Opera Wine 2017 - 100 Great Producers

Verona, Italy

Tasted April 8, 2017 by Tim Heaton with 813 views

Introduction

The annual event, a collaboration between Wine Spectator and VinItaly.

A fine, mildly warm and sunny day in Verona. Lots of smiling faces, plenty of old/prior vintages to taste. Saw lots of old friends (winemakers), met some new ones (winemakers). A good handful of standouts, and I've marked them accordingly in my reviews. Hopefully this can help someone(s). The list isn't perfect, some wines tasted (e.g. 2010 Terre Nere Guardiola) I can't find the note for or the digital file was lost/corrupted. A few others on this list may be from a dinner that night. It's not perfect, but it's the best I have right now. Enjoy.

More about this event can be found on my blog http://wp.me/p7fulH-1mX

Flight 1 (93 notes)

Red
2005 Salvatore Molettieri Taurasi Riserva Cinque Querce Italy, Campania, Taurasi DOCG
{VinItaly 2017, Opera Wine} Dark ruby, clear and bright. Aromas and palate are still somewhat (mostly?) backward just now. I don't know anything to speak of regarding the vintage characteristics for this wine, but it's got structure to spare. In another 10 years, I think all of this coiled up energy is going to relax, and what'll be left is an elegant wine with loads of tertiary character, but tonight, it was just tight. HOLD.

- Salvatore's son, Giovanni, pours the 2005 Riserva at Opera Wine

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Red
2004 Avignonesi Desiderio Italy, Tuscany, Cortona
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Have had this many times since release, it's consistent in its inconsistency. Today's bottle is nice, not exciting, not off, just nice, as in casual dinner party nice. These wines can take a long time (i.e. more than 20 years) to fully shake off the wood treatment before the fruit really begins to shine. That said, I'm not sure this one's going to get there as the fruit just seems too much, a bit over-wrought in a way. This could have been so much more. I think the new leadership at Avignonesi is on the right path, and I'm excited for their future.

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Red
2011 Bibi Graetz Testamatta Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } A cumbersome wine that's deeply in need of balance and freshness. Comes across as a wine that's made not grown, and therefore I lost interest in pretty short order. Those that gravitate to this style will find little to fuss over. Can't recommend/won't purchase.

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Red
2010 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I've been drinking and (largely) enjoying these wines for more than a decade. I mention that because there's always a nostalgia factor when I drink these, i.e. I wan't to like them more than I often actually do. Well, I tasted this based on what's in the glass, and it's appealing, if not exciting. Good, fresh perfumes, balance in the mouth and a focused, lifted finish. This is built for food; fair chance it will improve with a few more years of rest in the cellar. That said, I'm a big believer in the potential of the region, its land. recommended

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Red
2012 Castellare di Castellina I Sodi di S. Niccolò Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } My second time with this since release - I liked it then, I like it even more now. Understated, across the board, from the (lighter) color, to the aromatics and palate - each offers an exciting display full of place and grape(s). The addition of Malvasia Nera, and the choice to raise the wines in equal parts new and neutral oak is brilliant, in my opinion, and serve the wine very well; plenty of freshness, with an elegant, approachable structure. Drink now with aeration, or hold; likely to improve with mid-term cellaring. highly recommended

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Red
2008 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017 } Borderline pedestrian. There are glimpses of freshness and purity, but, as with the other features here they seem masked, or dumbed-down in a way. Not sure what precisely they're doing in the cellar beyond what's published on a technical sheet, but there's serious room for improvement here (i.e. vineyard and cellar). Perhaps it was the grapes themselves, and that's why, in just the most recent years, it's (Montosoli) all been replanted. Would not recommend or purchase, too many other, exciting choices available.

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Red
2006 Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Consistent with the bottle of just a few months ago, this was nice. As in good with cheeseburgers nice. Perhaps the editors that fawned over this on release can re-taste it today, and maybe learn something. Which is to say, there's another couple of dozen wines (from this region/vintage) I'd have had on this short list of 'great wines' before this one. A decent value in today's secondary market; not something I would seek out.

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Red
2008 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } An elegant, traditional Brunello that's understated, and over-priced. I like this wine, but I'm far from excited by this wine. Take away the label (i.e. taste it blind) and you've got a better than average, traditionally grown Brunello worth about $60 at most. That said, I think there were come clever choices made to realize this type of quality in a less than ideal vintage. Not something I can recommend at its price point; probably best to HOLD for now, and hope that time's in its corner.

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Red
2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Dark color portends (accurately) the freshness of what's in the glass; well, the lack of it, anyway. Not a wine that does anything for me personally, but for those that gravitate to a (too) ripe, black-fruited wine with little overall balance and/or structure, it should perform to expectations, at least. Age has not been its friend, I doubt the future will be any more kind. Consistent results with the 3 or 4 times I've had this since release. Can't recommend, would not purchase.

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Red
2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio All'Oro Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Each time I have this wine, whether it's on release or after 20+ years, I think the same thing - what could it have been? A wine that's been hit or miss over the years - when it's on, it's really on, and when it's not, and I find myself going back to the cellar to open something more interesting. This wine's not much different than the dozens I've had over the years, it's good, and has some moments of very good, but it's just a tad too dark(ly fruited) for me, which is another way of saying the freshness is lacking, the varietal character, mediocre at best. I'd probably drink a glass if offered, but this isn't something I'd seek out/purchase. Either way, HOLD, it's likely to improve at least somewhat from here.

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Red
2011 Castello d'Albola Chianti Classico Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } An average wine, at best, across the board. Moments of freshness together with glimpses of depth and complexity, but they're all offset by wide-open spaces of...space, as in a void. Perhaps this needed a few hours of air in decanter, or perhaps this is just as good as it gets. I found myself scratching my head that this was on anyone's Top 100. It's nice, and I'd have it with pasta if someone else was the host, but this will not find its way into my cellar as it's just not that interesting. Drink now.

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Red
2007 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Deeply colored, with thick, almost heady aromas of dark fruit and brown spices. With some swirling a few puffs of floral, but this day it was not managing anything more. A wine to serve blind, I think, as many will rate/bias re: the label. Not all, but many; either way, this veers more toward a lower-acid, crowd-pleasing style. That said, I wanted to like this more than I did, I wanted it to be more complex, have better freshness and be less linear; there's good purity here, but it's as if it's being constrained. Perhaps time will help to sort this out, as it is now, it's an easy pass; I like it, but can't recommend it. HOLD

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Red
2005 Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } An exciting wine in a really good place just now. The kind of power of and the queen of elegance had a child, and they named that child 2005 Siepi. This is a wine that calls your attention the moment it's in the glass - and each moment until it's gone. Well worth your time to try and source some in today's secondary market; drink now, or hold for a few more years, there's no real sign its fading. highly recommended

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Red
2006 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT Italy, Tuscany, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I've had this wine about a dozen times since it was released - I've liked it every time; this afternoon was no different. Funny thing about this wine, I've had it in large formats, too, and it's always had at least some amount of approachability, regardless of if it was tasted 6 years ago, or 6 hours ago. That's not to say it's totally open, it's not, or rather, it's still developing. This needs time to reach its zenith, but is (and consistently has) available now; in 8-12 years, this will be singing some very high notes indeed. Lovely, and should see another 15 years with nice results. highly recommended

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Red
2006 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } The current winemaker, Alessandro, was pouring this wine. I mention that because he came across as serious and confident as this wine (though I'm not sure he produced this vintage, he's pretty young). This is quite a wine, though it will require many years before it's in its preferred plateau. That said, it's enjoyable now - with a few hours of air - and it's willing to show off some of its inner beauty and deeply complex aromas and flavors, if you're willing to give it a proper aeration (I'd be inclined to remove the cork at 8am and pour it for dinner at 8pm - if opening anytime soon). It was about a month ago that I was walking in their vineyards; after seeing their approach to farming, it's no wonder I love these wines. HOLD. highly recommended

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Red
2008 Le Macchiole Messorio Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } An elegant wine, kind of in the shadow of previous, more power-soaked efforts. Or, maybe it's casting a new shadow, as the wood treatment is different than in years past. I've enjoyed this wine many times over the past 15 years, but I've always been left wanting something. It would be easy to say that something would be a lower price, but it's more than that. That said, what this wine is telling me today is that with another 5-7 years in the cellar, I may be able to find that something here in this 2008. HOLD. recommended

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Red
2012 Cabreo Il Borgo Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Darker color, darker fruits, though the palate comes off a little less (dark) so, a little less plush and round than the color and nose might, at first, suggest. This blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon succeeds with as many parts for the adventurous traditionalist to enjoy as those that primarily drink big, lush, new world efforts. There's still some baby fat that needs shed at this stage, but there's also an underlying crunchiness and inner-balance that bode well for the future. HOLD, recommended

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Red
2012 Castello di Volpaia Balifico Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Dark, figgy, pruney, with lower acids and lower freshness. A wine that holds little interest for me. (over) concentration and (over) ripeness are the defining factors here. A wine that I can not recommend nor would I seek to purchase, though for those that like the style, you'll be happy with the QPR; not thrilled, but happy.

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Red
2012 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Fontalloro Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Not too open at this stage, the wine being both young and also a bit dumbed-down with wood. I kept searching, swirling, for freshness, for complexity. But, at the end of the day (I returned at the end to re-taste, spent a good 10 minutes with it), I was left wanting more - personality, complexity, energy, and most of all, freshness. There's a reason, I think, as to why I stopped buying Fontalloro after more than a decade of faithful purchasing, and this 2012 pretty much confirms that reason. If the key factors you look for are: richness, round, smooth and ripe, you'll probably want to pick up a few bottles. Maybe it's me, that I look at this too seriously, when in fact it's not meant to be taken seriously at all? Either way, I'm not a buyer. Drink 2019-2028, aeration in decanter advised.

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Red
2010 Castelgiocondo (Marchesi de' Frescobaldi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Ripe al Convento Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Reminds me in some ways of the 1997 and the 1999 (when they were first released, wines I bought based on 'points'/'reviews') in regards to its being a wine that's easily hyped, easily understood. For me, there's little interest here anymore, which is a way of saying this is a wine that relies more on textural appeal than anything intellectual. This comes across as made more than grown. And sometimes that can be just fine, but having spent a month this past May living in Tuscany/Montalcino, tasting every day, I can think of a dozen+ other wines that offer exciting freshness and deep purity that I want to define the wine as opposed to dark fruits, chocolate and too frequent moments of uncomfortable silence. Not a bad introduction to the region for those that have not experienced it before, though I'm not sure about the value proposition; you'll need to decide, and I recommend tasting this one before buying it. HOLD.

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Red
2010 Campogiovanni (San Felice) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna del Quercione Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
Tightly wound at this point, and it'll be at least 4-5 years before any inner charms this has will become evident. There's a decent purity here, a good sense of balance and decent structure, but I have to wonder when this wine's sweet-spot will occur; it's so backward now, it could be in 6 or 12 years, though at anything over $55-$60, I'd not be willing to invest and find out. Good>Very Good. HOLD

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Orange
2010 La Stoppa Ageno Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Emilia IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Enjoyable blend of citrus, spice and earth. There's still some freshness here, and the vinification method assures us there will be some grip, and there is. However, I'd be drinking this sooner than later, if only because it's got a lot to say right now, and some of the finer nuances may be lost to time. Put differently, I don't see a reason to age further, not sure pros outweigh the cons. Easily recommended, as a fun, original wine of place and grape.

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Red - Sparkling
2008 Tenuta Pederzana Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Semi Secco Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } More dry than off-dry at this stage, my mind instantly raced toward the very wide range of foods that a good Lambrusco can pair with. There's some inner charm here, some recessed, almost savory complexity and depth of fruit - if you're willing to take some time with it. And that's not always an easy thing with Lambrusco, the good ones just disappear too quickly; this is no exception. Easily recommended, a producer to know.

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Red
2013 Gianfranco Fino Primitivo di Manduria "Es" Italy, Puglia, Primitivo di Manduria
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Rich, thick, and alcoholic; fans of the genre might say smooth, or plush. I find it's a wine of style, not of place. If you like this style, there's really little doubt here - you're going to love it. It's generous, as in a lot, but it ever so slightly stays in bounds thanks to some unseen gravitational wave - or something. Seriously, though, there's (barely) enough acidity to carry this, but you have to want a really big wine with countless layers of ripe, cocoa-dusted fruit. And many do, so there you go. Glad to have tasted, but never again. For the style, it's easily recommended, now or over the next 4-5 years.

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Red
2011 Masseria Li Veli MLV Salento IGT Italy, Puglia, Salento IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Rich, creamy, and toasty, with vanilla and tobacco aromas and flavors. This blend of Negroamaro will open up with 60 minutes of air in decanter; it's full-bodied, dark fruited, and very easy-drinking. The tannins are full and sweet, the finish is med>medium+. Glad to have tried, but a bit too much for most of the food dishes I'm having these days. If you like to drink wines of this style on their own, this is easily recommended for its purity and sapid richness.

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Red
2012 Schola Sarmenti Primitivo Cubardi Salento IGT Italy, Puglia, Salento IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Rich, thickly textured, with lots of glycerin, vanillin, milk chocolate and sweet, almost chewy tannins. If you like this style, you'll most likely love this wine. I'm not sure of the price, but it's probably just as attractive as what's in the bottle.

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Red
2010 Tormaresca Castel del Monte Bocca Di Lupo Italy, Puglia, Castel del Monte
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } In the past year, I've had the 2011 (not ready yet), and the 2001 (in a really great spot right now), so I was looking forward to tasting this, though I admit to going into it thinking it was still too young. And I was right, for my tastes, it's still too young, the wood a blurry film to the sweet, pure fruits just underneath. From what I can see, this merits a few bottles in the cellar, but with the up-front commitment that the wine needs another 4-5 years to begin to show all it has to offer. In a cold cellar, thru 2029. HOLD. recommended

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White
2009 Cantina Terlan Terlano Nova Domus Riserva Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Terlano
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Large-scaled, richly textured, though it's also buttressed by equally generous acidity and keen balance. It wasn't so easy to focus on what was in my glass - all I could think about was the contents of the bottle sitting on my counter, in a wide-bottom decanter for 2 or 3 hours of air. There's a lot to enjoy here, and there's no rush at all, so let these rest another 2-3 years, but even then, aeration in decanter is advised. Better on the warmer end of the spectrum; thru 2024. recommended+

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White
2014 Elena Walch Beyond the Clouds Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Mostly Chardonnay, fermented in new Fr. oak; partial malolactic, with another 10 months of rest in barrique - frequent batonnage before finishing in bottle for another 6 months. Which is tantamount, for me, on this day, to saying the wood sticks out too much here. There's some really nice fruit, underneath, but it's too obscured by the wood. If new wood's your thing, you're going to love this. Maybe in 4-5 years?

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White
2013 Jermann Vintage Tunina Venezia Giulia IGT Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Exciting wine. Maybe it's because I just had this (and the 2005, which was wowsers) with food/friends and already knew I liked it, but that's not to say I wasn't able to fully appreciate what was in my glass this afternoon, either. A seriously competent, age-worthy white blend that seems to have something for everyone - be it tropical, or orchard, or spice, or mineral, etc. A wine that should be purchased by the case and a bottle opened each year to celebrate its evolution. Just wonderful; even better in 10 years, and beyond. highly recommended

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White
2013 La Tunella Colli Orientali del Friuli Biancosesto Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Colli Orientali del Friuli
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Delicious blend of 50% Friulano and 50% Ribolla Gialla, the wine is cold soaked, pressed then moved to large Slavonian oak barrels. The indigenous yeasts are prepared a few days in advance, and the wine is allowed to rest on its lees for many months, save the regular battonage. I mention these things because there's good complexity here - on the sapid palate/texturally, but also on the nose. The flavors continue to unfold in the glass, and I find myself wishing I could spend some time with this. The crisp finish is marked by good length and a light bitter note that adds interest. Easily recommended

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White
2008 Livio Felluga Terre Alte Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Colli Orientali del Friuli
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Delicious, compelling blend of Pinot Bianco, Friulano and Sauvignon; medium-bodied, dry, with a lengthy, flavor-filled finish. Tropical, floral, orchard, seaspray - you name it, it's here, and it's harmonious, i.e. it's all in balance, and it's still showing very good freshness, even at 8+ years. Perhaps at the peak of its preferred plateau at the moment, but should continue to show quite well thru 2025. 13,5% abv., don't be afraid to aerate in decanter for an hour. highly recommended

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White
2011 Vie di Romans Friuli Isonzo Chardonnay Rive Alte Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Friuli Isonzo
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } The darker color portends the over-oaked, over-wrought nature. It's creamy, which can be just fine so long as there's enough freshness and acidity to balance; I'm not finding that acidity here. Over the years I've had a lot more misses than hits with this house. Not something I would drink or recommend.

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Red
2009 Agricola Punica Barrua Italy, Sardinia, Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Holding up well, though not sure it's going to get better from here. The oak is still noticeable, but at this stage it's fairly harmonious with the fruits. I was left wanting a little more acidity (and less oak), but the quality of the fruit, underneath, is quite good. This would have a narrow range of foods for me, but I could enjoy it in the right context. Still, too many exciting wines out there that I should want to drink this instead.

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White
2013 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Vermentino Lunae Etichetta Nera Italy, Tuscany / Liguria, Colli di Luni
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Very middle of the road. Raised entirely in stainless steel, this is allowed 48 hours of skin contact. I don't care for skin contact with this variety, or if I do, it's a number far less than 48 hours. This is a crowd-pleasing, round and open-knit style that's sacrificed freshness and correctness for approachability, for genre. Too bad, in my opinion, as the average age of the vines (~35yr) might turn out something mildly interesting. Can't recommend, certainly would not purchase.

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Red
2007 Tenute Dettori Dettori Romangia IGT Italy, Sardinia, Romangia IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Perhaps this was different in its youth, but today I find it a bit tiresome. There are shades of some lovely raw material here, but the wine isn't all that cohesive. In the interest of full disclosure, there are very few Cannonau from Sardegna that I enjoy - it generally comes down to a choice of pick dates, i.e. I find most are later than I'd prefer. No recommendation, would not purchase for my own cellar. Perhaps recent vintages have something more to offer.

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Red
2012 Argiolas Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi IGT Italy, Sardinia, Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I confess to having something of a soft-spot for this producer. I guess it comes down to one simple fact, I've had a heck of a lot more hits than misses (and many more of their whites than reds). This wine is a hit, not a bases-loaded home run, but a solid hit. Not sure how much of the Fr. oak is new, but the treatment of ~ 20 months seems reasonable. Full-bodied, and overall rather pleasingly aromatic, there's really no sign of the 14,5% abv.; 85% Grenache/Cannonau, and the remainder a combination of 3 other varieties. Some assertive floral and earth tones make a lot of appearances, adding more interest. It veers international, with its creamy oak, vanilla notes, etc., but if you're in the mood for something different, and something substantive, this is a fine choice. Thru 2022; probably better with 90 minutes of air in decanter.
recommended

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Red
2010 Cantina di Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Superiore Terre Brune Italy, Sardinia, Carignano del Sulcis
As with many in the Santadi stable, this is in need of more time. For my palate, I'd love to see at least another year, preferably two - and even then, I think an hour in decanter would be wise. That said, there's good and obvious purity to the fruit, and, as with many/most of their Carignan wines, there's a rich, complex earthen feast at the core. I had fun swirling, digging for more and more soil notes to emerge - I wish I could have spent some time with this but today was not that day. Easily recommended

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Red
2013 Di Majo Norante Molise Don Luigi Riserva Italy, Molise
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } A year in (new) barrique, after ~ 1 month on the skins. Unsure if this saw some small addition of Aglianico, if not, it's likely 100% Montepulciano. There's a creaminess and torrefaction/vanilla thing I don't really care for, which is to say this is a wine produced for a certain style, or effect. No doubt it's a style that will please and resonate with many, it's just not something for my cellar. That said, there's good purity to the underlying fruit; the wine is clean even though it's a little chewy just now. Thru 2023.

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Red
2005 Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Not a particularly harmonious wine, but there's no denying it's a powerful wine. Too much wood influence showing up in the form of espresso grounds and dark, semi-roasted fruit. Average+ acidity is the great redeemer here, but for it, this would be a gelatinous mess. The tannins have yet to fully resolve, but if you want to try one anytime soon, give it 3-4 hours of air in decanter, or better, just wait another 3-4 years and hope for some further integration. Absolutely begs for food, and in the interest of fairness, I think Sagrantino should be reviewed in that context - but I only had some grissini, and that really doesn't count. HOLD.

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Red
2009 Lungarotti Torgiano Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio Italy, Umbria, Torgiano
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I like this, it's correct, pure, clean and offers good sapidity. That said, I think it still needs some time. From sand/clay soils, this 100% Sangiovese undergoes a traditional maceration of circa 26 days, in steel tanks. After, the wine is moved to a combination of wood vessels of varying age/size. An interesting fact is that they then hold the bottles for another 5 years of conditioning before release; I appreciate this additional attention, there's more harmony in the wine today. In case you were wondering, Monticchio (if preceded by 'Vigna', it's a single-vineyard wine) is real, but 'Rubesco' is just a fantasy name, there's no meaning beyond its brand role. The 14,0% abv. is already resolved, drink with air or continue to hold thru 2026. recommended

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Red
2004 Tabarrini Sagrantino di Montefalco Colle alle Macchie Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Remarkably approachable, but then I have no problems with tannic (and young) wines - only wines with too little acidity. This is a tiny production wine, circa 3500 bottles is all, and the yield is quite low, roughly <2 tons an acre. The vines were first planted in 1997 to a southern exposition. Notwithstanding Sagrantino's tannic nature, this wine is allowed to spend ~ one month on the skins; following is 3 years in 12,5hl botti, and finally at least one year in bottle. The careful selection really shows here, with a lot of complexity on the nose and full-bodied, red/black-fruited palate. No small feat, there's enough acidity to carry the mass here, delivering a wine that offers well-distinguished layers of red fruits sandwiching sweet, long tannins. I think this took at least a minute to finish in the mouth, and I'm not even sure it's at peak yet. That said, feel free to enjoy now with 90 minutes of air in decanter, or hold for the mid-term. I have yet to try their passito wine, iirc, and after this, I'm even more curious. The EtOH is full resolved. highly recommended

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White
2011 Castello della Sala (Antinori) Umbria Cervaro della Sala Italy, Umbria
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } The darker straw color kind of concerned me at first, but the nose offered good freshness and minerality and so I instantly became at ease, and more curious. The palate is rich, the flavors are broad and deep; the oak, is, finally integrated, there's some good harmony here. Very sapid and long, there's a vivacity that runs the length of this that keeps it special, interesting. New world Chardonnay drinkers would greatly benefit (and enjoy) from learning about this particular version of this grape, and perhaps begin to see outside of California, etc. For its genre, it's easily recommended

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Red
2009 Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro Italy, Campania, Roccamonfina IGT
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } It's become even more important for me to taste wines from off vintages, because after you've done it (i.e. consumed enough bottles) enough times, you see there are no such things as off vintages - not from world class producers there's not. This is a lovely wine, a wine that I personally had (and stupidly) neglected to buy as it was sandwiched between the 08 and 10, and any good vertical collector only wants the best vintages - right? Wrong, one taste of this truly original wine and I found my nose buried even deeper in the glass, instantly following its lead and natural, sapid charms. Med>Full bodied, exciting sense of place, and a cool elegance that some of the (riper/powerful) more celebrated vintages might be missing. I'll be adding this to my 15 year vertical at the first opportunity. In a great place now - better with an hour of air - and for the next 8-9 years at least. Beauty lives here. highly recommended

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Red
2010 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Piano di Montevergine Italy, Campania, Taurasi DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I've been drinking this wine since its first vintage, in 1999. And it's with that context that I better understand the wine, which is to say it can't always be understood. Aglianico, and Taurasi - and Campania are so diverse, so authentic, that the wine doesn't always fit into a box. Today's pour was no different. It's classic with big, firm tannins staring you down, but it's also elegant, and distinctly earthy in a great, great way. I like this wine, and after today, I'm going to try to just enjoy what's in the glass for the sake of what's in the glass - not try to overthink it too much, or be sad that it wasn't as good as the last time I had it. That said, for my tastes, I'd suggest to HOLD this for another 3-5 years for more complexity to develop and further integration to take hold. recommended+

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Red
2007 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva Italy, Campania, Taurasi DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Already, surprisingly, approachable, with a distinct ripeness to the bevy of dark fruits that will appeal to many. There's a good dose of minerality and soil traits, and, of course, natural acidity, to keep long-time fans of the wine happy, too, but it might not appeal to those looking for a more restrained effort. I'm to the point now, where I don't really care much any more for divisiveness, I just want to judge what's in the glass on that context alone, and in that vein, this wine succeeds, it's delicious, and it's likely to get better each year for another decade, at least. Not my favorite of theirs, but it's no stinker, by anyone's measure. Better with 2-4 hours in decanter. recommended+

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Red
2002 Ippolito Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Ripe del Falco Riserva Italy, Calabria, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore
Yet another winner from Ippolito, and from a vintage that many assumed (remember, this vintage produced a Monfortino in Barolo) was awful in Italy. Well, Italy's a pretty big place, or at a minimum, it's a very diverse place, which is to say that Gaggliopo, and this wine in particular, did quite well. The wine is full-bodied, with a savory, leather meets tobacco middle, a really persistent, early-maturity finish that lasts nearly a minute, and flavors that are broad and deep. The EtOH here may have been an issue at release, but today it's fully resolved. A delicious wine, and a wine that's easily recommended+. A producer you should know, as much for their whites as their rosés and reds.

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Red
2013 Cusumano Sicilia Noa Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
A cumbersome wine, made for those that prefer their wines to be thick, rich and lush. Not something I would drink, but if you're looking for a value wine made in a very easy style that's full of rich fruits, heavy on the (sappy) textural side of things, this is for you. Some might say there's an old world underpinning to this, I couldn't find it on this day. A great wine to introduce those that drink new world reds - exclusively - to this part of Italy, in a style that's comfortable for them. Drink now or in five years.

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Red
2010 Planeta Sicilia Burdese Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
Rich, thick at times, and deeply into the dark, sappy side of things, this BDX blend has low-ish acidity even if today's bottle shows a fair amount of freshness. A great wine for a steakhouse wine list, I should think, as the modest price would make this a solid choice for many budget-minded customers visiting US steakhouses. Drink now or over the next 3-4 years, though I don't see it improving.

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Red
2009 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e una notte Italy, Sicily, Contessa Entellina
I've had this a few times now, including during a visit to the cantina. It's not my preferred rendition of Nero d'Avola as it's far too modern, and for me, lacks varietal character or sense of place. I've tried many wines from this house over the years, and each has pretty much turned out the same way - they could deliver more, by doing less. It's not a bad wine, in fact, most would describe it as delicious, I just find it boring at this stage of my life.

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Red
2012 Morgante Nero d'Avola Sicilia Don Antonio Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
This will never be confused with a traditional wine; no matter, it's pretty delicious. For the majority of red wine drinkers, this full-bodied effort is a good choice to enjoy with a casual dinner/party, rich meats/cheeses, etc. Many, perhaps most, would probably say it's a lot of wine for a very fair price; there's a lot going on here. Thru 2023, 30 minute in decanter advised. recommended

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Red
2012 Tasca D'Almerita Rosso del Conte Italy, Sicily, Contea di Sclafani
A larger-scaled Nero d'Avola that still manages good character, freshness, and a decent sense of place; I have to think the altitude, >2000ft asl is a big factor. Wine lists, for the most part, absolutely suck for people like me (read: way too choosy, spoiled, etc.), a wine such as this is a very fair compromise between the restaurant owner and the (snobby? wine-savvy?) consumer:a chance for a profit on the one hand, a good food-wine - balanced, place, fresh, etc. There is a careful selection here, it comes through in the taste and vibrancy. As with many/most of the wines I've had from this producer (including their very affordable rosé), this is easily recommended. Drink now or over the next few years.

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White
2012 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Plenio Italy, Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico
Medium(+) body, rich mouthfeel, average plus acidity, and good flavor development. Add to that the fact that's it's reasonably affordable, and you have a nice table wine. Don't be afraid to aerate this in decanter for an hour, in my experience, it only helps. Drink now or in the next few years. A great wine for somms looking to balance profitability with exciting/affordable selections. Not something I'd gravitate toward on my own, but my wife's a big fan; we've probably gone through a dozen+ bottles. recommended

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Red
2012 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo Italy, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Fresh and full-bodied, this shows a good balance of a modern touch while maintaining the character of the grape (100% Aglianico) and the place (Vulture). I was just here a few months ago, satisfying a decades old curiosity; the region's more diverse than it looks, and the soil is indeed unique and conducive to this variety. This has a fair amount going on, and it's obvious by how often it's changing in my glass that this has more to say. In other words, give this 2-3 hours of air in decanter if serving anytime soon, or better, wait another 2-3 years for the (barrique) wood to have a better integration. recommended

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Red
2013 Azienda Agricola San Martino Aglianico del Vulture Arberesko Italy, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I tasted this twice today. After my initial pour I stepped away from the table as always do. But, on (very) rare occasion, I'll approach the table again and ask for a second taste. I wanted to confirm the first taste, which was simply wonderful, as in jaw-dropper. This is one heck of a wine - and it's just a baby. Wow. Be on the look out for this, grab several if you find some. Open one now, rejoice, and the rest over the coming 10-20 years. Very impressive. If you already know this variety and place, but don't yet know this wine, find some, quickly. Descriptors/adjectives/points, nah, not for this one. highly recommended+

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Red
2012 Falesco Montiano Lazio IGT Italy, Latium, Lazio IGT
Montiano (100% Merlot) is a wine that requires patience. Walk-around/trade tasting are pretty much useless, as wines like this require years to develop. Maybe one can get an idea what's to come here. Maybe. But today, the wine's just too young; it's not fair to drop blanket statements, or adjectives that will no doubt change, etc. I think critics have a necessity to award points, I mean review a wine, but that doesn't mean the wine's ready to tell you all there is to know. With Montiano, in my twenty years of knowing it, it can be many things at many times, but it's rarely the same thing twice. Really careful selection of grapes here, and a little lower density of planting, together with vines of ~ 15yrs of age, all built on a foundation of volcanic (influenced) soil. In other words, it's not a straight-forward proposition here, and this isn't a straight-forward wine - not yet, anyway. Give this five years, minimum, if you really want to get a feel for Montiano; likely better, more complete, in ten. recommended+

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Red
2011 Antoniolo Gattinara Osso San Grato Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Gattinara
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I'll admit to being disappointed today. Not in the wine, mind you, but in where it is at the moment, which is no where near available. As if it's cloaked like some Ferengi warship, it's there, right in front of you, but it's not, not really. Some vintages of this wine come out swinging, then go into a slumber period, this may well be one of them. Or, maybe the particular bottle today was just somehow muted/off, I don't know. But if I'm being honest, and based on today's sample, I'd say leave this alone for at least 4-5 years, it's got some distance to cover before it'll arrive.

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Red
2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Classic aromas and flavors that aren't quite fully developed yet. Would be a shame to open this anytime soon as it just seems to want more bottle rest. There's an inner harmony here, but it's missing a streak of energy to take it into exciting territory. Perhaps that will come with more time, I have to think so, based on my experience with this producer, and knowing this grape/variety marches to its drum, not ours. HOLD. recommended

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Red
2012 Vietti Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Serious wine here folks. It can be enjoyed today, it's rich, ripe and ready, but it's far from developed. In true 2012 fashion, the wine's open - to a point, more will follow in a handful of years, then serious tertiary development for years and years thereafter. Ravera can really be a distinguished wine, and in this vintage Vietti captured that essence, the necessary balance of energy from all the moving parts. Buy all you can find, and more than you can afford; you'll never regret it. highly recommended

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Red
2005 Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Was not expecting this to be quite as good as it was. In fact, I kind of had to do a double-take, in the best of ways. Deep and rich, but with a gentle, confident stream of acids that lifts generous layers of red/dark-red fruits in a way that just saturates the palate in waves of pleasure. Something of a savory touch to this that resonates, adds individuality. I liked it a lot. Low scores may keep the secondary prices low on this, which means you have a serious opportunity for a big win should you find some at auction. recommended+. No need to wait, this is ready now (though I can't say how long before the event Valter had opened the bottle) and for the next 6-8 years.

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Red
2007 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Has aged more gracefully than I'd imagined, having last tasted ~ five years ago. That said, the freshness is beginning to wane, if only a little, so if you're sitting on several, you should feel perfectly comfortable opening these now and during the next several years. At a wonderful stage of development, with a kiss of primary fruit, integrated tannins and a gentleness about it that is rather pleasing.

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Red
2003 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Really in a wonderful spot just now. The more 2003s (and 2005s) I have from this region (and Tuscany, too), vintages there were largely maligned and/or panned, the more I have to laugh, at myself, for believing the Pundits; for believing generalizations. Great producers will find a way to make the best wine they can, which means a lot more than it might sound like - and if they can't make the wine they want, they'll sell the grapes, simple as that. Nebbiolo, a delicate grape to be sure, can really withstand a lot, and through it all, show you beauty you never expected. I think this wine is just such an example. That said, no doubt many clever decisions and hard work went into producing such a deeply pleasing wine. Drink now with modest decant, or over the next 5-7 years. recommended+

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Red
2003 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I will admit to knowing zilch about this wine in this vintage prior to today's tasting. That worked out well, I think, as I've had a lot of 2003s from this region in the past few years and they've turned out better than I'd imagined, so I had no reason to look upon this unfavorably prior to tasting it (a bad habit, I'm trying to break it, I promise). So, looking at this from the point of view of what's in the glass, and nothing else, I have to say I want the whole bottle. There's a resolved nature about this, maybe it's that quality that comes with an ideal maturity, but right now, today, it's working heavily in this wine's favor, offering lovely detail to the floral notes, and extra pitch to the Nebbiolo fruit. Not sure if this had been aerated to decanter prior to serving (but I'd like to know, I'm a geek), so I can't comment on how ready it might be as a PnP. Which is another way of saying if you're sitting on a few, stand one up this week, put it in the queue. recommended+

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Red
2008 Massolino Barolo Parussi Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I remember when this was released. I gave it a fair amount of thought, but ultimately passed on picking some up. What a fool, I should have grabbed a case. In the time that's passed since the release, I've really come to know what they're doing at Massolino, and it's all good, exciting even. If today's pour was a fair reflection of the wine, I should think it's in its preferred plateau, now and for the next decade, at least. Power and elegance are happy companions here; the wine effortlessly leads to a finish of substantive beauty. If I see some at auction, I'm going to buy them all. Which is another way of saying if you see them at auction, please consider something else. highly recommended

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Red
2011 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
A lot going on here, and a lot yet to come, too. A wine of good beauty, with quite a lot of complexity and resonant purity. For the vintage, I'd kind of guessed this might be more available/forthcoming than it actually is. If I had some, I'd let them rest another five years before even thinking about opening one - again, what's underneath here exceeded my expectations, but also adds another data point to the 2011 vintage having produced a lot of very solid wines. HOLD

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Red
2008 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Le Rocche Del Falletto Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
A decade more before it's ready? I should think so, for my palate anyway. That said, I enjoyed it, but it didn't wow me in any way, it didn't move me. Perhaps the inner beauty isn't ready to reveal itself yet, or perhaps it's just not there, that this is all there's going to be. Who can say at this young stage, and for that matter, perhaps the bottle was less than ideal. Either way, given today's performance, I would not be looking to acquire this wine for my cellar - at 52, I'm not sure I'd be alive to enjoy it if/when it decides to become glorious, assuming it can; I've seen what these can do after 20 years, and the wait's almost always worth it. HOLD!

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Red
2011 Braida (Giacomo Bologna) Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti
A texturally pleasing wine, but not a wine of distinction; shallow sapidity, I guess might fit, at least for today's sample. For those that haven't had it, I recommend you pick some up, it can really be a gas when it's on - just maybe not this vintage. Today's bottle wasn't on, it was just there. When it's on, it can really be hard to put down. I've walked these vineyards many times over the years, I see more potential here even if I haven't been finding so much of it (realized) lately. Drink now.

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Red
2010 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } I'm kind of shocked to see this wine at this event - I'd have told them to go pound salt - the wine's not ready yet. This is a gorgeous, epic beauty, and it while it's complete now - in the sense that it's got all the requisite components - those components need to arrive at a place of great harmony, of full integration. For serious collectors, if you don't own this yet, find some, and HOLD, the wait will be worth it. As a bonus, I got to see Giuseppe and Alfio in the same room - not always such an easy thing :D
very highly recommended

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Red
2013 Gaja Barbaresco Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
The nose is already quite expressive, though, not unexpectedly, the palate's fine structure has this rather tightly coiled at the moment. With some coaxing, even more complexity emerges. Classic aromas and flavors, there's little doubt this is gong to deliver the goods, but not before some much needed bottle rest for at least 4-5 more years - even better in 10. If opening anytime soon, Audoze all day, maybe more. Will probably outlive me by a good margin. recommended

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Red
2009 Ceretto Barbaresco Asili Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Showing the warmer aspects of the vintage - on the palate, but not necessarily on the nose. Struggles with freshness; this veers toward the espresso and vanilla characteristics I don't personally favor in Cru Barbaresco. Based on today's sample, I think I'd drink this sooner than later if I was sitting on some, seems to be in a fine spot just now and not sure it's going to get better, just different. This should appeal to a wide audience.

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Red
2008 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Romirasco Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Impressive. The darker color and profound aromatics go in one direction, but the palate snaps back in another direction, with the wine remaining perplexing - it's lighter in body than the color and powerful nose would suggest. With some more swirling, this adds a little weight, the core of red/black fruits seem to flex their muscles - as if to say, "come back in 5 years, I'll be ripped". And I think it will be, ripped, as it were, this is an exciting wine, and I hope it realizes all of the potential it's suggesting today. HOLD highly recommended

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Red
2011 Binomio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Not very on the expressive today, well, not in a terribly interesting way. Seems to lean more on the warmer, darker side of things, having sacrificed, for my preferences, a good dose of freshness. That said, not sure why they'd ask a producer to pour a wine that clearly needs more time to sort itself out, if it's to do so that is. And that's the question I'm left with, will this be able to overcome the more pedestrian qualities that render this a bit anonymous? I will vote, with my money, by not placing it in my cellar; too many more exciting wines out there. Either way, HOLD.

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White
2014 Grosjean Petite Arvine Valle d'Aosta Vigne Rovettaz Italy, Valle d'Aosta
Grosjean understands this variety, it's pretty clear to me. More than that, they succeed with this variety. If you've not had the variety before (or perhaps even if you have), it's not so easy to compare it to other white varieties - it's unique. Look at it as a combination of several of white varieties, kind of teasing out the best of each of them, and serving it up in a medium(-) body that carries a good amount of extract and a lot of really refreshing, lifting acidity. I have yet to be able to enjoy this with a proper meal (only tasting events and a visit to the cantina last month) as my bottles are still resting. Bravo, Hervé, bravo Grosjean. Easily recommended+

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White - Sparkling
2010 Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvée Brut Italy, Lombardia, Franciacorta DOCG
Time has been kind to this bottle, with developed aromas and flavors marked by a bright, fresh acidity that ultimately makes this interesting and deeply enjoyable. It could have been that my palate was in desperate need of refreshing (having just tasted about 50 wines), or maybe that this is just that good. Based on experience with their vintage bottlings, I'd say the latter is a safe bet. If you see some on a wine list, or at auction, buy with confidence, it's still doing just fine, now and the next several years. recommended+

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White - Sparkling
N.V. Villa Sandi Prosecco Vigna La Rivetta Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze
Today's bottle was bursting with freshness,with classic aromas and flavors. A refined energy here that's interesting and refreshing. Take your time with this one, it's got some nuances that only came out at different temperatures, and each one is rather pretty. For my palate, these are better just a year or two after bottling. Easily recommended, and worth seeking out.

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Red
2010 Zymé Kairos Veneto IGT Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
Pegau meets Quintarelli - in many ways. A blend of 15 (red/white) grapes, there's a lot going on here. It's a richer style, with some of the grapes allowed to dry after harvest, some others, well, they are pressed straightaway. One can talk about this full-bodied wine all they want, but really, it's something unique, something quite pure, and fun, and therefore should not be missed. Drink or hold. highly recommended

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White - Sparkling
2006 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Italy, Lombardia, Franciacorta DOCG
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Nothing like the 2005, this came across as good>very good, but it struggled to manifest anything truly noteworthy. As with many wines, they have their moments, special moments, brief moments. This wine had a few of them, so I took a second to celebrate them, and then moved on to the next wine. Hopefully the next release will be a return to excitement. At the current price, hard to recommend. Either way, I'd HOLD if you have some, and hope for further (i.e. needed) integration.

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Red
1999 Nino Negri Sfursat 5 Stelle Italy, Lombardia, Valtellina, Sforzato di Valtellina
I haven't had this since it was released. At the time, it was unlike anything I'd ever had, i.e. to me it was unique. And, delicious. However, my palate has changed a lot since then, or another way of looking at it is that my preferences have changed. Today I doubt I'd much care for this on release the same way I melted all those years ago. But, to see where it is now, the lessons that come along with it. wow. It's a glorious wine with the elegance that can come with maturity. Dried fruits, leaves, soil notes, dried purple florals still bright in their way. Exotic at times, and a very nice time warp of sorts today. The EtOH is fully resolved; should drink another 5-7 years if kept in a cool cellar. highly recommended

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Red
2010 Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
A very nice wine, it's full, polished, warm and really quite rich. I'm not sure I'd have ever guessed BdM in a blind tasting. Those just venturing out of big California reds should give this a go, I think they'll have a good time with it. There is an inner purity here that I want so badly, but right now it's buried and untouchable. Insofar as this is going to be around for a while, with any luck I'll try it again in 7-8 years at which time I think it will have turned into something rather more preferable; today it's just a bit much, and not entirely interesting. I like it, but more for what it could become than what it is just now. HOLD recommended

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Red
2005 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri, Bolgheri Superiore
{ OperaWine2017, Verona } Fans of this wine/style will absolutely love where it's at today: full, and rich, with maturing notes of cassis and ripe plum. Some sweet tobacco and leather notes add some interest. If I were sitting on some, I think now would be the ideal time to begin drinking them down/enjoying them. recommended (R-)

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Red
2008 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri, Bolgheri Sassicaia
Probably my sixth time with this since release, still enjoying it and appreciating where it's at just now. On the earlier side of its curve, but it's in the curve, so no real reason to wait as the energy and freshness are in good concert with the rich black and blue fruits. Some good soil tones added more interest for me, as did the vivid purple floral notes. There's quite a bit here, but I did not have but a few minutes to spend getting reacquainted. Thru 2027. recommended

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Red
2007 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
Consistent with my notes since release, this is ageing rather nicely. In a style that's somewhat inconsistent with the vintage's broader characteristics, I find this to have a good core of energy and freshness fastened to a relatively lighter chassis. In the end, the richness of the fruits is in good harmony with the other structural components. If I were sitting on a few, I'd begin to enjoy them now, there's a lot to appreciate already. highly recommended(HR-)

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Red
2011 Tenuta di Biserno Biserno Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
One of my favorite wines of the tasting. In fact, at the end of the event, I went back to their stand and asked for a second taste, my way of ending a great event on a really high note; this time there was no spitting - upon my return, they looked at each other and smiled. This is a distinguished wine, an emotional and elegant wine. All collectors need this in their cellars, and I don't make that proclamation lightly. Thru 2028, at least. very highly recommended

full blog post at http://wp.me/p7fulH-1pZ

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Red
2012 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Sergio Zingarelli Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
Structurally it's just fine. Even the purity of the fruit is of good quality. But, there's not much going on here that's genuinely interesting. If served blind, I'm not sure where I'd have been - maybe Tuscany? Maybe Chile? Perhaps it's just too young to have fully developed its own identity. Or, it's already arrived, which is not an inspiring thought. Not something I would seek out. Drink now - with at least 2 hours of air in decanter - or in the next 5 years.

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Red
1997 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Bosan Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
Mature and ready to go. This has aged just splendidly, with the richness and the acidity that I so much love about this vintage of Amarone Classico. I made the mistake of tasting this before many lighter reds, and it took a while for my palate to recover - this is a big and generous wine, full of classic flavors and aromas...but it's a big wine, as I said, and it needs to be served at the right time, with the right foods. Cheese has become, over the years, one of my favorites with these wines, and occasionally, an Osso Bucco - but it becomes a very heavy meal. I'm not so sure of the price, but if it's reasonable to its peers, this is a solid buy, with several good years still ahead. recommended+

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Red
2011 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Quite run of the mill; nothing interesting about it. I'm not sure time is on its side, so drink up if you've got some; enjoy it's youthful exuberance.

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White
2007 Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico
Medium>Medium+ body, with mature aromas and flavors - beesawax, white floral, ripe white fruits, and even a touch of citrus aroma. A good mineral base, but it's rather recessed beneath the layers of ripe fruits. Smells sweet, but it's actually dry. I have to believe this has already peaked, but this confirms the strength of this vintage for this region. Nice. Drink now.

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Red
2006 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
I've not tasted this since release, so it's nice to see how it's progressing. Full-bodied, and rich, but in a more restrained style marked by a fair amount of soil underpinning, keeping it a wine of style and place. Enjoyable, and for the price, recommended. Probably no harm to to hold these further - if you've got a good stash; I think I'd be drinking now and the next few years. Decant for an hour, and for sediment.

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White
2014 Azienda Agricola Prà Soave Classico Monte Grande Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico
Montegrande, in my experience, is better/best about 5-6 years after release. I think this wine is no different, and should be cellared. I really liked what I saw today, quite classic, but it's just a baby. HOLD. recommended

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White
2014 Suavia Soave Classico Monte Carbonare Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico
Concentrated flavors, ripe aromas and a good mineral and soil backbone. I think this has more to say and should be held; good purity, medium-bodied, good length. Nicely dry, the proportions are rather sensitive to temperature - so you're apt to see lots of things as this warms in the glass; kinda fun. Drink 2018-2023. recommended

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Red
2007 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico la Fabriseria Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
My first time with this, iirc, and I rather like it. Not sure if it's a Cru or just produced in certain years, but it's obvious the selection is careful. Some nice notes of place are always in the background here - soil, animal, leaves, etc. - that keep a close proximity to the richness of the fruits. Good balance, well structured. Now thru 2024, best to aerate to decanter for at least one hour. recommended

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Red
2007 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Sergio Zenato Riserva Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Not a fan of this style, too extracted, too rich and too sweet. In its current form, this is not really a wine for food. There's really no soul here, no freshness or inner-energy - there's just...more. Either way, HOLD for possible development.

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Red
2009 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Ca' Florian Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Seems quite ready to go. Mature, and balanced with classic aromas and flavors. Not so sure of the acidity going forward, so drink up if you've got some. My first time with this single-vineyard effort; would try again in more recent vintages. Not something I'd seek out, but if I saw it on a list, it would be a pretty safe play.

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Closing

Every year, since the first one in 2011, I promise I won't return, that it's my last one. No doubt I'll be there again next year.

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