My Italian Wine Journey (1-10)
I am just over two months into my Italian Wine exploration. I have been fervently seeking out bottles that I haven’t tried before and although I have just hit 25 wines tasted, there are a further 35 sitting in my wine fridge patiently waiting. Here is a brief synopsis of the first part of my journey, my first 10 wines.
Clogging up the Blog with Wine
I started off thinking that I would write about every single wine tasted but that just isn’t feasible. The site would be clogged with wine posts, many of which would fail to recommend the tasted wine or, worse still recommend a wine that is impossible to obtain here. The first two on my list, a Nausica Nero D’Avola and Libenzi Verdicchio I have written posts about already so won’t repeat myself here.
The third, a Piccini Buon Governo is a good value red from Tuscany. Mostly Sangiovese with some international varieties blended, there is a small percentage of partially dried grapes added into the fermentation. This gives a rounded, dried fruit flavour. Pleasant if unspectacular but decent value at €10 from Tesco.
All of the following seven wines were tasted on our Southern Italian Honeymoon in June. I was lucky enough to try some beautiful wines, most of which are unavailable here. The Fiano di Avellino from night one (written about in more detail here) got things off to a great start, followed by a soft and floral San Ruggiero Rosato at dinner in Trani. Next up was one of the highlights of the trip – the “Super Puglian” San Valentino Puglia Rosso. A dark, black fruit driven, full bodied red with plenty of rounded dried fruit. This is a beautiful wine made with the local Uva di Troia grape along with international varieties Merlot and Syrah.
A Stunning Primitivo di Manduria
Wine seven was an easy drinking white – A Castello Monaci Verdeca from Salento. Crisp, with stone fruits and a good lemon scented acidity, it is perfect in the blazing Salento heat. A Tenute Rubino Susumaniello was up next and it was magnificent. A grape variety I had never heard of, this wine has plenty of red fruit, a good acidity and lovely soft tannins – a variety I will be keeping an eye out for. Wine nine was another beauty – An Ognissole “Essentia Loci” Primitivo di Manduria. As expected, this is a fruit forward red but it is excellently balanced with good acidity, firm tannins and a cola like sweetness lingering on the finish.
A Disappointing Aglianico
I was excited to try wine 10 – an Aglianico del Vulture from Cantina di Vanosa. Aglianico was top of my list to try but this left me a little disappointed. As it was a wine by the glass, I’m not sure of the vintage but I would guess that I drank it far too young. It was very austere with mouth puckering tannins that masked most of the flavour. Still, some hints of vanilla, clove and cinnamon were welcome if a little overshadowed. I would be interested to try an older, more mature example.
Looking Back and Forward
I learnt a great deal along the first part of my journey. Looking at my notes, my tasting has already come on with more subtle flavours being picked up. As most of the wines above are from Southern Italy, my understanding of the region and its nuances has increased and I now generally know what to look out for. Wines 11 to 20 are also quite Southern based but with more variation featuring a couple of rosato’s, a prosecco and even an “amber” wine from Puglia.
I have recently started a WSET Level 2 course in Wine and Spirits and have also begun working in The Wine Buff, Newbridge. The journey continues!