Once again, as I sometimes do, I get an invitation so remarkable I share the details with you. This is one of those times. Three cases of award-winning Italian wines to be tasted and reviewed over three zoom meetings in two weeks. This was literally the best two weeks I have spent over the last 52 weeks of our Covid year.
The tasting featured exceptional wines that have been awarded the coveted 2021 Tre Bicchieri designation, a designation given to only 1% of the top wines of Italy…
Tasting 3 of 3 (I’m starting with these as this was my favorite case. Note: Sup is Superior, Cl. is Classico, Ris. is Riserva)
Ottella-Veneto-Lugana Molceo Ris. 2018 EB: Notes of ripe apple, sweet limes, riverbed, minerality, fresh and balanced. Right out of the gate – I liked this first wine.
Perla del Garda-Lombardia-Lugana Sup. Madonna della Scoperta 2017 EB: Bruised apple, cream, salinity, stone, butter – Chardonnay-like. I liked this wine even more.
Tacchino-Piemonte-Barbera del M.to Albarola 2016 EB: Big dark fruit, black pepper, spicy with a beautifully balanced mouthfeel, my first red of the day and another on my favorite list.
Badia a Coltibuono-Toscana-Chianti Cl. 2018 EB: Bright red fruit, tart cherries, dust, rose petals, stemmy. This would be liked by my Pinot friends for sure.
Barone Ricasoli-Toscana-Chianti Cl. Gran Selezione Colledilà 2017 EB: Rich red fruit, balanced fruit and spice, earth, minerals, dry.
Tenuta di Arceno-Toscana-Chianti Cl. Ris. 2017 EB: Much darker on the nose and palate then the last two. Dark dry berries, espresso, dark chocolate, spice, drying tannins.
Tenuta Monteti-Toscana 2016 EB: Made with Petit Verdot, Cab and Cab Franc, this may have been my favorite wine of the day. Aged dark fruit, bark, cigar, sweet char, extra-long finish.
Piaggia-Toscana-Carmignano Ris. 2017 EB: Pungent dark fruit, rich, spicy, peppery, a hint of mint. A blend of Sangiovese, Cab and Merlot, and you guessed it, another favorite in the tasting.
Aria di Caiarossa-Toscana 2016 EB: A beautiful nose filled with rich fruit, pepper, concrete, toasted oak and sweet berry. A blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Merlot and yep, another one I wanted more of.
Tenuta di Sesta-Toscana-Brunello di Montalcino 2015 EB: A powerhouse of a wine with notes of dusty mature fruit, a lively palate that included cream and oak, heightened by floral notes and a fresh garden of herbs and flowers on the nose.
Speri-Veneto-Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Sant’Urbano 2016 EB: This may have been the one wine I had enjoyed in the past and did again today. This one was velvety, just perfect with fruit, spice and dust, with a lovely lightly sweet long finish.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio-Veneto-Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli 2016 EB: Our last wine of the day had a big nose filled with plums, prunes, oak, cigar, cigarette and smoke. Another great wine.
For the first two meetings I benefitted by having two collectors and two sommeliers joining me. The notes below are from Steve Roebuck, SR, Founder of Friends Who Like Wine in the Glass Facebook Group, edited down a bit due to space, with only additions from me as EB in italics.
Tasting 1 of 3:
2019 Bortolomiol Valdobbiadene Brut lus Naturae SR: Ocean spray/salt on the palate with warm pears and apples, hints of wet river rock blending with lemon, bread, almonds and grassy notes. EB: Fresh fruit cocktail and Golden Delicious apple. My first favorite of the tasting.
2019 Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Rive di Soligo Extra Brut SR: Bouquet of marzipan, apple, pear, creamy oats, brine, lime, peach and minerals. The wine had bright acidity but lacked depth and harmony. EB: Bruised fruit, minerality, earth and a marked tartness.
2019 Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Rive di Collalto Extra Brut SR: Aromas of warm pears, apricots, brine, wet slate and almond paste. The wine was balanced with nice layers of fruit, minerals that gave way to a lovely finish with hints of candied ginger. EB: Wet pebbles and cream.
2018 I Campi Soave CI. Campo Vulcano SR: A hint of petroleum and notes of lemon, lychee, wet gravel, nutmeg, grass and a nice earthiness. The wine had a lovely refreshing finish with a crisp note of pineapple. EB: Tropical fruit, Meyer lemon, and no acidity. Another fave for me.
2018 Leonildo Pieropan Soave CI. Calverino SR: Lovely aromas of salted ginger, white pepper, white peach, fuzzy kiwi and wet minerals. The wine was intriguing with more lovely layers of peach, ginger, bitter chalkiness, baking spices and a nice savory quality. EB: Fresh citrus fruit, a sweeter nose that grew over time and great balance. My second favorite of the day.
2018 Tenuta Luisa Friuli Isonzo Friulano I Ferretti SR: Hints of beeswax, lemon zest, wet minerals, brine, apple, white peach, pear, almonds and band-aid. The palate was clean with hints of white peach, wet stones, cut herbs, with a touch of almond paste on the finish. EB: Lemon-lime.
2019 Tenuta Stella Collio Friulano SR: Wafting from my glass was a bouquet of honeysuckle, peach, apricot, buttered popcorn, anise seeds botrytis and a slight hint of burnt molasses. The wine was rich on the palate with integrated acidity that gave balance and structure to the wine. There was a luxuriousness to this wine, yet it was restrained and elegant. EB: Honey, churned butter, apricot. And another I really liked.
2018 Edi Keber Friuli Venezia Giulia Collio SR: An alluring bouquet of honey, apricots, brine, cinnamon, and anise seeds. On the palate there was a nice level of acidity that interwove through layers of tropical fruits, melon, honey and savory baking spices. Not as rich as the last wine but soft and elegant. EB:Favorited by one of the somms, lively lemon and a hint of licorice.
2019 Tiare – Roberto Snidarcig Friuli Venezia Collio Sauvignon SR: Typical old word aroma of Cat Pee blending in with hints of grass, salt, minerals, wet rocks, tree sap, slate, white peach, and spring flowers. The taste was crisp with nice acidity that lent balance to the palate, giving off hints of white peach, pear, wet slate, lemongrass and salted minerals. EB: Stone fruit, grass and earth.
2019 Bosco Del Merlo Veneto Sauvignon Blanc Turranio SR: This came across like a new world Sauvignon Blanc with a bouquet of honeycomb, lemon, apricot, bell pepper, white flowers and freshly cut herbs. The wine had lovely acidity that harmonized playfully on the palate with hints of lemongrass, apricot, honeysuckle, bell pepper and soft herbs. EB: Lemon rind, earthy, tart acidity.
2019 Cantina Kurtatsch Aldo Adige A.A. Sauvignon Kofl SR: The aromas coming from the glass were bold and constructed a bouquet of burnt matchstick, grinding stone, burnt popcorn and smoldering car tire. EB: Mown grass.
2018 La Roncaia Friuli Venezia Giulia- Eclisse SR: Briny minerals, peach, fennel, gun flint, and savory spices and somewhat muted. EB: Bright citrus fruit, cream.
Tasting 2 of 3:
Part Two from Steve Roebuck, SR, and only additions from me, as EB, in italics.
Cusumano-Sicilia-Etna Bianco Altamora 2019 SR: Notes of peach, apricot, brine, kiwi, lime and wet limestone. The wine displayed a plush creamy palate with a hint of lemon drop hard candy on the finish. EB: Floral.
Pala-Sardegna-Vermentino di Sardegna Stellato 2019 SR: A bouquet of white flowers, white peach, brine, wet river rocks, honeydew melon and lemongrass. It had a nice level of acidity that allowed for hints of white peach, melon and a touch of honeysuckle on the finish. EB: This was another favorite amongst our somms. Very floral, lemon peel, kiwi.
Surrau-Sardegna-Vermentino di Gallura Sup. Sciala 2019 SR: Aromas of Spring flowers, honeydew melon, brine and apricot. Similar on the palate with crushed gravel and lime notes. EB: Pear, salinity and minerality.
Feudo Antico-Abruzzo-Tullum Pecorino Biologico 2019 SR: An interesting bouquet of fresh cut fennel, baked bread, cheese yeast, pears, brine, limestone and lemons. A nice acidity that brought harmony to the layers of orchard fruits that played off the crisp minerals. EB: Our somm liked this one as well, found it savory. Lots of fruit and earth.
Tenuta Terraviva-Abruzzo-Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Giusi 2019 SR: The wine seemed a bit off to me; however, the bouquet gave off aromas of strawberries, cranberries, lime and gunflint. EB: Cooked fruit.
Valle Reale-Abruzzo-Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vign. di Popoli 2015 SR: A lovely bouquet of dusty earth, coffee, pepper, cherries, pine nuts and Jolly Rancher hard candy. Medium plus in body with rounded tannins that gave way to hints of cherries, dusty earth, minerals and soft herbs. EB: Balanced.
Poggio Le Volpi-Lazio-Roma Rosso Ed. Limitata 2017 SR: An expressive bouquet of cherries, espresso, white pepper, prunes and molasses. Full bodied with rounded tannins and a palate displaying hints of cherries, prunes, cut dill and wood. EB: Dark fruit, spice and incense.
Donnachiara-Campania-Taurasi 2016 SR: An alluring bouquet of cherries, coffee, caramel, herbs, vanilla, burnt sugar and cassis fruit. Full bodied with gripping tannins that painted the palate with hints of dark berry fruit, earthy minerals, herbs, spice and a touch of caramel. EB: Our two collectors liked this one. Espresso, dark dusty fruit – black cherry – and tannins.
Felline-Puglia-Primitivo di Manduria Zinfandel Sinfarosa Terra Nera 2017 SR: A rich bouquet of blackberries, cherries, toffee, coffee, pepper, bell pepper, molasses and notes of raisins. Full bodied with gripping tannins that brushed the palate with hints of dark berry fruit, coffee, white pepper, dusty earth and herbs. A nice level of extraction going on that brought richness to the wine. EB: Sweet tobacco, rich and layered, ash. My husband’s pick of the day.
Coppi-Puglia-Gioia del Colle Primitivo Senatore 2017 SR: Notes of cherry, powered chocolate, coffee, dried herbs, white pepper, bell pepper, decaying forest floor, graphite, brine and dusty earth. The wine was medium plus in body with gripping tannins that gave way to hints of cherries, chocolate, bitter coffee, herbs, and lead pencil. EB: Tri-color peppercorn, blackberry jam, more fruit than spice, balanced.
Pietradolce-Sicilia-Etna Rosso Archineri 2017 SR: Hints of dried cherries, leather, menthol tobacco, mint and pomegranate. Medium plus in body with layers of fruit that harmonized nicely with hints of olives, cedar and dusty minerals. EB: Like a Pinot Noir with stewed cherry, brambles and rich earth.
Cottanera–Sicilia-Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo 2016 SR: A vibrant bouquet of rose petals, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bell pepper, brine and cedar. Medium plus in body with gripping tannins that gave way to a palate painted with hints of cherries, pomegranate, chocolate, earthy forest floor, minerals and wood. EB: Again, like a Pinot Noir, with pungent berry fruit.
These are links to the two photo albums Roebuck made:
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Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.