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Don Appleton

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Don Appleton » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:53 pm

Bob,
Thanks for the welcome; I'm based in the Bethlehem PA area which is southeastern PA, not far from the NJ border, convenient for trips to Phila and NYC.

Tim,
I also like Orvieto Classico - I've found the ones I like best are those that have a relatively higher percentage of Grechetto in relation to Trebbiano; one I've had recently that I like is 2008 Ruffino Orvieto Classico ( 60% Grechetto) - available in PA for about $12.

Cheers!
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Tim York » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:06 am

Don Appleton wrote:
I also like Orvieto Classico - I've found the ones I like best are those that have a relatively higher percentage of Grechetto in relation to Trebbiano; one I've had recently that I like is 2008 Ruffino Orvieto Classico ( 60% Grechetto) - available in PA for about $12.


Don, the varietal composition of Le Velette's Lunato is as follows - Trebbiano 40%, Verdello 20%, Malvasia 5%, Grechetto 30%, Drupeggio 5%. The pure Grechetto which I bought near Montefalco was very good too but I can only find the succinct TN I made after my visit to the Adanti estate which scarcely does it justice because 6 bottles disappeared remarkably quickly -

Arquata Grechetto Colli Martani 2008 (€6) is fresh, smooth and delicate with bacon, apple and rose aromas; delicious for quaffing young; 15.5/20+QPR!
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Robert Helms

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robert Helms » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:24 pm

Tim York wrote: What Italian white wine types benefit from a few years ageing? Any views?


We drink a lot of Italian white since we have been spending half the year in italy and actually moved to Florence this past March. Most Italian whites do not really benefit from aging IMHO; a lot tolerate aging but most do not actually improve. Having said that, there are two wines that definitely improve with age: Verdiccio di Castel di Jesu and vin santo secco. I prefer my vin santo dolce relatively young (although the Italians seem to think it improves with age). But vin santo secco (which is hard to find in commercial distribution) will last and last and last. The better verdiccios are wines that really do improve with age; they develop depth, a honeyed quality and a smoothness and volume that is most attractive. Verdiccios start as quite tart and quite distinctly flavoured wines that can be a bit of an acquired taste. But put a few years on them and they improve materially. There are a lot of decent producers. I tend to prefer Villa Bucci, La Monachesca and Garofoli. The Villa Bucci and Monachesca Mirum are wines that improve for at least 20 years.

The other really attractive quality of these wines is that the base level is not very expensive; Garofoli Podium is 9 Euro a bottle.

The other wine that definitely improves with age is Valentini's Trebbiano. But I have never tasted a trebbiano from anyone else that had the same qualities.

Regards,

Robert
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Robin Garr

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:03 pm

Robert Helms wrote:The other wine that definitely improves with age is Valentini's Trebbiano. But I have never tasted a trebbiano from anyone else that had the same qualities.

Trebbiano di Lugano. We had some amazing examples from several producers during a visit to Lake Garda a few years ago.
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Bob Henrick

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:40 pm

Robert Helms wrote:


Hello Robert. We haven't seen much of you these past couple years, so welcome back. Now about aging Italian whites, Aging of course means different things to different people, but I do think the best fiano can go out to 5 years with very good storage. Greco, maybe 3 years. More than that both will quickly start to go over the hill, and will go pretty fast downhill. Verdicchios I have never held onto for long as they are so darn good young. If I could find the wines of which you speak, I would put away a couple for some time just to check it for myself. I can probably find the Verdicchio di Castel di Jesu, but am not sure of which producers. I am sure I can find a couple better Soave wines locally, and probably some Trebbiano, but not sure (again) on producers. I now have some hunting to do.
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Don Appleton

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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Don Appleton » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:17 pm

I also enjoy Verdicchio; my favorite would be Brunori San Nicolo Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico. This is a wine with some structure and medium+ body with a wonderful nutty finish. As it ages it develops complex layers of aromas and textures although it is also delicious young. This wine may be generally hard to locate, I
get mine at Moore Bros. in NJ. for about $17.
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Speaking of Verdicchio ...

by Robin Garr » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:05 pm

Here's a recent report ...

Umani Ronchi 2008 "Exclamation Point" Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico ($13)

Clear straw color with glints of white; just a hint of a greenish brassy hue. Aromatic melon and floral scents, something on the heady side like gardenias. Textured and rich on the palate, with mouth-watering acidity to perk up the palate for food. White fruit and a touch of almond carries into a long, clean finish. A rational 12% alcohol enhances its drinkability, and lemon-squirt acidity makes it a natural with seafood and fish. U.S. importer: Bedford International, Larchmont, N.Y. (July 2, 2010)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with all manner of shellfish and white, firm-fleshed ocean fish, servicable with poultry, veal or pork. It was a natural match with (and ingredient in) linguine with white clam sauce.

VALUE: A fine value in the lower teens, .

PRONUNCIATION: "Verdicchio de Castelli dei Jesi" = "Vehr-DEEK-k'yo deh Cahs-TELL-lee day-ee Yehs-ee"

WEB LINKS: Here's the importer's fact sheet on Umani Ronchi and its wines.
http://www.winesfrombedford.com/supplie ... ronchi.php
To view the Italian Trade Center's info page on Verdicchio Castelli dei Jesi, click here.
http://www.italianmade.com/wines/doc10303.cfm

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Find vendors and compare prices for Umani Ronchi "Exclamation Point" Verdicchio on Wine-Searcher.com.
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Umani ... g_site=WLP
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robert Helms » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:57 pm

Bob Henrick wrote: Aging of course means different things to different people, but I do think the best fiano can go out to 5 years with very good storage. Greco, maybe 3 years. More than that both will quickly start to go over the hill, and will go pretty fast downhill. Verdicchios I have never held onto for long as they are so darn good young. If I could find the wines of which you speak, I would put away a couple for some time just to check it for myself. I can probably find the Verdicchio di Castel di Jesu, but am not sure of which producers. I am sure I can find a couple better Soave wines locally, and probably some Trebbiano, but not sure (again) on producers.


Bob,

My wife thinks I ought to spend a bit more time here and less time talking wine to her. :wink:

With the exception of Moscato d'Asti, most Italian white wines will stick around for 3-5 years. I have some 2005 Soave from several producers (Pieropan, Inama, Gini) that is still excellent and a few bottles left of Gini Salvarenza Soave 2000 that is fine. But the issue is whether these wines really improve with age. A couple of years seems to help but that is it and thereafter one is happy just for maintenance. But Verdiccios and certain Trebbianos definitely evolve into something different and more interesting than the young wine.

We forgot about all the Italian chardonnays, many of which do improve with some time in bottle.

Regards,

Robert
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:14 pm

Robert, back in '07 I found several bottles of 1999 Aldo Conterno chardonnay called Printaine which had been DEEPLY discounted. I bought a bottle of it (about $10) and brought it home. Next day I pulled the cork, and went back for the rest. At eight years it was just hitting it's stride, and could have (I am sure) held for another 8 or more. Are you familiar with this wine at all? I drank the 6-8 bottles over the next year, and given the full price cost, I haven't gone back, but would probably buy 1-2 now if I could find it for <$40. You could read on this wine here (if you would care to)

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8680&start=0&hilit=Conterno
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robert Helms » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:41 am

Bob,

I have never had (or even seen) Aldo Contorno's chardonnay but, since he is one of my favorite Piedmont producers and I like almost all of his other wines, I am not surprised that his chardonnay was a winner. FWIW, his wines seem to be exceptionally ageworthy. I bought a few bottles of his 1997 Barbera here in Florence a couple of years ago (and Barberas are not commonly thought to be 10 year wines) that were simply spectacular with the weight, flavour profile and length of a great syrah or Barolo. Seems weird as I write it but the wine was all leather, dark fruits and some spice. I had the last bottle perhaps last year (at 12) and it had lost a half step from the earlier bottles.

But there are lots of other Italian chardonnays that are attractive, mostly in a very "New World", over-oaked way: Monsanto, Felsina I Sistri and many others. Most Tuscan (and Umbrian) producers make at least some chardonnay. The best regarded is probably Antinori Cervaro della Sala from Umbria and Gaja's Gaia & Rey from Piedmont. The Cervaro della Sala is very reliable and is a very nice wine; however, I have never really been convinced that it is worth the money. The same comment applies in spades to Gaia & Rey which is considerably more expensive and which I like slightly less than the Cervaro della Sala (as a generalisation). The nose of the Gaia & Rey has generally outperformed the taste; the nose can be as compelling as a great white burgundy, a Montrachet, but the taste has always to me seemed washed out by comparison.

Regards,

Robert
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Christian Vendramin » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:06 pm

Hello, my name is Christian and I'm from Italy.
I hope to be welcome. :D

Best Italian white wwines I have ever tasted:

Chardonnay Riserva 1991 Gravner (all the Gravner's 1991s are great: Ribolla Gialla, Bianco, etc)
Gaia & Rey 1989 Gaja (but it has not minerality like a Montrachet)
Trebbiano 1996 Valentini (Is Valentini's Trebbiano the best italian white? Maybe)

Generally I like these:
Langhe bianco - Vajra (it's a riesling)
Vorberg Riserva - Terlano
Soave Classico Froscà - Gini
Terre Alte Rosazzo Bianco - Livio Felluga
Fiano di Avellino "Vigna della Congragazione" - Villa Diamante
Valle Isarco Riesling "Kaiton" - Kuenhof
Sorry, I'm italian...
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robert Helms » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:36 pm

Christian,

You are indeed welcome!

Both Gravner and Jermann have to be included in the list of Italian whites that age well. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with both producers. On the one hand, I appreciate the intensity of flavour, the individuality, the craftsmanship; on the other, the specific flavour profiles tend not to push my buttons. I tend to find Gravner's whites to have an oxidised quality. Jermann's tend to be really quite acid and lean. And I guess I prefer my whites a bit on the plumper but less sherried side. I sometimes wonder if I just haven't had the right wine on the right day.

The vintages I have had of Gaia and Rey are later, mid to late 90s. While I certainly agree that Gaia & Rey lacks the minerality (on the palate) of a Montrachet; it tends to have a wonderful rich nose. You could argue it is more Meursault than Montrachet but the closest nose that comes to mind is Sauzet PM Les Combettes. The problem is that the palate does not deliver what the nose promises.

We probably drink more Soave than any other Italian region. As noted before, my favorites producers are Pieropan, Inama, Pra, Gini, Suavia, Roccolo Grassi, Angelino Maule (Gambellara). We also drink a certain amount of everyday whites from central Italy. Pomino Bianco and Vermentino from Frescobaldi. The Guado al Tasso Vermentino. Castello di Ama's al Poggio and Rosato (a pink but so what :wink: ). Fontana Candida Frascati especially the single vineyard version but the base is drinkable and cheap.

The area that I know produces a lot of good whites and which I neglect is the whole Friuli & Collio & Alto Adige parts of the Veneto.

Regards,

Robert
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:38 pm

Sydney X wrote:Hello, my name is Christian and I'm from Italy.
I hope to be welcome. :D

Best Italian white wwines I have ever tasted:

Chardonnay Riserva 1991 Gravner (all the Gravner's 1991s are great: Ribolla Gialla, Bianco, etc)
Maia & Rey 1989 Gaja (but it has not minerality like a Montrachet)
Trebbiano 1996 Valentini (Is Valentini's Trebbiano the best italian white? Maybe)

Generally I like these:
Langhe bianco - Vajra (it's a riesling)
Vorberg Riserva - Terlano
Soave Classico Froscà - Gini
Terre Alte Rosazzo Bianco - Livio Felluga
Fiano di Avellino "Vigna della Congragazione" - Villa Diamante
Valle Isarco Riesling "Kaiton" - Kuenhof


Christian, please allow me to add my welcome to Roberts. I have copied the wines you cited, and will look for them in my location. I was wondering though if you would consider telling us a little about yourself, and your history with wine. Thanks, and welcome.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Robin Garr » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:03 pm

Sydney X wrote:Hello, my name is Christian and I'm from Italy.
I hope to be welcome. :D

Christian, you are very welcome, and we are glad you're here!

However, we seem to have got something mixed up with your forum user name. We like to use real names here, so since it appears that your name is not "Sydney X," can we work together to change that? :)

If you'll tell me your last name, I'll be happy to re-set your forum name to match your real name. If you prefer, we can use your first name and last initial, although first and last name is best.

Edit: Thanks to Jenise and to the newly monikered "Christian V" for quickly sorting this out. And another welcome to Christian, who we're delighted to have with us.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:05 pm

WTN: `08 Tedeschi Soave Classico, Veneto.

$18 Cdn, 100% Garganega, good natural cork. Lot #4.

I first tasted this vintage early last winter and was highly impressed at the time. The wine has quite a following in my area as it seems to fly off the shelf. Tedeschi is on a roll right now and the reds are superb....Amarone, Valpolicella.

Nice aromas of pear and melon plus citrus as it warmed up. Color was a deep straw, verging on light yellow. The wine has softened up since purchase 6 months ago but has good acidity and fair complexity. Maybe a little sweet for some with apple, pear and peach. I expected something drier so might have to look elsewhere? Nicely made however.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by michael dietrich » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:10 pm

So I opened a bottle of Antonelli Grechetto Colli Martani 2006 from Montefalco DOC. I really like this wine for its subdued stone fruit and mineral character. It goes well with pasta dishes and chicken. I think that 2009 is the most current release. This is a great warm weather sipper. I do sell wine for a living.
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Christian Vendramin » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:12 am

Robert Helms wrote:Christian,

You are indeed welcome!


Thank you Robert

Robert Helms wrote:Both Gravner and Jermann have to be included in the list of Italian whites that age well. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with both producers. On the one hand, I appreciate the intensity of flavour, the individuality, the craftsmanship; on the other, the specific flavour profiles tend not to push my buttons. I tend to find Gravner's whites to have an oxidised quality. Jermann's tend to be really quite acid and lean. And I guess I prefer my whites a bit on the plumper but less sherried side. I sometimes wonder if I just haven't had the right wine on the right day.


I agree but remember that Gravner has changed his way to make wine a lot of time. Now he uses anphoras and all whites are a little bit oxidised. I don't like his wines made after 1997 and I generally prefer his reds (Rujno is fantastic!). But his 1991 whites are incredible. If you find them, take them!

And I don't like Jermann even if old Vintage tuninas are no bad.

Robert Helms wrote:The vintages I have had of Gaia and Rey are later, mid to late 90s. While I certainly agree that Gaia & Rey lacks the minerality (on the palate) of a Montrachet; it tends to have a wonderful rich nose. You could argue it is more Meursault than Montrachet but the closest nose that comes to mind is Sauzet PM Les Combettes. The problem is that the palate does not deliver what the nose promises.


True. But for me the problem of Gaia & Rey is that it is over oaked (woody, I don't know how to say). 1996 has this problem even if it is very rich (1996 in piemonte is a grat vintage) and also the 1998 (palate really thin).

Robert Helms wrote:We probably drink more Soave than any other Italian region. As noted before, my favorites producers are Pieropan, Inama, Pra, Gini, Suavia, Roccolo Grassi, Angelino Maule (Gambellara). We also drink a certain amount of everyday whites from central Italy. Pomino Bianco and Vermentino from Frescobaldi. The Guado al Tasso Vermentino. Castello di Ama's al Poggio and Rosato (a pink but so what :wink: ). Fontana Candida Frascati especially the single vineyard version but the base is drinkable and cheap.


Soave: I don't like barrels so I prefear Froscà rathet then Salvarenza or Calvarino rather then La Rocca (1998 is goooood).
I don't love Roccolo Grassi's Amarone but his Soave is good. And I love Ca Rugate Monte Fiorentine (very mineral, the grapevines grow in vulcanic land).
Sorry, I'm italian...
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Jenise » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:13 pm

Don Appleton wrote:Hello,
I'm new to this board, been active on some other boards for several years. I'm a wine educator in the Lehigh Valley PA area and Italian wines is one of my favorite topics to teach and talk about, so this is a great thread. Some of my favorite whites would be -
Almondo Arneis Bricco delle Cigliege 2009
Jermann Vinnae 2007 (Ribolla Gialla)
Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino 2005
Terredora “Loggio della Serra” Greco di Tufo 2008


Don, first of all, welcome to WLDG. Secondly, you mention a wine I'm going to report on. Well, you mention an 05 where mine was an 04, but last weekend we opened:

2004 Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino
This is our first Calvarino after motoring through a six pack of the 2004 Peiropan La Rocca over the last six months--a wine we adored and which did not prepare us adequately for it's stocky little brother. That is, the La Rocca had a sweetness to its fruit where the Calvarino is bone dry and a bit blunt, utterly unlike Soave I've ever had. No notes taken at the time, but as I remember itm deep gold with notes of almond, dried apricots, celery, and slate. It took some getting used to and would likely do it's best work as a food wine, but for sipping (which was our circumstance) it doesn't offer the pleasure the La Rocca did.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:12 pm

Jenise wrote:Don, first of all, welcome to WLDG. Secondly, you mention a wine I'm going to report on. Well, you mention an 05 where mine was an 04, but last weekend we opened:

2004 Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino
This is our first Calvarino after motoring through a six pack of the 2004 Peiropan La Rocca over the last six months--a wine we adored and which did not prepare us adequately for it's stocky little brother. That is, the La Rocca had a sweetness to its fruit where the Calvarino is bone dry and a bit blunt, utterly unlike Soave I've ever had. No notes taken at the time, but as I remember itm deep gold with notes of almond, dried apricots, celery, and slate. It took some getting used to and would likely do it's best work as a food wine, but for sipping (which was our circumstance) it doesn't offer the pleasure the La Rocca did.


Jenise,

A few days ago I tried an inexpensive 2007 Amano Soave Classico that pretty much was spot on for what you are saying about the Pieropan Calvarino Soave. The Amano was a 2007 (which is probably pushing the envelope for a cheapie). Your mentioning of celery is exactly the feature that put me off on it. Like you I had it as a sipper and that was over 3 days. It was better on the third day, but not enough better for me to try another, Or maybe I should try it with something like chicken pot pie?
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Jenise » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:36 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:A few days ago I tried an inexpensive 2007 Amano Soave Classico that pretty much was spot on for what you are saying about the Pieropan Calvarino Soave. The Amano was a 2007 (which is probably pushing the envelope for a cheapie). Your mentioning of celery is exactly the feature that put me off on it. Like you I had it as a sipper and that was over 3 days. It was better on the third day, but not enough better for me to try another, Or maybe I should try it with something like chicken pot pie?


Bob, I've never had your producer, so can't compare, but what I'd love to have mine with would be something that would play to this wine's minerality and intensity. It's very big and rich (characteristics I should have mentioned) and a dish like linguine a la vongole might be an interesting match. I have five more bottles, so we'll find out soon.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Michael K » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:55 pm

Christian Vendramin wrote:Hello, my name is Christian and I'm from Italy.
I hope to be welcome. :D


Best Italian white wwines I have ever tasted:

Chardonnay Riserva 1991 Gravner (all the Gravner's 1991s are great: Ribolla Gialla, Bianco, etc)

Christian, I'm a big fan of Gravner's wines and have more than a few bottles waiting for me. It's one of those wines that I go to and pull out to give to wine knowledgeable people and then I sit back and watch their reaction. I know that it is not liked by everyone but I love that challenging flavor, so focused, so singularly his. It's was sad that his son passed away last year and I'm hoping that he passes his wine knowledge down to others that will carry the torch for him.

Also, his wines are getting very difficult to source in the North East. Apparently I bought the last of the bottles from the importer that last time I asked for this and it's been a couple of vintages since. Hope to find another source soon.

For value drinking, I like Cavallotto's Chardonnay's/ Around $15 a btl, they are great value and in my opinion, have much character to them. I like their reds for the same reasons.

Mike
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Christian Vendramin » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:47 am

Jenise wrote:
2004 Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino
This is our first Calvarino after motoring through a six pack of the 2004 Peiropan La Rocca over the last six months--a wine we adored and which did not prepare us adequately for it's stocky little brother. That is, the La Rocca had a sweetness to its fruit where the Calvarino is bone dry and a bit blunt, utterly unlike Soave I've ever had. No notes taken at the time, but as I remember itm deep gold with notes of almond, dried apricots, celery, and slate. It took some getting used to and would likely do it's best work as a food wine, but for sipping (which was our circumstance) it doesn't offer the pleasure the La Rocca did.


I tasted last 2004 Calvarino two years ago and i remeber it citrus and mineral. Dried apricot makes me think that bottle has had not a good evolution. For sure Calvarino has not the "fatness" adn "sweetness" of La Rocca, but this is the reason I prefer it.
Sorry, I'm italian...
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Don Appleton » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:43 am

In a previous post I mentioned the Compania wine Terrodora Greco di Tufo DOCG - very different from the northern Italian whites in aroma and palate characteristics, I like the full body earthy nature of this wine with a reasonable acidity backbone as well. How do others feel about this wine?
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Re: Wine Focus: Italian whites in July!

by Bob Henrick » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:58 am

Don Appleton wrote:In a previous post I mentioned the Compania wine Terrodora Greco di Tufo DOCG - very different from the northern Italian whites in aroma and palate characteristics, I like the full body earthy nature of this wine with a reasonable acidity backbone as well. How do others feel about this wine?


Don, I too am a big fan of the Terradora whites. I especially like their Fiano, Greco, and Falanghina. These are all (IMO) bigger wines than most Pinot Grigio from the north. They are full bodied wines (especially the Fiano and Greco). I like the aromatics as well as the flavors, especially the nutty (almonds?) quality I usually find. However,these wines are about to price themselves out of what I am willing to pay. In my area they are $30 for the Fiano, and $25 for the Greco.
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