Browse Tag



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)


Romano Levi Grappa (Piedmont) – A “little girl” label on this one. I think most would call this fruity, but I’m not sure that’s it…the “fruit” is somewhat impressionistic, or perhaps even abstract. Not cubist. It roils with tactile complexity, as much textural as aromatic, and despite the typically cauldronesque warmth of grappa, there’s so much to both the texture and the aromatics that the heat goes almost unnoticed. Until later, at least. Definitely on the richer, more luxuriant side of Levi grappas, yet what’s most surprising is that this isn’t expressed alongside concomitant gravity, but instead with delicious weightlessness. Succulent and, reviewed in summary, majestic. (5/10)


Cappellano 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba Gabutti (Piedmont) – Where do I start with the flaws? I’ll need extra ink. I don’t know if the problem is with the wine, the shipment, or just this bottle. But pretty much everything except refermentation and TCA that could go wrong with this wine, has gone wrong. Yuck. (6/10)

Roagna, Roagna, Roagna your boat

Roagna 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Starts off difficult and overstructured, though of course this is a very early moment to be drinking such a wine. A lot of air and…well, the tannin doesn’t subside, but the acidity shows a little brighter, and the dark, chewy fruit lumbers into the background. This is by any measure a heavy, muscular wine, and it will require a fair number of years to peel away the layers of difficulty. (6/10)


Le Piane 1984 Boca (Piedmont) – Clinging. Sharp acidity and dusty, brown, eroded roses with alpine minerality and thin shafts of bone sticking out everywhere. This was probably better a little while ago, but there’s still quite a bit of life to it. It’s just a creaky, arthritic life. (6/10)

If Ulivi now

Bellotti “Cascina degli Ulivi” 2006 Monferrato Bianco “Montemarino” (Piedmont) – Semi-oxidative and deliciously so, bringing wax, rinds, peels, and light green herbs together in a heady-yet-light broth. (5/10)

Pora me

Produttori del Barbaresco 1996 Barbaresco Pora “Riserva” (Piedmont) – A recent purchase. Citrus, chalky tannins, gravel soup, and old woods harboring a memory of animal inhabitants long passed. (Not “old wood.” Old woods. Like an elderly forest.) A little worse for its wear. Intact bottles could be better, and if so perhaps not yet ready. (5/10)

Enrico Caluso

Ferrando Erbaluce di Caluso “Cuveè del Fondatore” (Piedmont) – Sparkling…and yes, that’s really how they print the accent on the label. Dark-fruited for a white sparkler, with the expected herbs. Bitter, fierce, and wild. Not easy to like…but nonetheless, I do, very much. I think. (5/10)

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)