Saturday, 26 January 2013

A trio of delicious Italian wines - must try more!

The first two were (in my opinion and many of those present) the stars of the show, in a line-up of Langhe Nebbilo presented to the Nottingham Wine Circle by Andy Leslie, whilst the latter was fished out from under my stairs last night. And all three provided much pleasure - so much so that I am determined to add to my pathetically small collection of Italian wines.

G D Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo 2010
Lots of citric lemon/orange acidity and red fruits on the nose. To begin with, it comes across as loveable but quite simple. But wait...... with a little air, it actually reveals a good deal of structure and complexity, with redcurrant, cherry and cranberry fruits mingled with notes of damp earth, tobacco and spice. I took this bottle home and finished the last glass on Thursday evening, and it was holding up beautifully. Lovely texture, with plenty of tannic grip, but oodles of juicy acidity and an abundance of sweet and sour fruit - totally vibrant and full of interest. All-in-all, and absolute delight, which is so lovely to drink now, but promises to evolve nicely for a decade or so. Cracking stuff, which I believe is currently available from The Wine Society for around £15. And considering that it offers as much pleasure as a very decent Village Burgundy,  a bit of a bargain.

Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo 2007
To begin with, the nose is all about savoury, with meat/gravy and soy aromas dominating the fruit, with subtle notes of Christmas cake and apples steeped in brandy.. The palate is not only very savoury, but also sweet-fruited (almost overtly so), rich and concentrated, with a nice rasp of sour cherry giving real lift. Again, I took the remains of this bottle home to enjoy on Thursday, by which time it had opened out considerably and developed much more in the way of tertiary/secondary non-fruit and forset floor aromas and flavours, with hints of truffle, flowers and polished old wood. Moreover, the overt savouriness has dissipated and the flavours are more sprightly and expressive, less sweet and much more tangy. All of which suggests that this wine also has another 10 years or more to go to maturity. A fabulous wine.

Guiseppe Campagnola Amarone Classico 2005
As one would expect, this one is a totally different animal, but I just fancied something Italian again, and (to my great shame) I only have a handful of different Italian wines in my possession. Having said that, another 5 inches of snow last night had me craving something rich, warming and spicy. And it fit the bill perfectly, with a liveliness and (dare I say it) lightness of touch that many Amarones don't have, with deep bramble aromas mingled with raspberry, red cherry and an almost orange/citrus tang to both the nose and palate. Furthermore, there is little sign of the 15% abv to offend the senses - rather, it caresses with a gentle warmth, showing hints of exotic spices, damp earth, subtle woody notes and masses of juicy red and black fruit flavours. It isn't a glugger, of course, but a couple of glasses went very nicely with last night's pizza, topped with lashings of tomato and herb sauce, caramelised onions, peppers, mozzarella and oregano. A delicious combination. And I have 4 more bottles of this, which I shall enjoy over the next few years.

Pizza, just before going into the oven - delicious with Amarone!

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