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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

A Few Italians - February 26, 2007


We tried last night (2/26/07) a few Italians at our SantaFe WineGroup:

  1. de Tarczal DOC Trentino Superiore Marzemino di Isera (12.5%) 2003: Dark color;
    fragrant earthy some black cherry/licorice quite perfumed/aromatic bright nose; med.tart light slight metallic bright/spicy/cherry/black cherry slight earthy/dusty flavor; med. slight earthy bright/cherry/ black cherry quite bright/spicy finish w/light tannins; lots of bright cherry character; very interesting
    wine. $17.00
  2. Husar de Tarczal Marzemino DOC Trentino Superiore (13.0%) Marano d'Isera 2003: Dark
    color; deep/earthy black cherry/cherry/spicy very perfumed/aromatic slight toasty/oak nose; med.tart bigger/richer bright/black cherry/licoriceslight pungent/oak loads of rich/bright/spicy cherry/black cherry fruit flavor; med.long bit tannic somewhat tart bright cherry/black cherry finish; a lovely drinking wine; much like #1 but a bit bigger and richer and a touch of oak. $23.00
  3. Crivelli DOC: Ruche di Castignole Monferrato (13.5%) 2005: Med.light color; lovelybright/ spicy/cherry/floral/cherry blossom very perfumed/aromatic almost Muscat-like lovely nose; very tart quite floral/cherry/cherry blossom/cheap hair oil very perfumed almost Malvasioe-like bit lean/tannic flavor; med.long rather lean/tannic very floral/cherry/cherry blossom finish; may need a yr or two;
    beautiful perfumed wine at a good price. $17.00
  4. Majoli DOC: Ruche di Castanole Monferrato (14%; www.Dacapo.It) Az.Agr.dacapo 2004:
    Med.color; strong herbal/fresh paint nose that clears rapidly to bright cherry/black cherry/very floral/violets/lilacs rather black pepper deeper/complex nose; tart rather hard/tannic perfumed/black cherry/floral almost Pinotish rather strong cracked black pepper/pungent complex flavor; long hard/tannic very black cherry/floral/lilacs quite black pepper very perfumed finish; may need several yrs; terrific food wine at $20.00

And a Wee BloodyPulpit:

1. Marzemino: Both of these came from Roberto in SantaMonica. A variety mostly planted in
the Trentino. I've been impressed by all the Marzeminos I've tried for their very perfumed cherry character. Not a serious wine but just a very fun drink. I would describe them as "wirey" more than anything; lots of bright fruit and rather tart. It's a variety they should be planting in Calif where the could make a world-class wine from this grape w/ enough extraction, alcohol, cold soaking, new French oak...the whole shebang that it takes to make great wine.

From the Net:
The Marzemino grape occupies a prominent position in the wine growing circles of Trentino due to its excellent quality. The origins of the vine have been lost over the centuries. The most likely hypothesis is that the vine comes from Marzemin, a village in the Carinzia area. Currently Marzemino is cultivated extensively both in the areas on the right bank of the river Adige and, more precisely, in the hilly areas that go from Nomi to Pomarolo, to Isera, to Mori, as well as in the areas around the left bank, especially in the municipality of Volano where the most excellent area is known as the "ZIRESI" (cherry-trees).

The Vallagarina has ideal climatic and pedological conditions for the Marzemino grape, as they provide it with its unmistakable organoleptic characteristics. To differentiate it from other similar products it is called "Marzemino Gentile". The name "Gentile" of the Marzemino Trentino wine is justified by the products incomparable subtlety.

Casata Monfort has bred its products from a small vine in the Comune of Pomarolo, in the region of Brolio, respecting the ancient production techniques of this wine.

Morphological characteristics of the vine:
Slightly early shooting; mid flowering; maturing 4th period. Leaf pentagonal, average size, three-lobed; upper leaf surface glabrous, opaque, dark green colour, with typically deep-set nervations; under leaf surface light grey/green and felted with green nervations, slightly reddish at the base: Cluster long, cylindrical-pyramidal, with 1-2 wings, average compactness. Grape berries average; skin very pruinose, blue-black coloured, rather thin but substantial, simple flavour, juice slightly ros?. Grape-seed 3, pear-shaped.

Brief red wine fermentation on the skins, malolactic fermentation and refining in stainless steel vats. Brief ageing in the bottles.

Colour: bright ruby red
Bouquet: subtle and intense, reminds one of violets
Palate: dry, harmonious, balanced, pleasantly bitterish

Gastronomic suggestions
This wine is famous for its fruity taste, which makes the wine medium light and suitable to drink throughout a whole meal. However, the ideal dishes are first courses with meat juices (pappardelle with a duck sauce, garganelli with sausage and pecorino cheese) and white meat or poultry (Cacciatora rabbit - tomato, onion, butter sauce - duckling with olives, roast guinea fowl, pigeon with peas), also excellent with mushroom based dishes

    2. Ruche/Ruchet: I was first introduced to this variety by DarrellCorti when he brought
    in a bunch of Scarpa wines in the mid-'70's; which included Ruchet, Brachetto, and
    Freisa, plus the obligatory Barolos and Barbarescos. I fell in love w/ all three of varieties. So I seek out every example I can lay my hands on. Scarpa has made a mission of reviving these old Piedmonte varieties. Don't know if he's still alive or not...haven't seen his wines since Darrell brought them in. The wines remind me some of Grignolino with their strong floral perfume, but w/o the astringent/gritty tannins Grignolino often shows. It's a variety they should be planting in Calif where the could make a world-class wine from this grape w/ enough extraction, alcohol, cold soaking, new French oak... the whole shebang that it takes to make great wine.

    From the Net:
    Come join me on another our occasional excursions down the wine roads less taken, as we enjoy
    a quick look at Ruch? ("Roo-kay"), an Italian red grape so obscure that it's only grown in a
    few small villages in the Castagnole Monferrato hills northeast of Asti in Piemonte.

    Long available only to tourists visiting the area, Ruch? has started turning up occasionally in the world market, especially after Ruch? di Castagnole Monferrato was legally designated a D.O.C. under Italian wine law a few years ago. It's such a rustic oddity, indeed, that the Italian Trade Commission's informative ItalianMade.com Website declares that almost nothing is known about the grape's history, which was never written down but exists only as an oral tradition. Even the name of the grape is under debate. I've read that it comes from a dialect word for "rock," but this may reflect confusion with the French Roche. ItalianMade.com speculates that the Piemontese name boasts of the vine's resistance to roncet, a local term for "a degenerative infection of viral origin to which the variety is more resistant than others cultivated in the district, particularly Barbera and Grignolino."

    Whatever it means, it makes a wine with a memorable aroma and flavor profile that offers a
    significant change of pace from the usual suspects. Put Ruch? in your glass, and you certainly won't mistake it for Merlot. Pinot Noir, maybe. I've reported previously on an excellent example from the importer John Given, Cantine Sant'Agata "Na Vita" Ruch? di Castagnole Monferrato. Today's
    tasting features an import from the colorfully labeled "Il Circo" line of unusual Italian varieties from Bonny Doon Vineyards.


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