Travaglino, Poggio della Buttinera, 2002
According to the winery's site, this Pinot Nero hails from Calvignano district. I managed to write down "ripe fruit with green nuances, minerals and leather on the nose, aggressive and alcoholic on the palate" before a Winemaker walked in, tasted it and pronounced it corky. Well, he is a trained professional so thanks, guy, it's nice to have a scientific reason why I don't like a wine for a change.
The same Winemaker brought:
Recanati, Chardonnay, 2005
Quite nice on the nose, fruity and somewhat flowery, with light traces of oxidation and spices. There is oak on the palate but not obnoxiously so. Could use more dimension.
Odoardi, Vigna Garrone, Scavigna, Calarbia, 2000
Weighing in at 14% alcohol, this is a modern-tasting wine made of an indigenous varietal called Galliope. By modern-tasting I mean zanily-concentrated fruit with lots of vanilla on the nose. Not something that particularly appeals to me but the palate has impressive body and length, though the dry-ish tannins obscure the fruit. Having said all that, a lot of the wood vanishes after time in glass and the palate opens up nicely, though it never developed any particular complexity.
Masciarelli, Marina Cveltic, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, San Martino Rosso, 2001
I was somewhat surprised to find this winery has a web site. What a modern world! Initially dominated by cheesy aromas over red fruit ("reductive!" said the Winemaker), time coaxed sweeter fruit and some herbs out of it. Terrific acidity, soft tannins and good length. A heartwarmer. Were this a commercial tasting, this is the wine I'd buy.
Cantina del Briccheto, Ombranera, Barbera d'Alba, 2003
A fruity, albeit brett-y wine, that turns minerally, even sulphuric, as the brett recedes. Reasonable acidity for a hot vintage. A pleasant wine that turned tannic in time. Hard to tell what more cellar time will do to it.
Fay, Ronco del Picchio, Sforzato di Valtellina, 2003
A very weird Nebbiolo based wine. The Hugh Johnson Wine Pocket Book calls Sforzato di Valtellina "the most concentrated type of Valtellina; similar to Amarone". Judging by this sample, I can't figure out why anyone would want to do that to a Nebbiolo. Usually a wine needs to be much riper than the Fay was for me to dislike it as much as I did this little jewel. A weird flavor profile, lots of oak but the ultimate insult was a depressing sensation of stale chocolate that decimated anything and everything in its path. 14.5% alcohol, just like the Masciarelli, actually, but more obvious here. To toss back in the water.
Azelia, Barolo, Bricco Fiasco, 1996
And after that fiasco came the Bricco Fiasco... Alright, I had to get that joke out of my system.
An interesting seasoning of minerals and mildew on the nose. Good structure but I thought the fruit was still dormant. An elegant wine that is drinking well right now but I think it's still too young despite some accelerated maturing due to (non-existant) cellaring conditions.
A quick change of locale for the dessert wine:
Abbe Rous, Banyuls, Helios, 2002
Chocolate, dry fruits as well as fresh balck ones. Refreshing and somewhat surprising acidity. Good structure. This resembles Port, verifying what I'd read about the AOC, and though I'm a Sherry man, I liked it.