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Jim Mora

Il Falchetto 2007 Monferrato Rosso “La Mora” (Piedmont) – A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and barbera. The greenness of the first two grapes (in contrast to barbera, that is) really sticks its neck out here, and not in an unpleasant way. There’s minerality, good acidity – and now we can thank the home team’s grape – and while it’s not all bad given that it’s a blend for which I don’t have much personal use, milk and oak really stew up the finish. (3/10)

Neon noeN

l’Armangia 2007 Monferrato Sauvignon “EnnEEnnE” (Piedmont) – Yes, yes, everyone has the same question: what does that mean? Roughly, “bastard child,” here a reference to the unusual (for the region) grape variety. Floral aromas, woodsy and a little bit woody as well, though it’s less of a prominent aromatic factor than it is a participant in the muting and restraining of other aromas. Fairly sticky and dense, with some heat evident. The texture is lavish, and without that alcoholic imbalance this could have been a more interesting wine than it ultimately turns out to be. (3/10)

Dan Montemarino

[vineyard]Bellotti Cascina degli Ulivi 2005 Monferrato Bianco “Montemarino” (Piedmont) – Saline, with intense citrus turning almost to redder fruit, especially quince, but not quite getting there. This flashes and bites, seeming to yield everything and then jamming itself throatward. A really striking wine. (6/08)

Uncle Nebieul

Benotto 2002 Monferrato “Nebieul” (Piedmont) – Silky and firm, with light tar, fresh violets and roses, and a beautiful structure. Morels, plum skins and a fine acidity come to the fore on the long finish. Very nice. (2/07)

Nibiô & tuck

[bottle]Bellotti “Cascina degli Ulivi” 2005 Monferrato Dolcetto Nibiô Terre Rosse (Piedmont) – Nibiô is, essentially, what we might call an heirloom dolcetto in the States. Barky, sour, and wild; full of meadow flowers, charred forest, and dark soil. There’s a fascinating complexity here, with a long finish deep into its crescendo before it finally comes to a halt. Raw and untamed, for sure. (1/08)

Dan by the sea

[bottle]Bellotti “Cascina degli Ulivi” 2005 Monferrato Bianco “Montemarino” (Piedmont) – Reserved and tight, showing almonds and little else. It seems to be balanced, and it feels “big” under the clamping structure, with a long, chewy finish…though what one masticates is unidentifiably insubstantial. Highly ungenerous. Time? A lot of it, if so. (1/08)

The Swiss mint

cascina ‘tavijn 2006 Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato (Piedmont) – Exotic florals and bitter candy. A strange combination. There’s a lot of lurid fun to be had, though it’s a little more structured than the last vintage I tasted (2004), with a long, spandexy finish. Hey, no one promised slavish conformity here… (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)

Mondalino bay

[label]Bricco Mondalino 2004 Barbera del Monferrato “Superiore” (Piedmont) – Apple-dominated acidity with a rough sheathe of tannin and chunky, wild-berry fruit (including chokecherry). Still in the throes of pre-adolescence, this will be better in a few years. With an aggressive enough food, it’s pretty good now. (10/07)

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