Browse Tag


Preserving elli

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – “It’s cider!” remarks one dinner guest. Well, yes, in a way; anti-naturalistas will point and complain. And it’s true that it’s not very much like what it used to be. But lingering memories of muscat and a reminiscence of something that was almost, but not quite, sparkling do still mark the wine. What marks it more, at the moment, is a skin-bitterness that I think helps along the sensation of apple-derivation. All that said, the basic “problem” is mostly just that it rewards being held this long in odd and difficult ways, and it’s probably better to drink it earlier. (8/11)

The little major

Le Piane 2009 Colline Novaresi “la maggiorina” (Piedmont) – On day one, the “red “riesling” identity of its youth is gone, replaced by a difficult, gauzy, structure-dominated acceleration of dark-toned fruit. Day two brings more familiar elements, dustier tannin, alpine flowers, and sharper acidity. So it depends on what one wants from the wine, I guess: day one, or day two. (8/11)


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)


Cantine Valpane 2009 Barbera del Monferrato “Rosso Pietro” (Piedmont) – Smells stenchy, like it’s been cooped up too long without a good cleansing, and a little reduced as well. All of which portends ill. But the palate is spectacular in comparison, dark and toothsome fruit fired with acidity and built on a foundation of eroded rocks and fossils. As a result, the bottle’s gone so quickly that I don’t get a chance to see what happens to the aroma with some aeration. (7/11)

Leave the gun. Take the Canelli.

Bera 2006 Canelli “Arcese” (Piedmont) – 11.5%. There’s something between-two-worlds about this wine, with the off-dry(ish) suggestion of froth up front, and the laden structure of a skin-contact white out back. There’s not a whole lot of either, but the contrapuntal juxtaposition is brilliantly intriguing. (7/11)

Don’t be nosi

Velenosi “Querci Antica” “Visciole” (Piedmont) – A chinato, kinda-sorta, but a very simple one. By which I mean it tastes a lot more like sweetish wine with a few herbal and citric additives than it does a full-fledged experimentation from someone like, say, Vergano, and on the other hand less aggressively retro than a chinato from one of the Langhe traditionalists. It is, also, perhaps a bit surprising that it tastes so wine-like, considering wine is only a supporting player to sour cherries here. The result hits all the correct bitter, sweet, fruity, and vinous notes, and though the harmonies aren’t quite as contrapuntal or evocative as they might be, it’s a tasty little beverage for contemplative after-dinner sipping. (7/11)

Rovere good

Cascina Roera Vino da Tavola “La Rovere” (Piedmont) – Lot LR1, but I can locate no other indication – no matter how secretive, and VdT producers usually find some way to provide this information – of vintage. This is barbera, and I don’t just mean that it’s made from barbera, I mean it is barbera: sharp, violently red, yet precise rather than overwhelming. There’s a dusty minerality that may be about half dark evergreen herbality, but whichever it is it adds great character without dragging the wine into more serious realms than it is willing to enter. Really fabulous for its very simplicity, and the lack of striving for anything other than purity of expression is incredibly welcome. (7/11)

Don’t be nosi

Velenosi 2008 Lacrima di Morro d’Alba “Querci Antica” (Piedmont) – Lurid kabuki fruit. Squeezed and boiled-down boysenberries with a hint of quince, sweet but then not. I dunno. Lacrima is weird. (6/11)


Elio Perrone 2009 “Bigarò” (Piedmont) – A brachetto-moscato blend, which is kind of a goofily wonderful idea if it works. Which it does, mostly. Frothy strawberry, leaves, slushy orange blossom perfume, sweetness and foam. Nothing unexpected. It’s fun. Don’t ask questions. (9/10)