A Wine Tasting to Remember


Just before I was to leave for Italy I was invited by Riccardo Gabrielli of PR comunicare il vino to Il Gattopardo restaurant. Riccardo represents many of the best wineries in Italy and I am always happy to taste the wines and speak with Riccardo. At the time I did not realize that this was going to be my last wine tasting for some time given the present situation. I was very happy the wines were showing so well.


When I arrived there was only one other person at the table, Alfredo Miccoli, chef/owner of Al Mar restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. I know Alfredo and have been to his restaurant and was looking forward to discussing the wines with him.


Le Grane” Colli (Le Marche) DOC 2018 made from 100% Ribona (aka Maceratino) Boccadigabbia. Ribona is a rare gape varietal grown only in the province of Macerata. The 23 hectares of vineyards stand on hills in two separate zones in Civitanova and Macerata. The soil is sandy-clayey and the exposure is northeast and the training system is guyot. The grape clusters are soft crushed and fermentation lasts for about 12 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation, whole slightly overripe berries are added to the wine. This second fermentation lasts for 10 days and allows an added extraction of compounds and aromatics from the skins. This is a well-structured wine with fragrances of ripe citrus fruit and a hint of melon.

La Lupinella Trebbiano Toscana IGT 2018 made from 100% Trebbiano. The vineyard is in Sant’Ansano (Vinci). The grapes are carefully selected by hand and a small part, about 2%, is picked from the bunches, set aside and later added during fermentation which takes place in terracotta jars, to intensify the aromatic character of the wine. The wine remains on the lees for a minimum of 6 months without undergoing malolactic fermentation and is aged at least 3 months in the bottle before release. This is a fresh fruity well-balanced wine with hints of peach, white flowers and a touch of almonds.

Pinot Grigio “Ramato” Friuli Colli Orientali 20i8 Valentino Butussi made from 100% Pinot Grigio planted in 1984, 1978 and 2004 on hill slopes of Eocene-era stratified marl and sandstone. There are 4,400 vines per hectare and the training system in guyot. Selected hand picked grapes harvested in September when the grapes have reached optimal ripeness. The grapes are destemmed and gently pressed and the resulting must is chilled to 10-12 degrees C. The free-run must is separated from the second-quality juice and sent to be fermented. The wine remains for 6 months in steel casks and 2 to 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of citrus fruit, with a touch of acacia blossoms.

Rosato di Nero d’Avola ”Luigia” IG 2018 IGT, Sicily Barone Sergio made from 100% Nero d’Avola. This is a Nero d’Avola vinified like a white wine. The wine is aged in steel for 6 to 7 months and in bottle for 2 months before release. It is an easy to drink fruity wine with hints of strawberry, cherry and black currants.

Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba DOCG “Garabei” 2017  Giovanni Abrigo made from 100% Dolcetto planted in 1968. The estate is situated on a hill in Diano d’Alba at a high altitude. They own 11 hectares of vineyards. The soil is sandy with a lot of gravel. The juice is fermented naturally on the skins for 8 days in stainless steel tanks. After racking the wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel and spends 4 more months in bottle before release. The wines are not filtered or fined. Sustainable farming methods are used. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherries and raspberries with a hint of spice and a touch of lavender. I was able to drink this wine with dinner one night and was very impressed it.

Costa Toscana IGT 2014  “Vallino”  La Regola made from Cabernet Sauvignon with a variable percentage of Sangiovese. The vineyards are at 150 to 200 meters. The soil is red Mediterranean with many stones. Harvest is by hand with a carful selection. Manual selection of grapes in the winery, medium maceration, fermentation is in natural concrete vats at a controlled temperature. After malolactic fermentation the wine ages for 12 months in French barriques of second and third passage. The wine remains in bottle for at least 12 months before release. This is a concentrated  wine with  hints of red and black berries, a touch of spice and a note of  vanilla.

Pietro Beconcini “IXE IGT Toscana Tempranillo 2016  The name is the Tuscan pronunciation for the letter X. The letter X stands for unknown vines. In the early 1950’s, 213 vines of unknown species were found in the vineyard which were called X vines. With help from the Ministry of Agriculture these vines were declared to be Tempranillo a few years ago. In June of 2009, Tempranillo was enrolled in the Tuscan register. As far as I know Tempranillo was never cultivated before in Italy.

This wine is made from 99.9% of Tempranillo and a touch of Sangiovese. The winery is located in the town of San Miniato. The vineyard is 3.5 hectares and the grapes are all from the new vineyards planted in 1997 using a massal selection from buds taken from the century old vines of Tempranillo from the Vigna alle Nicchie. The training is spurred cordon. Soil is sandstone with marine fossil formation, well integrated with abundant clay. 100/150 meters above sea level and there are 7,000 vines per hectare. Harvest the first 10 days of September. The grapes are dried for 4 weeks and they obtain a total yield of 70%. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled glass lined cement vats and maceration is for 3 weeks. Aging lasts for 14 months in 70% French barriques and 30% American oak barriques of second passage. 6 months in bottle before release. First passage in barriques is for the wine from the grapes of the historical vineyard Vigna alle Nicchie that goes into the wine of the same name. This origin of this grape variety is not known for certain.

Tintilia Del Molise Rosso DOP Cantine Catabbo made from 100% Tintilia from San Martino in Pensilis. The vineyard is at 300 meters and the soil in medium clay. The vineyard was planted in 1998. The cultivation is low cordon outcrop and there are 4,400 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand the first week of October. Fermentation lasts for 15 to 20 days. The wine remains in steel for 12 months and then in bottle until release. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherry, with a note of dried flowers and a touch of licorice and spice.

Montefalco Rosso 2016 Bocale made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 10% Merlot and 5% Colorino. Harvest takes place by hand from the last ten days of September to early October. Vinification is exclusively with natural enzymes. The wine does not undergo any kind of stabilization or filtration. Presence of sediment should be considered a guarantee of authenticity. The wine is aged in barrels and barriques for about 12 months and aged in bottle for at least 6 months before release. This is a balanced wine with hints of cherry, violets and floral scents and a touch of spice.

Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2016 Pardi made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, Merlot and Cabernet 15%. Harvest takes place the first of October. Fermentation takes place with the skins for 10 days. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel. The wine is aged in barriques for 12 months and in steel for 6 months. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of red berries, plum, clove and a hint of tobacco.

Trefiano Carmignano 2013 Capezzano made from 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet and 10% Canaiolo. The exposure is south/west and the vineyards are at 150 to 200 meters. The age of the vines is 22 years. The soil is clay schist and limestone. Vinification is in steel tanks. There is 7 days of alcoholic fermentation followed by another maceration with the skins, before racking at a controlled temperature. Malolactic fermentation is in French tonneaux. The wine is aged in tonneaux for 24 months and in bottle for about one year before release. This is a wine with hints of red fruit, violets, spicy notes and what I call the aroma of sunshine on the Tuscan pines.




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