onsdag den 5. november 2014

Wine with an edge

The headline is a translation of the name in Danish of a small importer of wine, VinMedKant. The purpose of the firm is to find wines from mostly small producers that have a personal touch, perhaps a bit different from the majorities in the wine region, they represent. Recently VinMedKant invited me to a tasting of Italian wine with several producers present. Some of the wines surprised me in a positive way, while others were a bit disappointing. Here I will mention some of the first.
The tasting did not only present wine but an independent beer brewery too, Birra Amiata from Tuscany. I tried their fresh ale, ComunAle and then Comtessa, a so called Italian Pale Ale with nice fresh hop and floral flavours. Later I had Bastarda Doppia and Bastardia Nera – both brewed on chestnuts. The last was a very powerful and tasteful Imperial Stout with a roasted character and a bit flavours from the chestnuts. The whole range was impressive and proved that a lot has happened when it comes to microbreweries in Italia.

The first wine producer I met was a very pleasant surprise too. Società Agricola Bulichella is a family owned estate from Suvereto in the northern Maremma in Tuscany – a hilly place with a lot of sun and a salty wind from the coast. Bulichella are producing very nice, certified organic wines with a clear line:
  • Tuscanio Bianco 2013: Based on 100 % Vermentino. A very fresh nose, with some tropical fruit notes like pineapple and a hint of mint. Dry full-bodied, but perhaps a little low on acid.
  • Rubino 2011: Rosso Toscano based on 50 % Sangiovese, 25 % Merlot and 25 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Ruby and a very present nose, dark berries and some minerals and spices from the cask.
  • Tuscanio Rosso 2010: 100 % Sangiovese. Typical nose of cherries and darker berries. Great acidity and some floral notes and vanilla from the cask.
  • Hide Syrah 2010: Ruby red. Full-bodied and deep with lots of fruit, red berries and acidity. Velvet tannins and a nice tail.
  • Coldipietrerosse 2010. Not an easy name to pronounce or spell, but worth to remember! A blend of Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and some Petit Verdot). Blackberries and cassis, some tobacco and spicy as well. Tannins for a longer life and a nice finish.
Bulichella is succeeding in creating a clear line of inviting fruitiness combined with minerals and a balanced use of oak.

From Camperchi in inland Tuscany, Arezzo east of Sienna, I tried:
  • Sasso Lupaio 2013: A nice, straightforward red blend (50 % Merlot, 30 % Sangiovese and others), with strawberry and other red fruits. A fresh and well balanced entry level.
  • Anno O 2008: A blend from old vineyards with more than 70 % Sangiovese. Still with red fresh berries, but more spicy and with soft tannins. A good and very drinkable glass.
  • Sangiovese 2007: Dark cherries and with discrete notes from the cask, spices and a bit tobacco. Deeper and with a very good structure.
  • Merlot 2007: Dark berries like blackcurrant, balsamic, spices and a bit jammy. A good wine, but I sure prefered the Sangiovese.

The third estate in Tuscay was Poggio Mandorlo in Montecucco DOC area, who presented three wines:
  • Il Guardiano 2010: Made of 85 % Sangiovese and 15 % Merlot from young vineyards. A medium bodied wine with a lot of fresh fruit and some floral notes. An easy going and straight forward wine. 
  • La Querce 2009: The same blend, but more depths and more, but soft tannin. Read berries and some spices from the time in cask.  
  • Poggio Mandorlo 2008: The top win made of a Super Tuscan blend of 70 % Merlot and 30 % Cabernet Franc aged 18 months in new French barriques. A different nose with dark berries and cassis and more roasted flavours from the time in barriques. More powerful tannins, but still fresh and elegant. A great glass that last in the mouth.

Finally I will mention a producer from Valpociella, Vini Dindo situated near Fumane in Valpociella Classico. Therefore it was no surprise that they presented the tree common red wines from that area. The only one missing was the sweet Recioto:
  • Valpolicella 2013: A typically blend from the region, but with a more fruity character. Light, with red berries and cherries. Low on tannins.
  • Ripasso 2012: 70 % Corvina and then Rondinella and a bit Corvione. Deeper ruby with dried cherries and fruit, low on tannins, but with nice acidity. Aged in steel tanks, which gives more a fruity flavour.
  • Amarone 2010: Darker in the nose, cherries and some raspberry. Some notes like vanilla from the barrique as well. A deeper wine with the typically Amarone character, but different a fresher as well.
Vini Dindo is making more fruity wines that normally from Valpociella. At first I found it a little odd, but giving it a second try, it was quit tasty. But I must admit that I personally prefer the more heavy style from other producers.
All four producers mentioned had a clear line in their wines and some of them were different from the typically style of their region. If that is what the importer seeks with his mission, he had made some good choices when selecting producers. Some of the other producers I tried did not have the same approach in my humble opinion.   
You can visit VinMedKant here

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