(2021) An an alpine Chardonnay, weighing in with 14% alcohol by volume, there's a fairly obvious oak influence here, giving a wisp of Jack Daniels on the nose, but the balance of white fruit and freshness from these vineyards at 500– to 550-metres altitude is good. It was fermented and aged for 11 months in Bordeaux barriques, but then a further 22 months ageing on the lees in steel. On the palate there's interplay between juicy orange and peach, quite a full texture, with a fat waxy lemon quality, and again, good balancing acidity in a fairly grippy, serious style.
(2021) Most assuredly a Pinot Grigio that marches to a very different beat from your 'average' northern Italian example. This is a powerful, concentrated wine of texture, opening with white fruit, melon rind and peppery aromas, and striking the palate with real authority. I guess 14% ABV helps that, as does some oak ageing, but really it does show that skinny, leesy grip on the palate and the concentrated fruit that is much more 'Gris' than 'Grigio', with a broad chewy texture of fruit, extract and a even a touch of tannin. Besides that, however, the freshness and acid balance is excellent making this a gastronomic treat too. The best Pinot Grigio from Italy that I have tasted? Possibly, yes.
(2021) This is an excellent Pinot Noir from the Cantina Tramin. From two of their highest vineyards at over 450-metres altitude, it is fermented in large oak casks and aged in a combination of small French barrels and big oak casks for a further 18 months. It has a beautifully composed nose, with a warm cherry and red plum fruit spiced with tobacco and Sandalwood, an expressive beetroot earthiness adding depth. On the palate that juxtaposition of sweet and fleshy fruit with spicy structural tannins and pert acidity gives lovely balance, a full and rich wine, but with an edge that keeps the interest through the long finish.
(2020) From a vineyard planted in 1975, this is mainly Carricante with small percentages of other local varieties. Though unoaked, five months sur lie with regular batonnage builds texture and aroma, focused on lemon and crunchy red apples, but with a hint of ozone and of something more ripe and peachy too. Any suggestion of peach is soon blown away on the palate, which streaks with vivid lemon and salts, and although there is very good texture adding mouthfeel and creaminess, its that energising thrust of citrus and salinity that drives the long, focused finish. Price and stockist quoted at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2020) Giovanni Rosso's Etna red is mostly Nerello Mascalese, with small amounts of other local varieties. It is matured in French oak barrels of various sizes. The colour shows a little tawny on the rim, but it is quite ripe and smoothly solid on the nose, a little wisp of exotic, incense-like smokiness and firm black and red fruits. In the mouth the game and truffle character is more pronounced, but there's a piercing freshness about this, a zest of orange or kumquat bitterness, small, firm berries and plenty of spices too. It's a solid and powerful wine, and yet has agility too. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2020) From younger vines (planted in 2011) in the same Vigna Rionda vineyard that supplies the top Vigna Rionda Barolo, this is aged in large barrels of oak from the Fontainebleau forest for 12 months. Fine, pale colour, and a lovely delicate strawberry and raspberry note to the herbs and forest floor spices on the nose. Some floral top notes just developing. In the mouth it is structured, cool and correct: fairly tightly wound at this youthful stage, the surge of acdity through the mid-palate to join the fruit, and the taut, very fine tannins, giving lots of tension and linear focus. The spices, the hints of game and truffle, are just starting to develop, but it remains cool and elegantly concentrated and intense into the finish. Needs time.
(2020) Named after the colour of the evening sky above the estate (indigo), this is a blend of equal parts Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, fermented with indigenous yeasts and spending 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% of which were new. It has a deep, saturated and vibrant colour. The nose is really very appealing, with incense and Sandalwood, a deep seam of blueberry and blackcurrant, and a touch of meatiness. In the mouth a surge of sweet, ripe, fleshy damson plum and blueberry bittersweet fruit, the oak just adding a chocolate and coffee sheen, but it is in the background, the polished, plush fruit pushing through against creamy tannins and balanced acidity. A terrific Bordeaux-style wine this, with an agile Itilianate acidity, and drinking beautifully now though worthy of cellaring for a decade or more. Price and stockists quoted at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2020) Lovely pale colour, and an attractive, quite mineral nose, nutty, stony and truffle, then a more exotic spiciiness comes through, toffee apple and red fruit. In the mouth it is warming, tobacco-rich and very nicely fruited, the ripe cherry and raspberry supported by the creaminess and smoothness of the suede-like tannins. Stylish.
(2019) After heavy spring rains the summer was almost ideal, with dry days and significant day-night temperature differentials to ensure balanced, concentrated berries. The Sangiovese and Merlot was harvested with a low yield of 28 hl/ha, and ageing once again for 24 months in 85% new French oak barriques. Back slightly more onto the firm, taut, precise black fruit style, sveltee and glossy with a slightly balsamic note too, and though juicy and with that tangy sour cherry to the acids, just a little less giving than the 2014.
(2019) Meaty, dense stuff on the nose, with that concentrated, dry graphite character. From a limestone vineyard I visite, the palate has real meatiness, dry, touched with coffee and a little game. Real firmness here, a savoury umami grip and bit of muscle and sinew to the tannin and acid framework, plenty of chewiness here, but once again really good freshness. Should cellar for a decade plus.