Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

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Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:57 am

In about two weeks time, my wife and I are leaving by car to visit our daughter in Rome. As part of our journey I plan small detours to take in Umbria and Marche (the Marches), whose wines are up to now pretty much a closed book for me.

I doubt if I will have time to visit to visit more that one estate in Umbia and perhaps two in Marche and I would appreciate some advice.

In Umbria I would prefer to concentrate on the reds from the much praised Sagrantino, of which I have never owned a bottle. I have read a lot of praise about Caprai and Colpetrone and have visited their web sites. That of Caprai seems particularly good and he is well geared up for visitors. However I am a bit suspicious of producers like these whose wines garner 3 glasses from Gambero Rosso and 90+ scores from the usual suspects. Wines praised in those quarters tend to be very modern in style with huge extraction and a massive overlay of new oak as well as exorbitant prices. Can anyone help me here with advice on visiting less well known producers of Sagrantino who produce in a harmonious style and also with comments on the style of Caprai and Colpetrone?

I feel better informed about Marche because I have unearthed from the archives an extremely comprehensive visit and tasting report dating from 2001 written by Nerval. He thinks that Rosso Conero and Verdicchio can be wines of very high standard and quite good QPR compared with Tuscany and Umbria. (We will be staying strategically at the Monteconero hotel at Sirolo near Ancona.) Le Terazze (but no tastings at the winery in 2001), Moroder (not visited by Nerval), Umani Ronche (a large estate with a big range), Garofoli (another large estate), Bucci and Malacari all seem to be worth investigating, so the choice is difficult. Guidance here on estates and their wine styles would also be very welcome.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Oliver McCrum » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:56 pm

Tim,

I would say don't miss Verdicchio di Matelica, made in the foothills of the Appenines and usually crisper and more distinctive than the Castelli di Jesi examples.

Caprai is as you suspect, in my experience.

Don't miss the beach at Sirolo.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Tim York » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:27 pm

Thanks for that. I will look out for the Verdicchio di Matelica; it sounds the sort of white which I like. Gambero Rosso will help to identify estates which produce it and I have uneathed the address of an enoteca in Numana which apparently sells an extensive range of the local wines.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:56 pm

Recommend Enzo Mecella in Marche. Does things organically. Has good stuff at two or three price points. We have never been disappointed.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Charles Weiss » Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:33 pm

Tim,
Just back last night from trip to Tuscany.
The wine highlight for me was a visit to Paolo Bea in Umbria (Umbria). Always has been my favorite Sagrantino, much less international than Caprai.
Paolo's son Giampiero is the winemaker along with his father, and does tastings complete with light food made by his mother including the incredible olive oil they make. Costs euros but worth it (same is true of he wine IMHO). He's a very nice and passionate guy, with a very nonmanipulative (for example, we had a full tour of the new winery being built and it has entirely passive air circulation to avoid mechanical fans) and biodynamic philosphy. The wines may be too idiosyncratic for some, but I love them. Both dry and passito.

A link to someone else's experience since I don't have my thoughts/pictures together yet:

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/umbria/ck_wine_food.htm

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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Agostino Berti » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:33 pm

Tim,

I agree with you about producers like Caprai and Colpetrone. I find that often wines that are exported are made by overambitious producers who make spoofulated wines (first time I use that word) and pass on the large marketing expenses to the consumer.

Unfortunately, Umbria is far from where I live so I haven't explored it. I did blind taste a Paolo Bea Rosso once and it was bad, not corked, just bad, direct from the winery. His wines are very expensive. I've heard good things about Milziade Antano Sagrantino but I have not tasted the bottle given to me. He's a pretty small producer, 7 hectares. No website, no enologist.

A decent Italian site that reviews wines is Lavinium, you can click on the region and it gives you wine notes. It also gives addresses, etc.
http://www.lavinium.com/

I find that if you call ahead small wine producers in Italy are generally flattered to have someone, especially from across the seas, visit them. They also like to sell direct. Quite a few still sell only directly.

Just remembered, I had a 2001 Rocca di Fabbri Rosso which was very good for the price and also Adanti makes a good bottle of Sagrantino.

Hope this helps,
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Charles Weiss » Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:01 pm

Agostino,
Bea's wines are made in a very natural way. One consequence of that is that there may be more bottle variation than one would usually see. Nonetheless, I'd encourage you to take any opportunity to try another (preferably the Sangrantino di Montefalco secco, and the passito is also excellent). I'm told that 70% of the Bea wines are exported, and I didn't see one in an Italian wine shop though I saw other Montefalco wines.
Best,
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:31 am

Thanks for that advice, Charles and Agostino.

I will fire off an E-mail to one of those estates and perhaps Antonelli, of which i have heard good things.

Paolo Bea sounds just the sort of grower and wines which I like. This is a pity because the 30 EUR charge per person per visit is just the sort of Napa valley practice whose creeping onset on this continent we have to resist. I have never yet paid for a visit with tastings and often a long talk with the grower; and most of the few who advertise small charges (less than 10 EUR) are prepared to offset them against purchases. (I usually do buy a dozen or so assorted bottles but the grower does not know that in advance.)

However I have noticed that a lot of Italian wine villages, e.g. Monforte d'Alba, La Morra, Greve in Chianti, have excellent enoteche with a wide choice from the village's growers and beyond and, if Montefalco is no exception, I will try to pick up experimental bottles from estates which I do not visit and certainly Caprai and Bea.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:46 pm

I'm not sure, but WLDG member, Paulo is an avid booster of Italy and was in Umbria this summer. I don't know why he hasn't chimed in except that he is probably busy. Anyway, he may have pictures of his trip on his website. Check out the member list for Paulo and click his website. You may get all sorts of useful info. You can also look at his thread in the travel forum. You might even pm Paulo. He is an extremely nice guy and will probably give you reems of advice.
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Re: Advice, please, on visiting estates in Umbria and Marche (Rosso Conero)?

Postby Dave Erickson » Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:55 pm

I just pulled this from my Umbria notes from a visit two years ago:

GORETTI Pila, S.Da Del Pino, 4, Perugia.
Main contact: Stefano Goretti, winemaker. Stefano also gives technical lectures to area winemakers. He emphasizes that all the technology he uses is to reproduce what was done in the days before stainless temperature controlled tanks. Very late harvest still going on during our visit—crushing sangiovese grosso.

Wines:

Grechetto 2003, biodynamic production (“temperature control during fermentation is the only intervention”), maximum yield 3 kilos per vine—very low for a workhorse grape. Nose: Citrus, honeysuckle note, artichoke, grass. Palate: Light citrus. This was served very cold at tasting.

“Torre Del Pino” 2003, blend of grechetto, trebbiano, malvasia, aglianico. Carafe wine—undistinguished.

Chardonnay 2003 Colli Perugini DOC. Stainless steel fermentation and ageing. Nose: Pear, green apple. Palate: Apple, honey note. Dry finish.

“Il Moggio” 2003 late-harvest grechetto Umbria IGT. Aged 4 months in small oak barrels. Nose: Pear, almond, buttered popcorn. Palate: Cocoa butter, ripe Bartlett pear. Spice note on finish. Unusual first-class treatment for grechetto.

“Rosato Fontanella” 2003, blend of sangiovese, montepulciano, merlot. Nose: Candied fruit, strawberry. Palate: Tart strawberry. Short finish. Young and fresh.

“Rosso Fontanella” 2002, blend of sangiovese, merlot, and sagrantino. Nose: Milk chocolate, plum, cherry. Palate: A bit shy after promising nose, healthy acidity, firm tannins. Medium chocolate and spice finish.

“Arringatore” 2002 DOC Colli Perugini Rosso. Blend of sangiovese, merlot, and sagrantino, from best vines. Nose: Rich black cherry. Palate: Chocolate, cherry, good acidity, fine ripe tannins. Very dry finish.

“Le Mure Saracene” 1999 Sagrantino di Montefalco. Produced at DOC Montefalco holdings. 100% sagrantino. Nose: Cherry, blackberry, black pepper, earth, bitter chocolate. Palate: Cherry, chocolate, firm tannins, pronounced acidity. Long cherry and spice finish.



ADANTE ARQUATA, Bevagna
Main contact: Domenico Adante
Winemaker: Graziana Grassini

It took several telephone calls to get Domenico Adante to agree to a tasting. He insisted his wines were no good! As it turns out, he was partly correct.

Wines:

Arquata Grechetto Colli Martani DOC 2003, 100% grechetto. Distinct tang of oxidation.

Arquata Montefalco Rosso DOC 2002, blend of sangiovese, sagrantino, and merlot. Aged in Slavonian oak. Nose: Black cherry, chocolate, hint of mint. Palate: Red fruit, mild acidity, fierce tannins. Medium dry finish.

Arquata Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 1999, 100% sagrantino, aged three years in Slavonian oak. Nose: Cherry, chocolate, earth, not fully open. Palate: Rich, smooth milk chocolate, black cherry, fine tannins. Bitter almond on finish.

Arquata Rosso Dell'Umbria I.G.T. 2000, blend of cabernet, barbera (!), and merlot, aged in Slavonian oak and some bottle ageing. Nose: Rich black cherry, blackberry, forest floor. Palate: Cherry, plum, blackcurrant, Bordeaux-like quality, unobtrusive tannins, rich mouthfeel. Long sweet finish. Terrific! Not yet released.

ANTONELLI SAN MARCO, San Marco, 59, Montefalco
Contact: Manilo Erba, oenologist; Tiziano Maschio, wine technician.

Between 1998 and 2000, about 30 acres of new vines were planted. Total annual production now 170,000 bottles. All fermentation and vinification is gravity-fed; there are no pumps.

Wines:

Montefalco Rosso DOC 2001, 65% sangiovese, 15% sagrantino, 10% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, aged 9 months in French and Slavonian oak, 6 months bottle ageing. Nose: Black cherry, blackcurrant, kirsch. Palate: Cherry, chocolate. Warm kirsch-like finish.

Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC 2001, 70% sangiovese, 15% sagrantino, 15% cabernet sauvignon, aged 8 months in large toasted French oak barrels (Alliers, Nevers, and Troncais), then six months in small French and Slavonian oak barrels; 1 year bottle ageing. Unfined, unfiltered. Nose: Vanilla, some black cherry; a bit shy. Palate: Cherry, artichoke. Short finish.

Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2000, 100% sagrantino, aged six months in large French oak barrels, then 9 months in small French and Slavonian oak barrels; 6 months bottle ageing. Bottled in March 2004. Nose: Kirsch, chocolate note. Palate: Some cherry fruit. Medium cherry and allspice note on finish. Appearance note: This wine had a brown rim; it looks old.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito DOCG 2001, 100% sagrantino, grapes allowed to dry for 75 days; aged 12 months in Slavonian oak, then 16 months bottle ageing. Nose: Dark red fruit, honey note. Palate: Mouthfilling, honey, red fruit, hint of milk chocolate. Long honeyed finish.
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My Marche favourites

Postby Anders Källberg » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:09 pm

Tim, nice to hear that you are going to Marche. I have spent two very nice weeks of winetasting there. The last one in May this year as a judge in a wine competition and then we did in fact stay at Hotel Monteconero - a nice hotel with a magnificient view over the southern part of the March and also down to the mountains of Abruzzo, including the famous Gran Sasso. Their restaurant is very good too, in particular for fish and other seafood. In fact I did not eat anything else than seafood and pasta during the week I stayed there.
It is great that you managed to find Nerval's splendid report from his journey there. I used it extensively and successfully during my first visit, in September 2003 and I feel that his views in the report is still very much valid.

To give you my short list of which I would recommend you to visit, it is:

For Verdicchio, Bucci is for me clearly the no. 1, in partcular his splendid Riserva, with a restrained but complex style, coming from long storage time in large botti .Ampelio Bucci is a very nice person too. Be sure to give him my greetings if you go there, he might remember me if you tell him I am from Sweden.

The small family producer Brunori makes very good Verdicchio, in particular their "San Nicoló", which combines depth and complexity with a good freshness. Say hello to them too from me, if you go there.

Sartarelli is also good, with three levels of Verdicchi. The top level "Balciana" being late harvested and often Botrytis affected, but dry.

The coop Moncaro, has a very good range of wines, at very good prices too.

For (Rosso) Conero, I'd say Le Terrazze makes very good, if maybe a bit "internationally styled" wines at times. His (Antonio Terni's) "Visions of J" , only produced in good years, is exceptional, probably the best Rosso Conero I have tasted.

The visit at Malacari (Allessandro Starabba) was very nice and personal, but his wines maybe a bit colsed and difficult to assess.

Of wines other than these two main cathegories, one has to mention Oasi degli Angeli (Marco Casolanetti) and their single wine "Kurni". Many regard it as the best red wine produced in Marche, and I was indeed extremely impressed during my visit there. Ridiculously low yields and twice in new barriques give a supremely concentrated wine with surprisingly integrated oak and an unexpected elgance and stylishness. Another bottle I tasted at home was maybe a bit less exceptional, but still very good.

I also would like to mention the estate Le Caniette (Vagnoni family), high up near Ripatransone, a mountain village you really should try to visit, if only to quickly enjoy the magnificent view from there, and maybe to try to find what is said to be the most narrow street in the world. Le Caniette is a small family producer with a very good range of wines, rather modern in style.

That is what I remember a bit hastily right now. Don't hesitate to come back with any questions you might have to me.

Ciao e buon viaggio,
Anders

PS. BTW, how did you manage to find Nerval's article? I tried to search for it here and at the old WLDG, but in vain.
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Re: My Marche favourites

Postby Tim York » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:10 am

Thanks to you all for your generous advice.

Such riches brings to mind the observation "choice implies renunciation."

P.S. for Anders. I found the Nerval report in the old WLDG archive using, I think, Rosso Conero or perhaps Le Terrazze as key words.
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Re: My Marche favourites

Postby Anders Källberg » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:36 am

Thanks Tim. I tried searching for "Marche" but did not get Nerval's post in the reply. I'll try some more.

I, and probably also the others, would certainly appreciate a report after your journey.
Good luck!
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