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What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:42 pm

(I'm considering Pinot Grigio an Italian variety, which is a liberty, I know.)

Barbera? Vermentino? Something more exotic?
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Robin Garr » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:54 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Barbera? Vermentino? Something more exotic?


I started to say that I'd love it if it could be Sagrantino, but then they'd have to ramp up production and turn it from a delightful rarity into a sucky factory product, so let's pretend we're not having this conversation, okay?
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Bill Hooper » Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:00 pm

If you mean 'succesfully grown' here, as in CA, WA, OR or elsewhere, I'd ask the question: When have Italian varieties ever been successful on U.S. soil? Maybe it's just preference, but my Nebbiolo better be Italian (Just 'cause you CAN grow it in Napa, doesn't mean you should). Then again, my Pinot Grigio better be French :D. I think the next popularity contest winning Italian wine to be consumed in the U.S. will be (if it isn't already) Primitivo or maybe Nero D'Avola. At any rate, something southern and simple. As much as I'd like it to be Fruilano, Picolit or Ribolla Gialla, It's probably not going to happen.


Prost!
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by James Roscoe » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:47 pm

What Bill said, southern and simple. There are any number of candidates. Could someone turn this into a poll?
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Steve Edmunds » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:35 am

I'm betting on Vermentino, but then again, it could be French... :D
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Rahsaan » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:38 am

I'm betting on Vermentino


Claude Kolm poured some interesting CA vermentino for myself and Larry Stein a few weeks ago, apparently the winemaker was famous but it meant nothing to me (hence the name has subsequently gone out of my head), but, I think we had two different bottlings and they were both very fresh respectable and well worth drinking indeed.

I don't think I've seen much CA vermintino and wouldn't have pegged CA as the place for such "fresh" wines. But then I'm painfully unaware of CA's terroir diversity..
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:26 am

Bill Hooper wrote:If you mean 'succesfully grown' here, as in CA, WA, OR or elsewhere, I'd ask the question: When have Italian varieties ever been successful on U.S. soil? Maybe it's just preference, but my Nebbiolo better be Italian (Just 'cause you CAN grow it in Napa, doesn't mean you should). Then again, my Pinot Grigio better be French :D. I think the next popularity contest winning Italian wine to be consumed in the U.S. will be (if it isn't already) Primitivo or maybe Nero D'Avola. At any rate, something southern and simple. As much as I'd like it to be Fruilano, Picolit or Ribolla Gialla, It's probably not going to happen.


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Your post raises many questions. There are some good Pinot Grigios here , good or very good Barbera was made many years ago (by Louis Martini) and is being made here again (by Palmina, and perhaps others); Pinot Noir and Syrah were both dodgy in the US not that long ago, so who knows what the future holds. In fact, given the plethora of native Italian varieties I am confident that it is only a matter of time before we see at least a few successful examples.

The best examples of Nero d'Avola or Primitivo are by no means simple, and I would love to see Nero here. Of course, Primitivo is already the leading Italian variety in CA., under a pseudonym.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:28 am

Rahsaan wrote:
I'm betting on Vermentino


I don't think I've seen much CA vermintino and wouldn't have pegged CA as the place for such "fresh" wines. But then I'm painfully unaware of CA's terroir diversity..


I think it's a problem of winemaking style more than places to grow the grapes. There are at least a few examples of very good fresh <14 % whites being made in CA; it is possible.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:28 am

Myself, I would be interested in seeking out some of these Italian varietals but feel I would like a glass of the real stuff side by side so I could compare!!
The other evening we tasted the Silver Sangiovese, very nice but nothing to compare it with.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Carl Eppig » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:17 am

Bob, if you want to do an interesting side by side compare a nice NoCal Barbera such as Enotria Mendocino ($14 U.S.) with a comparable one from Piedmont. The Barbera has been in CA for a long time, has a spotted past, used mostly in blending, but now shines in some areas. However the contrast is startling. Both excellent in their own respect, but not at all alike.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Victorwine » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:41 am

Nicely said Carl.

Salute
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:55 am

Carl Eppig (Middleton, NH wrote:Bob, if you want to do an interesting side by side compare a nice NoCal Barbera such as Enotria Mendocino ($14 U.S.) with a comparable one from Piedmont. The Barbera has been in CA for a long time, has a spotted past, used mostly in blending, but now shines in some areas. However the contrast is startling. Both excellent in their own respect, but not at all alike.


Ok did not think along that line (at 3 in the morning). Will have to do some searching in these parts.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by David Creighton » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:35 pm

so under 14% is a standard now? for most whites i'd be looking at as far under 13% as possible. i think dan berger wrote an even lower number recently.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by David Creighton » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:43 pm

i'm not sure what you mean either
here as in grown here in the us or
here as in popular to be bought and consumed in the us

in many cases, varieties that have not done well in california could be successfully grown in other regions. pinot grigio has got to be a good example. and beyond italy, look at how great some rkatseteli are from new york and even nj. as to what will be popular, that will depend on marketers and serrendipity won't it?
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by James Roscoe » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:49 pm

David's reply is pretty intelligent. I also like the e. e. cummings approach to capital letters.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Thomas » Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:19 pm

Carl Eppig (Middleton, NH wrote:Bob, if you want to do an interesting side by side compare a nice NoCal Barbera such as Enotria Mendocino ($14 U.S.) with a comparable one from Piedmont. The Barbera has been in CA for a long time, has a spotted past, used mostly in blending, but now shines in some areas. However the contrast is startling. Both excellent in their own respect, but not at all alike.


PRECISELY!

What's that about terroir, or should I ask terrano???
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:28 pm

Thomas,

the Italians say 'terroir' too.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:31 pm

creightond wrote:so under 14% is a standard now? for most whites i'd be looking at as far under 13% as possible. i think dan berger wrote an even lower number recently.


There is no standard, but it's a start.

Alcohol is only one aspect, anyway, and can be fudged (in fact, by de-alcoholisation, or in labelling). I like whites with fresh, even crisp, acidity, and there are very few of them in CA.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:33 pm

Sorry to be unclear. I really meant 'Now that we know Sangiovese grown in CA has been a dismal failure, what Italian varieties will work here?'
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Carl Eppig » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:56 pm

As stated above, Barbera after a very long trial is doing well but differently in a few places. There are producers bottling "Pinot Grigio", but don't know if this involves a clone from Italy or just renaming Pinot Gris. There are a handful bottling both such as Chateau Julien in Monterey. There are also CA bottlings of "Primitivo." There are a couple of vineyards in Paso that are growing genuine Primitivo clones, but again perhaps there is some Zin simply being relabeled.

As far as clearly brand new possibilities Vermentino would be a great white to try, and Corvina would be a interesting red.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:31 pm

Pinot Grigio is just better-known than Pinot Gris (now that Pinot Grigio has overtaken Sauvignon as the second-best-selling white variety in the US). I think its main 'benefit' is relative neutrality; I am not a big fan of the variety.
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Thomas » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:24 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Thomas,

the Italians say 'terroir' too.


Oliver, they shouldn't. They should claim their own word for it. Just like our young people are changing foreign words in the English language:

rendezvous = hookup! ;)
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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by MtBakerDave » Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:21 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Sorry to be unclear. I really meant 'Now that we know Sangiovese grown in CA has been a dismal failure, what Italian varieties will work here?'


Do you mean to say that California Sangiovese been a failure in the marketplace, or that it's been a failure in the bottle? I've had good CA Sangio (<b>1999 Vita Nova Sangiovese Stolpman Vineyard</b> and others) and good WA Sangio too (<b>2002 Yellow Hawk Cellar Sangiovese Walla Walla Valley</b>.) And I have a distinctly old-world palate. I don't really go for that many domestics, but I can find new-world sangio I like if I look around.

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Re: What will the next successful Italian variety here?

by Oliver McCrum » Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:10 pm

I mean that the great majority of CA Sangioveses I've had have been uninteresting wines, and haven't sold, and that this has handicapped the whole idea of 'Cal-Ital.'
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