Tag Archives: Alba

The Vincast with Daniel Fischl from Linnaea Vineyards

Daniel Fischl didn’t find working in laboratories particularly appealing, and whilst completing a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics at UC Davis (California) he was introduced to viticulture and was seduced with what lay outside. It also helped that the viticulture and winemaking students seemed to have more fun. Fast forward many years of experience consulting as a viticulturist and agricultural scientist, he and his winemaker wife Michelle started the Linnaea Vineyards project with a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As he got work consulting in vineyards around the world he and Michelle discovered more terroirs and made more wines, across a number of continents and expressions.

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Daniel Fiscal from Linnaea Vineyards

Daniel Fiscal from Linnaea Vineyards

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The Intrepid Wino drank things in 2014

Last year was a particularly good year for drinking for me, I have to admit it. Thanks to all the fantastic people I met and venues I discovered, who all work with some beautiful products, I got to both taste and drink (sometimes a bit too much) some amazing stuff. Some of these wines were tasted at events or trade tastings, some at my favourite bars & restaurants, and a few were tasted at wineries I visited (which was too rare in 2014). You’ll notice that many of these wines are Italian which very much reflects where I was at this year working for an importer of Italian wines, and also visiting Italy in June.

Let me know what you think, and tell me in the comments what were your highlight wines for 2014.


2014 was a momentous year as it was the first time I tasted Claret!

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Piedmont Tasting – Boccaccio Cellars (14/12/2014)

The new Boccaccio Cellars store has opened and they’ve already started to have regular – and amazing – tastings each week. This past Sunday I popped in to taste some wines from the Alba area of Italy, here are my notes on them.

Photo courtesy of Paul Kaan, AKA Filthy Good Vino (http://filthygoodvino.com/filthy-good-vino/)

Photo courtesy of Paul Kaan, AKA Filthy Good Vino (http://filthygoodvino.com/filthy-good-vino/)

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Every wine has a story – Roberto Voerzio Cerequio Barolo 2006

It’s a long time between entries as far as writing on this blog (I’ve been focusing much more on The Vincast), but I thought it was about time to start putting pen to paper (metaphorically) again. I’ve decided to start something a bit different; rather than a simple tasting note on a wine, or a description of a producer and their methods, I would make the point that a bottle of wine is the property and perspective of the drinker when they open it. Every so often I open a bottle from my own collection or I taste a wine that has a personal story and a connection for me. In addition I will talk about the context in which I have enjoyed said wine; who I drink it with, where and what with. I hope you enjoy, and of course you are welcome to share some of your own experiences, whether with the wine in question or a different one entirely.


Roberto Voerzio Cerequio Barolo 2006


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Old Friends and New – Langhe, Italy 3rd June 2014

I’m not sure if it was just the jet lag but there was a surreal feeling returning to Italy, the place that had the most profound impact for me on my big trip a few years ago. After some 18 hours in transit and only six hours sleep on a plane in two days, I collected my Fiat 500 (the same car I had last time) from Malpensa airport and set off for Alba in Piemonte.

This is what I look like after 18 hours of transit.

This is what I look like after 18 hours of transit

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Marco Brangero – 5/06/2014

Langhe Arneis 2013
Stainless steel fermented and kept on lees for 2-3 months.
Very bright fruits, slightest hint of green minerality. Quite intense on the front, nice and clean with a bit of length.

Langhe Chardonnay 2012
Classic fruit profile on the nose, quite ripe fruit, stone fruits, peaches. Texture of malolactic and oak, modern international style.

Langhe Chardonnay 2006
Quite shy on the nose in fact, showing some richness and tastiness. Quite lovely in fact, nice balance, fruit settled down well, good texture.

La Ginestraia Pigato 2013
Very pale and light in colour, interesting honeysuckle character. Tight lean herbs and quince, nice saline quality.

Via Maestra Pigato 2012
The variety is hidden by oak and malolactic notes. Sort of defeats the purpose.

Dolcetto Diano d’Alba 2012
A sharpness to it, a bit of bite, finishes nice and soft. A bit sharp in the mid-palate, food reliant.

Barbera d’Alba 2011
Very classic clean expression, soft yet focused with nice balance. Slightest hint of savoury nose, “simple but not banal”.

La Soprana Barbera d’Alba 2011
Yes it’s a modern style, but for what it is it is good.

Tre Marzo Langhe Rosso 2011
Very slightly volatile on the nose. Really intense and concentrated tannins, but nice finish, very young and a little unfocused.

Nebbiolo d’Alba Briccobertone 2010
Pretty intense concentrated fruits, a bit of oak but not dominating, finishes quite long.

Barolo 2010
Fairly soft generous sweet tannins, oaky but balanced and released well, long and soft yet fresh.

Monvigliero Barolo 2010
A lot more closed aromatically. Denser more intense tannins, really concentrated powerful with a fresh finish, juicy for a barolo this young.


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Chiara Boschis E. Pira & Figli – 4/06/2014

Dolcetto d’Alba 2013
Slightly talky floral pomegranate dark cherry. Very clean fresh and pure, generous yet focused, on the amaro side.

Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2012
Very clean light colour. Fairly shy, showing lean herbal, a tad earthy. Builds a bit on the palate, hints of cocoa leaf and salted caramel, on the violet side.

Langhe Nebbiolo 2012
Still very clean but dark and earthy. Tight lean focused, hints at dark fruit but looks a little stripped.

Barolo Via Nuova 2009
Squeaky, somewhat smothered in oak, deep dark earthy, vanilla tar coffee, extractive chewy tannins.

Barolo Mosconi 2009
Smells eerily similar to the Vigna Nuova, more earthy tarriness of oak, approaching coconut. It’s hard to see the nebbiolo, has the wine changed or have I?

Barolo Cannubi 2010
Much better vintage for the style, sweet balsamic reduction. Better composition and structure, concentrate yet lightness, sweet profile of fruit and some new oak.

Barolo Via Nuova 2010
Subtle tarry leather caramel, florals a bit hidden. More concentrated tighter tannins, chewiness, complicated rather than complex.

Barolo Mosconi 2010
Deeper darker chocolate notes, more pronounced aromatics. Lifted bright intense, fairly vibrant fruit.

Barolo Riserva 1990
Funghi sweet artichokes, very mature cheese. Some mature sweet & sour notes, tomato soy reduction, still lively with good acidity.



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Cascina Bruciata – 5/06/2014

Barbera d’Alba 2012 – planted 2009 first vintage release
Nice rustic herbal spicy red fruits, quite floral as well. Juicy fresh, vibrant acids and tannins, soft yet focused, nice tightness to the acid structure, fleshy and fresh at the same time.

Usignolo Langhe Nebbiolo 2011
Very hot dry vintage, harvested on the 30th of August. Much more on the fruity side aromatically, sweet floral notes too, a little bit of dustiness coming through quite late. Tannins quite dense and concentrated on the front middle palate, fading on the mid palate but showing good length. A warmer expression thanks to the vintage.

Langhe Freisa 2012 – planted 2009 first vintage release aged for one year in used barriques
Bright but a darker more concentrated colour. A bloody red tomato character, some spiced cured meats too, on the rustic side, red fruits coming through. Bright acidity and freshness, soft yet dark tannins, focus drive and nice complexity without being too much.

Dolcetto d’Alba Rio Sordo 2011 – 65 year old vines aged six months in used barrique
Quite rustic sour cherry wildness, bordering on the volatile side. Very intense and warm, but exceptionally fresh on the palate, vibrant fruit and acid, has really good staying power. Confident concentrated expression.

Barbaresco 2010 – aged in a mixture of Slavonian casks and cement
Extremely lifted aromatics, very complex aromas, dark red fruits, pretty but also dense. Exceptional balance and precision, perfect poise and persistence, fresh and light, concentrated and firm, vibrant and drinkable with a lot of class.

Barbaresco Rio Sordo 2008 – 2 years in old barriques
Deeper darker nose, more brooding but no less intense, more dark chocolate dust notes. Soft opulent voluptuous tannins, bold generous and sweet dark fruits, interesting slightly savoury herbal kick on the back. Warmish but well-balanced with good acidity.

Barolo Cannubi-Muscatel 2010 – The only true Barolo Cannubi-Muscatel
Very very complex, wild dark fruits, crushed roses and violets. Powerful yet supple, rich yet fresh, round yet focused, so much pleasure in the glass, yet so much complexity at the same time. Very long…


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Ceretto – 3/06/2014

Blange Langhe Arneis 2013
Lovely juicy bright fresh, juicy ripe pear and apple, with some guava texture. Generous expression in youth, potentially also vintage related.

Rossana Dolcetto d’Alba 2012
Very concentrated lifted floral almost cough syrup cassis herbal notes. Tight lean focused fresh, good tannins, not overtly fruity, refreshing and pleasant yet serious.

Piana Barbera d’Alba 2012
A little bit more closed on the nose, slightly earthier meatier and spicier notes. Livelier on the palate, vibrant but not simple fruit, meatier tannins and a bit more length.

Monsordo red blend
Bordeaux varieties therefore not worth talking about.

Bernardina Nebbiolo d’Alba 2011
Lean focused cured meats, spicy raspberry, some dried currants dipped in carob. Juicy and generous but light and savoury, very focused, tannins a  little drying.

Riesling 2012
Absolutely nothing wrong with it, very delicious in fact. Does it compare to German, Austrian or French riesling? Probably not. Is that a bad thing? Not at all!

Prapo Barolo 2009
Rusty dusty dark fruits, some salted dark chocolate. Some middle eastern sweet spices on the palate, some soft dark cherry savouriness too.

Brunate 2005
Not showing that great. I think possibly a product of the vintage, rarely am I amazed at 2005 wines.


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Bentleigh Tasting Group – Piedmont Nebbiolo

This month I got the opportunity to pick the theme, and for obvious reasons I chose an Italian theme. Considering many of the members of the Bentleigh Tasting Group are very experienced sommeliers, some of which are studying either WEST or Court of Master Sommelier courses, I thought the most beneficial topic would be nebbiolo from Piedmont. Considering how revered wines from this variety and region are, and the complicated nature of the DOC and DOCG systems, it would be interesting to look at how vintage, producer and site variations effect the wines.

Bentleigh Tasting Group discussing nebbiolo

Bentleigh Tasting Group discussing nebbiolo

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