S amuel and Carolotta Scotti Pignato were back in town at the Vineyard this week, showcasing 15 more excellent Italian wines from small producers.
The Pignatos, who live in Italy and own Tuscan Vineyard Imports, have held a couple of tastings in Augusta, always bringing in interesting wines. They have been conducting tours of Tuscany for many years through their Tuscan Vineyard Tours.
This time they brought 14 wines that had the tasters smiling. Here are the notes on the wines:
Nardone Fiano Di Avellino DOCG. This was a refreshing, light, dry white wine. I thought it was lively, fruity, full of flavor. About half the group like this wine, but the other half liked the next wine.
Nardone Greco di Tufo DOCG. The second white, which I thought was not as lively as the first. It had more weight and structure, and it might have been better with a meal. Full bodied, with nice acidity.
Tenuta Argentiera Poggio al Ginepri Bolgheri 2011, Tuscany. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot was very pleasant. Smooth, jammy fruit, blackberry, medium bodied. Easy to drink.
Podere Concore Pinot Noir 2011. Hints of wild berries blend with the fragrance of morello cherry, while a pleasant acidity gives a lively touch to the palate, resulting in a balanced and elegant overall mouthfeel. This is a light summer wine.
Podere Concore Melograno 2011. The name means pomegranate. The owners thought the intensity and concentration of color and aroma reminded them of pomegranate. It is predominantly Syrah with 10% of native varieties blended in. It is peppery, light, spicy with black cherry notes. It could be a good introduction to Syrah if you’ve not tasted many.
Pietro Beconcinni Antiche Vie Chianti. This is 70% Sangiovese, aged in large vats. The name means “ancient paths,” from an old path through the vineyard that has been around since Medieval times. It was a pleasant wine, with notes of cherries and violets. It’s a nice everyday wine.
Plan delle Querci Rosso di Montalcino. This was another pleasant, smooth wine. It had some backbone and structure. Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy’s most famous wines, made in Tuscany. Banfi is the major producer in the region, but Plan delle Querci also make some interesting wines. The Rosso will sell for less than $20, and the winery also has a Brunello for $35 and a Reserva for less than $50.
Fattoria Dionella Chianti. This is 95% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino. The wine spends eight months in stainless steel and a minimum of three months in the bottle before release. It is a bright ruby red, with sweet tannins. It is smooth and easy to drink. It is crisp on the palate with a little smokiness.
Pietro Beconcini Morleo. This Super Tuscan is a 50-50 blend of Sangiovese and Malvesia Nera. It was an outstanding wine, very smooth, balanced and velvety. It had good body and a long finish. Fermentation and malolactic fermentation takes places in cement vats. The wine then spends 12 months in French oak barrels and tonneaux.
Pietro Beconcini IXE IGT Toscana Rosso. This wine was popular the last time the Pignatos were in town. This Super Tuscan is from primarily Tempranillo grapes with a little Sangiovese. It is considered somewhat of a renegade wine because it departs from traditional Tuscan methods. The wine is pronounced eeks. It is aged in second use French and American oak barrels for 14-15 months. This is another smooth, velvety, rich wine.
Villa Donoratico 2010. This was a huge wine, with great body and integrated tannins. It had a strong finish. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It is a dark ruby color with full dark fruit flavors, and a hint of spice and licorice. It is a complex wine, and you pick up tastes of cherries and raspberries.
Maro 2010. This Super Tuscan is big and bold, but with a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It spent no time in oak, and the fruit flavors really pop out. The owners planted Bordeaux vines after testing the soil and finding those were the vines for the soil and climate.
Memento Audere Vasco Amono 2007. This is the same blend as the Maro, and it is made by the same winery. It is aged in used barriques to give it a bit more complexity and character. This was an excellent wine, but I preferred the Maro. This label had a photo of someone who looked like Elvis, but I think Carlotta said it was the founder of the winery.
Nardone Taurasi DOCG. Made from Aglianico grapes, this wine had an aroma of green apples, and a bit of an astringent taste. There was some plum and spice on the palate, but it wasn’t among my favorites. It’s a full-bodied wine that might benefit from some aging. It was aged in oak for 24 months and another year in the bottle.
Nardone Aglianico. This is the big brother of the previous wine, with the grapes coming from a specific area. It is aged an additional year. It had more body, more finish, nice muscles. It pulls some minerality from the volcanic soil of the vineyard. It had big fruit and more intensity.
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