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An Italian affair

April 22, 2015

Andrea Agnelli of the Italian Wine Club, Singapore, was very kind to invite me to dinner at Table At Seven, where it was good to see Eugenia and Karl still going strong, on 01 Apr 2015. This event also coincided with the visit of wine journalist Riccardo Gabriele all the way from Milan, who introduced the wines.

We began the evening with a series of aperitifs, starting with the 2013 Manicardi Vigna Ca’del Fiore, a sparkling red made from lambrusco grapes, very deep in purple with the fizz just barely perceptible, giving off an attractive earthy pungency amidst predominant notes of raspberries, very pleasant but straightforward. Next was the 2013 Sileno Ciliegiolo, made from 100% ciliegiolo red grape varietal from Toscana, weighty with notes of earth and forest floor, generous in ripe wild berries though a vegetal trace was evident, somewhat short at the finish, the sort of agreeable casual wine that would make a lot of people happy. 20150401_184347[1]Then came the 2013 Alliata Lorlando, displaying a lovely ruby but of which I misplaced my notes and subsequently couldn’t find any information about, suffice to say though that it carried an abundance of sweet raspberries and cherries with overtones of forest floor and heated gravel, forward in character but soft and accessible. Ultimately, though, too straightforward in style. This was followed by the 2012 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a region that I admire, bright purple with ultra-ripe sangiovese fruit hinting at some sweetness though it turned out to be rather stern on the palate, leading towards a mild tannic attack at the finish. It may seem straightforward at this stage, but this will be a long-lived wine. And, finally, the 2006 Colle Santa Mustiola Poggio Ai Chiari, another wine made from 100% sangiovese, full-bodied, dark with fabulous intensity, layered with cedar and traces of tangerine that contributed to some degree of complexity, well-balanced and structured. This wine can take its place on any table.

We finally sat down for dinner that showed off Karl’s forte in Indonesian-inspired cuisine while the juice continued flowing, starting with a 2013 Terenzuola Fosso Di Corsano Superiore, a white made from 100% vermentino grape, pale straw-coloured, displaying strong grassy elements that blew off to reveal more lifted and intense notes, its subdued acidity contributing to a remarkable degree of restraint, yet persistent at the finish. 20150401_200240[1]Next, the 2011 Pagani de Marchi Merlot Cada Nocera was deep, dark and highly intense, giving off a powerful bouquet of ultra-ripe spicy dark and wild berries, almost hedonistic but controlled, becoming livelier and more balanced with time. The 2010 Valdonica Saragio that followed was probably my favourite of the evening, made from 100% sangiovese that imparted a cheerful bouquet of red fruits and cherries, rounded and highly accessible with a marked semblance to Barbaresco, distinctly feminine in spite of the 14.5% abv which, thankfully, was very expertly managed. The 2010 Cantina Fratelli Pardi Montefalco Sacrantino, made from 100% sagratino grapes at a whooping 15.5% abv, imparted a very dark and dry demeanour, hinting at dried mushrooms and other vegetal characters, powerful and tannic. The 2010 Peter Becoucini Vigna Alle Nicchie displayed excellent depth of bright red fruits, the tangerine and plummy characters betraying its tempranillo grape varietal, weighty and layered, ending in a long minty finish.

At the end of it all, I still don’t think I’ve got my head around all the various regions and grapes of Italy. There’s plenty of tasting and reading to be done in order to attain some decent level of understanding. My thanks to Andrea and Riccardo for the lovely evening.

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