Browse Tag


Upright Piane

Coste Piane 2006 Prosecco “Tranquillo” (Veneto) – This grape seems to lend itself very well to representations other than the dominant one…so much so that I wonder if a lot more exploration along these lines might be beneficial. And just as fully dry sparkling Prosecco is often too parched and barren for its own good, so too do the barely-sparkling and still versions benefit from something that one can’t quite call sweet, but rather “soft”; they might call this sec-tendre in Vouvray (though I should note that I actually have no idea of the actual residual sugar level in this particular wine). Here there’s a yellowness that’s neither lemony nor stone-fruited, sun and freshness, and a kind, subtle nervosity about the meniscus that lends the wine just enough edge to avoid turning into a drinkable pillow. Yet there’s the dusty memory of earth, as well, and a little bit of crispness that clarifies. But no…these are too many words for this wine, whose pleasures are simpler than all this verbiage. (6/09)

That’s a lato sweet wine

[bottle]Maculan 2003 Breganze Torcolato (Veneto) – 375 ml. Very, very sweet peach and ambered pear, a little metal, a lot of baking spice, and the finishing impression of ultra-filtered maple syrup (that is, clearer than grade A light amber). Perhaps not as crisp as one would want, but still very appealing. (4/09)

Maculan 2003 Breganze Torcolato (Veneto) – 375 ml. See above, re: organoleptics. The wine’s a bit fat, or perhaps blowsy, which I suppose is a vintage artifact, and thus it lacks the nerve that, for me, has always set it slightly apart from and above the typical flaws of Sauternes-style wines (most specifically, Sauternes itself). This is not a wine to age…not that Maculan Torcolato benefits all that much from more than a few years’ aging in even the best vintages. (4/09)

Maculan 2003 Breganze Torcolato (Veneto) – 375 ml. Better than the previous two. The aromas are identical, but the structure is ever so slightly firmer, which really helps the wine’s form. Still, it will never be a great Torcolato. It will have to settle for being very good. (4/09)

Pasta Fasoli

[grapes]Fasoli Gino 2006 Bardolino “La Corte del Pozzo” (Veneto) – Headier than most Bardolino, without sacrificing the crisp edge of cool acidity and the bitter touch of skin that give the wine its essential character. Berries here are a mix of bright and dark, smelling as if freshly-crushed directly underneath one’s nose, with a brisk prickle and zip darting back and forth. Quite good. (2/09)

Come to Pipa

Castellani “Collezione Ca’ del Pipa” 2004 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” San Michele “Ripasso” (Veneto) – Corked. (1/09)

Anything you want, Rugate

[garganega grapes]ca’Rugate 2006 Soave Classico San Michele (Veneto) – More jagged than cohesive, showing more seams, cracks, and edges than is typical for this wine, its green plum, honeydew, and tart watermelon rind core are given the usual (for the appellation) dusting of powdered sugar in solution, though the wine doesn’t come of as more than anecdotally off-dry, and may in fact be analytically sugar-free. In a way, the discontinuities lend the wine appeal, but it’s not everything it could be. (1/09)

Righetti & meatballs

Righetti 2004 “Campolieti” Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” “Ripasso” (Veneto) – Starting to show the desiccated layer of rot that eventually dominates many of its Amarone uncles, but right now it’s just a pleasantly complexing element, alongside concentrated strawberry jam, and…well, OK, that’s it. It’s a highly drinkable Valpolicella…sluggable, slurpable, gluggable, and all those other words that turn wine into a children’s boxed juice drink…with a little edge (not just the dry rot, but also a prickle of heat), but I wouldn’t hold it any longer. (12/08)