Monthly Archives: June 2016

Another super-interesting etna rosso from the vintage of 2013

The wine this time is built upon a blend of handpicked grapes from two different contradas, the name of their vineyard areas around the Etna mountain here in Sicliy; more specifically from rampante (the oldest) and solicchiata with a mean of 80 year average age of vines. The vintage of 2013 is great, well balanced and absolutely classic. They keep a natural vineyard, conduct an 18-day extraction on the skins and raises the wine for 14 months in lightly toasted french barriques. A modern producer at Etna with obvious good reputation.

2013 “Archineri” Etna rosso, PietradolceDSC_0154

Opaque and beautiful blood orange colour with orange and cerise tints.

This wine was a disappointment at first and still so even after five hours, but after giving it much more time, it finally woke up from its slumbers and quietly started to let off, just tiny scents of oil paint and ethereal qualities at first. Reluctantly, it seems. Then, earthy red fruit, spice cumin, some deep minerals, subtle notes of licorice root and morning dew on crushed gravel arrives in small waves.

On the palate, it is super slender, tight, delineated and focused. Red, earthy and sourish wild strawberries coated in complex minerals and herbs impress. Acidity is energetic wrapping distinct citrus peel and that special,  etna metallish minerality, but now a just little gnarly. Texture is very soft and already velvety but not powdery from new oak. Actually, and thankfully this is skilfully handcrafted in Burgundish manner regarding new oak, since it was not noted at all.

It is not approachable or generous at all now, but rather analytic and hard to get wine that really is holding back its fortunes, but impresses with its focus and precision. It will need plenty of time to come around and It is hard to score at this time, but obviously it has great potential and broods on something special. A guess is to wait until 2022, but probably later is a safer bet. It is super-slender but with yet too juvenile tannins, too volatile and introvert.

91-92p/100

A very honest and uncompromising etna rosso

The owner of this estate is the Australian vintner Anna Martens with a long career in wine making who among others have been working at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and previously with Andrea Franchetti at Passopisciaro for three years and then started her own business in 2008 with her husband. They focus on very little intervention in the wine making and ecological farming. This wine is from 80-year-old vines (alberello trained) on the nothern side of Etna. Grape varieties are nerello mascarello (90 %) and 10 % nerello cappuccio. Whole clusters were put into closed fermentors for six weeks without any intervention until tannins have been miraculously extracted. Very surprisingly, they don’t seem to be pressing the grapes during this time and conduct no customary punch downs or pumping over after pressing either.  Grapes are gently pressed using super low sulphur levels (almost none) and raising the grape juice in small neutral vats. A very interesting producer in deed and one with focus on true terroir and whose ambition we really fancy.

2014 vino rosso, Vino di Anna

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A very simple label on their etna rosso with alberello bushes on a steep hill

Colour is luminous, but not opaque; rather blurry (obviously not filtered or fined) with bright red orange and slightly brownish core with cerise somewhat bluish outer part and pink edges.

A very subtle and reticent, but complex nose currently dominated by vibrating, smokey minerals, dusty gravel, under vegetation, some dried herbs and oil paint. After several hours, a deep and vey careful scent of dried rose petals and complex blue flowers slips through. A very small and holding back nose now, but very personal and obviously hiding something special.

On the palate it is very closed, introvert and currently not a charmer, but impressively dense and concentrated. Less straw berries in this etna rosso where fruit is more black with prominent blackberries, dark cherries and unexpected notes of black currant. In addition, smokey, dusty minerals, savoury aromas now and under vegetation. Less sweet and alcohol is pleasingly low at 13.5 %. Acidity is clean and vivid adding lots of energy. It is quite persistent too and focused. All framed in soft, very thick, chewy and marking tannins that are ripe, but of course young. This long-cycled vintage of 2014 is all classic and I am surprised they release them this early.

A very honest, but currently a very analytic wine that will need a lot of time to settle and come around. There is a resemblance to a very young and classic barolo from Mascarello in terms of aromas, but different style. A very interesting and uncompromising wine focused on terroir that will be interesting to follow and one that is hard to score fairly at this point, but there is obvious potential in this great vintage. A guess is to wait until 2020 or later.

93-94p/100

Two Barbaresci from the warm 2011 vintage

The vintage 2011 is a warm vintage that is better than expected in Serralunga and Monforte in Barolo, but in Barbaresco it is perceived as hotter and often with somewhat cooked fruit. Here we taste two of the riservas from the great cooperative – Produttori di Barbaresco. Two vineyards with totally different micro climates.

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Two of the 2011 single-vineyard barbaresco from the great cooperative

2011 Barbaresco Muncagota, Produttori di Barbaresco

Andreas:

Elegant and fresh nose with an abundance of young and slightly sweet red fruit containing strawberries, wild strawberries and raspberries along with notes of menthol.

Slightly darker fruit on the rather thin and elegant palate. Acidity is amazing and very precise and complements the good tannic structure.

This Barbaresco is surprisingly energetic for a 2011 but still has the rather generous sweet expression often found in this vintage.

91-92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Incredibly seductive, juvenile and intensively forward perfume that is both quite sexy, pretty and fresh. It brings a very vast, lavishing combo of beautiful rose petals, ripe red fruit, beeswax, some oil paint, mint, clove and anise seeds. Even if comparison to other wine areas may be a bit simplifying and somewhat limiting, I cannot help finding it reminding me very much of a good premier cru Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy. Maybe a forward Les Cras? 🙂

On the palate, it is not equally as impressive but not disappointing either. It is racy, succulent and packed with ripe, highly concentrated red fruit; primarily raspberries, but also earthy wild strawberries. It is just a little smudgy and on the edge of getting too sweet, but fruit is without any alcohol in the persistent finish. It is thin bodied, weightless and considering the warm vintage, it impresses with fine balance and very crisp, balsamic acidity. All this framed in soft, rather sweet and thick tannins without any dryness what so ever but with a somewhat sandy and not directly silky .

91p/100

2011 Barbaresco Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco

Sir Galahad:

The typical nose of smoke, layers of vibrating tar and natural rubber. In addition, notions of Mediterranean herbs and a subtle perfume. While the nose is characteristic and true to its origins, unfortunately the palate is a disappointment. It is rough, tannins are coarse and fruit is way too sweet, cooked and smudgy. On the up side, acidity is fine and generous, but it is not evening out its other misfortunes.

Reality is that It is clumsy, coarse and without any finesse. Did they harvest too late in this very warm vintage and couldn’t wait until tannins very ok in this vineyard? We cannot recommend this. Let’s hope the 2012 is much better which we have reason to expect from our last trip last year to Barbaresco.

84p/100

Giacomo Fenocchio – Respect for terroir and great balance

When we visited Piedmont in 2013 we had the pleasure of meeting up with Claudio Fenocchio, a humble and careful man who produces fantastic wine with great respect for tradition and terroir. We spent much of the time talking about different vineyards and how their characteristics affect the wines. Claudio knows his vineyards and their history extremely well and talks about them with great passion. Claudio emphasises that there are only two vineyards that are truly Bussia; Sottana and Soprana. From their home they have a truly amazing view of the area, with La Morra straight ahead, Barolo down to the right and further to the right we can see Castiglione-Falletto, starting with the Villero vineyard.

Claudio Fenocchio

Claudio Fenocchio

The estate was founded in 1864, has been in the family for 5 generations and is carrying the name of Giacomo Fenocchio, the father of Claudio, who headed the estate after the second world war and who acquired some of the vineyards that still are within the family. They have vineyards in Cannubi (approximately 40 year old vines), Bussia Sottana (25-40 year old) and Villero (appr. 65 year old).

As mentioned before the estate uses traditional methods, which includes long maceration, usage of indigenous yeast and maturation in large barrels (botti) to ensure no oak flavours make it into the wine.

Claudio Fenocchio

The wines we tasted

Bussia 2013 – from tank

This wine was of course way to young to be tested, but Claudio gave us the chance to taste the 2013 before malolactic fermentation. The acidity is very harsh at this point and it is more or less impossible to understand the potential of the wine. This was more in the department of education than a tasting 🙂

Bussia 2012 – from barrel

The vines are from the Sottana part of Bussia and of mixed ages, but on average approximately 30 years.

At the time of the tasting the wine was very closed and reduced, though there where signs of fresh red fruit, like raspberries and some orange peels.

The wine is quite harsh in the mouth and the acidity needs to stabilise before we get en proper impression of the wine. There are some balsamic notes, blood orange and ginger. Impressive concentration and a texture that already has fine and sandy tannins. Heavy, but of good quality.

More or less impossible, and not at all fair, to score at this time.

Claudio Fenocchio botti
2010 Cannubi – from barrel

From 40 year old vines.

The typical seductive, fragrant perfumes and beautiful rose petals. There are raspberries, some tobacco and the nose shows quite a lot of depth.

The acidity is rather sharp and direct but has a balsamic freshness and is very energetic. We also find fresh red fruit, wild strawberries, raspberries, ginger and some gravel. It is quite persistent and has an impressive balance already.

Texture is already fine sandy and tannins are thick, chewy and of good quality. Enormous potential. This wine needs time to integrate fully but will surely develop in to a wine with good structure and complexity.

92+p/100

2010 Villero – from barrel

From 65 year old vines.

The wine is slow to open up and is a bit reductive but after a while it develops a complex, deep and fresh nose. Fragrant, very delicate with fantastic details, showing both balsamic and floral notes. There are also raspberries and limestone minerals.

The acidity is better integrated than in the Cannubi. Again lots of red berries, distinct blood orange, very ripe, fresh and deep wild strawberries, ginger, nutmeg, loads of fine tuned limestone minerals. Coarse sandy texture and tannins are chewy, thick of high quality.

This is a feminine wine with lots of elegance and fragrance. We are very impressed.

94p/100

2010 Bussia – from barrel

Quite seductive perfumes and fragrant flowers. Super-fresh, ripe red fruit and hints of solvent. Fantastic nose which shows depth and lots of fruit.

Deeper and a bit earthier than the Villero, but still with the characteristic “Fenocchio freshness”. Ripe fruit, boysenberries, blood orange, iron, crushed stone, balsamic notes and herbs. Very balanced already, quite slim structure and persistence. Texture is already polished and tannins are chewy and of great quality.

The wine is very generous with lots of fruit, but it also has complexity, energy and depth.

95p/100

Summary

As always the wines of Fenocchio show great transparency and honesty that celebrate its terroir without adding anything else. In addition, they deliver great freshness, deep aromas and complexity. This was also our first taste of the 2010 vintage and it immediately showed great potential.