13 March 2006

Tavijn a ball

Lageder 2004 Moscato Giallo Vogelmeier (Alto Adige) – Minerals and lime-flavored rocks, with a pristine, rock-formation structure dressed up with a little muscat perfume.

I’ve written about this wine before, so no need to repeat everything here…except to note that the wine shows remarkable consistency. Alcohol: 13%. Closure: cork. Importer: Lageder USA. Web: http://www.lageder.com/

Goracci Rossano & Danilo “Tenuta Roccaccia” 2004 Bianco di Pitigliano “Superiore” (Tuscany) – Pretty lemon flower and lightly crystalline structure; there’s light shining through this wine. It hints at, but never entirely achieves, greater weight.

A trebbiano toscano/chardonnay blend (dominated by the former) from the southeastern corner of Tuscany. Though the wine has apparently been known for just about forever, this is my first example. Alcohol: 13.5%. Closure: molded synthetic. Importer: Montecastelli. Web: http://www.tenutaroccaccia.it/.

Mayr-Nusser “Nusserhof” Blaterle Tafelwein (Alto Adige) – Non-vintage table wine (for what reason I’m not clear, though it appears to have something to do with the “authorities” not wanting to recognize this wine), showing mixed leaves and saline minerality, but a harsh, acrid sort of imbalance. I want to like it, because many of the elements I like in mountain whites are here, but I just don’t. Too many rough edges.

Aside from the information on the importer’s web site and a few distributor and retailer additions, this wine is a virtual blank slate for me, and information is almost impossible to come by. Jancis Robinson doesn’t mention the grape in Vines, Grapes & Wines, nor is it in the Oxford Companion to Wine. Obviously, a visit to the source is required. Alcohol: 12.5%. Organic. Closure: cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner/LDM. Web: http://www.cascinatavijn.it/.

cascina ‘tavijn 2004 Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato (Piedmont) – The ripest possible cherries crushed right under one’s nose; an explosion of multicolored juice carrying with it a mélange of aromatic flower petals, hints of graphite-like tannin, and that succulent, sexed-up fruit smell one gets from the most exquisite black truffles. This is an absolutely amazing wine.

No one can seem to agree on whether its “ruché” or “ruche,” but all agree that the grape is one of those individualistic things that litter Italy. “Red gewürztraminer” is what one observer called it, and I can see what they mean: this is not shy. Alcohol: 14%. Closure: cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner/LDM. Web: http://www.cascinatavijn.it/.

Lageder 2001 Lagrein (Alto Adige) – Heady and forceful, with red and black fruit dust in the soprano register and somewhat strident mineral-driven structure. Yet the whole thing holds together nicely, and a fine future seems in store.

Lagrein, with its restrained power and mineral-driven complexity, is a grape I should like a lot more often than I do. Unfortunately, far too many are handled (or, more likely, grown) badly, leaving hard tannins and ungenerous fruit much harder and more ungenerous than they need to be…and sometimes, a thick layer of fresh wood just compounds the problems. This isn’t a great lagrein, but it’s a good one, and it’s ageable. Alcohol: 13%. Closure: cork. Importer: Lageder USA. Web: http://www.lageder.com/

cascina ‘tavijn 2004 Grignolino d’Asti (Piedmont) – Gorgeous, faded color, and slightly better with a brief chill. However, this is a wine that wants to be more than it actually is; there’s a mild overdose of structure around pale red, orange and yellow fruit with earthy dustings of dried peppercorns, and the whole thing comes off as a “serious” rosé more than a light-styled red…and even then, it’s not quite as light as one would think. I’m conflicted about this wine; I think I like it, but I’m unsure whether the actual feeling is more or less positive than that. Another bottle might help clarify matters.

The first dozen or so versions of this grape to pass my lips weren’t Italian at all, but instead from Heitz (of Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon fame); their rosé, red and “port” versions provided a lot of easy, pleasurable drinking in the early days of my wine obsession. Even in the lush climes of Napa, however, there was an intriguing “difference” to the grape; a light, desert-sunset color, a semi-exotic bitterness (or perhaps “edginess” would be more accurate), a divergence from the usual range of expected fruit aromas. And one more thing: this wine does one of those surprising variable dynamic acts that so many bigger, heftier wines simply aren’t lithe enough to do. Light food, it’s a light wine. Heavier food, and it suddenly gains weight and intensity. It’s a marvelous thing. Alcohol: 12.5%. Closure: cork. Web: http://www.cascinatavijn.it/.


Jake Parrott said...

I liked the Mayr-Nusser blaterle, though I was drinking it in a non-critical context. Sort of like the best welchsriesling you've ever had...

Thor Iverson said...

High praise, high praise...

Jake Parrott said...

Hey, at least it's an archetype...