Capoposto Negroamaro 2008
A very juicy plummy nose with depth, softness and fruit sweetness, focused and velvety tannins, very mellow and yet focused with red tomato savoury elements.
Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera 2009
A DOC wine made from two red varieties (nero di troia and montepulciano) and one white variety (bombino bianco). Especially unique aromas, expressing currants with earthy smoked meat, was fairly intense and fresh on the palate with tight and firm tannins without too much heat or astringency.
Le Cruste Nero di Troia 2009
Suffers from the problem outlined in the introduction to this post, showing very intense sweet spicy oak, and a thin blanket of coconut sitting over the palate. The fruit was bold and structured, showing some interesting cranberry and blackberry notes, but it was hard to get past the oak.
A wine I had seen before but never tasted
Something quite interesting has happened to my tastes over the past six weeks in Italy; I think I have become anti-oak. I think this has been in reaction to tasting so many new wines made from unfamiliar varieties, and my desire to see the subtleties and nuances of each variety without the interference of oak treatment. In general the wines where the oak has worked for it have been made from or included more familiar French varieties, which perhaps suggests I am merely unfamiliar with how oak reacts with these unfamiliar varieties. The wines in Italy have been exceptional, and have got me really excited for the future of Italian wines, as by all accounts the quality of the wines and the understanding of the varieties and terroir have only been happening over the past 20 or so years. In no way am I suggesting that the distracting use of oak is prevalent in Italy, in fact it is quite uncommon. My assumption is that because of the excitement I have felt tasting more ‘traditional’ wines made from indigenous varieties where little to no oak is used, I have been uninspired by wines that use too much new oak for too long that give them a more ‘modern’ and ‘international’ flavour that whilst not necessarily bad are boring and like many others. Too often I see aromas of chocolate and banana (a tad strange, but unmistakable) which immediately turn me off, and then on the palate comes the vanilla and coconut. This makes it difficult for me to assess and come to terms with such unique varieties as montepulciano, lagrein, sagrantino and nero di troia. Whilst I totally agree that I must become more familiar with these varieties and regions before passing judgement, the predilection for over-use of oak is unmistakable and in my opinion unforgivable. Allow the flavours to shine through, speaking for themselves and seducing new consumers all over the world, as nature is the champion rather than the winemaker in my opinion.
|A friendly observer on the way to Puglia