(2022) An unusual cross-regional blend from Abruzzo (Montepulciano and Sangiovese) and Puglia (Primitivo and Negroamaro) that sees ageing in both French and American oak. Dark and saturated, with a vinous, dark cherry and plum character, a classy touch of oak adding some spice and cocoa. Very pure and ripe fruit, supple and plush, the tannins are fine and chocolaty, the cherry-ripe acidity balances, in a very classy wine at an attractive price.
(2020) From Abruzzo in the east of Italy, Pecorino has seen something of a revival in the last decade or so, but much of it quite cheap and cheerful stuff, made in large volumes: highly quaffable, if undistinguished. The Tiberio family's Pecorino is a bit different, from a single hillside vineyard planted on clay, fruit from the 20-year-old vines is fermented with wild yeasts and winemaker Cristiana Tiberio strives for balance, freshness and authenticity. This wine offers an invigorating blast of intense citrus on nose and, especially, palate, as decisive as any higher-acid brisk and bracing style, but there is also delicacy, some white flowers on the nose, the wild yeast adding complex nutty and lightly earthy characters, but the bone-dry fruit and acid axis driving to the end of a terrific, if uncompromising wine.
(2018) The great red grape of Abruzzo, in this rendition both creamy and strawberry ripe on the nose, but also with darker black fruit notes and a hint of tobacco spice. This has delicious creaminess on the palate (It surely must see a little oak?) a touch of mint that is cool and fresh, but again it is that ripe black cherry, slicked with a soft brush of vanilla, that leads on to a very delicious finish. Another great all-rounder at a very good price indeed.
(2018) A selection of the base wines that Toni thinks have the greatest capacity to age. 42 months in bottle for this wine, made from the three Cava grapes plus 25% Chardonnay, and only 6g/l dosage. Deep and nettly, bready aromas, with a wonderful development giving nuttiness and toast in the mouth, a broad sense of richness, the finish complex and layered. Stockist and price quoted at time of review are for the 2011 vintage.
(2017) A non-vintage wine from organically certified vineyards in Abbruzzo, 100% Montepulciano, and the estate lying in a national park were wolves - lupi - have been sighted amongst the vines. It has quite a deep garnet-hued pink colour with bold cherry aromas. It's so different from so many Provence and Provence lookalikes, vinous with a hint of prune or currant. In the mouth there's a lightly oxidised feel to this. Not having tasted it before I am not sure if that is an intentional part of its style, but it's bottled under screwcap, so I imagine it is. It's dry, balanced, but lacking a little fresh fruitiness arguably.
(2015) Montepulciano is the grape variety for this wine coming from Eastern central Italy, unoaked and weighing in with 13% alcohol. It has a sleek and pretty black cherry and plum nose, with a little tobacco, before a palate that is, I suppose, a slight let-down: it is soft and quaffable enough but a bit thin, however it does have the cherry acids and freshness that will appeal to Italian fans, and is understandably fairly simple at the price.
(2008) This special 600th anniversary bottling of Montepulciano celebrates the castle where Farnese estate barrel matures its top reds. The best grapes from Farnese's high-altitude vineyards were very gently pressed, followed by extended ageing in barriques. Laithwaites says only a "tiny parcel" of this special cuvée is available. The colour is dramatically deep, and the nose follows suit with a deep well of plum, chocolate and smoky tobacco, swirling with a juicy black fruit character, but plenty of spice too. On the palate this is very nicely styled, with a really savoury, dry, grown-up structure, where the mineral and crisp-edge black fruit is supported by plenty of damson skin tang and a solid tannin and acid framework. Long, lithe and elegant yet with considerable power.
(2006) Bright, paint-boxy, cherry fruit. Bright and focused, with a juicy cherry skin fruitiness. Nice acidity and freshness.
(2001) Creamy, sweet, oaky overlay. Rich and full nose - almost Chardonnay-like, with bold lemon fruit. On the plate there is more citrus and a peach kernel/nutty edge. Fine acidity lending balance into a long, full finish.
(1998) Concentrated, spicy nose with subtle hints of cinnamon and cloves. An intriguing spice-box of aromas. Unusual palate with a very sour, plum-skin roughness and high acidity. Italian? Reminds of tinned Italian tomatoes - which is a problem - but I think there is class and plenty of interest. Drink or hold,