These are notes from a small gathering at King Fung in Boston's Chinatown about two weeks ago.
2005 Cooperativa Agricoltura di Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza e Monterosso Cinque Terre Blanc. Charles brought this back with him from his recent trip to Italy. A blend of Bosco (60%), Vermentino and Albarola (40%). The wine is rather pale colored and has a crisp fresh nose of wet pebbles, pear, seashells and peach pit. It’s vibrant in the mouth with lemon/lime and peach flavors on a light to medium-bodied frame. The acidity is pleasing, and the finish is clean and dry with a bit of spice kicking in.
2005 Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis. The color is pale gold, with a bright sheen. It presents a very appealing bouquet of white flowers, peaches, delicious apples, lemon peel and chalk. It displays beautiful balance in the mouth, with nicely-weighted citrus and pit fruits over a medium-bodied frame. There is a gentle tang to the long chalky finish.
2004 Weingut Vollenweider Riesling Kabinett Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wolfer Goldgrube. This wine has a citrusy nose, with fresh hay and pears, but it is in the mouth where it really shines. There is a lovely off-dry entry with excellent balancing acidity. The mid-palate shows much more than Kabinett-level weight and thrust, with mouthfilling luscious sweet tangerine and grapefruit. It has excellent presence throughout, with a good lengthy finish.
2002 Paolo Bea Rosso de Veo Vino de Tavola. 70% Sagrantino, 15% Montepulciano, 15% Sangiovese. This is a very nice wine from the difficult 2002 vintage. The header on the label translates to something like “Difficult but Surprising”—I guess summarizing Bea’s feelings about this vintage and this wine. The color is a bit brownish-red. The nose displays elements of autumn undergrowth, dark cherries and mixed wild berries. Later on, some anise notes can be discerned, as well. It is medium-bodied with solid acidity, sporting earthy flavors and exotic spices, with warm red berries and cocoa coming to the fore the longer it sits in the glass. It turns a touch angular in the finish, but overall I found it quite pleasurable.
1994 Isole e Olena Toscana Cepparello. Ruby-colored, showing some browning. The nose opens up a bit dusty but soon turns to old leather luggage, fall leaves, and dried red fruits. In the mouth, there are appealing flavors of dried cherries, red berries and soft spices over a medium-sized frame. There might be a bit too much acidity poking out and there’s not a ton of structure, but there are still some grippy tannins on the dry finish. As one taster commented, it is in a state of “lively decay” that is appealing now, but it won’t likely last much longer.
1996 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro (Manzano) Syrah Cortona Podere Il Bosco. On the other hand, here is a wine that tastes like it needs many more years of development. It is dark ruby/purple in color, with a lot of cracked black pepper and dark fruits on the nose. On day two, some new shoe leather and dark chocolate come through, as well. In the mouth, it is full-bodied, with big tannins and a chalky mouthfeel. Flavors of cool black fruits, dark chocolate, cracked peppercorns, bacon fat and wood. Again, it is really young, and on day 2 it hadn’t budged much at all, though it became much more pleasurable when paired up with the sweetness and bacon elements found in a dish baked beans. A nice serendipitous pairing!
1996 Gaja Langhe Sitorey. Barbera. Dark purple color. Sweet dark fruits, caramel and incense in the nose, this is rounded in the mouth with good fruit intensity and solid acidity. Flavors of plum, blackberries, brown spices and espresso grounds lead into a juicy finish sporting charming but prevalent tannins. I would give this another few years.
2000 Eric Texier Cotes du Rhone Brezeme. Dark ruby color, with aromas of white pepper, rubber, black fruits and dark varnished wood. In the mouth, there is super-duper acidity that made my whole face pucker. That acidity just obliterates everything else right now. I guess there are some dark fruits there but my mouth is puckering right now just thinking about this one…