but the wine’s just a bit too tiresome for complete enjoyment. Maybe age will help, though I’m skeptical. (2/10)

Chiavennasca lines

[nebbiolo]Nera “La Novella” 2008 Chiavennasca Bianco Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio (Lombardy) – Brisk and almost sandpapery, showing pear concentrate lashed with skin and a weighty press of immediacy. Very aromatic, but those aromatics are direct. This remains a killer blind-tasting wine, but I can’t possibly see how anyone could, other than blind luck, guess nebbiolo as the grape. (2/10)

Emily Ottella

Ottella 2008 Lugana Le Creete (Lombardy) – Sheets of green, white, and faded yellow envelop seaside herbs and a flat expanse of shells, each with a little wet sand still stuck to their interiors. This is a quiet wine ill-served by a fairly rich company in which it was served, and I’d like another crack at it in less distracting conditions, but it seems fair enough. (1/10)