sabato 1 marzo 2014




Tenute Fiorebelli Cabaletta, Veneto, Italy 2011

It was all about Italian wines for David Williams this week, writing in The Observer. He picked out three “premier league” wines from the country’s “second division” including wines from lesser known regions that he felt deserved some attention. Among them was this 2011 red from the Veneto. He said: “There are few greater pleasures in the kitchen than the successful use of leftovers, that profound sense of satisfaction and thrift you get when you manage to make four or five meals from a single chicken (Sunday roast, stock, pâté, sandwiches and curry), or find a recipe to use up that stale bread. I sometimes wonder if the winemakers of the Valpolicella zone near Verona in northeast Italy feel the same way on a much bigger scale when they use the skins leftover from the production of amarone – the hefty, bittersweet red they make entirely from desiccated grapes – to bring texture and depth to wines known as Ripasso. “In many cases I prefer the supposedly lesser (and much cheaper) wines: Torre del Falasco Vapolicella Superiore Ripasso 2011, for example, is a happy mid-point between the simple cherry freshness of straight Valpolicella and the brooding, raisiny weight of amarone. Equally good is the Ripasso-inspired Cabaletta, which takes things a stage further by blending 30% dried grapes with 70% conventional (rather than passing young wine over leftover dried-grape skins) for a vivacious red of dark cherry and damson depths.”

Price: £8.99,

Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino, 2010, Italy

Another of Williams’ favourite was this Tuscan rosso di Montalcino made from the Sangiovese grape. He said: “There was something thrifty, too, about the creation of the Rosso di Montalcino appellation (or denominazione) in central Tuscany in 1983. Covering the same area around the village of Montalcino as the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino, and based on the same grape variety (Sangiovese Grosso), rosso was designed for producers to mop up the fruit or wine that wasn’t quite right for their brunello. “The winemaking restrictions are not so strict – a rosso can be released a year after harvest, brunello after five years – and the wines are considerably less tannic and more approachable – not to say cheaper – when they’re released. As with the Ripasso wines of the Veneto, I find it makes more sense to think of the better rosso as different rather than lesser bottlings. So, if I had the budget and patience, I’d enjoy the supple succulence of Collemattoni’s rosso now while waiting for the same producer’s gorgeously aromatic Brunello 2008.”

Price: £31.95, Lea & Sandeman

Primitivo 2010 - “Punto Aquila” by Tenute Rubino, Salento

Outside of the UK in the Irish Republic, Liam Campbell, writing in the Irish Independent, chose to highlight a number of wines produced with the “lesser known” Italian Primitivo grape – known elsewhere as a Californian Zinfandel. 

He said: “Subdued earthy aromas don’t prepare you for the intensity of the flavours of ripe black fruits combined with deep earthy tones.

“This is rich and ripe with a cocoa- powder finish. Serve with blackened Cajun-style chicken.”

Price: €18.99 at O’Brien’s off-licences and online at

Primitivo 2012 - ”Il Medaglione” by Leone de Castris, Salent

Another selection by Campbell was this 2012 Primitivo by Leone de Castris. 

He said: “A more unusual feminine style, lighter in body with fresh cranberry fruitiness, gentle tannins and an earthy finish.

“Enjoy with hard cheeses with a slightly sweet note, such as French Comte or our own equivalent, Glebe Brethan from Louth.”

Price: €10.99-€11.99 at Next Door Off-licences nationwide; Holland’s Bray; Morton’s, Galway and Ranelagh and D-Six Wines, Harold’s Cross, Dublin


2010 Skerk Ograde Venezia Giulia Bianco

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné chose his picks of whites from central Europe which he felt were perfect for the winter. 

He said: “Sandi Skerk is one of the pioneers of the Carso region, and his skin-fermented Ograde is one of its benchmarks. Made from Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, it is amber-hued, exotic and intense: full of musk, passion fruit, gunflint and marzipan, with a tea-like tannic aspect.

“The layers of flavour keep coming.”

Price: $39

Rosa Regale

The striking Rosa Regale is a sparkling red wine made from the Brachetto red grape grown mainly in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy. 

Sodomka said said: “I recently discovered Rosa Regale ($20), a beautiful semi-dry, rosy red sparkler from Banfi Vintners in Italy. It was popular two centuries ago, and Banfi has reintroduced it to wide acclaim.

“It comes from the Brachetto d’Acqui region, one of the smallest in Italy. Made from Brachetto grapes, it has a rose petal aroma and strawberry and raspberry flavors.

Price: $20

Tommasi Viticoltori Le Rosse Pinot Grigio 2011

Rebecca Murphy, writing in The Dallas News, recommended this “intensely powerful” Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region in north-eastern Italy. 

She said: “If you have been disappointed by watery, thin Pinot Gris-Pinot Grigio in the past, try again. You’ll appreciate the concentrated flavours of ripe pear, apple and grapefruit zest with flinty mineral highlights. It’s round and intense in the mouth, with zesty acidity to keep the flavours bright and lingering. You may find the 2012 vintage in the market, too. It is as flavourful as the 2011, with a lively freshness. Enjoy it with a sautéed white fish or a grilled shrimp taco.

She added: “The Tommasi family is better known for its traditional red wines, Valpolicella and Amarone della Valpolicella, but the family clearly treats the making of this less-expensive white wine with the same level of care. All their vineyards belong to the estate, and they farm their vines for intense flavour.”

Price: $11.59 to $14.99